CrimProf Blog

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

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Herzog-Evans on Emulating American Inventiveness in French Judicial Practice

Martine Herzog-Evans (University of Reims, Law Faculty, France) has posted Reforming Judicial Pactice in France by Emulating American Inventiveness (Révolutionner La Pratique Judiciaire: S'Inspirer De L'Inventivité Américaine) (Recueil Dalloz, No. 44, pp. 3016-3022, 2011) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

The United States have gone through a series of legal and procedural revolutions, in criminal law as well as in other fields, such as family law, torts, labour law, and so forth. These reforms were necessary in view of some of their well-known excesses such as mass incarceration, factory-line processing of offenders, and, last but not least, adversarial types of procedures and hearings. This has led, inter alia, to the creation of 'problem solving courts'. Empirical evidence shows that this has produced remarkable results both in terms of reoffending, cost and impact on the community. The United States have also created 'therapeutic jurisprudence', which endeavors to think of the law and its implementation, courts functioning and lawyers' practice, in terms of their 'therapeutic' or 'antitherapeutic' effects on people. Such innovative models, which fascinate the rest of the western world and beyond, and have been imported and emulated elsewhere, also allow to revisit French 'juges de l'application des peines' (sentence's implementation judges and courts) and to realize that their creation, sixty years ago, may well have constituted a remarkable intuition.

Note: Downloadable document is in French.

March 31, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Walker on Social Democracy and Security

Neil Walker (University of Edinburgh, School of Law) has posted Social Democracy and Security on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

The aim of this paper is to account for the dilemmas and difficulties a social democratic approach to crime and security has always faced in the context of the modern state, to examine the historical solutions sought to these difficulties, to identify some of the new challenges to have emerged over the past 30 years or so - in particular the challenges posed by neo-liberalism and globalization, and to assess the prospects of a new wave of social democratic crime and security policy in the face of the combination of new and old challenges. Just as social democracy has always been ambiguously poised between reformism and more radical forms of socialism, social democratic crime and security policy has also always been uneasily located between its reformist premise - stressing consent, rehabilitation and cultural inclusion and its radical premise - stressing the material basis of any genuine programme of societal security. This tension, amplified by the recent challenges posed by neo-liberalism and globalization, underpins the explanation and the prognosis offered by the paper.

March 31, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Taslitz on Why Court and Legislatures Ignore Rotten Social Background

Taslitz andrewAndrew E. Taslitz (American University, Washington College of Law) has posted The Rule of Criminal Law: Why Courts and Legislatures Ignore Richard Delgado’s Rotten Social Background (Alabama Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Law Review, Vol. 2, p. 79, 2011) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

This article was written in connection with the 25th anniversary of the publication of Professor Richard Delgado's piece on the rotten social background defense. That defense seeks to mitigate punishment for a crime that stems from a defendant's growing up, and continuing to live, in an area of poverty, crime, and violence. Rather than taking a position on the defense's ultimate wisdom, this article asks a different question: Why has the defense, as articulated in Delgado's article, proven of such interest to academics but been virtually ignored by courts and legislatures? The article answers by exploring the cultural and subject-matter specificity of the idea of the "rule of law." In particular, the article explains that notions of the rule of law in the area of criminal justice in the United States reflect a dominant ideology reflecting three basic assumptions: first, criminal responsibility may not be comparatively apportioned between an offender and society; second, entity liability -- such as the liability of a "people" for a crime -- is disfavored; and, third, compassion must be reserved for those "like us," "us" being the judgers of culpability in a society -- a description assuredly not fitting persons from rotten social backgrounds. Some aspects of this ideology are overt, other aspects implicit or unconscious. Exploring this ideology through the lens of its inconsistency with the rotten social background defense allows us to imagine alternative, perhaps more defensible, rule-of-criminal-law ideologies. What matters more than the policy wisdom of the rotten social background defense is, therefore, the door it opens to a wider ideological imagination.

March 30, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

St. Eve & Zuckerman on Impartial Juries and Social Media

Amy J. St. Eve and Michael A. Zuckerman (U.S. District Court Judge and U.S. District Court) have posted Ensuring an Impartial Jury in the Age of Social Media (Duke Law & Technology Review, Vol. 11, 2012) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

The explosive growth of social networking has placed enormous pressure on one of the most fundamental of American institutions — the impartial jury. Through social networking services like Facebook and Twitter, jurors have committed significant and often high-profile acts of misconduct. Just recently, the Arkansas Supreme Court reversed a death sentence because a juror Tweeted about the case during deliberations. In light of the significant risks to a fair trial that arise when jurors communicate through social media during trial, judges must be vigilant in monitoring for potential outside influences and in deterring misconduct.

