Heroism and Pride in Ferguson

| No Comments
This Reuters story is by far the most heartening I have seen coming out of Ferguson. Here's an excerpt:

On Tuesday night, as police and soldiers took up positions in the parking lots of virtually every strip mall and big box store around it, the forecourt of the brightly lit [Ferguson Conoco] gas station was busy with customers.

One, a six feet, eight-inch tall man named Derrick Jordan - "Stretch," as friends call him - whisked an AR-15 assault rifle out from a pickup truck parked near the entrance.

Jordan, 37, was one of four black Ferguson residents who spent Tuesday night planted in front of the store, pistols tucked into their waistbands, waiting to ward off looters or catch shoplifters.

Jordan and the others guarding the gas station are all black. The station's owner is white.

Open carry laws and some heroic African American men make for a wonderful kickoff to Thanksgiving.

Heather Wilhelm has this article at Real Clear Politics with the above title (minus the bracketed part).  She pokes some fun at several articles that suggest you really should debate politics, religion, and hot-button social issues on this holiday with relatives who disagree with you.

For those of us who prefer the "or not" option, including myself and Ms. Wilhelm, the answer is to do the opposite.  Tomorrow, let us forget politics, crime and punishment, and other heated issues and enjoy the day with our families.  Give thanks - with the "to whom" broad enough to accommodate everyone at your home - and have a joyous holiday.

The Price of Accommodating the Mob

| No Comments
From the Washington Post, on the day before Thanksgiving (emphasis added):

Even in the best of times, survival rates for small businesses don't inspire loads of confidence. Fifty percent of them close after four years.

But Natalie DuBose of Ferguson, Mo., did not open her shop in the best of times. She opened Natalie's Cakes and More in downtown Ferguson in June. In August, police officer Darren Wilson, who is white, shot and killed an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown.

The city erupted.

DuBose's customer base evaporated. She went two weeks without a single person walking into her shop, she told local media. Then things turned around. After interviews with local radio and television stations, her community turned out to support her business.

"By the time I got back from [local radio station] KMOX, I had people outside the door," she told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. What's more, they kept coming. The single mother of two, who raised the funds to open her shop by selling her cakes at a flea market, could breathe a little easier.

Then, this week, DuBose was faced with another crisis. After news broke that a grand jury would not charge Wilson, rioters broke the glass of her storefront Monday night. They damaged baking equipment.

Meet Natalie DuBose of Ferguson. Her cake store just went up in smoke for some social justice. Finally, they're taking the fight right to the heart of the problem, people who make and sell pastries.

Trayvon and Mike

The title of this post is taken from a Powerline entry by my friend John Hinderaker. His short essay ends with these words (emphasis in original):

[In the name of the welfare state narrative], Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin have to be victims, not aggressors.

Still, the truth is that they were victims. Not victims of a mythical white power structure-the concept is laughable as applied to either [the Walter Mitty-like] George Zimmerman or Darren Wilson. And certainly not victims of a racist judicial system. On the contrary, in both cases America's court system rendered the right verdict under tremendous pressure to bend the truth to political expedience.

Rather, Martin and Brown were victims of an African-American culture in which the family has been pretty much destroyed, government checks have largely replaced employment, education is disparaged, criminality is respected, and racial animosity is a sign of authenticity. That culture...has been an utter disaster for millions of young black men like Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown.

Ferguson Video

| No Comments
A remarkable video of the reaction by some of the good people of Ferguson to the Grand Jury decision not to indict a police officer for the fatal shooting of a 6 ft.4in 290 lb. thug who attacked him.  The breakdown in values evidenced by this carnage can be traced back to President Lyndon Johnson's "war on poverty," which financed the demise of the nuclear black family, essentially paying black women to have out-of-wedlock children and creating a culture of dependence.  In 1965, 24% of black children were born to unwed mothers.  Today it's 70%.  An entire segment of our population has been trained not to take responsibility for virtually anything they do, up to and including attacking an armed police officer.  The crowds on this video are made up of people left stupid by liberal public education policies that excuse failure and discourage excellence and an accompanying cultural breakdown that celebrates gangsters, vulgarity and revenge.  The folks in Ferguson who live outside of that culture can thank Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Barack Obama, and Eric Holder for fanning the fires of racial division. 

