9 years and 364 days ago, the then MEP (and later cabinet minister), Chris Huhne caught a flight back from Brussels to London Stansted, landing at 10.27pm. He picked up his car, with the distinctive number plate H11HNE, and sped back to his home in Clapham, South London, setting in motion a chain of events that would ultimately see him and his wife, economist Vicky Pryce, each sentenced to 8 months in jail. [more inside]
The Supreme Court of the United States has held only one criminal trial in its history: United States v. Shipp. [more inside]
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]
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.
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.
Saddam Hussein. After his defiant appearance in court, is it impossible for him to face a fair trial? Does anyone feel he deserves one after his actions?
The justice system at work. A sitting Judge in Oklahoma has been removed from the bench for using a male enhancement pump, pleasuring himself and oiling his nether regions during court proceedings - including an August 2003 murder trial. At least he was awake during the proceedings, unlike other judges.
Oregon man says brain tumor caused him to jump in neighbor's bed Although Jackson County has paid nearly $150,000 for surgery and medical treatments, the Judge said "I do not find adequate evidence of mental defect," There are many examples of persons who may have acquired sociopathic personalities due to pathological brain lesions, such as tumors, yet no doctor testified to the tumor's effect at the trial. Poor lawyering?