Criminal Justice Magazine, Winter 2010 (Vol. 24/ No. 4)



The National Academy of Sciences Report: A Challenge to Forensic Science
By Paul C. Giannelli and Susan Friedman

Post-Daubert, the standards concerning forensic evidence were questioned for
the first time in decades; the scientific community took note. Asking Congress
to investigate, an NAS committee was formed to look at current training and
education in forensic science, application of scientific methods, accreditation
and certification, and other aspects of the field. A report was issued in February
2009 noting both strengths and weaknesses, but it is the shortcomings of
forensic science that have garnered the attention: incomplete lab reports, lack
of standards, a bias toward police, and questions about the accuracy, reliability,
and validity of evidence tools such as fingerprinting, hair analysis, bite marks,
and ballistics. In this article the authors summarize the report and review the
committee’s recommendations to correct these deficiencies.

Federal Court Certification of State Criminal Law Questions
By Andrew J. Field

Although primarily used in civil litigation, certification is also employed in
criminal law. In this article the author offers criminal prosecutors and defenders
an overview of a unique judicial tool that allows the federal courts to put the
burden of deciding a sticky question back onto the shoulders of the states’
highest courts. He summarizes how a certified question is submitted and
discusses some of the practical and tactical arguments to make when litigating a
certified criminal law question.

Wired: What We’ve Learned About Courtroom Technology
By Fredric I. Lederer

Working in one of the most technologically advanced courtrooms in the country,
the author takes readers on a tour of how far high-tech gadgetry has expanded
into the everyday lives of trial lawyers since he last reported on the topic in
Criminal Justice magazine in 2004. He looks at what has become commonplace,
what has failed to live up to its promise, and what is yet to come.

Expanding the Zones: A Modest Proposal to Increase the Use of Alternatives to
Incarceration in Federal Sentencing

By J.P. Hanlon, Sean Hecker, and David Gopstein

More than 2.3 million Americans were incarcerated as of 2008—nearly 200,000
in federal prisons. In most cases, judges have little leeway in the decision on
whether or not to incarcerate; the federal Sentencing Guidelines require some
prison time even for most first-time, nonviolent offenders. In light of the
financial and societal expense of incarcerating so many citizens, the authors
suggest expanding the sentencing zones to allow greater discretion.

When Is a Parent’s Authority Apparent?: Reconsidering Third-Party Consent Searches of an Adult
Child’s Private Bedroom and Property

By Jason C. Miller

The question of a parent’s right to allow police to search a minor child’s room
is easy. But what about an adult child—what circumstances would trigger a
Fourth Amendment expectation of a right to privacy? The courts are not in
agreement. And if the courts cannot agree, how can police be certain they are in compliance?



Chair’s Counsel
Trial Tactics
Criminal Justice Matters
Cert Alert
Book Review
Section News


Criminal Justice Magazine

Criminal Justice magazine, published quarterly by the Criminal Justice Section of the American Bar Association, is intended for a national audience of defense lawyers, prosecutors, judges, academics, and other criminal justice professionals with a focus on the practice and policy issues of the criminal justice system. Each issue includes feature articles, as well as regular columns. In addition, there are occasional thematic issues which focus on one particular aspect of the criminal justice system.

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