Informant, former wiseguy and goodfella Henry Hill (website, Wikipedia) has been made dead by illness. He was not a schnook.
The Ax Murderer Who Got Away - Shortly after midnight on June 10, 1912—one hundred years ago this week—a stranger hefting an ax lifted the latch on the back door of a two-story timber house in the little Iowa town of Villisca. [more inside]
"There was a time when the woods near Duva ate girls. It’s been many years since any child was taken. But still, on nights like these, when the wind comes cold from Tsibeya, mothers hold their daughters tight and warn them not to stray too far from home. “Be back before dark,” they whisper. “The trees are hungry tonight.” Tor.com brings us some short horror/fairy tale fiction from Leigh Bardugo, "The Witch of Duva: A Ravkan Folk Tale."
In 2005, Florida passed controversial "Stand Your Ground" legislation, allowing homeowners to defend their property with lethal force. While the Trayvon Martin case focused national attention on the law, roughly two hundred cases have used it as a key part of the defense. In a new investigative report, The Tampa Bay Times catalogs the past six years of "Stand your Ground" cases and highlights the law's troubling and unexpected results.
3D printing can now make replacement jaws, thousands of user-designed widgets, electromechanical computers - but also ATM skimmer fronts, handcuff keys and gun parts. But can you own the shape of a thing? (Previously on the Blue.)
The trick is to rob them in ways that are systematic, impersonal, and almost impossible to trace to individual perpetrators.
How Corporations and Local Governments Use the Poor As Piggy Banks. Barbara Ehrenreich (previously) talks about how the cycle of poverty is perpetuated by wage theft, municipal/criminal fines, and debtors prisons.
In other positive criminal justice news, the US Department of Justice has issued long overdue rules for combating sexual assault of prisoners in federal, state, and local penitentiaries. [more inside]
Los Tocayos Carlos - a comprehensive investigation by Columbia Law School Professor James Liebman and a team of students which uncovers evidence that Carlos DeLuna, a poor Hispanic man with childlike intelligence who was executed in Texas in 1989, was innocent. The issue of The Columbia Human Rights Law Review, entirely dedicated to this investigation, is available at this website.
If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try, try, try, try again: black Mississippi man tried six times for the same crime.
George Wright, America's most elusive fugitive, ran for forty years. He ran from the cops after escaping from prison. He ran from the feds after the most brazen hijacking in history. He ran from the authorities on three continents, hiding out and blending in wherever he went. It was a historic run—and now that it's over, he might just pull off the greatest escape of all.
Finally, Gilbert Arenas reveals the whole story behind the infamous Washington Wizards guns in the locker room incident.
The Incentive Bubble (ungated pdf) - "The fraying of the compact of American capitalism by rising income inequality and repeated governance crises is disturbing. But misallocations of financial, real, and human capital arising from the financial-incentive bubble are much more worrisome to those concerned with the competitiveness of the American economy." [more inside]
@Sheboyganscan attempts to transcribe everything that comes over the Sheboygan, Wisconsin police scanner. The fine folks at Something Awful have cherry picked a few gems.
Murdoch's Scandal - Lowell Bergman (the journalist portrayed by Al Pacino in The Insider) has investigated News Corporation for PBS Frontline [transcript]. He depicts Rupert Murdoch's British operation as a criminal enterprise, routinely hacking the voicemail and computers of innocent people, and using bribery and coercion to infiltrate police and government over decades. Enemies are ruthlessly "monstered" by the tabloids. Bergman also spoke to NPR's Fresh Air [transcript]. But the hits keep coming: in recent days News Corp has been accused of hacking rival pay TV services and promoting pirated receiver cards in both the UK and Australia. With the looming possibility of prosecution under America's Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, how long will shareholders consider Rupert Murdoch irreplaceable? [Previous 1 2 3 4]
Michael Mann's "Thief" is a film of style, substance, and violently felt emotion, all wrapped up in one of the most intelligent thrillers I've seen. - Roger Ebert [more inside]
The nation is awash with a new black market commodity... Across the country, retailers are finding massive amounts of this product missing. In West St. Paul, Minnesota, one enterprising individual has taken $25,000 dollars of this chemical that some Police Departments are calling liquid gold: Tide Detergent
"Homicide Watch is a community-driven reporting project covering every murder in the District of Columbia. Using original reporting, court documents, social media, and the help of victims’ and suspects’ friends, family, neighbors and others, we cover every homicide from crime to conviction." [more inside]
Weak Interactions is a blog that looks at the science in Breaking Bad and the non-science in Fringe.
