CrimProf Blog

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

Friday, March 31, 2006

Conference in the Caribbean: Legal Services to the Poor and Marginalized

The Northeast People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference and the American and Caribbean Law Initiatve are proud to present TRADE & LEGAL AID: Tools for Economic Development and Independence.  Our joint conference will be held in beautiful Nassau, Bahamas at the British Colonial Hilton from July 6 to July 8, 2006.  We will be exploring two themes important to the Caribbean: the recurrent tensions between sovereignty and trade and economic development and the challenge of delivering legal services to the poor and marginalized.

REGISTER EARLY!  The conference registration fee covers three days of programming and a full buffet lunch on each day.  The registration fee is $225 if you register before May 19th, $300 if you register from May 20th to June 19th and $375 if you register from June 20th to on-site registration at the conference. 

BOOK YOUR HOTEL ROOM EARLY!  The conference has set aside a limited block of guestrooms at the British Colonial Hilton in Nassau, Bahamas.  This hotel will also be the site of all conference programs.  You can check out their website at: 

Please note that the block of rooms is only being held until May 22nd, 2006.

The guestroom rate for the conference is $145 (single occupancy) / $155 (double occupancy) per night plus taxes and fees for a deluxe floor city view guestroom or $185 (single occupancy) / $195 (double occupancy) per night for a deluxe floor ocean view guestroom.  There is an additional fee of $20 per night for a third adult staying in the same room.  Children under the age of 18 can stay free in the same room with their parent (max: 2 children).

All attendees interested in reserving a guestroom at the British Colonial Hilton must download and complete the Hitlon Guest Reservation Request form and must return the form to the conference travel agent.  You cannot get the conference rate via the Internet or calling yourself.

VISIT THE CONFERENCE WEBSITE  For all the relevant forms and for more information on registering for the conference, booking a hotel room, booking flights, arranging transportation to/from the airport, and for more programming details, please visit the conference website at

[Mark Godsey, thanks to Elaine Chiu]

March 31, 2006 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Quoted CrimProfs

Georgetown CrimProf Neal Katyal is quoted in this article from the Seattle Times.  In 2004, he successfully urged Seattle's largest law firm, Perkins Coie, to represent Salim Ahmed Hamdan, Osama bin Laden's former chauffeur and bodyguard, who is accused of being an al Qaida terrorist and charged with conspiracy to commit war crimes. His case against the U.S. Government, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld was heard by the Supreme Court this past Tuesday.  Hamdan, captured in Afghanistan in 2001, is slated to be tried for his conspiracy charge before a military panel in which the Defense Department will pick the judge and jury and forestall any chance for appeal to an independent body.  In Hamdan's case before the Supreme Court this week, Hamdan's defense argued that even if it turns out Hamdan is guilty, he should not be subjected to the laws of war unless he's afforded the protections of the laws of war.

Northwestern CrimProf David Scheffer's column is feartured in this edition of JURIST.  In his column, Scheffer says that the government's attempt to charge Salim Ahmed Hamdan with conspiracy to commit war crimes - a crime that does not exist under US or international law - falls short of a violation allowing him to be prosecuted before the President's military commissions and "demonstrates the folly of the effort to push the square peg of terrorism into the round hole of the law of war."

Northwestern CrimProf Ron Allen is quoted in this article from the Chicago Tribune about the government's corruption case against former Illinois governor George Ryan.  With speculation about a mistrial in the air, Allen comments on the considerable cost of a second trial. 

[Mark Godsey]

March 30, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

W&L CrimProf Testifies Today Before House Committee on Capital Punishment

Washington and Lee School of Law Professor David Bruck will testify before a House Judiciary subcommittee on Thursday, March 30. The Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security will hold a hearing on the “Death Penalty Reform Act of 2006”.

Sponsors of this legislation hope that changes to the existing Act will expedite the federal death penalty process and make it more efficient. However, opponents fear that changes proposed in the Act will compound problems with a process that is already confusing and enormously costly.

To view Professor Bruck’s prepared statement or a live streaming video of the testimony, visit the links below:

Professor Bruck is director of the Virginia Capital Case Clearinghouse at the School of Law. He has practiced criminal law since 1976, and since 1980 has specialized in the defense of capital cases at the trial, appellate and post-conviction stages.

The Virginia Capital Case Clearinghouse is a trial-level legal aid clinic providing free services to defense attorneys who represent capital murder defendants in cases throughout Virginia. Ten Washington and Lee law students are accepted into the Clinic each year and remain in the Clinic for the entire third year of law school. Each case is assigned to a team of two students who maintain primary responsibility for handling matters relating to the case.

To learn more about David Bruck and VCCC, visit the VCCC web site at

March 30, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Harvard Conference on Barriers to Convict Reentry

Details here

March 29, 2006 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

SCOTUS: To Re-review Kansas Death Penalty Law

Last Friday, SCOTUS announced that it will rehear Kansas v. Marsh. This case involves the constitutionality of Kansas' death penalty law, which was struck down by the state Supreme Court in 2004. Kansas law required a death sentence if the jury found that there was an equal balance between the aggravating and mitigating factors presented at the sentencing hearing. The Court heard arguments about this case in December of 2005, when Justice O'Connor was still on the Court. But now that Justice O'Connor has been replaced by Justice Alito, and probably because the Court is split in such a way that his vote would be decisive, the Court will hold a re-argument on (1) the constitutionality of the statute; and (2) on whether the High Court has jurisdiction to resolve this issue involving a state law. The argument will likely be held in April. [Mark Godsey]

March 29, 2006 in Capital Punishment, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

USSCT Declines Pit Bull Ad Appeal

The Supreme Court refused to review an appeal of two Florida lawyers disciplined for using pit bulls in their TV ads.  Article here; Florida Supreme Court opinion here.