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March 30, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Harcourt on Laissez Faire and Mass Incarceration

HarcourtBernard_01Bernard E. Harcourt (University of Chicago - Law School) has posted On the American Paradox of Laissez Faire and Mass Incarceration (Harvard Law Review Forum, Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

In The Illusion of Free Markets (Harvard 2011), Professor Bernard Harcourt analyzes the evolution of a distinctly American paradox: in the country that has done the most to promote the idea of a hands-off government, we run the single largest prison complex in the entire world. Harcourt traces this paradox back to the eighteenth century and demonstrates how the presumption of government incompetence in economic affairs has been coupled with that of government legitimacy in the realm of policing and punishing. Harcourt shows how these linked presumptions have fueled the expansion of the carceral sphere in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Professor James Q. Whitman’s book review in the Harvard Law Review criticizes The Illusion of Free Markets for engaging the writings of Michel Foucault on punishment, and for being surprisingly callous about the problem of mass incarceration. In this response to Professor Whitman’s review, Professor Harcourt clarifies the theoretical stakes of the debate in order to demonstrate, first, that the book represents an attempt to get beyond both the Chicago School and Foucault’s concept of discipline. Second, Harcourt returns to the problem of mass institutionalization to argue that a more nuanced reading of the available data is necessary. Overall, Professor Harcourt stresses the importance of questioning what so often passes as received wisdom.

March 30, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Fan on Structural Reform Bargaining and Police Regulation by Data-Driven Surveillance

Fan maryMary D. Fan (University of Washington - School of Law) has posted Panopticism for Police: Structural Reform Bargaining and Police Regulation by Data-Driven Surveillance (Washington Law Review, Vol. 87, p. 93, 2012) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Spurred by civil rights investigations, police departments across the nation, including in Washington State, are engaging in structural reform bargaining and collaborative design of institutional reforms. Often before any complaint is filed in court or a judge makes any findings of unconstitutionality, police — and the groups threatening to sue the police — are cooperating to fashion remedies for the biggest concerns that have shadowed the law of criminal procedure, such as excessive force and the disproportionate targeting of people of color. Prominent scholars have expressed concern over settlement of civil rights suits outside the arena of the courtroom and without legal clarification. This Article argues, however, that bargaining in the shadow of law and outside the courthouse may yield smarter and farther-reaching reforms and remedies based on data-driven surveillance than could be achieved through litigation and judicial decision.

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March 30, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Risinger on Aspects of Forensic Bayesianism

D. Michael Risinger

D. Michael Risinger (Seton Hall University School of Law) has posted Some Reservations About Likelihood Ratios (and Some Other Aspects of Forensic Bayesianism) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract: 

This paper is an expansion of a talk given at the 8th International Conference on Forensic Inference and Statistics in Seattle, July 19, 2011. The focus of the paper is the application of modern Bayesianism in the context of forensic science, as advocated by many in England and Europe. The paper reviews the many aspects of modern Bayesianism that extend well beyond the analytic truth of Bayes’s Theorem, and focuses, among other things, on the limits of what can be accomplished by the invocation of “subjective” probabilities. In a sense, all probabilities are subjective, since they are all mind dependent. However, the important issue in forensic contexts, as in others, is not the subjective nature of invoked probabilities, but the characteristics of the belief warrant to be required for them in different decisional contexts. In the end, I find myself drawn to forensic Bayesianism, but not fully converted.

March 29, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ryan on Breakthrough Science and the New Rehabilitation

Meghan J. Ryan (Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law)

Meghan J. Ryan (Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law) has posted Breakthrough Science and the New Rehabilitation on SSRN.  Here is the abstract: 

Breakthroughs in pharmacology, genetics, and neuroscience are transforming how society views criminals and thus how society should respond to criminal behavior. Although the criminal law has long been based on notions of culpability, science is undercutting the assumption that offenders are actually responsible for their criminal actions. Further, scientific advances have suggested that criminals can be changed at the biochemical level. The public has become well aware of these advances largely due to pervasive media reporting on these issues and also as a result of the pharmaceutical industry’s incessant advertising of products designed to transform individuals by treating everything from depression to sexual dysfunction. This public familiarity with and expectation of scientific advances has set into motion the resurrection of the penological theory of rehabilitation that has lain dormant since the mid-1970s. The New Rehabilitation that is surfacing, however, differs in form from the rehabilitation of the earlier era by effecting change through biochemical interventions rather than through attempting to change an offender’s character. This raises novel concerns about this New Rehabilitation that must be examined in light of the science that has sparked its revival.

March 29, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Murray on a Color-Conscious Professional Ethic for Prosecutors

Justin S. Murray has posted Re-Imagining Criminal Prosecution: Toward a Color-Conscious Professional Ethic for Prosecutors on SSRN.  Here is the abstract: 

Prosecutors, like most Americans, view the criminal-justice system as fundamentally race neutral. They are aware that blacks are stopped, searched, arrested, and locked up in numbers that are vastly out of proportion to their fraction of the overall population. Yet, they generally assume that this outcome is justified because it reflects the sad reality that blacks commit a disproportionate share of crime in America. They are unable to detect the ways in which their own discretionary choices — and those of other actors in the criminal-justice system, such as legislators, police officers, and jurors — contribute to the staggering and unequal incarceration of black Americans. 

