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Criminal Justice Program News

WPLN: Backlash against Tennessee's electric chair law fuels death penalty opponents - May 29, 2014 - A few dozen Methodist clergy recently gathered in prayer vigil in response to Tennessee's new law making the electric chair the backup means of execution, which the governor approved last week. Its goal is for the governor to not only revoke his signature on the law but also to outlaw the death penalty in general. Chris Slobogin, Milton R. Underwood Professor of Law, was interviewed.

CNN.com: Opinion: Has NSA gone rogue? - October 31, 2013 - Although the NSA may not conduct queries or examine content unless it or a court determines that "national security" is at stake, national security is apparently at stake quite often, if the recent reports about monitoring hundreds of thousands of foreigners' calls as well as the calls of foreign leaders are true, writes Christopher Slobogin, Milton R. Underwood Professor of Law.

PBS: Brains on Trial with Alan Alda - September 11, 2013 - Rene Marois, professor of psychology, was interviewed about Vanderbilt research into the use of brain imaging in the criminal justice system. Owen Jones, New York Alumni Chancellor's Professor of Law and director of the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience, was interviewed for a bonus video posted online.

The Kansas City Star: 'I am Chelsea Manning': Reflections on a sexual transformation - August 23, 2013 - During the sentencing phase of his court martial, United States Army soldier Bradley Manning's defense lawyers raised the issue of the stress caused by his gender identity. Psychiatrists testified that the 25-year old soldier was being treated for "gender identity disorder," a diagnosis that the American Psychiatric Association renamed "gender dysphoria." Christopher Slobogin, Milton R. Underwood Professor, is quoted.

NBC News interviewed Christopher Slobogin, Milton R. Underwood Professor of Law, on August 19, 2013 about the federal government's surveillance program. The interview was conducted at VUStar, Vanderbilt's broadcast facility, and aired on affiliates throughout the country.

The Tennessean: Need a grand jury foreman? Stan Fossick is your man - August 19, 2013 - Stan Fossick, who has worked for 44 years at a local steel wire company and served more than two decades on Metro's Board of Parks and Recreation, also has been the Davidson County Grand Jury foreman about 20 times, more than anyone in the county's history, as far as officials can tell. Christopher Slobogin, Milton R. Underwood Professor of Law, is quoted.

Associated Press: New Mexico boy set to go to court in dad's killing - August 15, 2013 - A 10-year-old New Mexico boy who allegedly shot his abusive father is scheduled to face a jury this month for first-degree murder—a case expected to highlight the debate over whether children that young are capable of the premeditation required for such a serious charge. Terry Maroney, professor of law, specializes in juvenile justice and is quoted.

WSMV , Channel 4, interviewed Christopher Slobogin, Milton R. Underwood Professor of Law, for a report on efforts to repeal Tennessee's "Stand Your Ground" law.

Los Angeles Times: Brain scans of inmates turn up possible link to risks of reoffending - July 16, 2013 - A New Mexico neuroscientist has discovered that prisoners with low activity in a brain structure associated with error processing were about twice as likely to commit crimes within four years of being released as those with high activity. Owen D. Jones, New York Alumni Chancellor's Professor of Law and director of the MacArthur Foundation Law and Neuroscience Project, which funded the research, is quoted.

PBS Newshour: Was justice served in murder acquittal of George Zimmerman? - July 16, 2013 - The George Zimmerman verdict has provoked passionate debate about legal justice and race in the United States. Carol Swain, professor of political science and law, participated in a panel discussion. Swain was also interviewed for a related story on CNN: Some believe race a deciding factor in Zimmerman case .

FOX News interviewed Terry Maroney, professor of law, about the George Zimmerman trial in Florida. The interview was conducted at VUStar, Vanderbilt's broadcast facility.

The Tennessean: Rise in government surveillance raises questions about how much is enough - June 14, 2013 - The recent revelation of high-tech surveillance on millions of phone calls by the National Security Agency has raised questions about how much privacy people are willing to give up in the name of safety and security. Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, surveillance has increasingly grown to be more a part of everyday life. Christopher Slobogin, Milton R. Underwood Chair in Law, is quoted.