Go to Trial: Crash the Justice System. Michelle Alexander argues that ubiquitous plea bargains have allowed America's politicians and judicial system to short-circuit constitutional due process and ignore the mechanics of mass incarceration. If everyone charged with crimes suddenly exercised his constitutional rights, there would not be enough judges, lawyers or prison cells to deal with the ensuing tsunami of litigation.
Need a spouse or uncooperative business associate taken care of? Have no fear! HitmanForHire.net is here.
Despite evidence of extensive misconduct, English football coach Harry Redknapp remains beloved in the hearts and minds of football fans.
"...whatever job you take, you're going to spend a lot of time there. You should try to make it fun."
In 2007, the Madison (WI) Police Department hired their first civilian Public Information Officer: former reporter Joel DeSpain. Over the last five years, Mr. DeSpain has reportedly combined "humor, a flair for the dramatic and sense of the absurd", and turned the mundane Madison Police Blotter into an "art form and a thing of joy." So Why Has Madison Wisconsin Has Become the Weird News Capitol of the Midwest? Meet the United States’ most whimsical police reporter. (Last one's a gawker link. If you dislike their site / interface, have no fear: all reports in that article (plus four extras) can be found after the jump.) [more inside]
FBI General Counsel reveals that around 3,000 warrantless GPS trackers were removed after the ruling in U.S v. Jones clarified their illegality (judgement PDF) (previous FPP). The ruling that a mosaic of surveillance technologies may form an issue when considered individually and the FBI's view of likely future judgements on the matter is particularly interesting in the light of the forthcoming cert/standing findings regarding warrantless eavesdropping.
With a tough economy and less money to go around, gang members in New York City are resorting to sharing guns hidden in easily accessible places.
"Each of us remains a staunch Republican conservative, but our perspectives on the death penalty have changed.... Each of us, independently, has concluded that the death penalty isn't working for California." The authors of California's Death Penalty Act of 1978, which expanded use of the death penalty in the state, have publicly endorsed the SAFE Initiative to abolish capital punishment in California. (Previously)
Raise the crime rate: an argument for the abolition of prison.
In 1962, the Mansfield (Ohio) Police Department stationed officers armed with a movie camera behind a two-way mirror in a public restroom known for its "cruisy" atmosphere. With the help of the footage shot, dozens of men were arrested, prosecuted, and convicted on sodomy charges, which at the time carried mandatory minimum sentences of a year in prison. In 2007, the original surveillance footage was obtained by filmmaker William E. Jones. He's screened the unedited 56 minute film as Tearoom at festivals and museums the world over, providing a clandestine look at the scrutiny small-town Midwestern gay men faced in the 1960's. [warning: explicit, NSFW material lies beyond most links] [more inside]
Normally, when you buy stolen goods, you don't legally own them. The person they were stolen from still does. Unless: Until 1995, if you bought them in Bermondsey Market, London, between the hours of sunrise and sunset, they would then belong to you, even if clearly stolen.
Flick Knives, Dance Music and Edwardian Suits: Teddy Boys, Christmas Humphreys and the murder of John Beckley on Clapham Common in 1953.
A UK man who downloaded recipes on how to make explosive devices has been jailed under the controversial Section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000 which makes it a crime to be "in possession of records of information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism". [more inside]
If you like real-life crime drama, Burgled in Philly, by John Davidson, will keep you occupied for a few minutes. [more inside]
The scale and the brutality of our prisons are the moral scandal of American life. Every day, at least fifty thousand men—a full house at Yankee Stadium—wake in solitary confinement, often in “supermax” prisons or prison wings, in which men are locked in small cells, where they see no one, cannot freely read and write, and are allowed out just once a day for an hour’s solo “exercise.” (Lock yourself in your bathroom and then imagine you have to stay there for the next ten years, and you will have some sense of the experience.)
Lancaster, CA employs an innovative method of crime fighting: bird noises.
How the Glock Became America's Weapon of Choice The Glock was created in 1982 by a curtain rod manufacturer named Gaston Glock. Glock didn't like the handguns available on the market and decided to manufacture a new gun from scratch. [more inside]
David Grann of the New Yorker writes about the power of the Aryan Brotherhood inside America's federal prisons.
