'You Can't See Why on an fMRI.'
Brian Doherty explores the vagaries of the insanity defense, centering on the sad cases of Andrea Yates
and Eric Clark
When Karen Lodrick turned away from ordering her latte at the Starbucks at Church and Market streets, there it was, slung over the arm of the woman behind her... a "beaucoup expensive" light-brown suede coat with faux fur trim at the collar, cuffs and down the middle. The only other time Lodrick had seen that particular coat was on a security camera photo that her bank, Wells Fargo, showed her of the woman who had stolen her identity. The photo was taken as the thief was looting Lodrick's checking account. And thus a foot chase towards justice
began. (via the Consumerist)
Under the ole shade tree...
Welcome to Jena, LA -- mix high school segregation, racism, nooses, fights, ineffective school administration, attempted-murder charges, shotguns, and a town in upheaval--a "racial powder keg"
. Much more here,
including links to help.
It began with
an innocent-looking Valentine's Day card in 2005.
Inside the card were several slips of paper, a hastily cut-up printout of names of 550 secret detainees at Guantanamo Bay. The human rights lawyer who received "this weird valentine" handed it over to authorities, and this week the court martial begins for JAG LtCmdr Matthew Diaz, facing 36 years for divulging state secrets.
Whither goest thou, American Jurisprudence
Network Hosting Attorney Scandal E-Mails Also Hosted Ohio's 2004 Election Results
--...more than ample documentation to show that on Election Night 2004, Ohio's "official" Secretary of State website -- which gave the world the presidential election results -- was redirected from an Ohio government server to a group of servers that contain scores of Republican web sites, including the secret White House e-mail accounts that have emerged in the scandal surrounding Attorney General Alberto Gonzales's firing of eight federal prosecutors. ...
Adel Hamad, a 48-year-old Sudanese elementary-school teacher, has been held at Guantanamo for five years without charge or evidence of a crime. His lawyers have been unable to convince a federal court to review his case, so they started started Project Hamad
and posted a short movie about him online. This is an example of how human rights activists can use YouTube
to bring their cases to the public.
- The Brain on the Stand
A man accused of a stealing underwear from a shop in a knifepoint raid believed he was a female elf
at the time. He was found guilty
. The man believed he was playing Shadowrun
at the time.
Convicted as an ecoterrorist, a brilliant young scholar nose-dives in prison.
An article on Billy Cottrell
, a physics genius with Asperger's Syndrome who was sentenced to 8.5 years in prison for his role in destroying $5 million worth of SUVs. His case was previously discussed here
. [Via BB.]
Washington Initiative Requires Proof of Procreation From Married Couples
-- in response to a ruling made by the Washington Supreme Court last year stating gay and lesbian couples could be prevented from marrying by the state because Washington has a legitimate interest in preserving marriage for couples who can procreate.
It's been accepted by their Secy of State, and only needs signatures now to get on the ballot. Press release here
, which adds: The time has come for these conservatives to be dosed with their own medicine. If same-sex couples should be barred from marriage because they can not have children together, it follows that all couples who can not or will not have children together should equally be barred from marriage.
Court Decision, re: Fisher v. Lowe, Feb. 1999.
Car ends up in man's yard. Man sues driver. Judge administers poetic justice. [via]
Jan. 11, 2002, the first 20 detainees, shackled and blindfolded, arrived from Afghanistan .... and since then, nearly 800 prisoners have passed through the detention center in southeastern Cuba.
To mark the anniversary, demonstrations are planned Thursday in New York, London, Sydney, Australia, and other cities as well as dozens of small towns in the United States and Britain.
Gitmo Detainees Join Hunger Strike
.... & ....
WikiPeidia History Article
Undark and the Radium Girls
is the fascinating true story of several female employees of the US Radium Corporation at the turn of the 20th Centry. The women were employed to paint radioactive "Undark", a glow-in-the-dark paint for military application (dials that needed to be seen at night, etc) onto the machinery. The women were given lethal amounts of paint & fine brushes, which they all routinely kept sharp by wetting the tips in their mouths. Twenty years later, as their jawbones disintegrated & the tumors began to spread, they started down the path to figuring out who had murdered them, and how.
Any aspiring filmmakers want to help exonerate a geeky German guy with no legal options left
, falsely convicted of murder in Virginia? In 1985, Jens Soering confessed to the murder of the parents
of his American girlfriend, Elizabeth Haysom. He claims he was madly in love and confessed to protect her. Since 1995, Jens' very detailed description of events
and the flaws in the case against him have been posted on the internet along with the former Virginian deputy attorney-general's (now his lawyer) endorsement. Jens' personal site
maintains a list of articles and books Jens has written in prison. Elizabeth also has her own column
Who Killed Ryan Harris?
Eight years ago the body of eleven-year-old Ryan Harris was discovered in a poor neighbourhood
on the South Side of Chicago. What followed was a saga involving the youngest children in U.S. history
to be charged with murder; the subsequent dropping of the charges after exculpatory evidence surfaced and allegations of coerced confessions
; another (adult) suspect allegedly faking a low IQ and entering an Alford plea
; lawsuits against the prosecutors on behalf of the boys, later settled out of court
; and, earlier this year, one of the boys coming back into the news after being charged in connection with a double shooting
, with lawyers insinuating that his earlier ordeal was to blame for his criminal activity. One of the sadder stories I've heard in some time.
is a British businessman who was convicted of the 1986 murder of a Jamaican father and son in a hotel room in Miami, Florida. He was given the death penalty, but this was commuted to a life sentence in 2002 due to irregularities in his trial. Well, "irregularities" is an understatement: none of Maharaj's seven alibi witnesses were called to the stand. Maharaj is widely understood to be innocent, and another prime suspect has been identified. In 2001, 300 British politicians wrote to Jeb Bush, requesting a retrial. Considering this possibility in 2004, the Florida judge said that “newly discovered evidence which goes only to guilt or innocence is insufficient to warrant relief" and denied the motion. The US Supreme Court refused to take the case. Krishna Maharaj must now rely on the mercy of Jeb Bush.BBC Newsnight with 2-part video documentary2004 FAQCampaign website
New York Justice.
Because every woman needs a good pounding every now and then.
"If anything, a civil rights background is considered a liability."
Meet the politically-appointed career staffers of the Justice Dept.'s Civil Rights Division: ... the kinds of cases the Civil Rights Division is bringing have undergone a shift. The division is bringing fewer voting rights and employment cases involving systematic discrimination against African-Americans, and more alleging reverse discrimination against whites and religious discrimination against Christians. ...
Thorough Boston Globe article on how the administration disbanded the hiring committee in 2002 to appoint lawyers with a very different vision of what civil rights are, and the ensuring and ongoing results.
was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 1991. A few days before his execution in February, he was granted a stay
because he was found to be incompetent, a paranoid schizophrenic. Today, the judge has ordered that he be forced to take his medication
so he can be legally put to death.
A step toward justice
in West Africa.
Hanging up the microphone for a cause
He was a Fleet Street sportswriter and a boxer. His "Action Line"
show had Winnipeggers talking for 27 years. Since moving to the West Coast with the purpose of retiring, Peter Warren has kept busy with a national talk radio show
where his brusque replies to insipid callers have made him infamous. But after this weekend, he leaves it all behind to focus on investigative work
, including a dossier of 14 murder cases.
"Yousry is not a practicing Muslim. He is not a fundamentalist,"
prosecutor Anthony Barkow acknowledged in his closing arguments to a jury in federal district court in Manhattan earlier this year. "Mohammed Yousry is not someone who supports or believes in the use of violence."
So why is Yousry now awaiting sentencing in March, when he could face 20 years in prison for translating a letter from imprisoned Muslim cleric Omar Abdel Rahman to Rahman's lawyer in Egypt?
Against Indifference: A Conversation with Elie Wiesel "I believe that a person who is indifferent to the suffering of others is complicit in the crime. And that I cannot allow, at least not for myself."
short, but good. The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity
site is worth some time as well (or if you're looking for a worthy cause this season).
From 1964 to 1992, Texaco
(.mov, 20.6MB) drilled for oil in the northern region of the Ecuadorian Amazon, known as the "Oriente". The company left 627 open toxic waste pits
and other facilities which continue to leak highly toxic waste
, affecting more than 30,000 local people. A higher incidence of birth defects
, miscarriages, skin diseases, and death
continues to plague people whose only source of water is a contaminated river
refuses to remediate the damage, claiming that they already "cleaned up" their share of the contract, by shoveling 3 feet of dirt over some of the open oil pits.
On Beauty and Being Just
, by Elaine Scarry, and an interview
with her in Salon. It's up to you.
..I would like to convey the message that our system works. We did not need to use a secret military tribunal, or detain the defendant indefinitely as an enemy combatant, or deny him the right to counsel, or invoke any proceedings beyond those guaranteed by or contrary to the United States Constitution. ...We can deal with the threats to our national security without denying the accused fundamental constitutional protections. ...
--U.S. Western District Judge John Coughenour, while sentencing "Millennium Bomber", Ahmed Ressam.
With 60 Terror Plots
foiled in the past 10 years, and pretty much none foiled due to the DHS and Patriot Act, it has to be asked-- Why isn't regular law enforcement and all the rest enough? (a little more inside)
The Prison Policy Initiative
conducts research and advocacy on incarceration policy. Some interesting data include the proliferation
of prisons in the US over the last century, disenfranchisement
of potential black voters, global incarceration rates
and percentage of US population under control
of the criminal justice system.
the Supreme Court Short List
--read it and weep, or not. CNN is already reporting it's John Roberts
, and not Edith Clements. Bush announces at 9pm est. Roberts worked for both Reagan and Bush 1, btw.
D.C. Circuit: Military Tribunals Just Fine, Thanks.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously rejected an appeal by an Afghan who is being detained by the military to the tribunals established by the President's Court order in 2001. The decision
reversed a federal trial court ruling that the tribunals violated the Geneva Convention.
Alarming Article on Security Procedures
What is alarming is not necessarily that there is a "no-fly" list, or that we have security measures in response to a percieved terrorist threat. What's alarming is that there seems to be no accountabity or due process demanded from public officials. Without accountability, what's to stop public officials from acting arbitrarily, or for some political endeavor? (See the Plame case.)
Combined with the Right's seeming position that the president is above the law in prosecuting a war, U.S. Supreme Court Case No. 03-1027 (Rumsfield v. Padilla) and Case No. 03-6696 (Hamdi v. Rumsfield), (see also the recent DOJ position papers), and for the 1st time I am becoming nervous that America might devolve into something like a police state.
The Boob is back
at the Department of Justice. The Ashcroft curtain has come down and the "Spirit of Justice" statue, commissioned from sculptor C. Paul Jennewein
, can once again supply her breast for ironic photos.
"Approximately 250,000 persons viewed and passed by the bier of little Emmett Till. All were shocked, some horrified and appalled. Many prayed, scores fainted and practically all, men, women and children wept". Chicago Defender, September 1, 1955.
Federal officials this morning erected a white tent over the grave of Emmett Till
, Ill., in preparation to exhume the body
to shed light on the Chicago teenager's death
50 years ago.
Till, 14 years old at the time, was killed in a hate crime
in Money, Miss., that sparked the Civil Rights movement
. (previous Emmett Till MeFi threads here
: Russell Banks
, Susan Orlean
, Tibor Fischer
, Azar Nafisi
Writing on social justice
: Susan Power
on Bosnia. Barbara Erenreich
on poverty. |
, Emma Goldman
Hundreds of Reviews
. Graphic Art, Poetry, Music, and much more from identity theory
, one of the best literary websites I've encountered, thanks to an incredulity-inducing amount of work by what seem to be volunteers. Wow. (Specific interviews already MeFid in these threads.)
... I told the judge that the war violates the United Nations Charter, which forbids the use of force, unless carried out in self-defense or with the approval of the Security Council,
neither of which obtained before Bush invaded Iraq. ...--testimony of Marjorie Cohn, professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in the case of Petty Officer 3rd Class Pablo Paredes, on trial for court-martial--he refused to board his ship bound for the Gulf.
"I think that the government has successfully proved that any service member has reasonable cause to believe that the wars in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq were illegal."
--the presiding officer at the court-martial, Lt. Cmdr. Robert Klant
The sentence? Reduction to the lowest rank. Two months' restriction to the 32nd Street Naval Station. Three months of hard labor, but no jail time. Court adjourned.
Torture Inc. Americas Brutal Prisons Savaged by dogs, Electrocuted With Cattle Prods, Burned By Toxic Chemicals, Does such barbaric abuse inside U.S. jails explain the horrors that were committed in Iraq?
Warning: tiny, NSFW, embedded Windows Media file.
A Los Angeles Times article
describes a Justice Department behavior
rectifying years of "illegal discrimination against
religious groups and their followers". Registration required.
Found through the excellent How Appealing
Former University of Pennsylvania professor and head of Penn's Head Injury Research Center Tracy McIntosh, a Fulbright scholar, and renowned researcher plead no contest in December to possession of a controlled substance and the sexual assault of a 25 year-old Penn student. Judge Rayford Means sentenced him to a year of house arrest and 12 years' probation
, as the Judge had "factored in McIntosh's important work with stroke victims and brain injuries."
Tracy McIntosh is too important for prison.
So, what now?
He's an American citizen
who's spent 2½ years in custody - charged with no crime - without his lawer, access to due process, habeas corpus, etc.
He has no constitutional safeguards and can be held like that because the president says he can be held like that.
Who says the president has that power? The president does.
Could he have even made
a "dirty bomb?"
Does "Tried As An Adult" Mean Anything Anymore?
I don't like the kid. I despise the defense. But what does it mean to try a 12 year old as an adult? Are we only willing to grant the responsibilities of adulthood, and not the rights? Or are some things too horrifying to yield to the innocence of youth?
Who thinks this stuff up?
Further to concerns discussed here
regarding the torture of Guantanamo detainees, some interesting stories are emerging from those released about the creativity of gonzo military interrogation. Eww.
The Evan Parker Scott case
bears more than a passing resemblance to the Baby Richard
case of several years ago. Once more, a toddler who barely knows what's going on is being confiscated by the parent who gave him up in the first place. Is the domestic adoption system broken?
Woman charged with running down boys who hit SUV with golf ball.
Her family said this is completely unlike her, yet she told the judge this morning, "I'm mentally ill." Well, obviously, but does that mean she isn't accountable for three counts of attempted murder?
In the first open trial
for the Eastern Pennsylvania United Methodist Church Council in more than 50 years, the Rev. Irene Elizabeth Stroud was accused of violating church law
by openly living with her partner in a committed relationship.
Jurors were instructed
that they had a duty to "hold a good pastor accountable to the standard with which we all live'' under the Methodist Book of Discipline.
The jury voted
7-6 to withdraw Stroud's ministerial credentials at the First United Methodist Church of Germantown in Philadelphia.
She was defrocked
, so to speak. Laicized. Ostracized. Demonized.
The arrival of secret law.
Americans can now be obligated to comply with legally-binding regulations that are unknown to them, and that indeed they are forbidden to know.
This is not some dismal Eastern European allegory. It is part of a continuing transformation of American government that is leaving it less open, less accountable and less susceptible to rational deliberation as a vehicle for change.