Criminal Justice News

Document Sample
Criminal Justice News Powered By Docstoc
					                  Criminal Justice Section News Round-Up

              Produced by the ABA Criminal Justice Section

ABA News Coverage

No Place for the Judiciary in Picking our Public Defenders,” The Houston Chronicle, Op-
Ed, “As manifested in the Pledge of Allegiance, carved above the entrance of the Supreme
Court and intoned in the pages of the Constitution, a commitment to equal justice for all is
the cornerstone of the American democratic system. We entrust our government with the
administration of a judicial system that promises equal justice before the law — assuring
victims, the accused and the general public that resulting verdicts are fair, correct, swift and
final.…The failure of having judges overseeing assigned counsel systems was pointed out by
the U.S. Supreme Court more than 80 years ago during the Scottsboro Boys’ case.…This is
one reason why the American Bar Association has promulgated standards requiring the
independence of the defense function from the judiciary.”

“Furloughs Leave Defendants in a Bind,” The Maui (Hawaii) News, “The Office of the
Public Defender, which includes a dozen attorneys on Maui, will be shut down three Fridays
each month to comply with state worker furloughs required by Gov. Linda Lingle.... He [Jim
Rouse, one of eight deputy public defenders assigned to the four 2nd Circuit Court
courtrooms handling Maui County felony cases] said the furloughs amount to a nearly 14
percent cut in pay and work hours, but not in workload or the constitutional requirement that
attorneys provide effective representation for their clients.... With the current workload, 2nd
Circuit deputy public defenders fall within standards in an American Bar Association
advisory opinion that attorneys should handle no more than 150 felony cases a year, Rouse
said. But he said deputies handling cases in District Court on Maui easily exceed the standard
of no more than 400 misdemeanor cases a year. While he can see how the furloughs are
meant to prevent layoffs, Rouse said that the measure could be counterproductive and end up
costing the state more if the rights of defendants are affected.”

“Protect Justice in South Carolina,” The Post and Courier, Columbia, S.C., Opinion
Editorial, “The budgets of 31 states are in crisis, a result of the nation's economy draining
resources and shrinking state revenues. Responsible government leaders everywhere are
searching for ways to preserve services to the public and avoid measures that will increase
strain on family budgets.... Thus, the summit title: ‘Justice Is the Business of Government:
The Critical Role of Fair and Impartial State Courts.’ With legislators, judges, and
representatives of governors from 37 states and territories, we sat down to explore how we
can work together more effectively than we have in the past. Minimal state funds were spent;
the American Bar Association and the National Conference of State Courts subsidized the
summit to enable as many states as possible to send delegations.”
“Case of Death Row Inmate Troy Davis Puts New D.A. in Tight Spot,” Los Angeles
Times, “Larry Chisolm, the first black district attorney in Chatham County, Ga., was sitting
in his modern, sixth-floor office, tolerating an interview but declining to speak about the
problem that he may have to address soon -- the one that could come to define and
complicate the rest of his young political career. It is a problem he inherited. The problem of
death row inmate Troy Davis.”

“Beyond a Reasonable Doubt,”, Guest Opinion by H. Thomas Wells Jr.,
“Last week, the American Bar Association filed an amicus curiae brief to the Supreme Court
of the United States, urging the court to grant review in the case of Scott David Bowen v.
Oregon. The question at issue is allowance of a criminal conviction based on a non-
unanimous jury verdict. Oregon only requires unanimous verdicts in first-degree murder
trials. Here, H. Thomas Wells Jr., president of the American Bar Association, makes an
argument for unanimous verdicts in all criminal trials….We are a nation of many voices and
we all want to be heard. We should expect that these feelings would follow us, if called to
serve as jurors, into the deliberation room. The ABA advocates for a criminal justice system
in which each juror's point of view is considered and all jurors are persuaded in order to
produce a unanimous result.”

