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Tozai Mystery Best 100

In 1985, the Mystery Writers of Japan (plus "508 people who love mystery novels") assembled two separate lists of the 100 best mystery novels: one each for the books of the East and West. A revised list came out in 2012. Both Western lists are remarkable for their comparative lack of overlap with the "100 best" lists produced by the American and British mystery writers associations. The Eastern lists are remarkable for the fact that fewer than a quarter of their entries have been translated into English. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Jul 18, 2014 - 14 comments

"A system that serves no penological purpose... is unconstitutional."

A federal judge declared California's death penalty unconstitutional Wednesday, saying delays of 25 years or more in deciding appeals and carrying out occasional executions have created an arbitrary and irrational system that serves no legitimate purpose. Executions in California have already been on hold since 2006, due to problems with the procedures associated with lethal injection. If the ruling is upheld, California will join 18 other states (plus D.C.) that have abolished capital punishment. (Read the court's opinion here.)
posted by scody on Jul 16, 2014 - 41 comments

The Boring Generation

The staid young: Oh! you pretty things. The Economist on how young people are not the alcohol ridden hooligans they were thought to be (and how changing parenting styles, amongst other factors, may have contributed).
posted by tavegyl on Jul 14, 2014 - 56 comments

Blood in the Streets: A Conversation About Gun Violence in Chicago

"...writing for The Daily Beast, Roland Martin proposed a solution to the surging violence on Chicago's South and West Sides: Send the National Guard to Chicago." "This idea of the powerful causing the problem and then swooping in to benevolently gift us the "solution" is offensive. You can't make up for systemic deprivation through law enforcement. Law enforcement doesn't have the nuance, it doesn't have the tools, and it doesn't actually work." - Josie Duffy in conversation with Ernest Wilkins, Jamilah Lemieux, Jason Parham, and Kiese Laymon. [more inside]
posted by artof.mulata on Jul 11, 2014 - 61 comments

Murderpeg

"Winnipeg is the capital of Manitoba, Canada — and for 16 of the past 33 years, it has also been the country's murder capital. The prairie city is home to just under 800,000 people, about 10 percent of whom are Aboriginal, meaning Winnipeg boasts the largest urban Aboriginal population in Canada. Largely impoverished and facing continual discrimination, the community has given rise to violent Aboriginal street gangs." Vice reports (17 mins).
posted by stbalbach on Jul 11, 2014 - 30 comments

Women, Pants, and the Backlash

Margaret Perry's review of Women in Pants provides an interesting overview of those women (in the Western world) who chose to wore pants in the 19th and early 20th centuries when the standard gender norm dictated dresses for girls and women. R.S. Fleming has a great collection of Victorian women-in-pants images, particularly in non-American military garb. See also: Welsh pit miners, women fighting in the US Civil War (and support-staff), this cattle thief/gunfighter, some cowgirls, and Dr. Mary Walker - here she is in more traditionally masculine dress (second picture). In France, the artist Rosa Bonheur had to get permission from the police to wear pants (picture) while sketching in public (her license), while adventurer/archaeologist Jane Dieulafoy got a lifetime exemption to wear pants from France. [more inside]
posted by julen on Jul 9, 2014 - 25 comments

Who knew "predatory remodeling" was a thing to worry about?

I bought my first home, only to become a victim of predatory remodeling.
This is the story of how I got tricked by malicious criminals into buying a house that had been illegally remodeled to cover up multiple building code violations. 50% of the house is unusable, and will require as much as $100,000 in repairs to undo the faulty work.

Yes, the home was inspected before it was purchased, and the inspector did find some problems as expected. But most of the problems described below were cleverly hidden behind finished drywall, carpeting, and concrete where the inspector couldn't see them. All of this was done intentionally by the house "flipper" and remodeler to turn a profit on a house that is riddled with code violations.
[more inside]
posted by Lexica on Jul 9, 2014 - 103 comments

Murder, She Wrote

Calvin Trillin profiles Edna Buchanan, Pulitzer Prize-winning crime reporter for the Miami Herald during its heyday.
posted by valkane on Jul 7, 2014 - 6 comments

I wasn’t preparing to survive another attack, but rather to execute one.