The Tennessean: TN law enforcement officials welcome DNA samples in arrests - June 4, 2013 - On Monday, when the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the practice of routine DNA collection of people charged with serious crimes in a 5-to-4 decision arising from a case in Maryland, local law enforcement agencies viewed it as a vote of confidence. Christopher Slobogin, Milton R. Underwood Chair in Law, is quoted.

Knoxville News Sentinel: Northwestern seeks to join legal fight over Knoxville teen's confession - May 23, 2013 - One of the nation's most prestigious law schools is asking to weigh into a battle over whether a teenager's confession was illegally coerced by investigators who told him he would be repeatedly gang raped in prison. Terry Maroney, professor of law, is quoted.

Associated Press: Making mentally ill defendants ready for trial - May 21, 2013 - In mental hospitals across the country, psychiatrists prepare criminal defendants for trial using innovative therapies, including in at least one case a make-believe hearing where patients and clinicians played the key courtroom roles. Christopher Slobogin, Milton R. Underwood Chair in Law, is quoted.

The Tennessean: Cellphone GPS tracking helps police, raises issues - September 24, 2012 - Police are increasingly tracking people's movements by tapping into GPS technology in modern cellphones, allowing authorities to watch a person's movement in real time or to follow his or her tracks. But a battle looms between public safety and privacy rights as challenges wend their way through the U.S. court system. Christopher Slobogin, Milton Underwood Chair in Law, is quoted.

Hampton Roads (Va.) Daily Press: Hampton juror asks judge to lower 128-year prison sentence - September 19, 2012 - A jury in March recommended that Robert Via Jr. spend the rest of his life in prison for an armed home invasion. But one juror is now saying that because they were forced under the law to render the sentence without guidelines, a judge should shorten Via's time behind bars. Research by Nancy King, Lee S. and Charles A. Speir Professor of Law, is cited.

Wired: We don't need no stinking warrant: The disturbing, unchecked rise of the administrative subpoena - August 28, 2012 - Under the administrative subpoena, virtually all businesses are required to hand over sensitive data on individuals or corporations, as long as a government agent declares the information is relevant to an investigation-effectively bypassing the Fourth Amendment. Christopher Slobogin, Milton R. Underwood Chair in Law, is quoted.

The Salt Lake Tribune: Researchers: Judges who consider genetic data go easier on psychopaths - August 17, 2012 - Evidence of psychopathy, characterized by a lack of empathy and ability to control impulses, is often seen as a “double-edged sword” in the criminal justice system, because judges could use it to justify shortening or lengthening a felon's time behind bars, according to recent research in Utah. Christopher Slobogin, Milton R. Underwood Chair in Law, is quoted.

The Guardian (U.K.): The judge who fell asleep - July 30, 2012 - Researchers in Britain and Australia have found that on occasions both judges and jury members are liable to fall asleep during trials. Previous research on the subject by Nancy King, Lee S. and Charles A. Speir Professor of Law, is mentioned.

New York Times: Trial judge to appeals court: Review me - July 16, 2012 - Earlier this year, an opinion for the Supreme Court by Justice Anthony Kennedy noted a stunning and often overlooked reality of the American legal process: a vast majority of criminal cases - 97 percent of federal cases, 94 percent of state cases - are resolved by guilty pleas. In this context, the recent rejection in a federal district court by Judge John Kane of a plea bargain deal between a defendant and federal prosecutors is truly startling. Lee S. and Charles A. Speir Professor of Law Nancy King's 2005 article on appeal waivers is linked in the article.

Washington Post: Destroying the soul - July 5, 2012 - Colin Dayan, Robert Penn Warren Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Law, discusses the horrors of confinement in U.S. prisons. A similar piece appeared in The New York Times , July 18, 2011.

