6,890,000 pageviews

Monday, March 31, 2014

Sore Losers at the University of Arizona

     Tucson police officers said Saturday night, March 29, 2014, that they shot pepper spray at several hundred fans who took to the streets and threw beer bottles and firecrackers at officers after the University of Arizona's basketball team's overtime loss in the NCAA tournament. There were no reports of injuries to fans or officers, but 15 people were arrested for offenses such as resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and unlawful assembly….Of those arrested, 14 were released, and one was sent to the Pima County Jail….

     Tucson police sergeant Pete Dugan said crowds leaving bars and restaurants near campus after the game filled University Boulevard and wouldn't leave despite urging through a public address system and social media declaring it an unlawful assembly.

     Police brought in cruisers and a unit of officers with batons, helmets and face masks to block the street when people started tossing beer bottles, cans, and firecrackers, hitting police vehicles and endangering officers. Officers fired pepper spray, pepper canisters and pepper balls, which disperse into the air….

"Police Fire Pepper Spray at Fans Upset With Arizona Loss," ABC News, March 30, 2014

Another Secret Service Drinking Scandal

     Three Secret Service agents in President Obama's detail were sent home from the Netherlands after reportedly spending a night out drinking in Amsterdam ahead of the president's arrival Monday, March 24, 2014. Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan told Fox News that the agents had been sent home "for disciplinary reasons" and had been placed on administrated leave pending an investigation.

     The Washington Post reported that the three agents, all members of the Secret Service Agency's Counter Assault Team (CAT) went out in the Dutch capital Saturday night. Staff at their hotel alerted the U.S. Embassy after finding one of the agents passed out in a hallway Sunday morning. According to regulations recently adopted by the Secret Service, agents on official trips are prohibited from drinking alcohol 10 or fewer hours before being on duty….

     The incident is the latest incident of bad behavior among members of the elite agency. Most notoriously, 10 agents were removed from their jobs after agents and officers engaged in heavy drinking and brought prostitutes back to their hotel rooms while in Cartagena, Columbia for an economic summit in April 2012. Mark Sullivan, then the director of the agency apologized for the conduct of his employees and stepped down months later. Obama then appointed Julie Pierson to be the first female director of the agency….

"Secret Service Agents Sent Home From Netherlands," Fox News, March 26, 2014 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Catching Corrupt Politicians: A Never Ending Job

     The fact that so many politicians are crooked begs the question: are people drawn to public office crooks at heart, or are they simply naive narcissists who, once in office, realize they're members of what the humorist P. J. O'Rouke called the "parliament of whores?" If these civic do-gooders didn't know going in how corrupt a profession they had entered, they learn early on how easy it is to get rich on taxpayer money, lobbyists eager to pay for their votes, influence peddling, and inside information. And the corruption isn't limited to state and local politicians, it flourishes on the federal level. The money these people steal from us every year is in the billions.

     One could define government generally as organized crime. (It's also orchestrated stupidity.) That's why there is so much governmental secrecy and official lying. Politicians who claim they are "transparent" in their official dealings are lying through their teeth. And anyone who believes that our government is transparent is stupid. Nothing can get a politician in trouble quicker than telling the truth. If you aren't an accomplished liar, that is, if you can't tell an obvious lie with a straight face, politics is not for you.

     It's no surprise that a vast majority of Americans have an extremely low opinion of politicians in all levels of government. Dishonest used car salesmen, ambulance-chasing lawyers, and even journalists are held in higher esteem. The only people reviled more than politicians are pedophiles, rapists, and sadistic serial killers. (I think.)

Four State Legislators From Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

     In 2010, undercover investigators out of the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office began offering bribes to Democrat and Republican members of the State House of Representatives. In the course of that sting operation, investigators amassed 400 hours of audio and videotape recordings depicting four representatives accepting bribes from a lobbyist who secretly recorded the transactions. Each of the bribe takers, on numerous occasions, allegedly had his or her hand out for cash, money orders, and in one case, a Tiffany bracelet.

     Charged with taking bribes to vote against a Pennsylvania law that would require voters to possess photographic identification, were Ronald G. Waters ($7,650), Vanesa Brown ($4,000), Michelle Brownlee ($3,500), and Louise Bishop ($1,500). All of the suspects are black Democratic representatives from Philadelphia. Investigators had also offered bribes to Republicans but there were no takers. (One could hope they refused the illicit offers because they are honest. I suspect they refused because they smelled a rat. Am I cynical? Yes.)

     In the fall of 2013, the new Democratic Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane closed the public corruption case and announced there will be no prosecutions stemming from the three-year sting operation. In justifying her decision not to pursue the four Philadelphia Democrats, Kane said the operation had been poorly managed and that investigators didn't utilize traditional police techniques. She also accused her predecessor, Tom Corbett (now governor), of racial targeting.

     A watchdog group has called for an independent counsel probe of Attorney General Kane's motives for dismissing the corruption cases. One shouldn't be surprised if her decision was political. Her critics believe that if the representatives had been four white men from Philadelphia, the case would have gone forward. Justice is not always blind, especially when politicians are involved.

A California State Senator From San Francisco

     Leland Yee emigrated to the Untied States from China when he was three. He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley then earned a Masters Degree from San Francisco State University. In November 2006 he was elected to the California Senate.

     As a state senator, Yee allegedly did business with Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow, a former Chinatown gangster who operated out of the Gee King Tong Free Masons in the city's Chinatown. On March 26, 2014, FBI agents arrested Senator Yee and Raymond Chow for illegal gun trafficking and wire fraud. As a Democratic senator, Yee has been a strong proponent of gun control. (Hypocrisy is the lifeblood of politics.) Senator Yee also faces federal charges of accepting inappropriate campaign contributions, influence peddling, and money laundering. A few days after his arrest Senator Yee dropped out of his bid for the job of state secretary.

     Yee's arrest made him the third Democratic California State Senator to be arrested for corruption by the FBI in 2014. The three earlier FBI sting operations involved taking cash bribes and other perks in exchange for supporting or opposing various legislation.

The Mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina

     Patrick D. Cannon, a radio host and owner of a parking management company, was elected to the Charlotte city council in 1993. In August 2010, the FBI began a sting operation involving undercover agents posing as real estate developers with plenty of money to hand out in return for favorable treatment from the leaders of the state's largest city.

     In November 2013, the voters of Charlotte elected Patrick Cannon to the office of mayor. He had been on the job just a few months when on March 26, 2014, FBI agents arrested the 47-year-old Democrat on charges of extortion and bribe taking. The mayor stood accused of accepting, in the form of bribes, $48,000 in cash, a junket to Las Vegas, and the use of a luxury apartment. The day after his arrest, Cannon resigned from the mayor's office.

     While dishonest Democrats are currently in the news, Republican politicians have not escaped charges of political corruption. So, how do you like your crooks, Republican or Democrat? I like them behind bars. But for every one they put away, ten people just like them fight to take their place in the parliament of whores.    


Hellementary Education Quote: When Grade School Failed to Protect His Son, Father Filed Protection Order Against Bully

     ….A father in California filed a restraining order against a 9-year-old for bullying his child. Stephen Feuder said it was his last resort. He went to court to protect his son. Feuder said he complained about the bullying to the school district near Sacramento, but the district didn't respond. Feuder says the boy ran up to his son and punched him in the face.

     The local sheriff's department says it's never heard of a restraining order against a person so young as nine, but a spokesman said "I guess as a parent, you have to do what you have to do."

     By law, the restraining order must be delivered to the person within five days, but the school district won't tell Feuder where the bully lives. Now Feuder says he's going to try to get a judge to force the school to give him that information.

Craig Thomas, "Father Files Restraining Order Against 9-Year-Old For Bullying His Son," Tucson News Now, March 24, 2014. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Jim Fisher's Upcoming Talk About His New Book, "The Mammoth Book of Murder"

     For true crime buffs, armchair detectives and aspiring murderologists in western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio, Jim Fisher, true crime writer and publisher of this blog, will be discussing his new book at Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania.

     The March 31, 2014 presentation will be held at 6 PM in the McKelvey Building's Witherspoon room. There is no charge, but please leave your guns and knives at the door. (Just kidding.)

     The Mammoth Book of Murder: True Stories of Violent Death is comprised of 200 murder case accounts arranged according to the many ways different people find to commit criminal homicide. It features criminal investigation, criminology, forensic science, and plenty of courtroom drama. There are chapters on murder-for-hire, serial killers, arson-murder, convictions based solely on circumstantial evidence, murders solved through forensic science, cases involving junk science, historic cases, drug-addled and insane murderers, and cases reflecting the current murder-sucide epidemic in the U.S.

     The Mammoth Book of Murder is not for the faint of heart or people who don't like the sight of blood. During the presentation on March 31 an ambulance will be standing by outside the venue. (Just kidding.) There will be time left for questions and comments.

     All of Jim's books are available on Amazon.com and other online book selling sites.

Hellementary Education Quote: Boys Will Be Boys and Girls Will Be Girls at Christian Elementary School

     A family says their eight-year-old granddaughter has been pressured to leave her Christian elementary school in Lynchburg, Virginia for being a tomboy. Sunnie Kahle's grandparents, Doris and Carroll Thompson, received a letter from Timberlake Christian School after they had an issued with the eight-year-old's "biblical lifestyle."

     "We believe that unless Sunnie and her family clearly understand that God has made her female and her dress and behavior need to follow suit with her God-ordained identity, that TCS is not the best place for her future education," principal Becky Bowman wrote in the March 14 letter to Thompson.

     Doris and Carroll Thompson are furious with the school's assertions against their granddaughter…."Sunnie realizes she's a female, but she wants to wear jeans and a t-shirt. She didn't want to wear her frilling dresses anymore," said Doris. Kahle.  Her appearance led to students asking if she was a girl or a boy. This was eventually noticed by the administrator at Timberlake Christian School.

