CrimProf Blog

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

Sunday, August 31, 2008

California prisons prepare for gay weddings

No prisoners so far have sought to arrange weddings with same-sex partners since the state Supreme Court granted same-sex couples the right to wed as of mid-June, according to Michele Kane, spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Nonetheless, department lawyers are drafting guidelines to bring the state's 33 adult prisons into compliance with the court's ruling that same-sex couples must be treated the same as opposite-sex couples under the California Constitution, Kane said.

Continue reading

August 31, 2008 in Civil Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Were Estefano jurors under the `CSI Effect'?

Estefano Jurors in the trial of the man accused of shooting songwriter Estefano say prosecutors did not show enough evidence to prove their case.

When Latin songwriter Estefano testified against the handyman accused of shooting him, it wasn't that his story was so unbelievable.

Jurors just wanted more.

That's according to two jurors who acquitted Francisco Oliveira Jr. of shooting Fabio ''Estefano'' Salgado.

Continue reading

August 31, 2008 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sex assaults that leave victims pregnant can warrant tougher penalties, court rules

A sexual assault that leaves a victim pregnant may be punished more severely than one that does not result in pregnancy, the California Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday.

The state high court said a pregnancy may be considered "great bodily injury."

"We conclude that here, based solely on the evidence of the pregnancy, the jury could reasonably have found that 13-year-old K. suffered a significant or substantial physical injury," Justice Joyce L. Kennard wrote for the court.

Continue reading

August 31, 2008 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Geoffrey S. Corn South Texas Criminal Law Professor

Jcorn Geoffrey S. Corn
Associate Professor of Law

BA, Hartwick College
JD, George Washington University Law School
LLM, The Judge Advocate General's School, United States Army


Geoffrey S. Corn joined the faculty of South Texas College of Law in July 2005 as an Assistant Professor of Law, and teaches Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, International Law of Armed Conflict, and National Security Law.  Prior to joining the faculty, Professor Corn served as the Special Assistant for Law of War Matters to the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General, the Army’s senior law of war adviser and representative to the Department of Defense Law of War Working Group.  Prior to serving in the position, Professor Corn spent 21 years on active duty in the Army, retiring in the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps.  His career included service as a tactical intelligence officer in Panama, Chief Prosecutor for the 101st Airborne Division, Chief of International Law for United States Army Europe, and Regional Defense Counsel for the Western United States.  He also spent three years teaching international law at the Army JAG School in Charlottesville, Virginia.  Professor Corn routinely provides expert assistance to military, government, and non-governmental agencies.  He is a contributor to the legal affairs website Jurist, and to the foreign affairs and national security daily World Politics Watch, and also frequently participates in national and international conferences related to national security law issues.  He is the faculty adviser to the National Security Law Society at South Texas.  Professor Corn earned his B.A. magna cum laudefrom Hartwick College, his J.D. (with highest honors) from George Washington University, and his LL.M. (distinguished graduate) from the Army Judge Advocate General’s School.  He is also a graduate of the Army Command and Staff College.

Areas of expertise: Areas of expertise: criminal law, military law, national security, public international law [Mark Godsey]

August 30, 2008 in Weekly CrimProf Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

To reduce prostitution, cities try shaming clients

Prostitutex Tired of arresting and re-arresting prostitutes, police in communities across the nation are increasingly targeting their clients with an old technique — shame.

A two-year study for the U.S. Justice Department's National Institute of Justice, led by researcher Michael Shively and released in March, found more than 200 communities nationwide have tried targeting customers of prostitution in print, on TV, the Internet, billboards or by sending "Dear john" letters home.

Continue reading

August 30, 2008 in Criminal Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Newark and the Future of Crime Fighting

0822_newark_cameras_2 One recent spring day, two cops in the Newark Police Dept. watched a shoot-out erupt in broad daylight. Two suspected drug dealers started blasting away at each other in the middle of an apartment complex. The cops didn't witness the violence on the beat, though. They watched it from the city's new communications command center, which collects live video feeds from more than 100 surveillance cameras scattered across the crime-ridden city.

