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Wow, I didn't know he was in Beastmaster. . .

78 year-old American actor Rip Torn got drunk and tried to rob a bank last night. [more inside]
posted by bardic on Jan 31, 2010 - 107 comments

A Crime of Shadows

A Crime of Shadows: Mark Bowden shows both sides of a police sting of Internet child predators. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Jan 27, 2010 - 76 comments

Bondsmen vs. Pretrial Release

Pretrial release is an alternative to a cash or surety bond that allows some criminal defendants to avoid jail while awaiting trial; allowing defendants to continue to work or care for children. [more inside]
posted by electroboy on Jan 26, 2010 - 27 comments

You can also dive off a bridge or blow your brains out.

Magician, actor & Scientologist Larry Anderson wants his money back. Although he had modest success in Hollywood, he was known to millions as the narrator of Scientology's introductory film Orientation; certainly his most famous line was said for that movie:
"If you leave this room after seeing this film and walk out and never mention Scientology again, you are perfectly free to do so. It would be stupid. But you can do it. You can also dive off a bridge or blow your brains out. That is your choice."
Listen in as Larry negotiates with Church officials to recover $120,000 he deposited with the church in anticipation of receiving services from it.

In related news, Adams County, CO DA is charging Scientology OT7 Rev. Rex Fowler, owner of Scientology-run Fowler Software with murder and attempted murder for shooting ex-partner Tommy Ciancio three times in the head as he attempted to collect his severance pay, then turning the gun on himself, firing one shot up through his chin. Authorities initially believed Fowler was the victim based on witness testimony, but forensics showed that Ciancio could not have fired the three shots that killed him.
posted by scalefree on Jan 26, 2010 - 59 comments

World Government Data

Governments around the globe are opening up their data vaults allowing us to check out the numbers for ourselves. This is the Guardian’s gateway to that information. Search for government data here from the UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand — and look out for new countries and places as they are added. Read more about this on the Datablog. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Jan 25, 2010 - 13 comments

21st century executions.

10 executions that defined the 2000s. Ten executions that most palpably captured the decade’s Zeitgeist. Some clips may be NSFW.
posted by stinkycheese on Jan 23, 2010 - 30 comments

I ain't seen nothin'.

The Dirtiest Player. Was it only last season that Marvin Harrison was still catching TD passes for Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts? Now, in the wake of a brazen but mysterious Philadelphia gunfight - many details of which are reported here for the first time - the man who holds the NFL record for most receptions in a season may yet find himself with a permanent record of a different sort. (SLGQ) [more inside]
posted by The Card Cheat on Jan 16, 2010 - 37 comments

Avon Barksdale Lives Among Us

Nathan Avon "Bodie" Barksdale is a real life Baltimore gangster upon whom the character from "The Wire" was based. Now, Nathan Barksdale has a chance to tell his side of the story in this upcoming documentary. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Jan 13, 2010 - 31 comments

Craigslist Sexual Assault

James Stipe, a Marine, allegedly posed as his ex-girlfriend to post an ad on Craigslist seeking an “aggressive man with no concern for women.” The woman was later raped in her home. [more inside]
posted by emilyd22222 on Jan 11, 2010 - 168 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

Penal theory

The threat of a mild punishment imposed reliably and immediately has a much greater deterrent effect than the threat of a severe punishment that is delayed and uncertain. A state trial judge in Hawaii, was frustrated with the cases on his docket. Nearly half of the people appearing before him were convicted offenders with drug problems who had been sentenced to probation rather than prison and then repeatedly violated the terms of that probation by missing appointments or testing positive for drugs. Whether out of neglect or leniency, probation officers would tend to overlook a probationer’s first 5 or 10 violations, giving the offender the impression that he could ignore the rules. But eventually, the officers would get fed up and recommend that Alm revoke probation and send the offender to jail to serve out his sentence. That struck Alm as too harsh, but the alternative — winking at probation violations — struck him as too soft. “I thought, This is crazy, this is a crazy way to change people’s behavior,” he told me recently. So Alm decided to try something different. [more inside]
posted by caddis on Jan 10, 2010 - 33 comments

As If It Weren't Obvious Already

Saving Mexico "To weaken the cartels, some argue the U.S. should legalize marijuana, let cocaine pass through the Caribbean and take the profit motive out of the drug trade."
posted by kliuless on Dec 28, 2009 - 108 comments

The Silver Thief

The Silver Thief: The Story of a Burglar Who Was Too Good for His Own Good: The story of Blane Nordahl, an eminent silver thief in New Jersey and the hunt for him.
posted by reenum on Dec 22, 2009 - 28 comments

The number of foreign women detained as drug mules in Brazil has soared.

