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Issues in Criminal Justice
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Below are the 14 most recent journal entries recorded in Criminal Law's LiveJournal:

Monday, October 30th, 2006
11:57 am
death penalty
The intent of our legal system is to bring about justice, so why do we have the death penatly. It is unjust to think that putting someone to death for killing another person could bring about justice and. The death penalty is just a tool for revenge.
Friday, March 24th, 2006
1:16 pm
A new community
I've started a new community criminology_hub for others out there with interests in criminology, criminal justice, deviance, etc., whether they be academic, professional, or "other!"
Wednesday, March 1st, 2006
5:37 pm
I've started a new community, scotus_news.

Intended for Supreme Court news and links (to op-ed articles, decisions, cases, and gossip about possible retirements or whatever) - no rants, discussion limited to comments.

If you're interested, please join and post.

Saturday, January 28th, 2006
8:21 am
Stolen Justice
Last week the San Jose Mercury News wrote a five part expose on the criminal justice system in Santa Clara County. They studied criminal cases over 3 years. They discovered that (some) prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges are acting incompetently and unethically at the peril of criminal defendants.

It's a really great series. I highly suggest that anyone interested in doing criminal work read this material. I think it's pretty obvious that these issues are not limited to Santa Clara County. Maybe this will spark some discussion.

Links under the CutCollapse )
3:52 am
New Member
I found this community in my search for people with a similar interest in criminal law. I'm a second-year law student, and currently work at the local District Attorney's Office. I don't have much else to add at the moment, but I look forward to future discussions.
Saturday, January 21st, 2006
10:11 am
After Innocence
Last night I went to see "After Innocence" at Opera Plaza Theater in San Francisco. It's about what happens to former prisoners that have been wrongfully imprisoned and later exonerated through DNA evidence. DId you know that in 28 states there is no compensation for these people? In the other 22, the compensation is woefully low. In California, exonerees have a mere 6 month statute of limitations for compensation. The compensation they receive is $100 dollars a day that they were wrongfully imprisoned. However In most states, this means that a man can spend 22 years on death row and all he gets is a one-way bus ticket away from prison. The vast majority of exonerees receive no job training, no psychological services, and often no means to integrate into society.

After the movie, I talked to Herman Atkins. He spent over 10 years in prison for a rape he did not commit. He was convicted on the basis of eye witness testimony alone. It was inspiring to see that he continues to give back to the community and deeply cares for the others who have wrongly incarcerated. He harbors no bitterness or ill will. Instead, he uses the injustice that he has suffered to call attention to this problem.

It's really important that as many people see this movie *this weekend* so that the movie stays in theaters through the week (Hopefully longer). This is an issue that is of national importance. The wrongly accused DESERVE the State's sincerest apologies as well as job training, psychological services, and financial compensation. More importantly, we have to learn lessons from the flood of exoneration's that have occurred in this country. For instance, eye witness accounts are simply not credible in the vast majority of cases and criminal convictions should not be sustained based on eye witness testimony alone. Human beings are fallible, but we must take responsibility when mistakes occur. We have to have procedures in place to make sure innocent people are not incarcerated or executed.

Together we can pressure our government to acknowledge and be held accountable for these devastating mistakes!

Please go see the movie. It's playing around the country. Please check the website: http://www.afterinnocence.com/
Friday, December 9th, 2005
10:14 am
Making My Presence Known...
Just joined and wanted to make my presence known. I'm majoring in Ciminal Justice. I should have my Bachlors in about 2 years.

That's all I got right about now... ;)

Current Mood: cold
Tuesday, December 6th, 2005
10:10 am
Friday, November 25th, 2005
1:59 pm
Hello all! I came across this community and was excited to talk with other folks interested in crim law. I'm a 2L at University of Oregon Law, in Eugene. I didn't come to law school with the intent to do criminal work, but worked for a defense attorney last summer and it cemented my interest. I did come to law school with the intent to do public service, hopefully as an elected official, so working in criminal law is a great way to break into that.

I don't have a particular affinity for defense or prosecution, and I wonder if that is unusual. I try to see both sides as not only an advocate for their position, but as honest, ethical people looking for the truth of an event. I'm a political progressive though, so I often sympathize with the difficulty the accused have in getting fair treatment from the system. On the other hand, I wonder if I'd have trouble really getting behind some of my clients as a defense attorney.

