(Cross-posted from the C.D. Cal. Federal Public Defender blog.)
In This Edition (to use bookmarks, first click blog post title):
Challenging "Other Acts" Evidence in a Drug Case? The FDEWI blog flags a couple of recent out-of-circuit cases that might help.
Fourth Amendment Standing after Jones. Is it different? Orin Kerr ponders the question.
Competency Best Practices. The National Judicial College (through funding from the Department of Justice) has launched its website Mental Competency - Best Practices Model. The site features tutorials, videos of mock competency hearings, sample reports, links to articles and legal authorities, and other resources. (Via Karen Franklin.)
CA Death Penalty "Simply Doesn't Work." Via Appeal and Habeas, Ron Briggs - the co-author of a 1978 California initiative that expanded the scope of capital crimes - writes in the Los Angeles Times that the California system is "a fiscal monster that's taking a human toll on the very people we wanted to protect." He now favors LWOP.
From the Department of Hypercorrections... The Jury Room limns some interesting research on the "hypercorrection effect," and gives a practice pointer on how to make it work for you (or at least not against you).
Hard Information on Easy Targets. The New York Times has this report on "How Companies Learn Your Secrets."
Top of the Ninth - 9th Cir. decisions released during the week.
• U.S. v. Lopez-Avila (order amending to deny government's motion to anonymize prosecutor named in case involving misconduct, and further chastising government for its continuing failure to own up to the problem).
• U.S. v. Yeung (district court properly determined that among "victims" for MVRA purposes were trust companies who purchased loans from lenders before defendant's fraud had come to light and credit union which took over a loss when initial lender went into conservatorship) (restitution order was proper except amount of trust companies' losses was not sufficiently documented and explained). UPDATE (2.21.12): Ninth Circuit Blog's analysis here.
• Watison v. Carter (prisoner's rights) (humiliation allegedly caused by official in brushing his thigh against that of prisoner seated on toilet was not severe enough to state an Eighth Amendment claim) (but plaintiff did state a First Amendment retaliation claim in alleging, inter alia, that prison officials filed false disciplinary charges against him).
• U.S. v. McGarity (11th Cir.) (in case involving multi-defendant child pornography ring, obstruction count failed to adequately specify which official proceeding was obstructed) (convictions for child exploitation enterprise offense and related conspiracy to commit underlying acts were duplicative and violated double jeopardy) (prosecutor' appeal to emotions was clearly improper, though harmless) (remanding on restitutional, proximate cause issue).
• U.S. v. Moreno-Nanez (E.D. Cal.) (impoundment was unreasonable because driver was present and able to drive vehicle).
• U.S. v. Mayen-Munoz (D. R.I.) (handcuffing improperly turned Terry stop into arrest).
• Commonwealth v. Keefner (Mass.) (simple possession of small amount of marijuana, which is legal in state, did not justify search).
For the Bookworms - New books and scholarly articles of note.
•"Blaming as a Social Process: The Influence of Character and Moral Emotion on Blame," Janice Nadler, L & Contemp. Probs. (forthcoming) (SSRN) (marshals experimental evidence showing that perceptions of intent, foreseeability, and possibly causation can be colored by independent reasons for thinking the actor is a bad person - even when the actor's mental state was clearly specified).
•"'Shifted Science' and Post-Conviction Relief," Caitlin M. Plummer & Imran J. Syed, Stan. J. C.R. & C.L. (forthcoming) (SSRN) (addresses the standards that should apply on post-conviction review to scientific evidence that was legitimately relied upon for conviction but that has since been scientifically repudiated).
"Turner V. Rogers and the Right of Meaningful Access to the Courts," Laura Abel, Denver U. L. Rev. (forthcoming) (SSRN) (argues that after Turner v. Rogers, the only way to make the "meaningful access" standard meaningful is for the courts to empirically assess the capabilities of pro se litigants)
"Brady, Trust, and Error," Samuel R. Wiseman, Loy. J. Pub. Int. L. (2012) (SSRN) (tries to explain what's driving the Supreme Court's erosion of the Brady right and its remedies).
Prosecution Complex: America's Race to Convict and Its Impact on the Innocent, Daniel S. Medwed (2012) (Amazon) (argues that prosecutors' duel missions to win convictions and protect the rights of defendants creates a "prosecution complex" that animates how prosecutors treat potentially innocent defendants at all stages of the process ).
Suggestions or corrections? Email Michael_Drake@fd.org