"I knew I could be arrested, even die, because with these things you expect everything. But at that moment I was so desperate about the money, and to do something for my life." [more inside]
posted by jonesor on Dec 21, 2009 - 18 comments

"face-tattooed, duel-scarred, razor-brandishing inmates"

Codes of the Underworld: How Criminals Communicate
Reason.com review focusing on "Tattoos, dueling scars, and other rational acquisitions"
Insider Higher Ed on "Criminal Incompetence"
Marginal Revolution on rates of violence between men and women in prison
Interviews with the author: Written ... Audio
posted by andoatnp on Dec 18, 2009 - 23 comments

...And Justice For All

New WM3 Defense Letter Imprisoned since 1993, Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr. filed new appeals in Oct. 2007 - previously - only to have them thrown out less than a year later. But a recent article in the Arkansas Law Review, which came on the heels of support from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Northwestern University School of Law’s Center on Wrongful Conviction, has the Arkansas Supreme Court reconsidering the appeals. Meanwhile, Terry Hobbs, stepfather of one of the victims, had his lawsuit against the Dixie Chicks tossed out earlier this month. [more inside]
posted by mannequito on Dec 17, 2009 - 19 comments

Adnan's World

Adnan Khashoggi was one of the high society news makers in the 80's, considered by some to be on Donald Trump's level. While things have gone alright for the Donald, Khashoggi hasn't done as well... [more inside]
posted by reenum on Dec 14, 2009 - 19 comments

The Night Shift

“I could not understand what was happening,” Mr. Sherpa said. “This man, my partner from my own country, he’s trying to kill me. He was a crazy man, like he didn’t know me. He said nothing — he just kept chopping me.”
posted by william_boot on Dec 13, 2009 - 50 comments

Strange Medicine

Radovan Karadzic was a war criminal who was able to escape prosecution for his war crimes during the genocide in Bosnia. In a particularly strange twist, Karadzic assumed the name Dragan Dabic and rose in the ranks of the alternative healing community in Belgrade. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Dec 9, 2009 - 20 comments

Global Cities - Global Gangs

Global Cities - Global Gangs: Global cities linking global economic circuits are also home to transnational criminals and global gangs. [via] [more inside]
posted by Burhanistan on Dec 6, 2009 - 10 comments

Sister Ping and the Golden Venture

Cheng Chui Ping came to the US like many others from the Fujian province in China. Through hard work and determination, she rose in the ranks of New York City's Chinatown business community. But, "Sister Ping" was not one to follow laws if it didn't suit her. Among the snakeheads who engaged in human trafficking, none were better than her. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Dec 2, 2009 - 15 comments

It is not the most chilling portrait of a murderer

It may be the worst police sketch ever: "The head is shaped like a rugby ball, the lips slide to one side, the nose is phallic, the ears are missing and the hair is having a very bad day." But it led to two arrests, and one television station, in order to protect the identities of the arrested, seemed to think it was a good idea to superimpose the illustration on top of the faces of the suspects.
posted by Astro Zombie on Nov 24, 2009 - 45 comments

Bullet to the head

The first four issues of Stray Bullets set the world on fire when they came out. Paper burns, you see, and a comic book as inflammatory as Stray Bullets just had to be burned. The religious right burned them. The Godless left burned them. The people in the middle felt left out and burned them too. Only a few copies survived and are probably worth millions by now. Inaccessible to the common man, the wonders of the digital universe have finally arrived to allow you—the average Joe—to see what the fuss was all about.
posted by Artw on Nov 16, 2009 - 37 comments

In Slightly Warmer Blood.

In Cold Blood, 50 Years On : The Guardian takes a look at Holcomb, Kansas 50 years (to the day) after the crimes depicted in Truman Capote's In Cold Blood.
posted by grapefruitmoon on Nov 16, 2009 - 10 comments

A Tale of Two Cities

Crime: A Tale of Two Cities. When "The Wire" gained popularity in Great Britain, we were contacted by a London-based journalist who proposed a job swap. Mark Hughes, a crime reporter with The Independent, a national newspaper in the United Kingdom, wanted to come to Baltimore to see if the city’s police officers, drug dealers, prosecutors and politicians bore any resemblance to those on show. We agreed to complete the exchange by sending our police reporter, Justin Fenton, to London to compare crime trends. [more inside]
posted by HumanComplex on Nov 12, 2009 - 30 comments

