Tagged: criminal justice

National Archive of Criminal Justice Data

The National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD) is the source for crime and justice data. The archive’s mission is

to facilitate research in criminal justice and criminology, through the preservation, enhancement, and sharing of computerized data resources; through the production of original research based on archived data; and through specialized training workshops in quantitative analysis of crime and justice data.

Users can download available data, analyze data online and also deposit data via a secure uploading process. Available data can be searched or browsed. The browseable categories include: attitude surveys, community studies, computer program and instructional packages, corrections, court case processing, courts, criminal justice system, crime and delinquency, drugs, alcohol and crime, homicide studies, official statistics, police, and victimization.

Whether searching or browsing the collection of data, the results page includes additional filters to narrow down along with selected list of publications relevant to the category being researched.

Mens Rea: Does “Deliberate Indifference” Satisfy the Requirement of Knowledge?

Can indifference, even if deliberate, satisfy a criminal statute’s requirement of knowledge? This is the issue raised by the defendant in United States v. Clay, in which a petition for rehearing and rehearing en banc is presently pending. The defendants in Clay were prosecuted  under 18 U.S.C. § 1347(a), which states, in relevant part:

(a) Whoever knowingly and willfully executes, or attempts to execute, a scheme or artifice—
(1) to defraud any health care benefit program; or
(2) to obtain, by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, any of the money or property owned by, or under the custody of control of, any health care benefit program,

in connection with the delivery of or payment for health care benefits, items, or services, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both. If the violation results in serious bodily injury (as defined in section 1365 of this title), such person shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both; and if the violation results in death, such person shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both.

(b) With respect to violations of this section, a person need not have actual knowledge of this section or specific intent to commit a violation of this section. 

At trial, the court charged that the defendants could be found guilty based on “deliberate indifference.” The defendant were convicted and the conviction was affirmed by the Eleventh Circuit. See the Brief for Amici Curiae NACDL, Twelve Criminal and Business Law Professors, the Washington Legal Foundation and the Cato Institute listed below.

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New Podcast on Criminal Justice Issues

Here is an alert to a new and interesting podcast addressing criminal justice issues.  As described by its creator, Professor David Harris,  Distinguished Faculty Scholar and Professor, University of Pittsburgh School of law:

“Created with production help from WESA, Pittsburgh’s NPR station, the Criminal (In)justice Podcast covers the issues in criminal justice that have taken center stage over the last year and a half: everything from police body cameras to police use of force to implicit racial bias.”  Prof. Harris’s goal is to offer discussion and interviews with nationally prominent guests from law enforcement, civil rights, prosecution and government.

The first season is planned to have 8 episodes, each released on a Tuesday. The first episode was published on March 29, 2016 addressing the issue of police body cams. There are 7 more episodes to look forward to. Learn more about the creative team. Anyone interested can directly subscribe to the podcast. 

Hall of Justice: Find Criminal Justice Statistics in One Convenient Place

HallOfJusticeWe all were in the situation when we are looking for criminal justice related statistics without knowing where to look or where to even begin. No more. Hall of Justice, a project of the Sunlight Foundations, is trying to change that. Although not comprehensive, it contains nearly 10,000 datasets and research documents from all 50 jurisdictions, DC, US territories, and federal government. Its newly launched website offers searchable inventory of publicly available criminal justice statistics and documents in one convenient place, thereby improving transparency.

The project explains its methodology in how and which datasets are included. You can learn more about the Sunlight Foundation criminal justice work here and the spreadsheet of datasets is available here.

Users may search for available datasets and then narrow by state, groups, sectors (government, non-profit, private, etc.), and access type (not machine readable, open, restricted, closed, etc.). The results display in a table listing the state/location, category, dataset title, group issuing the dataset, years included, and the direct link to access it. The major categories include: Corrections, Courts, Crime, Financial, Juvenile Justice, Law Enforcement, Victims, and Miscellaneous. All categories are further divided into subcategories.

NY JJD results

For example, the result page looks as follows (look to the left) when looking for Juvenile Justice – Delinquents datasets for the state of NY, listing 5 results with live links where the listed statistics can be accessed.

 

Massive DNA Evidence Review in Texas

The Houston Chronicle reports that in Texas

thousands of cases are being reviewed for testimony about DNA odds that may have been given using outdated guidelines that inflated the likelihood a defendant had touched a murder weapon or another piece of evidence.

Developments in DNA technology had revolutionized the use of DNA evidence in criminal trials and had played a major role in the efforts to uncover wrongful convictions.

Although those involved in innocence litigation know that Texas has a very bad record in wrongful convictions, particularly based on DNA,  in the words of Barry Scheck (a co-founder of the Innocence Project), “Texas is the only place that’s systematically trying to correct it.”

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