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William Friedkin's "To Live and Die in L.A."

After 25 years I revisited To Live and Die In L.A. (1985), William Friedkin's cynical, fatalistic, hardboiled and high-energy crime noir about corruption and survival in the city of no angels. The script is literate, the characters are believable, the performances are brutally honest, the unpredictable twists keep coming, the action never stops, and the car chase is shot for real without any fake process. (spoilers)
posted by Trurl on Nov 4, 2011 - 60 comments

Myra Hindley

My purpose here has been to inquire into mediated understandings of Hindley, and to question how popular texts delineate between the deeds of a human being and the way those deeds are culturally inscribed. The task is neither conclusive nor complete, for monsters are illusive. There is always some part of them that evades both enunciation and comprehension.
posted by Trurl on Oct 30, 2011 - 15 comments

Does crime still pay?

Why has crime in the US fallen, despite rising unemployment? [more inside]
posted by BobbyVan on Oct 25, 2011 - 74 comments

"I Will Never Again Harm Another Human Being"

Over the objections of federal prosecutors and Ronald Reagan's family, John Hinckley, Jr. is on the verge of freedom. "Which should prevail—the belief that anyone who tries to kill a President should never be free? Or a judicial system that rests on laws that spell out pathways to wellness and freedom for people deemed mentally ill when they commit violent acts?"
posted by yankeefog on Oct 14, 2011 - 100 comments

The Rebirth of One Eyed Jacks: The Impact and Legality of Sweepstakes Cafes in the USA

Internet Sweepstakes Cafes have opened in strip malls and retail areas throughout United States of America in the 2000s to become a $10 to $15 billion industry. [more inside]
posted by fizzix on Oct 12, 2011 - 111 comments

Zimmerman Telegram 2.0?

Following a months-long investigation, the Department of Justice has announced the existence of a well-funded plot "conceived, sponsored and directed" by "high-ranking members of the Iranian government" to assassinate Saudi Arabian ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir on U.S. soil in conjunction with informants in Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas. The "Hollywood" plot, revealed in an afternoon press conference and described in a detailed 21-page complaint [PDF], is alleged to have involved an attack on the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington, D.C. One suspect, naturalized American citizen Arbab Arbabsiar, has been arrested, while co-conspirator and Quds Force member Gholam Shakuri remains at large. Iranian officials were quick to label the charges a "fabrication" intended to distract from America's economic troubles.
posted by Rhaomi on Oct 11, 2011 - 251 comments

Aberrican Me - Ross Capicchioni

Ross Capicchioni's story - Parts 1 and 2 - contains violent descriptions
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Oct 6, 2011 - 26 comments

Light in the Darkness

Not in Our Town [autoplay 1hr PBS video]: the story of how the community of Patchogue, NY responded to the murder of Marcelo Lucero [more inside]
posted by peeedro on Sep 23, 2011 - 9 comments

Full Tilt Ponzi

U.S. Alleges Full Tilt Poker was Ponzi Scheme. The Justice Department has filed suite against popular online poker site Full Tilt Poker, asserting that money players believed to be stored in their accounts was actually diverted to the site's owners, with money from new players being used to pay off bets when necessary. Reaction from the poker community when the site was first shut down in April. Reaction now. Always good for a contrarian spin, Deadspin says the Ponzi scheme is really all the Justice Department's fault.
posted by escabeche on Sep 20, 2011 - 79 comments

Troy Davis execution imminent

In 1991, Troy Davis was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1989 murder of policeman Mark MacPhail in a Savannah, Georgia parking lot. Since then, seven of the nine prosecution eyewitnesses have recanted all or part of their testimony, with some citing pressure from the police to make false statements. An exception is Sylvester "Redd" Coles, who made the initial report of Davis’s guilt, and is regarded by the defense as the chief suspect. New witnesses have sworn affidavits that Coles confessed the crime to them. An array of figures have called for a stay of execution, including death-penalty supporters Senator Bob Barr and former FBI director William S. Sessions. Today, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles denied clemency; barring action from the District Attorney, Davis is set to be executed by lethal injection tomorrow at 7pm. [Previously]
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Sep 20, 2011 - 432 comments

The Cybercrime of Sextortion

Sextortion /sekˈstɔː(r)ʃ(ə)n/ noun The extortion and/or blackmail of an individual, wherein the item or service requested/demanded is the performance of a sexual act.

