CrimProf Blog

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

Friday, June 30, 2006

CrimProf Spotlight: Diane Courselle

Courselle2newThis week, the CrimProf Blog spotlights CrimProf Diane Courselle from University of Wyoming College of Law.

Diane Courselle joined the faculty as a Visiting Assistant Professor and Director of the Defender Aid Program in July 1998, and was then hired as a regular member of the faculty. She is currently an Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Defender Aid Program.

After graduating from law school in 1991, Prof. Courselle clerked for Judge Henry A. Mentz of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, and then for Judge Henry A. Politz of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. She then served as an attorney with the Office of the Appellate Defender in New York City. She has also been a visiting assistant professor at the Loyola College of Law in New Orleans.

Courselle’s primary areas of teaching and scholarship are criminal law and procedure. She directs the College of Law’s Defender Aid Program, a clinical program in which third-year law students represent indigent defendants in criminal appeals and other post-conviction matters. She also teaches a seminar on Gender and the Law, and has previously taught Property and Legal Writing.

Courselle’s recent publications include “Suspects, Defendants, and Offenders with Mental Retardation in Wyoming,” in the Wyoming Law Review (2001), and she is currently working on articles related to jury reform and capital punishment. She has been a frequent presenter in CLE programs and national conferences on such subjects as military tribunals, effective oral argument, and practice in rural communities.

June 30, 2006 in Weekly CrimProf Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Clark v. Arizona: Insanity Defense Law Not Too Strict

From AP: The Supreme Court ruled by a 6-3 vote Thursday in Clark v. Arizona that Arizona's law on the insanity defense is not too restrictive in limiting evidence defendants can present at trial.

Under Arizona's law, defendants "may be found guilty except insane" if they prove they were so mentally ill that they did not know what they did was wrong. Many other states also allow insanity findings for defendants who can show they did not understand the nature of their criminal acts.

"Arizona's rule serves to preserve the state's chosen standard for recognizing insanity as a defense and to avoid confusion and misunderstanding on the part of jurors," Justice David Souter wrote in the majority opinion. Souter said the state can limit psychiatric testimony to avoid such confusion, given the often dueling opinions of experts and inability of anyone to truly know what is in someone else's mind. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

June 29, 2006 in Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CrimProf Nita Farahany joins Vanderbilt Faculty

Farahany_1 CrimProf Nita Farahany joins the Vanderbilt University School of Law faculty as assistant professor of law after spending the 2005-06 academic year as a fellow and instructor in law at Vanderbilt. Professor Farahany, who is pursuing research in the areas of behavioral genetics, neuroscience, forensic psychiatry and criminal law, is currently a candidate for a Ph.D. in philosophy at Duke University and is completing her master's thesis for her A.L.M. in biology from Harvard. She earned her undergraduate degree in genetics, cell and developmental biology from Dartmouth and her J.D. and a Master's degree in philosophy, focusing on the philosophy of biology and the philosophy of law, at Duke. During 2004-05, she clerked for the Honorable Judith W. Rogers on the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit.

An article she coauthored with William Bernet, M.D., “Behavioural Genetics in Criminal Cases: Past, Present and Future,” which she co-presented at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, was published in the April 2006 issue of Genomics, Society & Policy Journal. She was also the co-special editor of the Winter and Spring Symposium Issues of Law and Contemporary Problems, entitled "The Impact of Behavioral Genetics on the Criminal Law," where her article, “Genetics and Responsibility: To Know the Criminal from the Crime,” coauthored with James E. Coleman, Jr., was also published. [Mark Godsey]

June 29, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CrimProf Debra A. Livingston Nominated to U.S. Court of Appeals

DlivingstonCrimProf Debra A. Livingston,the vice dean and Paul J. Kellner Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, has been nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.

Livingston is co-author of Comprehensive Criminal Procedure, the leading casebook on criminal procedure and has done pioneering work on community policing. She has written and lectured about domestic surveillance, national security issues and the delicate balance with individual rights.

From 1986 to 1991, she was assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York, where she prosecuted public corruption cases and served as deputy chief of appeals. From 1994 to 2003, she served as a commissioner of the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board, overseeing complaints about police brutality. She also served as legal consultant to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Bangkok (1982-83) and was an associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.

Livingston began her academic career in 1992 at the University of Michigan Law School and joined the faculty of Columbia Law School in 1994. As the Paul J. Kellner Professor of Law at Columbia, she teaches criminal procedure and evidence, as well as seminars on national security and terrorism. She co-directs the school’s Center on Crime, Community and Law and served as vice dean of the Law School and chair of the Appointments Committee. She received her undergraduate degree from Princeton University and her J. D. from Harvard Law School. After graduation, she clerked for the Honorable J. Edward Lumbard, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.

