Ken Strutin’s latest guide on criminal law is an expansive, extensively documented, expert work that provides researchers, scholars, lawyers, judges, advocates for criminal justice, librarians, students, and Americans, a timely and essential guide to seminal issues that are currently the subject of widespread debate – in Congress, in states and local communities across the country – and litigation – in America’s courts, the court of public opinion, and on social media. Strutin takes up the immense challenge of these volatile subjects with his first statement: “There is no such thing as an “illegal” person. For the virtues of citizenship are not exclusive to law books, but found in the dignity of individuals. Ancient peoples who made the first journeys to new lands quickly discovered that humanity is a flower that can bloom anywhere. Since then, lines on maps have served to separate people from personhood. He continues – “Immigration laws and policies have the power to conflate race, ethnicity and national origin with lawbreaking, economic rivalry, and terrorism. A targeted noncitizen occupies an indissoluble bubble of isolation and obloquy that separates them from the moral force of state laws, the integrity of its officials, and the decency of its citizens. For them America is an inside out prison comprised of sensitive locations, sanctuary cities, and degrading confinement. If the immigration system bears a resemblance to criminal justice, it is because they share a forge upon which people are hammered out.” Through the outstanding scholarship Strutin offers here, it is my hope that readers will engage with these issues that are intrinsically connected to Democracy and respect for human rights.
“Unseen, confinement is where society’s unspent rage takes its toll on human lives. It reduces existence to a room that grows smaller with each degradation. A house of pain and trauma, its concrete walls and steel doors enclose people in jails and prisons, juvenile facilities, solitary, immigration detention and civil commitment. Incarceration intersects punishment, dignity, and end of life. And fear of its horrors are the bludgeon of interrogations, plea bargaining, and retributive justice.” This comprehensive, deeply researched and significant article by Ken Strutin compiles recent and notable reports, scholarship and news concerning the devastating spectrum of prison life and mortality. Through the perspective, insights and voluminous documentation of this leading expert on criminal justice we are given a deeper, more encompassing and meaningful understanding of a complex institutional structure that impacts the lives of millions of Americans. Strutin’s article is not only a critical legal resource but it is also a body of knowledge that calls out for understanding as well as action to ensure that civil liberties, social justice, and our belief in a just society includes the incarcerated, their families, and all of our communities.
Ken Strutin’s exemplary research once again advances our understanding of critical issues pertaining to our justice system in the United States. According to Strutin: ‘the number of innocent people in post-conviction confinement is counted in the thousands, the pre-trial population of the unconvicted is in the millions. Every accused has constitutional rights to liberty, dignity and innocence, and yet, confinement often arrives before conviction. Money bail has the unfortunate effect of monetizing personal liberty and alchemizing human beings into negotiable instruments. This is the slippery slope of criminal justice, the erosion of liberty and due process. So it is that excessive bail bars the way to fully realize constitutional rights and increases the risk of wrongful conviction. Present efforts to improve pretrial release and detention practices have inspired some legislative and policy changes as well as bail funds and advocacy programs. This guide and annotated bibliography covers noteworthy legislation, court decisions, reports and guides, news articles and other sources concerning bail reforms and practices.”
This overview by Peter Charles focuses on the impact of data collection in reference to DUI prosecutions, and includes recent court cases, notable articles on DUI law, and loops in the escalating use of data collection and privacy rights.
Notable developments in courtrooms, academia and government institutions, both state and federal, are laying the groundwork for challenges to fingerprint matching. This extensively researched, comprehensive annotated bibliography by Ken Strutin includes new and noteworthy materials such as key opinions, significant articles and online resources concerning accuracy, reliability, validity as well as authenticity of fingerprint evidence. It also includes information on scientific and technological developments that are pushing the frontiers of biometric analysis.
Report – President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology Casts Doubt on Criminal Forensics
The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) stated in their report – “Among the more than 2.2 million inmates in U.S. prisons and jails, countless may have been convicted using unreliable or fabricated forensic science. The U.S. has an abiding and unfulfilled moral obligation to free citizens who were imprisoned by such questionable means.” Ken Strutin’s article features information about the PCAST Report, its reception by advocates and critics, and related articles, publications and developments concerning the science of innocence.
An Amazon Echo device is the subject of a prosecutor’s search warrant related to an Arkansas murder case. Nicole Black illuminates how such devices are complicating issues related to consumer privacy and vendor responses to search warrants. The ubiquity of Internet of Things (IoT) devices in homes will no doubt result in more warrants for the data they collect.
This expansive, comprehensive and up-to-date guide by Lyonette Louis-Jacques, Foreign and International Law Librarian and Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago D’Angelo Law Library, references resources that include books, loose-leaf, online, database and e-government sites, services and resources.
Ken Strutin’s article is a survey of legal scholarship and medical research concerning the study of pain and its significance for the administration of civil and criminal justice. The complexity of pain’s impact on each individual’s life is increasingly relevant in the context of the administration of civil and criminal justice. Strutin’s subject matter expertise in issues of law and justice is further articulated in this this article as he undertakes a timely review of an increasingly relevant issue that impacts the lives of defendants and complainants alike.
Criminal law expert Ken Strutin’s new article is yet another research tour de force – a collection of recent and notable developments concerning DNA as forensic science, metric of guilt, herald of innocence, and its emerging place in the debate over privacy and surveillance. The increasing use of DNA evidence to support assumptions of an individual’s guilt and less frequently as a tool to prove the innocence of prisoners wrongly convicted, reflects many facets of the changing fabric of the American criminal justice, the role of the Fourth Amendment and the increasing collection of a wide range of biological evidence from crime scenes whose metadata then is searchable within the national DNA database.