CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

20 Top Crime Stories

We’ve seen some amazing crime stories on News Gems lately. These Top Twenty from the past six months range from the jungles of Africa to a small town in Tennessee. Some are groundbreaking exposés while others tell stories from the perspectives of frightened witnesses, grizzles detectives, innocent victims, crafty smugglers, and terrified killers.

1. Fugitive Justice. Free to Flee,” by Joe Mahr of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, is a stunning investigation into gaps in the criminal justice system that allow hundreds of thousands of felony fugitives to evade capture. Mahr reports:

• More than a third of all felony warrants are not entered into a national database routinely checked by police across the nation.

• Few fugitives are hunted, and most states don’t even screen for criminal warrants before handing out licenses.

• When fugitives are found in other states, authorities routinely refuse to pick them up — including some wanted for violent crimes.

2. Death of a Prostitute. Ever since security guard Lebrew Jones was convicted of the brutal murder of New York City prostitute Michaelanne Hall in 1989, reporter Christine Young has questioned his guilt. Young, who first came across the case as a journalism student and now reports for the Times Herald-Record in New York’s Hudson Valley, never gave up investigating the murder. In “I Didn’t Do that Murder: Lebrew Jones and the death of Micki Hall,” she has pulled together an impressive amount of evidence pointing to Jones’ innocence.

3. Fraud. Two Miami Herald investigations found rampant Medicare and mortgage fraud in South Florida. A wide-ranging series of reports by Jay Weaver shows that Medicare corruption flourishes while regulators do little to stop it.

Consider this statistic: In 2005, South Florida clinics -- mostly concentrated in Miami-Dade -- submitted $2.2 billion in HIV-drug infusion bills to Medicare, according to the inspector general. That was 22 times more than the total HIV infusion claims submitted to Medicare by healthcare clinics in the rest of the country combined. [Jon Marshall][Mark Godsey]

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