CrimProf Blog

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

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

CrimProf Mary Leary Discusses Protocols Needed in Online Child Exploitation Cases

Leary It’s a crime in which the victim is also the criminal—so whom do you prosecute? Underage youths who exploit themselves online can be subject to criminal pornography charges, explained child abuse expert Catholic University CrimProf Mary Leary at a Law School event Feb. 5, but so far courts are applying the law unevenly. Leary, the former deputy director for the Office of Legal Counsel at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the former director of the National Center for the Prosecution of Child Abuse, proposed a better way to deal with what she called “self-exploitation” cases.


Leary, currently an assistant visiting professor of law at Catholic University, spoke to a crowded room of more than 60 Virginia Law students at the event, sponsored by the Virginia Journal of Law and Policy. Leary is writing an article on the subject for the journal. Virginia Law professors Anne Coughlin and Stephen Smith responded to her  remarks.


Juveniles or teens are practicing “self-exploitation when they take sexually explicit photos of themselves and others and distribute them, without coercion or grooming from an adult," Leary said. She cited recent news stories from several states in which teens had taken photos of themselves or others using their cell phones, the images of which were then distributed to friends, some of which ended up on unrelated Internet sites.


“The reality is that whenever a juvenile …creates the images of sexually explicit activities and then distributes them, they have now produced child pornography and they have now distributed it,” she said.


Prosecutors are unsure how to proceed. “On the one hand we have taken…a very aggressive stance with regards to child pornography…and consequently we have pretty severe criminal penalties,” she said. Pointing to the more lenient juvenile court model, Leary continued, “On the other hand…we recognize that often destructive behaviors by a minor can be the result of someone perhaps not fully mature enough to appreciate the social harm of the activity they are causing.” Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

February 13, 2008 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 11, 2008

CrimProf Henry Karlson Discusses Smothered Baby Case

Karlson1 From Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis CrimProf Henry Karlson discusses the case of an Indianapolis woman accused of smothering her son by passing out on top of him began drinking gin as much as 12 hours earlier.

Marion County prosecutors filed a single neglect charge Friday against Latasha McMorris. A few hours earlier, the sobbing mother had her first court appearance.
McMorris, 24, now faces the prospect of 20 to 50 years in prison if she is convicted of causing the death of her 2-year-old son. Sheldon Bartley Jr. died about an hour after McMorris' boyfriend found him beneath her just after midnight Wednesday at an Eastside motel.

CrimProf Henry Karlson rejected the idea that the incident was an accident."A drunken driver who travels at 150 mph and hits a school bus and kills children -- is that an accident?" Karlson said. "I think they charged this case the correct way." Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

February 11, 2008 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CrimProf Abraham Dash Comments on the Exclusion of Evidence in Homeland Official's Murder Trial

Adash From University of Maryland School of Law CrimProf Abraham Dash comments on the evidence being excluded in the trial in which homeland security official Keith Washington is accused of shooting two unarmed furniture delivery men.

Evidence about a psychiatrist's report in 1995 that said Washington, then a police officer, had "fleeting homicidal and suicidal thoughts" and "fits of internal rage" will not be admitted, a judge has ruled. Allegations that Washington used excessive force during his more than 16 years as an officer, including two incidents that led two lawsuits, will probably not be mentioned, except to rebut other evidence, legal experts said.

"It does complicate matters for the state's case in chief," the portion of the trial when the prosecution presents its evidence, said CrimProf Abraham Dash.

"But the defense has to be very careful, too," he said. "I don't see how the defense can avoid putting Washington on the stand. That can open a lot of problems." Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

February 11, 2008 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 4, 2008

CrimProf Jeremy Horder to Present "Law Reform, Government, and the Law Commission" at University of Maryland Law School

On Tuesday, February 12, Distinguished Visiting Professor Jeremy Horder will present "Law Reform, Government and the Law Commission: The Case of Murder." The presentation will take place at 5 p.m. in the Ceremonial Court Room at the UNiversity of Maryland School of Law

Jeremy Horder is a Professor of Criminal Law at Oxford University in England, where he has been a Chairman of the Law Faculty and a Chair of the Trustees of the Oxford Institute. In January 2005, he also was appointed as a Law Commissioner for the Law Commission of England and Wales. Professor Horder has an LLB from Hull University and a BCL, MA, and DPhil degree from Oxford University. [Mark Godsey]

February 4, 2008 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

CrimProf Keith Findley Gets Client a New Trial in Shaken Baby Case

Findley_keith_fall2004 Twelve years after Audrey Edmunds of Waunakee was sent to prison on charges of shaking a baby to death, a Wisconsin appeals court has overturned her conviction and ordered a new trial, based on new research on shaken baby syndrome.

