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Rebuilding the American Jury

Twelve Absent Men: Rebuilding the American Jury. "Juries hear only 4 percent of criminal trials in America. Their decline has fostered radical punitiveness, but reforms and novel institutions are breathing new life into the jury and civic participation more broadly."
posted by homunculus on Jul 28, 2013 - 54 comments

Gupta Trial Judge Reprimands Law Student Spectator

Benula Bensam, not having landed a summer job, decided to attend the Rajat Gupta trial. She felt that some of the judge's evidentiary rulings were incorrect, and so sent him three letters. The judge, Jed Rakoff, was not amused.
posted by reenum on Jun 16, 2012 - 119 comments

Bad day for Oracle

Following a jury finding that Google had not infiringed upon Oracles patents, a development described as a near disaster for the database company, Judge William Aslup has ruled that the Java APIs cannot be copyrighted. That leaves Oracle with only the 9 lines of rangeCheck code and a handfull of decompiled test files to show for the massivecourt case. CEO Larry Ellison remains confident, claiming that the aquisition of Java creator Sun has still paid for itself.
posted by Artw on Jun 1, 2012 - 45 comments

Four fingers good, five fingers better

England's Obscenity Trial of the Decade is over, with unanimous Not Guilty verdicts being returned for all 6 charges. R v Peacock was a rare outing for the Obscene Publications Act 1959 and its out-lawing of media which depraves and corrupts, and despite being shown DVDs of explicit homosexual acts, fisting, testicular torture, rape scenes, prolaspses and other acts the prosecution described as extreme the jury decided the material didn't breech the law. Alex d. live tweeted the proceeding and Peacock's supprters are celebratory. The question now is what is obscene in today's society, and is the act still relevant. [more inside]
posted by samworm on Jan 6, 2012 - 25 comments

"Everyone has pain. It's your job to find it."

Start a home business, get rich quick, win financial freedom! If you watch late-night TV, you've heard it all before. But what's the story behind these slick pitchmen and their dubious schemes? Enter The Salty Droid, your ornery metal guide to the corrupt underworld of scam-marketing scum. This charmingly acerbic bot (owned and operated by mild-mannered Chicago dog-lover Jason Michael Jones [inter-view, long talk + transcript]) is a valiant crusader against the vile con-men who bankrupt the elderly and the desperate with beautiful lies. Exposed so far: A shadowy "Syndicate" of frauduct-pushing personality cults polluting the media with blogspam and woo-woo talking points. Boiler rooms in the Utah desert where telemarketers farm credit from easy targets with cunning, probing scripts [PDF]. Powerful politicians bought wholesale. Believers left to die in fraudulent new-age vision quests. It's a soul-crushing beat, enough to make one feel like a regular catcher-bot in the digital rye. But somebody's got to do it -- preferably someone with plasma nunchucks and titanium skin.
posted by Rhaomi on Aug 31, 2011 - 47 comments

UK London Met police proposed undemocratic refusal of bail to all arrested in London riots.

London Metropolitan Police formulated policy of refusing bail to all arrested in London riots which might have influenced high remand in custody rate.
posted by maiamaia on Aug 22, 2011 - 30 comments

Unfit counsel

"This conflict of interest hits at the heart of the attorney-client relationship." Robert Caulley has served 14 years of a life sentence for the murder of his parents, a crime he says he didn't commit. Some hope that unknown DNA found on a gun at the crime scene will prove his innocence, citing similar exonerations in other high-profile Ohio cases, but so far Caulley's attempts to revisit his case with further DNA testing have failed. But look, Caulley already had his day in court with his lawyer by his side, doing everything possible to clear him, right? So he thought -- until he learned that his defense attorney was sleeping with his wife during his trial.
posted by escabeche on Apr 21, 2011 - 20 comments

Jury nullification advocate accused of jury tampering

Scott Horton at Harpers.org writes about Julian P. Heicklen, a 78-year-old retired chemistry professor from New Jersey, now faces federal criminal charges for informing people entering the federal courthouse about the doctrine of jury nullification. Scott Horton's post is a response to the New York Times column on Mr. Heicklen. [more inside]
posted by fartknocker on Mar 1, 2011 - 102 comments

Jurors have a power so secret even they may not know about it.

