CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

St. John's CrimProf John Barrett in Nuremberg Trial Documentary

JohnqProfessor John Q. Barrett appeared in the new PBS/WGBH American Experience documentary, The Nuremberg Trial, which made its debut on Monday, January 30.  American Experience also has created a valuable companion website to the documentary.

Professor Barrett has been teaching at St. John's University since 1995.  Read his essay, Samuel Alito Misunderstands Justice Jackson's Famous Opinion in the Steel Seizure Case, on History News Network (posted January 11, 2006).

Professor Barrett's acclaimed discovery and book, the edited version of That Man:  An Insider's Portrait of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the late Supreme Court Justice and Nuremberg prosecutor Robert H. Jackson's previously unknown, never-published memoir of FDR from 1911 through the New Deal and World War II, is available in paperback from Oxford University Press, in fine bookstores nationwide and on line, including through Amazon.Com and Barnes&Noble.ComThat Man, a Main Selection of the Book of the Month Club and the History Book Club and a Choice Outstanding Academic title, was reviewed prominently in many publications, including The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Monthly, The New Republic and Legal Times.

Professor Barrett has discussed That Man in major media, including on NPR's "All Things Considered".  He speaks regularly on Justice Jackson, Nuremberg, That Man, FDR, the Supreme Court and other legal and historical topics in venues throughout the U.S., serves on The Roosevelt Institution advisory board, and is a regular media commentator on legal issues.

Professor Barrett is the Elizabeth S. Lenna Fellow at the Robert H. Jackson Center in Jamestown, NY.  He is writing a biography of Justice Jackson that will include the first inside account of his year (1945-46) away from the Supreme Court as the chief United States prosecutor of the principal surviving Nazi leaders at the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany.

The Jackson List: Professor Barrett sends out periodic emails with information on Justice Robert H. Jackson.  To join the list, which does not display recipient identities or distribute their email addresses, send a request to

Before joining the St. John's faculty, Barrett was Counselor during 1994-1995 to U.S. Department of Justice Inspector General Michael R. Bromwich, who supervised a staff of almost 400 attorneys, criminal investigative agents, auditors and inspectors and had jurisdiction over misconduct and management issues involving DOJ's components and its more than 100,000 employees worldwide.

From 1988-1993, Barrett was Associate Counsel in the Office of Independent Counsel Lawrence E. Walsh (Iran/Contra), where he was responsible for federal grand jury investigations and related litigation and participated in the criminal prosecutions of Lt. Col. Oliver L. North, Vice Admiral John M. Poindexter, former Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams and former Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger.

Professor Barrett is a graduate of Georgetown University (A.B. 1983) and Harvard Law School (J.D. 1986).  From 1986-88, he was a law clerk to Judge A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia.

In addition to Constitutional Law, Criminal Procedure and his recent Legal History seminar on Nuremberg, Professor Barrett has taught Introduction to Law & the Legal Profession (ILLP), Legal History seminars on American Judicial Biography and on the Hughes and Stone Courts (1930-46), Professional Responsibility, and White Collar Crime.  Professor Barrett is a member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and serves on its Legal History Committee.  [Mark Godsey]

January 31, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Vanderbilt Law Hosts: "The Rule Against Torture as a Legal Archetype"

WaldronNASHVILLE, Tenn. – Jeremy J. Waldron, University Professor of Law and director of the Center for Law and Philosophy at Columbia University, will discuss “The Rule Against Torture as a Legal Archetype” at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 3, at Vanderbilt University Law School.

Waldron will deliver the third Jonathan I. Charney Distinguished Lecture in International Law. This lecture series honors Charney, one of the world's pre-eminent experts on international law, who held the Lee S. & Charles A. Speir Chair at Vanderbilt University Law School until his death in 2002. A reception with Waldron will follow the lecture, which is free and open to the public and will be held in the Bennett Miller Room.

