help me think of a Federal Criminal Law paper topic

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objctnyrhnr
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help me think of a Federal Criminal Law paper topic

Postby objctnyrhnr » Mon Jan 20, 2014 3:53 pm

Hi all,

I am taking a class where I will have to write a law-review-esque, in-depth paper (think like 30-40 pages) on some topic in the field of federal criminal law. Does anybody have any ideas?

I wrote to TLS in a similar way for my death penalty seminar class and ended up with an awesome topic idea for an article that I subsequently submitted to academic journals around the country and am now receiving publication offers. I am hoping to have the same luck with this, and it is also a broader topic so it should be easier.

Thank you in advance!

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gdane
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Re: help me think of a Federal Criminal Law paper topic

Postby gdane » Mon Jan 20, 2014 5:13 pm

Sentencing guidelines, sentencing guidelines disparity (think crack/cocaine), the effectiveness of the war on drugs, immigration.

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rinkrat19
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Re: help me think of a Federal Criminal Law paper topic

Postby rinkrat19 » Mon Jan 20, 2014 5:21 pm

There's an article in yesterday's NY Times about how some states are not fully implementing the limits on life sentences for juveniles that SCOTUS established in a couple of cases (Miller v. Alabama, 2010; Graham v. Florida, 2012). Could be interesting.

I can't figure out how to get the article URL from the app, but the headline is Juveniles Facing Lifelong Terms Despite Rulings.

objctnyrhnr
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Re: help me think of a Federal Criminal Law paper topic

Postby objctnyrhnr » Tue Jan 21, 2014 1:04 am

Thanks to those who have responded. What about any other ideas? Any arguments that any of you really feel should be made, pertaining perhaps to constitutional issues with federal law or with trends in state law?

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rinkrat19
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Re: help me think of a Federal Criminal Law paper topic

Postby rinkrat19 » Tue Jan 21, 2014 1:08 am

How courts are finally, finally, FINALLY starting to allow science to actually inform things. Like how the "common sense" of the juries is not enough to evaluate the reliability of an eyewitness identification; they need to be instructed on the actual science behind it (which has literally been around for a hundred years). The federal standards for the reliability of eyewitness IDs are total bullshit.

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Hipster but Athletic
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Re: help me think of a Federal Criminal Law paper topic

Postby Hipster but Athletic » Tue Jan 21, 2014 1:08 am

Reparations for castrated people

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Hipster but Athletic
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Re: help me think of a Federal Criminal Law paper topic

Postby Hipster but Athletic » Tue Jan 21, 2014 1:18 am

How shows like CSI have contributed to a rise in crime by educating criminals on the capabilities and limitations of criminal investigation.

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Hipster but Athletic
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Re: help me think of a Federal Criminal Law paper topic

Postby Hipster but Athletic » Tue Jan 21, 2014 1:19 am

How neighborhood watches are unconstitutional

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Hipster but Athletic
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Re: help me think of a Federal Criminal Law paper topic

Postby Hipster but Athletic » Tue Jan 21, 2014 1:24 am

Towards a theory of liability for EDM disc jockeys (an indirect possession/use theory like inducement)

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Hipster but Athletic
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Re: help me think of a Federal Criminal Law paper topic

Postby Hipster but Athletic » Tue Jan 21, 2014 1:28 am

Why a hunger games at Death Row is a bad idea

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Hipster but Athletic
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Re: help me think of a Federal Criminal Law paper topic

Postby Hipster but Athletic » Tue Jan 21, 2014 1:29 am

The Angola Prison Rodeo and the 13th Amendment.

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Hipster but Athletic
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Re: help me think of a Federal Criminal Law paper topic

Postby Hipster but Athletic » Tue Jan 21, 2014 1:30 am

Segregation in prisons: No longer justifiable

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Hipster but Athletic
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Re: help me think of a Federal Criminal Law paper topic

Postby Hipster but Athletic » Tue Jan 21, 2014 1:31 am

Prosecuting Murder Suicides: Seeking Justice for Society

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Hipster but Athletic
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Re: help me think of a Federal Criminal Law paper topic

Postby Hipster but Athletic » Tue Jan 21, 2014 1:32 am

Why returning the Internet to the Government is necessary to prevent crimes against children.

UnderrateOverachieve
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Re: help me think of a Federal Criminal Law paper topic

Postby UnderrateOverachieve » Tue Jan 21, 2014 3:50 am

Stretching the bounds of ineffective assistance doctrine is hot right now.