Edmunds’s attorney,University of Wisconsin Law School CrimProf Keith Findley, co-director of the Wisconsin Innocence Project at the UW Law School, called the January 31 decision "absolutely wonderful" for Edmunds, who has always insisted on her innocence. Edmunds was a day-care provider when the seven-month-old child died after being dropped off with her in 1995.

"It’s an enormous decision for Audrey, but I also think it’s absolutely the right decision," Findley said. "It’s the just outcome in this case."

Edmunds has been serving an 18-year sentence after being convicted in 1996.

At the time of Edmunds’s conviction, doctors who raised the questions that are now being asked were viewed as extremists, Findley said, while now they are part of the mainstream. [Mark Godsey]

February 4, 2008 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Criminal Law Conversations Invitation

Criminal Law Conversations

 Leading Scholars Debate the Fundamental Questions of Modern Criminal Law 

    *  Peer-engaged B community of scholars nominates works on which to comment

    *  Short comments (800 words) by those interested, with author response

    *  Direct engagement allows debating scholars to "join issue"

    *  Website makes submissions publicly and immediately available

    *  Process designed to promote thoughtful responses and efficient time management 

Kin Ferzan and Paul Robinson invite criminal law scholars from around the world to contribute to an exciting peer-engaged project of criminal law "conversations" to be published collectively as a book. Concise "core" papers not to exceed 5000 words (approximately ten single-spaced pages) presenting a theory or position will each be followed by a number of short comments (normally no more than 800 words B approximately two pages or less), with a final reply to the comments by the original core paper author.

The goal of Criminal Law Conversations CLC is to promote thoughtful critiques of important issues. Too often opposing advocates talk past each other. CLC's web-based virtual "conversations" are designed to help opponents join issue. The website is not a blog but rather a vehicle for nominating and organizing the project's topics and contributors.

Strong emphasis is placed on well written, accessible presentations about enduring ideas, without requiring elaborate documentation or intricate analysis. Our hope is to produce a final volume that will have an audience beyond the community of criminal law scholars

The selection of core texts will be made by the criminal law scholarly community at large, as people express interest in the topics on which they would like to comment. All scholars are invited to submit nominations for the subject of a "core text" based on either previously published articles or new material. All are also invited to submit comments on any one or more of the nominated core texts.

Because not all contributions will be included in the published volume (although they may be permanently available on the website, the process by which CLC is assembled is designed to shape a contributor's investment of time according to the likelihood of publication. An initial contribution may be simply a short note, with more demanding submissions required only after it appears that the core paper and its responses are developing into a collection likely to be included in the final published volume.

Through a process, the book collection will be assembled by late 2009. Oxford University Press has expressed an interest in publishing the volume. In addition, there will be a permanent CLC website that contains core texts and commentaries not included in the published volume. The permanent website also will allow the future submission of comments on the published volumes contents, and may be used to produce subsequent collections.

Fro More Information, please contact [Mark Godsey]

February 4, 2008 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Death Penalty Authority Victor Streib to Teach at Elon University School of Law

St Victor Streib, a noted national authority on the death penalty and its application to women and juveniles, will teach spring semester courses in criminal law and criminal procedure At Elon University School of Law

Streib serves as the Fisher Professor of Law at Ohio Northern University College of Law, where he was dean from 1996 to 2000. He is a prolific author with more than 300 books, book chapters, article and papers. His work has been cited 28 times in United States Supreme Court opinions.

Streib has served as appellate counsel in several death penalty cases involving juveniles, including Thompson v. Oklahoma, the landmark 1988 case that established a Constitutional minimum age of 16 for the death penalty. He has testified before Congressional committees and as an expert witness in death penalty trials nationally. Frequently sought for media interviews, Streib has been quoted on violent crime and the death penalty in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and Time magazine. He has also appeared on CBS’ 60 Minutes, CNN’s Larry King Live and NBC’s Today Show.

