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Criminal Justice

Scarlet Letters and Federal Mandates: Reconsidering Juvenile Sex Offender Registration and the Adam Walsh Act

Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group Teleforum Wednesday, May 11, 01:00 PMFederalist Society Teleforum Conference Call

Given the understandable public fear of sexual predators, policies concerning sex offenders have often become politicized. Many critics say these policies have too often swept up consensual conduct and conduct by those as young as 10 years old into the same regulatory framework as the most horrific sexual assaults committed by adults. A growing body of research indicates that placement of youths on public sex offender registries, sometimes for the rest of their lives, can have a serious impact on their ability to secure employment and housing, that of their current and future family members. In 2006, Congress passed the Adam Walsh Act, which threatens states with the withholding of tangentially related federal funds if they do not comply with the federal policy it set forth on public registration of not only adults, but also juveniles, including lifetime registration. Dozens of states have declined to comply with this federal mandate, citing both federalism and cost concerns. On this Teleforum, several experts in the field will discuss the impact of current juvenile sex offender registration policies at the federal and state levels as well as proposals for reforms.

Featuring:

  • Eli Lehrer, President. R Street Institute
  • Nicole Pittman, Stoneleigh Fellow and Director, Center on Youth Registration Reform, Impact Justice
  • Stacie D. Rumenap, President, Stop Child Predators
  • Moderator: Marc A. Levin, Policy Director, Right on Crime

Kansas v. Carr - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 4-20-16 featuring Kent S. Scheidegger
Kent S. Scheidegger April 20, 2016

On January 20, 2016, the Supreme Court decided three consolidated death penalty cases: Kansas v. Carr, a second Kansas v. Carr, and Kansas v. Gleason.

A Kansas jury sentenced Sidney Gleason to death for killing a co-conspirator and her boyfriend to cover up the robbery of an elderly man. In a joint proceeding, a Kansas jury also sentenced brothers Reginald and Jonathan Carr to death for a crime spree that culminated in the brutal rape, robbery, kidnapping, and execution-style shooting of five young men and women. The Supreme Court of Kansas vacated the death sentences in each case, holding that the sentencing instructions violated the Eighth Amendment by failing “to affirmatively inform the jury that mitigating circumstances need only be proved to the satisfaction of the individual juror in that juror’s sentencing decision and not beyond a reasonable doubt.” It also held that the Carrs’ Eighth Amendment right “to an individualized capital sentencing determination” was violated by the trial court’s failure to sever their sentencing proceedings. 

The two questions before the U.S. Supreme Court were: (1) whether the Constitution required the sentencing courts to instruct the juries that mitigating circumstances “need not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt”; and (2) whether the Constitution required severance of the Carrs’ joint sentencing proceedings. 

By a vote of 8-1, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Kansas Supreme Court and remanded the cases. Justice Scalia delivered the opinion of the Court, which held that (1) the Eighth Amendment does not require capital-sentencing courts to instruct a jury that mitigating circumstances need not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, and (2) the Constitution did not require severance of joint sentencing proceedings because the contention that the admission of mitigating evidence by one defendant could have "so infected" the jury's consideration of the other defendant's sentence as to amount to a denial of due process does not stand in light of all the evidence presented at the guilty and penalty phases relevant to the jury's sentencing determination. Justice Scalia’s majority opinion was joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Kennedy, Thomas, Ginsburg, Breyer, Alito, and Kagan. Justice Sotomayor filed a dissenting opinion.

To discuss the case, we have Kent S. Scheidegger, who is Legal Director & General Counsel at Criminal Justice Legal Foundation.

Crime & Punishment - Event Audio/Video

2016 Annual Florida Chapters Conference
Ellen S. Podgor, William N. Shepherd, John F. Stinneford, Kenneth W. Sukhia, Stephanie Ray, Daniel Woodring February 03, 2016

In recent years there has been a debate across the ideological spectrum about the reach and role of criminal law and punishment in the United States. This panel will explore the growth of criminal laws, the role of prosecutorial discretion, recent dialogue and actions around incarceration, and the appropriate federal/Florida roles in these arenas.

