Friday, February 26, 2010
(1) Toyota Acceleration: A Minnesota man sentenced to eight-years in prison on two counts of vehicular homicide is seeking to present new evidence that his accident was caused by the sudden accelaration of his defective 1996 Toyota Camry. Though this model year has apparently not been part of an official recall, the man's attorney believes to have accumulated some evidence that the car was defective (even though no mechanical problems were identified at the time of trial). Interestingly, the family of the victims now support the man's original claim of innocence (and are suing Toyota). Story here (via Huffington Post and May-lee Chai).
(2) Perjured Claim of Rape: A woman who falsely accused a man of rape was sentenced to 1 to 3 years in prison (and will be eligible for parole in one year). The falsely accused man has already spent four years in prison, so there has been some discussion of whether her sentence is too lenient. I imagine that if X kidnaps Y and forces Y to stay in a large cage for four years with little opportunities to do much of anything, X's punishment would be quite severe. In this case, having provided what the woman now admits is perjured testimony seems quite a bit like the kidnapping case with the state as the (comparatively more) innocent agent. If anyone knows of prosecutions (for say, false imprisonment by means of deception) in a perjury case like this, I'd be interested to hear in the comments. The story in the New York Post is here (via Eugene at the Volokh Conspiracy).
(3) Tarasoff and Homicide Rate: An Emory economist has amassed some interesting empirical data suggesting that the duties to warn created by the Tarasoff case have led to an increase in homicides (apparently because therapists avoid treating or avoid thoroughly treating the most at-risk patients). Paper here.