Accepting work from a convict?

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Fabienne, Jul 17, 2006.

  1. lawyerdad

    lawyerdad Senior member

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    If he was sentenced to death, then he must have been convicted for murder. It's the only crime for which death is a permissible punishment.
    Basically true, at least in terms of state offenses. I think on the federal side, there's treason and perhaps a few others. A few years back I remember being amused to discover that in this day of detailed statutory regulations and complex sentencing guidelines, the federal criminal code still defined the offense of "piracy" in language something like this:
    "Whosever cruises against the vessels of the United States is a pirate", with death being the specified maximum sentence.
     


  2. odoreater

    odoreater Senior member

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    Basically true, at least in terms of state offenses. I think on the federal side, there's treason and perhaps a few others. A few years back I remember being amused to discover that in this day of detailed statutory regulations and complex sentencing guidelines, the federal criminal code still defined the offense of "piracy" in language something like this:
    "Whosever cruises against the vessels of the United States is a pirate", with death being the specified maximum sentence.


    But even if death is the specified sentence, wouldn't the feds still have to show that the piracy or treason resulted in somebody's death to satisfy the Eighth Amendment? There was that Georgia case where the guy was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder, then escaped and raped some woman, and then when he was caught again they tried to impose the death penalty and on review the Supreme Court said that the death penalty can only be applied when the person is convicted of a killing. Might not apply to treason though because the punishment of death for treason is specified in the Constitution itself.
     


  3. lawyerdad

    lawyerdad Senior member

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    But even if death is the specified sentence, wouldn't the feds still have to show that the piracy or treason resulted in somebody's death to satisfy the Eighth Amendment? There was that Georgia case where the guy was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder, then escaped and raped some woman, and then when he was caught again they tried to impose the death penalty and on review the Supreme Court said that the death penalty can only be applied when the person is convicted of a killing. Might not apply to treason though because the punishment of death for treason is specified in the Constitution itself.
    You could well be right - I don't know the Georgia case in question. But I'm pretty sure it's not the case with treason (perhaps for the reason you've identified). I'm thinking in particular of the Rosenberg case. I just kind of liked the archaic and straightforward formulation of the anti-piracy statute, from a purely literary perspective.
     


  4. Quirk

    Quirk Senior member

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    I don't know what field Fabienne is in, but I know that at most Biglaw firms it's pretty acceptable practice for young associates to represent death row inmates in their habeas petitions on a pro bono basis.

    Oh yeah, I would expect that for a law firm, I just didn't realize this was legal work.
     


  5. Stax

    Stax Senior member

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    But even if death is the specified sentence, wouldn't the feds still have to show that the piracy or treason resulted in somebody's death to satisfy the Eighth Amendment? There was that Georgia case where the guy was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder, then escaped and raped some woman, and then when he was caught again they tried to impose the death penalty and on review the Supreme Court said that the death penalty can only be applied when the person is convicted of a killing. Might not apply to treason though because the punishment of death for treason is specified in the Constitution itself.

    I think that case is Coker v. Georgia, or some similar name. IIRC, that court held that a sentence of death violated the 8th when the accused was only convicted of rape, rather than holding that murder is mandatory prerequisite to a death sentence. I am pulling this out of my foggy memory of a capital punishment seminar I took in LS, however, and I could be off base. Also, I think some other crimes that result in a death that does not rise to level of murder are eligible for the death penalty. Threatening or ordering the death of a federal witness or jury member is also a federal capital offense, I think.
     


  6. odoreater

    odoreater Senior member

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    I think that case is Coker v. Georgia, or some similar name. IIRC, that court held that a sentence of death violated the 8th when the accused was only convicted of rape, rather than holding that murder is mandatory prerequisite to a death sentence. I am pulling this out of my foggy memory of a capital punishment seminar I took in LS, however, and I could be off base. Also, I think some other crimes that result in a death that does not rise to level of murder are eligible for the death penalty. Threatening or ordering the death of a federal witness or jury member is also a federal capital offense, I think.

