CrimProf Blog

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

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

SCOTUS: Rejects Lethal Injection Review

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court refused Monday to directly consider whether the drug combination used in executions across the country amounts to unconstitutional cruel punishment. The justices had already agreed to hear arguments in April in a case brought by Florida death row inmate Clarence Hill about the procedure for lethal injection challenges to be filed in federal court. Monday’s decision, which came on a separate appeal by Hill’s lawyer, has little practical significance because Hill’s other case is still pending. More from . . [Mark Godsey]

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

NACDL's Free Online Course in Forensic DNA

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) is offering a free online course in Forensic DNA for Officers of the Court. This new interactive resource tool, which provides education and assistance to prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges when using forensic DNA in  cases, is available online free of charge through The  course consists of 15-minute modules and covers the biology of DNA, DNA laboratories, forensic databases, victim issues, DNA evidence at trial and post-conviction DNA cases. You can get to the online course and registration at: [Mark Godsey]

February 28, 2006 in Evidence, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

ReentryNet/NY: Web-based Resources on Reentry from Incarceration

Kate Rubin of The Bronx Defenders in New York has informed us at the CrimProf Blog of Reentry Net/NY.  ReentryNet/NY is the first ever support network and information clearinghouse on reentry from jail and prison and the civil consequences of criminal proceedings.  This web-based resource for defenders, civil legal services, social services, and policy reform advocates was developed as a partnership project by The Bronx Defenders and Pro Bono Net.  While the resources are specifically geared for New York State users, many materials are applicable nationally or in other states.  Reentry Net/NY is also working with the Prisoner Reentry Institute at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY, to develop and host a National Research and Policy Library.  Registration is required for ReentryNet/NY, but the webservice is free and can be found at [Mark Godsey]

February 28, 2006 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Insurance Fraud Claim Charged Under RICO

An unusual application of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) will go forward following a Manhattan judge's denial of an insurance company's motion to dismiss. The Tennessee-based insurance giant UnumProvident Corp., which has already paid $23 million in settlement agreements with individual states over the past year, has been accused of developing an elaborate network of conspirators to avoid paying claims. To establish a claim under RICO, which has both civil and criminal components, a plaintiff must show that a defendant violated at least two of 35 enumerated crimes within a 10-year period. The crimes--such as mail fraud, wire fraud, sports bribery and obstruction of justice--are generally associated with organized crime, and carry harsh penalties, including triple damages and prison sentences of up to 20 years. The case is Weisel v. Provident Life, 600759/05. More from the New York Law Journal. . . [Mark Godsey]

February 28, 2006 in White Collar | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 27, 2006

Harvard Conference: Teaching from the Left

BC CrimProf Anthony Farley is one of the principal organizers of this conference, which includes criminal law as one of its main subjects. "This conference aims to provide the teaching and theoretical tools necessary to help law professors and students address the urgency of our times from a left perspective.  We will address five main subjects: Legal Education, Contract Law, Criminal Law, Constitutional Law, and International Public Law.  The conference is sponsored by The European Law Research Center at Harvard Law School.  It will be held on March 11 - 12, 2006."   Conference site here. [Jack Chin]

February 27, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Australia: Eggs Added to Controlled Substances List

Police in a Sydney suburb have asked shopkeepers not to sell eggs to just any kid coming in to the store; extra vigilance is needed to crack down on an epidemic of eggings of persons and property by delinquents.  A teen may claim to be planning to whip up a souffle or some French toast perhaps, when in fact a car or grandmother is about to be covered in a sticky, gelatinous mess.  I predict that this effort is pointless: even a complete suppression of the egg traffic will just force kids to turn to tomatoes, or paint-filled balloons, or, perhaps, pomegrantes.   Eggs don't play pranks, kids play pranks.  [Jack Chin]

February 27, 2006 in International | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

AZ: Possible Amendment of Student Practice Rule to Allow Students to Do Bail Hearings

Pima County Public Defender Robert Hirsh has proposed an amendment to Arizona's student practice rule to allow students, appearing by themselves to do bail hearings in felony cases.  The defendants would otherwise be entirely unrepresented.

February 27, 2006 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Free NACDL/Forensic Institute e-Symposium TOMORROW Feb. 28

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) is pleased to announce that the renowned Forensic Institute of Great Britain, has offered its online 2006 Forensic e-Symposium series of seminars free-of-charge to NACDL members.
Broadcast live & online TOMORROW on Tuesday, February 28, the next e-Symposium tackles Human Identification and its legal considerations.

Register Now -- free of charge with the following code: CA88F

Last year's Human Identification e-Symposium was highly acclaimed with leading contributions by David Faigman, David H. Kaye and Michael Saks and received over 2000 viewings. Once you have registered, please consider visiting the archive to hear those presentations.

