Low Violent Crime Rate Does Not Allow Us to Become Complacent:
Over the weekend Doug Berman posted
a link to a Washington Post editorial, "Why are violent crime rates falling
?", on his website Sentencing Law and Policy. Berman quotes the piece "at great length" and compliments the editorial board for providing "the proper context and critical questions for considering crime and punishment policies as we head into a new decade." Berman and the Washington Post both believe that the time has come to devote some energy to researching why violent crime decreased during the first 10 years of the 21st century. Neither the Post, nor Berman, can point to a specific reason for the decrease, but both believe tougher sentencing took some of the criminals off of the streets. Berman also warns that now is not the time to become complacent in light of our modern success.More Attacks on Federal Judges and Prosecutors...
At Blog of Legal Times, Mike Scarcella reports
on a Justice Department report
that found that threats and inappropriate communications to federal judges, U. S. Attorneys and Assistant U. S. Attorneys have increased from 592 in fiscal year 2003 to 1,278 in fiscal 2008. The report also found that although threats continue, judges and prosecutors do not consistently and promptly report threats. This hinders the ability of the U. S. Marshals Service to investigate and
protect them. The report comes amid news
that a court security officer was killed and
a deputy U. S. marshal was wounded today in a shooting at the federal
courthouse in downtown Las Vegas. The shooter reportedly died shortly
after being taken into custody.
Yet Federal Courts "Operating Soundly:
" Ashby Jones writes
on Wall Street Journal's Law Blog that on New Years Eve, Chief Justice Roberts issued a traditional end of the year report, proclaiming, "[t]he courts are operating soundly, and the nation's dedicated federal judges are conscientiously discharging their duties." Jones reports that instead of calling for judicial pay raises, like he did last year, the Chief Justice noted 2009's economic downturn, reporting that "filings of cases involving consumer credit, such as those filed under
the Fair Credit Reporting Act, increased 53% (up 2,143 cases)..." On Blog of the Legal Times, Tony Mauro wonders if Chief Justice Roberts' decision to focus on statistics was "A Missed Opportunity
". Mauro writes that today there was "some grumbling" that Roberts' report missed the opportunity to educate the public about the number of federal vacancies in the judicial branch, and should have highlighted improvements that could be made in courtroom security. Supreme Court Announces March Schedule:
At SCOTUSblog, Lyle Denniston posts
that the Supreme Court has announced its schedule
for oral arguments beginning March 22, 2010. The Court will hear oral argument in the detainee case, Kiyemba
) on Tuesday, March 23, and will review a state prisoner's right to challenge new sentence in federal habeas after winning a new sentencing in Magwood
) on Wednesday, March 24. The Court has scheduled several criminal cases for the following week. It will hear Renico
) on Monday, March 29, Dillon
v. U. S.
) and Barber
) on Tuesday, March 30, and Robertson
v. U. S. ex rel. Watson
) on Wednesday, March 31. Tom Goldstein wrote a helpful "Criminal Law Docket in Plain English" post
over the holiday weekend to provide some background on the cases being argued in the Court this term. Prosecutor Immunity Case Settled
: Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSblog reports
that the parties to the prosecutor immunity case before the Supreme Court, Pottawattamie County
, have requested dismissal under Rule 4. Is Kyllo Still Good Law?
Orin Kerr at VC has this post
asking whether technology has already overtaken the Supreme Court's decision in the thermal imaging case decided just nine years ago, Kyllo
v. United States
, 533 U.S. 27 (2001).