Continue reading

August 28, 2008 in Technology | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Odor sensor could help find decomposing bodies

Cadaver dogs searched for more than two days but could not find the body of a young woman who disappeared in 2000 while jogging in a Nashville park.

A day later, a searcher spotted the body in a place the highly trained dogs had been. With the August heat wearing on the 24-year-old's body for three days, it was already too badly decomposed to determine a cause of death.

Continue reading

August 28, 2008 in Technology | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

DNA taint found on gun in officer shooting case

A city crime lab employee left his own DNA on the pistol police say was used to kill an off-duty Baltimore detective, indicating that a recently discovered problem with contamination at the lab may be more widespread than officials originally believed.

Evidence from the murder trial of Brandon Grimes was not among the 12 instances city officials identified last week in which lab employees introduced their own DNA into crime evidence. But lab officials testified yesterday that there are thousands of partial strands of unknown DNA in evidence samples - like the one recovered from the pistol in the Grimes case - that must be checked by hand.

Continue reading

August 28, 2008 in DNA | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

DOJ Responds to Privilege Ruling in Congress' U.S. Attorney Investigation

Congress and the Bush administration headed for a pre-election showdown Wednesday over executive privilege, with House Democrats scheduling a hearing that would put a key administration figure under oath and the Justice Department mapping a last-ditch court appeal.

Justice lawyers said they would go to court as soon as today to block a ruling by U.S. District Judge John Bates that aims to force the Bush administration to cooperate with a congressional investigation into the politically charged firing of nine U.S. attorneys in 2006, including Seattle's John McKay.

The move came as Democrats pushed ahead with that investigation, and Rep. John Conyers, Jr., D-Mich., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said he was calling former White House counsel Harriet Miers to appear before the committee Sept. 11 to answer questions about her role in the firings.

Continue reading

August 28, 2008 in DOJ News, News, Political News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Cincinnati ron right track

U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott praised the Cincinnati Police Department for improved relations with the community on Tuesday while presiding over the last hearing of the Collaborative Agreement.

Dlott said outside monitoring of the department will end with one final report in October. The monitoring started in 2001 to improve relations between police and the community, spurred by the fatal shooting of an unarmed black suspect fleeing police that sparked rioting .

Continue reading

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

Lawyers in Supreme Court Gun Case Ask for $3.5 Million in Fees

The lawyers who defeated Washington, D.C.'s handgun ban in the Supreme Court, successfully arguing that Americans have an individual right to arm themselves, want about $3.5 million for their trouble, according to a motion for attorney fees and costs filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The team -- financed by The Cato Institute's Robert Levy and led by civil rights and intellectual property lawyer Alan Gura -- says it clocked at least 3,273 hours in the course of District of Columbia v. Heller, which was filed in February 2003 and concluded in spectacular fashion on June 26, the last day of the high court's cycle. The lawyers anticipate the District will oppose the motion, but they've not received a response, the motion says.

Continue reading

August 27, 2008 in Guns | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

IMPD tries out DNA swabs on guns

Bilde Indianapolis metropolitan police will be testing a new tool that will allow officers to gather DNA from handguns at a crime scene.

During the next six months, officers will be using the Trigger ID device to swab guns before they are moved, enhancing the chances for recovering DNA evidence, according to a statement released by IMPD Lt. Jeff Duhamell.

Continue reading

August 27, 2008 in DNA | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Cards could help uncover cold case clues

Art_cards TROY, New York (CNN) -- While inmates in jails across New York pass the time by playing card games -- poker, gin rummy and solitaire -- they may also be helping crack cold cases.

The idea is simple: Each of the 52 playing cards contains information about a murder, a missing person or another unsolved crime.

Inmates know information law enforcement agents don't, and as corrections officers can attest, inmates love to talk as long as it's not about their own crimes.

Continue reading

August 26, 2008 in Evidence | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Ethics Of Criminal Investigations

Talk of the Nation, August 14, 2008 · The recent anthrax investigation has brought to light the aggressive tactics of the FBI. It brought on questions about how far investigations should go and whether hardball tactics should remain legal.


Clint Van Zandt, former FBI agent and behavioral scientist for the FBI Academy. Van Zandt also wrote Facing Down Evil: Life on the Edge as an FBI Hostage Negotiator.

