CrimProf Blog

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

Thursday, June 5, 2008

U.S. v. Santos as a Teaching Tool?

I'd be curious to hear what people think of the recent SCOTUS decision in U.S. v. Santos as a tool for teaching statutory interpretation in Criminal Law.  I have been thinking of using it instead of U.S. v. Foster, the Ninth Circuit case in the Dressler casebook which addressed whether a person "carries" a firearm by keeping it in a zipped-down compartment of the pick-up truck he is driving.  For those who have not read Santos, it essentially addresses whether the word "proceeds" in the federal money laundering statute means "profits" or "gross receipts."  My inclination is that Santos would be a nice case for students to read, for several reasons:

1.  The Justices look to a number of different sources to determine what "proceeds" means:  dictionaries, other federal statutes, other places in the same federal statute, state statutes, and the purposes behind the statute.

2.  It is the rare case in which the rule of lenity is dispositive.  It is rarer still in that the justifications for the rule of lenity are explained.

3.  It nicely points up the difference between vagueness and ambiguity.  The word "proceeds" is ambiguous, not vague, because it means either "gross receipts" or "profits," AND NOTHING ELSE.

4.  Justice Stevens takes the unique position that "proceeds" might mean different things depending on the predicate offense.  I agree with the plurality that this is downright bizarre.

5.  Relatedly, that Justice Stevens is the fifth vote in support of the judgment, but takes a position with which the other 8 Justices disagree, makes articulating the holding here problematic, a point the Justices acknowledge.  While Criminal Law students generally do not encounter the problem of trying to figure out the holding of a splintered, multi-member court, Santos is a nice introduction to the problem, which they will encounter in spades in Criminal Procedure and Constitutional Law.

6.  The recent exchanges between David Post and Orin Kerr on the Volokh Conspiracy on giving students unedited cases to read have motivated me to try to include at least one such opinion in each of my classes.  Santos seems like a good candidate.

Any thoughts? [Mike Mannheimer]

June 5, 2008 in Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, September 4, 2006

Growth in Forensic Science and White Collar Crime Courses in Colleges

No doubt CSI and Enron have something to do with this trend.  Story....

September 4, 2006 in Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 15, 2006

Oregon CrimProf Wins Teaching Award

Lininger_with_kulongoski_web University of Oregon President Dave Frohnmayer presented law professor Tom Lininger with a crystal apple – a symbol of teaching excellence  –  in a surprise visit to a law faculty meeting on Friday, May 12. 
Frohnmayer was accompanied by Lininger’s wife, Merle Weiner, also a professor at the law school, and the couple’s two sons. 
This university-wide award recognizes exemplary teaching by faculty members early in their careers. Two winners are chosen each year based on the recommendation of faculty members and students; they receive a $2,000 stipend added to their base salary. “I’ve learned a lot from the other faculty here at the University of Oregon Lininger said.  “There are some great professors at this school who provide a model for the junior faculty.”  Lininger, an assistant professor of law who joined the faculty in 2003, is the seventh law faculty member to receive the Ersted Award for Distinguished Teaching.
Lininger has taught evidence, ethics, criminal procedure, and alternative dispute resolution. He also directs the law school’s Public Interest/Public Service Program. In 2004, Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski appointed Lininger to chair the state’s Criminal Justice Commission. 

May 15, 2006 in Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, May 7, 2006


This week, Franklin Pierce Law Center students Bonnie Howard of Concord, NH and Brian Heyesey of Allentown, NJ, both third year students, won a not guilty verdict for defendant Stephen Carter of Concord, a father accused of endangering his children when he locked them in their rooms without food of access to a bathroom.  Rest of story.....[Mark Godsey]

May 7, 2006 in Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, May 6, 2006

Emory Students Win Pro Bono Case

Emory Law students Daniel Schuman and Noah Robbins and alumna/adjunct faculty member Sarah Gerwig-Moore 02L scored a victory before the Supreme Court of Georgia in a case that focused on the right to effective assistance of counsel.

Schuman, who graduates in May, and second-year law student Robbins wrote an amicus curiae brief in support of prisoner Howard Harden's habeas appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court under the direction of Gerwig-Moore. Gerwig-Moore is Senior Appellate Supervising Attorney for the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council and teaches a course and clinic on Post-Conviction and Appellate Remedies at Emory Law School.

In petition for writ of habeas corpus, Harden explained that when he pleaded guilty to a number of crimes, his attorney had met with him for only ten minutes the day before the plea was to be entered. His attorney subsequently was disbarred for numerous counts of misconduct and refused to provide Harden his legal file. Harden has been imprisoned since 2001 and is serving a fifteen year sentence. The habeas court denied his petition and he appealed to the Supreme Court of Georgia.

"It would be wonderful if all attorneys approached the profession with the required level of diligence and competency. This experience has taught me that it is often up to us, as attorneys, to monitor the performance of our peers," Robbins said.