Chattanooga Times: Prosecutor backs off search rule - June 27, 2012 - The county's top gang prosecutor said Wednesday he will remove a little-known provision on a Sessions Court form that allows police to search the homes of people assigned court-ordered community service. Christopher Slobogin, Milton R. Underwood Chair in Law, is quoted.

USA Today: Scores in N.C. are legally 'innocent,' yet still imprisoned - June 15, 2012 - A USA Today investigation, based on court records and interviews with government officials and attorneys, found more than 60 men who went to prison for violating federal gun possession laws, even though courts have since determined that it was not a federal crime for them to have a gun. Many of them don't even know they're innocent. Nancy King, Lee S. and Charles A. Speir Professor of Law and expert in habeas corpus issues, is quoted.

City Paper: Lawsuit claims sheriff's office, general hospital's procedures led to man's death - June 10, 2012 - A delusional man who became violent while in police custody at Metro General Hospital was allegedly beaten to death by deputies supervising his treatment. Christopher Slobogin, Milton R. Underwood Chair in Law, is quoted.

slobogin book WEB

Christopher Slobogin, the Milton Underwood Professor of Law and Director of the Criminal justice Program, says we should dramatically reform the juvenile justice system to stress community-based treatment over incarceration. Slobogin is the co-author of the book Juveniles at Risk: A Plea for Preventive Justice , with Mark R. Fondacaro, professor of psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York. The book, published by Oxford University Press, proposes some radical-sounding ideas, among them that juvenile offenders should never be tried as adults and never transferred to adult prisons. Incarceration in general should only be a last-resort measure for juveniles, Slobogin argues.

Politifact: Is holding hands gateway sexual activity? - May 10, 2012 - Proponents of the "gateway sexual activity" bill say hand-holding would not fit the definition. Christopher Slobogin, Milton R. Underwood Chair in Law, is quoted.

The Tennessean: Fake tweet stops Nashville doctor's lecture, plans for cruise - May 9, 2012 - Nashville neurosurgeon Jack Kruse says he was the victim of cyber sabotage when his plans to speak about low-carb diets on a cruise were disrupted by an online impostor claiming he was planning to carry a biological weapon aboard. Christopher Slobogin, Milton R. Underwood Chair in Law, is quoted.

The Tennessean: High-tech license plate readers aid police but raise ethical issues - May 6, 2012 - Sumner County law enforcement officials are using high-tech cameras to create a detailed picture of the whereabouts of thousands of cars, regardless of whether they are suspected of any link to criminal activity. It's a type of government surveillance - spreading quickly, thanks to federal grants - that has raised privacy concerns across the country and pushed police departments to consider how the cameras and records should be used. Christopher Slobogin, Milton R. Underwood Chair in Law, is quoted.

Nature: Science in court: Arrested development - April 18, 2012 - Neuroscience shows that the adolescent brain is still developing. The question is whether that should influence the sentencing of juveniles. Terry Maroney, associate professor of law and associate professor of medicine, health and society, is quoted.

Associated Press: Tenn. has 'Stand Your Ground' self-defense law - March 26, 2012 - Tennessee is one of at least 20 states that have the “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law that has been at the center of a national debate since a neighborhood watchman killed an unarmed black teenager in Florida last month. Christopher Slobogin, professor of law, is quoted.

New York Times: Stronger hand for judges in the 'Bazaar' of plea deals - March 23, 2012 - For years, the nation's highest court has devoted the majority of its criminal justice efforts to ensuring that defendants get a fair day in court and a fair sentence once a trial is concluded. But in two decisions on Wednesday, the Supreme Court tacitly acknowledged that it has been enforcing an image of the system that is very different from the real, workaday world inhabited by prosecutors and defense lawyers across the country. Nancy King, Lee S. and Charles A. Speir Professor of Law, is quoted.

Yahoo: The Lookout: Kuntrell Jackson and Evan Miller, jailed for life at 14: Supreme Court to weigh sentencing for minors - March 20, 2012 - On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will begin hearing the cases of Kuntrell Jackson and Evan Miller, both of whom were condemned at 14 to spend their lives behind bars for their roles in separate murders. The outcome of the case will determine the fate of 73 other prisoners serving life without parole for crimes they committed at 14 or younger. Terry Maroney, associate professor of law, is quoted here and interviewed about the cases for Public Radio International's “The Takeaway”: Incarceration in America: Should juveniles be sentenced to life without parole?