Racism, the All Purpose Excuse

Time has an opinion piece titled, "Ferguson: In Defense of Rioting."  Its closing paragraph reads:

Instead of tearing down other human beings who are acting upon decades of pent-up anger at a system decidedly against them, a system that has told them they are less than human for years, we ought to be reaching out to help them regain the humanity they lost, not when a few set fire to the buildings in Ferguson, but when they were born the wrong color in the post-racial America.

I won't go into the obvious difficulties with riots.  I want to make only one point  -- that the Ferguson riot had next to nothing to do with the expression of dissent, about racial issues or any other.

You don't smash the store windows of private businesses and rush in to gobble up bunches of sweatshirts and sneakers and video games because you've got a political grievance.  You do it because it's neat, it's exhilarating, and most of all, because you can  --  because a weak, self-flagellating culture has handed you an excuse; because the cops are too intimidated by "militarization" talk to do anything; and because, just to be clear, stealing stuff is easier than buying it.
This article in the Georgetown student newspaper, written by a student who "understands" why he was mugged, is a parody.

I mean, it is a parody, right?

Will someone tell me it's a parody?


The Other Ferguson Tragedy

| No Comments
Jason Riley has this column in the WSJ:

Racial profiling and tensions between the police and poor black communities are real problems, but these are effects rather than causes, and they can't be addressed without also addressing the extraordinarily high rates of black criminal behavior--yet such discussion remains taboo. Blacks who bring it up are sell-outs. Whites who mention it are racists. (Mr. Dyson accused Mr. Giuliani of "white supremacy.") But so long as young black men are responsible for an outsize portion of violent crime, they will be viewed suspiciously by law enforcement and fellow citizens of all races.
Jesse Washington reports for AP:

Anger and despair swept through many parts of America after a Missouri grand jury decided not to indict Darren Wilson, a white police officer, for killing Michael Brown, a black 18-year-old.

What was behind the wave of emotion? Why do so many refuse to accept the grand jurors' choice not to charge the cop with a crime in the death of Brown, who was unarmed? Why is there such disregard for the new evidence released with the decision?

*                               *                            *

Texas CCA Denies Panetti Stay

| No Comments
Continuing with the Panetti story (see previous post), the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied a stay 5-4, finding it had no jurisdiction.  Jim Malewitz has this story in the Texas Tribune, with links to the opinions.

Panetti's previous competency determination was in 2008.  The delay after that point was in litigating Panetti's claim that his "rights" under Indiana v. Edwards had been violated, i.e., that the Texas courts failed to anticipate the Supreme Court's correction of its own error and instead followed the precedents binding on them at the time.  (See comment to the previous post.)  Of course, Edwards didn't create any rights.  It only put a sensible limit on the right created out of whole cloth in Faretta.

So the trial court set an execution date on October 16, 2014, and counsel for Panetti filed their motion nearly a month later, less than 20 days before the execution.  Texas has an anti-last-minute statute limiting jurisdiction in the last 20 days.  No dice, say the majority.

These kinds of time limit laws can be harsh, but the unscrupulous tactics of the defense side has made them necessary.  Filing claims at the last minute that could have been made earlier and then demanding a stay to give the courts time to adjudicate them has long been a key tool in the obstructionist's toolbox.  See, e.g., Gomez v. U.S. District Court (Harris), 503 U.S. 653 (1992).

The "Lesson of Ferguson"

We're being lectured all over the place about "the lesson of Ferguson."  Generally the "lesson" is some variant on the theme that the cops are Nazis (libertarian version) or racists (liberal version).

I have my own "lesson of Ferguson" to offer.  It is literally a lesson, one that Michael Brown's parents might have found useful to drive home about ten years ago:

Michael, we love you enough to want, and demand, that you grow up straight. We know you stole your classmate's apple.  It's wrong to steal. You need to learn this, immediately and permanently.  You're grounded for a week, and you will have extra chores, which you will do without hesitation or complaint. We also know that when your teacher asked you about it, you smartmouthed and walked away. That is not acceptable.  You are at all times to respect and obey proper authority.  You are grounded for an additional two weeks. Any further episodes of stealing or disrespecting authority will result in more punishment until you wise up.

And then they needed to make it stick.

If they had, Michael Brown would be alive today, many stores in Ferguson would not have been looted, and Darren Wilson would still have a career. 

