Most American rapes go unreported and unpunished. In part because ideas about what constitutes a ‘‘real rape’’ still hinder investigations and prosecutions, and many police officers continue to read vulnerability as complicity. But there is another unacknowledged side to the investigation of sexual assault: the huge numbers of victims who are children or teenagers. New Haven, CT detectives estimate that more than 80 percent of their cases involve minors — a number only slightly higher than national statistics. Such cases are rarely reported immediately, which means that there is rarely any physical evidence to investigate. "To Catch a Rapist:" How New Haven's special-victims unit fights a hidden epidemic of sexual assault that is disturbingly difficult to investigate. (Some may find the descriptions and topics in this article disturbing or triggering.)
Suffer the Children: A long and heart-rending essay in The Monthly magazine about the Australian Family Law system's ugly response to allegations of child abuse in custody disputes. [more inside]
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.
In July 2007, NPR published a two part series (direct links: 1, 2) about a four year old uninvestigated rape case at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Sparked in part by a 2006 report (pdf) from Amnesty International that included a startling statistic: "One in three Native American women will be raped in her lifetime," NPR's investigation led to the reopening of the case and Congressional hearings. In February 2011, Harper's published an update of sorts: Tiny Little Laws: A Plague of Sexual Violence in Indian Country (Via)
David Grann of the New Yorker writes about the power of the Aryan Brotherhood inside America's federal prisons.
"There are no national standards or regulations regarding forensic pathology and practices vary widely from place to place."
The Hardest Cases: When Children Die, Justice Can Be Elusive A joint investigation by PBS Frontline, ProPublica and NPR has found that medical examiners and coroners have repeatedly mishandled cases of infant and child deaths, helping to put innocent people behind bars. (Via. (Article contains descriptions of children that have been killed by abuse. May be disturbing / triggering to some readers.) [more inside]
US Supreme Court finds Cali. law restricting sales of violent videogames to adults violates First Amendment. [more inside]
Two weeks ago, the Wisconsin Supreme Court voted 4-3 [video] to reinstate the controversial anti-union Budget Repair Bill, which a district judge had declared void due to a law requiring 24 hours' public notice of meetings. The Supreme Court's deliberations were heated. The liberal Justice Ann Walsh Bradley now says that after she asked conservative Justice David Prosser to leave her office, he put his hands around her neck in a choke-hold. Justice Prosser denies the allegation. [more inside]
Go skateboarding Day didn't end well for a bunch of teenagers in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Youtube Video. Unreasonable/Excessive force by the police? You decide.
The Green Scare: Rod Coronado gave a talk in San Diego and the feds called his words ‘terrorism.’ How new laws are equating environmentalists with Al Qaeda. [Via Gristmill.]
Court Grants Blacks Special Sentencing Sentences for black offenders can be reduced or tailored to reflect the systemic racism that has historically plagued their community, the Ontario Court of Appeal has ruled. The 3-0 judgment came in a case involving Quinn Borde, a black gunman from Toronto's seedy Regent Park area. The 18-year-old admitted to firing a gun repeatedly into the air while being chased by a gang and pistol-whipping a rival later.
Indianapolis minors can't play violent videogames anymore.