(tw: rape) Kathleen Hale reflects on her assault, the subsequent trial, and the relationship between predators and prey.
posted by Juliet Banana on Jun 28, 2014 - 28 comments

“young men’s compromised legal status transforms the basic institutions"

How Poor Young Black Men Run From The Police [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 26, 2014 - 21 comments

Twenty years after infamous Bronco chase, O.J. Simpson still a mystery

Simpson is in Lovelock because he was convicted of kidnapping and armed robbery in Nevada in 2008; he's serving a sentence of up to 33 years, with the possibility of parole in 2017. He will turn 67 next month, but the O.J. personage who remains a cultural touchstone is much younger. That one was born 20 years ago this week, on June 17, 1994, a day that spawned a series of events that are as ingrained in Americana as anything that happened at Valley Forge or in Dealey Plaza. Sports Illustrated tackles Orenthal James Simpson.
posted by porn in the woods on Jun 13, 2014 - 140 comments

The theatre appeared in the crime section more than the arts section ...

Bloodletters and Bad Actors Mefi's Own Max Sparber looks at the early days of Omaha theater, back when it was a frontier town, its amusements were questionable, and vice was rampant, with occasional forays into more recent performing arts misbehavior. [via mefi projects]
posted by The Whelk on Jun 11, 2014 - 4 comments

"Our theory of change is simple: I want them to desire to live."

Formerly one of the most dangerous cities in America, Richmond CA reports its lowest homicide rate in 33 years, thanks in part to a program which provides counseling and stipends to the young men most likely to commit violent crimes.
posted by Wavelet on Jun 9, 2014 - 31 comments

Philip K Dick meets the more twisted stories of Isaac Asimov

Psycho-Pass is a fantastic anime written by Gen Urobuchi, the man who brought us 2011's brilliant Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Even if you are not an anime fan (I'm iffy on it myself), Psycho-Pass is worth checking out. Set in a "utopian" society where psychological profiles can be analyzed remotely, police carry guns that can only fire at would-be criminals, and aptitude tests determine how to provide "the greatest number of people with the greatest amount of happiness", Psycho-Pass asks intriguing, provocative questions about the relationships between humans and computers, criminals and society, and the responsibilities we owe society, versus the responsibilities said societies owe us in turn. There is also a good deal of people shooting each other, if you're into that sort of thing.

Psycho-Pass can be watched for free, either subbed or dubbed, at Hulu (as can Madoka if "lighthearted" "fantasy" is more your cup of tea).
posted by Rory Marinich on May 26, 2014 - 39 comments

"I wish girls were attracted to me. I don’t know why they aren’t."

California drive-by shooting: 'Son of Hunger Games assistant director' Elliot Rodger suspected of killing six in attack. Rodger embarked on his shooting spree hours after posting an online video detailing his plans for "retribution" for rejection by women. [more inside]
posted by a fiendish thingy on May 24, 2014 - 1771 comments

Can we do that there? Be that here? Check Equaldex.

Equaldex: the collaborative LGBT knowledgebase! A crowd-sourced, verified, beautifully presented representation of equal rights (and how they are specifically denied) for LGBT folks. [via reddit]
posted by batmonkey on May 13, 2014 - 7 comments

Stuff White People Like

Shrinking Majority of Americans Support Death Penalty "According to a 2013 Pew Research Center survey, 55% of U.S. adults say they favor the death penalty for persons convicted of murder. A significant minority (37%) oppose the practice. While a majority of U.S. adults still support the death penalty, public opinion in favor of capital punishment has seen a modest decline..." Jamelle Bouie at Slate notes that , "Nearly twice as many whites as blacks favor the death penalty. There is a simple, and disturbing, reason why" and blames racism. [more inside]
posted by MisantropicPainforest on Mar 31, 2014 - 145 comments

