Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Denno on Behavioral Genetics Evidence

Recently Posted to SSRN: "Courts' Increasing Consideration of Behavioral Genetics Evidence in Criminal Cases: Results of a Longitudinal Study" Michigan State Law Review, Vol. 2011, pp. 967-1047, 2011 Fordham Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2065523 DEBORAH W. DENNO, Fordham...

Monday, June 25, 2012

Article: NEW RESOURCE: The State of Criminal Justice 2012

NEW RESOURCE: The State of Criminal Justice 2012

Sent via Flipboard

Supreme Court says no more sending juveniles to prison for life without parole for murder

FYI- Begin forwarded message:

Supreme Court says no more sending juveniles to prison for life without parole for murder

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court says it's unconstitutional to sentence juveniles to life in prison without parole for murder.

The high court on Monday threw out Americans' ability to send children to prison for the rest of their lives with no chance of ever getting out. The 5-4 decision is in line with others the court has made, including ruling out the death penalty for juveniles and life without parole for young people whose crimes did not involve killing.

The decision came in the robbery and murder cases of Evan Miller and Kuntrell Jackson, who were 14 when they were convicted.

Miller was convicted of killing a man in Alabama. Jackson was convicted of being an accomplice in an Arkansas robbery that ended in murder.



SCOTUS sentencing cert petition on SEM in Florida Atkins MR/ID cases

Check out Herring petition challenging Florida's Cherry court decision on not allowing the use of the standard error of measurement (SEM) to be considered in Atkins MR/ID dearh penalty cases

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Top-Ten Recent SSRN Downloads

in criminal law and procedure ejournals are here. The usual disclaimers apply. RankDownloadsPaper Title 1 649 The First Judgment of the International Criminal Court (Prosecutor v. Lubanga): A Comprehensive Analysis of the Legal Issues Kai Ambos, Unaffiliated Authors - affiliation...

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Article: Hearty welcome to a timely new blog: "Juvenile Justice Blog"

Hearty welcome to a timely new blog: "Juvenile Justice Blog"

Sent via Flipboard, your social magazine for iPad and iPhone.

Split Arkansas Supreme Court strikes down state's execution methods on separation-of-powers grounds

As reported in this Wall Street Journal piece, the "Arkansas Supreme Court struck down the state's death-penalty law as unconstitutional Friday, a ruling that will further delay executions in a state where there are 37 inmates on death row." Here is more about the ruling and its import:

In a split decision, the court said state law gives the Arkansas Department of Correction too much discretion in deciding how to carry out the death penalty, including choosing which drugs will be used in lethal injections. The law "fails to provide reasonable guidelines for the selection of chemicals to be used," the court concluded.

The Arkansas legislature, which doesn't meet again until January, will now have to rewrite the state's death-penalty law....

Arkansas law is worded so broadly that the "prison could use rat poison or Drano if they wanted," said Jeff Rosenzweig, one of the lawyers for the 10 death-row inmates who brought the suit. "If prisons use the wrong chemicals or wrong doses, you can put a person in excruciating, torturous pain," he said.

Dina Tyler, a spokeswoman for the Arkansas Department of Correction, said "there has never been any undue pain and suffering by Arkansas inmates, beyond that they feel a needle prick." Lethal injection will remain "the manner of execution in the state," she added.

Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe will meet with the state's attorney general and legislators to devise a remedy. "The death penalty is still the law in Arkansas," Mr. Beebe's spokeswoman said.

The full opinion of the Arkansas Supreme Court in this matter is available at this link, and here are key paragraphs from the majority opinion:

Our prior cases interpreting statutes in conflict with the doctrine of separation of powers focus on whether a statute gives "absolute, unregulated, and undefined discretion" to a government agency and whether reasonable guidelines have been provided by which the administrative body is to exercise its discretionary power. The MEA plainly gives absolute and exclusive discretion to the ADC to determine what chemicals are to be used. Although subsection (a)(2) attempts to provide a list of chemicals for use in lethal injection, the ADC has unfettered discretion to use chemicals from that list or chemicals not included on that list. It can hardly be said that the word "may" used in conjunction with a list of chemicals that itself is unlimited provides reasonable guidance. Although the General Assembly can delegate to the ADC the power to determine certain facts or the happening of a certain contingency, the current MEA gives the ADC the power to decide all the facts and all the contingencies with no reasonable guidance given absent the generally permissive use of one or more chemicals. Moreover, subsection (a)(4) expressly gives complete discretion to the ADC to determine all policies and procedures to administer the sentence of death, including injection preparations and implementation. The statute provides no guidance and no general policy with regard to the procedures for the ADC to implement lethal injections.

