CrimProf Blog

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

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Executive Vice President and Provost Joseph A. Alutto named Alan C. Michaels as interim dean

On May 28, 2008, The Ohio State University Executive Vice President and Provost Joseph A. Alutto named Alan C. Michaels as interim dean. Michaels replaces Nancy H. Rogers, who was selected as interim Ohio Attorney General by Ohio Governor Ted Strickland.

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May 31, 2008 in Weekly CrimProf Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 30, 2008


Despite a growing consensus among scholars that substance abuse treatment is effective in reducing offending, strict eligibility rules have limited the impact of current models of therapeutic jurisprudence on public safety. This research effort was aimed at providing policy makers some guidance on whether expanding this model to more drug-involved offenders is cost-beneficial.

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May 30, 2008 in Drugs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hire ex-con in Philly, get $10K annual tax credit

Ph2008052701746 One-time thief Heber Nixon Jr. has filled out his share of futile job applications. All said being a felon wouldn't stand in his way _ but the promised calls from managers never came. He finally got a second chance when he showed up at a construction site looking for work and found a sympathetic builder. Now, the city of Philadelphia is making a concerted effort to encourage the hiring of ex-convicts amid a renewed interest nationwide in dealing with high recidivism, growing crime rates and exploding prison populations.

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May 29, 2008 in Cost of Crime | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Lots of answers, but no easy fixes

20080523__pn00juvi01ss_300 When Long Beach Police Sgt. Kevin Coy recently came across a 14-year-old girl riding in a car with a paroled gang member, her neck marbled in hickeys, he did what police officers are paid to do. He checked to see if any crimes had been committed - they hadn't - and let her go with a terse warning about the danger of her lifestyle.What Coy didn't do was drive the girl home, contact her mother, refer her to a social-service program or delve much deeper into her situation. Was she abusing drugs? Was she sexually active? Was she failing school? Could she have been helped? We may never know.

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May 29, 2008 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Mentally incompetent defendants on rise

The number of accused felons declared mentally incompetent to stand trial is rising in 10 of the nation's 12 largest states, delaying local prosecutions and swamping state mental health and prison systems, a USA TODAY review finds.These defendants cost hundreds of millions of dollars to treat and house as local governments tighten their budgets because of a slowing economy.Legal analysts attribute the increase to a lack of mental health care, judges' increased openness to such claims and legal strategies by defendants to try to avoid harsh punishment.

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May 29, 2008 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Childhood lead exposure linked to adult crime

Leadtoxicx In what may be the strongest link yet between lead exposure and crime rates, researchers at the University of Cincinnati on Tuesday released new evidence, spanning more than 20 years, that draws a direct relationship between the amount of lead in a child's blood and the likelihood he or she will commit crimes as an adult.

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May 28, 2008 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

A Justification Theory of Police Violence

University of Virginia - School of Law

Northwestern University Law Review, Forthcoming
The Supreme Court's Fourth Amendment doctrine regulating police violence, including its recent decision in Scott v. Harris, is unprincipled and indeterminate. The common law of justification defenses, by contrast, provides a well-established legal structure for determining when one person may justly use force against another.

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May 28, 2008 in Law Enforcement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Transforming juvenile justice

Transforming_juvinile_justice Far fewer youths file into Marion County's juvenile lockup each day, a key result of a reform effort that has reduced crowding and diverted thousands of children into programs outside the center's walls.But architects of the overhaul of the juvenile justice system see the changes as only a starting point. In the third year of a program fueled by a national advocacy group, officials are aiming at ending racial disparities in punishment and transforming a system that many see as perpetuating delinquency rather than healing it.

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May 28, 2008 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Defense reform needed for poor

A recent Supreme Court panel's declaration that the criminal defense offered to Nevada's poor is in crisis, along with its order for new standards to improve the system, has sent prosecutors, public defenders, county officials and others scrambling to assess the level of justice the indigent receive and offer solutions to protect tight budgets and constitutional rights

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May 28, 2008 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Los Angeles County braces for an influx of state prisoners

With jails, drug-rehab centers and probation offices already swamped, Los Angeles County officials are bracing to take on thousands of additional low-risk convicts who could come their way as part of a proposed legal settlement to reduce state prison overcrowding. The idea of reducing the state prison population by shifting offenders to county programs and facilities is causing anxiety among those who would be expected to take on the additional responsibilities.

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May 27, 2008 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

They didn't do it: Convicting the innocent

396bn20080525h002toomanypeoplewr264 At least 23 New Yorkers have been jailed for serious crimes they didn’t commit. Here’s how we can stop that from happening.  “You don’t have to be involved in anything wrong to have this happen to you. I had never been arrested for so much as a violation. … If it happened to me, it can happen to any of you. It can happen to your son or daughter. It can happen to your best friend, or it can happen to your spouse.”