Program Highlights

Opening Keynote
Michael Mansfield
[Queen's Council]

Legal Regulation of Laboratories and Expert Testimony
William C. Thompson
[Professor, Department of Criminology, Law and Society, School of Social Ecology, University of California]

Policy Issues of DNA in the Criminal Justice System
David M. J. Lazer
[Professor, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University]

Validity Challenges of Fingerprint Evidence
Round Table

Other presentations will look at Legal Considerations for Fingerprinting


» View the full programme and register for this exciting online conference

The Panel

Advisory Committee

David Faigman
[Professor of Law, UCL Hastings College of the Law]

Richard Saferstein
[Forensic Science Consultant]

James Robertson
[Director Forensic Services, Australian Federal Police]

Review Committee

Peter Gill
[Research Consultant Research and Development The Forensic Science Service]

John Butler
[Project Leader, Human Identity DNA Technologies Group, National Institute of Standards and Technology]

Christopher Champod
[Professor, Institut de police scientifique, BCH, University of Lausanne]

Fred Preston
[Director of Identification, Police Information Technology Organisation]

Henry Lee
[Chief Emeritus of the Connecticut State Police, Founder and Professor of the Forensic Science Program at the University of New Haven]

February 27, 2006 in Technology | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Quoted CrimProfs

Stanford CrimProf Robert Weisberg and Cal-Berkeley CrimProf Charles Weisselberg are quoted in this article from the San Jose Mercury News, about a judge's order to suppress fibers collected from a car in a murder case.  The judge ruled that the police exceeded the scope of their search warrant by confiscating a car believed to contain evidence related to the murder, after they failed to find anything to arouse their suspicions in a previous search.

South Carolina CrimProf Kenneth Gaines is quoted in this this article from in South Carolina about law enforcement's efforts to prosecute prominent members of the community, including doctors and lawyers, thought to have been clients of a prostitution operation that was busted last week.

Drake CrimProf Bob Rigg is quoted in this article from the DesMoines Register about the use of pictures posted on and blogs to help solve a hit and run murder of an Iowa State University student.

Stetson CrimProf Robert Batey is quoted in this article from about taped interviews with a murder suspect that were leaked into the media. [Mark Godsey]

February 27, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Capital Punishment News

The Florida Supreme Court unanimously overturned the conviction of death row inmate John Robert Ballard and ordered his acquittal in the 1999 murders of two of his acquaintances.  Bloody fingerprints and a 100 other hair samples were found associated with the crime scene, none of them belonging to Ballard, who has always maintained his innocence.

South Korea's Ministry of Justice has announced that it is considering replacing the death penalty with life without parole.  Hearings will be held in June to discuss the legislation that would abolish the death penalty.

Members of the Arizona House and Senate recently offered apologies to Ray Krone, a former Arizona death row inmate who was freed in 2002 following new DNA tests. Krone now travels the nation educating people about the problems with the death penalty.

An examination of recent Gallup surveys in the United States, Great Britain, and Canada found that Americans are more supportive of the death penalty than are either Britons or Canadians. An October 2005 poll of Americans measured support for the death penalty at 64%, a figure that was significantly higher than the 44% support measured in Canada and the 49% support found in Great Britain during December 2005 polls.  [Mark Godsey]

February 27, 2006 in Capital Punishment | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, February 26, 2006

This Week's Top 5 Crim Papers

Ssrn_11This week's top 5 crim papers, with number of recent downloads from SSRN, are as follows:

(1) 172 Law, Science, and Morality: A Review of Richard Posner's 'The Problematics of Moral and Legal Theory'
John Mikhail,
Georgetown University - Law Center,
Date posted to database: January 24, 2006
Last Revised: February 6, 2006
(2) 148 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: February 10, 2006
(3) 91 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: February 1, 2006
(4) 86 The Japanese American Cases - A Bigger Disaster than We Realized
Eric L. Muller,
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - School of Law,
Date posted to database: February 6, 2006
Last Revised: February 15, 2006
(5) 83 The Second Death of Capital Punishment
J. Richard Broughton,
United States Department of Justice - Capital Case Unit,
Date posted to database: January 26, 2006
Last Revised: February 12, 2006

February 26, 2006 in Weekly Top 5 SSRN Crim Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Chin News

This was my weekend for Tucson media: I was quoted in this article in the increase of drug seizures at the Arizona border; I suggested that it could mean more drug flow in to the US, better interdiction.  Also, the Arizona Wildcat, the student newspaper, covered the Stop and Frisk demonstration I did for the first year Criminal Procedure students.

February 26, 2006 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

FL Police Not Eager to Hear Complaints

An undercover TV investigation reveals that citizens going to various police departments in Florida to inquire about how to make complaints may come to regret it. [Jack Chin]

February 26, 2006 in Law Enforcement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Indianapolis: Symposium on Reducing Black-on-Black Crime

According to the Indianapolis Police Department, the majority of homicides in Indianapolis are black-on-black crimes, accounting for 57, or 65 percent, of the 88 killings recorded in 2005.
The numbers are alarming to community leaders, including Williams, who is the director of the youth initiative Peace in the Streets. Williams shared his story Saturday at a "Blacks Killing Blacks" symposium area, an event that featured a panel discussion involving Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi, the chief deputy of police and church leaders. The panel, along with about 100 concerned residents, explored several ways to decrease black-on-black crimes in the city.