The ADC argues that reasonable guidance can be found in the prohibition on cruel 14 Cite as 2012 Ark. 293 and unusual punishment in the Eighth Amendment and our state counterpart, Ark. Const. art. 2, § 9. In other words, the ADC maintains that because it is bound by the bar on cruel and unusual punishment, this prohibition acts as a supplement to the statutory language found in the MEA. This argument is misplaced. The ADC is correct that we presume that officials act with good faith and follow the law in carrying out their duties, such as implementing the mandate of the General Assembly for capital punishment by lethal injection. See Cotten v. Fooks, 346 Ark. 130, 55 S.W.3d 290 (2001). Nonetheless, the argument presented in this case is that the General Assembly has delegated its legislative authority by giving unfettered discretion, without sufficient guidelines for the use of that discretion, to another branch of government. The central question is thus whether the General Assembly has provided sufficient guidance. Where it has failed to do so, the doctrine of separation of powers has been violated and other constitutional provisions cannot provide a cure.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

"Neuroscience, PTSD and Sentencing Mitigation"

Recently Posted to SSRN: "Neuroscience, PTSD and Sentencing Mitigation" 33 Cardozo L. Rev. (2012) BETSY GREY, Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law Like other mental disorders, PTSD has been advanced in criminal law to support...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Annual Intelligence Conference: ISIR 2012

Registration and call for papers for the annual International Society for Intelligence Scholars (ISIR) is now open. Click here to go to ISIR home page where links to this info is available.

Posted using BlogPress from Kevin McGrew's iPad

Professional ethics and standards for assessment practices in Atkins MR/ID cases

Psychological assessment is serious business. This is particularly true in the life-or-death nature of Atkins MR/ID death penalty cases. The two primary relevant codes of ethics and standards are briefly summarized below. This summary does not include similar codes/standards that have been promulgated and are relevant to psychology specialties (e.g, forensic psychology; neuropsychology; school psychology; etc.). Professionals are responsible for knowing and following specialty specific codes and guidelines.

This is a summary of key assessment related principles and standards and is not intended to serve as a comprehensive single source to guide professional behavior

Psychological testing and test score interpretation in general, and IQ testing in the current context of diagnosing MR/ID in an Atkins setting in particular, are serious professional activities with enormous potential positive and negative consequences for the individual being tested (AERA, APA, NCME, 1999). Aside from the guidelines specified in 11th edition of Intellectual Disability: Definition, Classification, and System of Supports (AAIDD, 2010), detailed professional codes of ethics and standards for developing psychological tests, selecting psychological tests, testing and test score interpretation have been promulgated by the relevant professional governing bodies. As set forth in the codes and standards (a select key set) described below, test users have a number of responsibilities to ensure that inferences drawn from test scores are valid and are based on existing scientific evidence.

The “gold standard” set of standards for the development, use and interpretation of psychological and education tests is the American Educational Research Association (AERA), American Psychological Association (APA), and National Council on Measurement (NCME), Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (1999: a revision of these standards is in progress; typically called the Joint Test Standards). As prescribed in the Joint Test Standards, test users have a number of responsibilities to ensure that inferences drawn from test scores are valid. These include (emphasis via italics added):

Standard 1.4: If a test is used in a way that has not been validated, it is incumbent on the user to justify the new use, collecting new evidence if necessary.

Standard 11.15: Test users should be alert to potential misinterpretations of test scores and to possible unintended consequences of test use; users should take steps to minimize or avoid foreseeable misinterpretations and unintended negative consequences.

The American Psychological Association (APA) Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (2010 Amendments) also sets forth important ethical principles governing the administration and interpretation of psychological assessment instruments. Principles relevant to assessment and diagnosis include (emphasis via italics added):

9.01 Bases for Assessments:

(a) Psychologists base the opinions contained in their recommendations, reports, and diagnostic or evaluative statements, including forensic testimony, on information and techniques sufficient to substantiate their findings.

9.02 Use of Assessments:

(a) Psychologists administer, adapt, score, interpret, or use assessment techniques, interviews, tests, or instruments in a manner and for purposes that are appropriate in light of the research on or evidence of the usefulness and proper application of the techniques.

(b) Psychologists use assessment instruments whose validity and reliability have been established for use with members of the population tested. When such validity or reliability has not been established, psychologists describe the strengths and limitations of test results and interpretation.

9.06 Interpreting Assessment Results:

When interpreting assessment results, including automated interpretations, psychologists take into account the purpose of the assessment as well as the various test factors, test-taking abilities, and other characteristics of the person being assessed, such as situational, personal, linguistic, and cultural differences, that might affect psychologists' judgments or reduce the accuracy of their interpretations. They indicate any significant limitations of their interpretations.

