Criminal Law

Several recent high-profile criminal cases have highlighted the dynamic nature of identity crimes in a modern digital era and the boundaries prosecutors sometimes push to squeeze arguably wrongful conduct into an outdated legal framework. In many cases, two federal statutes—18 U.S.C § 1028 and § 1028A—provide prosecutors with potent tools to aggressively pursue...

In Bostick and Drayton, the Supreme Court announced that per se rules were inappropriate in answering the Fourth Amendment seizure question, “Would a reasonable citizen feel free to leave?” But when, if ever, can one factor in a pedestrian encounter with police be so inherently coercive that it becomes dispositive? The D.C. and Fourth Circuits explicitly disagree over whether police retention of identification documents constitutes...

In the nearly four decades since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, the average time between sentencing and execution in the United States has steadily increased to 16.5 years as of the end of 2011. In states like California, the total lapsed time from sentencing to execution exceeded two decades as of 2008. In response to these lengthening delays, scores of death row inmates have been raising Lackey claims over...

Lower courts disagree about whether and when the Fifth Amendment permits prosecutors to raise an adverse inference of guilt from a criminal suspect’s silence. In Salinas v. Texas, the Supreme Court introduced a new wrinkle into the constitutional analysis: Suspects must first expressly invoke their right to remain silent during police questioning in order to later claim protection for that silence at trial. Significantly, silence...

While peremptory challenges upon the basis of race, ethnicity, and gender have been held unconstitutional, and peremptory strikes upon the basis of sexual orientation have been regarded as increasingly suspect after United States v. Windsor, attorneys remain free to use peremptory challenges to remove potential jurors from the venire upon the basis of their gender identity or expression. The current state of affairs renders transgender...

Section 440.10(1)(i) of the New York Criminal Procedure Law allows victims of sex trafficking to vacate convictions for certain offenses they were forced to commit by their traffickers. This vacatur provision and similar laws in other states have been praised for their ability to give victims of sex trafficking a fresh start, free from the stigma of a criminal record....

Several recent high-profile criminal cases have highlighted the dynamic nature of identity crimes in a modern digital era and the boundaries prosecutors sometimes push to squeeze arguably wrongful conduct into an outdated legal framework. In many cases, two federal statutes—18 U.S.C § 1028 and § 1028A—provide prosecutors with potent tools to aggressively pursue online identity thieves. But the broadly defined terms of these provisions may...

  In January 2015, the Supreme Court directed the parties to brief and argue an additional question in Johnson v. United States: “Whether the residual clause in the Armed Career Criminal Act of 1984, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e)(2)(B)(ii), is unconstitutionally vague.” The order represents an unusual move because the defendant had not raised the vagueness issue […]