     Although Sunnie is a good student, a school administrator says the situation is causing a classroom disruption. The school claims they just want Sunnie's family to follow guidelines and understand Sunnie is a girl and dress her appropriately….[Sunnie now attends a pubic school.]

"Family Says Girl Was Kicked Out of School For Tomboy Appearance," MyFox News, March 25, 2014 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: No One Charged in Deadly Baseball Brawl

     San Francisco prosecutors have declined to file charges in a stabbing case stemming from the Giants-Dodgers rivalry that resulted in the death of a 24-year-old Dodgers fan near AT&T Park in 2013. District Attorney George Gascon said on March 21, 2014 that his office could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Michael Montgomery, 21, of Lodi, California, did not act in self-defense when he stabbed Fort Bragg, California resident Jonathan Denver in a brawl on September 25, 2013.

     Authorities say subsequent interviews with witnesses and fight participants conducted over the past six months revealed that Denver and his brother had teamed up against Montgomery before he used the knife to defend himself. Denver had left a Giants-Dodgers game that night with his father and brother in the eighth inning to go to a bar. They encountered Montgomery and his friends in front of a liquor store…around 11:30 PM. One of Montgomery's friends was wearing a Giants cap.

     The two groups argued about the Giants-Dodgers rivalry, and the squabbling escalated into a brawl. Authorities say both groups were intoxicated: Denver's group on alcohol and Montgomery's group on marijuana.

     Montgomery was booked into the county jail on suspicion of homicide, but he was released two days later when prosecutors concluded there was not enough evidence to file charges….The two brothers collectively weighted about 150 pounds more than Montgomery and they double-teamed him….Witnesses told investigators that Montgomery had a bottle in his hand for self-defense when Denver's brother grabbed an aluminum chair…and hit Montgomery in the head with it. Montgomery dropped the bottle and stabbed Denver who had been punching him during the assault….

Vivian Ho, "No Charges in Fatal Stabbing Fueled by Giants-Dodgers Rivalry," San Francisco Chronicle, March 21, 2014 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Prostitutes and Cops: Freebies Are Legal in Hawaii

     You don't have to be a hardcore libertarian to question the wisdom of arresting and prosecuting adult prostitutes. Aside from cases involving the trafficking of underage sex slaves, this form of crime fighting is a waste of limited law enforcement manpower. Moreover, this type of vice control fosters police corruption and unprofessional behavior.

     The criminalization of prostitution has affected law enforcement more than it has altered the oldest profession in the world. A recent study conducted by a professor at the University of Chicago and a professor from Columbia University revealed that a prostitute is taken into custody once every 450 tricks, and only one in ten of these arrests leads to more than a few days in jail. That doesn't mean, however, that police officers aren't bothering whores. One in every 30 tricks a prostitute performs is a freebie with a cop as payment for not being arrested. According to this study, a prostitute is much more likely to have sex with an on-duty police officer than to be arrested by one. The law enforcement freebie is simply a cost prostitutes pay to stay out of jail.

     A former Massachusetts police officer pleaded guilty in 2013 to extorting sex from prostitutes he threatened to arrest. In August of that year, a passerby called 911 in Portland, Oregon when she saw a 50-year-old detective having sex with a prostitute in a vacant lot. The authorities threw the prostitute into jail but merely cited the detective for the minor offenses of patronizing a prostitute and indecent exposure. The cop was suspended without pay.

     In West Sacramento, California, an officer was convicted of raping prostitutes in his police car. All over the country hookers who refuse to cooperate are raped by cops. A vast majority of these crimes go unreported. This is another price prostitutes pay for selling themselves for sex. While it's a rough business, there has never been a shortage of hookers. It's a matter of supply and demand, pure capitalism. Cops demand their cut which is often in the form of free sex.

     In Hawaii, vice cops are allowed by law to have sex with prostitutes in order to make their cases. This incredibly stupid law was intended to solve the so-called "cop check" problem involving hookers who employ tactics to identify undercover cops to avoid arrest. Apparently in Honolulu vice cops are too stupid or lazy to pull off prostitution stings without going all the way. Vice cops in every other state have managed to get the job done without dropping their pants.

     Recently a bill that would nullify the legal exemption that allows cops to commit what for civilians is a crime, passed the state's House of Representatives. The measure is being argued in the Senate.

     Under Hawaii's vice law exemption, cops not only get free sex, they get it under the banner of crime fighting. It's amazing what these crime fighting warriors are willing to sacrifice on our behalf.

     The Hawaiian vice exemption encourages police behavior that in every other state is considered unprofessional and illegal. Moreover, it couldn't be good for marriage and other domestic relationships. Johnny, what does your dad do for a living? He arrests whores he has had sex with. Are they hiring down at the Honolulu PD?

     The existence of taxpayer paid sex for Hawaiian vice cops is yet another reminder that you can never underestimate the stupidity of some legislators and police administrators.

Criminal Justice Quote: The Houston Church Caper

     Thousands of dollars in cash and checks--along with written credit card information--were stolen from Houston's Lakewood Church on Sunday, March 9, 2014….The total amount was somewhere around $600,000….[Whoa--forget bank robbery, hit big churches.]

     Someone broke into the church's safe Sunday evening, taking cash, checks and envelopes containing written credit card information….A church employee made the discovery Monday morning. Lakewood, which is led by Pastor Joel Osteen, encouraged those who made contributions to the church on March 8 and 9 to monitor their bank and credit card accounts closely for fraudulent charges….[The stolen funds were fully insured.]…

Craig Hlavaty, "Church Tithes Stolen From Lakewood, Fox News, March 11, 2014 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: Man Accused of Mailing Bomb to Sheriff Joe Arpaio

     Federal agents have arrested an Oklahoma man accused of mailing a package bomb last year addressed to Joe Arpaio, the controversial Arizona [Maricopa County] lawman who calls himself "America's toughest sheriff."…

     Gregory Lynn Shrader, 55, is suspected of dropping off the parcel, filled with gunpowder and other materials at a U.S. Postal Service mailbox in Flagstaff, Arizona, but the package was intercepted by state authorities before it reached Arpaio….The device was rendered harmless by the police.

     Shrader was arrested in March 2014 and is being held without bond at the Tulsa County Jail, where he is awaiting release to the custody of U.S. marshals….He was charged in a criminal complaint with one count of willfully making a threat through the U.S. mail. Arpaio has drawn criticism for his aggressive stance on illegal immigration. He was the subject of a U.S. Justice Department probe over his office's treatment of HIspanics and has been scrutinized for housing county inmates in a Spartan "Tent City" jail. He has also been the subject of multiple threats of violence….

Laila Kearney, "Man Charged With Mailing Package Bomb to 'Americans Toughest Sheriff'," Associated Press, March 12, 2014 

Criminal Justice Quote: School Cop Breaks Student's Arm

     A public school police officer was suspended after chilling video footage caught him breaking a high school student's arm. Steve Rivers, an officer with the Beaumont Independent School District in Beaumont, Texas, was attempting to break up a fight between two students. Another officer wrestled the student to the ground and he was pinned when Rivers attempted to handcuff him….

     Rivers snapped the student's arm forward. It can clearly be heard to break during the video which was filmed by a bystander with a cell phone. The student began screaming almost immediately but the officers continued to push his head against the pavement. After a parent complained Rivers was placed on unpaid leave pending the results of an investigation….

Robby Soave, "This Video of Cop Snapping a Kid's Arm Will Make You Scream," The Daily Caller, March 18, 2014 

Johnny Cash's Great Niece Murdered

     Meth could have played a role in the stabbing death of Johnny Cash's great niece….Courtney Cash, 23, was found dead Wednesday, March 19, 2014, inside a wooden chest in her Baxter, Tennessee home. Putnam County deputies arrested Wayne Masciarella soon afterward and charged him with first-degree murder. Masciarella is also suspected of stabbing Cash's boyfriend William Austin Johnson. Masciarella had gotten into a fight with Johnson and Cash at their home before stabbing them and fleeing.

     The three are believed to be friends….Witnesses had seen them together hours before the stabbing. After the attack, Johnson drove himself to a hospital in Sparta along with his and Cash's 20-month-old daughter. The child was not injured.

     Masciarella was booked without bond into the Putnam County Jail….He has been previously arrested 20 times in Putnam County. Courtney Cash was the granddaughter of Tommy Cash, the brother of Johnny Cash….

Adam Tamburin, "Murder of Johnny Cash's Relative Could Be Tied to Meth," The Tennessean, March 21, 2014 

Criminal Justice Quote: The Pope Versus the Mafia: My Money Is On The Mafia

     Pope Francis has launched a stinging attack on the mafia, warning gangsters that they will go to hell unless they repent and stop doing evil. "Blood-stained money, blood-stained power, you can't bring it with you to your next life. Repent," he said.

     The Pope was speaking in March 2014 at a prayer vigil for relatives of those killed by the mafia. He has spoken out frequently about the evils of corruption and wrote a booklet on the subject in 2005 when he was archbishop of Buenos Ares….

     "This life that you live now won't give you pleasure. It won't give you joy or happiness," he said. "There's still time to not end up in hell, which is what awaits you if you continue on this path."…[Preaching God to degenerate sociopaths is like trying to shame politicians for their dishonesty.]

"Pope Francis Denounces 'Evil, Blood-Stained' Mafia," BBC News, March 21, 2014 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: No Free Lunch for Roche Harris

     A Georgia man who is accused of impersonating a police officer in order to get a free continental breakfast from a Dunwoody hotel has been arrested. On March 16, 2014 Roche Harris was charged with impersonation of a police officer, simple battery, theft by taking, and loitering and prowling.

     In December 2013, Harris went to the Straybridge Hotel and attempted to eat the continental breakfast even though he was not a guest at the establishment. When he was confronted by staff, Harris allegedly threw hot water in the manager's face.