Streib also serves as an adjunct professor of law at Indiana University at Bloomington. He was a professor of law at Cleveland State University’s Law College from 1980 to 1996, and he previously taught at New England School of Law and Indiana University’s Department of Forensic Studies. His visiting professor positions were at the University of San Diego and Michigan State University, and he was a visiting scholar at the Ohio State University Center for Law, Policy and Social Science. He will serve as visiting professor at Elon.

Streib earned a law degree from Indiana University at Bloomington and a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Auburn University. [Mark Godsey]

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

CrimProf Richard Dieter Discusses the Cons of One Representing Themselves in a Death Penalty Trial

From Catholic University Law School CrimProf Richard Dieter discusses the problems with a person representing themselves in a capital murder trial. This is in regards to Patrick Jason Stollar, who is charged with robbing and killing an elderly Upper St. Clair woman, who has made a tactical decision that most lawyers say is extremely ill-advised. He is acting as his own lawyer in a death penalty case.

"The brain surgery of the legal profession is death penalty cases. It's not something any lawyer should do, much less a non-lawyer,"

Experienced capital defense lawyers often work in pairs and spend a year preparing for trial. They interview witnesses, dig up records, do research, reinvestigate facts and locate experts.

The American Bar Association guidelines for taking on a death penalty case, the standard used by the U.S. Supreme Court and more than 50 state and federal courts, recommend hiring a licensed attorney with a commitment to "zealous advocacy," oral advocacy skills, complex negotiation and writing skills, expertise in fingerprints, ballistics, forensic pathology and DNA evidence, aptitude in presenting mental health evidence and trial advocacy skills, including jury selection, cross-examination of witnesses, opening statements and closing arguments.

Mr. Stollar, a former day laborer who has attempted suicide several times in jail, does not have a law degree.

It is very uncommon for defendants to represent themselves in capital cases, experts say.

Notable exceptions include Texas death row inmate Scott Panetti, who dressed like Tom Mix and tried to subpoena Jesus Christ and John F. Kennedy at trial. Ted Kaczynski, known as the Unabomber, wanted to represent himself, but ended up taking a plea. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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

CrimProf Peter Henning Discusses Perjury

Henning From Wayne State University College of Law CrimProf Peter Henning explains that judges who learn of perjury in their court can hold a witness in contempt, or ask the prosecutor to investigate with regards to the recent testimony by Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his top aide Christine Beatty.

About 20 lawyers have been disciplined for perjury or facilitating perjury by the state's Attorney Discipline Board since its creation in 1978. Director John Van Bolt said a typical penalty is a suspension of 3 to 4 years.

The Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct, which govern attorneys, say even nonpracticing lawyers in public office can be sanctioned for dishonesty. "Lawyers holding public office assume legal responsibilities going beyond those of other citizens," the code states. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Swiss CrimProf Mark Pieth Wins Transparency Award

Piethsm From One of the winners of this year's Transparency award was Swiss Basil University CrimProf Mark Pieth, credited with playing a leading role in securing international implementation of the Anti-Bribery Convention drawn up by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) think-tank

Cobus de Swardt, Transparency's Managing Director, said the Convention was "widely regarded as the gold standard for monitoring mechanisms" and had "helped to stem the supply side of corruption".

Under Pieth's leadership, the OECD body that monitors corruption in business "has the courage to criticise even the most powerful, including the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan," de Swardt said.

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

January 22, 2008 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Professor Twining wins Evidence Award

Twining University of Miami School of Law Evidence Prof William Twining was one of two recipients of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Evidence Section's Inaugural John Henry Wigmore Awards for Lifetime Achievement in Elucidating the Law of Evidence and the Process of Proof.

The awards, named for the pioneering legal scholar in the field of Evidence, were presented at the Evidence Section's luncheon on January 5th, 2008 at the AALS Annual Meeting in New York. UM Law School Dean Dennis O. Lynch remarked: "This award represents Professor Twining's outstanding scholarly contributions to the field of evidence. We are very proud of having had him as a colleague on our faculty for over twenty years." [Mark Godsey]

January 17, 2008 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

CrimProf Floyd Feeney Discuses Police New Found Use for the Term: "Person of Interest"

Feeney2 From UC Davis CrimProf Floyd Feeney explains the term "person of interest"  in light of Sacramento County sheriff's detectives called Agustine Munoz a "person of interest" after his estranged wife's body was found in a ditch in November.

Around the same time, Sacramento police called Miguel Carranza a "person of interest" after his ex-girlfriend was gunned down with her new boyfriend.

Carranza has since been named a homicide suspect. Munoz – now in jail on other charges – remains a "person of interest."