Homicides involving black victims killed by blacks in Indianapolis in recent years:
• 2000 -- 53 of 86 homicides.
• 2001 -- 53 of 91 homicides.
• 2002 -- 56 of 83 homicides.
• 2003 -- 60 of 81 homicides.
• 2004 -- 70 of 93 homicides.
• 2005 -- 57 of 88 homicides.  More. . . [Mark Godsey]

February 26, 2006 in Law Enforcement | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

How to Approach a Federal Prosecutor

"When a corporation or executive is facing potential criminal charges, what's the best approach to take with an investigating prosecutor? According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Howard Sklamberg, many defense attorneys take the wrong one. That's unfortunate, because in white-collar investigations, unlike other criminal investigations, defense lawyers can affect how a prosecutor treats a client before an indictment has been returned. Sklamberg gives some advice for successful attorney proffers." More from Legal Times. . . [Mark Godsey]

February 26, 2006 in White Collar | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Maryland Law: Part Two of "Rethinking Crime and Punishment in America" Series scheduled for March 8

Marylandlawlogo_2 Part Two of "Rethinking Crime and Punishment in America: Report from the ABA Justice Kennedy Commission" on Wednesday, March 8, 2006 from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. at the University of Maryland School of Law.

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy challenged the American Bar Association to study the criminal justice system and to "help start a new public discussion about the prison system." Justice Kennedy concluded that "[o]ur resources are misspent, our punishments too severe, our sentences too long."

Prisoner Re-entry is the topic for the second panel discussion in this series. Participants will examine the importance of rehabilitation as a punishment goal, of collateral consequences of convictions, and of preparing prisoners for release, which increases the likelihood of successful community reentry and decreases the chance of re-incarceration. Invited to attend are:

Steven Saltzburg
Chair for the Kennedy Commission and Professor of Law, George Washington School of Law

Tomi Hiers
Executive Assistant to the Deputy Secretary for Operations, Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correction Services

Mike Thompson
Director, Criminal Justice Program for the Council on State Governments

Rada Moss
Director for The Maryland Re-Entry Partnership.

Closing remarks will be given by Michael Pinard, Assistant Professor of Law, University of Maryland School of Law.

The forum will be moderated by the Honorable Andre Davis, U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, and will take place in the Ceremonial Moot Court Room at the University of Maryland School of Law, 500 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201.

This Forum is part of a three panel series entitled "Rethinking Crime and Punishment in America: Report from the ABA Justice Kennedy Commission" that presents the findings of the ABA's Kennedy Commission, a year long, comprehensive examination of the US criminal justice system. It is sponsored by The Open Society Institute Baltimore, University of Maryland School of Law, American Bar Association and the Maryland State Bar Association.

Please RSVP to Justin Schaberg at OSI-Baltimore at 410-234-1092 ext. 213 or at by March 6, 2006.

February 26, 2006 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Underground Pot farm Photos

Here are a number of amazing photos of a concealed underground pot farm in Tennessee raided last year; complete with escape hatch and hudraulic doors, the technology is of batman-villain quaility. [Jack Chin]

February 25, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (1)

New Warning on Cellphone Gun

Law enforcement authorities reported the seizure of a number of .22 caliber, 4 shot pistols disguised as cellphones.  Story and video here. [Jack Chin]

February 25, 2006 in Law Enforcement | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 24, 2006

New Article Spotlight: A Liberal House Divided: How the Warren Court Dismantled the 4th Amendment

Cloud_1 Emory CrimProf Morgan Cloud has published A Liberal House Divided: How the Warren Court Dismantled the Fourth Amendment, in the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law.

The abstract: "This article examines the decisions in which a liberal majority on the Warren Court replaced traditional theories of the Fourth Amendment with new doctrines that weakened constitutional protections of privacy, property, and liberty. The text of the Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures of persons and of three broad categories of property: papers, houses, and effects. From 1886 until the 1960s, the Supreme Court explicitly employed interpretive theories grounded in the text’s emphasis upon property - although with notable inconsistency. In some contexts, these theories erected powerful limits on government power. In other contexts, the Court’s constricted literalism insulated government surveillance from constitutional scrutiny. During the 1960s, liberals on the Warren Court began to dismantle the link between property law and Fourth Amendment rights, and to replace that traditional construct with a privacy-based theory of the Amendment. For several of these justices a fundamental goal was to impose constitutional constraints upon the use of intrusive modern technologies. In a series of decisions, the Court replaced traditional theories that both imposed procedural requirements and enforced property-based substantive rights with a new, if incoherent, emphasis upon “privacy” as the core Fourth Amendment value. This new approach, particularly as articulated by Justice Brennan, erroneously concluded that the procedural protections contained in the Warrant Clause and enforced by the exclusionary remedy were adequate to protect Fourth Amendment rights. The result has been an erosion of individual rights that can be directly traced to the application of these “liberal” theories." Click here to dowload this paper from SSRN.

February 24, 2006 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Orleans: Soon to Release Suspected Criminals?

From "The New Orleans court system may be forced to start releasing an estimated 4,000 prisoners — from potheads to murder suspects — if money isn’t found to run the local public defender’s office." More. . . [Mark Godsey]

February 24, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)