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.”
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.
“Judges cautioned against reliance on overstated ballistics testimony”
From Grits for Breakfast:
Recently, thanks to contributions from readers, Grits purchased a copy of the brand spanking new third edition of the “Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence” produced by the Federal Judicial Center and the National Research Council of the National Academies of Science – the first update of the manual in more than a decade . . . .
As with other comparative forensic techniques from fingerprints to bitemarks to microscopic hair examination, essentially, all ballistics experts are really saying is “After looking at them closely, I think these two things look alike.” It strikes this writer that it’s quite a big leap from “reasonable scientific certainty” to “more likely than not.” Basically it’s the leap from “beyond a reasonable doubt” to having “substantial doubt.” I wonder how many past convictions hinged on testimony where experts used phrases like “reasonable scientific certainty” or “to the exclusion of all other firearms in the world”? And I wonder how many times those experts were simply wrong?
October 20, 2011 | Permalink
It becomes obvious that the members of the Supreme Court have never tried a criminal case and the one that is closest was a prosecutor…they completely miss the point of the eyewitness argument and their recent oral argument on the subject shows a real lack of sophistication on the matter….one need look only no farther than the number of eye witness identifications that were made in convictions that were subsequently overturned by DNA evidence…Humans are not video players …we should not treat them as such….