"It's a broad and somewhat ambiguous term," said UC Davis CrimProf Floyd Feeney. By using a vague term, authorities may feel they are more in control of the situation, he said.

In recent years, the term "person of interest" has become a familiar part of the law enforcement lexicon across the country.

Critics say it's a nebulous euphemism for "suspect" that can tarnish someone's name when investigators are still a long way from gathering enough evidence for an arrest.

Law enforcement officials say it can mean "suspect." But they also use it for "accomplice," "witness" or "someone with key information about a crime." Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

January 16, 2008 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

CrimProf Spotlight: Jennifer B. Sargent

Sargent72dpi This week the CrimProf Blog spotlights Vermont Law School's Jennifer B. Sargent.

CrimProf Jennifer B. Sargent specializes in criminal law, clinical practice, and legal and judicial ethics. As director of the J.D. Internship and Judicial Externship programs, she places, supervises, and mentors students in field-based, clinical internships.   The courses she has taught at Vermont Law School include Criminal Procedure, Criminal Law (General Practice Program), Introduction to Clinical Practice (J.D. Internship Orientation), Legal Profession, and the Professional Responsibility/Judicial Ethics seminar.

Professor Sargent earned her B.A. degree from Emory University in 1989 and her J.D. degree from Suffolk University Law School in 1992. She worked as a judicial law clerk to the justices of the Vermont Superior, District and Family Courts in Washington and Orange counties from 1992 to 1993. She then worked as a managing attorney, assistant appellate defender and staff attorney with the New Hampshire Public Defender from 1993 to 2000. In 2002, New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen appointed Professor Sargent as the special justice of the Littleton, Lancaster, and Haverhill district courts. She shares her time between Vermont Law School and the New Hampshire District Court. In 2003, the New Hampshire Supreme Court appointed Professor Sargent to the Hearings Committee for the New Hampshire Professional Conduct Committee. 

In 2005, Professor Sargent became a faculty member of the National Judicial College, where she lectures on various topics to judges from around the United States.  She is also a Visiting Associate Professor at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire for the fall 2006 term, teaching freshman expository writing.  Professor Sargent has lectured on district court criminal practice, effective opening statements, and closing arguments for the New Hampshire Bar Association’s Continuing Legal Education Program. She has lectured for the New Hampshire Public Defender’s Continuing Legal Education Program on domestic violence litigation and substantive legal issues in sexual assault cases. She has also lectured to the pro bono Domestic Violence Emergency (DOVE) program in New Hampshire on issues of domestic violence and divorce. [Mark Godsey]

January 12, 2008 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

CrimProf Kevin Washburn Speaks About Criminal Justice in Indian Country

Washburnmug200 Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law CrimProf Kevin Washburn, an expert in Indian legal issues, will speak on criminal justice in Indian Country for the first annual William C. Canby Distinguished Scholar Lecture at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.   

     "I have worked for more than five years on scholarship focused on the serious problems with criminal justice in Indian country, and I intend to provide an overview of those findings," Washburn said. "In the course of this work, I've looked at federal prosecution, sentencing, trial juries and many of the practical challenges facing criminal justice in Indian country."

     The lecture, "American Indians, Crime, and the Law: Five Years of Scholarship on Criminal Justice in Indian Country," will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 24, in the Great Hall in Armstrong Hall. The event is sponsored by the Indian Legal Program at the College of Law. It is free and open to the public, but registration is recommended.

January 9, 2008 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

CrimProf Doug Colbert and Law Students Help New Orleans Inmates Over Break

Dcolbert From Two and half years later, Hurricane Katrina victims fight to keep their homes, while others spend months in jail before overwhelmed prosecutors press charges and still more live in trailers as they wait for new housing.

University of Maryland law students plan to travel to the Gulf Coast this week — and give up their winter vacation — to offer their legal smarts and rebuild broken lives.

One group of students will work at the Baton Rouge, La., public defender’s office interviewing inmates to chip away at the backlog of cases that mushroomed when victims relocated and doubled the state capital’s population.

“When people are remaining in jail for many months before they are able to see an attorney, that does a great harm to the criminal justice system,” said CrimProf Doug ColbertRest of Article. . .