Cleveland serial killer highlights police indifference

Alleged serial killer and convicted rapist Anthony Sowell is creating even bigger problems for the Cleveland police department, who have been accused of joking about missing victims, passing the blame onto those victims and outright incompetence. As of today, the body count is up to 10 (plus one skull), and people around the world are wondering what went wrong.
posted by bitter-girl.com on Nov 4, 2009 - 69 comments

Bank Notes - a collection of bank robbery notes

Bank Notes - a collection of bank robbery notes, successful and otherwise.
posted by nthdegx on Nov 2, 2009 - 64 comments

Blood sucking leeches

Leeches, horror film staples, medicinal wonders, and now crime fighters. Police cracked the case of a home invasion and safe robbery when they found one of the suspects' blood inside a leech on the floor and matched his dna.
posted by caddis on Oct 20, 2009 - 14 comments

More of the Best

Having previously put together a post with links to stories from the 2009 edition of Best of American Crime Reporting, I decided to go to earlier editions to gather together what is available on the web. Starting in 2007 with The Tainted Kidney: Charles Graeber, New York. A serial killer who chooses to donate his kidney has his motives questioned. [more inside]
posted by dances_with_sneetches on Oct 17, 2009 - 18 comments

Crime Time

The 2009 anthology of The Best American Crime Reporting is out. Each year this series collects examples of exceptional and diverse true crime journalism. Many of the entries are available in their online magazines. Starting with "Dan P. Lee, Body Snatchers - Philadelphia magazine" (part of the story previously discussed here), a ghoulish tale of stolen corpses and the market behind him. [more inside]
posted by dances_with_sneetches on Sep 30, 2009 - 15 comments

Polanski arrested

Film director Roman Polanski, who won numerous awards for films like Chinatown and The Pianist, has been detained for extradition to the US, whilst travelling to Switzerland to collect a lifetime achievement award at the Zürich Film Festival. [more inside]
posted by acb on Sep 27, 2009 - 581 comments

The Mind of Kalebu

Why are people like Isaiah Kalebu—people diagnosed with serious psychological problems and accused of violent crimes—allowed to remain free until trial? [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Sep 24, 2009 - 34 comments

The Market for Lemons, or Thieves Discount the Value You(r Identity)

Calculate the value of your identity on the black market, based on how you access your financial information, your involvement in social and file-sharing networks, and security software installed. Spoiler: it's less than you imagine, as using the data is riskier than stealing the data, and the thieves market is polluted by liars (you can read more in the 12 page Microsoft research PDF). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 10, 2009 - 34 comments

Dark Behind It Rose The Forest

Inside America's most dangerous national forest.
posted by WPW on Sep 5, 2009 - 44 comments

"In my next conscious moment, I was dimly aware that I was facedown on the pavement. There was blood in my mouth."

"A Mugging on Lake Street" : John Conroy -- author and former staff writer of the Chicago Reader best known for his articles on police torture finds himself a victim of a "senseless" crime and is forced by circumstance to examine his own opinions about race, hate crimes, and violence. (last link is referenced in original article)
posted by MCMikeNamara on Sep 2, 2009 - 118 comments

By day a mild mannered pencil-monkey...

Zap! Pow! Comicbook artist Chris Weston fights crime!
posted by Artw on Sep 2, 2009 - 20 comments

Dominick Dunne 1925-2009

Dominick Dunne died yesterday at the age of 83. was well known for his chronicling of the follies and crimes of the rich. You can read some of his pieces from Vanity Fair here.
posted by reenum on Aug 27, 2009 - 26 comments

Excuse me, may I have some directions? Certainly sir, step right this way!

The 'problem'? A perceived spate of recent knife crime in Japan: The 'solution'? Revise the 'Firearm and Sword Control Law' to ban possession of daggers and other double-edged knives with blades 5.5 cm or longer.

The 'result'? Pocket knife lands tourist, 74, in lockup, with nine days in a holding cell. Two other American tourists were arrested that same day at the same koban (police box) ...
posted by woodblock100 on Aug 7, 2009 - 82 comments

Seventy-five years of Bonnie and Clyde

But have they become tools of the Left? Seventy-five years on, the murderous pair is still provoking comment. This time, from neocons.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit on Aug 6, 2009 - 38 comments

