Articles and Resources
Date Fairness.com Resource Read it at: Dec 19, 2011 Exonerated of Murder, Texan Seeks Inquiry on Prosecutor
QUOTE: A Texas man wrongfully convicted in 1987 of murdering his wife is scheduled to be officially exonerated on Monday. That is no longer so unusual in Texas, where 45 inmates have been exonerated in the last decade based on DNA evidence. What is unprecedented is the move planned by lawyers for the man, Michael Morton: they are expected to file a request for a special hearing to determine whether the prosecutor broke state laws or ethics rules by withholding evidence that could have led to Mr. Morton’s acquittal 25 years ago.
New York Times Jun 18, 2011 Friendship of Justice and Magnate Puts Focus on Ethics
QUOTE: The publicity-shy friend turned out to be Harlan Crow, a Dallas real estate magnate and a major contributor to conservative causes. Mr. Crow stepped in to finance the multimillion-dollar purchase and restoration of the cannery, featuring a museum about the culture and history of Pin Point that has become a pet project of Justice Thomas’s. The project throws a spotlight on an unusual, and ethically sensitive, friendship that appears to be markedly different from those of other justices on the nation’s highest court.
New York Times Apr 28, 2011 How the Law Accepted Gays
QUOTE: Gay-rights supporters have transformed the law and the legal profession, opening the doors of law firms, law schools and courts to people who were once casually and cruelly shut out because of their sexual orientation.
New York Times Nov 29, 2010 In U.S. Sting Operations, Questions of Entrapment
QUOTE: The arrest on Friday of a Somali-born teenager who is accused of trying to detonate a car bomb at a crowded Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in Portland, Ore., has again thrown a spotlight on the government’s use of sting operations to capture terrorism suspects. Some defense lawyers and civil rights advocates said the government’s tactics, particularly since the Sept. 11 attacks, have raised questions about the possible entrapment of people who pose no real danger but are enticed into pretend plots at the government’s urging.
New York Times May 13, 2010 U.S. Decision to Approve Killing of Cleric Causes Unease
QUOTE: The Obama administration’s decision to authorize the killing by the Central Intelligence Agency of a terrorism suspect who is an American citizen has set off a debate over the legal and political limits of drone missile strikes, a mainstay of the campaign against terrorism. The notion that the government can, in effect, execute one of its own citizens far from a combat zone, with no judicial process and based on secret intelligence, makes some legal authorities deeply uneasy.
New York Times Feb 27, 2010 Inquiry sought into disappearance of e-mails in interrogations case
QUOTE: Senior Democratic lawmakers and watchdog groups demanded Friday that the Justice Department investigate the disappearance of e-mail messages written by Bush administration lawyers who drafted memos blessing harsh interrogation tactics, saying their absence cast doubt on an ethics report that cleared the lawyers of professional misconduct.
Washington Post Nov 03, 2009 At Supreme Court: Can prosecutors be sued for framing defendants? Two African-American men wrongly imprisoned for 25 years filed a lawsuit against prosecutors for fabricating evidence against them...
QUOTE: The US Supreme Court on Wednesday is set to consider an unusual question: Do Americans who have been framed by unscrupulous prosecutors for crimes they did not commit have a right to sue the prosecutors when the fraud is finally exposed?
Christian Science Monitor Oct 23, 2009 The Geek Defense: Do criminals with Asperger's syndrome deserve special treatment?
QUOTE: the legal system isn't always consistent in its treatment of criminals with developmental disabilities, and the sentences handed down to autistic defendants can vary widely depending on the court. Asperger's may prove even more challenging than autism, because it lacks the well-defined intellectual deficits that make the latter relatively easy to diagnose. How will a judge determine whether a given diagnosis of Asperger's is scientifically valid, let alone decide how the disorder relates to a particular crime?
Slate Oct 21, 2009 Tweets from the jury box: jurors using Twitter jeopardize trials
QUOTE: in an age of citizen journalism and Web publishing, a growing number of jurors are tapping away at their BlackBerries and iPhones from the jury box and the deliberation room – potentially putting trial outcomes into jeopardy.
Christian Science Monitor Oct 20, 2009 Dead Law Walking: Why are New York cops arresting gay people on charges ruled unconstitutional 26 years ago?
