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Unanimous juries for criminal convictions? Supreme Court declines case.

Unanimous juries for criminal convictions? Supreme Court declines case.

“Two states, Louisiana and Oregon, permit convictions on less-than-unanimous jury verdicts. In both states a defendant can be convicted by an 11-to-1 or 10-to-2 vote. All other states and the federal government require that jurors reach a verdict unanimously. The petitioning lawyers also charged that the system undercuts the reliability of jury verdicts. They note that Louisiana’s Jefferson Parish, where their case was tried, has the fourth highest rate of wrongful convictions in the country. Neighboring Orleans Parish has the highest rate.” Continue reading

Guilty Until Proven Innocent: Washington, D.C.’s Civil Forfeiture Racket

Guilty Until Proven Innocent: Washington, D.C.’s Civil Forfeiture Racket

“Civil forfeiture is a national problem. Law enforcement agencies seize millions of dollars worth of property each year with little or no due process for owners. In all but six states property owners are considered guilty until proven innocent. State law typically allows law enforcement to keep most or all of the proceeds from forfeiture—an enormous incentive to police for profit. Most seizures are of cash—generally less than $100 and as little as $7—taken from thousands of people each year.” Continue reading

GOP Mogul Behind Drug Rehab ‘Torture’ Centers Bankrolling Opposition to Pot Legalization

GOP Mogul Behind Drug Rehab ‘Torture’ Centers Bankrolling Opposition to Pot Legalization

“Save Our Society from Drugs, a Florida-based nonprofit founded by Mel and Betty Sembler, has given Smart Colorado contributions totaling $151,497 through September, according to The Nation’s review of state finance disclosures. That’s 95 percent of the money raised by the group so far. Before they led Save Our Society from Drugs, and its sister nonprofit, the Drug Free America Foundation, the Semblers were at the helm of STRAIGHT, Inc., which operated drug abuse treatment centers, mostly for teenagers, from 1976 through 1993. Former clients of the rehab center recount episodes of brutal beatings, rape and systematic psychological abuse.” Continue reading

Fine, probation, community service sought for former county executive

Fine, probation, community service sought for former county executive

“Saying John R. Leopold committed ‘an arrogant abuse of power’ by ordering police and other government workers to perform personal and political chores for him, prosecutors are asking a judge to fine him $100,000 and sentence him to probation and community service. Leopold resigned after being found guilty in January on two of the five charges against him, relating to ordering police officers on his security detail and his scheduling assistant to drain his catheter bag repeatedly, and directing officers to do tasks for his 2010 re-election campaign, including picking up campaign contributions and creating files on political opponents.” Continue reading

Glenn Greenwald at Yale Law School: “With Liberty and Justice for Some”

Glenn Greenwald at Yale Law School: “With Liberty and Justice for Some”

“The Green Haven Prison Project at Yale presents Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald speaking about the rule of law.” Continue reading

Cruelty and Criminality Combine in the Vernal, Utah Police Department

Cruelty and Criminality Combine in the Vernal, Utah Police Department

“Vernal, Utah resident Ben Mahaffey had barely said goodbye to his wife of 58 years before the local police barged into the couple’s bedroom without invitation or permission. Just minutes after Mahaffey’s wife Barbara died of cancer, the police strode into the house claiming that they had a right to examine the couple’s medicine cabinet. But on at least thirty occasions in 2011, Vernal Police Detective Ben Marland Murray visited the home of Russell Wayne Smithey and Candy Jean Holmes to conduct ‘pill checks’. The couple suspected that the officer was secretly stealing their medications, and eventually caught him doing so by way of a hidden camera.” Continue reading

3 Chicago-suburb cops accused of robbing drug dealers, selling cocaine

3 Chicago-suburb cops accused of robbing drug dealers, selling cocaine

“Three Chicago-area cops robbed drug dealers of their stash while executing search warrants, then turned around and sold the heroin, cocaine and marijuana, pocketing the cash, prosecutors said Thursday. Schaumburg police officers John Cichy, 30, Matthew Hudak, 29, and Terrance O’Brien, 47, ‘did it all for the thrill’ prosecutor Audriana Anderson told a court. Prosecutors say the men were caught on surveillance video and audio recordings robbing local dealers of drugs and cash as they executed search warrants on homes and cars.” Continue reading

Woman injured in LAPD manhunt says cops won’t pay taxes on replacement truck

Woman injured in LAPD manhunt says cops won’t pay taxes on replacement truck

“The attorney for a woman who was mistakenly targeted by Los Angeles police during the manhunt for Christopher Dorner in February has accused the department of breaking its promise of a new truck for her. ‘You tried to murder the woman, you put 102 bullet holes in her truck,’ Glen Jonas told KNBC-TV on Monday. His client, 47-year-old Maggie Carranza, refused a police offer of a new Ford F-150 truck if she agreed to pay taxes on it, in part because it meant Carranza would have to pay an additional $10,000 in personal income taxes she cannot afford. He said the department’s offer also barred Carranza from selling the vehicle for a year.” Continue reading