News Scan

| No Comments
Victim's Family Outraged Over Murderer's Release: A Kentucky family is left feeling angry and confused after the man who murdered their family member 13 years ago was released from state custody without their knowledge.  Ann Bowden of WLKY News reports that convicted killer Shawn Patterson was released from prison under House Bill 463, a law that allows both non-violent and violent offenders to be released from custody early in an effort to save the state money.  Since the law was passed in 2012, 10,000 inmates have been released ahead of schedule and placed on 'mandatory re-entry supervision.'

Arkansas to Address Prison Overcrowding: Lawmakers in Arkansas are looking at several different ways to address prison overcrowding including the use of private prison facilities and the implementation of alternative sentencing programs.  Andrew DeMillo of the Associated Press reports that more than 2,000 inmates have been moved from prison to county jails, and plans to build a new facility are estimated at costing upward of $100 million.  The legislature is also suggesting expanding the use of drug courts and using abandoned school buildings to house inmates.

Accused Killer has Lengthy Criminal Past: The Colorado man accused of kidnap and murder of a single mother in 2007 has a lengthy criminal past, including multiple arrests for abducting women.  CBS News reports that 63-year-old Lester Jones was arrested in 1999 after authorities say he forced his wife into his car and threatened to kill her.  Later that month, he was arrested again for abducting another woman and sexually assaulting her.  Jones is facing charges of kidnapping, murder, and arson.  He is being held in jail on $2 million bond.

Some readers have told me by email that they tried to register at ABA Journal to vote for their favorite blog (which I hope and presume was this one) but were told that their registration was suspected spam and was discarded.  After several email exchanges with the editors, that problem appears to be fixed.

So here is the link again.  Of course I wouldn't be so crass as to ask you to ... sure I would!  Vote for C&C!

Facebook Threats Argument Next Week

| 1 Comment
Elonis v. United States, the Facebook threats case, will be argued next week.  We filed our brief last October, and I wrote this post the same day.

Amy Howe has this "plain English" post on the case at SCOTUSblog.  She noted it is unlikely that the Justices are much familiar with Facebook and wonders if that will affect the case.  It shouldn't, in my opinion.  The definition of a prohibited threat should not vary with the medium.  The fact that people rant all the time on the internet does not warrant extending First Amendment protection when rant crosses the line to threats. 

A couple of amicus briefs supporting Elonis take the position, in essence, that the routine debasement of speech in our society in media such as online posting and gangsta rap are a reason to take a more expansive view of First Amendment protection of threats.  If this downward spiral of our society has any effect at all on the decision, it should be in the other direction, in my opinion.  We have gone way too far in letting it all hang out and need to tuck some of it back in.

A good example of the ill effects of extreme disinhibition is SCOTUSblog itself.  That blog used to have comments, and I enjoyed commenting there, exchanging views with thoughtful, intelligent, informed people, many of whom disagreed with me.  But the comment section turned into a cesspool, as the comments of so many blogs do.  They tried requiring people to use their real names, and that helped but not enough.  Finally they axed the comments altogether because they dragged down the quality of the blog.  The rudeness of a few ruined the medium for those of us who wanted to exchange views at a refined level.

Perceptions and Realities of Injustice

The pattern is becoming all too familiar.  There is a claim of a gross injustice with inflammatory allegations.  Then there is a media firestorm.  When a full investigation reveals the actual facts, there has been no injustice, yet a substantial segment of the population will continue to believe there was, continuing to believe the original, discredited, inflammatory allegations.

First Troy Davis, then Trayvon Martin, now Michael Brown.  Different cases, different underlying facts, but the same overall pattern.

No, Michael Brown was not shot in the back.  The autopsy conclusively refutes that allegation.  Yet the witnesses who claimed to have seen that still said it, and maybe they really believed it, as explained in this article in the WaPo.

These incidents have a deep, corrosive effect on our society.  They add to polarization and alienation.  What can be done?  Well for starters, all of us, but especially those in the media, need to be a bit less prone to jumping on claims such as the ones made in these cases.  Lets get the real facts first.

ABA Journal Blawg 100

| No Comments
The ABA Journal has its annual list of the 100 best law blogs.  You can register and vote for your favorites.

No Indictment in Ferguson, and the Reaction

The grand jury in Ferguson declined to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown.

What I want to comment upon just now is the Brown family statement responding to the no-bill.  It reads in part as follows:

We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions.  While we understand that many others share our pain, we ask that you channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change. We need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen.