     In February 2014, Harris returned to the hotel and displayed a badge in an attempt to pass himself off as a law enforcement officer in order to get free food….Harris returned to the hotel on March 16 and began taking food again. Employees called 911 after recognizing the 36-year-old….

Evan Bleier, " Police Arrest Man For Impersonating Officer in Order to Get Free Continental Breakfast," Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 20, 2014 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: Armed With a Tattooed Handgun

     Police armed with assault rifles descended on a Maine man's home after members of a tree removal crew... reported that he had a gun. Turns out the "gun" the tree crew had seen on Michael Smith of Norridgewock was just a life-sized tattoo of a handgun on his stomach.

     Smith, who works nights, was asleep when the tree crew contracted by a utility company to trim branches near power lines, woke him up at 10 AM Thursday, March 19, 2014. He went outside shirtless and yelled at the workers to leave. When he's not wearing a shirt, the tattoo looks like a gun tucked into his waistband….Police didn't charge him.

"Gun Tattoo in Maine Prompts Heavy Police Response," Fox News, March 19, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: An Accused Serial Killer's Whacky Defense

     A transgender woman recently accused of killing three prostitutes in Washington state nearly twenty-five years ago is blaming the crime on someone else--her pre-op self. DNA and fingerprint evidence links Donna Perry, who was born Douglas Perry, to the serial murders of Yolanda Sapp, Kathleen Brisbois and Nickie Lowe. The bodies of the three, who worked as prostitutes, were found on the banks of the Spokane River in 1990.

     Police also recovered a .22-caliber bullet casing in the vehicle Perry was driving at the time of the murders….But Donna Perry has told investigators that she is not to blame…."I'm not going to admit that I killed anybody, I didn't. Donna has killed nobody. Doug did."…

     Perry, who underwent sex reassignment surgery in Thailand in 2000, had told detectives back in 2012 that she underwent the operation "as a permanent way to control violence."…Perry is being held in the Spokane County Jail on $1 million bond. Jail records list Perry as a female, through under her birth name, Douglas R. Perry.

Chuck Ross, "Post-Op Transgender Woman Blames Serial Killings on Pre-OP Self," The Daily
Caller, March 19, 2014 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Whackademia Quote: Academia Versus Free Speech

     Perhaps nowhere are First Amendment values more imperiled than at the modern American college campus--the very place where free speech should be the most clearly cherished and vigorously upheld. So argues Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and author of Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate which was released in paperback [in March 2014]….

     "It's becoming quite easy to get in trouble for just questioning the administration, depending upon who your university president or administrators are," [Lukainoff said in a Daily Caller interview].

     Many people have the wrong impression about the state of discourse in academia, falsely believing that Supreme Court decisions settled the matter decades ago. While it is true that courts have consistently upheld college students' First Amendment rights, the rulings have not stopped enthusiastic censors at both private and public universities from criminalizing free speech.

     Sadly, society isn't paying enough attention. When Lukianoff tells people of the plight of the modern college campus, he often hears the opinion that the censorship is acceptable because it's well-intentioned--an idea that "just scares me to death," he said. According to Lukianoff, "A previous generation, if you told them you were going to get in trouble for your opinion on college campuses, the generation of the 60s and 70s, it was completely outrageous to them. You didn't have to explain why it was a big deal. Now when I go to campuses I hear a lot more from students saying, 'Well it's well-intentioned. It's not that big a deal.'"…

     College and university administrative bloat is partly to blame….The ranks of the bureaucratic class has grown exponentially at universities [and in society at large]. A report by the American Institute for Research found that on most college campuses the majority of workers are people who do not teach students. What are all these low and mid-level administrators doing instead? Many of them are censoring students….

Robby Soave, "'Unlearning Liberty' Author Interview: How College Administrators Murdered Free Speech," The Daily Caller, March 14, 2014 

Criminal Justice Quote: 1977 Ft. Leavenworth Escapee Caught

     James Robert Jones, who had escaped from a military prison in Kansas in 1977, has been found in Florida. He was convicted of murder 40 years ago. Authorities said that Jones was arrested in Pompano Beach when he arrived at work on Thursday, March 13, 2014. US. Marshals said that he has been using a Florida driver's license since 1981 and used the alias Bruce Walker Keith since 2005. He was living in Deerfield Beach.

     Jones reportedly told law enforcement officers that he expected his past to catch up with him eventually….He did not try to flee when arrested.

     Jones, a former Army private, was convicted of killing another Army private in 1974 at Ft. Dix, New Jersey. He was sentenced to 23 years in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas at the maximum security prison. The marshals service was brought in by the Army in January to help on the case. They used facial recognition technology to find that Jones was living in Florida….

Daniel S. Levine, "Military Prison Fugitive On The Run Since 1977 Found in Florida," Associated Press, March 14, 2014 

Criminal Justice Quote: Man Killed in Argument Over Movie

     A Texas man who argued with two other movie goers on March 16, 2014 about the ending of a film was struck outside the theater by a truck driven by his adversaries. He was killed….The men's discussion of the film grew more heated as the three left the theater and went to the parking lot after the late Sunday evening film. Two of the men then got into a pickup truck.

     The driver of the truck put the vehicle in reverse striking the victim and knocking him to the ground. The truck they sped away. The victim died at a Houston area hospital….The film…was "300: Rise of an Empire," a Greek-era film steeped in battle scenes….

"Texas Man Killed in Cinema Parking Lot After Argument About Movie," Reuters, March 17, 2014 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Hellementary Education Quote: "My Little Pony" Fan Bullied

     If you are a person who was alive in the 1980s or 1990s, you may remember a line of friendship-happy toy figurines called My Little Pony. You may also be surprised to learn that the toy line is still going strong today. On Thursday, March 13, 2014, officials at Candler Elementary School in Buncombe County, North Carolina allegedly told nine-year-old Grayson Bruce and his mother that the boy needed to leave his My Little Pony paraphernalia at home….

     The boy's mother, Noreen Bruce, said school officials asserted that the My Little Pony trappings are a "trigger for bullying" and had become too distracting to other students. More specifically, other kids have been picking on the boy with flurries of insults and physical assaults because the Hasbro-generated franchise is geared toward girls….

     While Grayson Bruce does admit that most of the characters on the show are female, he is a huge fan. He has My Little Pony backpack and at least two My Little Pony action figures. One appears to be Fluttershy, who represents the element of kindness. The other is Rainbow Dash, who keeps the skies blue and generally maintains the weather in Ponyville. The boy also has a My Little Pony lunchbox….

     For now, Grayson Bruce has stopped taking his My Little Pony stuff to school. This incident is far from the first time that school officials have stepped in to prevent a boy from carrying around things that are typically associated with girls. [What about girls carrying around GI Joes?]

Eric Owens, "Bullied Boy Forced to Stop Toting Around My Little Pony Merchandise at Grade School," The Daily Caller, March 15, 2014 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Hellementary Education Quote: Principal Mopped Up Floors with Kids

     ….School surveillance video…shows an elementary school principal dragging kindergarteners down school hallways on two separate occasions. The principal is Carmen Perez Dickson. At the time, she was the chief administrator at Tisdale School in Bridgeport, Connecticut. So, America, guess what happened to Dickson. Was she fired? Was she arrested? Is she rotting away in prison?

     Of course not. Don't be silly. Principal Dickson got suspended for all of six months. She is still employed. And when her suspension ends next month [March 2014], she will return to work in the Bridgeport Public Schools (though at least not as principal at Tisdale.)

     Both the kindergartener-dragging incidents occurred in the spring of 2012. The details which led to Dickson to drag the two separate kids down the hallways have not been disclosed. The mothers of the dragged children made the videos public….[At Tisdale Elementary, when they say a kid has to be dragged to class, they mean it.]

Eric Owens, "You Won't Believe the Lenient Punishment For This Kindergartener-Dragging Principal," The Daily Caller, February 22, 2014 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: Home Invaders Rape Pregnant Woman

     A nightmarish scenario played out in Madison, Wisconsin on February 13, 2014 when three burglars repeatedly raped a woman who was six months pregnant in a horrifying home invasion. The Wisconsin woman and her blind husband were awoken around 5 AM by three assailants who charged into their bedroom with weapons drawn. "Someone's gonna die tonight!" one of the robbers threatened as they entered the room. One of the attackers yanked the male victim from the bed and viciously beat him….The female victim pleaded that she was pregnant and told the robbers that they could take whatever they wanted.

     But another burglar dragged her from the bed and into the hallway, pointed a gun at her stomach and grunted, "You're going to die tonight." She then had to allegedly endure all three men raping her, with one forcing her to commit oral sex during the attack.

     The suspects stole electronics, credit cards and the couple's wedding rings while they stuffed the bloodied victims in the house laundry room before fleeing the scene….In addition to the three men who broke into the home, three were arrested for their roles in assisting in the crime. The six suspects charged are African Americans--five are male, and one is a female who helped plan the crime, but did not participate in the actual home invasion.

     Shockingly enough, the assailants are thought to have targeted the wrong house….They were planning on robbing a man carrying large sums of cash in the same neighborhood, but went to a different home instead….

Scott Greer, "Horror: Pregnant Woman Gang-Raped in Vicious Wisconsin Home Invasion," The Daily Caller, March 13, 2014 

Whackademia Quote: Are College Students Starving While Their Professors Live High on the Hog?

     The promise of the public university has long been that students could receive an affordable education, subsidized by the taxpayers. But with out of control tuition costs and mounting loan debt, students everywhere are now so poor that they resort to food shelters to keep from starving to death….

     Food banks affiliated with the College and University Food Bank Alliance have appeared on over 50 campuses, according to Nate Smith-Tyge, who directs the food bank at Michigan State University….

     Stony Brook University, a public university in New York, opened up a food bank to help hungry students supplement their meals. When the food bank opened up last September, it already had 50 students waiting in line. Tuition as Stony Brook is almost $20,000 per year. [As the president of the university and the school's professors are living like kings and queens, the students are starving.]….

