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Criminal Justice

Courthouse Steps: Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado - Podcast

Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group Podcast
John C. Richter October 11, 2016

On Tuesday, October 11, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado. This case involves the constitutionality of a Colorado rule that bars a defendant from introducing evidence that a juror was racially biased. The justices will consider whether applying a no-impeachment rule to block evidence in this context violates the Sixth Amendment right to an impartial jury.

Featuring:

  • John C. Richter, Partner, King & Spalding

Officer Safety and Community Policing - Event Audio/Video

University of California - Berkeley Student Chapter
Kenton W. Rainey, Scott Erickson, Daryl Jackson, Harry S. Stern, Heather Mac Donald, Kevin Walker September 20, 2016

On September 12, 2016, the Federalist Society at Berkeley Law hosted Heather Mac Donald and a panel of law enforcement professionals for a discussion on officer safety and community policing. The panelists reflected on their personal experiences in law enforcement and weighed in on the current crisis in police-community relations. 

Featuring: 

  • Kenton Rainey, Chief, BART Police Department
  • Scott Erickson, Founder, Americans in Support of Law Enforcement
  • Daryl Jackson, District Attorney Inspector
  • Harry Stern, Managing Principal, Rains Lucia Stern, PC
  • Heather Mac Donald, Author, "The War on Cops"
  • Moderator: Kevin Walker, Berkeley Law 

Boalt Hall, Berkeley Law 
Berkeley, CA

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

Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group Podcast
Eli Lehrer, Nicole Pittman, Stacie D. Rumenap, Marc A. Levin May 12, 2016

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 discussed 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.