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 -
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 -
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 -
Earlier this year Tracy Halvorsen wrote an article called Baltimore City, You're Breaking my Hear
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
Men receive longer sentences for equivalent crimes.
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 -
"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 -
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
posted by andoatnp
on Nov 13, 2013 -
"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 -
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 -
A Rob Ford video has been found by Toronto cops.
Toronto police chief Bill Blair says the video cannot be released or described, and will be placed before the courts because some unnamed person will be charged with extortion. While he never mentions the word "crack", he does say that the video is congruent with what has been described in the media and does not appear to have been doctored. [more inside]
posted by maudlin
on Oct 31, 2013 -
“There is no doubt some of Read’s stories are embellished, polished or, in some cases, stolen, but there is also no doubt that through the 1970s and 80s he was one of the most dangerous men in Australia.” RIP Mark 'Chopper' Read [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry
on Oct 9, 2013 -
The Elvis Impersonator, the Karate Instructor, the Fridge full of Severed Heads, and the Plot to Kill the President.
In March, Kevin Curtis of Tupelo, Mississippi, was arrested for mailing ricin-laced letters to a local judge, Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker, and the President - only to be released a week later when another man was arrested for the crime. In the latest issue of GQ, Wells Tower sets out to get to the bottom of the tale and finds himself falling down the rabbit hole into a whole other universe of lost American weirdness.
(Know that Moo Cow the dog is okay.)
posted by Naberius
on Oct 1, 2013 -
Over the last year and a half, I have been visiting São Paulo and, especially, Rio de Janeiro, observing the process of “pacification,” by which the government attempts to peacefully enter and reestablish state control over the most violent enclaves of the city, those dominated by drug gangs called traficantes, or by syndicates of corrupt police called militias. Until 2008, when the pacification program started, the traficantes controlled roughly half of the favelas, and the militias the other half. Both still hold power in most favelas. The ultimate aim of the state government of Rio’s plan, called the Unidade de Polícia Pacificadora (UPP), or Police Pacification Unit, is to drive both of these groups out and replace them by the state. (SLNYRB)
posted by Rustic Etruscan
on Aug 29, 2013 -