Aug 12, 2013 Wall Street Journal
The New York Police Department violated the Constitution with its practice of stopping and searching people suspected of criminal activity, a federal judge ruled Wednesday in a decision likely to lead police departments across the country to take a close look at their crime-fighting tactics.
Finding that New York City's so-called stop-and-frisk program amounted to "indirect racial profiling" by targeting blacks and Hispanics disproportionate to their populations, U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin ordered the installation of the department's first-ever independent monitor to oversee changes to its practices. City officials have argued that stop-and-frisk is a key component in their largely successful efforts to fight crime, but opponents have criticized it as a blatant violation of civil rights.
New York City officials immediately criticized the decision. "No federal judge has ever imposed a monitor over a city's police department following a civil trial," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He said the city didn't receive a fair trial, citing comments from the judge that he said "telegraphed her intentions," and he said the city would seek an immediate stay while appealing the decision.
Aug. 12, 2013 Boston.com
James J. “Whitey” Bulger, the notorious Boston gangster who rampaged through the city’s underworld for decades before slipping away from authorities and eluding a worldwide manhunt for more than 16 years, was convicted today in a sweeping federal racketeering indictment of charges that he killed 11 people.
After 32 1/2 hours of deliberations over five days, the jury of four women and eight men returned to the courtroom this afternoon with their verdict, bringing a resounding end to Bulger’s decades of evading justice. They found Bulger guilty of 31 of the 32 counts he faced. He now faces the likelihood that he will die in prison.
After the verdict was announced, the 83-year-old Bulger gave a thumbs-up sign to family and pointed at them as he was led out of the courtroom. A woman in the row reserved for victims, yelled, “Rat-a-tat, Whitey!”
Bulger’s brother, John Bulger, ignored reporters’ questions as he left the courthouse.
While the jury found Bulger responsible for 11 of 19 murders he was charged with, the jury said the charges were not proved for seven of the murders, and they could not reach agreement on the final charge. Read More
Aug. 9, 2013 Associated Press
HALIFAX, Nova Scotia — Two young men were arrested in the cyberbullying case of a 17-year-old Canadian girl who killed herself after a photo of her allegedly being sexually assaulted circulated online. They were charged with distributing child pornography almost two years after the alleged assault.
Rehtaeh Parsons, who died after being removed from life support following a suicide attempt in April, led to an outcry across North America. Police initially concluded there were no grounds to charge anyone after a yearlong investigation.
Her mother said a boy took a photo of the alleged assault in November 2011 and that her daughter was bullied for months after it went viral.
On Thursday, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Chief Supt. Roland Wells said one man, 18, was charged with two counts of distributing child pornography and the second man, also 18, was charged with making child pornography and distributing it. Wells said the two are not being identified because they were minors when the alleged crimes occurred. Read More
Aug. 7, 2013 ABC News
The trial of Major Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people and wounding dozens more in a Fort Hood shooting rampage, was temporarily halted today when a lawyer objected that Hasan was putting up no defense in an effort to get himself executed.
The lawyer's concern brings a touch of the absurd to the trial. Hasan was prevented from pleading guilty because that would have eliminated a trial and the option of a death sentence.
But his feeble defense -- in his opening statement Hasan said, "I am the shooter" -- may ultimately backfire if an appeals court finds his defense was so poor that his trial could not be considered fair.
The government has spent four years and $5 million to guarantee Hasan is given an airtight trial that concludes with a guilty verdict and the possibility of a death sentence. Read More
July 31, 2013 Associated Press
SAN DIEGO — A 25-year old college student has reached a $4.1 million settlement with the federal government after he was abandoned in a windowless Drug Enforcement Administration cell for more than four days without food or water, his attorneys said Tuesday.
The DEA introduced national detention standards as a result of the ordeal involving Daniel Chong, including daily inspections and a requirement for cameras in cells, said Julia Yoo, one of his lawyers.
Chong said he drank his own urine to stay alive, hallucinated that agents were trying to poison him with gases through the vents, and tried to carve a farewell message to his mother in his arm.
It remained unclear how the situation occurred, and no one has been disciplined, said Eugene Iredale, another attorney for Chong. The Justice Department's inspector general is investigating. Read More
July 30, 2013 Associated Press
FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) — More than three years after U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning was arrested for giving classified secrets to WikiLeaks, a military judge acquitted the former intelligence analyst Tuesday of aiding the enemy but convicted him of espionage, theft and computer fraud charges.
The judge, Army Col. Denise Lind, deliberated for about 16 hours over three days before reaching her decision in a case that drew worldwide attention as supporters hailed Manning as a whistleblower. The U.S. government called him an anarchist computer hacker and attention-seeking traitor.
Manning stood and faced the judge as she read the decision. She didn't explain her verdict, but said she would release detailed written findings. She didn't say when she would do that.
The charge of aiding the enemy was the most serious of 21 counts Manning faced and carried a potential life sentence. His sentencing hearing on the convictions begins Wednesday. He faces up to 128 years in prison.
July 29., 2013 Associated Press
PARIS — Wearing a scarf to mask his face, the gunman held up at least three security guards and then fled the luxury Cannes hotel roughly a minute later with $136 million in diamond jewelry, more than twice the initial estimated worth of the loot.
The simple, speedy theft is the biggest jewelry heist in years. Police had previously said Sunday's theft at the Carlton Intercontinental Hotel had netted €40 million ($53 million) worth of treasure — even at that level a major haul. Reached by The Associated Press, Philippe Vique, an assistant prosecutor in the Riviera town of Grasse, said the Dubai-based organizer of the diamond show had since raised the value based on a more complete inventory.
Vieques described a canny, but quick and logistically simple, break-in. The suspect somehow got in through the hotel's locked French doors, which open onto Cannes' famed Croisette promenade, then held up the participants of the show with a handgun and fled on foot. The hold-up itself took about a minute, all with three private security guards, two vendors and a manager of the sale-exhibit on hand, he said.
No customers were present at the time.
"He took a bag containing a briefcase and a small box, and then fled by another French door on the inside," Vique said. "He left on foot ... it was very fast."