The principal factor in "the system that allowed [the no-bill] to happen" is the law of self-defense. That law has been around mostly unchanged for about a thousand years.  It sparks almost no controversy and has nothing to do with race.

That the grand jury concluded that Officer Wilson did not act criminally does not change the grief of losing a teenage son.    
Continuing with the theme of Bill's post, the State of Texas has scheduled the execution next week of Scott Panetti for the 1995 murder of his wife's parents.  The editorial board of the New York Times can't help themselves.  Even when their position is basically a reasonable one, they still have to make absurd statements in the process.

During his capital murder trial, at which he was inexplicably allowed to represent himself, Mr. Panetti dressed in a cowboy suit and attempted to subpoena, among others, John F. Kennedy and Jesus Christ. A standby lawyer said his behavior was "scary" and "trance-like," and called the trial "a judicial farce."
The word "inexplicably" is just plain ignorant.  There is no mystery at all as to why Panetti was allowed to represent himself or who was to blame.  The blame lies squarely with the United States Supreme Court in the 1970s and its propensity at that time to make up rights that are not really in the Constitution.

In Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806 (1975), the Supreme Court said that criminal defendants have a constitutional right to reject counsel and conduct their own defense.  Justice Blackmun noted in dissent, "If there is any truth to the old proverb that 'one who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client,' the Court by its opinion today now bestows a constitutional right on one to make a fool of himself."  In Panetti's case, make that a crazy fool.

The Faretta rule was long understood to be absolute in most jurisdictions, including Texas and the Fifth Circuit.  As long as the defendant was competent to stand trial, a very minimal standard, he had the constitutional right to represent himself, no matter how much of a farce he made of the trial.  If the trial court denied him that dubious right, the judgment would be reversed on appeal or overturned on habeas corpus.  The Texas trial judge was therefore correct, in the sense of following the precedents of both the state and federal courts, in allowing Panetti to represent himself.  In Indiana v. Edwards, 554 U.S. 164 (2008), we finally got the Court to modify Faretta and recognize that some people are competent to stand trial and assist counsel but not to be their own counsel, see CJLF brief, but 33 years had elapsed and a lot of water had passed under the bridge.

The issue in the courts now, though, is not Panetti's representation at trial but rather whether he is presently too crazy to execute. 

Who Will Be Rioting?

| No Comments
It's widely anticipated that there will be a riot tonight if the Ferguson grand jury does not indict Darren Wilson.

There is one question about this I haven't heard asked a single time:  Who will be rioting?

The reason I haven't heard it is that it's Politically Very Incorrect to ask.  That's because the answer is unappetizing.  The rioters will be black.

If, contrary to expectations, there is an indictment, does anyone think whites will be taking to the streets and smashing shop windows?  No.  The Unmentionable Fact is that the media uniformly, and correctly, assume there will be a riot only if the grand jury does not indict, and that blacks will be doing it.

Eric Holder once and famously said that the American people are a bunch of cowards for refusing to discuss race.  The unasked question about Ferguson has proved him right, albeit not in the way he expected.

Ineffective Assistance of Thomas Jefferson

| No Comments
Most claims of ineffective assistance of counsel are baloney.  They're simply a way to deflect attention from the client's behavior to that of his supposedly all-important lawyer.  What gets lost in the hubbub is that what wins and loses cases is seldom the lawyer.  It's the evidence.

Still, there are exceptions.

News Scan

| No Comments
CA Jury Recommends Death for Convicted Killer: A California jury has recommended that a man convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend in front of her children in 2011 be put to death.  The Associated Press reports that 41-year-old Tyrone Harts broke into the woman's home and shot her to death in front of her children before lighting her body on fire.  A judge will make the final sentencing decision on January 30, 2015.

DHS Unveils New Immigration Guidlines: The Department of Homeland Security has released its new guidelines for immigration and border security officers outlining top deportation priorities, and shockingly, drug dealers and gun offenders aren't at the top of the list.  Byron York of the Washington Examiner reports that convicted drunk drivers, sex abusers, and drug dealers are considered as second-level enforcement priorities.  This level also includes illegal aliens who have been convicted of at least three misdemeanors.  Priority One is considered to be the highest level of enforcement, and includes convicted felons and suspected terrorists. 

