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October 29, 2016

If you are eager to learn more about the sad particulars behind the Welanksy case...

here is a documentary with a partial recreation of the events at Coconut Grove: 

October 29, 2016 in Notable real cases | Permalink | Comments (1)

October 28, 2016

"Man sentenced to 13 years in fatal shooting"

Another interesting local story, available here, provides another window into how unclear facts and lawyers influence homicide outcome both in terms  of Ohio charges and ultimate sentencing.

October 28, 2016 in Notable real cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

October 26, 2016

Another local Ohio homicide (involving murder and voluntary manslaughter charges) worth thinking about...

which I believe made national news back in the summer and is in the papers again this afternoon:

October 26, 2016 in Current Affairs, Notable real cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

October 19, 2016

Some local Ohio homicide headlines

As we move into our "specific crimes" unit of our course, the laws we are reviewing are often going to be central to real cases that frequently generate news coverage. For example, just today's Columbus Dispatch includes these two new Ohio homicide stories:

October 19, 2016 in Current Affairs, Notable real cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

October 17, 2016

Seeking a California defense attorney for Joe Shooter....

because every other position is filled for Wednesday's role play.  Here is the line-up (as well as the expected order of events):

 

California v. Joe Shooter

Prosecutor:  Chance Johnson

Defense Attorney:  _________

 

Kansas v. Joe Shooter

Prosecutor:  Abbey Zeller

Defense Attorney:  Elizabeth Hartman

 

Ohio v. Joe Shooter

Prosecutor:  Claudia Cash

Defense Attorney:  Erica Duff

 

If nobody volunteers for the last open role, I suppose I will have to defend Joe Shooter in California, but I am certain I will do a much worse job than would a capable student (and I already treat myself to too many beers). Also, to help both lawyers and jurors, here you can find a "verdict" form to help you work through the homicide charging options in each jurisdiction:

Download Shooter-verdict-form

October 17, 2016 in Course materials and schedule | Permalink | Comments (0)

October 13, 2016

"Ballot Questions In Three States May Affect Death Penalty Nationwide"

The title of this post is the headline of this Nebraska NPR piece which talks reviews some of the issues we discussed in class on Wednesday and may prove helpful for anyone doing the death-penalty extra credit and/or making election predictions.

October 13, 2016 in Class reflections, Course materials and schedule, Research assignment | Permalink | Comments (1)

October 12, 2016

Class schedule and activities for week of October 17

Because I had way too much fun, and was disinclined to make you do any "real" work in your last class before the break (and also forgot to hand out the Joe Shooter facts in class), I think we now need to tweak my plans for the week of October 17.  Here is my new/latest thinking:

Monday, Oct 17:  Finally finish causation doctrines, preview rest of class (getting Part II of syllabus), introduce homicide unit, and explain context, value, roles for Joe Shooter role play.

Wednesday, Oct 19Do Joe Shooter role play and discuss its many lessons

Friday, Oct 21:  Celebrate my birthday ... by discussing intentional homicides (Watson and Walker, pp. 346-363 in text), and then watching 53-minute long documentary on American prisons, and then happy hour.

October 12, 2016 in Class reflections, Course materials and schedule | Permalink | Comments (0)

Starting homicide doctrines starting with Joe Shooter role play

Next week we will begin our in-depth discussions of homicide laws and we get started with another role-play.  To get off to a running start, here is a link to the Joe Shooter facts (which I am also handing out in class), along with an encouragement for folks to sign up (in the comments and/or via an e-mail) to play the role of either prosecutor or defense attorney on Joe Shooter's behalf in California (a common-law-influenced jurisdiction) or Kansas (an MPC-influenced jurisdiction) or Ohio (a little of everything).

This time around, we only really need one lawyer for each side -- so 6 total volunteers, a single prosecutor and a single defense attorney for each state.  In addition to the usual offer of future happy hour celebration, volunteers this time around can know that they will be rewarded for their efforts by being assured they get a really good running start at tackling homicide doctrines

So, review the Shooter facts and sign on up in the comments or via an e-mail to me.

UPDATE:  We have our Ohio lawyers, Claudia Cash has volunteered to prosecute and Erica Duff volunteered to be the defense attorney in Ohio.  Thanks, and know now that I think, after having had too much fun in class today, that I am pushing back the role play to Wednesday (10/19).  Watch this space (i.e., this new post) with more details.

And Elizabeth Hartman has now signed up to be the Kansas defense attorney, and now Chance Johnson is to be the California prosecutor.  Two spots left.

October 12, 2016 in Course materials and schedule, Starting a career as a lawyer | Permalink | Comments (0)

October 10, 2016

For a useful set of perspectives on the death penalty in Ohio and elsewhere...

check out this 50-minute local WOSU/NPR segment from last week.  Here is the overview of what you will hear:

Support for the death penalty has been on the decline and recently hit a a record, four decade low. Despite the decline, legislators in many states continue to back capital punishment. Today we discuss Ohio as it prepares to reinstate the death penalty after a two year hiatus, and look at how Nebraska ended the practice.

  • Jim Petro, Former Ohio Attorney General

  • Robert Blecker, Professor of Criminal law and Constitutional law, New York Law School; and Author, “The Death of Punishment: Searching for Justice among the Worst of the Worst”

  • Colby Coash, Nebraska State Senator

October 10, 2016 in Course materials and schedule, Current Affairs, Notable real cases | Permalink | Comments (1)

October 8, 2016

If you have any pre-midterm questions...

ask your classmates, and if they do not have a ready answer, just relax about it.  

But if you cannot relax, and think I can help, ask the question in the comments here and I will try to respond so all can see/hear.

UPDATE:  I just saw this good question in a prior thread:

Student Q: "Professor Berman, when using rules from the MPC/ORC to answer the exam questions, do we need to specifically cite which section of the MPC/ORC the rule is coming from?"

Berman A: There is need to cite to a precise/specific code provision if you can make the substantive point effectively without doing so, but you may often find it more efficient to be able to cite to a specific code section rather than to have to explain the point you want to make in extended prose.

 

October 8, 2016 in Preparing for the final | Permalink | Comments (2)