The lecture is based on Waldron’s recent Columbia Law Review article, “Torture and Positive Law: Jurisprudence for the White House,” published in October 2005. In that article, Waldron writes: “In recently published memoranda, Justice Department lawyers have suggested that it is not in all circumstances wrong or unlawful to inflict pain in the course of interrogating terrorist suspects. Also, at least one legal scholar has suggested that the United States might institute a system of judicial torture warrants, to permit coercive interrogation in cases where it might yield information that will save lives. “The shocking nature of these suggestions forces us to think afresh about the legal prohibition on torture.”

Waldron argues that “the prohibition on torture is not just one rule among others, but a legal archetype – a provision which is emblematic of our larger commitment to non-brutality in the legal system. Characterizing it as an archetype affects how we think about the implications of authorizing torture (or interrogation methods that come close to torture). It affects how we think about issues of definition in regard to torture. And it affects how we think about the absolute character of the legal and moral prohibitions on torture.” Waldron concludes “not only that the absolute prohibition on torture should remain in force, but also that any attempt to loosen it (either explicitly or by narrowing the definition of ‘torture’) would deal a traumatic blow to our legal system and affect our ability to sustain the law's commitment to human dignity and nonbrutality even in areas where torture as such is not involved.”

Waldron joined the Columbia Law School faculty in 1997 as Maurice and Hilda Friedman Professor of Law. Prior to that, he was Laurence S. Rockefeller University Professor of Politics at Princeton University and professor of law at Boalt Hall, the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. He is author of The Right to Private Property; Liberal Rights: Collected Papers 1981-91; The Dignity of Legislation; Law and Disagreement; and God, Locke and Equality. He edited Nonsense Upon Stilts: Bentham, Burke and Marx on the Rights of Man. More. . . [Mark Godsey]

January 31, 2006 in International | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

ABA Report Calls for a Moratorium on Georgia's Executions & Death Penalty Prosecutions

Ae"Because Georgia cannot "ensure fairness and accuracy in every capital case," it should implement a moratorium on executions and death penalty prosecutions, an American Bar Association study states...Among the problems cited in the 325-page report are inadequate pattern jury instructions on mitigation. The study said that Georgia capital jurors often misunderstand the applicable burden of proof for mitigation, as well as the scope of mitigating evidence. Approximately 40 percent of the jurors interviewed for the study did not understand that any evidence could be used in consideration of mitigation. In addition, 62 percent thought the defense had to prove mitigating factors beyond a reasonable doubt. The report also criticized Georgia for not appointing counsel for state habeas proceedings, noting that only Georgia and Alabama do not provide indigent death penalty defendants with attorneys in such proceedings." CrimProf and Associate Dean Anne S. Emanuel (pictured) of Georgia State Law chaired the 21-member ABA team that authored the report. More from the Fulton County Daily Report. . . [Mark Godsey]

January 31, 2006 in Capital Punishment | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Alito Confirmed & Sworn in as 110th Supreme Court Justice

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Samuel Alito was sworn in [earlier today] as the nation's 110th Supreme Court justice Tuesday after being confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 58-42. The vote was the closest confirmation for a nominee since Justice Clarence Thomas was confirmed 52-48 in 1991. The confirmation vote came a day after an attempt by some Democratic senators to block his nomination fizzled. Alito was sworn in at the Supreme Court, just hours before President Bush's State of the Union address. More. . . [Mark Godsey]

January 31, 2006 in Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Article Spotlight: When the Federal Death Penalty is Cruel and Unusual

Mannheimer CrimProf Michael Mannheimer of NKU (Chase) has posted When the Federal Death Penalty is 'Cruel and Unusual' on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

Recent changes to the way the U.S. Department of Justice decides whether to pursue capital charges have made it more likely that the federal death penalty will be sought in cases in which the criminal conduct occurred within States that do not authorize capital punishment for any crime. As a result, since 2002, five people have been sentenced to death in federal court for conduct that occurred in States that do not authorize the death penalty. This state of affairs is in serious tension with the Eighth Amendment’s proscription against “cruel and unusual punishments.” A complete understanding of the Bill of Rights can be achieved only by placing primary emphasis on the views of the Anti-Federalists, who conditioned ratification of the Constitution on the inclusion of such a Bill. Such an account of the Bill of Rights recognizes that, with respect to most if not all of its provisions, “structural” and “individual rights” concerns are intertwined. That is, these provisions tie the protection of individual rights to the preservation of State sovereignty from the danger of federal encroachment. In particular, recent scholarship suggests that the criminal procedure protections of the Bill were in large part motivated by a desire on the part of the Anti-Federalists to make it more difficult for the federal government to investigate, prosecute, convict, and punish for crime, traditionally a prerogative of the States. It follows from this that the Eighth Amendment prohibition on “cruel and unusual punishments” was designed primarily to restrain the federal power to punish in a way that conflicts with the norms of an individual State. Thus, the imposition of the death penalty by the federal government in any State that does not impose that mode of punishment constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment” in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