March 28, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

GA: Pro se Litigant Wins Murder Reversal

A defendant who pleaded guilty to murder 21 years ago in exchange for a life sentence won a new trial, while reprsenting himself.  The guilty plea was bad in that it did not identify the rights waived as a result of the plea.  Story here; opinion here.

March 28, 2006 in Due Process | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

NYC: Special Narcitics Prosecutor Defends Rockefeller Drug Laws


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

Monday, March 27, 2006

Canada: Youth Sentencing Unconstitutional

The Ontario Court of Appeals invalidated a provision of law requiring sentencing of some juvenile offenders as adults unless they could prove the sentence is unwarranted.

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

Medical Marijuana: The Ultimate Necessity Defense

What if medical marijuana is the only thing keeping you alive?  The 9th Circuit is being asked to evaluate the necessity defense in that context.

March 27, 2006 in Drugs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

UK: Private Guards With Criminal Records Rip Off Client

Story here.  I'm not surprised by this tale of two young guards with long criminal records committing crimes.  When I was a teenager I was a minimum wage contract guard, and they tended not to be stellar employees. [Jack Chin]

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

AZ: Cross-Dressing, Kidnapping Mom

An Arizona mother who fled the state two years ago was reportedly found with her children in North Carolina, dressed as a  man.  She denied that the clothing or moustache was related to an effort to avoid authorities.

March 27, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Connecticut: A feature on the Skakel Appeal to the USSCT


March 27, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Moussaui Testimony: Not Too Helpful for Defense

He testified at his death penalty hearing that he planned to fly a hijacked plane into the White House on September 11, 2001, that he rejoiced at a tape of a flight attendant begging for her life, and that he was happy that the WTC was destroyed.  Any bets on the outcome?

March 27, 2006 in News | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

US News Rankings

This site often has the earliest legitimate US News postings.  However, it also has posters who post a link to something claiming that it is a scan of US News but it is really something gross.

March 27, 2006 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

South Dakota Prepares for First Execution in 59 Years

Story here.  [Mark Godsey]

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

This Week's Top 5 Crim Papers


206 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: March 15, 2006
(2) 170 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) 155 Report on Guantanamo Detainees: A Profile of 517 Detainees through Analysis of Department of Defense Data
Mark Denbeaux, Joshua W. Denbeaux,
Seton Hall University - School of Law, Denbeaux & Denbeaux,
Date posted to database: February 21, 2006
Last Revised: March 6, 2006
(4) 110 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) 100 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

March 27, 2006 in Weekly Top 5 SSRN Crim Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Film News

From   Treatment of detainees at the U.S. military prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has been the subject of news reports and international political debates. Now it's the subject of a provocative British docudrama.  The Road to Guantanamo concentrates on the stories of three young British men who were held in the camp for two years. They were never charged, and were eventually released. The film, by noted director Michael Winterbottom, premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival earlier this year, where it won one of the top prizes. It's just opened in Britain and now it's bound for the United States.  Listen to story about the film here.  [Mark Godsey]

March 26, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Quoted CrimProfs

Oklahoma CrimProf Randall Coyne is quoted in this article from The Norman Transcript about an Oklahoma state bill that, if passed, will broaden the way "terrorism" is defined and punished. The bill's definition of terrorism includes "an act of violence resulting in damage to property or personal injury perpetrated to coerce a civilian population; or ... to coerce a government." Coyne considers the bill too vague because "almost anything can be contrived as terrorism." Many crimes are coercive by their nature, he said, and any individual or group of people can be reckoned among "the population."

Univ of Texas CrimProf Samuel Buell is quoted in this article from about the 2d Circuit's decision overturning Quattrone's conviction.  Buell explains why the trial judge's jury instructions were flawed.

Univ of Florida CrimProf Chris Slobogin is quoted in this article from the Gainesville Sun about Texas' definition of "insanity" and how a not guilty by reason of insanity (NGRI) plea could be used in the Andrea Yates trial. Slobogin says the insanity defense is used in fewer than one percent of all felony cases and is successful in less than fifteen percent of those cases. When it is successful, he said, it is frequently plea-bargained. On Wednesday, the University of Florida College of Law's Criminal Law Association co-hosted George Parnham, attorney for Andrea Yates.

[Mark Godsey]

March 23, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Georgia's Legislature Revives Hate Crime Legislation

Yesterday, Georgia's Senate approved a bill reinstituting the state's defunct hate crimes law that has been bogged down in the Legislature for years. Georgia's old hate crimes law, drafted in 2000, had called for stiffer criminal penalties for crimes where a victim is chosen because of "bias or prejudice." But in 2004, the Georgia Supreme Court threw the law out after ruling it "unconstitutionally vague." The new bill instead singles out people who commit a crime because of "the victim's race, religion, gender, national origin, or sexual orientation." More. . . [Mark Godsey]

March 23, 2006 in Race | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)