Jury nullification, a situation in which jurors acquit in a criminal trial even if the facts favor conviction (often because the jurors disagree with the law), is of ancient provenance in the Anglo-American legal tradition. Courts are ambivalent towards it, regarding it both as quasi-illegal (they'll remove jurors if they catch them during the attempt) and as something that they cannot overturn once it happens. Nullification has furthered many causes, from anti-death-penalty to pro-southern-lynchings. Lawyers can't mention it in court on pain of contempt, but some hope to educate people in other ways.
posted by shivohum on Jan 22, 2010 - 79 comments

A break with tradition: trial without jury in England

The first criminal trial without a jury to take place in England and Wales in more than 400 years begins tomorrow. [more inside]
posted by jonesor on Jan 11, 2010 - 52 comments

The House on Garibaldi Street

The capture of Adolf Eichmann is one of the more daring spy operations in the post WWII era. The story spans 17 years, beginning with Eichmann's clandestine escape from the Allied forces and the Nuremberg trial, and ending with his hanging in Israel. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Nov 4, 2009 - 23 comments

Scooter throws Turd Blossom under the bus

Politics/PlameFilter: In opening arguments today in the Plame investigation perjury case against Vice President Cheney's former Chief of Staff I. Lewis Libby, the prosecutor portrayed Libby as an agent of a Cheney-driven media offensive. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day came from Libby's attorney, who portrayed his client as a White House-chosen scapegoat for Karl Rove's misdeeds. A conservative reporter saw in Libby's emerging defense a "dramatic split inside the Bush White House." An MSNBC host asked whether this hullabaloo could lead to Cheney's resignation. Background on the case. Liveblogging of today's arguments from an anti-administration perspective.
posted by ibmcginty on Jan 23, 2007 - 16 comments

Not guilty.

Not guilty. It's been nearly 20 years since Air India Flight 182 crashed into the ocean off the coast of Ireland, killing all 329 people aboard, after a bomb went off in the luggage compartment. Today, the two main suspects in the case were acquitted. Families of the victims are upset, disgusted. Of the 329 victims, 82 of them were under the age of 12. Let's take a moment to remember them; victims of one of the worst terrorist acts prior to September 11th, 2001.
posted by juliebug on Mar 16, 2005 - 53 comments

An online history of jurisprudence, and lack thereof

Sacco and Vanzetti et al. The amazing Famous Trials website, compiled as a labor of love by University of Missouri law professor Douglas Linder, is a motherlode of information on historically significant trails, ranging from Galileo to the Amistad to Lenny Bruce. It features not only official transcripts, but also equally intriguing details such as a map of the railroad cars in the Scottsboro Boys trial, Klan documents from the Mississippi Burning case, and opinion polls related to the My Lai courts martial.
posted by foxy_hedgehog on Nov 30, 2004 - 8 comments

Trial by news conference

Laywer/novelist Scott Turow (non-wp, non-reg-req. link) and Nat Hentoff discuss the DOJ's decision to release a declassified document detailing the possible charges against Jose Padilla, at the same time as the U.S. Supreme Court nears a decision on the constitutionality of holding Padilla without due process ... "So at this point, you have no plans to present any of this to a grand jury?"
posted by mrgrimm on Jun 15, 2004 - 8 comments

malvo case ehxibits

Scribbling for jihad. Malvo case: defendant's trial exhibits.
posted by hama7 on Dec 12, 2003 - 16 comments

Above the Law? Maybe Not.