QUOTE: n the 26 years since, on thousands of occasions, the New York Police Department has continued to enforce the defunct law [which made hitting on people in a public place a crime], historically used to target gay people.
Slate Oct 12, 2009 A Question of When Dishonesty Becomes Criminal (Sidebar)
QUOTE: Critics of the honest services law say it has two essential flaws. It allows federal prosecutors vast discretion “to go after people they don’t like or people they disagree with politically,” said Julie Rose O’Sullivan... The second problem, said George D. Brown... is that prosecutions of state officials under the federal law may violate fundamental principles of federalism.
Sep 28, 2009 Supreme Court to consider juvenile 'lifers:' Does life without parole for minors who didn't kill constitute cruel and unusual punishment?
QUOTE: At issue [in a future Supreme Court case] is whether it is cruel and unusual punishment to imprison a minor until he or she dies when the crime does not involve murder.
Los Angeles Times Sep 21, 2009 Bald eagle case raises issue of religious liberty: Charged with killing a bald eagle, a Native American faces a 'losing battle' against a law that he says limits practice of his religion.
QUOTE: Once endangered, the bald eagle has rebounded in recent decades but remains under the protection of the federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. The law provides an exception for Native Americans who want eagles for ceremonies... But many tribes eschew both options, saying the former can take years and yield unsuitable specimens.
Los Angeles Times Sep 19, 2009 Is a second execution attempt cruel and unusual?
QUOTE: The aborted execution [of Romell Broom in Ohio] has renewed concerns about lethal injection, and raises the question of whether a second execution attempt would violate the 8th Amendment prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment.
Los Angeles Times Sep 19, 2009 Cybersecurity Plan Doesn't Breach Employee Privacy, Administration Says
QUOTE: The Obama administration has agreed with its predecessor that a special surveillance program to monitor federal Internet traffic for malicious intrusions does not violate the privacy rights of government employees or others they communicate with.
Washington Post Sep 17, 2009 Expand the House? (On Politics)
QUOTE: because each state gets at least one seat... and because the overall size of the House has not changed in a century, the number of people represented by a single congressman can vary widely.
New York Times Sep 15, 2009 Do You Have the Right to Flip Off a Cop?
QUOTE: "The law is clear that people have the constitutional right to use profanity, especially when it comes to government officials, because that is a form of political speech," [ACLU legal director Witold] Walczak says. "But despite that, we have police officers regularly misapplying the law to punish people who offend them — that's really what it comes down to."
Time Magazine Sep 13, 2009 In Iraq's prisons, a culture of abuse
QUOTE: ...Iraq's national detention system as a whole has been harshly criticized by Western human rights organizations.
Christian Science Monitor Sep 12, 2009 A Legal Battle: Online Attitude vs. Rules of the Bar
QUOTE: And with thousands of blogs and so many lawyers online, legal ethics experts say that collisions between the freewheeling ways of the Internet and the tight boundaries of legal discourse are inevitable...
New York Times Sep 12, 2009 In Africa, Courts Shape Views on AIDS: Rulings Hold Power To Ease or Deepen Stigma of Disease
QUOTE: As African countries still struggle to control the deadly AIDS epidemic, they are also grappling with debates over what rights and duties to give those living with the disease...
Washington Post Sep 06, 2009 Administration Seeks to Keep Terror Watch-List Data Secret
QUOTE: The Obama administration wants to maintain the secrecy of terrorist watch-list information it routinely shares with federal, state and local agencies, a move that rights groups say would make it difficult for people who have been improperly included on such lists to challenge the government.
Washington Post Sep 04, 2009 Expelled student sues over "unreasonable" cell phone search
QUOTE: The organization [American Civil Liberties Union] has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Mississippi middle-school honor student, alleging that a 2008 cell phone search and the sixth-grader's subsequent expulsion were not only unnecessary, but also unconstitutional.
Ars Technica Sep 02, 2009 $32M Louis Vuitton judgment shows limits of ISP safe harbors
QUOTE: The luxury goods maker [Louis Vuitton] won $32 million from two ISPs and the man who ran them after proving to a jury that the ISPs had full knowledge that they hosted mainly websites for counterfeit goods—and refused to take action.
