January 21, 2009
Plunging into Vacant Orifices in Vacant Sex Shop
(Australia). An Aussie man has been arrested for repeatedly breaking and entering into an adult shop to have sex with a blow up doll. Her name is Jungle Jane and he didn't even stay to cuddle her (or so it appears). Instead, he abandoned her in an alley behind the store where his DNA was collected from the doll. Story here. UPDATE: Jungle Jane didn't make any incriminating statements against the suspect but she reportedly had a shocked look on her face.
November 04, 2008
Study Links Violent Video Games, Hostility
Children and teenagers who play violent video games show increased physical aggression months afterward, according to new research that adds another layer of evidence to the continuing debate over the video-game habits of the youngest generation.
The research, published today in the journal Pediatrics, brings together three longitudinal studies, one from the United States and two from Japan, examining the content of games, how often they are played and aggressive behaviors later in a school year.
The U.S. research was the first in the nation to look at the effects of violent video games over time, said lead author Craig A. Anderson, a psychology professor at Iowa State University and director of its Center for the Study of Violence.
Anderson said the collaboration with Japanese researchers was particularly telling because video games are popular there and crime and aggression are less prevalent. Some gamers have cited Japan's example as evidence that violent games are not harmful.
Yet the studies produced similar findings in both countries, Anderson said. "When you find consistent effects across two very different cultures, you're looking at a pretty powerful phenomenon," he said. "One can no longer claim this is somehow a uniquely American phenomenon. This is a general phenomenon that occurs across cultures."
The study in the United States showed an increased likelihood of getting into a fight at school or being identified by a teacher or peer as being physically aggressive five to six months later in the same school year. It focused on 364 children ages 9 to 12 in Minnesota and was first included in a 2007 book, "Violent Video Game Effects on Children and Adolescents." [Mark Godsey]
September 08, 2008
"Watch the Detectives" on A&E
Some 50 retired sleuths will give voice to their oddest or most haunting cases in an 11-week series, "Watching the Detectives," that debuts Sunday night at 9 p.m. on A&E's Biography channel.
"We asked them to tell their best bar stories. The characters in their cases are straight out of central casting," said Executive Producer Kevin Kaufman.
Like the 400-pound enforcer who confessed to retired Detective Andy Copertino that he'd shot and killed his loanshark boss over a gambling debt. In a scene out of "Weekend at Bernie's," the killer put a hat on the corpse's head, strapped a seat belt across his chest and drove north, telling toll clerks his buddy was napping.
Copertino convinced the suspect to show him where he'd buried the body upstate - then had to schlep the stinking, maggoty evidence to the 105th Precinct stationhouse in Queens.Cops hung the evidence bags out to air on a rooftop clothesline, under guard, of course.
"This is what you call murder - dirty laundry style - in New York City," Copertino dryly tells the camera.
His deadpan delivery is just what Kaufman was looking for when he hatched the idea for the series and approached NYPD Detective Rick Tirelli, an "NYPD Blue" and "Pride and Glory" consultant. It was Tirelli's job to round up retired gumshoes and check their tales for accuracy.
Read rest of the article here. [Brooks Holland]
August 19, 2008
College presidents seek debate on lower drinking age; critics say highway deaths would rise
College presidents from about 100 of the nation's best-known universities, including Duke, Dartmouth and Ohio State, are calling on lawmakers to consider lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18, saying current laws actually encourage dangerous binge drinking on campus.
The movement called the Amethyst Initiative began quietly recruiting presidents more than a year ago to provoke national debate about the drinking age.
"This is a law that is routinely evaded," said John McCardell, former president of Middlebury College in Vermont who started the organization. "It is a law that the people at whom it is directed believe is unjust and unfair and discriminatory."
Other prominent schools in the group include Syracuse, Tufts, Colgate, Kenyon and Morehouse.
But even before the presidents begin the public phase of their efforts, which may include publishing newspaper ads in the coming weeks, they are already facing sharp criticism.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving says lowering the drinking age would lead to more fatal car crashes. It accuses the presidents of misrepresenting science and looking for an easy way out of an inconvenient problem. MADD officials are even urging parents to think carefully about the safety of colleges whose presidents have signed on.
"It's very clear the 21-year-old drinking age will not be enforced at those campuses," said Laura Dean-Mooney, national president of MADD.
Both sides agree alcohol abuse by college students is a huge problem.
Research has found more than 40 percent of college students reported at least one symptom of alcohol abuse or dependance. One study has estimated more than 500,000 full-time students at four-year colleges suffer injuries each year related in some way to drinking, and about 1,700 die in such accidents.
A recent Associated Press analysis of federal records found that 157 college-age people, 18 to 23, drank themselves to death from 1999 through 2005.