Execution Date Set For Convicted Killer: Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has signed an death warrant for rapper and convicted cop killer Christopher Roney, scheduling his execution for January 8, 2015.  The Associated Press reports that Roney shot and killed the officer in 1996 after a botched bank robbery.  The governor also authorized executions for two more convicted murderers.  These executions will take place January 13 and 15.

How A Bill Becomes Law, Revised

| No Comments
Saturday Night Live updates a Schoolhouse Rock civics classic.

Confrontation, Hearsay, and Child Abuse

"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right ... to be confronted with the witnesses against him ...."  So says the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, as do the bills of rights of many state constitutions.  But what does that mean?

From at least 1980, when the U.S. Supreme Court decided Ohio v. Roberts, until 2004, when it decided Crawford v. Washington, the Confrontation Clause was pretty much a constitutionalization of the hearsay rule.  If the prosecution wanted A to testify as to what B said, the defendant had a right to confront and cross-examine B, subject to all the "firmly rooted hearsay exception[s]," and there are a lot of them.  The main consideration was deciding whether the particular form of hearsay was reliable.

In Crawford, the Supreme Court tossed the Roberts rule and its reliability focus overboard and went with a historical analysis instead.  The purpose of the Confrontation Clause is to prevent abuses of the kind that happened in the trial of Sir Walter Raleigh (the founder of Anglo-America) and other old English cases where testimony is introduced in the form of affidavits or examinations of a witness conducted ex parte, i.e., when the defendant is not present and can't cross-examine.  In circumstances like these, the examinee is the "witness" and the statement is "testimonial."  The Confrontation Clause forbids introduction, and there are no exceptions.  In other cases of garden-variety hearsay, A is the "witness," and admissibility of B's statement is a matter for state hearsay rules, not the U.S. Constitution.  In a state case, reliability of the hearsay is an issue for state rulemakers and courts to ponder, not the federal courts.

Okay, but what statements are sufficiently like the forbidden historical practices to make B's statement "testimonial" and make B and not A the "witness" for this purpose.  The Crawford Court left that largely for future decisions, a recipe for chaos.

How about an injured preschooler's response to a teacher's question, "Who did this? What happened to you?"  That is the question before the Supreme Court in Ohio v. Clark, No. 13-1352.

News Scan

| No Comments
Parolee Accused of Murder: An Indiana parolee with a lengthy criminal past has been arrested and charged with the murder of a 15-year-old girl.  Robert King and Jill Disis of Indy Star report that 46-year-old William Gholston has been arrested more than 30 times on a variety of crimes including robbery, battery, and cocaine possession.  He was released on parole in November 2012 after serving 6 ½ years on a gun charge.  Fifteen-year-old Dominique Allen's burned body was found just hours after her family reported her missing in August.  Police were able to link Gholston to the killing with DNA evidence collected from the victim's body.

Georgia Sets Execution Date for Murderer: A Georgia man convicted of murdering a Sheriff's deputy nearly 20 years ago is scheduled to be executed on December 9, 2014.  R. Loyd Price of WMAZ News reports that after Robert Holsey robbed a convenience store in December 1995, a sheriff's deputy spotted his car and pulled him over.  Holsey shot the deputy was shot in the head as he approached the vehicle.  He has appealed his conviction unsuccessfully several times over the last 16 years.

Violent Felons Legally Buying Guns in Washington State:  An investigation conducted by Washington television station has found that a number of violent felons have been legally purchasing guns in several counties despite laws to prevent that from happening.  Monique Ming Laven of KIRO News reports that under state law, felons are eligible to have their gun rights restored as long as they were not convicted or a serious crime or a sex offense, received a sentence of more than 20 years, and have not re-offended in five years.  The investigation revealed that since 2010, at least 3,000 serious felons have had their gun rights restored.   

The Coming Riot

The conventional wisdom is that the grand jury's decision about the Ferguson shooting will soon be known, and that it will not indict Officer Darren Wilson.

I have no inside scoop on this.  My (pure) guess is that the conventional wisdom is correct; it usually is.  If so, I'll predict here and now that there's going to be a riot.  I will also give my predicted reactions when it happens.

From libertarians:  The police are an over-militarized menace just short of the SS.

From Mother Jones:  The United States continues to be a rancid racist cesspool.

From Al Sharpton:  People need to listen to me.  (This was the easiest one).

From Eric Holder:  I told you we're a bunch of cowards.