The Ghost in MIT

The inside story of MIT and Aaron Swartz. The Boston Globe reviews over 7,000 pages of discovery documents in the Aaron Swartz case (previously): Most vividly, the e-mails underscore the dissonant instincts the university grappled with. There was the eagerness of some MIT employees to help investigators and prosecutors with the case, and then there was, by contrast, the glacial pace of the institution’s early reaction to the intruder’s provocation.... MIT never encouraged Swartz’s prosecution, and once told his prosecutor they had no interest in jail time. However, e-mails illustrate how MIT energetically assisted authorities in capturing him and gathering evidence — even prodding JSTOR to get answers for prosecutors more quickly — before a subpoena had been issued.... Yet if MIT eventually adopted a relatively hard line on Swartz, the university had also helped to make his misdeeds possible, the Globe review found. Numerous e-mails make it clear that the unusually easy access to the campus computer network, which Swartz took advantage of, had long been a concern to some of the university’s information technology staff.
posted by Cash4Lead on Mar 31, 2014 - 53 comments

The Darker Side of Paradise

How does Brazil keep the World Cup party going? Send in the army.
The Soldiers' occupation of 'strategic' Rio favelas shows just how far the state will go to prevent embarrassment during the World Cup; where the Slums lack sewers and running water 3 Years After Being 'Rescued' and parts of the city look like a War Zone.
Much is also to blame on Corrupt Police and Militia.
Here is a 3 part History of Rio de Janeiro’s Military Police
Part I: 19th Century Beginnings
Part II: From Dictatorship to Drug War
Part 3: Community Policing .
posted by adamvasco on Mar 28, 2014 - 16 comments

The Effect of Medical Marijuana Laws on Crime

"Debate has surrounded the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes for decades. Some have argued medical marijuana legalization (MML) poses a threat to public health and safety, perhaps also affecting crime rates ... we analyzed the association between state MML and state crime rates ... Results did not indicate a crime exacerbating effect of MML on any of the Part I offenses. Alternatively, state MML may be correlated with a reduction in homicide and assault rates, net of other covariates." (Press Release) [more inside]
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth on Mar 27, 2014 - 22 comments

The disappearance and reappearance of Duncan MacPherson

In August 1989, 23-year-old professional ice-hockey player Duncan MacPherson travelled from New York to Europe, to enjoy a holiday before starting a new job in Scotland. He hired snowboarding gear and took a lesson on the Stubai Glacier. Then, according to the Austrian authorities and the owners of the ski resort, he simply disappeared. In Cold a Long Time: An Alpine Mystery, John Leake details the coverup and corruption that started then and continued for years after MacPherson's body melted out of the ice in 2003. Warning: the website contains close-up pictures of MacPherson's damaged body. [more inside]
posted by daisyk on Mar 16, 2014 - 22 comments

Baltimore-Smalltimore

Earlier this year Tracy Halvorsen wrote an article called Baltimore City, You're Breaking my Heart. It was received with...uh, mixed results. Now Andy, from the blog B'more Connected has looked at the article from the point of view of statistics. "I think nearly everybody can agree with the basic premise suggested by Halvorsen’s article. I will paraphrase that premise as: It is tragic and frustrating when our neighbors, friends, or coworkers are the victims of violent crimes. Violent crime is too frequent in Baltimore. Something needs to be done to decrease that crime. Beyond that, I think we see Baltimore differently."
posted by josher71 on Mar 4, 2014 - 59 comments

71

Freddie Lee Hall, as a child, had been classified as "mentally retarded"; he is illiterate, cannot cook for himself, bathe independently, clean his clothes, and is unable to handle his own finances. Halll was sentenced to death for murdering Karol Hurst, a 21-year-old pregnant woman who was abducted leaving a Leesburg, Fla., grocery store in 1978. His guilt is not at issue; what is at issue, before the Supreme Court this morning, is whether the Florida Supreme Court's definition of mental retardation (having an IQ of 70 or less) was correctly applied to Hall, who has tested at an IQ of 71. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Mar 3, 2014 - 136 comments