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May 27, 2008 in Exoneration Innocence Accuracy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Young Criminals Need Guidance, Not Jail

So, what's it really like inside a youth detention center?

Mario Chavez spent his teenage years in and out of juvenile hall. After he was convicted as an adult at 17 for Second Degree Murder, he spent over 8 years in prison.

Today, he works as a youth mentor with Pioneers for Peace, an organization working to curb youth violence. [Mark Godsey]

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May 26, 2008 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

A Closer Look: Kids in Court

Npr_logo It's no secret that sometimes kids commit crimes, but should they go through the same justice system and pay the same price as an adult?

In our continuing look at the criminal justice system, Farai Chideya welcomes Carole Shauffer, Executive Director of the Youth Law Center, to help dissect the scenarios where kids end up in court and, eventually, prison. [Mark Godsey]

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May 26, 2008 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Study: Sentencing guidelines ease discrimination

RICHMOND, Va. - State sentencing guidelines virtually erase discrimination in criminal punishments, regardless of how much judges are allowed to deviate from recommended prison terms, according to a study released Thursday.

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May 26, 2008 in Sentencing Corrections | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Police Interrogation and American Justice

"Harvard University Press has just published



San Francisco Law Professor Richard Leo

's new book, Police Interrogation and American Justice (2008).  Based on more than a decade of research, including a significant amount of primary research most scholars in the area don't have, Leo's book chronicles and analyzes more than a century of police interrogation in United States, including the rise and decline of the third degree, the movement for police professionalization that resulted in behavioral lie detection and police training manuals, the psychology of police interrogation practices, the problems of false confession and wrongful conviction of the innocent, and various policy and legal responses to the issues and contradictions raised by police interrogation and confession-taking in the American adversary system of criminal justice.



Michigan Law Professor Yale Kamisar

has called Police Interrogation and American Justice, "The best book on police interrogation I have ever read," and Northwestern Law Professor Albert Alschuler adds: "If you want to understand American criminal justice -- really understand it -- you must read this book."

May 25, 2008 in Book Club | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Patrick Says State's Crime Laboratories Improving

Photo_servlet Gov. Deval Patrick says the State Police Crime Lab and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner are both improving after some high-profile problems.Speaking Thursday to a meeting of state prosecutors, the governor said 18,000 DNA samples in cold storage have been sifted through and prioritized.

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May 25, 2008 in DNA | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Judge to allow dead witness's testimony

A Burleson County district judge ruled Wednesday that the transcribed testimony of a dead witness will be allowed in the retrial of Anthony Graves, whose capital murder conviction was overturned for prosecutorial misconduct.

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May 25, 2008 in Exoneration Innocence Accuracy | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Some Thoughts on Baze v. Rees

I know it's been a few weeks since Baze v. Rees, but I thought I would post some overdue comments regarding my impressions of the case -- overdue because of a horrendously busy April, some emergency home repairs, a dying (now dead) home computer, and the persistent responsibility of caring for a two-year old.  But enough about me . . . .

I must admit to the guilty pleasure of typically turning to the separate opinion by Justices Scalia or Thomas (or, in this case, both) when a case like Baze comes out.  In Baze, I was most intrigued by Justice Thomas' concurrence in the judgment, joined by Justice Scalia, arguing that "a method of execution violates the Eighth Amendment only if it is deliberately designed to inflict pain."  I think this conclusion is deeply flawed.

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May 24, 2008 in Capital Punishment | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Huge gains reported at crime lab's DNA unit

MAYNARD - The M-48 sits on a countertop inside a clean room where masks and gloves are required wear. It is a large, rectangular machine that resembles a doughnut box with a see-through pane, and it is one of the Commonwealth's most important crime-fighting tools.The M-48 delicately extracts DNA. "It's as if DNA were in an egg yolk," said Kristen Sullivan, supervisor of the DNA Unit at the Massachusetts State Police crime lab. "And this machine breaks open the yolk to release it."The M-48 does in an hour what it would take dozens of technicians to do in weeks.

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May 24, 2008 in DNA | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Criminal Law Scholar Bowers to Join Virginia Law School Faculty

Josh Bowers, a legal scholar and former defense attorney who specializes in innovative examination of the real-world application of criminal law, will join the Law School this fall.

Bowers Bowers is currently a Bigelow Teaching Fellow and lecturer of law at the University of Chicago Law School. Prior to that, he spent three years as a staff attorney with The Bronx Defenders, and also was an associate at Morvillo, Abramowitz, Grand, Iason & Silberberg, a white-collar criminal defense firm in New York City.

He’s published articles on the effectiveness of drug courts, the intersection of plea bargaining and innocence, and the use of low-ball plea offers as a prosecutorial tool to mute communal resistance to unpopular police policies.

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May 24, 2008 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)