The Supreme Court, in an opinion written by Justice Carol W. Hunstein, held that the Court of Appeals erred by failing to examine whether there had been a truly adversarial process with reasonably effective counsel for the accused. The Court of Appeals focused on Harden's unsworn monosyllabic response to the trial court's question of whether he was satisfied with his attorney, ignoring the facts surrounding his ineffective assistance of counsel claim. Harden's case was returned to the lower court for full consideration of the ineffective assistance claim.

“Because of the Supreme Court decision, other people in Mr. Harden's situation will now have the opportunity to have their cases reviewed to make sure that they had competent legal assistance,” Schuman said.

Besides writing a brief in Harden’s case, students in the Appellate Clinic have written several other amicus briefs for habeas petitioners to the Georgia Supreme Court. Third-year students qualified under the Third Year Practice Act may also sign briefs filed in the state's high court. Both Schuman and Robbins were allowed to sit at the counsel table while Gerwig-Moore argued the case before the Court, and all students may attend oral arguments.

Students said the experience was invaluable.

May 6, 2006 in Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Next AALS Meeting (2007) Moved From SF to DC

Story from TaxProf Blog here.  [Mark Godsey]

May 3, 2006 in Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Emory Law Student Tries Federal Criminal Case

Working with the U.S. Attorney's Office, and utilizing the 3rd year practice rule, an Emory law student helped try a major drug case in federal court and got the conviction.  Story. . .   [Mark Godsey]

April 25, 2006 in Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Emory Law School Adds Two New Clinics

EmoryThe law school’s Indigent Criminal Defense and Juvenile Justice Clinics will begin in the fall semester 2006. The Criminal Defense Clinic is a joint project with the Office of the DeKalb County Public Defender. Students in the Criminal Defense Clinic will work directly with clients and will participate in courses taught by O’Connor. They will have the opportunity to represent criminal defendants, primarily in misdemeanor cases, in DeKalb County.

The Juvenile Justice Clinic is a unit of the Law School's Barton Child Law and Policy Clinic. Waldman will develop the Juvenile Justice course, teach fundamentals of juvenile law and litigation, interview and represent children. Also, she will supervise certified legal interns who represent children in delinquency and other proceedings – providing advocacy in the areas of school discipline, special education, mental health, and public benefits. More details on the clinics here. [Mark Godsey]

March 7, 2006 in Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Criminal Law Opening at DePaul

The DePaul College of Law in Chicago is seeking a visitor in criminal law for either the entire year, 2006-2007, or just the spring semester, 2007.  The teaching program, besides criminal law, is negotiable.
Please reply to:
Brian Havel, Chair
Faculty Recruitment Committee

February 21, 2006 in Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Cincinnati's New Criminal Appellate Clinic Hits the Ground Running

Bergeron From The National Law JournalUniversity of Cincinnati College of Law students are getting their feet wet in some high-profile murder and drug cases through a new clinic that allows them to prepare and argue cases before the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.  Believed to be the first program of its kind in the Midwest, the school's yearlong appellate clinic got off the ground this fall after the 6th Circuit approved a rule allowing third-year law students to argue before the court under attorney supervision.  So far, the nine students participating in the clinic have taken on some heavy-duty cases, including the murder conviction of a man who claims that new DNA evidence will exonerate him, a drug conspiracy case and an immigration case that involves the application of the U.S. Supreme Court's recent Leocal v. Ashcroft decision, in which the court ruled that a drunken driving conviction does not allow for mandatory deportation of legal immigrants.

"It gives students an opportunity to understand the complexity that exists in a real live case with a real live client," said Barbara Watts, associate dean at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. "Teaching the theory of law and precedent is one thing. But there's nothing quite like a real client with life or freedom or property that's on the line to sort of bring it alive for students."

According to Watts, the clinic's existence is largely due to the help of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey. The 800-lawyer global firm volunteered one of its appellate lawyers, Pierre Bergeron, to direct and teach the clinic.


Bergeron, who had taught a one-semester course in appellate law at the University of Cincinnati a few years ago, looks forward to giving students a break from the classroom for some real-world experience.

"They've had such a heavy classroom schedule through the last two years, and this really gives them the opportunity to get out and do something real and practical," said Bergeron, who is based in Cincinnati. The clinic will also help students get over any fears they have of judges, he added.

"The natural reaction for students is to be intimidated by judges-that's certainly how I was when I was in law school," Bergeron said. "Part of our goal is to demystify the appellate practice and show them how the courts work."

According to Bergeron, only two other law schools offer appellate law clinics: Georgetown University Law Center and the University of Virginia School of Law.

Bergeron said that one of the benefits of the year-long appellate clinic is allowing students to follow cases through from initial review and research to argument.

In helping launch the program, he said, his first job was to find good cases for students to work on. Through professional and court referrals, he landed three. The most prominent involves Clarence Arnold Elkins, who was convicted in 1998 for the murder and rape of a grandmother and the rape of her 6-year-old granddaughter.

