Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking disclosure by the Central Intelligence Agency of 52 post-mortem images of Osama bin Laden. The agency refused on the ground that the images were classified Top Secret. Judicial Watch sued, and the district court granted summary judgment for the agency. We affirm because the images were properly classified and hence are exempt from disclosure under the Act.
The Supreme Court's jurisprudence on retroactivity of court decisions (as opposed to statutes), is less than crystal clear, and one might make a reasonable argument on the merits that this retroactive application crosses the fuzzy line. Under Congress's 1996 reform of federal habeas corpus (AEDPA), though, that is not the question for the federal court. The Michigan state courts decided the merits question, adversely to Lancaster. "To obtain habeas corpus relief from a federal court, a state prisoner must show that the challenged state-court ruling rested on 'an error well understood and comprehended in existing law beyond any possibility for fair minded disagreement.' Harrington v. Richter, 562 U. S. ___, ___ (2011) (slip op., at 12-13)."
Where the merits question is close, the AEDPA question is easy. The state court decision was well within the bounds of "fair minded disagreement." The Sixth Circuit decision to the contrary was beyond wrong. It was lawless.
Ben Boychuk has this article in the City Journal on the brazen theft of his expensive new laptop from beneath his fingers at a Starbucks in Fontana.
It isn't easy looking at a photo lineup. But one mug shot was unmistakable. I paused for a long moment, and I must have had a strange look because the officer asked if I recognized someone. "Yes," I said. "That's the driver." Of all the forlorn faces staring up at me, his was the only one smiling.
"He was probably smiling because he knew he got one over on you with your computer," the officer said.
"I guess so. But why would he be smiling now, when he's under arrest?"
Well, at least they dumped the Roman numerals.
Update: According to the listing at Amazon, the book will actually be available for purchase on May 27.
Court to Rule on Mississippi Murderer's Second Conviction: A Mississippi man who had his execution for the 1992 murders of two college students stayed by the state Supreme Court earlier this month will receive a ruling on his post-conviction claims for two other murders in late June. AP reporter Jack Elliott writes that Willie Jerome Manning was within hours of execution on May 7th when the state high court issued a stay to allow a DNA test Manning claims will exonerate him. His conviction and death sentence for the 1993 murders of two elderly woman were upheld on direct appeal. A judge's ruling on his post conviction claim that prosecutors withheld evidence will be announced on June 28.
"F*** America, Boston Marathon Suspect Wrote in Boat."
As police searched for him, and as he lay bleeding in his boat hideout, Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev wrote "F*** America" on the side panel of the boat, police in Massachusetts told ABC News.
Officers said they also discovered the phrase "Praise Allah" on the boat's side panels and several anti-American screeds, including references to Iraq, Afghanistan and "the infidels."
A BostonHerald.com story notes that Dzhokhar referred to the victims, including an eight-year old boy, as "collateral damage," echoing Timothy McVeigh's famous phrase.
With any luck, Dzhokhar will be joining Timmy real soon.
Hundreds of illegal immigrants with criminal records were released earlier this year as the Obama administration prepared for budget cuts, according to newly released data that challenged claims the program involved "low-risk" individuals ****Of the 2,226 detainees that were released in February, the department revealed, "622 have been identified as having some type of criminal conviction."
Down the page, the story relates:
Nelson Peacock, assistant secretary for legislative affairs, said ICE focused on [releasing] those that "posed no significant threat to public safety."
What makes me think that no "significant" threat means that those released are thought to be likely to break into someone's house other than Mr. Peacock's?
Lifelong? He has not always been so scrupulous about obeying God's will, such as "Honor your father and mother..." and "You shall not murder." Exodus 20:12-13. At least he didn't ask for sympathy because he is an orphan, the classic example of chutzpah.
I'm kind of surprised that Florida officials resisted as long as they did. This is precisely why Congress included prisoners in RLUIPA, for better or worse.
