Life Times Six: How Travion Blount got 118 years and six life sentences for a robbery. In 2006, 15 year old Travion Blount, along with two 18 year olds, robbed a group of teenagers at a party at gunpoint. No shots were fired. The two older boys accepted sentences of 10 and 13 years in exchange for a guilty plea. Blount plead guilty but refused to accept a sentence of 18 years. He went to trial, was found guilty, and received a mandatory 118 years in prison, without parole. On top of that, he received six life sentences. His only chance to exit prison alive is through geriatric release at age 60. He will most likely die behind bars. [more inside]
Confessions of a Genius Art Forger — In one of Germany's greatest art scandals, former hippie and talented artist Wolfgang Beltracchi forged dozens of paintings over a period of 35 years, earning millions and fooling top collectors and museums. In a SPIEGEL interview, he reveals how he did it and why he eventually got caught. Photo Gallery. Background... [more inside]
Supreme Court Expands Right to Counsel in Plea Bargains. In a legal landscape that has enforced a right to counsel for criminal defendants, but not, practically speaking, a right to effective counsel except in extreme circumstances (ie: when you can prove that but for the gross incompetence of your counsel, the outcome of the case would have been different) and where the vast majority of criminal cases are resolved through plea bargaining, these two cases may be hugely influential in increasing the rights of the accused.
My Quonah. "My name is David C and I am the biggest idiot on this planet! Every girl I've ever met has done nothing except want me for what I had to offer them, the amount of cash I could throw their way and not for the person I was. One day that all changed when I meet a lady called Quonah..." Should she call him?
Abramoff is negotiating a possible deal with the Justice Department, in which he would agree to plead guilty and cooperate in the wide-ranging political corruption investigation focused on his dealings with members of Congress and executive branch officials, people familiar with the talks said last night. Abramoff's entry in the Wikipedia. WaPo's chart outlining Abramoff's dealings. A dKos diary pointing out some omissions in the chart. [Newsfilter]
Judge May Reject Olson Guilty Plea "A day after Sara Jane Olson pleaded guilty to attempted bombing charges and then denied her guilt outside the courtroom, a Los Angeles judge announced he will hold a hearing next week to decide whether to toss out the plea." Even if she's actually innocent, I can't help but think the former Symbionese Liberation Army fugitive should've kept her mouth shut until after the sentencing at least. The LA Times isn't very sympathetic, either.