     Other students rely on their attendance at university events where food is provided free of charge. For many, "free pizza night" at the inaugural events of certain student clubs saves a costly trip to the grocery store….

     Meanwhile, universities have driven up tuition to fund such luxuries as expensive sports stadiums, opulent dorms for rich out-of-state students and permanent professional bureaucracies. But if it's any consolation, at least now students can pick up a free can of soup or box of macaroni at their campus's local food bank.

Robby Soave, "Your Tax Dollars at Work: Tuition So High That Students Rely on Food Shelters, Charity," The Daily Caller, March 15, 2014


Monday, March 17, 2014

Malaysian Flight 370: The Ultimate Missing Persons Mystery

     The Malaysian Airlines Boing 777, an hour after takeoff from Kuala Lumpur after midnight on March 8, 2014, disappeared without a trace. The plane and the 239 people aboard are still missing. Searchers from 25 countries utilizing 43 ships and 58 aircraft have not turned up one piece of physical evidence in the case.

     Without a single eyewitness account, or physical evidence, no one knows if this mystery is a mass murder-suicide, tragic accident, or something worse in the realm of terrorism.

     Except for tidbits of electronic evidence regarding the plane's erratic flight path, the media has little to report on. This has led to wall-to-wall speculation. A week after the disappearance investigators are directing their attention to the flight crew, particularly the pilot, Fariq Abdul Hamid, 57 and his 27-year-old first mate, Zaharie Ahmad Shah.

      This line of inquiry, which should have been undertaken much earlier, suggests the authorities have not ruled out the possibility of a hijacking. This has led to speculation that the plane is sitting on some remote and abandoned airfield. If this is the case, it raises the question of whether or not the passengers are alive. If the hijackers are terrorists, probably not. If they are for ransom kidnappers, who knows?

     And if the plane is on the ground somewhere, what is step two of the plan?

     Even if the plane is eventually found on the bottom of the Indian Ocean, the case will generate, for generations, conspiracy theories that in number and imagination will surpass the speculation that currently surrounds the JFK assassination. When major crime narratives are riddled with gaps, conspiracy buffs fill in the blanks. Many of the dots they connect will have been created by them.

     This case will end up, regardless of the outcome of the investigation, as one of the greatest mysteries of modern time.


Criminal Justice Quote: Where is 2-Year-Old Myra Lewis?

     The FBI is offering a reward of up to $20,000 for information regarding the whereabouts of a missing Mississippi toddler who disappeared March 1, 2014. Authorities began looking for 2-year-old Myra Lewis after family members realized she was missing. She may have been gone from her rural Camden home for hours by that time. An Amber Alert was issued Sunday, March 2, 2014 and family members said they believed she was kidnapped. But Madison County Sheriff Randy Tucker said that authorities aren't sure.

     Tucker said he is still conducting the investigation with the belief the 2-year-old is alive….FBI Special Agent in Charge Daniel McMullen said the reward money might encourage someone who knows Myra's whereabouts to come forward….

     Sheriff Tucker told the Associated Press that the arrest of the girl's mother, 35-year-old Ericka Lewis on a probation violation was not connected to the disappearance. Tucker said she faced a warrant for a probation violation following a welfare fraud conviction. She also faced a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm…

"FBI Offeres Reward for Information on Missing Mississippi Toddler," Fox News, March 11, 2014 

Criminal Justice Quote: Teen Father Bites Infant's Nose

     A teen father in Northern California is under arrest after police say he bit the nose off his one-month-old son because he was frustrated with the infant's crying. Fairfield police say18-year-old Joshua Cooper was being held Friday, March 14, 2014 in the Solano County Jail on suspicion of child cruelty and aggravated mayhem.

     Police received a call the day before by a distraught woman who said her baby was bleeding from his nose. Doctors later determined the child suffered a skull fracture, a brain hemorrhage and that one third of the child's nose had been severed. The child is in stable condition at Oakland Children Hospital. Investigators are trying to determine how the skull fracture and the baby's brain hemorrhage occurred.

"Police: Teen Father Arrested in Northern California For Biting Nose Off 1-Month-Old Infant," Fox News, March 14, 2014 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: Charles Manson Follower Wants Out

     A California board once again approved parole on March 12, 2014 for former Charles Manson follower Bruce Davis, but before he's released he'll have to get past Governor Jerry Brown….Davis, 71, made his 28th appearance before a Department of Corrections Board of Parole Hearings at the California Men's Colony near San Luis Obispo.

      Davis has been in prison for nearly 43 years, sentenced with Manson and others for the 1969 murders of musician Gary Hinman and stuntman ranch hand Donald "Shorty" Shea. He has long maintained that he was a bystander in the killings, but in recent years he has acknowledged his shared responsibility. Davis was granted parole by the same board in 2012, but Governor Brown rejected it last March, saying he was convinced Davis still hadn't revealed all he knew about the Manson Family….

     And just three years before Brown's rejection, Davis got the same treatment from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who refused his release on parole in 2010. Wednesday's decision now triggers a 120-day review period for the board. The governor then has 30 days to approve, reverse, change or decline to review the decision….

"Ex-Manson Follower Gets Parole, But Hurdles Loom," Associated Press, March 12, 2014 

Criminal Justice Quote: The Sex Slave Trucker

     A Utah truck driver kept sex slaves in his semitrailer for months at a time while he traveled the country, filing down their teeth, forcing them to alter their appearance and beating them until they nearly passed out….Timothy Jay Vafeades, 54, made an initial appearance on March 12, 2014 in U.S. District Court in Fargo, North Dakota, and will be transferred to Utah for further proceedings.

     The charges against Vafeades include kidnapping, transportation for illegal sexual activity, and possession of child pornography, and could bring a life sentence if he is convicted….An arrest warrant filed on March 11, 2014 in Salt Lake City claims Vafeades kidnapped a 19-year-old female relative who had come from Florida in May 2013 to work with him on the truck, the "Twilight Express." After a week, the teen told Vafeades she wanted to go home, but she later informed authorities that he strangled her until she blacked out and used threats and violence to keep her with him for the next six months while they traveled to Washington state, Nevada, Texas, Tennessee and other places.

     Despite her pleas, Vafeades forced the teenager to have sex with him more than 100 times during their time together. He chipped down the girl's teeth and made her wear a fake set of teeth. He wore his own false teeth that featured vampire fangs….

     Vafeades was arrested at a Clay County Minnesota weight station on November 26, 2013 after officers noticed bruises on the teenager and turned up a 1999 restraining order barring Vafeades from contacting the girl. After his arrest, a second woman went to authorities to report she had been held captive in Vafeades' truck….

Michelle Rindels, "Utah Trucker Accused of Keeping Sex Slaves Arrested in Minnesota," Associated Press, March 13, 2014 

Criminal Justice Quote: Rapper Intended to Plow Into Festival Crowd in Austin, Texas

     Austin, Texas police said a rapper with a criminal history "intentionally" drove into a crowd Thursday morning, March 13, 2014 at the South by Southwest music festival, killing two people. Rashad Owens, 21, who police say was behind the wheel, faces charges of capital murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Police are awaiting on blood tests to determine his blood alcohol level….

     Owens, who was supposed to perform later that night, reportedly has a lengthy criminal history. It includes a 2010 arrest for criminal trespassing in Killeen, Texas, a 2011 conviction for DUI in Alaska and in 2012 he was arrested in Fairbanks for criminal mischief. The Honda Civic he was driving at the time of the deadly crash had been reported stolen out of Killeen….

     Austin police said officers tried to pull Owens over at a gas station near Interstate 35 for suspected drunken driving, but he drove off. He crashed through festival barricades and mowed down more than two dozen people….Police said Owens tried to make a run for it after hitting a taxi and a parked van. Officers stopped him with a stun gun.

"Driver in Deadly South by Southwest Crash  'Intentionally' Drove Car into Crowd," Fox News, March 14, 2014.


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Beverly Hills Officer Sues Department Over Whitney Houston Death Scene Incident

     On February 11, 2012, Whitney Houston and her entourage were in Beverly Hills, California. The 48-year-old pop singer was there to attend a pre-Grammy party thrown by her mentor, music producer Clive Davis.

     That afternoon Houston's personal assistant left the Beverly Hilton hotel room to pick up items from the Neiman Marcus store. When the assistant returned to the suite at 3:36 PM, she found Houston nude and face down in the bathtub. The assistant summoned Houston's bodyguard and the two of them pulled the unresponsive woman out of the water. A front desk hotel employee called 911.

     Officer Brian Weir, the supervisor of the Beverly Hills Police Department (BHPD) SWAT team, responded to the 911 call. Shortly after arriving at the scene he placed a sheet over the dead woman's body to protect the potential crime scene evidence from contamination. (In reality, the sheet itself contaminated the corpse. Pursuant to California law, police officers are not allowed to touch or in any way alter death site bodies.)

     The forensic pathologist with the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office determined that Whitney Houston had died of accidental drowning. Contributing factors to her death included cocaine use and heart disease.

     Backing up a bit, after officer Weir covered the corpse, Detective Sergeant Terry Nutall arrived at the hotel. What happened at the scene after the sergeant's arrival is in dispute.

     BHPD officer Brian Weir, shortly after Houston's death, filed a complaint with the department against Sergeant Terry Nutall. According to the complaint, Sergenat Nutall had pulled the sheet back from Houston's body and made comments about how good she looked for a woman her age. In so doing, officer Nutall not only acted inappropriately, he contaminated a potential murder scene.

     Following an internal departmental inquiry into the complaint, a high-ranking police official announced that Sergeant Nutall had not acted inappropriately at the Whitney Houston death scene. Sometime later, officer Weir was removed from his position as head of the BHPD SWAT team.