    Ah yes, you are right. I just consulted my old criminal law outline and I have written that in Coker v. Georgia the Supreme Court held that the punishment of death is constitutionally disproportionate where the defendant has been convicted of rape, but it doesn't say that murder (or a killing) is a prerequisite for imposition of the death penalty. Good looking out. Also, sorry for the hijack.
     


  7. lawyerdad

    lawyerdad Senior member

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    Ah yes, you are right. I just consulted my old criminal law outline and I have written that in Coker v. Georgia the Supreme Court held that the punishment of death is constitutionally disproportionate where the defendant has been convicted of rape, but it doesn't say that murder (or a killing) is a prerequisite for imposition of the death penalty. Good looking out. Also, sorry for the hijack.
    Careful, I think the 8th Amendment may give j sufficient leeway to impose impose a punishment of banning for threadjacking . . .
     


  8. odoreater

    odoreater Senior member

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    Careful, I think the 8th Amendment may give j sufficient leeway to impose impose a punishment of banning for threadjacking . . .

    If j banned me it would be cruel and unusual punishment for the rest of the forum. [​IMG]
     


  9. lawyerdad

    lawyerdad Senior member

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    If j banned me it would be cruel and unusual punishment for the rest of the forum. [​IMG]
    LOL. I hear he's been talking to Ricky . . .
     


  10. wheelerray

    wheelerray Senior member

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    To go back to the original point of the post, you will be terrified if you take the time to see how easy it is for anyone with internet access to find your address, assuming you own property. One can even pull up a satellite image of your house and neighborhood on-screen in seconds.

    In my line of work the State licensing board posts "business" addresses on their website, so I got a PO box thinking it provided some privacy. A colleague showed me how flimsy that precaution was when he showed me how easily he found my address and the aforementioned satellite image of my house on the internet with no personal info other than my name.

    If you want no-risk, all you can do is stay away from risky populations, 'cause they can surely find you if they want to.
     


  11. odoreater

    odoreater Senior member

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    To go back to the original point of the post, you will be terrified if you take the time to see how easy it is for anyone with internet access to find your address, assuming you own property. One can even pull up a satellite image of your house and neighborhood on-screen in seconds.

    In my line of work the State licensing board posts "business" addresses on their website, so I got a PO box thinking it provided some privacy. A colleague showed me how flimsy that precaution was when he showed me how easily he found my address and the aforementioned satellite image of my house on the internet with no personal info other than my name.

    If you want no-risk, all you can do is stay away from risky populations, 'cause they can surely find you if they want to.


    I'd probably set up a PO Box and give the guy the benefit of the doubt beyond that, but that's just me. I'm not sure that that's the right approach for other people.
     


  12. Stax

    Stax Senior member

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    I'd probably set up a PO Box and give the guy the benefit of the doubt beyond that, but that's just me. I'm not sure that that's the right approach for other people.

    ditto
     


  13. Fabienne

    Fabienne Senior member

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    Thank you for all the responses. My friend, after learning about the life sentence and rereading the letter (I have not seen the letter), decided for me: he doesn't want to be involved and would not want any harm to come to me because of someone he would have referred. He therefore will answer negatively with the self-addressed stamped envelope the man had enclosed. This friend, like me, has worked with inmates in the past (he taught correspondence courses through the university where we met), but this particular situation makes him uneasy. I will not pursue this. And no, it is not legal work.

    From the little research I did yesterday on the inmate's name, it sounds, indeed, as though he had previously been sentenced to death.
     


  14. Matt

    Matt [email protected]

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    way off topic fab - is that you in your avatar?
     


  15. Fabienne

    Fabienne Senior member

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    way off topic fab - is that you in your avatar?

    If the opinion is favorable, it's me; if not, it's Shakira or Emmanuelle Beart.
    [​IMG]
     


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