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March 29, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

McLain on Hearsay and Confrontation Clause Analysis

Mclain lynnLynn McLain (University of Baltimore - School of Law) has posted Hearsay and Confrontation Clause Analysis and Significant Recent Developments in Maryland Regarding Character Evidence and Impeachment on SSRN.  Here is the abstract: 

This paper is being made available in conjunction with a presentation by the author to the Prince George‘s County Bar Association at Upper Marlboro, MD in late March of 2012. The paper includes a flow-chart for hearsay and confrontation clause analysis, and goes on to cover this in more detail and with case references, as well as doing the same in regard to character evidence and impeachment.

March 28, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

"Prof. Jennifer Laurin previews forum on prosecutorial oversight"

The post is at Grits for Breakfast, including a podcast interview.

March 28, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Johnson, Blume, Eisenberg, Hans & Wells on The Delaware Death Penalty: An Empirical Study

Sheri Lynn Johnson John H. Blume Theodore Eisenberg Valerie P. Hans and Martin T. Wells (Cornell Law School , Cornell Law School , Cornell University - School of Law , Cornell University - School of Law and Cornell University - School of Law) have posted The Delaware Death Penalty: An Empirical Study on SSRN.  Here is the abstract: 

This article is part of a symposium that honors David Baldus, a great scholar and great man, a quiet man with a strong passion for justice. We study the operation of Delaware’s death penalty in the modern era of capital punishment. Our conclusions consist of three main observations. First, Delaware’s reversal rate in capital cases, 44 %, while substantial, is also substantially less than that of other jurisdictions. This may not be surprising, given Delaware’s emphasis for much of the time period on judge sentencing and that jury verdicts offer more opportunities for reversal. Indeed, reversal rates during the jury sentencing period approximate the national average. Second, judge sentencing in Delaware results in more death sentences, a result consistent with greater harshness being the motivation behind the statutory change to judge sentencing. This effect, is more pronounced in Delaware than in other states. Third, we find a dramatic disparity of death sentencing rates by race, one substantially more pronounced than in other jurisdictions. Race matters in capital sentencing, as David Baldus told us more than a quarter of century ago, and we need to continue to pursue knowledge about where, when, and how it matters.

March 28, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Barnett on The Harmful Side Effects of Drug Prohibition

Randy E. Barnett (Georgetown University Law Center)

Randy E. Barnett (Georgetown University Law Center) has posted The Harmful Side Effects of Drug Prohibition (Utah Law Review, pp. 11-34, 2009) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract: 

Some drugs make people feel good. That is why some people use them. Some of these drugs are alleged to have side effects so destructive that many advise against their use. The same may be said about statutes that attempt to prohibit the manufacture, sale, and use of drugs. Advocating drug prohibition makes some people feel good because they think they are “doing something” about what they believe to be a serious social problem. Others who support these laws are not so altruistically motivated. Employees of law enforcement bureaus and academics who receive government grants to study drug use, for example, may gain financially from drug prohibition. But as with using drugs, using drug laws can have moral and practical side effects so destructive that they argue against ever using legal institutions in this manner. 

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March 28, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Opinion permitting federal sentence to commence after anticipated state sentence

Justice Scalia authored the opinion for the Court in Setser v. United States. Justice Breyer filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justices Kennedy and Ginsburg joined.

March 28, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Gabel & Champion on Regulating the Science of Forensic Evidence


Jessica D. Gabel (pictured) and Ashley D. Champion (Georgia State University - College of Law and Georgia State University - College of Law) have posted Regulating the Science of Forensic Evidence: A Broken System Requires a New Federal Agency (Texas Law Review, See Also, Vol. 90, p. 19, 2011) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract: 

Professor Gabel and Ms. Champion agree with Mr. Goldstein's argument that serious validity and reliability problems plague forensic science, but, using the recent Troy Davis case in Georgia as an illustration, they argue for federal rather than state oversight. Gabel and Champion assert that many states lack the funding to construct an adequate system and that the fragmentation caused by different state systems would be a significant impediment to reform. They suggest a federal agency that, like the Environmental Protection Agency, would set minimum standards but allow states to experiment with enhanced regulation.

