Criminal Law

Jennifer Lada, Bouncing the Proverbial Blank Check: An Argument for Including Candidates for Public Office Within the Scope of the Hobbs Act

The Hobbs Act, codified at 18 U.S.C. § 1951, criminalizes bribery of and extortion by public officials. Under the statute, “‘extortion’ means the obtaining of property from another, with his consent, induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear, or under color of official right.” But the meaning of “under color […]

Margaret Tarkington, Lost in the Compromise: Free Speech, Criminal Justice, and Attorney Pretrial Publicity

The right to a jury trial, the presumption of innocence, the social compact between the individual and the State—these are among the weighty interests in our criminal justice system that can be bolstered or undermined through attorney pretrial publicity. The procedural protections that exist in the Constitution for criminal justice are neither technicalities nor formalities. […]

Adam M. Hapner, You Have the Right to Remain Silent, But Anything You Don’t Say May Be Used Against You: The Admissibility of Silence as Evidence After Salinas v. Texas

In Salinas v. Texas, the United States Supreme Court held that a suspect’s refusal to answer an officer’s questions during a noncustodial, pre-Miranda, criminal interrogation is admissible at trial as substantive evidence of guilt. In a plurality decision, Justice Samuel Alito emphasized that before a suspect can rely on the privilege against self-incrimination, the suspect […]

Marc B. Hernandez, Guilt Without Mens Rea: How Florida’s Elimination of Mens Rea for Drug Possession is Constitutional

The Florida Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act is almost unique among criminal drug statutes in the United States. Like all states, Florida prohibits the possession, sale, and delivery of certain controlled substances. However, a recent revision of the Florida Comprehensive Drug Act removed Florida’s burden of proving one aspect of defendants’ mens rea […]

Michael Polatsek, Extortion Through the Public Record: Has the Internet Made Florida’s Sunshine Law Too Bright?

In recent years, privately owned websites around the country have begun to gather arrest records directly from law enforcement websites and republish them on their own sites. Often, the images are displayed without regard to the ultimate disposition of the arrestee’s case. Images and arrest records of individuals who were eventually convicted or acquitted are […]

Anne R. Traum, Using Outcomes to Reframe Guilty Plea Adjudication

The Supreme Court’s 2012 decisions in Lafler v. Cooper and Missouri v. Frye lay the groundwork for a new approach to judicial oversight of guilty pleas that considers outcomes. These cases confirm that courts possess robust authority to protect defendants’ Sixth Amendment right to the effective assistance of counsel and that plea outcomes are particularly […]