He seeded P2P networks with popular-sounding song titles that were actually malware; when someone downloaded and executed the file, their machine was infected and would open itself to his control. He took over 129 different computers for a total of 230 victims. Forty-four of the victims were juveniles. How an omniscient Internet "sextortionist" ruined the lives of teen girls. [Sextortionism, previously discussed on Mefi (working link to Sextortion at Eisenhower High article and an update).]
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear on Sep 8, 2011 - 35 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

Something Foul Is Afoot

Human foot washes up on beach near Vancouver for 11th time in four years Previously - The DNA matchup - previously again
posted by The Whelk on Aug 31, 2011 - 120 comments

Ultimately, there is no separating Vick from his circumstances: his race, parents, economics and opportunities.

What if Michael Vick were white? The cover of the September issue of ESPN The Magazine features an image of the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, but another picture might end up getting more attention. [more inside]
posted by furiousxgeorge on Aug 25, 2011 - 171 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

Want To Go For A Hike?

The perfect location for the perfect crime. Due to a loophole in the US Constitution there is an area of Yellowstone Park where you may be able to get away with a major crime. U Michigan Prof Brian C Kalt looks into this loophole and gauges your chance at success. Someone has tried. [more inside]
posted by stp123 on Aug 21, 2011 - 36 comments

Nickel and Dimed, 10 years later.

Barbara Ehrenreich, author of the the 2001 bestseller "Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America", releases a new afterward for the tenth anniversary edition of the book, focusing on what has changed in the last 10 years. The conclusion: Poverty has since turned into an American crime. [more inside]
posted by windbox on Aug 11, 2011 - 178 comments

Ah, now there's the inflated sense of self-esteem!

The Secret History of Guns. "The Ku Klux Klan, Ronald Reagan, and, for most of its history, the NRA all worked to control guns. The Founding Fathers? They required gun ownership—and regulated it. And no group has more fiercely advocated the right to bear loaded weapons in public than the Black Panthers—the true pioneers of the modern pro-gun movement. In the battle over gun rights in America, both sides have distorted history and the law, and there’s no resolution in sight." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Aug 10, 2011 - 36 comments

"I do not anticipate that another Charles Ponzi will ever appear in the financial world"

On July 23, 1920, Charles Ponzi hired former Boston Post journalist William H. McMasters as his publicist, who quickly realized that his new client was defrauding the public. Just ten days later, McMasters wrote an exposé published in the Post that led to Ponzi's ultimate downfall. The newspaper won a Pulitzer. McMasters was The Man Who Time (Almost) Forgot (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 10, 2011 - 11 comments

Does digital writing leave fingerprints?

"When legal teams need to prove or disprove the authorship of key texts, they call in the forensic linguists. Scholars in the field have tackled the disputed origins of some prestigious works, from Shakespearean sonnets to the Federalist Papers."
Decoding Your E-Mail Personality Ben Zimmer, of Language Log discusses the Facebook case and forensic linguistics in the NY Times. [more inside]
posted by iamkimiam on Aug 2, 2011 - 13 comments

Idle Hands Are The Devil's Playthings

Dimorio McDowell had a lot of time on his hands in prison. So, he decided to start up his own retail fraud and ID theft ring, defrauding his victims of almost $1 million before investigators caught up to him.
posted by reenum on Aug 2, 2011 - 21 comments

Frank Bender and the "team of experts whose consultative skills and talents are always free"

When forensic sculptor Frank Bender, Esquire's Man of the Month in April 2004, died this week the world mourned one of the foremost skull-to-face recreationists. What fewer people knew was that his passing created an opening in The Vidocq Society a members-only crime-solving organization he co-founded in 1990, dedicated to working on long-unsolved murders. Membership is limited to 82 members, one for each year of Inspector Vidocq's life. The organization does have a newsletter available online and guests and associates sometimes tag along to their monthly luncheons, Cuisine & Crime Solving.
posted by jessamyn on Jul 31, 2011 - 18 comments

Find a place to trash.

When EJ was called out of town for work, she decided to use couchsurfing site AirBnB to rent her home out for the week. She took care to lock up her valuables (money, passport, iPod, grandmother's jewelry) in a closet. She came home to find her tenants had systematically looted & trashed the place. They got to the closet through a hole they made in the wall & even cut the tags off her pillows. AirBnB has made sympathetic statements but EJ remains devastated.
posted by scalefree on Jul 29, 2011 - 132 comments

Has the Code of The Zodiac Killer Been Cracked?

