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Faculty News

for April, 2007

Simon Comments on DWI Sentencing

April 28, 2007

Professor Stephen Simon, founder and director of the Minnesota Criminal Justice System DWI Task Force, was quoted in a Minneapolis Star Tribune article that explored intensive intervention rather than straight jail time for drunken drivers in Minnesota. Judges in Hennepin, Isanti, and Scott Counties were mentioned as imposing such sentences as mandatory alcoholism treatment, electronic home monitoring, random Breathalyzer checks, community service that includes speaking to groups, and staggered sentencing that extends probation for several years. Such interventional sentences are becoming more common as judges try to balance punishment with accomplishing a purpose: reduced recidivism. But some families and prosecutors are critical of what they consider inappropriately light punishment. In choosing such intervention, judges look for offenders who are remorseful and amenable to treatment. In addition, Professor Simon said, they usually consider intent, and according to studies, most drunken drivers do not intend to kill. Professor Simon has researched and published extensively in the area of DWI and traffic safety and was chair of the 1992 Minnesota Legislature Commission on the Treatment and Confinement of DWI Recidivists. “Research shows straight prison time doesn't deter repeat drunken driving. But recidivism is reduced with alternatives such as staggering jail time over several years or by intensive probation that sends offenders to outpatient alcohol-treatment programs,” Professor Simon told the Star Tribune. He went on to say that Minnesota has strong drunken driving consequences, including seizure of the driver’s license for refusing a breath-alcohol test, seizure of vehicle plates, and seizure of the vehicle for a third offense.

Read Stephen Simon's Faculty Profile

Kirtley Quoted in NY Sun on Reporter Subponeas

April 18, 2007

Attorneys representing scientist Steven Hatfill, who was investigated in connection with the anthrax mailings in 2001 and has sued the federal government for violation of the Privacy Act, have asked federal Judge Reggie Walton to allow them to issue new subpoenas to reporters who covered the story. Prof. Kirtley observed that because of recent adverse rulings in the D.C. Circuit over reporters privilege, the journalists face an uphill battle in fighting the subpoenas. She predicted that the court might eventually impose fines on the reporters' news organizations, as well as jailing the reporters for civil contempt, if they resist the subpoenas.

Read Jane Kirtley's Faculty Profile

Cox Quoted on Rise in Mortgage Foreclosures

April 13, 2007

Professor Prentiss Cox was quoted in the Minneapolis StarTribune regarding the continued rise in mortgage foreclosures in the metropolitan area. He also has been quoted on Minnesota Public Radio (MPR), the Pioneer Press and other local media in the last two months on the issue of mortgage foreclosures and predatory lending. Professor Cox has testified three times this year before legislative committees in support of new mortgage consumer protection laws. One of these laws was recently enacted by the Minnesota legislature. Professor Cox and Amber Hawkins of Legal Services Advocacy Project were the principal drafters of the legislation, which has been described by mortgage industry officials as perhaps the strongest consumer protection laws for mortgage borrowers in the United States.

Read Prentiss Cox's Faculty Profile

Kirtley Interviewed on Suit Against Star Tribune

April 13, 2007

Professor Jane Kirtley was interviewed by the St. Paul Pioneer Press and Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) regarding the lawsuit filed April 12 by the Pioneer Press, which alleges that its former publisher, Par Ridder, conspired with the Minneapolis Star Tribune's new owner, Avista Capital Partners, to steal sensitive corporate information before becoming publisher of the Star Tribune in March. The lawsuit also claims that Ridder has violated a non-compete agreement and demands the return of computer data allegedly removed by him. Prof. Kirtley observed that such lawsuits between competing daily newspapers are rare, but that the allegations have serious legal and ethical implications.

Read Jane Kirtley's Faculty Profile

Orfield Comments on Texas School Dist. Petition

April 9, 2007

Some residents of Northgate Forest, an upscale subdivision in Texas, are trying to take advantage of a little-known provision in state law to get out of the increasingly diverse Spring school district and join the more-affluent and higher-performing Klein Independent School District. "It could be a relatively minor case in the sense of the number of kids, but the structural impacts of a decision like that are very large," said Myron Orfield, professor and director of the Institute on Race & Poverty at the University of Minnesota Law School.

Read Myron Orfield's Faculty Profile

Cribari Co-Authors Book on Digital Evidence

April 3, 2007

Prof. Steve Cribari is a co-author of “Digital Evidence in the Courtroom: A Guide for Law Enforcement and Prosecutors,” published by DOJ’s National Institute of Justice. The book is the fourth in a series of guides, sponsored by the National Institute of Justice, dealing with digital evidence. (Other guides consider responding to the electronic crime scene, examination of digital evidence, and internet investigations.) The guide is the product of the Technical Working Group for Digital Evidence in the Courtroom, of which Prof. Cribari is a member. It discusses, from an evidentiary standpoint, fourth amendment issues, relevant evidentiary concerns, discovery, disclosure, and presentation of digital evidence. The guide is intended to be both an introduction to, and resource for, law enforcement and prosecutors. The work is available online at NIJ’s site(www.usdoj.gov/nij) and at the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (www.ncjrs.gov). It is also available in print.