The Box

Twilight in the Box. "The suicide statistics, the squalor and the recidivism haven’t ended solitary confinement. Maybe the brain studies will." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Feb 28, 2014 - 24 comments

In honour of Loretta

26 year-old Inuk woman Loretta Saunders was working on an Honours thesis studying the Missing and Murdered Aboriginal women of Canada. Her supervisor called her proposal "the most beautifully written and cared-for assignment I had ever read in seven years of university teaching." Two weeks ago, Loretta disappeared and fell out of contact with family and friends. Yesterday police confirmed that her body had been found in the median of the Trans-Canada Highway. Her disappearance is now being treated as a homicide. [more inside]
posted by Catchfire on Feb 27, 2014 - 90 comments

The Murders Before the Marathon

Ibragim was a womanizer. He was kind to children. He had a sweet tooth, and a temper. Who killed three men in Waltham, Massachusetts, on September 11 2011? And could solving that case have prevented the Boston Bombings? The answers may never be clear, because the chief surviving suspect, Ibragim Todashev, was shot by the FBI while allegedly on the brink of confessing. Journalist Susan Zalkind's investigation turned up many more questions about the Bureau's handling of the case than it answered. It's also been featured on This American Life. Warning: the first link contains photos of Todashev's dead body.
posted by daisyk on Feb 26, 2014 - 19 comments

The ethics of Prison Architect

Is it possible to create a prison management game without trivializing or misrepresenting the issue of mass incarceration? So begins a critique by Paolo Pedercini, developer of "games addressing issues of social and environmental justice," of Introversion Software's upcoming game Prison Architect, currently in still in development but available as an early access beta. Prison Architect's producer, Mark Morris, and its designer, Chris Delay, respond in a lengthy youtube video. [more inside]
posted by whir on Jan 31, 2014 - 38 comments

Straight Menace

"I talked to a lawyer about suing, but there wasn't nothing we could do.... Because [The First 48] shows 'All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty' at the beginning of the program, they're covered."

A&E shirks responsibility for episodes that broadcast incorrect information, and spokespeople confess the channel doesn't re-edit or correct flawed programs beyond stating at a show's end that murder charges were dropped. "We simply film the investigations as they unfold," a spokesperson said. "Every episode states clearly that all individuals are innocent until proven guilty."

posted by frimble on Jan 31, 2014 - 53 comments

"Nothing. You're screwed."

During their Freedom Hosting investigation and malware attack last year, the FBI unintentionally obtained the entire e-mail database of popular anonymous webmail service Tor Mail. And now, they've used it in an unrelated investigation to bust a Florida man accused of stealing credit card numbers. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jan 27, 2014 - 39 comments

Wash down those pretzels with a big frosty mug of anecdata

Burt Likko is a lawyer who used to handle litigation arising from bar fights. He's learned a bit about how and why they happen.
posted by Cash4Lead on Jan 26, 2014 - 73 comments

aka: The Rise and Fall of the Nod Empire

The final confessions of a Silk Road kingpin Patrick O'Neill recently undertook an astonishingly open set of interviews with Nod, a major black-tar heroin and cocaine dealer who traded on Silk Road. By our third phone call, Steven Lloyd Sadler was a fugitive. Facing federal charges for drug trafficking and distribution, Sadler decided he'd rather skip the trial and jail sentence altogether. He was pulling away from Seattle, where he was charged, and we talked for hours. He began that particular conversation on speakerphone, attempting to circumvent the state’s law prohibiting the use of cellphones while driving, but noisy interference forced him to pick up the call. [...] "They'll be pretty pissed off at me," he said, referring to his federal public defenders.
posted by jaduncan on Jan 24, 2014 - 28 comments

Full Of Juveniles Not Using Seat Belts

What does the police blotter look like in one of the most expensive zip-codes in the US?
posted by The Whelk on Jan 22, 2014 - 65 comments

I was not going to allow the system to...take my identity away from me.