Moana Jagasia, a Duke University sophomore from Singapore, where the drinking age is lower, said reducing the age in the U.S. could be helpful. [Mark Godsey]
August 14, 2008
ST. JOHN’S UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW seeks outstanding entry-level and lateral candidates
ST. JOHN’S UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW seeks outstanding entry-level and lateral candidates for tenure-track positions to begin in the 2009 academic year, with specific opportunities available in Administrative Law, Bankruptcy, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, and Professional Responsibility. The
also seeks candidates for Director of its new Community Economic Development Clinic; depending upon candidates’ availability, this position may be filled prior to the 2009 academic year. Entry-level candidates must have excellent academic records and demonstrate a strong commitment to scholarship. Lateral candidates must be accomplished scholars and strong classroom teachers. The
is part of
, a Catholic, Vincentian, and metropolitan institution committed to academic excellence. As an Equal Opportunity Employer,
encourages applications from women and minorities. Applicants should submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae, writing sample, the names of three references, and teaching evaluations (if available). Contact: Professor Mark L. Movsesian, St. John’s University School of Law, 8000 Utopia Parkway, Queens NY 11439; e-mail responses should go to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Entry-level candidates must have excellent academic records and demonstrate a strong commitment to scholarship. Lateral candidates must be accomplished scholars and strong classroom teachers. The School Law St. John’s University St. John’s
August 12, 2008
There's No Party Like Ex Parte
[From Ian Weinstein] Several weeks ago I blogged about this very moving account of the huge and badly conceived immigration raid at the Iowa meatpacking plant, written by Dr. Erik Camayd-Freixas, an interpreter who was called to service as folks were processed through the system. Now the New York Times reports these facts, from which I infer that the court was in cahoots with the prosecutor. It seems the Government scripted all the court apperances in advance, down to advice from the bench and plea allocutions. The Court had prior knowledge and made generous use of the materials provided.
You will be shocked to learn that most defendants took the deal, but at least a defense lawyer or two refused to participate. As a wise former federal prosecutor explained to me a long time ago, there's no party like ex parte. [Mark Godsey]
July 07, 2008
Reality TV's new target: Flipped-verdict dramas
GRB Entertainment, whose clients include National Geographic and the Discovery Channel, has discussed a proposal with the California Innocence Project, GRB Executive Vice President Michael Branton says.
A separate, undisclosed company is negotiating with the Innocence Project of Texas, says Jeff Blackburn, the Texas project's chief counsel.
In New York, the national Innocence Project is approached nearly every week with a new proposal to allow cameras access to a long and confidential process that may — or may not — result in exoneration, spokesman Eric Ferrero says. The national and state groups have represented prisoners, including some facing life in prison or death, whose claims of innocence were proven by DNA testing or other evidence.
"It's a story where the stakes are often life or death," Branton says. "I don't think there is anything like this on television." [Mark Godsey]
May 03, 2008
Punk Out for Public Interest
Tennessee director of clinical programs Ben Barton raised $200 for summer public interest fellowships by auctioning off the right to shave his head into a mohawk. Yikes, makes my karaoke offer seem like chicken-shit now (although it usually raises a couple hundred).
April 28, 2008
Profs Shave Heads For Public Interest Law
Some law profs at Western New England shaved their heads at school to raise money for students working in public interest jobs this summer. Photos here. [Mark Godsey]
April 22, 2008
Man Gets 15 Years for Threat Letters
From washingtonpost.com: For two decades, Scott L. Rendelman has sent letters threatening judges, prosecutors, presidents and others with graphic violence. Yesterday, as he was sentenced in federal court in Greenbelt, Rendelman told U.S. District Judge Roger W. Titus that he'd stop -- as long as Titus gave him probation instead of prison time.
Titus was not persuaded.
"You simply cannot do this to a judge and a prosecutor, much less the president of the United States," and expect probation, Titus said.
With that, Titus sentenced Rendelman to 15 years in federal prison. Not only did Titus reject Rendelman's offer, he added nearly four years to his sentence after finding that Rendelman had engaged in "extreme conduct" by sending threatening letters to two federal judges since his conviction in December.
Rendelman, 52, was found guilty of sending threatening letters to a judge and a prosecutor in Montgomery County, President Bush, the White House staff and Kevin P. Fay, a Rockville lawyer who in the mid-1980s uncovered a scheme by Rendelman to embezzle more than $240,000 from one of Fay's clients.
Rendelman faced a maximum sentence of less than 12 years in prison -- until Titus took into account the recent threats against the federal judges.