“Uncertainty in Law Circles over New Rules for Judges,” The New York Times, “Lawyers
across the country said Tuesday that a Supreme Court ruling on conflicts of interest among
elected judges could prompt a deluge of requests for judges to recuse themselves from cases.
But judges predicted that few situations would involve conflicts serious enough for the new
ruling to apply.... ‘You’re going to see a much greater analysis put to the campaign
contributions that elected judges get,’ said H. Thomas Wells Jr., the president of the
American Bar Association.”

“Massachusetts Court System Appoints Judge to Coordinate Access to Justice
Programs, National Law Journal, “The Massachusetts Court System tapped a judge to
coordinate Access to Justice programs and joined a handful of state court systems with
judges or lawyers whose regular job duties include running such programs. Supreme Judicial
Court of Massachusetts Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall tapped Housing Court Judge
Dina Fein on June 8 as special adviser for Access to Justice initiatives. Fein will continue her
bench duties part-time and take on the responsibility for boosting the trial court's access to
justice for pro se litigants, the poor, people with limited or no English proficiency and
individuals who have mental or physical disabilities.... It's gratifying that Chief Justice
Marshall appointed a judicial officer to oversee Access to Justice programs, said American
Bar Association president H. Thomas Wells Jr. ‘It's clear that this must be a big issue to
Marshall to ensure that access to justice is maintained in the challenging economic times
we're seeing today,’ Wells said.”

“Life in the Limelight for New Attorney General,” The National Law Journal, “If you
haven’t seen Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. in public, on Capitol Hill, at a commencement
ceremony, on television, under klieg lights on a dais somewhere, someplace -- perhaps you're
simply not trying. In his first 100 days in office, Holder has scarcely gone more than two
days without being beheld by the public….He has spoken publicly on more than two dozen
occasions since taking office in February and, according to several officials, he's met
privately with several groups and individuals with a broad range of interests, from human
rights to civil rights to sentencing policy. Holder has rolled out mortgage and health care
fraud task forces in news conferences, appearing alongside state and agency partners. In
April, he promised a gathering of chief federal district judges to investigate allegations of
attorney misconduct in a more open and timely way. Last month, he laid bare his
department's philosophy on corporate criminal investigations to a group of white-collar
lawyers and in-house counsel at an American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section

“First Guantanamo Inmate Transferred to U.S. for Trial,” Los Angeles Times, “The first
detainee from the U.S. military-run prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to arrive in the United
States has been moved to New York City to face criminal charges in connection with the
bombings of U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, according to the Justice Department.
Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian national held at Guantanamo since September 2006,
arrived at the Metropolitan Correction Center in New York, which has housed several
suspected terrorists during their prosecutions in the federal court for the Southern District of
New York, the department said. He was due to appear in federal court today.”

“Cooperation can Stretch a Dollar,” Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer, Op-Ed, “The budgets of
31 states are in crisis mode, a result of the nation’s economy draining resources and shrinking
revenues. North Carolina is no exception. Lawmakers are pressing to cover an anticipated
$4.8 billion deficit next fiscal year. As every department is looking for ways to trim costs, we
must think about the big picture. Cutting programs in one area might very well lead to
increased costs somewhere else.... With legislators, judges and representatives of governors
from 37 states and territories among them, attendees at the summit sat down to explore how
we can work together even more effectively than we have in the past. The American Bar
Association and the National Center for State Courts subsidized the summit to enable as
many states as possible to send delegations.”

“Fight Brews Over Leahy’s Sotomayor’s Timeline,” The, “Senate Democrats
and Republicans escalated their war of words over the announced confirmation schedule for
Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor on Tuesday afternoon, with the GOP sowing
doubt and Democratic leaders on defense. Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-
Vt.) started the free-for-all earlier in the day by announcing the committee would launch
confirmation hearings on July 13 with a final Senate vote on Aug. 6.... Senior Judiciary
Committee member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), a former chairman, also noted that the FBI and
American Bar Association haven’t had time to finish their review of Sotomayor. And Sen.
Susan Collins (R-Maine) suggested splitting up the process by having confirmation hearings
before the August recess and a final vote after Labor Day.”