That's it! I hope everyone had a nice holiday!
Wednesday, November 23rd, 2005
6:09 pm
Hi everyone,

I'm wondering what you all think about the LaFave case. You know, the latest teacher sex scandal? Yeah, that one.


I would venture to say that if this had been a male teacher and a female student, the teacher would be looking at 20 years in prison. The real question in my mind is: is that OK?

In other words, is it acceptable to have a double standard for statutory rape based on inherent differences between genders? Should we assume that 14 year-old boys are less likely to be preyed upon than their female peers, and if so, should the law take that into account when deciding on punitive measures? Clearly, the law did just that in this case.

I don't really know where I stand on this issue. As much as I truly believe in gender equality, it's hard to see the 14 year old boy as a helpless victim in all this. It seems to me that young girls, because of social norms, are more likely to be sexually victimized by authority figures, and certainly more likely to suffer adverse effects.

But then again, I've been a 14 year old boy, and I am not likely to ever be a teenage girl. And I don't suffer from the profound mental illness that this defendant apparently had. So my take on things may be shortsighted. Also, I'm still not convinced that the law should EVER be taking gender differences into account when sentencing criminals.

What do you think?
Friday, November 11th, 2005
1:18 pm
Treating Juveniles as Adults
I'm considering a research paper on juvenile punishment. I'm particularly concerned about charging and sentencing juveniles as adults.

Personally, I don't feel that children belong in the adult prison population. In fact, I think that the juvenile justice system could be utilized in a much more productive way. Afterall, most adult prisoners were once in the juvenile justice system.

Anyway, I want to see what other people's thoughts are on this.

How do you feel about the issue? At what age is it okay for someone to be in the adult prison population? Is it okay to charge juveniles as adults?
Thursday, November 10th, 2005
8:44 am
Lost First Trial
This week I was working on the first trial I have ever actually participated in. As I said, I'm an intern, so I second-chaired with my supervising attorney. Well, the jury deliberated for a mere 3 hours before returning guilty verdicts on assault with a deadly weapon (with GBI enhancement) and battery with serious bodily harm.

I know we did the best we could, but it really was awful to lose. I like our client a lot. He's this frail older man. His exposure is 11 years and I think that might be end up actually being a life sentence because of his various illnesses and frailties.

All this has been very emotionally draining, but at the same time we have to let it go. We start a new trial on Monday.

I think that this has to be one of the hardest parts of being a public defender. You don't even get a real grieving or reflection period before moving on to another trial. I suppose it gets easier with time.
Saturday, October 29th, 2005
11:25 am
I suppose that most people recognize that cops aren't always wonderful people who do the right thing. They are human beings and as such they make mistakes. Admittedly, I'm not a huge fan of the police. I think that police brutality is a huge problem here in San Francisco. Also, I see a lot of instances where police officers do unconstitutional stuff and get away with it. Nevertheless, I was completely shocked by something I saw yesterday.

One of my fellow interns was representing a client charged with simple possession during a preliminary hearing. The officer on the stand testified to facts that were completely different than what was written in the police report. Moreover, his testimony was impossible based on the lay-out of the room. The intern was unable to impeach the officer because we all were unaware that he would stray so far from the police report. Moreover, he did not write the police report so we couldn't impeach him with it. This actually turned out well for our client because all this stuff will be impeachable when or if it goes to trial. We expect the charges to be dismissed in the very near future.

Still, I was totally disturbed by the officer's testimony. Does this rise to the level of perjury? Where do we separate a mistake of fact with out right lying? Anyway, it's not like the D.A. is going to charge a police officer with perjury. I guess I still had a lot of faith that taking an oath in court is important.
Friday, October 28th, 2005
11:39 am

I started this community because I thought it would be useful to have a community devoted the criminal justice system. I'm a student at UC Hastings and currently interning in the San Francisco Public Defender's office full-time. I hope to become a public defender in the Bay Area in the very near future. As you can imagine, I'm extremely defense-oriented. However, I want to promote discourse between all the "players" in the criminal justice system. Anyway, I know a number of good people in the SF District Attorney's Office.

Criminal defense has been my sole interest since college. I am very much concerned with the interplay between the criminal justice system and social (in)justice.

I guess that's all for now.
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