Titus rejected the argument by Rendelman's attorney, Assistant
Federal Public Defender John C. Chamble, that the letters caused no
harm because Rendelman had not followed through on his threats. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
November 20, 2007
Taiwanese Prosecutors-in-Training Come to Cornell Law School
For the first time, Cornell Law School will formally host two scholars from Taiwan, linking the Law School to a nation undergoing groundbreaking judicial changes. “The legal system in Taiwan at this moment is at a fascinating crossroads," said Annelise Riles, director of Cornell’s Clarke Program in East Asian Law and Culture. “Their Supreme Court has issued a number of very interesting rulings on matters of constitutional rights and election law. The judiciary is increasingly recognized for its independence. And most relevant to this exchange, there have been important procedural reforms regarding the rights of the accused in the criminal justice system. These legal reforms are being eyed as a model throughout Asia.”
The scholars are prosecutors-in-training at the Taiwanese Ministry of Justice’s Judicial and Prosecutorial Training Institute, a highly prestigious institution that prepares those who have passed Taiwan’s grueling bar examination for careers as judges or prosecutors. They will spend one academic year at Cornell Law beginning next fall. During their stay, they will conduct legal research, present lectures, take courses, and participate in scholarly workshops with faculty and students. The program will continue for two years and then will be evaluated for possible renewal. It is the first time Cornell Law School has instituted a formal international program for prosecutors to study at the university.
Cornell is one of four American universities—including Yale, Harvard and New York University as well as at institutions in London and Tokyo—at which prosecutors-in-training will study, thanks to an agreement with Taiwan’s Ministry of Justice. Larry S. Bush, executive director of Cornell's Clarke Center for International and Comparative Legal Studies, said the visiting prosecutors will provide several benefits for the Law School. "We will have an institutional tie with the Ministry of Justice in Taiwan, which is the highest level in their law enforcement system. It will bring professional prosecutors from Taiwan to the Law School, where they can interact with both students and faculty. It simply opens a door to the legal community in Taiwan for us." [Mark Godsey]
November 11, 2007
Cannot Throw a Rock Without Hitting an Escaped Convict
From NYTimes.com: A Helena, Montana Prerelease Center employee, hearing something rustling in the bushes, threw a rock at a shrub.
To his surprise, he heard someone say ''Hey, you hit me in the head,'' said Helena Police Cpl. Bill Tompkins.
The rock had hit a 22-year-old escaped convict the center was searching for.
The convict was being transferred by bus from a prison in Seattle to one in Great Falls when he got off at the wrong stop in Helena on Friday, Tompkins said. It wasn't clear if the man meant to get off the bus in Helena or if it was a mix-up, Tompkins said.
The convict contacted the Helena Prerelease Center, which brought him from the bus stop to the center, Tompkins said.
Hours later, center employees noticed the convict was missing and alerted police, Tompkins said. They later called back saying to the convict was hiding in bushes outside the center.
Police found the man hiding behind some barrels, and took him into custody for probation violation, Tompkins said. Rest of Article [Mark Godsey]
October 22, 2007
FBI Denies Taking David Copperfield's Millions
The FBI is denying reports that it took millions in cash during a search last week of a Las Vegas warehouse belonging to illusionist David Copperfield.
A Las Vegas television station reported that agents seized $2 million in cash from a safe in Copperfield's warehouse. That report was picked up by other media nationally, including The Seattle Times.
Federal law-enforcement sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, have said that Copperfield, 51, is under investigation of possible sexual misconduct with a Seattle woman while in the Bahamas.
Officially, the FBI has been tight-lipped about the investigation and has not said Copperfield is the target, although high-ranking officials have confirmed that fact anonymously.
National entertainment media and others have repeated the story about the seizure of money, and FBI officials are now concerned the publicity could damage their investigation and is unfair to Copperfield, who has not been charged with a crime. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
October 16, 2007
Man Sentenced to 3 Months' Probation for 17th Degree Murder
Read it at The Onion.com
September 30, 2007
Law and Order SVU Features USC Law Article on Criminal Responsibility
Fans of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” saw a familiar University of Southern California Law publication on the TV show’s season premier episode.
The episode – about a woman with dissociative identity disorder whom detectives suspect may have conspired with her sister to kill their parents – featured the spring 2001 Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal, titled “Symposium on Multiple Personality Disorder and Criminal Responsibility.” The issue featured articles by USC Law’s Elyn Saks, associate dean and the Orrin B. Evans Professor of Law, Psychology, and Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences.
Detectives Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler, the show’s lead characters, cite articles from the journal that discuss the legal responsibility of persons with multiple personalities and the legal traction that may be established. At one point, Stabler also holds up the journal to an inmate to ask if she has seen it before. [Mark Godsey]
July 18, 2007
Man Who Attempted to Feed Daughter to Alligators is Paroled
From cnn.com: A man who had been released from prison early for good behavior was convicted Tuesday of trying to kill a young mother and leaving her 5-year-old daughter to be eaten alive by alligators in the Everglades.
Harrel Franklin Braddy had befriended Shandelle Maycock and her daughter Quatisha. Maycock testified that Braddy went to her home in November 1998 and grew enraged when she asked him to leave.