"I'm delighted she has been nominated," says Columbia Law School Dean David Schizer. "She is an extraordinarily skilled lawyer and wise leader in our community. If confirmed, Livingston will bring a rare combination of wisdom, judgment and expert lawyering to the bench. She will be a fabulous asset to the judiciary. At Columbia, we’re delighted by her nomination" [Mark Godsey]

June 29, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Cali SC: Law Enforcement May Stop Drivers on Anonymous Drunk Driving Tips

From Law enforcement may stop and detain drivers based on anonymous and uncorroborated tips that they were driving while intoxicated, the California Supreme Court decided 4-3 Monday.

The state high court ruled that the California Highway Patrol acted legally when it pulled over a woman outside Bakersfield, even though its officer did not personally note any evidence of impaired driving. The officer was responding to a telephone tip that the van was weaving.

Monday's decision was the latest in a string of rulings that give police broader powers in searches. Earlier this month, the state high court ruled that police may enter a person's home without a warrant in some situations to administer a blood-alcohol test when a caller reports the person had been driving while intoxicated. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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

Beard v Banks: Penn Prison Officials did Not Violate Prisoners' Rights By Denying Access to Writings

From In Beard v Banks, the Court said in a 6-2 decision that Pennsylvania prison officials did not violate the rights of troublesome inmates by denying them access to certain newspapers and magazines, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday. The justices said the state had a legitimate reason for using inmates' access to secular newspapers as an incentive to get prisoners in a high-security unit to behave themselves.

But Justice Stephen Breyer, writing for the majority, said Pennsylvania's victory could be short-lived if there is another constitutional challenge to the prison unit's rules because the justices were divided over how far states can go in determining punishment for offenders.

In a concurring opinion, Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia said courts have no business second-guessing state officials' decisions on prison operations. Nor, they said, should courts force states to accommodate inmates by providing substitutes for the rights taken away.  Justices John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented, saying even the "worst of the worst" offenders have constitutional protections, especially the First Amendment's coverage of "rights to receive, to read and to think." Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

June 28, 2006 in Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CrimProf Dwight Aarons Comments on Scheduled Execution

AaronsnewFrom University of Tennessee College of Law CrimProf Dwight Aarons was quoted in the Nashville City Paper in a story concerning the scheduled execution of two Tennessee death row inmates early Wednesday morning.

“It’s crunch time, for sure,” said Dwight Aarons, who is also a death penalty law specialist at the University of Tennessee College of Law. “Both sides are definitely in a stage where they’re raising every argument they can think of.” Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

June 28, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

CrimProf Paul Butler Appointed as the Carville Dickinson Benson Research Professor

Butler05_1The George Washington University Law School Dean Frederick M. Lawerence recently appointed Paul Butler as the Carville Dickinson Benson Research Professor of Law.  Butler, who joined the Law School faculty in 1993, is a noted expert in the fields of race relations and criminal law.  He has been awarded the Soros Justice Fellowship for 2006-07, during which time he will complete a book about the future of criminal justice.  His new position will be effective as of the fall 2006 semester. [Mark Godsey]

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

Supreme Court: The Deprivation of the Right to Choose One's Attorney is Enough to Get a Conviction Overturned

From In United States v. Gonzalez-Lopez, the court ruled Monday in a 5-4 decision that the right to hire a lawyer of one's choice is so basic that a defendant who has been wrongly forced to accept a different lawyer is entitled to have a conviction overturned.

The right to counsel and the right to a fair trial were two separate rights, Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the court, stated, adding that the right to counsel "commands, not that a trial be fair, but that a particular guarantee of fairness be provided — to wit, that the accused be defended by the counsel he believes to be best."

Justice Scalia noted that the Sixth Amendment also guarantees the right to "effective" legal representation and that the court's precedents require defendants claiming a violation of that right to show that they have suffered "prejudice" from ineffective counsel.

The distinction was logical, Justice Scalia said, because a violation of the right to effective representation "is not 'complete' until the defendant is prejudiced." By contrast, he said, the right to counsel of choice is a violation "because the deprivation of counsel was erroneous" and "no additional showing of prejudice is required to make the violation 'complete.' " 

Rest of Article...  [Mark Godsey]

June 27, 2006 in Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Prosecutor's Study Claims NY Revised Drug Laws Freed KingPins

From A year and a half after the New York Legislature revised the drug laws in an effort to reduce harsh prison sentences for low-level offenders, a study by Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan, examined 84 drug offenders prosecuted by her office who have asked for resentencing since the laws were changed in 2004. The offenders had been convicted of possessing or selling enough hard drugs to make them eligible for sentences of at least 15 years to life.

