Bringing Justice to the War on Terrorism. 3 views on how the incoming administration should deal with the legal legacy of Bush Administration policies like torture, surveillance, and extraordinary rendition. Charles Fried makes the case against criminal prosecutions, Dahlia Lithwick makes the case for investigations followed by prosecutions, and Jack Balkin argues for truth commissions. [Via]
"At an age at which I should be putting on a wedding dress, I am asking for someone's eyes to be dripped with acid,"
Four years ago, a spurned suitor poured a bucket of sulfuric acid over [Ameneh Bahrami's] head, leaving her blind and disfigured. Late last month, an Iranian court ordered that five drops of the same chemical be placed in each of her attacker's eyes, acceding to Bahrami's demand that he be punished according to a principle in Islamic jurisprudence that allows a victim to seek retribution for a crime. The sentence has not yet been carried out.[more inside]
Previously on Metafilter, a lively discussion followed news that Attorney General Mukasey collapsed during his speech last week to the Federalist Society in which he was defending the Bush administration against "the casual assumption among many in media, political, and legal circles that the Administration’s counterterrorism policies have come at the expense of the rule of law." Just before his collapse, however, an unknown heckler yelled "tyrant!" at him. After some speculation, that person has been identified. [more inside]
Wendy Whitaker is a sex offender. At 17, she had oral sex with a boy, just shy of his 16th birthday. She's losing her house because she cannot live within 1000 feet of any area where children congregate, and the local church runs an unadvertised daycare. In 2006 she sued over the residency restrictions. Last Thursday, she lost. She filed a new lawsuit, saying that her sex offender status is cruel and unusual punishment. [more inside]
"Lawless Lands": Michael Riley, writing in the Denver Post, investigates the dysfunctional state of law enforcement on Native American reservations, and the shocking consequences for crime victims. Bill Moyer's Journal has followed up with an excellent documentary expose entitled "Broken Justice." [more inside]
For nearly 20 years, Chicago has known about police torture of suspects. Torture at the city's notorious Area 2, under Commander Jon Burge, resulted in numerous false confessions in the 1980s, including the men who became known as the Death Row 10. The Death Row 10 case was among the reasons former Gov. George Ryan's called a moratorium on capital punishment in Illinois in 2000 and pardoned four in 2003. Burge, fired in 1993, retired to Florida on his police pension, where he seemed to escape any measure of justice. Until today. [more inside]
Planning and working toward ultimate goals that appear unattainable or even unrealistic does not militate against a finding that this was a terrorist group [more inside]
Presidential Crimes: Moving on is not an option. "In deciding about legal redress, we need to be clear about the large stakes in our decision. The very multiplicity of the apparent crimes, the sheer array of arguably broken laws, is dizzying. But that multiplicity must be faced, for in it we will see that what got in President Bush’s way was not any one law but the rule of law itself. It is the rule of law that has been put in jeopardy by a project of executive domination; it is the rule of law that will continue to be in peril; and it is only, therefore, by addressing the crimes through legal instruments—through a formal, legal arena, and not simply through the electoral repudiation of bad policy—that the grave and widespread damage stands a chance of being repaired."
It was a mass protest held outside the halls of Washington. Led, or at least it was supposed to be, by Martin Luther King Jr. (before he was assassinated) it was going to show the world the glaring divide that existed between the Rich and the Poor of America. Black, White, Red, Yellow--they all gathered from all over the US, to stay together for six weeks, outside the Capitol, and inform the public about what life in America could sometimes mean, if you were not considered economically, socially or racially acceptable. Unfortunately, the problem still persists, even today.
Newsfilter: Radovan Karadžić arrested today in Serbia. Trial to follow. Will Srebrenica and Vukovar finally see justice? Or will another suicide intervene?
A discovery leads to questions about whether the odds of people sharing genetic profiles are sometimes higher than portrayed. Calling the finding meaningless, the FBI has sought to block such inquiry.
U.S. 9th District Court of Appeals Chief Justice Alex Kozinski [wiki] is currently adjudicating a remarkably hardcore obscenity case. He is currently facing his own obscenity case as well, having allowed public access to NSFW or illegal-for-minor-viewing material posted on his own vanity website, as reported in the LA Times. Although he maintains that the material's posting was just innocent fun, he clearly knows his way around the internets. Kozinski is a prolific and well-regarded essayist, and is occasionally mentioned as a potential Supreme Court nominee.
Chinese Are Left to Ask Why Schools Crumbled. "A staggering number of students died as schools collapsed in the May 12 earthquake, and grieving parents are speaking out about shoddy construction."
The Proceedings of the Old Bailey has been posted (and double-posted) here before, but it's just been given a major upgrade that effectively turns it into a new site, with the addition of 100,000 new trial reports covering the period 1834 to 1913, and the full text of the Newgate Ordinary's Accounts reporting the confessions and last dying speeches of criminals sentenced to death. The thousands of human tragedies recorded in the trial reports (some famous, others forgotten) are fascinating and often deeply moving.