He choked Maycock until she was unconscious and then forced her and Quatisha into his car, the woman testified. At one point, Maycock gained consciousness, grabbed the child and jumped out of the moving vehicle.
Braddy stopped, choked the woman again and put her in the trunk, she testified. Maycock never saw her daughter again. Prosecutors said Braddy then drove to a section of Interstate 75 in the Everglades known as Alligator Alley and dropped Quatisha in the water beside the road.
She was alive when alligators bit her on the head and stomach, a medical examiner said.
Authorities found the girl's body two days later, her left arm missing and her skull crushed, prosecutors said. Maycock woke up bleeding and disoriented in a cane field miles from her Miami-Dade County home.
Braddy had served 13 years of a 30-year prison sentence for attempted murder before being released early for good behavior. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
July 08, 2007
Ruling: You Must Actually Have Been Spyed on to Sue
From NPR.com: A federal appeals court has ruled that civil liberties groups have no standing to challenge President Bush's domestic eavesdropping program in court.
The court ruled that only people who can demonstrate that they've been spied on have the right to sue. The records of who's been wiretapped are top secret, so it's not likely that anyone would ever be able to demonstrate that he or she had been a target of the program. Listen. . . [Mark Godsey]
July 02, 2007
Paying the Price for Stealing Someone's Heart
From latimes.com: Stealing someone's heart can cost you. Just ask German Blinov.
A jury has ordered Blinov to shell out $4,802 after he was sued by a husband from a Chicago suburb for stealing the affections of the man's wife.
Arthur Friedman used a little-known state law to mount the legal attack against Blinov. The alienation-of-affection law lets spouses seek damages for the loss of love. Only a handful of states still have such a law.
But Natalie Friedman, the woman at the center of it all, says her husband asked her to have sex with other women and men — including Blinov — to spice up their relationship. Natalie Friedman supposedly began having feelings for Blinov, prompting her husband to file the lawsuit.
"This guy ruined my life — he backstabbed me," Arthur Friedman said. "What he did was wrong. And I did what I had to do to get my point across." Blinov does not deny having a relationship with Natalie Friedman while she was married. But he was surprised to learn he could be sued for it.
"German was not a pirate of her affections," said Blinov's lawyer, Enrico Mirabelli. "Her affections were already adrift." Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
June 28, 2007
Who Needs Cell Phones When You Can Use the Toilet?
From post-gazette.com: Inventive inmates at facilities around the country speak jail cell-to-jail cell using their commodes, a phenomenon known to wardens, correctional officers and attorneys as "toilet talk."
Some toilet talk is mundane. A pair of inmates might call out chess moves. Some prisoners have used the sewage pipes as a conduit to pick up prisoners of the opposite sex. And in at least two cases, inmates have had commode conversations about criminal matters that were used as testimony or evidence in court.
"Inmates will strike up a conversation about anything," said the warden, who can hear muffled chatter through the water in his office's commode all the time. "They have 24/7 to think of ways to beat the system."
Mr. Rustin said he does not consider toilet chat a significant security risk and he could not imagine sticking his head in the commode to overhear what are mostly throwaway conversations.
But the U.S. Attorney in Philadelphia thought differently and got the FBI to wiretap the toilets at the city's downtown Federal Detention Facility to track members of a drug trafficking operation. Richard Manieri, spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's office, said federal prosecutors used toilet conversations to secure hefty sentences against co-defendants Kaboni Savage and Dawud Bey. Federal agents tapped the prison plumbing system and got a recording of Mr. Bey threatening to kill witnesses who might testify against prisoners charged for their involvement in the drug network.
Communication through toilets and air vents is fairly common in jails and prisons, according to several correctional officials surveyed.
It's been reported to occur daily at the high-rise, maximum-security Multnomah County Detention Center in Oregon and inmates in California's San Quentin State Prison, in California, used decades ago it to pass the time in solitary confinement. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
April 05, 2007
Protect Yourself: Run A Background Check on Lovers and Roommates
From seattlepi.mwsource.com: The day may come when running background checks on a roommate or romantic partner will be as common as getting an annual physical.
Several private investigators in Seattle -- reflecting on two recent cases in which women were killed by romantic partners who turned out to be disguising shady pasts -- find it difficult to believe that such searches aren't common practice already.
"If you're involved in a relationship that's going to affect your whole life, what could be of greater value?" asked Linda Montgomery, a private investigator in Ballard who believes that even people who are dating should be willing to share credit reports.
Though experts have access to databases that average citizens do not, there are measures that anyone can take to collect helpful information -- or at least confirm the veracity of what they've been told.
"I think it should become acceptable for people to say, 'Hey, I'm going to check you out.' It needs to be a thing like going to a doctor for a checkup," Montgomery said. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]