Recently in Notorious Cases Category
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.
The man who killed 84 people in Nice on Bastille Day appeared to be planning the attack since last year and had the help of several people, France's top antiterror prosecutor said Thursday.Accomplices who share the specific intent are just as culpable as the triggerman. Presumably some of them will be caught. What will France do then? Will they do like Norway with Anders Breivik and sentence them to less than four months in prison per life taken?
Investigative magistrates on Thursday were interrogating five people suspected of providing support to 31-year-old Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, said Paris Prosecutor François Molins, who laid out a timeline suggesting the attacker and his suspected accomplices had embraced Islamic extremism as early as the Charlie Hebdo attack in January of last year.
The details disclosed by Mr. Molins threaten to fuel public anger at French President François Hollande and his ministers, who have spent days defending their handling of the terror attack.
The new evidence appears to contradict claims made by top French officials immediately after the rampage that Lahouaiej Bouhlel was radicalized in a matter of weeks, leaving security services little chance of stopping him when he plowed through throngs of revelers on Bastille Day with a 21-ton truck.
Instead, Mr. Molins suggested Lahouaiej Bouhlel may have conducted surveillance on his target a year before he acted and communicated more than a thousand times with suspected accomplices.
Are you really sure you don't want capital punishment, mes amis?
AP reports from Manassas, Virginia:
For much of the last 15 years, Justin Wolfe was both a death row inmate and a cause célèbre. His supporters, as well as a federal judge who heard his appeal, believed he was a victim of malicious prosecutors who covered up the truth in an effort to execute an innocent man.
Now Wolfe's 15-year legal saga -- which at one point had him days from execution and later on the brink of total exoneration and freedom -- has concluded with a 41-year prison sentence and an admission that prosecutors had it right all along.* * *After years of denying responsibility for the 2001 murder of Daniel Petrole, Wolfe on Wednesday apologized to Petrole's family in a packed Manassas courtroom.
If [a prosecutor] believes a crime was committed and they believe they're sending a valuable message to the community about the value of a poor black man's life or what is appropriate responsibility for a police officer, there are benefits of this trial that can't be measured in convictions and acquittals.
Minutes after former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca acknowledged failing the public by lying to federal authorities investigating jail beatings, a judge overseeing his corruption case shocked a packed courtroom Monday by rejecting the ex-lawman's plea agreement as too lenient.