This panel was part of the 2016 Annual Florida Chapters Conference at Disney's Boardwalk Inn in Lake Buena Vista, FL on January 22-23, 2016.

Crime & Punishment

  • Prof. Ellen Podgor, Gary R. Trombley Family White-Collar Crime Research Professor and Professor of Law, Stetson Law School
  • Mr. William N. Shepherd, Partner, Holland & Knight LLP
  • Prof. John Stinneford, Professor of Law and Assistant Director, Criminal Justice Center at Levin College of Law, University of Florida
  • Mr. Kenneth W. Sukhia, Owner, Sukhia Law Group PLC and former U.S. Attorney
  • Moderator: Hon. Stephanie Ray, Florida First District Court of Appeal
  • Introduction: Mr. Daniel Woodring, Principal Attorney, Woodring Law Firm

Disney's Boardwalk Inn
Lake Buena Vista, FL

Pros and Cons: Our Criminal Justice System at Work - Podcast

Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group Podcast
Alex Kozinski, William G. Otis December 08, 2015

Our panelists will discuss the criminal justice system generally, and the role of the prosecutor in particular.  Some argue that, with the weight of the state and its resources on one side, including a deep book of potential crimes, the deck is unfairly stacked against criminal defendants.  Others argue that police and prosecutors act in good faith, and credit them with incapacitating career criminals, trimming recidivism, and causing a plunge in national crime statistics.  Who has the better of the argument?

Featuring:

  • Hon. Alex Kozinski, U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • Prof. William G. Otis, Georgetown University Law Center

Prosecutors Run Amok? - Event Audio/Video

2015 National Lawyers Convention
Alex Kozinski, John G. Malcolm, George J. Terwilliger, Darpana Sheth, Keith Blackwell, John J. Park, Jr. November 19, 2015

The Supreme Court has instructed in clear terms that the duty of the Federal prosecutor in a criminal prosecution "is not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be done." Berger v. United States, 295 U.S. 78, 88 (1935). Yet the news pages are filled with examples of Federal prosecutorial overreach. In its term just ended, the Supreme Court reversed six of seven criminal convictions that reached it, several all involving some form of over criminalization that can lead to prosecutorial overreach. And large categories of prosecutorial overreach never reach the Supreme Court, from dozens of convictions of "insider trading" by non-insiders (now found not to be a crime by the Second Circuit); to civil forfeitures of property of legitimate small businesses never charged with a crime; to multi-billion dollar settlements of the thinnest of charges with large banks, pharmaceutical companies, and individuals that cannot take any risk of a criminal conviction; to what one jurist has described as an “epidemic of Brady violations abroad in the land." 

The panel will explore whether prosecutorial overreach has become epidemic. It will also explore potential remedies ranging from reducing the number of crimes, to sentencing reform, plea bargain reform, civil forfeiture reform, and more. Finally, it will ask who should take action to control prosecutorial overreach? Should it be the state bars? Should the courts be more aggressive? Or, is the task primarily one for Congress? If so, what are the most promising avenues of reform?

Professional Responsibility: Prosecutors Run Amok?
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Chinese Room

  • Hon. Alex Kozinski, U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • Mr. John G. Malcolm, Director, Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, and Ed Gilbertson and Sherry Lindberg Gilbertson Senior Legal Fellow, The Heritage Foundation
  • Hon. George J. Terwilliger III, Partner, McGuireWoods LLP
  • Ms. Darpana M. Sheth, Constitutional Litigator, Institute for Justice
  • Moderator: Hon. Keith R. Blackwell, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of Georgia
  • Introduction: Mr. John J. Park, Jr., Of Counsel, Strickland Brockington Lewis LLP

The Mayflower Hotel
Washington, DC