From Rachel Maddow:  [Head explodes].

From me:  ...once upon a time, I heard about due process and the presumption of innocence....

AG Confirmation for Next Congress

| No Comments
Almost unnoticed in a busy week was a nugget dropped by Senate Majority (for five more weeks) Leader Harry Reid.  Michael Crittenden reported Tuesday in the WSJ:

The White House has said it is ready to wait until next year for Congress to consider its nominee to be the next attorney general, the top Senate Democrat said Tuesday.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) said the White House has told him the confirmation hearings of veteran prosecutor Loretta Lynch could be dealt with in the new Congress in January 2015.

"The White House through intermediaries with me have said 'don't be pushing that, we can do that after the first of the year,' " Mr. Reid said after senators' weekly caucus lunches.
"After the first of the year" means next Congress, assuming Senator Reid does not intend to hold a vote on Friday, January 2, which I very much doubt.  Chuck Grassley will begin his stint as chairman with a very important hearing.

Securing, not sealing, the border

| No Comments
The Sacramento Bee has this story about President Obama's actions on immigration yesterday.  The article quotes CJLF President Michael Rushford regarding aliens who commit crimes.

The article says CJLF "advocates sealing the U.S.-Mexico border."  Um, no.  We are in favor of having a secure border so that criminals we deport can't just waltz back in.  Questions of how much and what kind of legal immigration we should allow and what kind of trade restrictions we should have are not our field, and we take no position.  We would certainly never advocate the complete cut-off implied by the word "sealing."
Whether President Obama has the authority to allow the effective nullification of our immigration statutes through executive order is an interesting subject, about which I may have more to say later.  But the immediate implication is clear: Obama, toward the end of his term and perhaps before, is going to put thousands of dangerous hard drug dealers back on the street.  He'll do this via executive clemency.

The clemency program has already been announced by DOJ, but until last night, there were realistic questions about how far it would reach.  Those questions are now answered.  There will be no effective limit whatever.

Nullification through "discretionary" non-enforcement of law is of debatable legality, but the clemency power is not.  It exists, and belongs to the President alone.

There was a glimmer of hope until last night that the President would be restrained in exercising this power, and would pay at least some heed to the idea that hard drug trafficking harms America.  That is over with.  When a President openly and aggressively sympathetic to lawbreakers is willing to use a power that may be there or may not, there is no question left about his willingness to use a power that actually is there.

We saw last night what Obama will do now that he has no political accountability left. But what we saw is only the beginning.

FedSoc Convention Videos

| No Comments
Bill previously posted a link to the Criminal Law Practice Group's panel at the National Lawyer's Convention of the Federalist Society.  Another panel relevant to the topic of this blog was the Civil Rights Practice Group's panel on sexual assault on campus.  The speakers and video links for both panels follow the break.

The full schedule with links to all the videos is here.

News Scan

| No Comments
Vicious Killer Released from Prison: A California family is outraged after the man who violently killed their loved one was released from prison last week by a Fresno County judge.  Pablo Lopez of the Fresno Bee reports that in 1984, Theodore LeLeaux Jr. stabbed his coworker Kenneth Carlock 77 times in his apartment before cutting the man's heart out and carrying it around in his coat pocket, LeLeaux pleaded guilty to second-degree murder the following year and was sentenced to 16 years to life in prison.  Despite a denial of parole by Governor Brown, the state parole board chose to release LeLeaux after determining he was no longer a 'danger to society.'

Accused Killer on Bail Charged With New Murder: A North Carolina man who was out on bond while awaiting his upcoming murder trial has been arrested for murdering a man that was scheduled to testify against him.  WCTI News reports that 36-year-old Nashid Porter's murder trial for killing a man in 2012 was to start in January 2015.  Porter was released to await trial on house arrest, and required to wear a GPS monitoring device-a device.  Authorities say he cut the device off the night he allegedly killed his most recent victim.  Porter is currently being held in jail without bond.   

Utah Passes Death Penalty Bill: The Utah legislature has passed a bill that would allow the state to execute condemned murderers by firing squad.  The United Press International reports that states with active death penalties began running out of lethal injection drugs after European drug manufacturers restricted their use for executions.  Under the new law, Utah will still use lethal injection as its primary method of execution, however, if the drugs become unavailable a firing squad may be used.  

Monthly Archives