"The initial portrayal by the media has been one of a 'monster' and that's not the impression that I got when I talked to him for three hours," [defense counsel Craig Weintraub] said to Cleveland's WKYC-TV. "I know that family members who have been interviewed by the media have expressed that as well."
Craig argues that Ariel is a loving father who is committed to his daughter.
He is "extremely committed to the well being and positive future for his daughter, who he loves dearly. And if people find that to be a disconnect from what he's alleged to have done, then the people will just have to deal with it. We just know how he feels about his little girl."
There's the old story of the fellow who murders his parents and then pleads for mercy because he's an orphan, but Castro's defense team has topped that. He deserves mercy, you see, because he (allegedly) loves the girl who came into this world by means of his raping her terrified, chained, teenage mother.
OK, fine. I trust the comments section will be filled by those explaining how this unbelievably vile rendition is really just, ya know, defending the Constitution, etcetera. Have at it, gentlemen.
1) Death.A jury in Everett, Washington made the correct choice today. Steve Miletich has this story for the Seattle Times.
2) No punishment at all (i.e., a meaningless additional prison sentence).
WA Prison Guard Killer's Fate Being Considered: The Associated Press reports, that the jury that convicted Byron Scherf for the murder of a prison guard at Washington State Prison began the sentencing trial Monday. Already serving a life term for multiple rapes, Scherf strangled Jayme Biendl to death in the chapel at the prison. In Washington, aggravated murder carries the death penalty or life in prison without parole. Continued from this News Scan.
CA Lax Oversight Leads to Convicts Becoming Counselors: Jim Miller of the Press-Enterprise reports that the Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes announced findings Monday indicating that California's no-background check policy for hiring substance abuse counselors has resulted in convicts filling positions. The investigation uncovered convicted sex offenders, child molesters, substance abusers, and embezzlers working as counselors. The report says the power held by such individuals puts those seeking help at great risk. Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg says the state must take action to keep children and other vulnerable parties safe. Past efforts to legislate more rigorous background checks have died in committee.
Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday followed through with his vow to turn to the U.S. Supreme Court in a bid to end years of judicial control over California's overcrowded prison system.Unlike most cases, where parties must ask the Supreme Court to take the case (a petition for writ of certiorari), Congress has placed prisoner release orders into that select group of cases where a party can appeal to the Supreme Court as a matter of right. If the jurisdictional prerequisites are met, the high court has to take it.
In a three-page filing, the governor and his top prison officials notified a three-judge panel the state is appealing an April order requiring California to shed at least 10,000 more inmates by the end of December. The attorney general's office now has 60 days to file its full legal arguments with the Supreme Court.
The special three-judge panel has threatened the governor with contempt if his administration does not comply with a 2009 order requiring California to reduce its inmate population to about 110,000 inmates to satisfy concerns that prisons are so overcrowded they fail to provide adequate medical and mental health care.
Brown, however, said in Monday's filing that the court "did not fully or fairly consider the evidence showing that the state's prison health care now exceeds constitutional standards."
OK Sex Offender Restrictions May Ease: Fox News' Mark Taylor reports on a May 8 federal ruling in favor of convicted sex offender Charles Goodwin, granting him access to Internet use. The ruling currently only applies to federal convictions, but may set a precedent for sex offenders convicted in Oklahoma's lower courts. According to legal analyst David Slane, future convictions may be less restrictive on sex offenders, prohibiting only specific activities related to their offenses.
There is a distinction between the law requiring someone to do something as an affirmative obligation and requiring the same act as a mere condition to something else. Chemerinsky writes, "The law is clear that when a suspect is taken into custody, he or she must be given Miranda warnings, and all questioning must cease when the suspect requests a lawyer. Any statements gained in violation of these requirements must be suppressed and cannot be introduced as evidence." The second statement is true, with some important exceptions, but it does not follow that failure to Mirandize is a violation of the Constitution by itself.