     In September 2013, Weir's attorney, Dmitry Gorin, filed a preliminary civil suit on the officer's behalf against the Beverly Hills Police Department. The former Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney told reporters that, "If proven, officer Nutall's actions were highly inappropriate and demonstrate very poor judgement by a senior BHPD officer. A law enforcement officer more interested in what a decedent's body looks like than securing a possible crime scene may taint the original placement of DNA and fiber evidence, causing investigators to miss data and draw incorrect conclusions." (As a potential murder scene, the site had already been compromised by the removal of the body from the bathtub and the placing of the sheet over the corpse.)

     On March 10, 2014, officer Terry Weir filed a formal lawsuit against the department. The legal action, filed on his behalf by attorney Christopher Brizzolara, seeks unspecified damages for the plaintiff's pain and suffering and loss of overtime and special unit pay. Officer Weir alleges that since reporting Sergeant Nutall (who has since been promoted to lieutenant), he has been harassed and ostracized for snitching on a fellow officer. 

Criminal Justice Quote: Sadistic Girls Torture Autistic Boy

     Two Maryland teenage girls were charged on March 20, 2014 with assaulting an autistic boy and recording him on their cell phones performing sex acts, including with some animals….Authorities in St. Mary County said the two girls, ages 17 and 15, admitted to police that they assaulted the boy, 16, with a knife on "multiple occasions."…

     A news release from the sheriff's department said the girls also kicked the boy in the groin and dragged him by the hair. They also got him to walk onto a partially frozen pond. When the boy fell through several times, they made him get out each time by himself….

     Prosecutors charged the 17-year-old, Lauren A. Bush, as an adult. The 15-year-old was charged as a juvenile. Police didn't release her name. Each was charged with two counts of first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault, child pornography and false imprisonment.

"Police: Teenage Girls Used Knife to Force Autistic Boy to Perform Sex Acts," Associated Press, March 13, 2014 

Mother Poisons Down Syndrome Son to Death

     A Louisiana woman has been charged with first-degree murder after police say she injected alcohol-based hand sanitizer into the feeding tube of her 17-month-old son who was afflicted with Down Syndrome. Erika Wigstrom, 20 was being held without bond on March 12, 2014. Police say she told them she wanted to end Lucas Ruiz's suffering….Lucas died on January 21, 2014.

     Plaquemines Parish Sheriff's Commander Eric Becnel said the child also had been poisoned with alcohol in October 2012 while hospitalized for treatment of a heart defect. The child's father, Cesar Ruiz, allegedly confessed in that instance, but Becnel said Wigstrom has now confessed to poisoning the child in both cases.

"Louisiana Mother Charged in Poisoning of Son With Down Syndrome," Associated Press, March 13, 2014 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Whackademia Quote: Colleges and Universities Are Pricing Themselves Out of Business

     ….Harvard University business professor Clayton Christensen…predicts that half of all universities will be bankrupt in 15 years….Colleges and universities haven't done themselves any favors by allowing costs to skyrocket. Between 1970 and 2010, U.S. median family income grew 22 percent….During the same period, the cost of a degree at a four-year school rose nearly 200 percent, and at private four-year schools, prices climbed almost 150 percent….

     Student loan debt topped $1 trillion in 2012, surpassing credit card indebtedness for the first time last year. If students were flashing their new degrees and walking into good jobs, that might not be so worrisome, but that's not the case….

Anne Michaud, "Selecting a College is Now a Matter of Dollars and Cents," Newsday, March 9, 2014 

Gabriel Martinez Arrested for Murder and Dismemberment of Hervey Mendellin

     Police have made an arrest in connection with the high-profile murder of a retired flight attendant whose dismembered body was found near the iconic Hollywood sign in 2012….Gabriel Campos Martinez, 38, was arrested on March 9, 2014 on suspicion of murdering 66-year-old Hervey Coronado Mendellin, a retired Mexicana Airlines employee….

     Mendellin's severed head was discovered in January 2012 by two women who were walking their dogs on a trail by the Hollywood sign…Additional body parts were found in close proximity to the head….

     Martinez is being held without bail in San Antonio, Texas, and awaiting extradition. He was described in an April 2012 affidavit as Mendellin's live-in boyfriend. Mendellin lived in an apartment complex south of Bronson Canyon Park, about five miles from the Hollywood sign…He was a retiree after working 25 years with Mexicana Airlines

Andrew Blankstein and Elisha Fieldstadt, "Suspect Arrested for Body Parts Found Near Hollywood Sign," NBC News, March 10, 2014 

Criminal Justice Quote: Bad Cops Hate to be Videotaped

     A Massachusetts man who recorded video footage of a profane cop was arrested and jailed, even though state law explicitly permits the recording of public officials. The video evidence was taken into police custody and mysteriously destroyed….

     George Thompson, a 51-year-old citizen of Fall River, Massachusetts, was sitting on his front porch when he noticed Officer Thomas Barboza sitting in a patrol car and having a heated, profane cell phone conversation. Thompson began recording the officer's call using his own cell phone. When Barboza noticed, he approached Thompson.

     Thompson freely admitted that he was filming Barboza--something that state law explicitly permits. But Barboza arrested him anyway….

     Police Chief Daniel Racine has launched an investigation to determine who deleted the footage, and said the guilty party will face justice. "If a Fall River police officer erased that video, he's fired and I would suspect the district attorney would take out charges," Racine said in a statement.

     Thompson had complained about Barboza before. The officer regularly parks on the street and conducts profane phone conversations within earshot of other people--something Thompson doesn't like. "I said to  him, 'Why don't you cool it with the language there?'" said Thompson. "He says, "Why don't you shut the [expletive] up and mind you own [expletive] business?"…

Robby Soave, "Cop Wrongfully Arrests Man For Recording Him, Jails Him, Destroys Video Evidence," The Daily Caller, March 11, 2014  

Criminal Justice Quote: Convicted Pedophile Jerry Sandusky's Wife Says He's Innocent

     Dottie Sandusky is the wife of the former assistant football coach at Penn State Jerry Sandusky who was convicted of sexual abuse against children. She insists her husband is innocent and did not do those horrible crimes that put him behind bars. Sandusky has been married to her husband for 47 years and spoke for the first time on the "Today Show." She said her husband was innocent and claimed that the victims had been manipulated. She said the case against her husband had been built on lies. She said the parties involved were influenced by money…..

     Jerry Sandusky, who is 70, is serving a sentence of 30 to 60 years for being convicted on 45 counts of sexual abuse of boys over a 15 year period. Mrs. Sandusky said she believed he showered with boys, but that was how her husband's generation grew up, using group showers and people coming and going all the time. [Give me a break.]

     In her interview on the "Today Show," Dottie responded harshly to a story in a national newspaper that said predators like Jerry Sandusky choose spouses that can be counted upon to suppress unpleasant ideas that might occur. She said she was not a spouse who was weak, referring to her nickname of Sarge, because her husband said she kept everyone on the straight and narrow. [Not everyone.]…

     Dottie said her husband spends 23 hours per day in his cell and can leave handcuffed for one hour daily. She calls her husband a happy person. He reads, writes and meditates and spends two hours each week in the prison's law library.

David Smith, "Sandusky's Wife Calls Him Innocent," DC Progressive, March 12, 2014  

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Up a Tree Without a Degree

     It's only Wednesday, but a freshman at Pacific University has almost certainly locked up this week's award for America's stupidest student already. The unidentified 18-year-old student managed to get herself stuck in a redwood tree near the library on the campus of the smallish private school in Forest Grove, Oregon….The incident happened on Tuesday, February 25, 2014. It's not clear when the student shimmied [shinnied?] up the tree or how long she had been stuck there. Campus security called the local fire department at 5 PM.

     The distressed student was stranded at a place in the tree about 20 feet off the ground….A fire crew arrived with a big 24-foot ladder. With their help, the adventurous student was able to descent from the tree unharmed….The leafy campus of Pacific University is located about 25 miles west of Portland….

Eric Owens, "Firefighters Dramatically Rescue College Freshmen Stuck in Tree," The Daily Caller, February 26, 2014 

Criminal Justice Quote: Bad Luck Burglars

Denver police have arrested four suspects accused of unwittingly trying to sell items they stole back to the burglary victim. Lacinda Robinson discovered the items missing at her home on February 7, 2014 and drove to the parking lot of a nearby fast-food restaurant to report the theft. That's where she says she was approached by two people asking if she wanted to buy a video game set. Robinson says she was startled when another person walked up wearing her jacket. She went next door to a gas station and found two off-duty police officers who made the arrests.

"Police: Thieves Tried to Sell Items Back to Victim, Reader's Digest, February 7, 2014 

Criminal Justice Quote: Teen Robber Killed by Off Duty Cop

The gunman shot and killed by an off-duty Cook County, Illinois sheriff's sergeant on February 10, 2014 during a gas station robbery attempt was 16-years-old Deonta Mackey. The sergeant fatally shot Mackey as he and two other males tried to rob him….The three males came up to the sergeant and demanded his wallet, and one of them pulled out a handgun and pointed the gun at the officer….As the sergeant handed over his wallet and other valuables he reached for his gun and shot the teen robber in the head….

Quinn Ford, "Teen Identified as Slain Gunman Who Tried to Rob Sergeant," DNAinfo Chicago, February 11, 2014 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Dressing Down West Virginia Teachers

     Teachers in West Virginia's largest school district don't want to be told they can't show up in jeans and flip-flops. In fact, they don't want to be told how to dress, period. The Kanawha County school district's board of education last week [March 3, 2014] introduced a proposed dress code, which also bars facial piercings, and immediately got a dressing down from the teachers union. It's not that the local teachers want to wear their weekend attire, they insist, it's that codifying it so strictly is insulting. [I guess these zero tolerant types don't like the taste of their own medicine.]…

     The code also mandates that hair and nails be clean and neatly groomed. And while blue jeans are explicitly prohibited, district employees can wear "dress jeans" with no visible tears or fraying….The school board tried in 2001 to pass a dress code, but the measure failed amid teacher opposition….

