The legal tabloids spent much of the week focused on Texas judge William Adams, after a video was posted on YouTube of him brutally beating his teenage daughter. I watched a few seconds of it, which was a few seconds too many. The story is here if you’re interested; police have recently announced that no charges will be brought because the applicable five-year statute of limitations has run. The rest of the week’s news is uplifting by comparison, I suppose:
1. The Supreme Court has relisted, for the fourth time, several cert. petitions raising the question of whether a sentence of life without parole violates the Eighth Amendment when imposed on a juvenile convicted of murder. (We know that LWOP can’t constitutionally be imposed on juveniles convicted of non-homicide crimes from Graham v. Florida, discussed here.) Sentencing Law and Policy has this post, arguing that multiple relists usually signal some sort of summary disposition, rather than the granting of certiorari, but an astute commenter points out that Graham itself was relisted several times before being accepted for review.
2. The week saw a couple of interesting law and technology stories. Here, Gizmodo describes Cordon, a “new radar system that . . . can simultaneously track 32 vehicles across four lanes, and automatically generates images of both the vehicle and a closeup of the license plate” as well as the vehicle’s speed. In other words, once this bad boy is deployed, speeders will have no place to run and no place to hide, and it’s supposed to be coming in 2012. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal has this article about law enforcement’s use of so-called “stingray” technology, vehicle-mounted devices that can “spoof” cell phone towers and connect with a suspect’s cell phone, allowing police to triangulate the user’s location in real time. A cool graphic accompanying the article explains the technology more clearly, and the article briefly notes the disagreement about whether the use of the device implicates the Fourth Amendment.
3. Jessie Smith posted here about the controversy over whether Padilla v. Kentucky — concerning ineffective assistance of counsel regarding the immigration consequences of a criminal conviction — is retroactive. Maryland just weighed in, answering the question in the affirmative in Denisyuk v. State.
4. In Florida, a 26-year-old defendant caught with 300 still images of child pornography and 38 hours of video has been sentenced to life without parole, leading to an Eighth Amendment controversy. State sentencing guidelines called for a minimum of 152 years.
5. Finally, those in the market for some CLE, or just looking to keep current, may be interested in the Winter Criminal Law Webinar, produced by my colleagues John Rubin and Alyson Grine. Though the webinar is intended primarily for attorneys engaged in indigent criminal defense work, anyone may register, and the cases and legislation discussed will of course be of general interest to criminal lawyers. Details, including pricing, are here.