As noted in a previous blog entry on Zief Brief, USF professor Susan Freiwald co-filed an amicus brief in United States v. Warshak [PDF of the 12/14/10 decision], a case in which the Government seized over 27,000 of the defendant's private e-mails without bothering to get a warrant. This week the 6th Circuit issued an important ruling that extends significant constitutional protection for an individuals stored e-mail messages. In addressing the constitutional issues behind their decision the court quoted directly from Fourth Amendment Protection for Stored E-Mail, an article co-authored by Professors Freiwald and Patricia Bellia of Notre Dame School of Law. Professor Freiwald has posted a complete analysis of the decision and its important implications for the future at the blog Concurring Opinions in the post Sixth Circuit Brings Fourth Amendment Protection to Stored Email. Kudos to Prof. Freiwald for the part she played in this process.
Professor Richard Leo appeared on Frontline's November 9 program, The Confessions, which chronicles the ordeal of four men wrongfully convicted of murder, The Norfolk Four. Professor Leo is the co-author of a book about The Norfolk Four case, The Wrong Guys. You can read a longer interview with Professor Leo about The Norfolk Four case on the Frontline website.
New York magazine recently published Robert Kolker's article, "I Did It," which explains how false confessions happen in our criminal justice system. Professor Richard Leo's research on false confessions is featured in the article.
As posted earlier, USF Law Professor Susan Freiwald filed a friend of the court brief and participated in oral arguments in an important case before the Federal Third Circuit Court of Appeal. This morning she posted her take on the case in the well-regarded law blog Concurring Opinions and attempts to put the decision in its proper perspective. She does a great job of breaking the decision down by analyzing the parties and their arguments, the court's statutory and constitutional analysis, and what will happen next.
As reported earlier, University of San Francisco School of Law Professor Susan Freiwald
authored an amicus brief and took part in the oral arguments before the United States Court of
Appeals for the Third Circuit. The case involves the compelled disclosure of cell phone records and whether the police must get a warrant when seeking such records. The Court's decision is a partial victory for privacy advocates because it grants Federal Magistrates discretionary power to require a full probable cause search warrant when the government is seeking location information from cell phone providers. Unfortunately, the Court failed to definitively address the broader issues of Fourth Amendment protection of cell phone location that Professor Freiwald was seeking. Professor Freiwald has been fielding questions from the national media about the impact of the decision and was singled out for special thanks by the Court and the Electronic Frontier Foundation for her work on this case.
The New Yorker's August 24 issue features a Jeffrey Toobin piece on Richard Leo's efforts on behalf of the wrongfully-convicted Norfolk Four. In 1997, Michelle Bosko was raped and murdered in Norfolk, Virginia. Despite the fact that "abundant" forensic evidence at the scene pointed to another suspect, the "Norfolk Four," Joseph Dick, Jr., Derek Tice, Eric Wilson, and Danial Williams, were convicted, largely because each man confessed to the crime following lengthy interrogation sessions. Professor Leo's compelling book about the case (co-authored with Tom Wells), The Wrong Guys: Murder, False Confessions, and the Norfolk Four, was released last year. As Toobin notes, Professor Leo supplied a manuscript of the book to John Grisham, who discussed the case with Virginia Governor Tim Kaine. A few weeks ago, Governor Kaine granted conditional pardons to three of the four men still imprisoned for the crime.
Professor Connie de la Vega, who recently filed a Supreme
Court amicus brief on the issue of life without parole for juvenile offenders, continues
her advocacy on behalf of prisoners. Her latest brief, filed with the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, supports the petition of a prisoner
on California's death row who, in the 18 years since his conviction, has not
had his first appeal heard by the California Supreme Court.
Professors Connie de la Vega and Michelle Leighton recently filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of Amnesty International and other human rights organizations. (Download a PDF version of the brief here:Download Amicusbrief) The brief, filed in support of appellants Graham and Sullivan, urges the Court "to consider international law and opinion when applying the Eighth Amendment's clause prohibiting cruel and unusual punishments."
Both Graham and Sullivaninvolve juveniles sentenced to life without the
possibility of parole. In Graham v. Florida, Graham pled guilty to armed burglary and attempted armed
robbery and received a sentence of time served and
three years probation. He was sentenced to life without parole at the age of 17 after violating probation. In Sullivan v. Florida, Sullivan was sentenced to life without parole for his involvement in a rape
committed at age 13.