Corey Starliper of Tewksbury, Massachusetts believes he has solved the last Zodiac serial killer cipher and has identified the person who terrorized northern California in the late '60s. "Zodiac sent encrypted communication to area newspapers, taking credit for the killings and warning of more to come ..." His most famous: a 340-character cipher, "was mailed to the San Francisco Chronicle, according to zodiackillerfacts.com. To this day, the cipher has not been completely cracked. Starliper, however, believes he has found the solution to that code." [more inside]
posted by ericb on Jul 24, 2011 - 56 comments

So You Think You Can Solve The Kennedy Assassination

Want to (dis)prove who killed JFK? Start with the 5 million pages of material in the National Archives' Assassination Records Collection1. Better review the 26 volumes of hearings and exhibits published by the Warren Commission. And each frame of the Zapruder film2. And just to be on the safe side, the operating manual for his then top-of-the-line Bell & Howell 414PD camera. (1: previously, but with outdated link. 2: related) [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Jul 23, 2011 - 73 comments

"The thing I regret most that I cannot change -- except by what I do now -- was drafting the death penalty initiative."

"The way I look at it, what I created can and may already have resulted in the [execution] of an innocent person." Donald Heller is partly responsible for turning California's death row into the most populous and expensive in the nation. So why'd the lawyer known as "Mad Dog" change his mind?
posted by scody on Jul 16, 2011 - 24 comments

Why the NYT still rules

Blockbuster: DSK may be freed Friday as the rape case against him collapses The NYT reports prosecutors found the chambermaid was involved with drug dealers, possible extortion. previously
posted by CunningLinguist on Jun 30, 2011 - 337 comments

James "Whitey" Bulger found.

James "Whitey" Bulger has been arrested in California. [more inside]
posted by rmd1023 on Jun 23, 2011 - 93 comments

Of sound mind and but not so much sound body

Life imitates O'Henry's "The Cop and the Anthem" (tl;dr): James Verone robbed a bank to get health care while in jail. In a similar move, Nathan Bootz, Superintendent of Ithaca Public Schools, "proposed to make his school a prison" to increase the state's spending per-student to the same level as it spends per-prisoner in the jails.
posted by autopilot on Jun 20, 2011 - 37 comments

Criminals are dumb.

Your Sweet Justice story for the day: In February, K.C. was riding her bike home from work. While waiting at a stop light, she felt a slight bump from the car behind her, followed by laughter from within. K.C. wasn't looking for a fight, and did her best to ignore this. Disappointed with his failure to elicit a response, the driver bumped her again, this time a bit harder. This is when K.C. pulled out her police badge, and things started to get weird...
posted by schmod on Jun 14, 2011 - 94 comments

Money and politics in the First State

It started with a warehouse in the town of Milford. Now the investigation of Delaware businessman Christopher Tigani has expanded from a shady land deal to $200,000 in illegal campaign contributions to everybody from state legislators to Vice President Joe Biden. [more inside]
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish on Jun 13, 2011 - 29 comments

The Polite Society

"The argument is straightforward: When less legal work is available, more illegal 'work' takes place. ... But there have long been difficulties with the notion that unemployment causes crime. " Author James Q. Wilson on crime, law enforcement and the economy.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing on Jun 9, 2011 - 13 comments

So is the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man correlated to a crimefighter?

Can marshmallows be the link that helps explain falling crime rates and increased environmental cleanliness? It seems that falling environmental lead levels may lead kids to have have more activity in their brains' frontal cortices. After following the kids from the marshmallow experiment for over 40 years, Walter Mischel found that those that could resist immediately eating the marshmallow were more likely to have increased activity in that area of their brains. These kids were also more likely to later exhibit such things as increased SAT scores and fewer anger management issues. [more inside]
posted by BevosAngryGhost on Jun 2, 2011 - 63 comments

"The girls who were detained were not like your daughter or mine."

Amnesty International first reported in March that Egyptian authorities were conducting "virginity tests" on female protestors. Today, military authorities admitted that these tests took place and tried to defend the practice.
posted by reenum on May 31, 2011 - 90 comments

Dog Day Afternoons

“I have to admit, I admired her style,” . . . “the most awesome robbery ever.” . . . “twisted, intellectually bright, dysfunctional individuals who outsmarted themselves” . . . "from threats to farce to violence" . . . "He smelled really good." . . . Slate and Longform.org team up to being you the tales of five remarkable bank heists.
posted by chaff on May 30, 2011 - 21 comments

I'm Not Worth A Damn

An oldie but a goodie: Don Reese, then of the San Diego Chargers, talks about his own problems with cocaine and the widespread drug use in the NFL at the time. [more inside]
posted by reenum on May 24, 2011 - 9 comments

The Amoral Maze

Jon Ronson - How to spot a psychopath
posted by Artw on May 21, 2011 - 151 comments

Bill James Applies His Science to Serial Killers

Bill James, a pioneer in the field of baseball statistics, has now turned his attention to serial killers and their methods.
posted by reenum on May 5, 2011 - 38 comments

