Actus Reus

ac·tus re·us \ˈak-təs-ˈrē-əs, ˈäk-tu̇s-ˈrā-u̇s\

noun : the wrongful act that makes up the physical action of a crime

Latin: guilty act

Fordham Law Appellate Litigation Clinic wins Fourth Amendment case in Second Circuit

Students from the Fordham Appellate Litigation Clinic, supervised by Professor Ian Weinstein, recently prevailed on behalf of a client in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. After their client, Damian Cunningham, was convicted of participating in a robbery conspiracy and carrying a firearm during the course of the conspiracy, the Clinic argued that the police officers who stopped Mr. Cunningham lacked reasonable and articulable suspicion to search his car. The Second … [Read more...]

University of Tennessee Appellate Litigation Clinic wins habeas case in Sixth Circuit

Students from the University of Tennessee Appellate Litigation Clinic, led by Professor Lucy Jewel, recently argued and won a habeas corpus petition in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. The case, which involved a question of whether the client’s post-conviction motion was properly filed to toll the statute of limitations under the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, required a year of intense preparation by the clinic students, who filed multiple briefs and … [Read more...]

Marshall Project begins three-part series addressing underfunding of public defender offices

Beginning today, the Marshall Project is publishing a three-part investigative series on underfunding in public defender systems. The first article, entitled When the Money Runs Out for Public Defense, What Happens Next?, provides a glimpse into staggering funding crises in public defender offices across the country. The accounts include Louisiana judicial districts where one public defender represents 900 clients, another public defender represents 50 defendants simultaneously pleading guilty … [Read more...]

DOJ announces it will reduce use of private prisons

Department of Justice Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates announced, in a memorandum to the Bureau of Federal Prisons, that the DOJ intended to "begin[] the process of reducing - and ultimately ending" its use of private federal prisons. Noting that private prisons do not provide the same level of safety, security, or rehabilitative and educational services as government-run prisons, the memorandum instructed the Bureau of Federal Prisons to either decline to renew or "substantially reduce" … [Read more...]

DOJ Finds that Baltimore Police Department Has Pattern or Practice of Unconstitutional Conduct

The Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice wrapped up its lengthy investigation of the Baltimore Police Department by releasing a report on August 10, 2016, which excoriated the BPD for engaging in a "pattern or practice" of unconstitutional conduct. The misconduct includes excessive force; retaliation; unconstitutional stops, searches, and arrests; and law enforcement strategies that created "severe and unjustified disparities" in the rates of African Americans subjected to … [Read more...]

UCLA Criminal Defense Clinic wins commutation for long-time client

Congratulations to the UCLA Criminal Defense Clinic and its client, Darnell Crookshank, whose federal sentence of life without parole was commuted by President Obama earlier this week. The UCLA Criminal Defense Clinic, led by Professors Ingrid Eagly and Julie Cramer and assisted in this case by pro bono attorney Peter Johnson, has been representing Mr. Crookshank since 2014. All of the clinic's student attorneys collaborated in Mr. Crookshank's representation, preparing his commutation … [Read more...]