CrimProf Blog

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

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bernard Kerik Claims Selective Prosecution

041213_kerik_vmedwidecDisgraced former NYPD boss Bernard Kerik doesn't think it's fair for him to face criminal charges for not paying nanny taxes when other top officials skated for similar offenses.

Kerik's lawyers cited one-time U.S. attorney general nominee Zoe Baird and former New Jersey Gov. Christie Whitman as high-profile tax deadbeats in a 94-page document that seeks to quash perjury, tax fraud and illegal payoff charges.

"It is a matter of public record that prospective appointees to high political office are rarely if ever charged criminally for such issues," Kerik lawyer Barry Berke wrote.

Kerik is set to go on trial next year in White Plains Federal Court. Aside from Baird and Whitman, Berke cited former Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and deputy attorney general candidate Charles Ruff as others who've sidestepped criminal charges for domestic tax lapses.

Continue reading

September 24, 2008 in Criminal Justice Policy, Criminal Law, Political News | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Political Crimes: Left Wants To Prosecute the Bush Administration

With “Bush derangement syndrome” having infected large swaths of the Left, it is no surprise that their fever dreams feature the prosecution of Bush Administration heavies for their “crimes against humanity” and the U.S. Constitution.

This weekend, the otherwise unremarkable Massachusetts School of Law at Andover will host a conference to that end. “This is not intended to be a mere discussion of violations of law that have occurred,” says dean Lawrence Velvel, but “a planning conference at which plans will be laid and necessary organizational structures set up, to pursue the guilty as long as necessary and, if need be, to the ends of the Earth.”

Continue reading

September 14, 2008 in Political News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Democratic and Republican Party Platforms Address Crime

As part of the presidential nominating process, the Democratic and Republican parties have ratified their party platforms, laying out for the electorate their priorities and vision for the country. Overall, the 94 page Democratic platform document puts a heavy emphasis on economic opportunity, American competitiveness, national security and "renewing" the "American Community" and "American Democracy", which includes issues of environmental stewardship, immigration, children, fatherhood and families, criminal justice and more. The 67 page Republican platform document focuses heavily on defense and foreign affairs, reforming government and controlling spending, tax policy, health care reform, education, energy independence and security, and "Protecting Our Families," which includes issues of criminal justice, sanctity of life and property rights.

Continue reading

September 4, 2008 in Political News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

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)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

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)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

No Criminal Charges in DOJ Hiring Scandal

Attorney General Michael Mukasey on Tuesday rejected the idea of criminally prosecuting former Justice Department employees who improperly used political litmus tests in hiring decisions, saying he had already taken strong internal steps in response to a “painful” episode.

Two recent reports from the Justice Department inspector general and its internal ethics office have found that about a half-dozen officials at the Justice Department — all but one now gone — systematically rejected candidates with perceived “liberal” backgrounds for what were supposed to be non-political jobs and sought out conservative Republicans.

Continue reading

August 12, 2008 in Criminal Law, DOJ News, Political News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Judge Holds that White House Aids Subject to Subpoena

President Bush's top advisers are not immune from congressional subpoenas, a federal judge ruled Thursday in an unprecedented dispute between the two political branches.

House Democrats called the ruling a ringing endorsement of the principle that nobody is above the law. They swiftly announced that the Bush officials who have defied their subpoenas, including Bush's former top adviser Karl Rove, must appear as part of a probe of whether the White House directed the firings of nine federal prosecutors. Democrats announced plans to open hearings at the height of election season.

The Bush administration was expected to appeal.

Continue reading

July 31, 2008 in Criminal Law, Political News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Presidential Candidates' Platforms on Criminal Justice

Here. [Jack Chin]

March 24, 2008 in Political News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Legality of Lying

From Last week, the Washington State Supreme Court struck down a 1999 law that banned political candidates from lying about their opponents. In the decision, the majority said the law was an affront to free speech. Listen. . . [Mark Godsey]

October 8, 2007 in Political News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

New Eavesdropping Signed Legislation

From President Bush signed legislation Sunday setting legal parameters for foreign intelligence surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency.

The new law allows the government to eavesdrop without a warrant on communications between Americans and people reasonably believed to be outside the United States.

Siobhan Gorman, intelligence correspondent at The Baltimore Sun, talks with Andrea Seabrook.

Listen. . . [Mark Godsey]

August 7, 2007 in Political News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Clemency Specialist Margaret Love Comments on the Possibility of Libby's Pardon

Pardonlaw_pic2From Specialist in executive clemency and restoration of rights, sentencing and corrections policy, and legal and government ethics Margaret Love recently wrote an opinion piece in the LA Times concerning the possibility of Bush pardoning Libby.  Here is an excerpt:

"As speculation grows about whether President Bush will pardon I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, or at least commute his prison sentence, it's important to remember the hundreds of ordinary people who have been patiently standing in line, some for many years, waiting for presidential forgiveness. In a sense, it is these largely anonymous applicants for executive clemency (of which pardon and commutation are subsets) who hold the key to the president's ability to help the well-connected Mr. Libby.

