Recently in Notorious Cases Category
Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, the Mexican drug lord who evaded U.S. authorities for years and built a billion-dollar narcotics empire, is expected to make his first appearance in a U.S. courtroom on Friday.
Mr. Guzmán, who successfully escaped twice from maximum-security prisons in Mexico, was extradited to the U.S. late Thursday. His arrival came as a surprise to many, even to U.S. officials, who said Friday that they didn't know he was coming until the day of the extradition.* * *
President Obama on Tuesday commuted the prison sentence of former Army soldier Chelsea Manning, according to the White House.
Manning was convicted in 2013 of leaking classified information about U.S. national security activities that were later disclosed by WikiLeaks. The 35-year sentence Manning received was the longest ever imposed for a leak conviction. Manning has already served seven years of her sentence and will now be released on May 17, 2017.
She was originally set to be released be released in 2045.
Yup, getting your sentence chopped by 80% for grossly compromising national security while you're serving in the armed forces is just what the doctor ordered.
By any sane reckoning, this is a scandal that exponentially dwarfs the Marc Rich affair. No wonder Obama waited until about 70 hours before he exits the White House.
UPDATE: I was quoted on this commutation in the up-to-the-minute journal, Lifezette, here.
When the historic black church in Greenville, Miss., first burned last month, many, including the city mayor, speculated that the intentionally lit fire was a hate crime.
It was a particularly tense time in America, just a week before the bitterly divisive 2016 presidential election came to a close. Then-candidate and now President-elect Donald Trump campaigned on building a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border and banning Muslims from the United States -- or, at the very least, aggressively vetting Muslims seeking entry to the country. A prominent newspaper of the Ku Klux Klan offered a de facto endorsement of Trump and he secured the support of the KKK's former grand wizard, David Duke."Secured" is an exceptionally poor choice of words there. It implies that Trump sought this endorsement when the truth is nothing of the sort. But let's go on.
Among African Americans, Trump polled with low support.Turns out it wasn't.
All this led church and community leaders to believe that, when they found the words "Vote Trump" spray-painted on the outside of the charred, 111-year-old Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church, the fire was a political act.
President Barack Obama made one of the final moves of his presidency appointing Debo Adegbile, the lawyer for convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, to a six-year term on the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. In 2014, President Obama's attempt to appoint Adegbile to head the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division was rejected by the United States Senate, with eight Democratic Senators among those opposing his confirmation.
The antipathy of President Obama towards law enforcement has been reflected from his first days in office all the way through this appointment. From his earliest days in office, when he accused a Cambridge police officer who was simply doing his job of "acting stupidly" and continuing with quick condemnations of use of force immediately after incidents occurred, despite lacking knowledge of the underlying facts, President Obama has by his words and actions made clear his disrespect for law enforcement. Now President Obama has taken his final parting shot at law enforcement through his appointment of Debo Adegbile, a man, found unfit by the United States Senate to head the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, in large part because of his representation of a convicted cop killer.
Then improved DNA technology proved him stone cold guilty.
Drew Brooks reports for the Fayetteville Observer:
An Army appeals court has upheld the death sentence of Timothy Hennis, a former Fort Bragg soldier who in 1985 butchered a mother and two of her young children.
A four-judge panel in the Army Court of Criminal Appeals filed an opinion last month after a review of 49 possible errors in Hennis' 2010 court-martial, which was the third time he stood trial in the case.
The court found that Hennis' claims of double jeopardy were without merit, as was his claim that the Army did not have jurisdiction in the Fayetteville murders.
"We conclude the approved sentence is correct in law and fact," the court opinion said. "Further, under the circumstances of this case, including appellant's rape of one of the murder victims, the vulnerability inherent in the young ages of the other two murder victims, and appellant's mutilation of all three murder victims, we conclude the adjudged and approved death sentence fits the crimes of which he was found guilty."
A federal judge has dismissed a $41.5 million lawsuit that protesters in Ferguson, Mo., had filed against police, the city and the county, alleging that police used excessive force against them during unrest that erupted after a white police officer shot an unarmed black teenager in August 2014.
In a 74-page decision, Judge Henry Autrey ruled that plaintiffs "have completely failed to present any credible evidence" that any actions by police "were taken with malice or were committed in bad faith" during protests in the wake of the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson. Brown was killed by Officer Darren Wilson. A grand jury declined to indict Wilson in Brown's death.
Autrey wrote that police gave numerous orders for the protesters to disperse and that police "clearly had argued probable cause to arrest any individual" who refused to comply with the orders.
The story is here.
What lessons should we draw from this double outrage?
First, the excessively lenient sentence demonstrates why we cannot vest too much discretion to judges to grant leniency. In other words, it demonstrates--conclusively, in my mind--that we will always need "mandatory minimums" in some form for some crimes.
Second, Turner's release in 3 months when sentenced to 6 demonstrates that we need to be very careful with "credits" against sentences and award them only when they serve an important function.
Third, given the number of people guilty of serious crimes who are now sentenced to county jail in California, it is imperative that we build enough jail capacity to hold them for every single day for which they are sentenced, reduced only by those judiciously awarded credits.
Leaked text messages between one of Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby's deputies and the lead investigator in the Freddie Gray case are raising new concerns about whether politics played a role in the decision to charge six officers with his death.
Fox News' Trace Gallagher reported that the leaked messages suggest that the prosecutors planned to charge the officers, regardless of what the evidence showed.
Prosecutors dropped all remaining charges against three Baltimore police officers accused in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray in a downtown courtroom on Wednesday morning, concluding one of the most high-profile criminal cases in Baltimore history.
The startling move was an apparent acknowledgement of the unlikelihood of a conviction following the acquittals of three other officers on similar and more serious charges by Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams, who was expected to preside over the remaining trials as well.
It also means the office of Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby will secure no convictions in the case after more than a year of dogged fighting, against increasingly heavy odds, to hold someone criminally accountable in Gray's death.
This was the right thing to do, morally and legally. The power to prosecute is too potent to be used as a political or social tool. Legally, the case just wasn't there. And, as a practical matter, Ms. Mosby might have side-stepped a disbarment proceeding as the result of today's exercise in prudence.
A man was fatally shot Tuesday morning in West Baltimore, becoming the city's 31st homicide victim this month.
The man, who police have been unable to identify, was killed about 10:13 a.m. in the 2100 block of Garrison Boulevard, north of Gwynns Falls Park, police said.
Prior to the spike in violence last year following the death of Freddie Gray, the city had not recorded 30 homicides in a month since the 1990s. In 2015, the city had five months with more than 30 homicides. July is the first month this year that the city reached that mark.
The people getting killed in this carnage are overwhelmingly, and perhaps exclusively, black. But "compassion" and "justice" dictate targeting the front line against crime.
Hello! If black lives actually mattered to Black Lives Matter, I would donate $10,000 to
Debbie Wasserman Schultz Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
[Ms.] Mosby has done enormous damage to the jurisdiction that entrusted her with [her] office. First is the staggering increase in crime in Baltimore since the Freddie Gray incident - much of it attributable to the "Ferguson effect" of police reluctance to put themselves in danger of prosecution. She has also made it more difficult for other prosecutors to bring difficult cases, since she has generated distrust and suspicion of the justice system among her constituents. Even beyond that, however, is the damage she has done, and continues to do to the justice system itself, which relies on public trust and reliance, by the people affected by it, that it is run professionally, without bias, and without political interference.