Bergeron said that his students hope to exonerate Elkins through new DNA evidence that exculpates Elkins and allegedly implicates another inmate.

The students started class on Aug. 26 and immediately started working on Elkins' behalf. Ohio v. Elkins, No. CA22834 (Ohio Ct. App.). As Bergeron put it, "they've hit the ground running."  (Bergeron pictured) [Mark Godsey]

October 12, 2005 in Teaching | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Pace to Host Crim Moot Court Competition

The International Program of Pace Law School Proudly announces

The First Annual Pace International Criminal Court Moot Competition

October 14-16, 2005

Please join us for the keynote address

Presented by

Professor David Scheffer

Former U.S. Ambassador at Large for War Crimes &
Chief U.S. Negotiator for the Rome Statute

Friday October 14th at 6:00 p.m.

Moot Court Room

For more information or to RSVP, see

September 29, 2005 in Teaching | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, September 2, 2005

New Crim Program at Illinois

Illinios Law Announces the Creation of the New Program in Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure, Co-Directed by CrimProfs Andy Leipold and Richard McAdams

From a press release:  For decades the College of Law has enjoyed renown in the areas of criminal law and criminal procedure. Today, twelve faculty members--almost a quarter of the faculty!--write about or teach domestic and international criminal law and criminal procedure. As a means of fostering synergies amongst this group, Professors Andy Leipold and Richard McAdams have launched a new Program in Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure with an ambitious agenda that extends from faculty enrichment to curricular innovation. Partnering with Professors Margareth Etienne and Patrick Keenan, who initiated a lively criminal law discussion group two years ago, Professors Leipold and McAdams intend to sponsor public lectures, conferences, and debates about the use of the criminal law to address society's most pressing social problems. They are contemplating the development of new courses and seminars and an expansion of the College's clinical and experiential opportunities that would supplement the innovative live-client Prisoners's Rights Research Project that is supervised by Professor Kit Kinports and the popular Appellate Defender course taught by Daniel Yuhas.

The Program is off to a tremendous start, with a slate of impressive scholars scheduled to speak at the College in the coming weeks: Professors Bill Stuntz (Harvard), Leo Katz (Penn), Ron Allen (Northwestern), Sara Beale (Duke), Jeannine Bell (Indiana), Anne Coughlin (Virginia), Tino Cuellar (Stanford), John Donohue (Yale), Sam Gross (Michigan), Susan Klein (Texas), Tracey Meares (Chicago), Paul Robinson (Penn), and Jim Whitman (Yale).  [Mark Godsey]

September 2, 2005 in CrimProfs, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Dayton Law Trumpets Merits of Its 2-Year JD Program

Daytonlogo Increase in applicants . . .  improvement in stats.  Press release.  [Mark Godsey]

August 25, 2005 in Teaching | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Is 3L Worth It?

Discussion at Volokh here.  [Mark Godsey]

August 21, 2005 in Teaching | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Watch Out CrimProfs--Students May Be Blogging Your Every Move

Story here.  [Mark Godsey]

August 17, 2005 in Teaching | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

CSI Law School

An adjunct professor at Capital Law School, who is an AUSA by day, has created a new advanced forensics course.  Topics to be covered include explosives, dna, computer analysis, lifting fingerprints, etc.  Details. . .  [Mark Godsey]

August 16, 2005 in Teaching, Technology | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Teaching Postition Open

Chair of the Criminal Justice Department at Fayetteville State University.  Details here.  [Mark Godsey]

July 13, 2005 in Teaching | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Positions Open at Cardozo Innocence Project

3 positions open in the clinic.  Cardozo is the mothership of all innocence projects, and these spots might be ideal for some of your recent graduates.  Details here.  [Mark Godsey]

June 28, 2005 in Teaching | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, June 24, 2005

Homer Simpson and the Law

We previously blogged here about how the TV show The Simpsons is full of legal gems.  Now Homer Simpson will help law students in the UK learn the law.

From Yahoo News:  "London, Jun 10 (ANI): Homer J. Simpson, a popular character from hit TV show 'The Simpsons', will now help students prepare for A-level law courses.  According to the Mirror, clips from the show would be shown to the students and they would be asked to analyse Homer's illegal tricks - how they would be viewed in court.  "Nobody breaks the law quite as much as Homer in The Simpsons - and he always seems to get away with it. In real life, someone who commits as many crimes would be in prison. So it's a bit of fun with a serious side to it," the paper quoted course director Gary Durrant as saying."  Story . . . [Mark Godsey]

June 24, 2005 in News, Teaching | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Creative Fundraising Technique: Seton Hall Law Gets Endowed Chair Through Restitution Order in Criminal Case

White Collar Crime Prof Blog has an interesting story about the restitution agreement in the Bristol-Meyers Squibb prosecution.  The company agreed as part of its restitution deal to endow a chair at Seton Hall Law School in the area of business ethics.  [Mark Godsey]

June 16, 2005 in Teaching | Permalink | TrackBack (0)