“We provide armed response,” according to a Montana militia member named Jim Lordy. Lordy traveled to Nevada in order to support a local rancher for believes that he should not have to follow federal court orders. When he arrived there, he told a local reporter that “[w]e need guns to protect ourselves from the tyrannical government.” (more…)
Archive for the 'Crime & Punishment' Category
You’d think it was the Koch Brothers’ birthday.
Today, the Supreme Court predictably ruled in favor of the wealthy in McCutcheon v. FEC. Prior to this ruling, a wealthy donor was limited to a cap of $123,200 per federal election cycle. Now, that same donor can give more than $3.5 million.
The influence wealthy donors have over our democracy is greater than ever before. This decision comes just days after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo failed to pass public financing of elections in his state.
Petition language to Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Anthony Kennedy:
“The McCutcheon decision is yet another blow to our democratic process. The corrosive and corrupting influence of campaign cash on our democracy is obvious. Overturning Citizens United is the first step towards real reform. Until then, here’s a robe for you to wear complete with corporate logos so you can at least be forthright about whose side you’re really on.”
The man trying to get into Jason Roberts’ car was clearly a professional. His movements were quick, skilled and evidently practiced. He began to attract the notice of skeptical onlookers. Who was that man breaking into the Mazda? Shouldn’t someone do something?
A “professional” was exactly what he was, and, having called AAA for help getting into his locked car, Roberts expected nothing less. He was, however, unnerved by the stares of the people questioning the motives of a mechanic who was only trying to help. Then it hit him — they were suspicious because, unlike him, the mechanic was black.
Roberts, a host on the YouTube channel Simple Misfits, decided to replicate the situation, this time camera in hand, so that everyone could witness the same unacceptable double standard that he had. He didn’t realize how intense the response would be. Watch the video above to see for yourself (warning: NSFW language). (more…)
JACKSONVILLE — Jurors have ended a second day of deliberations in the first-degree murder trial of Floridian Michael Dunn, charged in the 2012 shooting death of a 17-year-old in a dispute over loud rap music. Dunn, a 47-year-old software engineer, says he feared for his life and was acting in self-defense on Nov. 23, 2012, when he fatally shot Jordan Davis in a gas station parking lot.
Dunn testified that music coming from the Dodge Durango where Davis sat with three friends, all black, was “obnoxious,” and said he fired 10 shots at the SUV. Davis was hit three times and died a short time later. The case has been compared to the racially charged Trayvon Martin case, in which neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman said he killed the Florida teen in self-defense during a February 2012 altercation. Zimmerman was later acquitted of second-degree murder.
Dunn testified in court this week that he felt threatened as Davis hurled insults at him from the SUV. Dunn also testified that Jordan reached down, picked something up and slammed it against a rear passenger door of the Dodge Durango where he sat. Assistant State Attorney General John Guy testified that Davis never was a threat. Prosecutors said no weapon was found in the Durango. Some facts however, are undeniable (more…)
Ray Nagin was the business executive who swept into City Hall on promises of reforming how government does business, only to see those ideas disintegrate. He was the face of the city after Hurricane Katrina, shouting anguished distress calls to the world, seeming urgent but also at times unhinged. He was the nontraditional politician who corralled support across racial groups and then turned divisive with an awkward attempt at welcoming back storm-displaced African Americans to a “chocolate city.”
Nagin was the first New Orleans mayor indicted and tried on federal charges for corruption. On Wednesday, he was the first to be convicted.
Jurors overwhelmingly agreed with the prosecution’s narrative in finding him guilty on 20 of 21 charges: Nagin sold his office for personal gain. (more…)
(CNN) — The Department of Justice is investigating the death of Alfred Wright, a physical therapist who disappeared and died under mysterious circumstances in an isolated section of Texas, U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee said Monday.
Wright, 28, a resident of Jasper, Texas, was last seen alive November 7 when he stopped at a liquor store because he was having trouble with his pickup truck. He was on his way to treat a patient.
Local law enforcement authorities searched but gave up. His family found his partially clothed body 19 days later in an area that officers had supposedly searched.
Adding more confusion, a medical examiner said the death was accidental, but a different pathologist hired by the family said there appeared to be “severe trauma” to the body. (more…)
George Zimmerman, acquitted four months ago in the killing of Trayvon Martin, was arrested on Monday after his girlfriend called 911 during a domestic dispute, telling police he broke a table in her home and pointed a long-barreled shotgun at her.
Zimmerman, 30, was booked into Seminole County Jail, where he is being held without bail. He was charged with aggravated assault with a weapon — a felony — and battery and criminal mischief.
According to Lt. Dennis Lemma, police responded to the domestic disturbance call at Samantha Scheibe’s home in Apopka, Fla., at 12:30 p.m. When deputies arrived, Scheibe indicated Zimmerman had forced her out of her home and barricaded the door with furniture. (more…)
ORLANDO, Fla. — A Florida family filed a complaint with a state disciplinary board on Friday alleging that a medical examiner covered up a homicide by a police officer whose dashboard camera in May recorded him pursuing and running over a 38-year-old black man.
The family of the victim, Marlon Brown, also sent letters to Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi, according to family attorney Ben Crump. The family is asking for an independent investigation into Brown’s death and the handling of the autopsy by Volusia County Medical Examiner Marie Herrmann, who ruled the death an accident.