Lee Lofland, author of Police Procedure and Investigation, A Guide For Writers [Mark Godsey]

Continue Reading "Ethics Of Criminal Investigations"

August 26, 2008 in False Confessions | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Panel reviews law for teen criminals

At a time when two studies question the validity of a state law that placed all 17-year-old criminal offenders in adult court, a committee of state legislators and other stakeholders has begun reviewing whether the law should be changed.

The Wisconsin Legislative Council’s Special Committee on High-Risk Juvenile Offenders, headed by Sen. Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) and vice chairman Rep. Rich Zipperer (R-City of Pewaukee), is studying what the best practices would be for decreasing recidivism among juvenile offenders, including a review of current law.

Continue reading

August 26, 2008 in Juveniles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Afghan Opium Harvest Down?

Topics_opium_395Afghanistan’s opium harvest has dropped from last year’s record high, the United Nations announced Tuesday, contending that the tide of opium that engulfed Afghanistan in ever rising harvests since 2001 was finally showing signs of ebbing.

“The opium floodwaters in Afghanistan have started to recede,” Antonio Maria Costa, the executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, wrote in the foreword of the 2008 annual opium poppy survey, published Tuesday. “Afghan society has started to make progress in its fight against opium.”

Poppy cultivation has dropped by 19 percent since 2007, and had fallen beneath 2006 levels as well, the report said. The harvest was also down, although by a lesser margin because of greater yields, dropping by 6 percent to 7,700 tons.

More than half of Afghanistan’s provinces have now been declared poppy free — that is, 18 of 34 provinces grow no, or very little, poppy, up from 13 poppy-free provinces last year.

Continue reading

August 26, 2008 in Drugs, International | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Lawyers Conned by Internet Scam

Atlanta securities lawyer Gregory Bartko said he is the victim of an Internet fraud scheme that is apparently targeting law firms throughout the country and the banks where lawyers have their escrow accounts.

As a result, Bartko is now a defendant in a federal suit by Wachovia Bank -- which is seeking reimbursement for nearly $200,000 that the bank wired, on Bartko's instructions, to a Korean bank on behalf of a company that had hired Bartko via the Internet.

Wachovia has also notified the State Bar of Georgia that Bartko's firm escrow account was overdrawn by more than $190,000, Bartko said.

The scheme that entangled Bartko matches one in a fraud alert issued in February by SunTrust Bank in Atlanta.

Continue reading

August 26, 2008 in Criminal Law, News, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Stick to your guns, Joe

DENVER — It was on July 23 last year in Charleston, S.C., that Joe Biden really showed what he is made of.

It was at a Democratic debate — one of approximately 700 or 800, as I recall — that was sponsored by CNN, Google and YouTube.

Via a video clip, a man identifying himself as Jered Townsend from Clio, Mich., said: “To all the candidates, tell me your position on gun control, as myself and other Americans really want to know if our babies are safe.”

Continue reading

August 26, 2008 in Political News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Unique investigative agency tackles NYC corruption

Battling_corruptionx NEW YORK — A little-known law enforcement agency -- the only one of its kind in the country -- has been behind some of the most sensational headlines to hit New York City over the last several years.

The city's Department of Investigation successfully investigated Bernard Kerik, former police commissioner and Homeland Security chief nominee. It exposed the largest tax fraud in municipal history, investigated corruption in the crane industry, and helped indict lawmakers, union bosses and numerous high-ranking city officials.

Continue reading

August 25, 2008 in Criminal Justice Policy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Authorities seek programs for youths to reduce violence

Ymca At 14, Javier Quiroz was starting to take pride in his appearance. He liked to wear nice clothes, and his hair was rarely out of place. He played soccer and swam with friends, and he worked part time at a cousin's restaurant. He lived with his family in a City Heights apartment complex his mother manages.

Javier was a block from the apartment, at a friend's house, the last time his mother spoke to him. It was about midnight when she called and told him to come home.

“I'm coming back,” he said. “Don't worry.”

Javier never made it home.

Continue reading

August 25, 2008 in Juveniles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)