Wanted: Gentleman bank robber

Crime Magazine features a rather matter-of-fact account of one of Leslie Ibsen Rogge's (wiki) bank robberies. The article is an excerpt from a new book by Dane Batty, Rogge's nephew, called Wanted: Gentleman bank robber: The True Story of Leslie Ibsen Rogge, One of the FBI’s Most Elusive Criminals. Rogge was once on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, and is apparently the first from that list brought in due to the Internet. He is due to be released in 2047.
posted by Harald74 on May 5, 2011 - 9 comments

Photographic Immortality

The Burns Archive is a collection of over 700,000 historical photographs that document disturbing subject matter: obsolete medical practices and experiments, death, disease, disasters, crime, revolutions, riots and war. Newsweek posted a select gallery this past October, as well as a video interview and walk-through with curator and collector Dr. Stanley B. Burns, a New York opthalmologist. (Via) (Content at links may be disturbing to some.) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 26, 2011 - 15 comments

Make Fake Army, Go To Jail

1) Make fake army 2) Collect Fees 3) Profit 4) Go to Jail - Yupeng Deng created the U.S. Army/Military Special Forces Reserve Unit in Southern California for Asian immigrants. Unfortunately for all, the US Government wasn't aware of this... SGV Tribune story (pictures), NY Times story
posted by Argyle on Apr 14, 2011 - 42 comments

Loaded

Law enforcement authorities are in awe of the new wave of narco "supersubs" that are being found in the jungles of Colombia. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Apr 13, 2011 - 60 comments

Like a travel guide, but crime.

Crimemapping.com is where you go to see colorful US crime maps. [more inside]
posted by lemuring on Apr 12, 2011 - 26 comments

Chump Change

A Euro Scam That Unfolded at a Snail's Pace “It wasn’t so unusual to get coins from China,” said Susanne Kreutzer, a Bundesbank spokesman. “That is a business model for some people.”
posted by chavenet on Apr 5, 2011 - 18 comments

No one is condoning the crime, but...

Decades after school bus kidnapping, strong feelings in Chowchilla. 'Thirty-five years ago in Chowchilla, Calif., three young men from upscale families kidnapped a bus full of children and their driver and buried them in a quarry. Some of the officials who put the culprits in prison are calling for their parole — a sore point for many residents.' [more inside]
posted by VikingSword on Apr 3, 2011 - 149 comments

A Murder Foretold

"My name is Rodrigo Rosenberg Marzano and, alas, if you are hearing or seeing this message it means that I’ve been murdered by President Álvaro Colom, with the help of Gustavo Alejos." Rosenberg went on, "The reason I'm dead, and you're therefore watching this message, is only and exclusively because during my final moments I was the lawyer to Mr. Khalil Musa and his daughter Marjorie Musa, who, in cowardly fashion, were assassinated by President Álvaro Colom, with the consent of his wife, Sandra de Colom, and with the help of . . . Gustavo Alejos."
posted by vidur on Mar 28, 2011 - 48 comments

Conviction

Betty Anne Waters's brother Kenny was sent to prison for first degree murder and armed robbery in 1982. Over the next 16 years, Betty Anne got her GED, college degree, and law degree, all in an effort to prove Kenny was innocent. With the assistance of the Innocence Project, Betty Anne was able to use DNA evidence to show Kenny was innocent. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Mar 24, 2011 - 28 comments

Yakuza To The Rescue

Even Japan’s infamous mafia groups are helping out with the relief efforts and showing a strain of civic duty. "The Kanagawa Block of the Inagawa-kai, has sent 70 trucks to the Ibaraki and Fukushima areas to drop off supplies in areas with high radiations levels. They didn't keep track of how many tons of supplies they moved. The Inagawa-kai as a whole has moved over 100 tons of supplies to the Tohoku region. They have been going into radiated areas without any protection or potassium iodide."
posted by kingv on Mar 22, 2011 - 63 comments

Deal of the Century

How two American kids became big-time weapons traders - "Working with nothing but an Internet connection, a couple of cellphones and a steady supply of weed, the two friends — one with a few college credits, the other a high school dropout — had beaten out Fortune 500 giants like General Dynamics to score the huge arms contract. With a single deal, two stoners from Miami Beach had turned themselves into the least likely merchants of death in history." (via; previously on arms contractors)
posted by kliuless on Mar 21, 2011 - 69 comments

Baby Bleeding from 3 Orifices

Police reports are more than just the facts. Ellen Collett, who left entertainment to work for the LAPD, knows one officer by his words alone. [more inside]
posted by Ideefixe on Mar 15, 2011 - 17 comments

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