“I believe it’s a cover-up. The medical examiner’s report is not what we’re seeing on the videotape,” said Brown’s former wife, Krystal Brown, 38, a licensed practical nurse and occupational therapist in DeLand who is the mother of Brown’s two adolescent children. (more…)
Many homeless people in Columbia, South Carolina are facing an arduous choice: vacate downtown or be arrested.
That’s because last week, the Columbia City Council unanimously approved a new plan — the Emergency Homeless Response” — to remove homeless people from the downtown business district. Here’s how the initiative, which was spearheaded by Councilman Cameron Runyan (D), will work.
Police officers will now be assigned to patrol the city center and keep homeless people out. They will also be instructed to strictly enforce the city’s “quality of life” laws, including bans on loitering, public urination, and other violations. And just to ensure that no one slips through, the city will set up a hotline so local businesses and residents can report the presence of a homeless person to police. (more…)
A pair of videos posted online show police probing the genitals and anal regions of three womenthey claim to suspect of possessing marijuana. In one video, a woman is seen bent over and grimacing as an off camera police officer conducts the search. Shortly before this search, a male officer explains to the woman that he is calling a female officer over “because I ain’t about to get up close and personal with your woman areas.”
The videos depict two vehicle stops, one for speeding and another for littering. In both videos, a male officer asks the women if they have any marijuana in the vehicle, suggesting that the purpose of their search is to find evidence of this drug. At one point, immediately before conducting her search of a woman’s genitals, a female officer warns the woman that if she “hid something in there, we’re going to find it.” (more…)
Journalist Glenn Greenwald responds to a report by Reuters about how a secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is covering up its use of intelligence intercepts, wiretaps to help launch criminal investigations of Americans. “It’s a full-frontal assault on the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments and on the integrity of the judicial process, because they’re deceiving everyone involved in criminal prosecutions about how this information has been obtained,” Greenwald says.
Zimmerman Verdict Does Not Alter Truth
By Tom Hall
It was the picture that convinced me.
I believe in our legal system and its processes. I understand the concept that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty. I understand that what trials do is very different from what public opinion does, and from what reality is. Trials determine legal guilt or innocence. They do not determine reality. When Emmett Till was murdered, in 1955, his killers were identified, tried and acquitted. Then they gave an interview to Look magazine, bragging about the murder, knowing that our system protected them against double jeopardy, so they could not be tried again for a murder they were proud of.
Now that he’s been acquitted, George Zimmerman can also go national, wallowing in the adulation of racists who think that stalking and shooting an unarmed child is good sport, if the child is black. George has a history of sucking up to authority; making 911 calls to report “dangerous black youths;” longing for some role as an important person. Because he is too clearly psychologically unfit, he has been rejected when applying for police jobs. He has been fired from minimum wage, no-training-needed private security jobs, because of his zeal for excessive violence. But since the trial, without even a junior college degree, he put out the word that he wants to go to law school so he can be an important defender of future shooters who heroically cut down potential black criminals. (more …)
If you’re an older white man, and you catch your wife cheating, you get to kill her lover and go free.
If you’re a black woman, and you fire a warning shot to scare off a physically abusive husband who’s aggressively coming at you, after saying, “If I can’t have you, no one will,” then you get to go to prison for 20 years.
There are so many things wrong here I’m not sure where to begin, but racism, sexism, and bigotry jump right out there to the top of the list. And I think it’s fair to say, given these examples, the laws work for some, but not others…
July 13, George Zimmerman, who was charged with killing, teenager, Trayvon Martin, in Miami Gardens, Florida received a not guilty verdict by a Florida jury. Playing ‘cop’ as a neighborhood watch captain, Zimmerman stalked Martin, there was an altercation, and Zimmerman shot Trayvon dead. Zimmerman is now a free man.
This past March, Ralph Wald, 70, got up in the middle of the night, saw his wife Johanna Lynn Flores, 41, in the living room, the arms of his neighbor, Walter Conley, 32. Wald grabbed his gun and shot Conley in the back, three times, killing him. Ward later claimed he thought Conley, a known lover of his wife’s, was raping her. He used the the Stand Your Ground law to bypass justice. On May 30, Ralph Wald walked out of court a free man. It would seem nothing good could come from the above cases, but something did. The Zimmerman and Ward cases have brought back light to one of most racist out-of-judicial-whack-job cases in Florida courts.
Three years ago, Marissa Alexander, 31, mother of three, acted in self-defense, hurting no one, and she received a 20-year conviction. Within 12 minutes, the jury found her guilty of aggravated assault, even though her estranged abusive husband admitted in his deposition, she had every right to do what she did. (more…)
July 7, 2013. Washington. In case readers missed it with all the coverage of the Trayvon Martin murder trial and the Supreme Court’s rulings on gay marriage and the Voting Rights Act, the US Supreme Court also made a ruling on lawsuits against drug companies for fraud, mislabeling, side effects and accidental death. From now on, 80 percent of all drugs are exempt from legal liability.
Drug companies failed to warn patients that toxic epidermal necrolysis was a side effect. But the Supreme Court ruled they’re still not liable for damages.
In a 5-4 vote, the US Supreme Court struck down a lower court’s ruling and award for the victim of a pharmaceutical drug’s adverse reaction. According to the victim and the state courts, the drug caused a flesh-eating side effect that left the patient permanently disfigured over most of her body. The adverse reaction was hidden by the drug maker and later forced to be included on all warning labels. But the highest court in the land ruled that the victim had no legal grounds to sue the corporation because its drugs are exempt from lawsuits.
Karen Bartlett vs. Mutual Pharmaceutical Company (more…)