March 27, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lee on Treason, Espionage, and Transgression of Political Boundaries

Youngjae Lee

Youngjae Lee (Fordham University School of Law) has posted Punishing Disloyalty?: Treason, Espionage, and Transgression of Political Boundaries (Law and Philosophy, Vol. 31, 2012) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract: 

This Article examines the idea of betraying or being disloyal to one’s own country as a matter of criminal law. First, the Article defines crimes of disloyalty as involving failures to prioritize one’s own country’s interests through participating in efforts to directly undermine core institutional resources the country requires to protect itself or otherwise advance its interests by force. Second, this Article canvasses various potential arguments for the existence of a duty not to be disloyal to one’s own country and argues that they fail. Finally, this Article argues that we should interpret the wrong of disloyalty crimes as involving not betrayal or infidelity, but transgression of political boundaries. That is, the relevant wrong here is rooted in the ideas of separation of powers and assignments of roles between citizens and the state, and we should thus conceive crimes of disloyalty as crimes of usurpation and evaluate the moral rights and wrongs of such crimes accordingly.

March 27, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Price on Why the Supreme Court Should Use Williams v. Illinois to Close One of Bullcoming's Confrontation Clause Loopholes

Tara R. Price has posted 'Bull' Coming from the States: Why the Supreme Court Should Use Williams v. Illinois to Close One of Bullcoming’s Confrontation Clause Loopholes (Florida State University Law Review, Forthcoming) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract: 

Numerous juries have convicted defendants based on second-hand (or hearsay) expert witness testimony about laboratory reports performed and certified by other analysts who never appeared at trial. 

On June 23, 2011, however, the Supreme Court put this practice to a stop in Bullcoming v. New Mexico. Or did it? In perhaps the closest majority in recent Confrontation Clause history, the Supreme Court affirmed that the protections of the Sixth Amendment extend to the admission of scientific evidence against a defendant, so long as the evidence consists of a written report admitted at trial. 

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March 27, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Murray on Veiled Muslim Witnesses and the Confrontation Clause

Brian M. Murray has posted Confronting Religion: Veiled Muslim Witnesses and the Confrontation Clause (Notre Dame Law Review, Vol. 85, p. 1727, 2010) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract: 

This note analyzes the competing constitutional interests that are at play when a veiled Muslim witness seeks an exemption under the Free Exercise Clause from general court procedures regarding witness attire. Is the liberty interest found in the Free Exercise Clause stronger than that found in the Confrontation Clause? In such a situation, which constitutional right takes precedence? The government is caught in the middle because it has an interest in upholding both constitutional rights. Protecting religious freedom seems just as important as ensuring that criminal defendants receive a fair trial, especially given the explicit guarantees of both the First and Sixth Amendments. This scenario is likely to occur in a post-9/11 world given the heightened awareness of the place of Muslims in American society and an increasing interest in the intersection of religious practice and the law. This is especially true considering the increase in the number of U.S. residents that identify as Muslims. 

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March 27, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Henderson on Expectations of Privacy in Social Media

Stephen E. Henderson (University of Oklahoma College of Law)

Stephen E. Henderson (University of Oklahoma College of Law) has posted Expectations of Privacy in Social Media (Mississippi College Law Review, Vol. 31, 2012) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract: 

This article, which largely tracks my remarks at Mississippi College's Social Media Symposium, examines expectations of privacy in social media such as weblogs (blogs), Facebook pages, and Twitter tweets. Social media is diverse and ever-diversifying, and while I address some of that complexity, I focus on the core functionality, which provides the groundwork for further conversation as the technology and related social norms develop. As one would expect, just as with our offline communications and other online communications, in some we have an expectation of privacy that is recognized by current law, in some we have an expectation of privacy that should be recognized by current law, and in some we have no legitimate expectation of privacy. The article begins with a short (and personal) history of social media and then discusses the theory of information privacy, after which follows an explanation of, and then application of, the governing constitutional law. This is an area in which statutes should, and to some extent do, expand upon the constitutional floor, and the article ends with a consideration of those statutes and needs for improvements therein, including via statutory frameworks like that recently adopted by the American Bar Association.

March 26, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Krause on Kickbacks, Honest Services, and Health Care Fraud after Skilling

Joan H. Krause

Joan H. Krause (University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - School of Law) has posted Kickbacks, Honest Services, and Health Care Fraud after Skilling (Annals of Health Law, Vol. 21, No. 1, 2012) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract: 

This essay considers how the 2010 Supreme Court decision in Skilling v. United States, which limited the situations in which mail and wire fraud cases may be premised on violations of the “intangible right to honest services,” has the potential to alter the future of health care fraud litigation. While Skilling is widely perceived to have closed the door to several types of common mail and wire fraud prosecutions, this may not turn out to be the case in health care. In health care, the renewed focus on kickbacks as evidence of an honest services breach instead may dovetail nicely with both the Obama Administration’s emphasis on criminal health care fraud enforcement and the jurisprudence of the Medicare & Medicaid Anti-Kickback Statute. This kind of leverage may prove very difficult for prosecutors to resist, and most certainly will require changes in the way the health law bar approaches common Anti-Kickback concerns.

March 26, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)