Agence France Presse: GPS court ruling leaves U.S. phone tracking unclear - February 11, 2012 - A U.S. Supreme Court decision requiring a warrant to place a GPS device on the car of a criminal suspect leaves unresolved the bigger issue of police tracking using mobile phones, legal experts say. Christopher Slobogin, Milton R. Underwood Chair in Law, is quoted.

Chattanooga Times Free Press: Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield's proposed anti-gang initiative faces snags at Capitol - January 30, 2012 - Littlefield's proposed anti-street gang legislation could be in for a rumble in the halls of the state Capitol, lawmakers say. Christopher Slobogin, the Milton R. Underwood Chair in law, is quoted.

Washington Post: The High Court: Supreme Court has shown unity, but little guidance - January 29, 2012 - The Supreme Court's decision last week regarding GPS tracking of criminal suspects was a very big deal for Antoine Jones, a D.C. nightclub owner and convicted drug dealer who saw his conviction overturned. What it means for the rest of us is not so clear. Christopher Slobogin, the Milton R. Underwood Chair in law, is quoted. Slobogin was also interviewed in a similar story for the Voice of America: Ruling on GPS Tracking by Police Leaves a Big Question .

Naples (Fla.) Daily News: Three state lawmakers push separate measures to alter death penalty procedure - January 28, 2012 - If a killer is headed to death row, a jury needs to recommend it unanimously, contend three Florida legislators who are pushing bills in Tallahassee this session to change Florida law. The current requirement of seven out of 12 jurors isn't enough to condemn a person to death, they say. Three bills - two in the House, one in the Senate - seek to amend current Florida law so that unanimity among jurors would be required when suggesting capital punishment to a judge. Christopher Slobogin, Milton R. Underwood Chair in Law, is quoted.

Arizona Republic: Tucson tragedy: Long odds for Loughner defense options - January 23, 2012 - In light of the evidence against him, Jared Loughner's best chance of avoiding conviction and a possible death penalty will be if he is found incompetent to stand trial because of his mental illness. But the odds are against that happening: Most criminal defendants are found competent to stand trial, especially in high-profile cases. Christopher Slobogin, professor of law, is quoted.

BNA: Criminal Law Reporter: Supreme Court Resolves Circuit Splits Over Procedural Issues in Habeas Cases - January 11, 2012 - The U.S. Supreme Court decided Jan. 10 to adopt the shorter of two competing interpretations of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act's limitations period for federal habeas corpus petitions. Nancy King, the Lee S. and Charles A. Speir Professor of Law and a leading authority on modern federal habeas corpus, is quoted. (subscription required)

Washington Times: Feds use video surveillance to catch fraud for workers' comp - December 7, 2011 - The Postal Service inspector general is one of a handful of investigative agencies whose use of video surveillance to target disability fraud was singled out in a recent congressional report. The Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, disclosed the surveillance practices as part of a broader review of workers' compensation fraud controls at a half-dozen agencies across government. Christopher Slobogin, professor of law, is quoted.

Bloomberg: Police GPS Device Use Triggers Privacy Clash at U.S. High Court - November 6, 2011 - In a case now in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, use of GPS tracking devices by law enforcement to monitor day-to-day activities f suspected criminals is raising far-reaching concerns over privacy rights in a technological age. Christopher Slobogin, the Milton R. Underwood Chair in Law and Director of the Criminal justice Program, is quoted.

NPR: Brain Science in the Courts - October 7, 2011 - Should a convicted murderer be given a lighter sentence if a brain scan suggests he can't tell right from wrong? Courts are increasingly confronting such questions as the use of MRIs as evidence becomes more common. Host Dave Iverson discusses the intersection of brain science and the law with Nita Farahany, associate professor of law, Owen Jones, professor of law and biological sciences, and Ken Murray, assistant federal public defender in Phoenix.