Joshua Rhett Miller, "West Virginia Teachers Union Battles Proposed Ban on Flip-Flops, Jeans and Facial Piercings," Fox News, March 11, 2014

Whackademia Quote: Two Students in Mississippi Suspended then Expelled by Mindless Administrator

     Two Mississippi high school students were maliciously expelled after they were photographed making supposedly gang-related hand gestures, even though the kids had no idea that simply holding up three fingers--an homage to their football jersey numbers--was a gang gesture. Fifteen-year-old Dontadrian Bruce, a student and football player at Olive Branch High School in Olive Branch, Mississippi, was photographed by his science teacher for a project. He instinctively raised his thumb and two fingers to represent his football jersey number, three. What he didn't know was that the Chicago-based Vice Lords gang uses the same hand gesture--and that he had unwittingly violated district policy against gang-related paraphernalia in schools….

     When Assistant Principal Todd Nichols [what do assistant principals do?] noticed the picture, he promptly suspended Bruce and accused him of being a "gangbanger." [Let me guess. I bet Mr. Nichols attended some lavish education conference, say in Las Vegas, where school administrators learned to identify gang signals.]

     Desmond Davis, a friend of Bruce's, was also suspended for the exact same offense. Davis' older brother also wears the number three….Even more shocking: After three days, the suspensions morphed into expulsions. Bruce and Davis were told not to return to school for the rest of the year….

     Many in the community were outraged. Even Bruce's former football coach said there was essentially zero chance that the teenager was involved in gang activity. The outrage paid off, and following media coverage, both boys were invited back to school after a 21-day suspension….[It's too bad the assistant principal wasn't expelled, but in public education, that simply doesn't happen.]

Robby Soave, "Outrageous, Malicious Expulsions for Mississippi Teens," The Daily Caller, March 10, 2014 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The New College Cry: "Let's Riot!"

     Fifty-five people were arrested Saturday, March 8, 2014 during "Blarney Blowout" an annual St. Patrick's Day-themed series of drinking parties that left a number of people with minor injuries, including four police officers….Officers from the Amherst, Massachusetts Police Department issued dispersal orders, increased manpower to the area, released pepper spray and shut down bus service and streets near the trouble area in North Amherst. It took nearly an entire day to quell the rowdy crowds--which grew to thousands in attendance….

     Any University of Massachusetts students arrested in connection with the event will face a sanctions review from the university, whose officials…warned earlier in the week may result in their expulsion or suspension from the school….

     The UMass Police Department arrested three people at the event. [While involving a large number of students, most of the parties were held off campus.] Officers also broke up a "dangerous and out of control" party at the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house…and were hit with bottles, beer cars, rocks, and snowballs. Some of the items were thrown from the house's roof, porch and windows….

Patrick Hoff, "'Blarney Blowout' Leads to 55 Arrests," MassLive.com, March 10, 2014


Criminal Justice Quote: A Native American Embezzles Federal Funds

     The former director of the Blackfeet Tribe's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program in Great Falls, Montana, has pleaded guilty to embezzlement and fraud after stealing nearly $300,000 from the federally funded program. Between 2006, when Sandra Marie Sanderville became director, to her dismissal in 2010, Sanderville divised schemes in which she would overpay TANF beneficiaries, who would then cash the illicit checks and give a portion back to Sanderville. She would also provide checks to people who were not eligible for the program and received portions back from that as well. She later told investigators that she misled the beneficiaries by telling them that the extra money was from a grant or another fund and that the money they gave to her was going back to TANF.

     Sanderville was able to keep her activities under wraps for four years because she was able to "restrict" access to the records. However, when the Blackfeet Tribe's Internal Affairs Office began an investigation, Sanderville attempted to destroy the documents dealing with the fraud scheme. Investigators were still able to identify the scheme through a back up computer located out of state….

     Sanderville pleaded guilty in February 2014 before Untied States Magistrate Judge Keith Strong….In interviews with investigators, Sanderville…explained that she had developed a gambling habit which cost her hundreds of dollars a week….She faces up to 10 years in prison….

Caroline May, "Former Welfare Office Head, With Gambling Habit, Embezzles Nearly $300,000," The Daily Caller, March 7, 2014 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: Theft of Taxi Services

A Massachusetts woman was arrested after allegedly racking up a taxi fare so high she couldn't afford to pay it. Thirty-one-year old Denise Rebelato was arrested on February 5, 2014 after hailing a cab at New York's JFK Airport and getting a ride all the way to the Boston area….The cabby told Rebelato it would cost nearly $1,000 to get to Framingham from New York and she agreed to pay it when they left the airport. But after the roughly 200-mile journey…Rebelato couldn't get the money to pay for the trip--meaning the driver still hadn't gotten paid. He says he spent $75 on gas and $40 in tolls in addition to the $150 he spent to rent the cab for a shift….Rebelato was charged with larceny….

Collin Ruane, "Woman Arrested After Racking Up $980 Cab Bill," The Atlanta Journal Constitution, February 8, 2014 

Criminal Justice Quote: Stolen Police Weapons: Poor Gun Control

Two weapons and a bullet-proof vest were stolen Friday, February 7, 2014 from an unmarked police car outside the home of an officer in Brooklyn Park, Maryland….After parking the car Thursday evening, the officer discovered the door and trunk of his car were ajar the next morning….Missing were a ballistic vest, a Colt 223 rifle, a Sig Sauer SRT 40 caliber service weapon and ammunition. The items were secured in the trunk out of view….

Tim Swift, "Weapons Stolen From Police Officer's Car in Brooklyn Park," The Baltimore Sun, February 9, 2014 

Criminal Justice Quote: Stephen Rex Edminston: Child Rapist and Murderer Scheduled for Pennsylvania Execution

     Governor Tom Corbett has signed a death warrant ordering a western Pennsylvania man be executed for the rape and murder of a 2-year-old girl in 1988. Stephen Rex Edminston, 55, has maintained his innocence since he was convicted in 1989 in the abduction of Bobbi Jo Matthew from her Clearfield County home.

     Edminston…allegedly told police, "You'll find a dead, raped little girl" after drawing a map that marked the spot in northern Cambria County where her remains were found. Attorneys with the Defender Association of Philadelphia contend the girl was actually run over.

     The death warrant sets the execution date for April 16, 2014 though that's likely to be delayed by more appeals. Gary Heidnik became the last person executed in Pennsylvania in 1999, after he voluntarily ended his appeals.

"Governor Signs Death Warrant," Associated Press, February 22, 2014 

Hellementary Education Quote: Trends in Public Education: Female Teachers Having Sex With Middle School Boys

     The national epidemic of teacher-student sex stories marches on unabated. Any given week is likely to include several stories, and some are more intriguing than others….In South Carolina, in February 2014, police arrested middle school choir teacher Elizabeth Marie Moss for allegedly sexually assaulting at least one 13-year-old student. The incident allegedly included oral sex by Moss on the boy. Moss, 31, has been charged with criminal sexual conduct with a minor….She is the chorus director at Chestnut Oaks Middle School in Sumter, South Carolina. After she was arrested, school district officials placed the teacher on administrative leave. The sexual dalliance took place in the spring of last year at Moss's home. More recently, in October 2013, Moss also allegedly used a pencil, somehow, in an apparently unsuccessful attempt to arouse a 14-year-old student. [What? Did she write him a dirty story?]….

     Meanwhile, in Reading, Pennsylvania, middle school science teacher Jessica Saienni was arrested [in February 2014] on charges on sexually abusing a 14-year-old student….Saienni, 30, taught science at Southwest Middle School during the summer of 2012. Police say she called and texted the student after a field trip….She got his cell number from a parental permission slip for the trip….Saienni and the student agreed to meet on a special day in June. It was the boy's 14th birthday. They cleaned her classroom together and ate some birthday cake purchased by the teacher. By the third meeting, the two had sex--in Saienni's vehicle….

Eric Owens, "This Week Public School Teachers Busted for Molesting 13- and 14-Year-Old Boys," The Daily Caller, February 23, 2014 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: Meth Parents Abandon Three Children in Woods

     A Florida couple was arrested for allegedly abandoning their three young children in the woods….Michael and Sarah Butcher, both 30, were arrested on February 28, 2014 after illegally parking their red truck in a private RV park in Punta Gorda, Florida. Cops later found crystal meth in their vehicle's glove compartment, along with a syringe and a burnt spoon….

     After the pair was taken to jail--where they repeatedly claimed to be brother and sister--the police received a call that three children were found walking in the woods, "very dirty, hungry, and cold."…They told police officers their parents were named Michael and Sarah. The children--ages 10, 8, and 6--had walked nearly two miles before they were found….They said their parents had driven them to a wooded area where they often went camping. While they played in the woods, their parents drove off in their truck….

     The couple has been held without bond….

Jaime Lutz, "Florida Parents Arrested After Abandoning Three Kids in Woods," ABC News, March 4, 2014 

Criminal Justice Quote: Bungling, Trigger-Happy Cop Kills Unarmed Teen

     The Euharlee, Georgia police officer who shot and killed a teenager because she wrongfully thought he was holding a gun had made a similar mistake in the past, and was fired from her previous job as a police officer as part of a long history of blunders and poor job performance. When 17-year-old Christopher Roupe answered the door at his home on the night of February 17, 2014, officer Beth Gatny opened fire on him. Gatny, who was there to serve a warrant on Roupe's father, had thought the teenager was holding a gun. Lawyers for the Roupe family say the kid did not have a gun, and was likely holding a video game controller for the Nintendo Wii.

     New evidence has surfaced suggesting that Gatny had a history of making this mistake and should never have been employed by the Euharlee Police Department. In 2008, she fired her gun at a suspect who was trying to open his backpack because she thought he was armed. The suspect was not armed, and her partner said there was no reason to think otherwise. An internal investigation disagreed with the partner and found Gatny innocent.

