A Criminal Enterprise

Nightly News–September 17, 2009

Posted in nightly news by Robert Smith on September 18, 2009

National News:

  • Raymond Clark III, who is a Yale lab technician, was arrested and charged with the murder of 24 year-old Yale graduate student, Annie Le , who was found dead and stuffed into a wall in a medical school laboratory on Sunday. Police took Clark into custody yesterday to obtain DNA samples, but he was not under arrest at that time. Police claim to have “250 pieces of evidence” and are hinting at a “workplace  violence” theory, but are not releasing much information about if and how Le and Clark were acquainted outside of working together in the same building (where she conducted experiments on mice and he cared for and cleaned up after them).  CNN covers the story here and here. Harvard Law Prof Alan Dershowitz provides a primer on the distinction between “person of interest” and “arrested” here. Yale University President Richard Levin’s letter to the Yale community here.
  • A Hofstra student who claimed that she was raped by four men (all of whom were arrested, locked-up, and charged with first-degree rape), recanted her story today, claiming that the sex was consensual. One of the defendants lawyers claims that a video shot from one of the defendants cell phones proves that this was not a rape. Something seems off here, and I hope we get more of the story soon. Apparently the police are considering  filing charges against the student. The Huffington Post reports that Hofstra University has suspended her. Crime and Federalism has these two posts, here and here (though I mostly disagree with his critique of feminism (or at least the majority of feminists that I know), and wish that neither the woman’s name  nor the  names of the accused were released. I certainly do not wish ill on the woman who appears to have made the false accusation, and think (at least without knowing more) we need to be sensitive of the possible reasons that she would have pressed the claim.)
  • A Louisville, Kentucky jury acquitted former high school teacher and football coach, David Stinson, who was charged in relation to the heat related death of one of his former football players. Stinson allegedly required the boys to keep working out despite extremely warm weather. One of the players collapsed (his body temp reached 107) and died several days later. Despite the acquittal, Stinson points out that he had lost his coaching and teaching jobs. Story here. Here is a Find Law article with back coverage on the case. Three assistant coaches defended Stinson’s actions. Is this a case of serious prosecutorial overreaching?


  • Capital Defense Weekly has this post on the Florida Supreme Court’s remand for a new penalty phase trial in Hurst v. State:

“The Florida Supreme Court Thursday in Timothy Lee Hurst v. State, No. SC07-179, unanimously granted a new sentencing hearing.  The Court granted Mr.  Hurst relief as trial counsel failed to present evidence that included his low IQ, borderline intellectual functioning and possible brain damage due to fetal alcohol syndrome.”

  • Sentencing Law and Policy questions whether Romell Broom’s case will end up at SCOTUS. That post also points out that (as Professor Berman suggested might happen) two federal defenders asked judges to allow them access to Romell Broom to attempt to glean information that the execution process is painful.
  • StandDown Texas on Sharon Keller and Todd Willingham and Troy Davis  here.
  • Gamso for the Defense has an interesting take on the botched execution attempt in Ohio: “Either we give up state murder, acknowledge once and for all that the death penalty, no matter how cosmetically attractive we try to make it is just another killing, unnecessary, unfair, uncertain. Or we embrace the horror, admit that we torture people to death at least some of the time and acknowledge that we’re just fine with it.” The spirit of these remarks reminds me of this great article by Billy Sothern in the Nation right after the decision in Baze v. Rees.

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