: The Blawgraphy
Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

Please note: I'm no longer updating this particular blog, but keep it around for archival purposes. Visit me at the current blog at

Houston Law Review Article on Death Penalty Profiled in New York Times

The New York Times’ Adam Liptak highlights a forthcoming article from the Houston Law Review in today’s A New Look at Race When Death Is Sought. In Racial Disparities in the Capital of Capital Punishment, Scott Phillips of the University of Denver makes a surprising finding in analysis of death penalty statistics.

A new study to be published in The Houston Law Review this fall has found two sorts of racial disparities in the administration of the death penalty there, one commonplace and one surprising.

The unexceptional finding is that defendants who kill whites are more likely to be sentenced to death than those who kill blacks. More than 20 studies around the nation have come to similar conclusions.

But the new study also detected a more straightforward disparity. It found that the race of the defendant by itself plays a major role in explaining who is sentenced to death.

We were excited about this particular piece when it first came in, but obviously this kind of attention exceeds those expectations. Our incoming editing staff deserves the lion’s share of the credit. Congrats y’all.

Stephanie Cecere, editor-in-chief of the Houston Law Review, will enter her final year at the University of Houston Law Center this fall. She expects excitement about her publication to pick up about the same time. That’s when the journal will publish an article by Scott Phillips, a professor of sociology and criminology at the University of Denver. After studying Harris County death penalty statistics, he found that — all other factors, such as the type of crime committed, being equal — a black defendant is more likely to be sentenced to death than a white defendant in Harris County.

Tex Parte Blog: Running the numbers

Justice Scalia on 60 Minutes

Leslie Stahl at 60 Minutes airs her interview with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in Justice Scalia On The Record – see video below.

CBS Video: Scalia, Part 1

CBS Video: Scalia, Part 2

“Anyway, that’s my view,” Scalia says. “And it happens to be correct.” Classic Nino.

Congratulations to Dean Nimmer

who was officially appointed Dean of the University of Houston Law Center today after a year as acting Dean. Read the News Release announcing Nimmer as Dean from the Law Center.

BlackBerry Orphans

My girlfriend send me this article from the Wall Street Journal – BlackBerry Orphans: The growing use of email gadgets is spawning a generation of resentful children. A look at furtive thumb-typers, the signs of compulsive use and how kids are fighting back and at first it made me really sad. I’VE ABANDONED MY BOY!!!!!!!! Oh wait, I don’t have kids. What a relief. For a second I thought she might be trying to tell me something…. oh… hmmmm…. uh oh.

Voir Dire – Ready for Anything and Anybody

Anne Reed at the Deliberations blog has a great post on being Ready For Anything in voir dire.

I thought of that guy when my “jury duty” search picked up this inquiry at one of the forums at Susan’s Place Transgender Resources, “a support resource for the transgender community”:

I have been summoned for jury duty in my old male name. The last two times I was not required to go. I am to check the county web site on the Friday before to see if I am still required to go. It is ironic as I have to report to the courthouse where I plan to file for my name change as soon as I can put together enough cash for the filing fee. Another irony is that my Driver’s license and other photo ID is now in my new name. The only way I have to prove that I am the person in the summons is a letter from my therapist stating my transgender status. I hope that should I have to go to jury duty that they will be discreet about it. I plan to go up to the official and immediately explain my situation. I will go in female mode as I have no male ID now. I did not see this coming!!!!

It’s a pretty good guess that the lawyers who’ll be doing that voir dire didn’t see it coming either. They’re at their desks right now, going over the list of potential jurors, trying to figure out what they can from names, ages, neighborhoods, and occupations. (Every Sunday night I get a surge in searches for sample voir dire questions.) They think they’re ready for Daniel or Thomas or whatever their list says that juror’s name is. But they’re not.

You need to be ready for what you’re not ready for. The juror who tells you she has seventeen cats, the juror who tells you his child was killed, the juror who isn’t a man after all — you can’t botch these moments. Your compassion, your awareness, your intelligence, and your character will be judged on how you handle the next thirty seconds. You need to be at the very least, as the transgender juror hopes, discreet. Warm, engaged, and unfazed would be better.

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