     Worse, Gatny was fired from her job as a police in Ackworth, Georgia before joining the Duharlee force nine months ago. Gatny was fired for failing to show up for work….Gatny sought disability compensation and was rejected because her claim was "not medically supported."…She was reprimanded for failure to follow orders and for leaving her weapon with a civilian while her picture was taken. She was also involved in four car accidents….

Robby Soave, "Unbelievable: Cop Who Wrongfully Killed Teen Had History of Blunders, Was Fired From Last Job as Cop," The Daily Caller, March 6, 2014 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: A Judge Goes Wild

     A 47-year-old Philadelphia man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a weapon into the air. Francis Aponte was at an outdoor party in June 2012 when two Philadelphia police officers saw him shoot a gun into the air….That act, along with a criminal record including at least one prior felony, has resulted in the 20-year sentence handed down on March 4, 2014….

     No one was hurt, but federal prosecutor Jose Arteaga argued that the defendant had committed a potentially lethal offense. [Every time a drunk climbs behind the wheel of a car, a "potentially lethal offense" is committed. Should we send all of these people away for twenty years?]

"Man Gets 20 Years For Shooting Gun Into Air," Associated Press, March 4, 2014  

Whackademia Quote: High School in Atlanta is About Football

     The Atlanta city's public school system, already reeling from a far-reaching teacher cheating scandal that is still unfolding, was rocked again on March 5, 2014 by new cheating allegations--this time against parents who allegedly falsified documents so their children could attend one of the city's football powerhouses and play on the team….

     Fourteen of the fifty-eight players on the Grady High School football team used faked addresses to enroll at the school. A three month investigation found that players and their parents used fraudulent addresses so they could play on the team….

     At least one player on the football team had never set foot in a classroom at the midtown school. In another instance, two siblings were registered at different addresses….Some of the students accused of fraud have voluntarily withdrawn; others have been asked to withdraw and tuition bills were sent to some parents whose children were found to be living outside the district.

     Some Grady parents were upset, and said the school system targeted Grady and the football team for behavior that goes on everywhere….

     The latest cheating allegation comes the month before 13 Atlanta educators are expected to stand trial on racketeering charges alleging that they conspired to change students' answers on curriculum tests to improve scores so they could collect bonuses. The 13 were among 35 educators, including former superintendent Beverly Hall, who were indicted last year….

Larry Copeland, "Report: Parents, Students Cheat to Attend Atlanta School," USA Today, March 6, 2014 

Criminal Justice Quote: Kid Takes Baseball Bat to Grandmother For Denying Him Cigarettes

     A central Georgia teenager is accused of beating his grandmother to death with a baseball bat after she couldn't take him to the store to buy cigarettes….Sheriff's deputies said deNorman Bland, 18, is charged with murder, false imprisonment, kidnapping and armed robbery. Bland told investigators he went to his grandmother's house in Jackson, about 50 miles south of Atlanta, asking for a ride to a nearby store to buy cigarettes, but she was getting ready for work.

     Deputies said Bland chased his grandmother, Glenda Woodard, through her house and repeatedly struck her with the bat….Woodward was found dead inside her house around 7 PM Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Officers say Bland took his grandmother's car and drove to Griffin, Georgia where he was arrested. Investigators said the high school senior did not have a criminal history….[deNorman has probably smoked his last cigarette.]

"Georgia Teen Accused of Killing Grandmother With Baseball Bat," CBS, Associated Press, March 6, 2014 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: Police Searching for "The Urinator"

Police are searching for a man who has been urinating on people near the University of Florida campus. The Gainesville Sun reports the victims told police they were standing with their backs turned to the man when they felt themselves being urinated upon. The incidents occurred February 22, February 26, and March l, 2014 in various locations near the campus. The victims all told police when they confronted the man, he ran away.

"Police Search for Man Suspected of Urinating on People Near University of Florida," Fox News, March 6, 2014 

Whackademia Quote: Stupid High School Administrators in St. Paul Cause Student Frostbite

     A Minnesota public high school was so committed to obeying its fire drill policy to the exact letter of the law that it forced a female student--dressed only in a swimsuit, and sopping wet--to stand outside in the freezing cold for ten minutes. As a result, she suffered frostbite. Administrators wouldn't let the student retrieve her clothes, sit in a car or wait inside another building….

     The trouble began when a small science experiment triggered the fire alarm at Como Park Senior High School in St. Paul, Minnesota. Fourteen-year-old Kayona Hagen-Teitz was swimming in the school pool for heath class at the time. Her clothes were in her locker, and a teacher told her that there was no time for her to change. Hagen-Tietz was rushed outside--still wet and dressed in only a swimsuit. It was 5 degrees below zero in St. Paul that day in February 2014. With the windchill, it was 25 degrees below zero.

     Hagen-Tietz asked to wait inside an employee's car, or at the elementary school across the street. But administrators believed this would violate official policy, and could get the school in trouble, so they opted to simply let the girl freeze. [How can such idiots be entrusted with the care and wellbeing of children?] Her fellow classmates, at least, huddled around her to keep her warm. And one teacher did eventually lend her a coat.

     Still, Hagen-Tietz came down with frostbite on her feet….

Robby Soave, "School Forced Half-Naked, Sopping Wet Student to Stand Outside, Frostbite Results," The Daily Caller, March 3, 2014 

Criminal Justice Quote: Senate Blocks Justice Department Appointment of Attorney Who Defended a Notorious Cop Killer

     On March 5, 2014, the U.S. Senate blocked the contentious nomination of Debo Adegbile to head the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division….The vote was expected to be so close that Vice President Joe Biden presided in the Senate chamber to cast a tie-breaking vote if needed.

     Opposition to Adegbile's nomination stemmed from his role in the representation of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted of murdering a Philadelphia police officer in 1981.

"Senate Blocks Controversial DOJ Nominee," NBC News, March 5, 2014 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Whackademia Quote: Ranking the Universities That Cheat to Raise Their Rankings.

     It's a crazy era. College degrees--and law school degrees and business school degrees--are worth less and less. A wide swath of America is beginning to experience a slow demographic decline in the number of high school graduates. And, amazingly, colleges continue to defy every law of supply and demand by raising costs more and more.

     It can't possibly be too surprising to anyone that a bunch of bastions of higher education are also cheating like hell when it comes to the college ranking game. While the problem of book-cooking may very well be much more widespread, these ten schools have been busted for inflating various numbers and falsely enhancing their academic reputations, usually in the U.S. News rankings.

l. George Washington University (Washington, D.C.)
2. Bucknell University (Pennsylvania)
3. Villanova University (Pennsylvania)
4. University of Illinois
5. York College of Pennsylvania
6. University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas)
7. Claremont McKenna College (California)
8. Tulane University (Louisiana)
9. Emory University (Georgia)
10. Flagler University (Florida)

Eric Owens, "Scumbag Colleges: The Daily Caller's Definitive List," The Daily Caller, March 2, 2014

Hellementary Education Quote: Don't Bring Your Gun Gestures to School

     An Ohio boy was suspended by his school for giving a student the finger--his index finger. Nathan Entingh, 10, was suspended from the Devonishe Alternative Elementary School in Columbus for three days because he made a gun gesture with his hand and said "bang" when he pointed it at a student's head. [By saying "bang," the kid escalated the seriousness of the crime. Taking a loaded hand gesture to school is unacceptable.] "I was just playing around," little Nathan told the Columbus Dispatch. "People play around like this a lot at my school."

     The behavior rankled school officials, who said that they have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to gun-related jokes and actions. [Perhaps they ought to consider a zero-telerance policy when it comes to administrative over-reaction.] Principal Patricia Price warned her students several times that they are not permitted to make any gun jokes or gestures, and has sent home letters to parents….

Irving DeJohn, "Ohio Elementary School Student Suspended For Making Gun Gesture With Finger," New York Daily News, March 4, 2014 

Criminal Justice Quote: Mother Attempts Murder-Sucide By Driving Into Ocean

     A pregnant woman drove a car occupied by three children into the ocean as horrified witnesses tried desperately to help. The unidentified woman from South Carolina was caught on video at Daytona Beach, Florida, as she drove down the beach and into the water….Tim Tesseneer and another man were the first to reach the car. "She was pretty deep, and the water was moving the van, and the kids were screaming. He got the two kids out while she dove out the window, the driver's window…just belly-flopped into the water," Mr. Tesseneer said. It was at that moment that he realized there was still another child in the car….

     Authorities are investigating how and why the vehicle got into the water. All three children, aged 10, 9, and 3, and their mother were taken to a nearby hospital to be examined.

"Pregnant Mom Drives Kids into Ocean in Florida," News Limited Network, March 5, 2014  

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Roshell Marie Turner: A New Mom on Meth

     At nine o'clock on Thursday night, February 13, 2014, the authorities in Everett, Washington issued an Amber Alert to locate 31-year-old Roshell Marie Turner and her 17-day-old son, John Turner. The new mother, a heavy methamphetamine user, had given birth to the infant on January 27 in a motel room. This baby was her eighth child.

     The five-foot-five, 190-pound meth addict had a rose tattoo on her upper right shoulder and an Hispanic boyfriend nicknamed "Guero." Detectives believed Turner's friend, Marylee Cavin, was helping her hide from the authorities who would surely take the baby from her.

     Police and officials with Child Protective Services believed that because of the mother's heavy use of meth, her baby needed immediate medical attention. Moreover, based on this woman's parenting history with her other seven children, the authorities had reason to suspect the missing infant was being neglected.

     On Friday, February 14, 2014, police officers found the mother and her baby in a south Everett apartment. The infant was alive and transported to a nearby hospital. Child Protection officers, acting on a court order, took custody of the baby as well as Turner's other children.