The Tennessean: Court attitudes shift to accept use of battered woman defense - September 29, 2011 - The Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole's decision to free Gaile Owens illustrates broader understanding of domestic violence and its effects on victims than existed a quarter century ago, advocates and legal experts said Wednesday. Christopher Slobogin, Milton R. Underwood Chair in Law, professor of psychiatry and director of the criminal law program at Vanderbilt Law School, is quoted.

Wall Street Journal: Digits: How technology is testing the Fourth Amendment - September 21, 2011 - The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects against “unreasonable searches and seizures” - but what does that mean when it comes to techniques that use technology rather than a physical search that is easy to see? In many ways, it remains unclear. But there a few key issues that courts have been considering lately when it comes to this question. Christopher Slobogin, the director of the Criminal Justice Program, is quoted.

Detroit News: How 9/11 changed America - September 9, 2011 - The Sept. 11 terrorist attack, whose 10th anniversary is Sunday, changed how Americans think, what they do, how they see the world, how they see themselves. Christopher Slobogin, professor of law, has written about the changing perception of privacy since 9/11 and is quoted.

The Tennessean: Neuroscience causes court headaches - September 7, 2011 - Researchers at Vanderbilt University are seeking to provide guidance on how novel technologies like functional MRI scans should be used in courtrooms with the support of a $4.85 million grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Director Owen Jones, professor of law and biological sciences, and Jeffrey Schall, E. Bronson Ingram Professor of Neuroscience, are quoted.

NewScientist: Brain scans reduce murder sentence in Italian Court - September 2, 1011 - An Italian woman is the latest person to have a murder sentence reduced on the grounds that abnormalities in her brain, and genes, could explain her behaviour. Research by Nita Farahany, associate professor of law and associate professor of philosophy, is mentioned. Between 2004 and 2009, 16 per cent of a sample of 700 legal cases had introduced brain scans as evidence, Farahany told New Scientist last year.

Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues - August 23, 2011 - At its public meeting on August 29 in Washington, the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues will publicly discuss several key findings as it refines the conclusions of its historical investigation into the U.S. Public Health Service (U.S. PHS) studies done in Guatemala in the 1940s. The U.S. PHS research involved intentionally exposing and infecting vulnerable populations to sexually transmitted diseases. The Commission's historical investigation is due to President Obama in September. Associate Professor Nita Farahany is a member of the Commission.

USA Today: Did prosecutors taint Memphis murder trial? - August 16, 2011 - Attorneys for a Memphis man convicted of murdering a woman whose body was never found want a Tennessee appeals court to find that misconduct by prosecutors and police was so pervasive that the entire Shelby County District Attorney General's Office should be disqualified from the case, and that a new prosecutor should be brought in to review the evidence. Terry Maroney, associate professor of law, is quoted.

New York Times: Lawyers for defendant in Giffords shooting seem to be searching for illness - August 16, 2011 - Jared L. Loughner's grandparents and great-grandparents died years ago, but lawyers defending Loughner in connection with a Jan. 8 shooting spree outside Tucson are delving into their lives and those of numerous other Loughner ancestors in an apparent effort to show that mental illness runs in the family. Christopher Slobogin, Milton R. Underwood Chairin Law, is quoted.

Nashville Scene: In Judge Carol Soloman's volatile courtroom, critics say it's the court that shows contempt - July 28, 2011 - This profile of Judge Carol Soloman of Davidson County's 8th Circuit Court, 20th Judicial District, includes comments from Terry Maroney, associate professor of law, about legal theory on judicial conduct.

Wall Street Journal: Court backs treatment for Loughner - July 26, 2011 - Concerns that accused Tucson shooter Jared Loughner is suicidal have cleared the way for federal authorities to forcibly administer antipsychotic drugs that could restore his ability to stand trial and possibly face the death penalty. Christopher Slobogin, professor of law, is quoted.