L.A. Compliance Checks Result in Arrests, Discovery of Violations: CBSLA reports on a three-week compliance check operation in Los Angeles which resulted in the arrests of 21 probationers, all with sex crimes on their records. The 137 checks also found children present at a residence where an offender convicted of sexual offense against children was living. Additionally computers, phones, and drugs were seized during the operation. Probation Department Assistant Chief Margarita Perez says over 61 percent of probationers are high risk to very high risk; Only one to two percent are assessed as low risk. Perez states that the figures are contrary to the situation presented by the media.
Sara Jane Green reports in the Seattle Times on argument before the Washington Supreme Court yesterday:
A King County judge overstepped his bounds when he ruled that prosecutors can't seek the death penalty against the two people accused of killing a family of six on Christmas Eve 2007 in Carnation, the state Supreme Court was told Thursday.And of course the defense plays the race card:
King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor James Whisman argued that under the state's death-penalty statute, "discretion is placed with the prosecutor" to decide whether to seek capital punishment.
Turns out that is actually true, Zachary Goldfarb and Karen Tumulty report in the WaPo. An IRS official said the actions were "not motivated by partisan concerns," but that seems doubtful.
Is this a crime? Possibly a violation of 18 U.S.C. §241, conspiracy against exercise of constitutional rights.
The flat out rejection of DSM-5 by National Institute of Mental Health is a sad moment for mental health and an unsafe one for our patients. The APA and NIMH are both letting us down, failing to be safe custodians for the mental health needs of our country.
DSM-5 certainly deserves rejecting. It offers a reckless hodgepodge of new diagnoses that will misidentify normals and subject them to unnecessary treatment and stigma.
The NIMH director may have hammered the nail in the DSM-5 coffin when he so harshly criticized its lack of validity.
This is misleading and dangerous stuff that is bad for the patients both institutions are meant to serve.
NIMH has gone wrong now in the very same way that DSM-5 has gone wrong in the past -- making impossible to keep promises. The new NIMH research agenda is necessary and highly desirable -- it makes sense to target simpler symptoms rather than complex DSM syndromes, especially since so far we have come up empty. And the new plan will further, and be furthered, by the big, new Obama investment in brain research. But the likely payoff is being wildly oversold. There is no easy solution to what is in fact an almost impossibly complex research problem.
Isaac Newton said it best almost 250 years ago; 'I can calculate the motions of the heavens, but not the madness of men." Figuring out how the universe works is simple stuff compared to figuring out what causes schizophrenia. The ineffable complexity of brain functioning has defeated past DSM hopes and will frustrate even the best NIMH efforts.
Progress in understanding mental disorders will necessarily be slow, retail, and painstaking -- with no grand slam home runs, just occasional singles, no walks, and lots of strikeouts. No sweeping explanations -- no Newtons, or Darwins, or Einsteins.
Experience teaches that there is very little low hanging fruit when you try to translate the results of exciting basic science into meaningful clinical advances. This is true in all of medicine, not just psychiatry. We have been fighting the war on cancer for 40 years and are still losing most of the battles.
Good stuff and it's worth reading the whole thing as they say, but I'd also read Neuroskeptic's always insightful post on the issue. This may not really be a seismic shift after all and what may replace the DSM at NIMH may be just as bad.
Now we have learned more. There may indeed have been murders in the house of horrors. Brandon Blackwell reports for the Plain Dealer:
The man accused of kidnapping and imprisoning Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight in his home could face the death penalty, says Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty.
McGinty said Thursday that he will pursue charges against Ariel Castro "for each act of aggravated murder he committed by terminating pregnancies" during the women's decade of captivity.
Fed. Prosecutors Seeking to Reinstate Death Penalty for MA Killer: Lane Lambert of the Patriot Ledger reports that federal prosecutors are seeking reinstatement of the death penalty for Gary Sampson, convicted of three Massachusetts homicides in 2003. Because the state does not have a death penalty, Sampson was prosecuted under federal law. In October 2011, U.S. District Court Judge Mark Wolf overturned the sentence citing a juror's falsification of her family's criminal history. Federal prosecutors argued Wednesday that the sentence should be reinstated as the juror's failure to disclose information had no bearing on Sampson's case.