Obtain the paper here.  [Mark Godsey]

January 31, 2006 in Capital Punishment | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 30, 2006

Amnesty International Report: 10% of Executed Inmates since 1977, Severely Mentally Ill

According to a report Amnesty International issued yesterday, at least 10 percent of the first 1,000 people executed in the United States since 1977 (the year the Supreme Court lifted the 10-year moratorium on the death penalty) were severely mentally ill.  The report cited the case of Scott Panetti, an inmate with a lengthy history of hospitalizations for mental illness and hallucinations, who was sentenced to death in 1995 for killing his parents-in-law.  Panetti represented himself at his trial where he "dressed as a cowboy, rambled, asked irrational questions and scared jurors." His case remains under appeal. Amnesty also reports that some defendants who volunteer to be executed have been and are mentally ill.  Furthermore, some death row inmates have to be medicated to reach a level of lucidity necessary to be aware of what was happening at the time of their own executions. More from . . [Mark Godsey]

January 30, 2006 in Capital Punishment | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Enron Jury Chosen & Sworn-in

10 women and 6 men have been selected and sworn-in to be the 12 jurors and 4 alternates in the trial of former Enron Corp. chiefs Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, accused in a massive fraud and conspiracy scandal. Story. . . [Mark Godsey]

January 30, 2006 in White Collar | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

William Mitchell to Host "Lawfare" a National Security Forum on Due Process after 9/11

WmmitchWilliam Mitchell Law School is hosting the National Security Forum: Lawfare--Terrorism and the Courts--Due Process after 9/11 to take place: Thursday February 16, from 7-9 p.m. in the law school's auditorium. 

Here is an overview of the forum: "Can we trust the courts with classified information? It’s a question of immediate importance for terrorism cases, civil cases that involve state secrets, and the use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in obtaining judicial approval of wiretaps. These issues will be examined at William Mitchell as a part of the college's National Security Forum.  This event is free and open to the public. Application has been made for elimination of bias Minnesota CLE credit.

This lecture features Judge Gerald Rosen, U.S. District Court, Detroit, who presided over the Koubriti “sleeper” cell case; Judge John Tunheim, U.S. District Court, Minneapolis, the chair the chair of the Kennedy Assassination Records Review Board; and James Rosen, a Minneapolis Star Tribune national security correspondent in Washington, D.C.

William Mitchell Associate Professor A. John Radsan, a former federal prosecutor and former assistant general counsel at the CIA, will moderate the event. Radsan is the director and founder of the National Security Forum at William Mitchell. The forum furthers the discussion on national security matters and explores the balance between individual liberty and public safety in the post 9/11 world. The forum will host several lectures each year featuring renowned experts, scholars, and policymakers on national security issues." More on the Forum. . . [Mark Godsey]

January 30, 2006 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Montana Defense Clinic Seeks Pardons for WWI Sedition Convicts

U of Montana Law and journalism students have joined forces to form the Montana Sedition Project, a group of 13 students petitioning for posthumous pardons from MT Gov. Brian Schweitzer for 74 people convicted of sedition during 1918-19.  During these WWI, Montana operated under one of the harshest anti-speech laws ever passed by any state in the history of the United States.  UM journalism Professor Clem Work inspired the project.  He authored the recently published book “Darkest Before Dawn: Sedition and Free Speech in the American West,” which details Montana’s old draconian sedition laws.  The law students who are participating in the Montana Sedition Project plan are drafting a legal opinion as to whether the governor has the authority to pardon these WWI sedition convicts.  In April, the law students hope to present their findings to Gov. Schweitzer.  More on the Sedition Project. . . [Mark Godsey]