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Hipster but Athletic
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Re: help me think of a Federal Criminal Law paper topic

Postby Hipster but Athletic » Tue Jan 21, 2014 2:24 pm

UnderrateOverachieve wrote:Stretching the bounds of ineffective assistance doctrine is hot right now.

Umm, this is how we brainstorm bro. Not every idea has to be perfect.

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2807
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Re: help me think of a Federal Criminal Law paper topic

Postby 2807 » Tue Jan 21, 2014 4:00 pm

1. Federal gun law enforcement (and lack of it) and why federal politicians are dogs for pretending more law will make us safe.
or
2. The need for a federal law to protect the right to die via assisted suicide.

There ya go. One concept for each political affiliation.

Of course, the easy one is the marijuana law issues: FED v State.. and Fed's statement that they will not enforce current law !
WTF? That is a slippery slope.
Enforce it or repeal it ... that should be their duty.

Cherry-picking enforcement sounds like something that would make soldiers of the revolution roll over in their graves.
Yes, the system cherry picks. But, to publicly state it as policy (Eric Holder) is horrible.

objctnyrhnr
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Re: help me think of a Federal Criminal Law paper topic

Postby objctnyrhnr » Tue Jan 21, 2014 5:00 pm

many of these have been great, and many have been entertaining (some have been both). I was actually already thinking about the marijuana/state legalization issue. I appreciate all of the posts so far, and, of course, invite people to keep them coming.

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2807
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Re: help me think of a Federal Criminal Law paper topic

Postby 2807 » Tue Jan 21, 2014 5:39 pm

Don't forget about all of the issues in white-collar crime, RICO, and insider trading issues.

Many opportunities for arguments about landmark cases.

Martha Stewart case really stretched the reach of the statute they used against her.
That would be an interesting paper and topic to show what that case established as a crime.

It is not what you think it is!

ONWARD !

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LexLeon
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Re: help me think of a Federal Criminal Law paper topic

Postby LexLeon » Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:03 pm

Hipster but Athletic wrote:How shows like CSI have contributed to a rise in crime by educating criminals on the capabilities and limitations of criminal investigation.


I wonder if there's any truth to the above.

Anyway...

Objctnyrhnr, I think drug laws could use a bit more attention.

Look at the number of drug offenders in federal prison. There are connections to race and many other contentious topics. There's also recent trends toward decriminalization of marijuana.

Also, this question: Should someone be punished merely for using (possessing, really; that's the offense) drugs?

On the topic, this guy (Husak) is pretty damn good, and his book is only $0.01:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/ ... ition=used

I'm sure, whatever topic you pick, you'll do a fine job!

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LexLeon
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Re: help me think of a Federal Criminal Law paper topic

Postby LexLeon » Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:04 pm

objctnyrhnr wrote:many of these have been great, and many have been entertaining (some have been both). I was actually already thinking about the marijuana/state legalization issue. I appreciate all of the posts so far, and, of course, invite people to keep them coming.


Oops, just saw this after I posted. Hope my post is of some help anyway!

objctnyrhnr
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Re: help me think of a Federal Criminal Law paper topic

Postby objctnyrhnr » Wed Jan 22, 2014 8:13 pm

any ideas about any arguments to be made relating to RICO or hobbs act or commerce clause stuff?

objctnyrhnr
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Re: help me think of a Federal Criminal Law paper topic

Postby objctnyrhnr » Thu Jan 23, 2014 3:29 pm

bumpity bump?

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sd5289
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Re: help me think of a Federal Criminal Law paper topic

Postby sd5289 » Fri Jan 24, 2014 2:03 pm

gdane wrote:Sentencing guidelines, sentencing guidelines disparity (think crack/cocaine), the effectiveness of the war on drugs, immigration.


This.

This is pretty much what "federal criminal law" is these days. Federal defense work is dominated by sentencing law.

Fun stuff in the Sentencing Guidelines: how quickly the offense level goes up in white collar crimes (see the "Specific Offense Characteristics" section here). If you're somehow lucky enough to "only" have taken a lowly $1 million, the Guidelines add 16 to your base offense level of 6 or 7, which starts you at 41-51 months (assuming no criminal history). If you're Raj Rajaratnam and profited to the tune of over $50 million (a more realistic number), the Guidelines adds 20 to your base offense level.

The Guidelines are issued each year, and can be altered by the Commission. Wanna take a guess when this particular guideline was revised?

That's the interesting part of how the Guidelines process works (to me anyway).




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