     After being questioned by detectives at the Everett Police Department, officers booked Turner into the Snohomish County Jail on unrelated warrants. A local prosecutor indicated that the meth-abusing mother might be charged with child endangerment.

     There was no word regarding the baby's health.


Whackademia Quote: Unreadable Stuff Published by Scientific Journals

     Do scientific papers ever seem like unreadable gibberish to you? Well, sometimes they really are. Some 120 papers published in established scientific journals over the last few years have been found to be frauds, created by nothing more than an automated word generator that puts random, fancy-sounding words together in plausible sentence structures. As a result they have been pulled from journals that originally published them.

     The fake papers are in the fields of computer science and math and have titles such as "Application and Research of Smalltalk Harnessing Based on Game-Theoretic Symmetries," "An Evaluation of E-Business with Fin," and "Simulating Flip-Flop Gates Using Peer-to-Peer Methodologies."….

     This is not the first time nonsense papers have been published. In 1996, as a test, a physics professor submitted a fake paper to the philosophy journal Social Text. His paper argued that gravity is "postmodern" because it is "free from any dependence on the Concept of Objective Truth." Yet it was accepted and published. But  how could gibberish end up in respectable scientific journals? The man who discovered the recent frauds said it showed slipping standards among scientists….

Maxim Lott, "Over 100 Published Science Journal Articles Just Gibberish," Fox News, March 1, 2014 

Criminal Justice Quote: Killing Home Invaders in Detroit

     Detroit police say a woman shot and killed an intruder Friday afternoon February 28, 2014 at her home….A man in his 20s tried to break into the house through a rear window. When the homeowner heard the noise, she grabbed her handgun and warned the intruder that she was armed….The suspect continued to break in and the woman shot him once in the chest. He fled the scene, but was found down the block.

     The burglar was transported to a local hospital and was pronounced dead on arrival. This incident follows two separate home invasions in Detroit where two homeowners killed people breaking into their homes….

"Woman Shoots, Kill Intruder in Detroit," WXYZ Detroit, March 1, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: Robbers Victimize Woman En Route to the Hospital to Have a Baby

     Police say a woman…in labor and her boyfriend were robbed in Annapolis, Maryland as they headed to a hospital. The couple was confronted by three men with guns as they left an apartment early Sunday, March 2, 2014. When the pregnant woman's boyfriend fled…the suspects tried to get her to let them into the apartment, but she didn't have a key.

     That's when two of the men took off in the victim's car….After a chase, police arrested 24-year-old Devery Kelly of Annapolis and 44-yeasr-old Cornell Robinson of Washington, D.C. The woman was taken to the Anne Arundel Medical Center….

"Police: Woman Going to Hospital in Labor Robbed," ABC News, March 3, 2014 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: Overdose Deaths: The Consequence of a Drug-Addled Society

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdose is now the leading cause of injury-related fatalities in the United States, ahead of motor-vehicle collisions and firearms accidents. We made cars safer by having speed limits, seat belts, crumple zones and D.W.I. laws. We make it harder to buy a firearm with background checks and waiting periods, and we teach gun safety and sometimes mandate trigger locks. [We also have a president who considers marijuana use nothing more than a bad habit.] We can make heroin safer, too, by supplying methadone or buprenorphine as medications to treat physical dependence, providing clean needles to help prevent the spread of hepatitis and H.I.V., and facilitating the wide availability of naloxone to counteract overdoses. [So much for the root causes approach to combating deviant behavior.]

Robert S Hoffman, "How to Stop Heroin Deaths," The New York Times, February 6, 2014  

Criminal Justice Quote: O.J. Simpson on TV and the LA County Jail

     I don't like what's on TV. In jail [1994] all I see is the negative and the misery of man. They [jail officers] set the channel and I'm forced to watch shows like "Beverly Hills 90210" [I loved that show] and stuff like that. Take a good look at these shows and you will see that the most popular people on these shows are the ones that are contriving and conniving and that goes back to the days of J.R. on "Dallas." That says something about TV in here and its values. They're not my values. [Wow.]

     I sleep all right and it's warm enough in here. I try to eat what I'm given, but I'm still losing weight. On the days when I go to court, which is most days, I was getting what is called a "court line sandwich" for dinner, which is the same sandwich I have for lunch. Just a piece of bologna or some other lunch meat on two pieces of bread. Plus some cookies or maybe an apple. There is no way anyone can stay healthy eating that twice a day, and then eating these high-cholesterol eggs and potatoes they give me in the morning, which half the time are cold. I can't get anything from the outside. Now at least I get a hot meal at night when I return from court, but it took a court order signed by the judge.

O.J. Simpson, I Want to Tell You, 1994 [A letter to a fan prior to his double-murder trial.] 

Whackademia Quote: Smoking Pot Inside a Campus Igloo

     Four University of Utah students were found in a well-concealed igloo after a security guard heard voices and detected the small of marijuana coming from the area. The igloo was an impressive five feet high, with solid ten-inch thick walls, and even had a crudely-hinged cardboard door. It was built in a wooded area on campus grounds.

     One student was cited with possession of drug paraphernalia, and all were referred for possible disciplinary action. It was unclear if the students themselves had constructed the igloo, or simply taken advantage of its presence. The igloo was taken down by campus security with a sledgehammer. [Had the igloo been raided by a SWAT team, officers would have punched a hole in the roof and dropped in a stun grenade.]...

John Baiata, "Igloo Used as Suspected Pot Den Found on Campus," NBC News, February 27, 2014



Monday, March 3, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: Mass Shooting in Detroit

A Detroit man allegedly shot four people on Friday, February 28, 2014….Three female employees and a male security guard were shot at Tax City, allegedly by a 19-year-old man who was taken into custody about 3:30 PM….The conditions of the victims were not available. The alleged shooter entered Tax City with two women….One of the women argued with an employee before the shooting started. A weapon was recovered at the scene….

Rob Frehse, "Police: Detroit Man Shoots Four in Tax-Fraud Dispute," CNN, February 28, 2014  

Criminal Justice Quote: Police Corruption in King City, California

     One-third of a central California town's police force was taken off duty after several officers were arrested in a scheme to take for themselves the impounded cars of some poor Hispanic residents….In the scheme, vehicles were impounded and towed, and when the car owners couldn't pay the fees, the vehicles were sold or given away for free to some officers….Four King City officers--including the recently retired police chief and the acting chief--have been arrested in the scheme, and two others were also arrested Tuesday, February 25, 2014….

     The six officers account for more than a third of the 17-member force in the agricultural town of 13,000 people about 150 miles southeast of San Francisco….The four officers tied to the alleged car theft scheme have each been charged with bribery and embezzlement….The operator of the towing company who is the brother of the acting chief has also been arrested in the case….

Channing Joseph and Martha Mendoza, "Third of California Town's Officers Tied to Scheme," Associated Press, February 26, 2014 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: In the Hole for 29 Years

     Robert King spent 29 years in solitary confinement in Louisiana. He has been free since 2001, but still has difficulty with geographical orientation….King joined researches and legal experts at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Chicago in February 2014 to talk about the mental and physical health consequences of solitary confinement….

     There are about 80,000 people being held in some sort of solitary type confinement in the United States….Prisoners in solitary confinement tend to be restricted to cells of 80 square feet, not much larger than a king-size bed. Sleeping, eating and defecating all take place inside that space. For exercise, prisoners in solitary confinement often get a short time in a cage rather than an outdoor yard--perhaps one hour per day….

     About one-third of people in solitary confinement in this country are mentally ill, although some prison systems do not permit mentally ill inmates to be placed in solitary confinement….

     Prison systems continue to struggle over what to do to resolve conflicts or stop violence or disruption of the institutions. They put more prisoners in solitary confinement and left them there for longer periods of time…

     King noticed six months into his time in solitary confinement that his eyesight significantly worsened--he thinks because his eyes had become acclimated to such short distances in his cell. Over time, he retrained his eyes so that he would not be so nearsighted….[Ronald King, a member of the Black Panther Party, was convicted in 1973 of killing a fellow inmate. Also, he was suspected of being part of a conspiracy that led to the murder of a prison guard.]

Elizabeth Landau, "Solitary Confinement: 29 Years in a Box," CNN, February 23, 2014 

Whackademia Quote: Is Any School Superintendent Worth $665,000 a Year?

     ….Unfortunate residents of the Centinela Valley School District (amid the suburban sprawl of Los Angeles) absolutely reamed [at a school board meeting] district superintendent Jose Fernandez for his laughably exorbitant, perk-filled salary package. On the backs of taxpayers, the paper-pushing boss "earns" an annual salary of $665, 365….In addition to the lucrative paycheck, the school board has also provided a sweetheart mortgage deal to help Fernandez buy his suburban home….

     Fernandez oversees just four schools in a district that enrolls a grand total of 6,637 kids….

Eric Owens, "Frustrated Taxpayers Berate School Superintendent for Absurd Salary," The Daily Caller, February 27, 2014 

Criminal Justice Quote: Former NFL Player Darren Sharper Charged in Rape Cases

     Former NFL star Darren Sharper, wanted in New Orleans in connection with the alleged rapes of two women, has turned himself in to the Los Angeles authorities….Sharper made arrangements to surrender to Los Angeles police and did so on February 27, 2014…The Orleans Parish district attorney's office said Sharper, 28, and Erik Nunez, 26, each with two counts of aggravated rape. If convicted, the two men face a possible sentence of life in prison without parole.

     The New Orleans charges are in addition to charges Sharper already faces in California….He pleaded not guilty to the California charges, which included two counts of rape by use of drugs….

     Prosecutors in Louisiana said the two alleged rapes occurred on September 23, 2013 in a New Orleans apartment. The alleged rapes in California occurred in October 2013 and in January 2014….

Paul Vercammen and Saeed Ahmen, "Former NFL Star Darren Sharper, Facing Fresh Rape Charges, Turns Himself In," CNN, February 28, 2014