Associated Press: Tenn. eases requirements for search warrants - May 30, 2011 - Law enforcement agencies in Tennessee may have an easier time in obtaining search warrants under a new law that prosecutors say will make the process more flexible. Christopher Slobogin, Milton R. Underwood Chair in Law, is quoted. Slobogin was also quoted in The Tennessean.

Wall Street Journal: Loughner found unfit for trial - May 26, 2011 - A federal judge Wednesday declared Jared Loughner mentally incompetent to stand trial, a decision that raises the possibility that the accused shooter of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others might never appear before a jury. Christopher Slobogin, Milton R. Underwood Chair in law, is quoted. Slobogin was also quoted by the Associated Press and Deseret News .

New Scientist: Is the 'smell of death' strong enough evidence? - May 17, 2011 - In a case that is gripping the American public, young mother Casey Anthony has been accused of murdering her two-year-old daughter. As jury selection for the case continues, speculation is growing as to whether the judge will allow a sample of air, collected from the trunk of her car, to be presented as evidence of the “smell of death.” Christopher Slobogin, the Milton R. Underwood Chair in Law, is quoted.

Orlando Sentinel: Air-sample science will be allowed � or will it? - May 9, 2011 -
Testimony about the air samples taken from a car trunk that showed signs consistent with decomposition will be allowed to be presented by the prosecution in the first-degree murder trial of a woman accused of murdering her child, Orange-Osceola Chief Judge Belvin Perry ruled Monday. Air-sample testing has never been used in court before, and the defense has objected to the ruling. Christopher Slobogin, professor of law, is quoted.

"Justice: Too Much and Too Expensive," April 17, 2011 - New York Times - This opinion piece by Nancy J. King, Lee S. and Charles A. Speir Professor of Law at Vanderbilt, and Joseph Hoffmann of Indiana University Maurer School of Law, proposes a new approach to habeas cases. The reforms King and Hoffmann recommend are based on their book, Habeas for the Twenty-First Century: Uses, Abuses, and the Future of the Great Writ (University of Chicago Press, 2011) and a comprehensive study of habeas cases King completed in 2007 with colleagues Fred Cheesman and Brian Ostrom, Habeas Litigation in U.S. District Courts: Final Report .

Wall Street Journal: Justice is served, but more so after lunch* - April 13, 2011 - Ashby Jones blogs about a recent online post by Ed Yong, who wrote about a study by Shai Danziger from the Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. Danziger summarized the results of some 1,100 parole board hearings in Israeli prisons over a 10-month period. This new blog includes comments made by Nita Farahany, associate professor of law.

Wall Street Journal: Law Blog: Supreme Court halts two executions at the 11th hour - April 5, 2011 - Death row inmates almost invariably file last-minute stay requests with the Supreme Court, and the court often politely declines to get involved. But in the past 24 hours, the court has halted two executions in the last minute. Christopher Slobogin, professor of law, is quoted.

Nancy King and colleague Joseph Hoffmann propose reforms in use of habeas law in new book - "Habeas for the 21st Century" released by University of Chicago Press - Release Date: Mar 29, 2011

Christopher Slobogin offers an alternative approach to dealing with juvenile crime in new book released by Oxford University Press - New book examines the shortcomings of the culpability linchpin and adult-type procedures placed on juvenile offenders. Release Date: Mar 16, 2011

Twitter, Facebook posts can throw kinks into court cases - March 13, 2011 - The Tennessean - In today's social media world, it may be time to update how police deliver Miranda rights: “Anything you tweet can and will be used against you in a court of law.” Christopher Slobogin, Milton Underwood Chair in Law, Professor of Psychiatry and Director, Criminal Justice Program, is quoted.

Gang member's sanity at issue in fed murder case - March 3, 2011 - Associated Press - A 32-year-old Los Angeles man, known on the street as “Bone,” is accused of being a high-ranking leader of a street gang that used torture, robbery, kidnapping and murder to protect a vast drug enterprise that operated in Los Angeles, Oklahoma City, Memphis and Nashville. Defense lawyers argue in court documents that Payne has been mentally ill with schizophrenia for so long - he was found incompetent in 2005 - that he likely will never be fit for trial. Christopher Slobogin, Milton Underwood Chair in Law, Professor of Psychiatry and Director, Criminal Justice Program, is quoted.