“Pace Quickens for Impeaching Convicted Judge,”, “Members of Congress are
moving quickly to force a convicted federal judge from Texas out of office so they can avoid
paying his annual salary while he serves time in prison. A task force formed by the House
Judiciary Committee scheduled a meeting for Tuesday morning to begin considering what
articles of impeachment -- essentially charges -- they want to recommend against U.S.
District Judge Samuel Kent.”
“Precedent Reinstated in Deportation Cases,” The Washington Post, “Attorney General
Eric H. Holder Jr. yesterday overturned a Bush administration ruling in January that
immigrants do not have a constitutional right to effective legal counsel in deportation
proceedings. In vacating the decision his predecessor, Michael B. Mukasey, issued two
weeks before President George W. Bush left office, Holder restored one of the most common
grounds cited by immigrants for appealing removal orders: that their attorneys were
incompetent.... H. Thomas Wells, Jr., president of the American Bar Association, said in a
statement, ‘It is fundamentally American to treat fairly those who come to our country,
especially when their future and their freedom may be at stake. . . . This decision is
important, and we applaud it.’"

“Prisoner’s Dilemma: How Trustbusters can Get Price-Fixing Corporations to Rat out
Fellow Miscreants,” Forbes, “Look out, Corporate America: here come the newly fortified
trustbusters from the Justice Department. After an eight-year free ride from the business-cozy
Bush Administration, which all but renounced monopoly investigations, tech titans like
Google, Intel, Cisco and Microsoft are getting a bit worried. ‘There was a high cost to
standing aside,’ said Christine Varney, Obama's assistant attorney general for antitrust,
during a speech in May. ‘We must change course and take a new tack.’… ‘An undiscovered
cartel hurts consumers in the long run,’ says James Wilson, chairman of the American Bar
Association's antitrust section. Giving a break to tattletales, he says, helps authorities shut
down price-fixing schemes. Wilson has sent a letter to congressional leaders urging them to
renew the provisions.”

“SEC Chief Strives To Rebuild Regulator,” The Washington Post, “On the morning of
Feb. 4, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mary Schapiro, sat in a
confidential meeting reviewing financial crime cases when an assistant handed her a note.
Schapiro read it and then asked everyone in the room to leave, except for her fellow
commissioners and their aides. She learned that top SEC officials had just been pilloried at a
House committee hearing on the agency's failure to detect Bernard Madoff's massive fraud.
When the officials refused to answer questions about the case, one lawmaker lamented that
the SEC had acted like it had been ‘anointed by God to be all righteous.’"

“EPA, DOJ Prepare for Possible Climate Criminal Enforcement Roles,” Environmental
Policy Alert, “The Obama administration has not yet begun to regulate greenhouse gases
(GHGs) but already EPA and Department of Justice (DOJ) officials are preparing for the
prospect that the administration's focus on climate change will bring new criminal
enforcement roles for both agencies. Speaking to a May 14 American Law Institute-
American Bar Association conference on criminal environmental enforcement, Associate
Attorney General Tom Perrelli said that major upcoming decisions on climate change and
other air quality issues will likely increase the workload on both the defense and enforcement
sides.” For the complete article e-mail Robert Snoddy.

“The Fight over Bringing Old Accusations to Court,” Wall Street Journal, “If it is too late
to bring a criminal case against a child abuser, should it be too late to sue in civil court? A
handful of legislatures have grappled with that question, and a pair have said better late than
never. Two states have created litigation windows that open up a new time period for victims
of childhood sexual abuse to seek redress in civil courts. In 2002, California allowed victims
one year to file cases against their abuser or the employer, no matter when the abuse had
occurred. Delaware followed suit in 2007, giving people two years to bring accusations in
civil court. This year, New York state legislators have been debating a one-year statute.
Other states are mulling similar measures.”

Shared By: