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What science can, and can't, tell us about the insanity defense.

'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.
posted by Sticherbeast on Jun 19, 2007 - 7 comments

SF woman snags identity thief, on foot

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)
posted by daninnj on Jun 15, 2007 - 56 comments

Justice Department Redux

Google v Microsoft: Fight!
posted by taosbat on Jun 10, 2007 - 26 comments

...students arrived at the local high school to find three hangman's nooses dangling from a tree in the courtyard. ...

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.
posted by amberglow on May 23, 2007 - 87 comments

Court martial begins for Guantanamo JAG who leaked detainee list

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?
posted by planetkyoto on May 15, 2007 - 47 comments

... Karl Rove, a handful of the party's most tech-savvy computer gurus and the former Republican Ohio Secretary of State, created, owned and operated the vote-counting system...

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. ...
posted by amberglow on Apr 23, 2007 - 66 comments

Human rights go viral

"Guantanamo Unclassified." 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.
posted by homunculus on Mar 29, 2007 - 40 comments

My Brain Made Me

Neurolaw - The Brain on the Stand
posted by Gyan on Mar 11, 2007 - 8 comments

Belfast Bobbies Bust Beho For Nicking Knickers.

Elf Defense. 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.
posted by Joey Michaels on Mar 9, 2007 - 36 comments

"I’m in the Hole for studying Chinese."

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.]
posted by homunculus on Mar 2, 2007 - 204 comments

... add the phrase, “who are capable of having children with one another” to the legal definition of marriage...

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.
posted by amberglow on Feb 4, 2007 - 152 comments

His object all sublime / He will achieve in time

Court Decision, re: Fisher v. Lowe, Feb. 1999. Car ends up in man's yard. Man sues driver. Judge administers poetic justice. [via]
posted by Smart Dalek on Jan 30, 2007 - 40 comments

Guantanamo Bay: 5th Anniversay Today Triggers International Protests

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
posted by Bodyguard on Jan 11, 2007 - 7 comments

Undark and the Radium Girls

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.
posted by jonson on Jan 2, 2007 - 68 comments

Jens Soering appeals to documentary makers

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.
posted by zaebiz on Dec 29, 2006 - 28 comments

True courage, seeking justice

Mukthar Mai's blog has been making waves in the news. A young pakistani woman from a remote village, she was gang raped. Her attackers were meting out justice. In a patriarchal conservative culture like hers a woman's honor or izzat is her sole possession. Once lost, there is little left to live for. A BBC reporter transcribes her story into an Urdu language blog. Here are the first, second and the most recent excerpts of her story. To truly comprehend what her action means, consider this story of young Afghan women committing suicide by setting themselves on fire to escape from lives of sexual, physical and other abuse.
posted by infini on Nov 15, 2006 - 32 comments

Who Killed Ryan Harris?

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.
posted by Johnny Assay on Oct 31, 2006 - 9 comments

Quel horreur...

The French do some things well and, well, some things not so well. (see)
posted by pwedza on Oct 20, 2006 - 23 comments

O Florida

Krishna Maharaj 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 documentary
2004 FAQ
Campaign website
posted by thirteenkiller on Oct 18, 2006 - 58 comments

And the hell with the law.

New York Justice. Because every woman needs a good pounding every now and then.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great on Sep 26, 2006 - 106 comments

Still, neither Nixon nor Reagan changed the division's procedures for hiring career staff

"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.
posted by amberglow on Jul 23, 2006 - 24 comments

Medication makes you feel better on death row

Steven Staley 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.
posted by Roger Dodger on Apr 12, 2006 - 68 comments

Gotcha CT

A step toward justice in West Africa.
posted by pwedza on Mar 29, 2006 - 7 comments

Get on with it!

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.
posted by evilcolonel on Mar 1, 2006 - 3 comments

How do you pronounce 'Kaf-ka-esque'?

"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?
posted by dash_slot- on Jan 16, 2006 - 63 comments

To defeat injustice and misfortune, if only for one instant, for a single victim, is to invent a new reason to hope.

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).
posted by amberglow on Dec 7, 2005 - 32 comments

ChevronToxico

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, cancer, miscarriages, skin diseases, and death continues to plague people whose only source of water is a contaminated river. ChevronTexaco 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.
posted by mayfly wake on Nov 12, 2005 - 15 comments

Beauty

On Beauty and Being Just, by Elaine Scarry, and an interview with her in Salon. It's up to you.
posted by semmi on Sep 27, 2005 - 11 comments

Simon Wiesenthal, 1908-2005

Goodnight, mr. Wiesenthal
posted by matteo on Sep 20, 2005 - 68 comments

the sunlight of a public trial

..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)
posted by amberglow on Jul 27, 2005 - 38 comments

Lots of lockups

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.
posted by Gyan on Jul 27, 2005 - 42 comments

Al Qaeda Training Manual

Al Qaeda Training Manual [note: PDF files]
posted by crunchland on Jul 27, 2005 - 25 comments

at least it's not Luttig?

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.
posted by amberglow on Jul 19, 2005 - 185 comments

D.C. Circuit: Military Tribunals A-Okay.

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.
posted by esquire on Jul 15, 2005 - 67 comments

Alarming Article on Security Procedures

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.
posted by JKevinKing on Jul 7, 2005 - 36 comments

Let the Eagle Soar

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.
posted by Otis on Jun 26, 2005 - 38 comments

"We could make this great land of ours a greater place to live"

"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 in Alsip, 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 and here)
posted by matteo on Jun 1, 2005 - 5 comments

identity theory

Interviews: Russell Banks, Susan Orlean, Tibor Fischer, Azar Nafisi. | Writing on social justice: Susan Power on Bosnia. Barbara Erenreich on poverty. | e-books: Aristotle, Emma Goldman, Buddha. | New Non-fiction, fiction. | 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.)
posted by louigi on Jun 1, 2005 - 1 comment

We have all been to Iraq, and we support anyone who stands in nonviolent opposition

... 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.
posted by amberglow on May 13, 2005 - 27 comments

Torture Inc.

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.
posted by Doug on Apr 4, 2005 - 40 comments

US Justice Department Religious Rights Division

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.
posted by the Real Dan on Mar 7, 2005 - 10 comments

Who is Too Important for Prison?

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.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood on Mar 5, 2005 - 68 comments

Padilla

So, what now? Do they charge him? 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?"
posted by Smedleyman on Mar 2, 2005 - 29 comments

Finally: Compensation for Chilean victims

Finally: Compensation for Chilean victims and possible new trial for Pinochet. No small thanks to Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon.
posted by adamvasco on Feb 26, 2005 - 6 comments

Adulthood

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?
posted by effugas on Feb 2, 2005 - 52 comments

Get Your Torture On!

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.
posted by cosmonik on Jan 26, 2005 - 38 comments

Adopted family values

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?
posted by u.n. owen on Dec 27, 2004 - 13 comments

Woman Hits Two Boys with SUV

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?
posted by Miss Beth on Dec 6, 2004 - 36 comments

Irene Elizabeth Stroud, an associate pastor at the First United Methodist Church of Germantown in Philadelphia, was accused of flouting the church's ban on homosexual clergy.

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.
posted by three blind mice on Dec 3, 2004 - 58 comments

THE ARRIVAL OF SECRET LAW

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.
posted by acrobat on Nov 18, 2004 - 38 comments

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