9.08 Obsolete Tests and Outdated Test Results:

Psychologists do not base their assessment or intervention decisions or recommendations on data or test results that are outdated for the current purpose.

(b) Psychologists do not base such decisions or recommendations on tests and measures that are obsolete and not useful for the current purpose.

Collectively, the Joint Test Standards and APA code of ethics prescribe that assessment professionals (a) use contemporary instruments and procedures, (b) base their test interpretations on scientific evidence supporting the reliability and validity of their interpretations, (c) be aware of the strengths and limitations of the assessment procedures they use, (d) document any limitations in the instruments used and scores provided that bear on their interpretation of results, (e) only interpret scores for purposes for which they have been validated, (f) be aware of, and take necessary steps to minimize, unintended negative consequences of their testing and test interpretation for individuals, particularly in high stakes settings, (g) and follow the assessment related principles and standards articulated in the Joint Test Standards and APA code of ethics.

Inherent in these principles and standards is the understanding that psychologists, when faced with discrepant test data, attempt to explain and hypothesize possible reasons for the divergent results based on scientific evidence and accepted professional standards. The Joint Test Standards in particular make it clear that psychologists must be aware of the basic psychometric characteristics, strengths and limitations of the assessment tools they use and apply that knowledge in their subsequent interpretation and presentation of conclusions in written or oral communication.

Posted using BlogPress from Kevin McGrew's iPad

Article: Senators Urge Move Away From 'Mental Retardation'

Senators Urge Move Away From 'Mental Retardation'

Sent via Flipboard, your social magazine for iPad and iPhone.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Article: Children, brain development and the criminal law

Children, brain development and the criminal law

Sent via Flipboard, your social magazine for iPad and iPhone.

Annual Post-Conviction Capital Defense Training Program

Wednesday, July 11, 2012
1:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
House of Association – 42 West 44 Street, New York City

This free program offers 5.0 CLE credits* and is intended for law students and attorneys who are currently representing or are interested in representing death-row inmates in post-conviction proceedings. The program
features nationally recognized death penalty experts. It includes an introductory presentation on post-conviction capital work, a discussion of ethics issues faced by death penalty lawyers, a review of recent Supreme Court decisions, and a presentation on developing mitigation evidence in capital cases.


The session will be followed by presentation of the Norman Redlich Capital Defense Distinguished Service and Pro Bono Awards by the Hon. Robert M. Morgenthau and Stephen B. Bright to those who have shown excellence in the representation of death-row inmates or in advocating for the abolition of the death penalty. These awards seek to honor Dean Redlich's legacy by recognizing those members of the New York bar who have emulated his life-long dedication to challenging the death penalty. Mr. Bright will also deliver the keynote lecture, which will be followed by a cocktail reception.

To register, please provide the following information to Jason Gould via e-mail ( or fax (212-336-1286): (i) name; (ii) affiliation; (iii) mailing address, phone number, and e-mail address; and (iv) whether you currently represent and/or are interested in representing a deathrow inmate.

If you have any questions about the program, please contact Jason Gould at (212)-336-2843.

* 4.0 professional practice and 1.0 ethics. All credits qualify as transitional
and non-transitional.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Top-Ten Recent SSRN Downloads

in criminal law and procedure ejournals are here. The usual disclaimers apply. RankDownloadsPaper Title 1 907 From Real-Time Intercepts to Stored Records: Why Encryption Drives the Government to Seek Access to the Cloud Peter P. Swire, Ohio State University (OSU)...

Sent with MobileRSS HD

Article: "Crime, Punishment, and the Psychology of Self-Control"

"Crime, Punishment, and the Psychology of Self-Control"

Sent via Flipboard, your social magazine for iPad and iPhone.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Joy on Missouri's Public Defender System

CrimProf Blog
Peter A. Joy (Washington University in Saint Louis - School of Law) has posted Rationing Justice by Rationing Lawyers (Washington University Journal of Law and Policy, Vol. 37, No. 205, 2011) on SSRN. Here is the abstract: This article focuses...
Sent with Reeder

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Gallant and Farahany on fMRI-Enabled Mind Reading

Stanford Law School's Center for Law and the Biosciences has posted video of a talk by Jack Gallant on fMRI-enabled mind reading, along with commentary from Nita Farahany:

Sent with MobileRSS HD

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Article: The Angolite Tells the Story of a Wrongful Execution in Colorado

This case has been covered previously at the ICDP blog, especially the fact that Arridy recently received an unconditional posthumous pardon.

The Angolite Tells the Story of a Wrongful Execution in Colorado

Sent via Flipboard, your social magazine for iPad and iPhone.