Manning follow up:

WikiLeaks’s Manning Pleads Guilty

Bradley Manning pleaded guilty to 10 of 22 charges against him in the WikiLeaks case on Wednesday, admitting that he helped engineer the largest intelligence leak in U.S. history. But the Army private denied that the leaks directly benefited al Qaeda—the most serious charge in the case. A military judge will now decide whether to accept the guilty plea, though prosecutors could still pursue the 12 remaining charges. The 10 charges he admitted to carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, but Manning could face a lifetime sentence if convicted of aiding the enemy.

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A very important Idea from the Chicago Tribune Editorial page….

Chicago Tribune Opinion:

“You haven’t heard the last of Cook County Circuit Judge Cynthia Brim, who was ejected from her courtroom during a bizarre rant, got arrested for throwing a set of keys at a deputy sheriff and was acquitted of misdemeanor battery after pleading insanity.

She’s still not allowed in the courthouse without an escort, but she hopes to return to the bench soon, and why not? In November — eight months after her arrest — voters awarded her another six-year term.”

Read more here:

Suppression – Reasonable suspicion

October 11, 2012

Where an officer stops a vehicle leaving an area suspected of illegal activity without other reasonable suspicion, the stop is unreasonable.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and remanded a decision by Chief U.S. District Judge William M. Conley, Western District of Wisconsin.

In summer 2009, Ed Olmstead was arrested and indicated that he was willing to “snitch in exchange for consideration on his charges.” After a trusted investigator endorsed his reliability, Olmstead identified a plot of land on which he had seen an anhydrous ammonia tank within the prior week. The entrance road to the property was blocked by a cable and lock and where known methamphetamine cook Jack Barttelt had been seen several times recently driving a green Mercury Grand Marquis.

Sgt. Brian Kingsley drove to the property after his interview with Olmstead, arriving around 11 p.m. Another officer accompanied him. He saw the cable and was preparing his surveillance gear to investigate a cabin where he saw a light on. While doing so, he accidentally honked his horn. He backed his car up the road with his lights off and saw a vehicle drive down to the cable from the cabin, stop for some time and return up the driveway. About five minutes later, the same thing happened, but the car unlocked the cable and drove out onto the road. Kingsley, despite observing no traffic infractions, turned on his lights and pulled over the reddish-maroon Chevrolet Beretta.

Daniel Bohman was the driver and his passenger identified himself as Jake Barttelt, who claimed they had been hunting. Smelling anhydrous ammonia, Kingsley called for backup. The backup arrived and they separated the two men. Upon questioning, Bohman stated that Barttelt had been cooking meth. A search of the cabin, authorized by a subsequently issued warrant, confirmed that it was a meth lab. Bohman was arrested. After a suppression hearing, in which his motion to suppress was denied, Bohman offered a conditional plea of guilty to preserve the suppression issue on appeal.

On appeal, Bohman did not dispute that once he had been stopped, his admission and the scent of ammonia gave rise to probable cause to search the cabin. Instead, he contended that the stop itself was unreasonable and that anything obtained during the stop should be suppressed. As a result, the cabin search would be “fruit of the poisonous tree,” or evidence obtained illegally. The trial court had stated that stopping the car was a “debatable point,” but still found that any error was merely negligent and that Kingsley had acted in good faith.

The court began by quoting United States v. Johnson for the proposition that “A mere suspicion of illegal activity at a particular place is not enough to transfer that suspicion to anyone who leaves that property.” The court then offered the standard for reasonable suspicion, which does not require individualized suspicion.

The court stated that everything Kingsley reviewed had checked out so far, but he had yet to confirm the presence of the anhydrous ammonia tank, Jake Barttelt or Barttelt’s green Grand Marquis. The court agreed with the trial court that Kingsley needed something more to move his suspicions from being a hunch to being reasonable. The unusual response to the accidental car honk was insufficient.

The court then detailed the facts of Johnson, which dealt with suspicion on those emerging from an apartment generally suspected to host illegal activity. As in that case, Kingsley detained the first person who emerged. There was no suggestion that the Beretta posed any danger to anyone, nor did he hear or receive reports of an ongoing danger, as in United States v. Brewer. The court stated that this stop was based on a hunch, particularly because Kingsley testified that he could not identify the make or color of the car beyond its headlights.

From there, the court turned to the issue of Kingsley’s good faith and negligent error in stopping the Beretta. The court did not doubt Kingsley’s good faith, but stated that the government could not point to a single case where the good faith exception applied to a lack of reasonable suspicion — and did not think it so applied. It therefore reversed.

United States v. Daniel L. Bohman
No. 10-3656

Writing for the court: Judge John Daniel Tinder
Concurring: Judges Richard A. Posner and Diane P. Wood
Released: June 28, 2012

Make Law Schools Earn a Third Year

TODAY, leaders of the New York bar, judges and law school faculty members will gather at New York University to discuss a proposed rule change. If adopted by the state’s highest court, it could make law school far more accessible to low-income students, help the next generation of law students avoid a heavy burden of debt and lead to improvements in legal education across the United States.

By DANIEL B. RODRIGUEZ and SAMUEL ESTREICHER  Published: January 17, 2013
Read more:

The Law and Mental Disorder…

Hafemeister on Restorative and Procedural Justice for Criminal Defendants with Mental Disorders

Thomas L. Hafemeister (University of Virginia School of Law, pictured), Sharon G. Garner, and Veronica E. Bath have posted Letting Justice Ring: Applying the Principles of Restorative and Procedural Justice to Better Respond to Criminal Offenders with a Mental Disorder (Buffalo Law Review, Vol. 60, No. 1) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
For almost as long as there has been a criminal justice system, society has struggled with how to respond to offenders with a mental disorder whose criminal behavior – largely through no fault of their own – has been shaped and driven by their mental disorder. Virtually everyone who works with this population, including criminal justice officials, believes that society’s current response is woefully inadequate. As prisons and jails have become the de facto mental health system, a costly and inappropriate approach, this concern has grown. Governmental entities, driven by fiscal crises, humanitarian concerns, and a recent Supreme Court ruling condemning the status quo, are in desperate need of alternative means to respond to this population. At the same time, there has been a general lack of thematic principles to guide the development of possible alternatives. The principles of restorative and procedural justice, however, can furnish valuable lenses for constructing such alternatives. Drawing on these principles and associated research, this Article proposes an approach providing a better response for all of the parties affected by these crimes, including the victims of these crimes as well as the offenders themselves.