[Mark Godsey]

January 3, 2008 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

CrimProf Faiza al-Basha Comments on LIbyan Laws

From Al-Fatah University CrimProf Faiza al-Basha recently wrote a commentary questioning Libyan laws.  Here is an excerpt:

Libya's basic legal documents affirm the right of every individual to freedom of thought, innovation and creativity, and aim to support the flourishing of science and the spread of arts and literature among the masses, not only the elite. Articles 19-26 of the 1988 Green Charter for Human Rights and Law 20 of 1991 on Enhancing Freedom enshrine these rights. Other laws, however, sometimes contradict such principles.

Press Law 76 of 1972, for example, states that the press is free and that every person has the right to express his or her view freely and to broadcast opinions and news by various means. The law also stipulates, however, that such expression must not "contradict the values and goals of society," a vague formulation open to interpretation.

Article 21 of the law bans prepublication censorship of printed materials, including newspapers, although this is contradicted by the practices of the Department of Publications, which imposes restrictions on all that is published. Works by authors and intellectuals, for example, may not be printed or distributed without the department's permission.

Article 4 of the law gives the private sector the right to own printing houses and publish materials. In practice, this right is legally restricted to specific designated agencies that are granted the right to express the opinions of their members. The result is that only state-issued newspapers and publications praising the government are printed. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

December 26, 2007 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

CrimProf Richard Klein Discusses Troubles of Retrying a Defendant

R_klein From Touro Law Center CrimProf Richard Klein recently discussed the tribulations of retrying of Martin Tankleff nearly two decades after his parents were killed.

That's because while Tankleff's defense lawyers can get a nearly complete preview of the prosecution's case just by reading the transcripts from the first trial, prosecutors risk getting caught off guard by new defense evidence.

"Believe me, there's no joy in the DA's office to retry this case," said Richard Klein, a criminal law professor at Touro Law Center. "The prosecution is going to have no new evidence. All the new evidence is coming from the defense."

Klein said even if jurors believe after the trial that Tankleff did kill his parents, there is a chance they will acquit him simply because they feel he has served enough time and is not a danger to society.

    "Jurors are more likely to say, 'Enough! This is a different person now. He doesn't represent a threat," Klein said.  Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

December 23, 2007 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

CrimProf Spotlight: Frank Bowman

Bowmanf This week the CrimProf Blog Spotlights University of Missouri School of Law CrimProf Frank Bowman

Professor Bowman joins the faculty from the Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis, where he served as the M. Dale Palmer Professor of Law. Following his graduation from Harvard Law School in 1979, Professor Bowman entered the U.S. Department of Justice as part of the Honor Graduate Program.

He spent three years as a trial attorney in the Criminal Division in Washington, D.C. From 1983 until 1986, he was a deputy district attorney for Denver, Colo. He also spent three years in private practice in Colorado.

In 1989, Professor Bowman joined the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida, where he was Deputy Chief of the Southern Criminal Division and specialized in complex white-collar crimes. In 1995 and 1996, he served as Special Counsel to the U.S. Sentencing Commission in Washington, D.C. From 1998 to 2001, he served as academic advisor to the Criminal Law Committee of the United States Judicial Conference. [Mark Godsey]

December 22, 2007 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

CrimProf Made Dean at Hofstra

Details here.

December 18, 2007 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, December 9, 2007

CrimProf Kevin Washburn Delivers Lecture on Criminal Justice in Indian Country

Washburn Three top experts on criminal justice in Indian Country will speak at an event in January sponsored by the Indian Legal Program at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.

CrimProf Kevin K. Washburn, the College's William C. Canby Distinguished Scholar in Residence, will deliver the lecture, "American Indians, Crime, and the Law: Five Years of Scholarship on Criminal Justice in Indian Country," on Thursday, Jan. 24. The program will begin at 4:30 p.m. in the Great Hall in Armstrong Hall at the College of Law, with an introduction of Washburn by Judge William C. Canby Sr. of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Washburn, who is on leave from the University of Minnesota Law School, where he is an associate professor, is the Oneida Nation Visiting Associate Professor at Harvard, where he teaches American Indian law, gaming law and criminal law. He will be joined at the Canby lecture by Diane J. Humetewa, nominee for U.S. Attorney for Arizona, and Jon M. Sands, Federal Public Defender for the District of Arizona.

The speakers will address issues of interest to tribal officials, tribal court prosecutors and defenders, tribal attorneys, Indian law attorneys, law enforcement officials on or near tribal lands and students of American Indian studies, criminal justice and Indian law. [Mark Godsey]

December 9, 2007 in CrimProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)