Rep. Bill Janklow's Motorcycle Manslaugher Trial Continues
An excerpt, Janklow, a former four-term Republican governor of South Dakota, has pleaded not guilty to charges of speeding, failing to stop, reckless driving and second-degree manslaughter. Witnesses have said he didn't even slow down for the stop sign. First he lied about swerving to avoid a white car and then blamed low blood sugar for the lie.
Janklow has a long history of utter disregard for traffic laws but got off for years because he was the governor and then a congressman. More at Google News: Janklow
posted by fenriq on Dec 2, 2003 - 17 comments

Justice, Las Vegas Style

Framed for defending herself. On August 28th, 2002 in Las Vegas, Nevada a woman named Kirstin Lobato was sentenced to life in prison. She was the victim of an attempted rape in May 2001, and had defended herself against her rapist. prosecutors used this "confession" of self defense to convict her of a murder that happened months later and in a town where she didn't even live. How "innocent until proven guilty" can you be if prosecutors are willing to use known perjurers and refuse to allow expert testimony?
posted by dejah420 on Nov 26, 2003 - 17 comments

Durst Admits to Killing, Still Found Innocent

Robert Durst Admits to Killing but is found innocent because the jurors didn't think the prosecution proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Durst intentionally murdered, cut his ex-friend up and then threw the body parts in a lake.
I'm sure the fact that he's got like $9 billion had absolutely nothing to do with it.
But since he's got a history of killing, I suppose they'll just wait for him to "accidentally" kill someone else and then try to dispose of the body without getting caught.
But isn't an accidental killing still prosecutable? Isn't the fact that he admitted to chopping the body up and throwing it in a lake prosecutable?
Are you wondering what ever did happen to his wife too?
posted by fenriq on Nov 11, 2003 - 21 comments

This week, two boys in Florida were tried for the bludgeoning-murder of their father. With accusations raised of the actual killing to have been done by another, adult male with alleged sexual ties to the two boys, the boys were found guilty only of a lesser second-degree murder charge, claiming the adult must have done the actual deed... yet the jury was unaware the adult accused and being tried for that very idea was acquitted of all charges the previous week. The issue? Both trials were handled by the same prosecutor who presented completely different theories to each jury... in other words, not settling on a confident belief of who actually performed the killing, the prosecution tried to get both the adult and the pair of boys convicted for it. Isn't that risky? Or, if you like a different flavor of debate, isn't that completely unethical?
posted by XQUZYPHYR on Sep 7, 2002 - 40 comments

Convicted Hockey Dad Killer to get only 3- 5 years?

Convicted Hockey Dad Killer to get only 3- 5 years? i know he only threw a few punches, but he was 275 lbs and his victim was 165 lbs. I'm sorry, but killing a guy nearly half your size in front of children - in front of both of their children even - is reason enough for throwing the book at this thug. 20 years = 10 years if he stays cool in the pokie - a pittance if you're the victims kids. Hopefully the Mass judge will make an example out of this totally unneccessary tragedy.
posted by tsarfan on Jan 11, 2002 - 48 comments

Kill your five children, go to jail.

Kill your five children, go to jail. So, what to do to a mother that decides not to be a mother any more?
posted by dwivian on Jun 20, 2001 - 39 comments

"the toothy smile is usually related to cannibalism"

"the toothy smile is usually related to cannibalism" -- This 7 minute real audio NPR story on Russell Weston is a must listen. Three years ago Weston killed two capitol police officers, but he hasn't even been arraigned on the charges yet due to his paranoid schizophrenia. For a fascinating glimpse into his mind, listen to this story which includes audio excerpts from a 1997 interview with the CIA wherein he details his paranoid delusions regarding the "Ruby Satellite System" time machine and a conspiracy of cannibals.
posted by ericost on May 15, 2001 - 16 comments

Perry Wacker gets a 14 year sentence.

Perry Wacker gets a 14 year sentence. For killing attempting to smuggle 60 people into the UK, he was sentenced to 8 years in prison. For killing 58 of them he was sentenced to a further 6 years. He should have gotten the death sentence, or at least life-without-parole. Why was he charged with manslaughter instead of murder?
posted by Steven Den Beste on Apr 5, 2001 - 18 comments

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