New witnesses surface on the infamous West Memphis 3 case based on Peter Jackson's upcoming documentary which will premiere as one piece at the 2012 Sundance. Here's the trailer. [more inside]
Cleveland Indians pitcher Fausto Carmona was arrested today in the Dominican Republic and charged with using a false identity. [more inside]
All this brings me to an Indian I want you to know better than his jury did—Douglas Ray Stankewitz, the longest tenured inmate on California’s death row. Like most Indians who find themselves in a group of non-Indians, he is currently known as Chief, but unlike many Indians, he is proud of the nickname. The government wants to kill Chief because Theresa Greybeal was shot dead in the course of a robbery by a group of people high on heroin, and there is no question that Chief was one of them. There is a serious question about who pulled the trigger, and juries are reluctant to kill individuals who did not pull the trigger. But as far as his jury knew, Douglas Stankewitz pulled the trigger. And he might have, but we will never know, based on his trial.
Néo Fénéon: "Three thousand seven hundred dollars richer after stealing from the job, Marvin Williams, 25, of Brooklyn, went to urinate in a playground." - Items from the NYPD blotter remixed daily in the style of Félix Fénéon. (previously)
In the news media and on the Internet, there was a great deal of speculation about the rhyme and reason behind the crime spree, with observers often reaching the conclusion that there wasn't any. [more inside]
Everything you need to know about Ed Brubaker and Sean Philips, the best writer artist team currently working in comics, and their particular brand of noirish crime and noirish supercrime. With their latest project, Fatal, they add a new ingredient to the mix and bring us noirish Lovecraftian crime.
Both an ingeniously choreographed crime film and a moral drama influenced by Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, Pickpocket marks the apotheosis of Bresson's stripped-down style. There’s little or no psychological realism or conventional drama at work in Martin La Salle’s portrayal of a master thief who plies his trade at the Gare de Lyon and easily outwits the cops who seek to ensnare him. See it once to appreciate the spare elegance of the pickpocketing scenes, and then a second time to appreciate how subtly Bresson accomplishes the story of a man’s self-willed corruption, his liberation through imprisonment and his redemption through love, all in less than 80 minutes.
Almost one year after Congressional Republicans tried to limit the definition of rape to only include "force" (previously), the Department of Justice is redefining the term--but this time to to expand it dramatically:
The outdated definition that has been governing national rape statistics since 1929, “the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will,” has been updated to "penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” According to Susan D. Carbon, director of the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, the previous definition “excluded an untold number of victims.” For the first time, men will be included in national rape statistics, as well as those raped while unable to give consent due to intoxication or other mental and physical incapacity.
Bugs and Beasts Before the Law - "Murderous pigs sent to the gallows, sparrows prosecuted for chattering in Church, a gang of thieving rats let off on a wholly technical acquittal – theoretical psychologist and author Nicholas Humphrey explores the strange world of medieval animal trials." More on the theme of barnyard scapegoats from the BBC podcast documentary: Animals on Trial.
June 25th 1906, was the opening night of the musical revue Mamzelle Champagne on the roof of Madison Square Garden. In attendance were Stanford White, renowned architect (Washington Square Arch, Judson Memorial Church, Madison Square Garden itself), and Harry Kendall Thaw, eccentric coal and railroad scion. During the performance of the song I Could Love a Million Girls, Thaw "left his seat near the stage, passed between a number of tables, and, in full view of the players and of scores of persons, shot White through the head." (pdf) Standing over White’s body, Thaw said “You’ll never go out with that woman again.” [more inside]
Zaire Paige had a breakout role in Antoine Fuqua's movie, Brooklyn's Finest. He was seen as a rising star. But, it all went away when he murdered a gang rival and was sentenced to 107 years in prison. [more inside]
It just hasn't been a good month for the Chicago Bears. First they lost Jay Cutler and Matt Forte to injuries, and yesterday wide receiver Sam Hurd was arrested in an undercover drug sting, after an investigation that began in July 2011.
Last month How Did This Get Made (previously) held a live panel discussion of Superman III, a movie that started as a bizarre pitch involving everyone from Brainiac to Supergirl and Mr. Mxyzptlk, and ended up as a Richard Pryor vehicle. However for some truly crazy stories you may want to skip ahead to part II, where they are joined by Jack O'Halloran - Non from Superman I and II, boxer and son of the head of Murder, Inc. - who talks at length about his life, the movies, and choking Christopher Reeve.