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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)

December 09, 2014

Extra credit accounting update (and final deadline for first three EC opportunities)

As of early afternoon on Tuesday, December 9, 2014, my records reflect that I have received all of the first three extra credit submissions from 19 of 28 students in the class.  In addition, I have received two EC submissions from six other students, one EC submission from two students and one student has submitted no EC.

For various reasons, I am going to now provide that I must receive any final EC submissions for the class-related assignments — that is, the first three assignments on (1) two past SCOTUS causation cases, (2) Ohio defense cases and (3) Elonis briefing and arguments — no later than the end of the day this Friday (Dec. 12, 2014).  For the record, I am happy to and probably even would prefer getting the final EC submission — about how to improve legal education and your ideal summer job — only after exams have been finished for the season.

December 9, 2014 in Course materials and schedule, Notable real cases, Research assignment | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 30, 2014

My accounting of extra credit efforts submitted as of end of November

Over the break I reviewed my electronic records to account for all the extra credit (EC) efforts submitted to date (based on three eligible EC opportunities).  Here, listed by last name and number of EC submissions, is what my accounting shows:

Al-Akhras (1)
Borgert (1)
Bullock (1)
Carnes (2)
Cline (3)
Dewey (2)
Gesiotto (2)
Jama (2)
Lee (2)
Lelli (2)
Manion (3)
Mayer (3)
Ostrander (2)
Pedicelli (3)
Ransey (2)
Riley (2)
Santiago (2)
Scott (2)
Trivunic (2)
Troyer (2)
White (2)
Woods (2)
Workman (2)
Yaptangco, Robert (2)

If your records show a different number of EC submissions, let me know ASAP.

November 30, 2014 in Course materials and schedule, Research assignment | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 16, 2013

As we consider unintentional homicides, consider how different jurisdictions could handle Matthew Cordle differently

In class we are about to transition from intentional to unintentional homicides, and there is a very high-profile unintentional homicide case soon to reach sentencing in Ohio.  This new Columbus Dispatch article, headlined "Sentencing for Matthew Cordle delayed a week," reviews the basics:

Matthew Cordle must wait another week to learn whether his video confession to killing a Gahanna man in a drunken-driving crash carries any weight with a judge. Cordle, 22, of Powell, was to learn his fate today, but his sentencing has been delayed a week, to next Wednesday, the Franklin County prosecutor’s office announced yesterday.

Cordle faces a prison sentence of as few as two years and as many as 8.5 for aggravated vehicular homicide and driving while intoxicated when he is sentenced by Franklin County Common Pleas Judge David Fais.

A pre-sentence investigation was completed Friday. But both prosecutors and Cordle’s attorneys are submitting additional information to Fais, who needs time to review the material, the prosecutor’s office said.

Cordle pleaded guilty on Sept. 18 to killing Vincent Canzani, 61, of Gahanna, while driving drunk the wrong way on westbound I-670 near 3rd Street on June 22. Cordle’s video was posted online on Sept. 3 and quickly went viral, receiving millions of views. He confessed to killing Canzani, vowed to accept responsibility and pleaded with viewers to not drink and drive.

Prosecutor Ron O’Brien is pushing for the maximum sentence. Cordle’s attorneys have suggested that the maximum would be excessive for a man with no felony record and no previous drunken-driving arrests.

We readily could (and I think students on their own should) have a robust debate about how different theories of punishment might suggest toward a particular sentence in the Ohio statutory range of 2 to 8.5 years. But that would entail a review of materials from the first week of classes, and I am now eager to use the case to provide a basis for considering how different jurisdictions (including Oliwood) have different homicide laws that could be used in different ways to sentence a defendant like Cordle.

If you were a prosecutor in Oliwood or California (or any other jurisdiction of interest to you), what homicide charges could you potentially bring in a case like this? What charges would you want to bring? If you represented a defendant like Cordle in some other jurisdiction, what charge(s) would you be urging your client to be willing to plead guilty to?

(If folks find this case/topic of special interest, I will consider creating/offering a "formal extra credit" opportunity for anyone who completes a short blog-worthy memo about any of these topics before next week's scheduled sentencing.)

October 16, 2013 in Course materials and schedule, Notable real cases, Research assignment | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 11, 2010

Open thread concerning research assignment, memo comments and grading concerns

As I promised in class this past week, I am creating this post in order to enable and encourage everyone to share comments on the research assignment.  I would be especially eager to hear:

(1) if you learned useful stuff (and liked learning useful stuff) from doing the assignment,

(2) if you liked (and learned useful stuff from) getting a chance to see how your classmates completed the assignment,

(3) if you are especially grumpy that I have not (yet) given any set of memos a check-minus or a check-plus,

(4) if you genuinely believe that any set of memos should have been given a check-minus or a check-plus.

As a matter of improving your educational experience, I care most about your response to matters (1) and (2).  But if the whole grading thing really drives you crazy, please feel free to tell me this via comments to matters (3) and (4).

December 11, 2010 in Class reflections, Research assignment | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 02, 2010

A place to get the R&W assignment instructions (and to ask questions)

A helpful student reminded me that I have not yet posted the Small Section Research and Writing Assignment instructions in this space. Thus, I have done so via this post. In addition, I both welcome and encourage student to ask any and all questions about the assignment in the comments to this post. I will try to respond to all question either via this blog on live in class.

Download 2010 R&W Assignment Instructions

November 2, 2010 in Course materials and schedule, Research assignment | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 11, 2010

Welcome back and ... the week(s) ahead

Though I will review in class on Tuesday some of the plans for various class-related tasks, I wanted here to note some of the basics and encourage feedback to make sure we are all on the same basic page administratively:

1.  We will move through the homicide materials efficiently (and should be through the whole unit before the end of the month).  Keep up with the readings, and keep considering how the cases examined would likely be resolved under Ohio and Oliwood law.

2.  I will administer the practice exam again under "real" conditions on Friday afternoon after class and/or at other times based on student interests. 

3.  I will begin discussing the small-section research assignment later this week and "officially" begin the assignment next week.  The major part of the assignment will be due (not later than) Saturday November 6.

4.  I have a pro bono (and completely optional) opportunity for interesting work for any student(s) interested in helping me put together a letter in support of clemency in conjunction with the California case discussed here at my SL&P blog.  Students interesting in this project should let me know of their interest after class or via e-mail (and can start by seeking answers to the questions posed in the linked blog post).

October 11, 2010 in Course materials and schedule, Research assignment | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 30, 2008

All the research assignment materials (and my apologies)

Sorry for taking extra time today and also for jamming my presentation of the assignment into the final few minute before (and after) the end of class.  To make amends, I am posting here all the research assignment materials ---  not just the background instructions handed out already, but also the rough oral script that I was using to discuss the case.

Download 2008_assignment_instructions.wpd (previously distributed in class)

Download 2008_facts_of_case.wpd (rough oral script with lots of typos)

I will readily answer questions about the assignment in class and at other times, but using the comments to this post might be an especially effective way for students to express concerns or questions about any aspect of the assignment or the facts in play.

October 30, 2008 in Research assignment | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack