Category Archives: Administrative

Posts relating to site administration and whatnot.

No New Posts Till After The Bar Exam

With just a little over a week left until the bar exam, I have no free time to post. I’ll be back soon though!

-Zachary Cloud


On Losing My Voice And Random Updates

Yea, yea…I know. I haven’t blogged for a while…for shame! I may just be a summer law clerk but I still keep really busy. Blah blah blah…

Anyhow, I seem to be losing my voice, which means I can’t talk peoples’ ears off like I normally might. This is loss of voice is especially problematic given that I have to be in court about every day and speak a lot—to clients, to the prosecutors, to the judge. But there’s an upside: I’m inclined to blog in my spare time.

So, what’s new, you ask?

1. Well, the health care cases are coming down tomorrow. I might post on it; I might not. While I have some interest in the matters, I know the issue is going to be discussed to death in the blawgosphere and the mainstream media. I’m not sure I’ll have anything to add but I reserve the right to blog on the decision(s).

2. It’s been approximately a year since Turner v. Rogers came down and I’m going to take a look into how lower courts have been treating the decision. Might turn into a full-length article…might turn into just a brief update. Again, we’ll see.

3. Recent good news for defendants! As you might have already heard, the US Supreme Court held that the Fair Sentencing Act applies to convicted defendants awaiting sentencing when the Act was passed. To make a long story short, it used to be that federal defendants convicted of possessing crack cocaine were sentenced at a 100:1 disparity in comparison to those convicted of possessing powder cocaine. Congress changed that in September 2010. It was unclear if defendants awaiting sentencing when the Act passed would get the benefits of it. SCOTUS says YES. See Dorsey v. United States

The Court also found 14-year old juveniles sentenced to life without parole to be cruel and unusual punishment. See Miller v. Alabama

And of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the “blockbuster” Confrontation Clause ruling in Williams v. Illinois. Generally, it looks like a loss for defendants but It’s a complicated decision and I’m still digesting exactly what it means. For a pretty good analysis, see Jeff Fisher’s analysis here. Jeff’s a go-to guy on all-things Confrontation Clause so I’m inclined to trust his judgment on this.

4. I have a backlog of posts I want to do. On the list are the Legal Fiction chapters and a piece about the psychology of presuming guilt. Hoping to do some work on these in the near future but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how busy I keep with my current job so I’m not making promises.

I think that’s all. Random update complete.

-Zachary Cloud

Happy Birthday to the Blog!

Criminal Law & Psychology is 1 year old today! My first substantive post occurred on Nov. 2, 2010. Twelve months and eighty posts later, it’s become a success. Thanks for being along for the ride. I’ll be working this year to improve the site and I hope you’ll stay with me for that journey as well.

-Zachary Cloud

Coming Soon: The Respondent Brief

A brief update here [yes, pun intended]. I know some of those following Turner v. Rogers have been waiting to see what respondent Rebecca Rogers’ brief has to say about the case. I am too.

Sadly, I don’t have access to a copy of the brief yet. Although the Supreme Court’s electronic database indicates it was submitted this past Tuesday (Feb 8), I have not yet been able to get ahold of it. It can take a few days from the time these docs get submitted to when they’re up online…but don’t worry. When I get access, my analysis/commentary will quickly follow!

-Zachary Cloud

Blog Updates

I just wanted to give an update on the status of the blog. Things are progressing but I still have things I want to refine– truly, it’s a work in progress. I’ll be doing some updating and adding here in the next week or so in order to make the site better. I figured I’d better jump on this while the semester is still early and I’m not inescapably overworked. Be on the look out for, among other improvements, a new piece on jury psychology and the return of my weekly articles. Stay tuned!

-Zachary Cloud

Send Me Your Interesting Stories!

I don’t think I’ve ever commented directly on this before but it dawned on me that I should.  If you have interesting news articles, cases, or other information relevant to the types of matters I cover then you should feel more than free to share them with me if you’d like by sending me an email here!

(Maybe) A Game Changer: Schwarzenegger v. Plata

The season of law school finals has rendered me more or less out of commission to do any commentary on this case…which is is a bit of a shame considering how important it may well be for prisoner rights and the scope of the judiciary’s authority in managing prisons.  Fortunately, Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSblog has an excellent article on it already!  You definitely want to give this one a read!! Find it here!

In the meantime, I’ll pass along info about this case or others that catch my attention.  However, unless something substantive happens with Turner v. Price or the pending Montejo v. Louisiana petition, you probably won’t be seeing any articles from me until finals are completed.

-Zachary Cloud