Lawyer's attempt to keep his head above water landed a client on Death Row - ABA Journal - March 2011 - Nashville attorney Lionel Barrett agreed to take the case of murder defendant Abu-Ali Abdur'Rahman, despite the fact that he was so swamped with work he was unable to competently represent his client, who was convicted and sentenced to death. Christopher Slobogin, professor of law, is quoted.

Suspect cheating? Here's the 'dark territory' of spying on a loved one - January 31, 2011 - Orlando Sentinel - Twenty or more years ago, you might have looked for telltale signs of an affair: lipstick on a collar, unexplained credit-card receipts, love notes. Today, high-tech gadgets can do the legwork for you. The question is, what's legal? Christopher Slobogin, Milton Underwood Chair in Law, Professor of Psychiatry and Director, Criminal Justice Program, is quoted.

January 17, 2011 - The American Bar Association's Criminal Justice Section has produced a number of highly influential Standards on subjects like the right to jury, the roles of prosecutors and defense attorneys, surveillance, and other criminal justice topics. The Section's Standards Committee develops these standards, and the Criminal Justice Section Council vets them, in addition to approving other resolutions and recommendations and developing Section policy. Nancy King, the Lee S. and Charles A. Speir Professor of Law and Alexander Heard Distinguished Service Professor, is one of 9 Standard Committee members, and Christopher Slobogin, the Milton Underwood Chair in Law, Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Criminal Justice Program, is one of 36 Council members.

Death penalty law goes on trial in North Carolina - September 20, 2010 - Wall Street Journal - Last year, North Carolina enacted what's known as the Racial Justice Act, requiring judges to let any inmate off death row if the judge finds that race was a “significant factor” in the death sentence. Christopher Slobogin, Milton Underwood Chair in Law and director, Criminal Justice Program, is quoted.

Nashville prosecutors target gang members - July 25, 2010 - Knoxville News Sentinel - For the past three years, gang members have been targeted for prosecution by the U.S. Attorney's office in Nashville. Some 50 alleged members from three different street gangs have been indicted in Nashville since 2007. Many of them have already been sentenced. Christopher Slobogin, professor of law, is quoted.

Synthetic bioethics - July 16, 2010 - The New Atlantis - At the first meeting of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues on July 8 and 9, 2010 in Washington, D.C., the commission discussed synthetic biology. Nita Farahany, associate professor of law and philosophy, who is a member of the commission, suggested that a licensing or surveillance framework should be established to monitor the kinds of sequences being ordered from DNA synthesis companies.

Victims' rights push against clearing Koulis' name - July 14, 2010 - The Tennessean - In May a Tennessee appeals court dismissed a conviction against Christ Koulis, who was convicted in the death of his girlfriend, because he died before his appeals were final. But the Tennessee Attorney General's Office is challenging that dismissal, saying that victims have a right to see a conviction through to its end, regardless of whether the defendant is dead. Nancy King, Speir Professor of Law, is quoted.

Nita Farahany appointed to presidential Bioethics Commission
Release Date: Jul 12, 2010
See a portion of the proceedings of the first Bioethics Commission meeting

Anonymous Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury  - July 12, 2010 - Wall Street Journal - Concerned about jury tampering and threats, more judges are withholding the identities of the individuals who comprise a jury from from the public during the trial. Nancy King, the Lee S. and Charles A. Speir Professor of Law, and Lucy Dalglish, Class of 1995, who is executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, a Virginia-based non-profit that advocates for media organizations on First Amendment and freedom of information issues, are both quoted.

Kagan's early influences demanding, activist - June 1, 2010 - Associated Press - Supreme Court justices are as much biography as they are resume. And because Solicitor General Kagan never served as a judge, her early influences may help court-watchers fill in the blanks on her world view. Terry Maroney, associate professor of law, is quoted.