The study found that judges granted lower sentences to 65 of those prisoners, and 22 of them, or about 34 percent, were either what she called "kingpins," leaders of international drug organizations, or "major traffickers," that is, leaders of local drug operations that moved large quantities of narcotics. Of the kingpins and major traffickers, 16 were granted relief from lifetime parole, and four of them have been released, she said.

The study looked only at those cases handled by her office, which accounted for about a quarter of the prisoners released statewide since the 2004 reforms. Advocates of the reforms said yesterday that because the special prosecutor was charged with handling the most serious cases, the study was somewhat skewed. Still, the study offers the first prosecutor's perspective of how the reforms have played out at a time when legislators are still debating whether they went too far or whether to relax the sentencing laws even further. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

June 27, 2006 in Sentencing Corrections | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Banning Toy Guns to Protect Children and the Police

From Dallas's proposed law may restrict the sale of realistic-looking toy guns and outlaw children from playing with them in public. It may also require that toy guns be brightly colored or clear plastic. The ordinance is being reviewed by city attorneys and will be discussed Aug. 7 by the city's Public Safety Committee. It is expected to be approved by the City Council in August.

Similar ordinances have been passed in Plano, Carrollton, and Highland Park in recent years. Replica weapons are banned in Baltimore; Hartford, Conn.; and Akron, Ohio.

"This was mind-boggling to me ... I didn't realize we had these realistic-looking toy guns on our streets," said Dallas City Council member Mitchell Rasansky. "They're dangerous, and they're a disaster just waiting to happen." Mr. Rasansky and other Dallas officials believe banning the sale and display of the fake weapons would help protect children and police.  Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

June 27, 2006 in Law Enforcement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 26, 2006

Justice Alito Breaks the Tie To Uphold Kansas Death Penalty Law

From NY In Kansas v. Marsh, New Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito broke a tie Monday in a ruling that affirmed the state death penalty law.

The Kansas case was unique. The state law says juries should impose death sentences if aggravating evidence of a crime's brutality and mitigating factors explaining a defendant's actions are equal in weight.

In the 5-4 decision, the Court overturned a Kansas Supreme Court ruling that found the law violated the Eighth Amendment's protection against cruel and unusual punishment. Writing for the majority, Justice Clarence Thomas disputed the claim by critics that the law created ''a general presumption in favor of the death penalty in the state of Kansas.'' Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

June 26, 2006 in Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Texas Starts a Mental Health Court With Hopes of Smarter Justice

From Harris County, Texas has started a mental health court, an intensive supervision program that was started in March to help people with mental health problems complete their probation and continue treatment.

People assigned to the court have violated the rules of their probation because of mental illness, state District Judge Marc Carter said. Sending them to jail does little to protect the community, he said, if they are released without correcting their problems.

Officials hope the new program eventually will help ease crowding in the county jail and state prisons, where probation violators often end up."It's win-win for everybody," said Kathleen Williams, manager of special programs for the county's Community Supervision and Corrections Department.

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

June 26, 2006 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

This Week's Top Five Crim Papers

Ssrn_17_5 This week's top 5 crim papers, with number of recent downloads, are:

(1) 165 Killing in Good Conscience: Comments on Sunstein and Vermeule’s Lesser Evil Argument for Capital Punishment and other Human Rights Violations
Eric D. Blumenson,
Suffolk University - Law School,
Date posted to database: April 25, 2006
Last Revised: June 5, 2006
(2) 164 Defending the Right to Self Representation: An Empirical Look at the Pro Se Felony Defendant
Erica J. Hashimoto,
University of Georgia - School of Law,
Date posted to database: May 17, 2006
Last Revised: June 1, 2006
(3) 159 Internal Separation of Powers: Checking Today's Most Dangerous Branch from Within
Neal Kumar Katyal,
Georgetown University Law Center,
Date posted to database: May 8, 2006
Last Revised: May 31, 2006
(4) 119 'How's My Driving?' for Everyone (and Everything?)
Lior Strahilevitz,
University of Chicago Law School,
Date posted to database: May 9, 2006
Last Revised: June 13, 2006
(5) 99 Does Child Abuse Cause Crime?
Janet Currie, Erdal Tekin,
Columbia University - Department of Economics, Georgia State University - Department of Economics,
Date posted to database: April 6, 2006
Last Revised: June 6, 2006

June 25, 2006 in Weekly Top 5 SSRN Crim Downloads | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Stetson University CrimProf Robert Batey Clarifies Battered Spouse Syndrome

BateyFrom St. Petersburg Times: In a recent article about a local murder suspect using battered spouse syndrome as a defense, Stetson University College of Law CrimProf Robert Batey stated for the article that battered spouse syndrome is actually part of a duress defense, which can't be used to excuse homicide under Florida state law. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

June 25, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Loyola Law School CrimProf Laurie Levenson Discusses the Pros of No Preliminary Hearing

LevensonFrom the In a recent article concerning a local councilman waiving  his preliminary hearing concerning criminal charges connected to his divorce settlement, Loyola Law School CrimProf Laurie Levenson explained that there is an incentive on both sides not to hold a preliminary hearing. Both the defense and prosecution may not want to reveal information or strategies before the trial, she said.