January 30, 2006 in Civil Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

If You're Arrested: 1) Don't Talk & 2) Don't Sweat it

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP): "Drug detection as easy as taking a swipe of someone's sweat could someday be in the hands of law enforcement, thanks to research conducted at the Arkansas Biosciences Institute at Arkansas State University." Story. . . [Mark Godsey]

January 30, 2006 in Technology | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

This Week's Top 5 Crim Papers

Ssrn_9This week's top 5 crim papers, with number of recent downloads from SSRN, are as follows:

(1) 97 Uses and Abuses of Empirical Evidence in the Death Penalty Debate
John J. Donohue, Justin Wolfers,
Yale Law School, University of Pennsylvania - Business & Public Policy Department ,
Date posted to database: December 19, 2005
Last Revised: January 4, 2006
(2) 82 Giarratano is a Scarecrow: The Right to Counsel in State Capital Post-Conviction Proceedings
Eric M. Freedman,
Hofstra School of Law,
Date posted to database: January 6, 2006
Last Revised: January 27, 2006
(3) 79 Attention Felons: Evaluating Project Safe Neighborhoods in Chicago
Andrew V. Papachristos, Tracey L. Meares, Jeffrey Fagan,
University of Chicago - Department of Sociology, University of Chicago Law School, Columbia Law School,
Date posted to database: November 30, 2005
Last Revised: December 7, 2005
(4) 70 No Penis, No Problem
Kay L. Levine,
Emory University - School of Law,
Date posted to database: December 8, 2005
Last Revised: January 24, 2006
(5) 70 Hamdi's Habeas Puzzle: Suspension as Authorization?
Trevor W. Morrison,
Cornell University - School of Law,
Date posted to database: December 14, 2005
Last Revised: December 21, 2005 

January 30, 2006 in Weekly Top 5 SSRN Crim Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Iraq: Spouses Seized To Encourage Surrender

If this AP story is right, U.S. forces seized relatives of suspects to get the suspects to turn themselves in.  It is not clear whether this was a matter of hostage-taking, or selective enforcement--perhaps the women were themselves legitimate suspects. [Jack Chin]

January 29, 2006 in Law Enforcement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Uh-oh: Heavy Pot Use Could Affect Brain

Particularly for adolescents. This, and the shocking news that crack heads can be unreliable in their recounting of historical events, almost leads one to the conclusion that drug use is undesirable.     

January 29, 2006 in Drugs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

FL: Deputy Fired in Broward Scandal

In the latest development in the Broward County Sheriff's Office crime stats scandal, a deputy who made up confessions to 17 burglaries, so they could be counted as cleared for statistical purposes, was fired.  The suspect who supposedly confessed was not charged with the crimes.

January 29, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Better Border Enforcement Keeps Migrants Here

Mexicans who ordinarily would return home when there is no work stay here over the winter to avoid being caught on the other side

January 28, 2006 in Homeland Security | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Conservative Republican Studies Pain Caused by Lethal Injection

U Miani prof profiled here.

January 28, 2006 in Capital Punishment | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

California Prison Problems

Overcrowding leading to killings, and delay in reforming the parole system, which the Gov hoped would reduce the population. [Jack Chin]

January 28, 2006 in Sentencing Corrections | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

NYPD Friendly Fire Shooting; Cop is in Critical Condition

An assault on an off-duty cop at a White Castle had tragic results when on-duty officers responsing shot the off-duty cop, who was holding a suspect at gunpoint.  Story here.

January 28, 2006 in Law Enforcement | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Katrina: New Orleans refugees Allegedly Bring Crime to Houston

Story here.

January 28, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Feds Warn Tunnel Builders

The workers who built a tunnel between the U.S. and Mexico could be in danger of retaliation from Medican drug gangs, says DHS.  They don't say why, exactly, but perhaps the idea is that the gangs will assume that someone involved ratted.  U.S. authorities urge those who built the tunnel to turn themselves in.

January 28, 2006 in Drugs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)