TN court sets execution date for Gaile Owens - April 19, 2010 - Associated Press - The Tennessee Supreme Court today set a Sept. 28 execution date for Gaile Owens, rejecting arguments that her death sentence should be commuted because she was a battered woman. Christopher Slobogin, Milton Underwood Chair in Law and director of the Criminal Justice Program, is quoted.

Cameras are latest crime fighting tool - April 12, 2010 - South Florida Sun-Sentinel - Two recent Florida murders were solved from evidence recorded by security cameras. While privacy advocates cringe to think their every move is subject to review by some faceless authority, law enforcement has been quick to seize on video surveillance as a valuable means of collecting evidence, of being the eyes of the police when t he police aren't there. Christopher Slobogin, Milton Underwood Chair in Law and director of the Criminal Justice Program, is quoted.

Nancy King receives Alexander Heard Distinguished Service Award
Release Date: Apr 09, 2010
Award honors one professor each year for distinctive contributions to the understanding for contemporary society

Vandy professor Nita Farahany to help guide Obama on bioethics - April 8, 2010 - Nashville Business Journal - Nita Farahany, an associate professor of law and philosophy at Vanderbilt, will be part of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, helping to guide scientific research, health care delivery and technological innovation. Chris Guthrie, dean of the Vanderbilt Law School, is quoted. The story also appeared as a brief on Inside Higher Ed.

Nita Farahany to be appointed to Presidential Commission on Bioethics
Release Date: Apr 07, 2010
Professor Farahany focuses on legal, philosophical & social issues arising from bioscience developments

Defendant's bid to plead guilty before judge not an open-and-shut case in Collin County - March 22, 2010 - Dallas Morning News - When visiting Judge John McCraw tried to allow defendant Robert Blackburn to plead guilty to drug possession charges, saying taxpayers should not have to pay for unnecessary trials, the ruling set off a flurry of legal maneuvers in which the Collin County district attorney's office asserted its right to demand that a jury hear the case rather than let him plead guilty to the judge. Nancy King, Lee S. and Charles A. Speir Professor of Law, is quoted.

Colorado pot advocates battle DEA - February 27, 2010 - Politics Daily - Is the Drug Enforcement Administration violating the spirit of October's Justice Department memo suggesting that federal prosecutors make medical-marijuana charges a low priority? Robert Mikos, professor of law, is quoted.

Exploring links between genes, violence, environment - February 25, 2010 - Chicago Tribune - Scientists are attempting to tease out the complex interactions among genetics, environmental influences and violence - the idea that certain genetic traits, when combined with life experiences, can help propel a person toward a life of crime. Research at Vanderbilt is mentioned, and Nita Farahany, associate professor of law and philosophy, is quoted.

State will argue for Merhige's execution - January 29, 2010 - The Palm Beach Post - A criminal defense based on a reported history of mental problems can backfire on defense attorneys, according to Christopher Slobogin, Milton Underwood Chair in Law and director of the Criminal Justice Program. Slobogin was quoted in a story about a Florida man acused of fatally shooting four family members.

LA City Council set to approve pot ordinance - January 26, 2010 - Associated Press - With the expected passage of a medical marijuana ordinance by the Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday, hundreds of dispensaries would have to close their doors, putting an end to the so-called “Green R ush” that swept through Los Angeles and much of the state. Robert Mikos, professor of law, is quoted.

Christopher Slobogin appointed to Milton Underwood Chair in Law
Release Date: Jan 21, 2010
Recent work addresses impact of technological advances on Fourth Amendment rights

Court ponders autopsy on executed inmate - January 7, 2010 - USA Today - Tennessee's appeals court is expected to hear arguments Friday on whether medical examiners should be allowed to conduct an autopsy on a death row inmate executed last month. Christopher Slobogin, Milton Underwood Chair in Law and director of the Criminal Justice Program, is quoted. The story also appeared in The Tennessean.