This is not so much a matter of fairness as it is of political common sense.

Many of those with pending applications for clemency were convicted long ago of garden-variety crimes and have fully served their time; many others are still serving lengthy mandatory prison terms from which there is no hope of parole (parole having been eliminated from federal sentencing).

One such applicant is my client, Willie Mays Aikens, whose addiction to crack cocaine ruined a brilliant major league baseball career and who is now in the 13th year of a 20-year prison term for selling drugs to an undercover policewoman — an extraordinarily harsh sentence for a relatively minor, nonviolent drug offense.

There are countless others in similar positions. If the president is unwilling to look favorably on deserving applicants for clemency like Aikens, how can he justify helping Libby?" Rest of Article. . . Love's Blog. . . [Mark Godsey]

June 7, 2007 in Political News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Democrats Move Quickly to Make Ethics Proposal

From Democratic leaders in the House and the Senate, mindful that voters in the midterm election cited corruption as a major concern, say they are moving quickly to finalize a package of ethics changes for consideration as soon as the new Congress convenes in January.

Their initial proposals, laid out earlier this year, would prohibit members from accepting meals, gifts or travel from lobbyists, require lobbyists to disclose all contacts with lawmakers and bar former lawmakers-turned-lobbyists from entering the floor of the chambers or Congressional gymnasiums.

None of the measures would overhaul campaign financing or create an independent ethics watchdog to enforce the rules. Nor would they significantly restrict earmarks, the pet projects lawmakers can anonymously insert into spending bills, which have figured in several recent corruption scandals and attracted criticism from members in both parties. The proposals would require disclosure of the sponsors of some earmarks, but not all. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

November 19, 2006 in Political News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Congress Expected to Pass Sex Crime Bill

From Key members of Congress have agreed on a sweeping bill that would create the first national Internet database and laws designed to improve the tracking of convicted sex offenders. The bill aims to help police locate more than 100,000 such offenders who are registered but haven't updated their whereabouts. About 563,000 sex offenders are registered nationwide.

The compromise, reached this week after months of negotiation, would increase minimum sentences for molesters who cross state lines and allow the death penalty for those who murder child victims. It would also increase the number of investigators and prosecutors fighting child pornography.

The bill would also give states money to track high-risk offenders with Global Positioning System devices and require some convicted juveniles to register as sex offenders.

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 20, 2006 in Political News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 10, 2006

Gun Control Laws Can Control Elections

From Saul Cornell of Ohio State's Second Amendment Research Center, says polls consistently show broad support for gun control. What gives the gun lobby strength, he says, is that supporters see gun control as a make-or-break issue. With that passion comes money. Gun-rights groups contributed nearly 14 times as much as gun-control groups in the 2004 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Gun-control proponents should avoid efforts like the assault weapons ban that were more effective at agitating gun owners than at preventing gun violence, says Daniel Webster of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research. He recommends targeting unscrupulous dealers, and points to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who leads a coalition of over 50 mayors backing a crackdown on illegal gun sales. For backers of gun control, perhaps that's a start.

"When we as Democrats are trying to reach out and speak to voters in the center of the country, I don't think that we can support gun control," Oklahoma Rep. Dan Boren explains. After seeing Democrats hammered at the polls for voting to regulate guns, many of his colleagues seem to agree. As a result, a number of pro-gun measures moving through Congress will most likely face little opposition, as advocates of gun control increasingly find themselves marginalized and ignored.

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

July 10, 2006 in Political News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 5, 2006

American Bar Association will Review the President's Legal Challenges

The board of governors of the American Bar Association voted unanimously Saturday to investigate whether President Bush has exceeded his constitutional authority in reserving the right to ignore more than 750 laws that have been enacted since he took office.

Meeting in New Orleans, the board of governors for the world's largest association of legal professionals approved the creation of an all-star legal panel with a number of members from both political parties. More. . . [Mark Godsey]

June 5, 2006 in Political News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 25, 2005

DOJ Study Finds Racial Disparity in Traffic Stops

Actually, the racial disparity was not found to exist in connection with who is stopped, but rather post-stop treatment.  Minorities are substantially more likely to be searched, handcuffed, etc. than whites.  Story . . . [Mark Godsey]

August 25, 2005 in DOJ News, Political News, Race, Search and Seizure | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

2004 Marijuana Ballot Initiatives

Cannabis Several marijuana initiatives passed in the 2004 election.  Montana voted to allow medical marijuana; now 3/4ths of the Western states have such laws; Oregon rejected an initiative.  Voters in Ann Arbor, MI, Columbia, MO and various localities in Massachusetts also supported decriminalization or other reform, but those measures are either expressly advisory or of questionable enforceability.  Jack Chin

November 17, 2004 in News, Political News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)