When CeCe McDonald was incarcerated in a mens' prison after defending herself from a racist, transphobic attack, she drew support not only through her misfortune but also through her insightful, valuable commentary on subjects ranging from how men react to having their masculinity questioned by "outside speculators" and violence against women to pansexuality on Sex and The City.

Now released from prison after 19 months,, the 25 year old African American transgender activist isn't content just to finally listen to the new Beyonce album. She appeared on Melissa-Harris Perry discussing her experience with the prison-industrial complex, and will be the subject of a new documentary by Orange is the New Black star Laverne Cox (previously).
[more inside]
posted by Juliet Banana on Jan 21, 2014 - 56 comments

Shakedown on the Hudson

MSNBC's Up with Steve Kornacki has been collaborating with NJ journalist Brian Murphy on some investigative journalism about the Chris Christie administration's alleged withholding of Sandy Relief funds until the Mayor of Hoboken agrees to fast-track a real-estate development. Hoboken was one of the hardest-hit communities and has so far received $6 per resident. Christie became governor after leading a US Attorney investigation which convicted NJ politicians of crooked real-estate deals.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Jan 18, 2014 - 118 comments

Oh Gosh.

The Dissolve (previously, previously) looks at the Coen Brothers' 1996 "homespun Midwestern murder story" Fargo: Masculinity And Mike Yanagita, Keynote: Fargo in Five Quotes, Morality And The Coens
posted by The Whelk on Jan 13, 2014 - 84 comments

Chiraq, Drillinois

WorldStar HipHop has released a 40 minute mini-documentary on violence in Chicago and the young rappers who are a part of the scene surrounding it. The Field: Chicago features appearances from up-and-coming rappers such as Lil Durk, Lil Reese, King Louie, Lil Bibby, Katie Got Bandz, and more. [more inside]
posted by gucci mane on Jan 9, 2014 - 15 comments

CSI: The MOOC

Welcome to Introduction to Forensic Science, the murder mystery that doubles as a university course. Enrol here.
posted by storybored on Jan 8, 2014 - 9 comments

Catch Me If You Can: Real Estate Edition

Ryan Mullen was on the run for over 14 years. Then, a professional skip tracer named Michelle Gomez got on the case.
posted by reenum on Dec 29, 2013 - 20 comments

He was only a fighter in the ring

"Assault In The Ring" (originally called "Cornered: A Life in the Ring") is a film about a boxing match that took place between undefeated prospect Billy Collins Jr and Luis Resto. What began as a match turned into a life altering moment for both participants - Collins' career dreams ended and Resto and his trainer Panama Lewis landed in prison for their illegal actions. The subsequent investigation and trial have led many to declare this bout the darkest day in boxing history. But the film-maker doesn't stop there. He tracked down the surviving principals and arranged meetings among some of them, trying to see if the documentary can be an occasion for reconciliation or justice. Watch the film in its entirety on Youtube here.
posted by Potomac Avenue on Dec 16, 2013 - 8 comments

I was mugged and shot, but I also wasn't.

"Am I safe? Is what I have, my memory of the event and your scribbled notes, enough to get this guy? Should I tweet about this?" C. D. Hermelin is mugged in broad daylight in Manhattan’s Financial District.
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Dec 12, 2013 - 85 comments

Discrepancies in sentencing.

Men receive longer sentences for equivalent crimes. Abstract: This paper assesses gender disparities in federal criminal cases. It finds large gender gaps favoring women throughout the sentence length distribution (averaging over 60%), conditional on arrest offense, criminal history, and other pre-charge observables. Female arrestees are also significantly likelier to avoid charges and convictions entirely, and twice as likely to avoid incarceration if convicted. Prior studies have reported much smaller sentence gaps because they have ignored the role of charging, plea-bargaining, and sentencing fact-finding in producing sentences. Most studies control for endogenous severity measures that result from these earlier discretionary processes and use samples that have been winnowed by them. I avoid these problems by using a linked dataset tracing cases from arrest through sentencing. Using decomposition methods, I show that most sentence disparity arises from decisions at the earlier stages, and use the rich data to investigate causal theories for these gender gaps. [more inside]
posted by vapidave on Dec 9, 2013 - 54 comments

I was young once. Make it quick and get out of here.