If you hadn't heard of Jim Crow before, this is where you can find a brief history on the subject (along with a radio broadcast of some of the people who were involved). Bayard Rustin's Journey of Reconciliation: America's First Freedom Ride (You Don't Have To Ride "Jim Crow") was a precursor [audio and video] to the Civil Rights Movement of the 50's and 60's. (Also, a look at the Jim Crow Museum and a walk down Jim Crow Road today.) [previously*]
On March 25, the Supreme Court held (pdf) that rulings by the International Court of Justice are essentially not binding upon state courts. This paves the way for Texas to execute one Jose Ernesto Medellin for the rape and murder of two teenage girls. [more inside]
Justice, the french electro-whatever group (read: Daft Punk)(previously discussed here) recently had their addition to the prestigious FabricLive Series rejected for not entirely clear reasons, although the relatively short length (40-something minutes) and taste (or perhaps the lack of) may have been factors. Justice, being the gentlemen they are, decided to give the mix away as a Christmas present to their friends (yes, I'm a little late on this, but not as late as you, presumably), and it is now readily available for anyone to download here. I'm only familiar with a few of the artists in the mix (Fucking Champs! Goblin!), but it's a pretty good time, and definitely a big, fat middle finger to most of the minimal techno mixes which Fabric usually releases, which is probably why they rejected it in the first place. Lots of old pop, funk and super-cheesy french music (and the FUCKING CHAMPS!), tell me what you guys think!
Prison and the Mentally Ill in Massachusetts: The Globe reports on the pitfalls and consequences of using a retribution-based correctional system on the criminally insane in MA, as inmates in the state kill themselves at triple the national rate. Part I. Part II. Part III (in tomorrow's Globe). Photos of the system's most troubled. Last words of some disturbed inmates. [more inside]
US has right to kidnap any defendant, anywhere, anytime, says it's UK lawyer. Until now it was commonly assumed that US law permitted kidnapping only in the “extraordinary rendition” of terrorist suspects. The American government has for the first time made it clear in a British court that the law applies to anyone, British or otherwise, suspected of a crime by Washington. [more inside]
"Free and Uneasy: The First Year Out." The story of wrongfully convicted Jeffrey Deskovic. And others.
Justice "live" on Jimmy Kimmel -- An interesting solution to the problem of 'performing' electronic music.
Hooker raped & robbed by justice system. Apparently, if you're a prostitute and you're gang-raped at gunpoint, that's not actually rape, but "theft of services". In Philadelphia, judge Teresa Carr Deni ruled exactly that in a case where a woman posted a Craigslist ad offering sex for money -- but when she met with her John, instead of the agreed upon exhange, he pulled a gun on her, raped her, then invited four other men to rape her as well. As if this weren't sad enough, a near-identical case -- with the same defendant -- came up four days later, and the prosecutor decided not to even try it as to not put the woman through the misery of being so resoundly denied justice. Devolution is real, spuds.
The man who knew too much. "He was the CIA's expert on Pakistan's nuclear secrets, but Rich Barlow was thrown out and disgraced when he blew the whistle on a US cover-up. Now he's to have his day in court."
The Erosion of a Murder Case Against Marines in the Killing of 24 Iraqi Civilians. "Last year, when accounts of the killing of 24 Iraqis in Haditha by a group of marines came to light, it seemed that the Iraq war had produced its defining atrocity, just as the conflict in Vietnam had spawned the My Lai massacre a generation ago. But on Thursday, a senior military investigator recommended dropping murder charges against the ranking enlisted marine accused in the 2005 killings, just as he had done earlier in the cases of two other marines charged in the case. The recommendation may well have ended prosecutors’ chances of winning any murder convictions in the killings of the apparently unarmed men, women and children." [Via The Agonist.]
The Right Livelihood Award "celebrates and supports people of vision. People who have ideas and apply them in concrete initiatives for the public good. They give hope for tomorrow, for a world in peace and balance. They demonstrate how we can overcome oppression, war, poverty, the destruction of our environment, and a widespread sense of meaninglessness and fear."
California Where the Rich do Fine While the Poor are Doing Time "Hell, you got to live with it, there's nothing else to live with except mendacity, is there?" Big Daddy, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof
As of yesterday, Dr. Mohammed Haneef was released from jail, amidst speculation that his incarceration had been unjust, and is on his way back home. It is believed that once he is ready, there will be a lucrative deal waiting for him if he wishes to tell his story (pdf of his transcript of detention), but for now, his wife, Firdaus Ashriya, is happy to have her husband back home.
One day while crossing an empty field, fifteen-year-old Tim Masters happened to see a dead body. Twenty years later, he remains in prison, serving time for a crime that he almost certainly did not commit. A haunting, bizarre tale of a murder investigation gone wrong.
Brent Kovar got investors and employees to believe his invention was the next big thing, but nobody's ever seen it. Mister Kovar had also been appointed in 2003 to the Business Advisory Council of the National Republican Congressional Committee by then-Congressional Majority Leader Tom Delay. Apparently, a DC-9 they co-owned (painted to resemble aircraft from the U.S. Dept of Homeland Security) was busted in Mexico with 5.5 tons of cocaine on board. First link via fark
Judge bans the word "rape" from a rape trial. Jeffre Cheuvront, a Nebraska judge, "granted a motion by defense attorneys barring the use of the words rape, sexual assault, victim, assailant, and sexual assault kit from the trial of Pamir Safi—accused of raping Tory Bowen in October 2004." This move follows some tightening of language during trials meant to avoid unnecessarily swaying jury members. But has it gone too far this time?
'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)
...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.
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?>
Whither goest thou, American Jurisprudence?>
... 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. ...
"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.
Neurolaw - The Brain on the Stand
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.
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.]
... 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.
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.
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.