Ars Technica Sep 02, 2009 Dugard case: Is California's parole system overstretched?
QUOTE: criminal justice experts say the arrest of Phillip Garrido, a registered sex offender who was under GPS monitoring, for Ms. Dugard's 1991 abduction is just one example of why the state's [California's] parole system needs to be overhauled.
Christian Science Monitor Sep 01, 2009 Post-Katrina 'vigilante' violence: rumor or fact? The US Attorney's Office and the FBI are looking into allegations of roaming 'people hunters' targeting blacks in the floods and chaos...
QUOTE: What actually happened [in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina] and who is culpable in these incidents is now the focus of probes by the US Attorney's Office and the FBI.
Christian Science Monitor Sep 01, 2009 Case Shows Limits of Sex Offender Alert Programs
QUOTE: the case of Phillip Garrido, the California man accused of kidnapping a young girl and holding her captive for 18 years, is reigniting a debate about the usefulness of the government-managed lists and whether they might create a false sense of public safety.
New York Times Aug 31, 2009 Shrinking Newsrooms Wage Fewer Battles for Public Access to Courtrooms (Sidebar)
QUOTE: You don’t see newspapers fighting to open court proceedings the way they used to, and people are starting to notice.
New York Times Aug 28, 2009 New DHS laptop search policy: crap sandwich, fancier bread
QUOTE: So, DHS [Department of Homeland Security] gets it: our laptops allow us to carry our lives around with us, and losing them... raises legitimate fears of exposing irrelevant personal information. Just because they get it, however, doesn't mean that they're going to act upon that knowledge in any significant manner.
Ars Technica Aug 28, 2009 Bill would give president emergency control of Internet
QUOTE: Internet companies and civil liberties groups were alarmed this spring when a U.S. Senate bill proposed handing the White House the power to disconnect private-sector computers from the Internet.
CNET Aug 27, 2009 Mayhem Crosses the Border With Informers: U.S. Agents Recruiting Mexican Drug Figures
QUOTE: in order to fight the drug traffickers, federal anti-narcotics agents have brought Mexican cartel members north of the border, to use them to gather intelligence and build cases. That has also led to friction between U.S. law enforcement agencies.
Washington Post Aug 25, 2009 Hawaii to Remove Inmates Over Abuse Charges
QUOTE: Hawaii prison officials said Tuesday that all of the state’s 168 female inmates at a privately run Kentucky prison will be removed by the end of September because of charges of sexual abuse by guards.
New York Times Aug 25, 2009 Threat Level Privacy, Crime and Security Online Federal Courts Wary of Document-Sharing Plugin
QUOTE: The federal court system doesn’t seem to like Harlan Yu, or his fellow merry pranksters, who made a tool to free court documents from an unwieldy computer system that has a nasty habit of charging 8 cents a page for public documents.
Wired Aug 25, 2009 In a flu pandemic, what can the government do to you? A report by the Centers for Disease Control, released Tuesday, raises concern about Washington’s potential response to the H1N1 virus.
QUOTE: Since 9/11, pandemic planning has taken a more authoritarian tone that harks back to the pre-vaccine days of forced quarantines during outbreaks, according to an American Civil Liberties Union report...
Christian Science Monitor Aug 25, 2009 Our laws condone torture: Investigations into torture can only do so much. The U.S. needs laws that more clearly forbid brutality
QUOTE: It is the ambiguity of U.S. law on these matters that allowed John Yoo to offer those bizarre opinions, as White House counsel, as to what interrogators could do. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is toothless and largely ineffectual except as a vague set of ideals. It needn't be that way.
Salon Aug 25, 2009 ISPs, rights groups react to gov't P2P proposals (Intellectual property Toolkit)
QUOTE: The [United Kingdom] Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) proposed on Tuesday that disconnection should be considered in the case of those who persistently share copyrighted material online.
Aug 25, 2009 Personal spy gear: Is it ethical? Is it legal? You can now hide a GPS unit in your family car and find out where everybody went. But should you?
QUOTE: while it's easy to find and buy surveillance devices, is it legal and/or ethical to use them?
Computerworld Aug 24, 2009 Holder to Appoint Prosecutor to Investigate CIA Terror Interrogations
QUOTE: Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has decided to appoint a prosecutor to examine nearly a dozen cases in which CIA interrogators and contractors may have violated anti-torture laws and other statutes when they allegedly threatened terrorism suspects...
Washington Post Aug 24, 2009 Are aging ships still a toxic export? Environmental groups worry that the practice of reflagging US commercial ships that may have PCBs so they can be scrapped abroad is beginning again.
QUOTE: By first selling a US vessel [unable to be scrapped as a U.S. ship due to PCB contamination] to a new foreign owner... the former US ship now a foreign ship can then be scrapped abroad quite legally.
Christian Science Monitor Aug 22, 2009 Reports Revive Debate on Contractor Use: Lawmakers, Critics Warn That Military, CIA May Rely Too Much on Private Firms
QUOTE: The disclosure that the CIA once hired Blackwater USA for elements of an assassination program has brought back into focus the wide range of intelligence and military activities that are being contracted out to private firms.
Washington Post Aug 21, 2009 Detainees Said to Be Shown Photos of C.I.A. Agents
QUOTE: he Justice Department is investigating whether three military defense lawyers for detainees at the Guantánamo prison illegally showed their clients photographs of C.I.A. interrogators...
New York Times Aug 20, 2009 The unkindest cuts: Economics focus
QUOTE: Monopoly explanations now compete with theories that see the same behaviour [Discounting] as helpful to consumers. That has made it harder to sort malign from benign business practices.
Economist Aug 20, 2009 A very British coup: The Turks and Caicos loses independence
QUOTE: THE self-rule that the Turks and Caicos islands have enjoyed for 33 years was taken away on August 14th, when Britain removed their elected premier, cabinet and assembly, and suspended most of their constitution.
Economist Aug 20, 2009 Hugo Chávez seeks to catch them young: Venezuela's education “reforms”
QUOTE: the focus of the Venezuelan leader’s [Hugo Chávez] reforms [for education] is on ensuring the intrusion of politics at every level. Mariano Herrera, an educationalist, predicts that the result will be greater inequality, not less
Economist Aug 20, 2009 Tom Ridge kisses and tells on Bush’s ‘terror levels’ (The Vote Blog)
QUOTE: [former head of the Department of Homeland Security Tom Ridge] says two top Bush officials – Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Attorney General John Ashcroft – pressured him to up the terror alert level before the 2004 election...
Christian Science Monitor Aug 19, 2009 Writing style fingerprint tool easily fooled
QUOTE: Historians, literary detectives and even courts of law rely on methods that identify the author of a text by their writing style. But a new study suggests that some of these so-called stylometry techniques are easily fooled...
New Scientist Aug 18, 2009 CSI Fraud: researchers craft fake DNA evidence
QUOTE: some researchers have now looked into whether it's possible to fake a valid DNA sample, and they have come up with a disturbing answer: just about any molecular biology lab has the tools to do so.
Ars Technica Aug 18, 2009 Obama lawyers offer reluctant defense of gay marriage ban
QUOTE: "This administration does not support DOMA [law banning federal recognition of same-sex marriage] as a matter of policy, believes that it is discriminatory and supports its repeal," Assistant Atty. Gen. Tony West wrote... "Consistent with the rule of law, however, the Department of Justice has long followed the practice of defending federal statutes as long as reasonable arguments can be made in support of their constitutionality."
Los Angeles Times Aug 18, 2009 Mexico Drug Fight Fuels Complaints
QUOTE: Mexico’s fight against drug traffickers generated a sixfold increase in human rights complaints against the Mexican military between 2006 and 2008, and it is unclear that any of those complaints resulted in prosecutions, according to a State Department report on the effort.
New York Times Aug 18, 2009 Court offers guidelines on when to unmask anonymous posters
QUOTE: when do accusations of wrongdoing justify the removal of anonymity from the sources of anonymous statements made via the Internet.
Ars Technica Aug 16, 2009 A bold gambit to reduce demand for child porn: Federal prosecutors and a New York lawyer are persuading courts to order anyone caught with illicit images to pay financial restitution to child victims.
QUOTE: Federal prosecutors are embracing an aggressive approach to fight the spread of child pornography on the Internet, urging judges across the country to order full restitution to identified child victims in cases where the defendant possessed the images but played no role in their creation.
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