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Blog Scan

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Senate Confirms Justice Department Official:  At Blog of the Legal Times, David Ingram reports that the Senate has unanimously confirmed David Kris as the new assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's National Security Division.  The new Assistant Attorney General served as Associate Deputy Attorney General for the Justice Department's Criminal Division from 2000 through 2003, and then went to work for Time Warner as senior vice president and deputy general counsel.  According to Ingram, Kris faced few questions from the Judiciary Committee, although he did defend the government's authority to detain enemy combatants "for the duration of the conflict" in conflicts related to terrorism.  In his February hearing he is reported stating,"I think we are at war. I think the law of armed conflict applies."  Jennifer Forsyth at Wall Street Journal Blog also has a post on Kris' confirmation.

SSRN Article on Death Penalty Deterrence:  Hat tip to Doug Berman at Sentencing Law and Policy for pointing out a recent paper, titled "Another Look at the Deterrent Effect of Death Penalty."  Instead of using execution rate to measure the deterrent effect of death penalty, Choe's paper uses dummy variables to categorize states into different groups and to compare the group mean homicide rates.  Choe reports finding no "significant homicide-reducing effect of death penalty." His dummy variables are a bit questionable, though. In part of the analysis, he separates Texas out from the other states that actually enforce their death penalty. The reasons for doing this are unclear.

"The Prisoner's Dilemma, Evil Twin Edition:" 
A fun post from Freakonomics on a curious case in Germany where DNA evidence left at the scene of a $6.8 million jewel heist set a man free because his twin's genetic markers were so similar that no test could tell them apart. Claudia Himmelreich has this story on Time.com, and Eugene Volokh has this post on Volokh Conspiracy.   

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Choe's academic affiliation is listed as U. Texas Austin, at the Landslide Lyndon School of Public Affairs, but apparently he is not on the faculty. He is listed as as "researcher" on the UT Inequality Project webpage:

http://utip.gov.utexas.edu/group.html

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