"My friend Nick and I planned another prank. We thought it would be funny to scare a couple of friends while they were hanging out with some girls. We drove over to their house and crept up to the living room window with ski masks pulled down over our faces and realistic-looking water guns in our hands..." Participants in We Are All Criminals tell stories of crimes they got away with. via [more inside]
posted by postcommunism on Dec 5, 2013 - 24 comments

"All they are doing here is shelving people."

Slide show of Michigan prisoners sentenced to life for crimes committed while they were minors. [more inside]
posted by mibo on Dec 4, 2013 - 44 comments

“He looks young,” the judge said.

Life Times Six: How Travion Blount got 118 years and six life sentences for a robbery. In 2006, 15 year old Travion Blount, along with two 18 year olds, robbed a group of teenagers at a party at gunpoint. No shots were fired. The two older boys accepted sentences of 10 and 13 years in exchange for a guilty plea. Blount plead guilty but refused to accept a sentence of 18 years. He went to trial, was found guilty, and received a mandatory 118 years in prison, without parole. On top of that, he received six life sentences. His only chance to exit prison alive is through geriatric release at age 60. He will most likely die behind bars. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Nov 24, 2013 - 144 comments

You're not supposed to be here.

The Very Organized Thief (requires Unity for Windows or OSX) is a creepy, short game about prowling about a house while nobody's home.
posted by Pope Guilty on Nov 20, 2013 - 11 comments

Plata o Plomo o el aguacate

Blood Avocados: The Dark Side of Guacamole [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Nov 19, 2013 - 25 comments

"That’s cruel and unusual punishment to me.” -Angola Warden

A LIVING DEATH: Sentenced to die behind bars for what?
For 3,278 people, it was nonviolent offenses like stealing a $159 jacket or serving as a middleman in the sale of $10 of marijuana. An estimated 65% of them are Black. Many of them were struggling with mental illness, drug dependency or financial desperation when they committed their crimes. None of them will ever come home to their parents and children. And taxpayers are spending billions to keep them behind bars.

A LIVING DEATH: Life without Parole for Nonviolent Offenses (PDF)
posted by andoatnp on Nov 13, 2013 - 32 comments

Virtual pedophilia

"Virtual girl 'Sweetie' snares 1000 paedophiles trying to engage her online sex" [more inside]
posted by Chocolate Pickle on Nov 4, 2013 - 115 comments

Not exactly master criminals

"At the trial, the DA told the jury that Joseph was a criminal type who had never been able to hold a steady job because he was simply too lazy to work. Joseph lost his head. The sheriff took him back to his cell. Joseph told the sheriff that the DA had made him mad when he called him lazy. He wasn’t lazy. He had robbed Wilbert German. That proved that the DA was wrong, as no one who was as lazy as the DA said he was would have gone through with the job.

The sheriff took the confession to the DA. Joseph was sentenced to two to four years in the Alleghenny workhouse." -- The story of Joseph Copple is but one of the real life crime stories found at Small Town Noir, a blog about the criminal history of New Castle, PA, from the 1930s to the 1950s.
posted by MartinWisse on Nov 2, 2013 - 12 comments

Swift and Certain

Smart on Crime
I argue that (blue-collar) crime—theft and assault, in all their varieties—is still a real and major problem; that its economic and social costs are vastly under-appreciated; that its primary victims are disadvantaged minorities and poor people; that the current criminal-justice system wrongs them by under-enforcing the law against those who victimize them (who are, of course, mostly people like them in racial and class terms); that better criminal-justice policy could give us less crime and less incarceration; and that better and more equal law enforcement ought therefore to be as central a progressive political goal as better and more equal education or health care.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 1, 2013 - 14 comments

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