"It may mean we have more surprises at the trial because we won't have information at the prelim in which we can sort out." Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

June 25, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Saturday, June 24, 2006

CrimProf David Miller Retires After 25 Years of Service

Miller_david University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law CrimProf David Miller was honored for his 25 years of distinguished service to the Pacific McGeorge faculty at a retirement party on June 15 at the Sutter Club. Miller taught Evidence, Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure to thousands of Pacific McGeorge students after arriving from the University of California, Davis School of Law faculty in 1981. Miller, who was the president of the law school’s Order of the Coif chapter for 10 years and also overhauled and co-directed the Appellate Advocacy program, is moving with his wife to Fort Collins, Colorado. [Mark Godsey]

June 24, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, June 23, 2006

CrimProf Spotlight: Margareth Etienne

Etienne_3This week, the CrimProf Blog spotlights CrimProf Margareth Etienne at University of Illinois College of Law. 

Professor Etienne received her bachelor’s degree in History with honors from Yale University, and earned her law degree from Yale Law School. Following law school, Etienne clerked for Judge Diana G. Motz on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Before joining the faculty, she practiced criminal law for several years.

Her most recent publications include “The Declining Utility of the Right to Counsel in Federal Court: An Empirical Study on the Role of Defense Attorney Advocacy Under the Sentencing Guidelines” (92 California Law Review, 2004); “Remorse, Responsibility, and Regulating Advocacy: Making Defendants Pay for the Sins of Their Lawyers” (78 New York University Law Review, 2003); and “Tinkering with Death in Illinois” (University of Illinois Law Review, 2003). Her article, “Addressing Gender Based Violence in an International Context,” appeared in 18 Harvard Women’s Law Journal 139 (1995).

Professor Etienne was awarded a Fulbright Grant to conduct judicial training on white collar crime in Senegal.  She has made presentations at the Law and Society Association 2004 Conference, Northwestern University Law School, Yale Law School, University of Illinois College of Law, Fordham Law School, University of Oregon Law School and the American Bar Foundation. She is a member of the American Bar Association and the Law and Society Association.

June 23, 2006 in Weekly CrimProf Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

University of Michigan Law School CrimProf Wins Supreme Court Victory

Rdfrdman_2 University of Michigan Law School CrimProf Richard D. Friedman won a major Supreme Court victory for his client in Hammon v. Indiana. The case involved the Confrontation Clause – the Sixth Amendment right of the accused to be “confronted with the witnesses against him.”

Friedman argued the case on March 20, 2006 after mooting it before a panel of Michigan Law faculty and student auditors on March 14.

An expert on evidence and Supreme Court history, Rich Friedman’s research and scholarship has appeared in numerous law journals, he is general editor of The New Wigmore, has been designated to write the volume on the Hughes Court in the Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise History of the United States Supreme Court, and has published The Elements of Evidence, now in its third edition. Friedman’s background includes a B.A. and J.D. from Harvard, editorship of the Harvard Law Review, a D. Phil in Modern History from Oxford, clerking for Judge Irving R. Kaufman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and working as an associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in New York. [Mark Godsey]

June 22, 2006 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Federal Authorities in Chicago Fight Back Against Rise in Fetanyl Overdoses

From In a blow meant to disrupt drug sales in a South Side housing complex at the center of Chicago's fentanyl crisis, federal authorities on Wednesday lodged conspiracy charges against 47 members and associates of the street gang that controls narcotics sales there.

Cook County Medical Examiner Edmund Donoghue on Wednesday said fentanyl has been discovered in the blood of 87 overdose victims who have died since spring 2005. As toxicology reports are completed on overdose deaths, the number of fatalities linked to fentanyl continues to grow.

"We felt an obligation to get out and do what we could to get this fentanyl off the street," said Tim Ogden, associate special agent in charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's Chicago field office. The DEA has also been investigating how much fentanyl is being manufactured in illegal laboratories. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

June 22, 2006 in Drugs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)