On the Trail of a Serial Killer in Macedonia

Then, in November 2007, exactly three years after the disappearance of Simjanoska, another woman from Kičevo went missing. Fifty-six-year-old Lubica Ličoska was, like Simjanoska, a custodian, and she also lived in the same section of town. When the similarities were noted, locals suddenly remembered Gorica Pavelska. She was seventy-three, a retired custodian who went missing in May 2003. No one had thought much of it at the time. She might have suffered a stroke in some remote place, they had speculated, or gone to work in Skopje. No trace of her was ever found and the whole business had been forgotten. But now it appeared that little Kičevo was home to a serial killer, and Vlado Taneski’s editors smelled a big story.
- The Mask of Sanity: On the Trail of a Serial Killer in Macedonia by Dimiter Kenarov. An account of the Kičevo Monster and the killer's surprising identity. [Warning: Descriptions of the murders include graphic details]
posted by Kattullus on Aug 5, 2009 - 20 comments

it's a Federal crime

Brian W. Walsh thinks You're (Probably) A Federal Criminal.
posted by nickyskye on Aug 1, 2009 - 97 comments

Smart? Tossers.

The latest craze among yobs in Amsterdam seems to be Smart tossing. Jeremy Clarkson would undoubtedly approve, were he not busy urging Britain to invade France.
posted by acb on Jul 27, 2009 - 47 comments

A boy called Sue

A new US study, recently published in Social Science Quarterly, has shown that the more uncommon or feminine a boy's first name is, the greater the likelihood that he will end up in prison. [more inside]
posted by acb on Jul 14, 2009 - 103 comments

Murdered by skinheads for being gay. When will the igorance and hate stop?

A family tries to cope after their son is killed for being gay Remarkable family. Interesting, layered documentary but bad translation.
posted by hooptycritter on Jul 4, 2009 - 53 comments

The Year of Parker

He is a man with one name. He is a thief and a killer, and the protagonist of 24 hard boiled novels written by prolific author Donald Westlake (previously) under the pseudonym Richard Stark. He is Parker, and he is enjoying a resurgence in popularity. [more inside]
posted by dortmunder on Jun 30, 2009 - 39 comments

"I rob banks for a living, what do you do?"

John Dillinger was paroled from Indiana State Prison in May 1933 after serving eight years for assault and battery and attempted robbery and launched a Midwest Crime Wave from June 1933 to June 1934. [more inside]
posted by kirkaracha on Jun 25, 2009 - 28 comments

When Gravity Fails

Editor Marty Halpern looks back at the career of George Alec Effinger (part 1, part 2, part 3), a prolific author best known for his work set in the Budayeen, a walled city in a future Islamic state, teeming with gangsters, hustlers and transsexual prostitutes, many of them habitual users of plug in personality modules. The noirish tone and exotic technology of the Marîd Audran books (When Gravity Fails, A Fire In The Sun, The Exile Kiss) made Effinger one of the leading lights in the cyberpunk movie, and spawned a videogame - a rare attempt at a graphical adventure from Infocom - and an RPG setting. Sadly Effinger faded from prominence after that, and he suffered from a number of health and financial setbacks before passing away in 2002. His work has had somewhat of a resurgence in popularity of late, with the Marîd Audran books coming back into print in 2007, a long with a collection containing The Wolves of Memory, Effinger's personal favourite amongst his novels.
posted by Artw on Jun 9, 2009 - 32 comments

The Practice of Photography in Sites of Incarceration

Pinhole Photography by Incarcerated Girls at Remann Hall, Washington State. Prison Baseball. Guantanamo: Directory of Photographic and Visual Resources. Painted photographs of forgotten incarcerated Russian youth. 19th century prison ships. Pete Brook's Prison Photography blog links to lots of great stuff.
posted by mediareport on Jun 4, 2009 - 8 comments

Protect Yourself, Your Family, Your Identity

The commercials are all over television — and they certainly are attention-grabbing. They’re the ones where the heavy, bald guy is sitting in his easy chair talking in a squeaky female voice about all the clothes he bought — including a bustier. Or the little old lady speaking with the gruff voice of a younger man about the sweet motorcycle she now owned. Identity theft is a serious crime — one that is occurring with an alarming frequency. The Identity Theft Manifesto explains how criminals get your personal info, and what you can do about it.
posted by netbros on Jun 1, 2009 - 15 comments

Don't shoot a man when he's down?

In a case reminiscent of Bernard Goetz, pharmacist Jerome Ersland was held up by two gun-wielding men, shot one of them in the head, and then, when the other had left, shot the prone man several more times, killing him (store security video). Now he's being charged with first-degree murder, and is the center of intense controversy about whether he engaged in legitimate self-defense by making absolutely sure his attacker was incapacitated or in an unjustifiable vigilante-style execution. Complicating matters is the fact that Jerome is white and the robbers black.
posted by shivohum on May 30, 2009 - 178 comments

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