The world’s biggest sporting event begins today in South Africa. I’ve been playing soccer more or less continuously — albeit not very well — for more than 30 years. Predictably, I’m pretty excited about the World Cup, especially the critical matchup tomorrow between the United States and England. But for today, I remain focused on criminal law and procedure. Some recent stories that may be of interest:
2. The News and Observer has just published a series of articles on infant deaths. Generally, the paper seems to believe that Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, is being blamed for a significant number of infant deaths that are actually the result of caretakers’ negligence, or even intentional wrongdoing. The articles suggest that the Medical Examiner is too cautious in the way he has classified infant deaths, and that some prosecutors have been too reluctant to bring charges in infant death cases. Read the articles here, here, here, here, and here.
3. The General Assembly is in session. Although this year is the so-called short session, meaning that the legislature is supposed to focus mainly on the budget, a few criminal law matters are nonetheless under consideration. The News and Observer reports here that some are asking for changes to the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission. As far as I can tell, the most relevant pending bill is S.B. 144, one provision of which would prevent the prosecutor who handled a defendant’s trial from representing the state during innocence proceedings before a three-judge panel.
4. Farther afield, a death row inmate in Utah has requested the firing squad as his method of execution. The Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog recaps the story and highlights an interview with a member of the last firing squad, in 1996. The whole piece is worth reading, but the short version is that he reports that it was just “[a]nother day at the office.”
5. Speaking of days at the office, Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff was reportedly confronted by a fellow inmate about his misdeeds. Pressed about the harm he did to his victims, Madoff is said to have responded “F___ my victims. I carried them for 20 years, and now I’m doing 150 years.” Really, what are they complaining about? Read more here. (Report: New York magazine. Hat tip: Sentencing Law and Policy.)
6. Finally, I’ve blogged previously about the general uselessness of law review articles. A brief and readable opinion piece along the same lines, by a law professor and former law school dean, is here. The data regarding the changing content of law review articles, and the corresponding change in the frequency with which law review articles are cited by courts, are particularly interesting.