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Monday, April 28, 2014

California Police Plant Evidence

     California cops planted drugs in a woman's house to frame her after finding nothing in their illegal search of her home….Allison Ross has since filed a federal lawsuit against the Santa Clara sheriff's department, a crime lab, and twelve officers she claims participated in a conspiracy to plant drugs in her house and frame her for a crime she did not commit.

     Ross was initially charged with being under the influence of methamphetamine, but the case against her was thrown out after the district attorney determined that the police made false statements about Ross's arrest….

     Most shocking of all, Ross's lawsuit alleges that police vehicle video footage actually recorded the police discussing their plan to plant drugs inside her house. The incident transpired on New Year's Eve of 2009. Deputies arrested Ross's husband for unspecified reasons while he was at a neighbor's house. They then came to Ross's home, detained her and searched the premises. Ross…said she heard one officer tell another that they had not acquired a warrant….They ransacked the house, but found nothing criminal.

     The police video footage caught the officers admitting as much. "The house is clean, there is no meth in the house," said one officer….The officers then discussed taking white powder from the police vehicle and planting it in the house….Police reported that they found two bags of white powder inside the dwelling, although that was proven to be false. Ross also believed the crime lab tampered with evidence….

Robby Soave, "Cops Found Nothing in Raid, So They Planted Drugs to Frame Innocent Woman," The Daily Caller, April 24, 2014 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: College Jocks Assault Homeless Man

     Two college football players were arraigned in Massachusetts Superior Court on Wednesday, April 23, 2014 for allegedly kicking and beating a  homeless man until a passerby shielded the victim's body with her own…Craig "C.J." Parsons, 22, and Anthony Varrichione, 23, were charged with aggravated assault and battery and aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Additionally, Parsons was charged with violating the state's witness intimidation statute in an attempt to stymie the investigation….

     Parsons is a senior football player at Boston College and Vasrrichione, a former quarterback, recently graduated from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York. Both men pleaded not guilty….

     The incident occurred early January 26, 2014. The unidentified victim, 50, is a homeless man who was panhandling in Boston's Allston neighborhood. After an argument between him and the two suspects, Parsons and Varrichione allegedly punched and kicked him. Prosecutors say Parsons also knocked the man to the sidewalk, rendering him unconscious.

     A female passerby saw part of the attack and ran to the victim's aide, using her body to shield him from the attackers. Other witnesses called 911, and the victim was taken to a nearby hospital. The man is expected to survive but has no memory of the attack….

     Parsons, who was set to graduate this spring, has been given an immediate suspension from Boston College "in light of the disturbing nature of the allegations," said the director of communications for the college….Parsons' attorney told CNN that his client is "a wonderful young man from a fine family."…Varrichlione's attorney said  his client "has had no previous difficulties in life" [of course not, he was a football player]….

     Varrichione is listed as 6-foot-four, 225 pounds….Parsons played tight end for the Boston College Eagles and is six-foot-six, 253 pounds….

Laura Ly, "Two College Football Players Arraigned in Beating of Homeless Man," CNN, April 23, 2014 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: The "Squeaky" Fromme Tape

     Nearly 40 years after a former Manson family member pointed a gun at President Gerald Ford, the audiotape from her pretrial psychiatric examination has been made public. Federal Judge Kimberly J. Mueller granted the release of the 132-minute recording on April 18, 2014 in response to a motion filed by the Sacramento Bee in November 2013.

     The recording of Lynette Alice "Squeaky" Fromme was made on September 21, 1975, a little more than two weeks after the 26-year-old Fromme aimed her pistol at President Ford in Sacramento's Capitol Park. The gun did not go off and Fromme was wrestled to the ground by a Secret Service agent. The tape was made in order to determine her competence to stand trial and to be her own attorney.

     The Sacramento Bee reports that in the recording, Fromme spoke confidently about her ability to represent herself at trial and be acquitted….She was wrong. Though Fromme did not represent herself at trial, she was convicted and remained in prison until she was released on parole in 2009….Charles Manson, 79, remains imprisoned at California State Prison in Corcoran.

"Tape Released of Woman Who Pointed Gun at Ford," seattlepi.com, April 24, 2014

Friday, April 25, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: Girl, 15 Steals Car With Kids Inside

     San Diego police say three children are safe after being taken on a wild ride by a suspected car thief who led authorities on a chase before being arrested….A woman told police Sunday, April 20, 2014 that someone drove off in her gray Dodge Charger while the children--ages 1, 3 and 7--were inside. The stolen vehicle was spotted by a California Highway Patrol officer on state Route 94 about an hour later. After a chase the Charger exited the freeway and was stopped.

     Police say a 15-year-old girl is being held on numerous charges related to the car theft….It is not clear if the young thief knew the children were in the car when she allegedly stole it.

"Children Safe After Car is Stolen," peaklife.com, April 21, 2014 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Gangster Shot in Court Room

     A U.S. marshal shot a defendant in a Utah federal courtroom on Monday morning, April 21, 2014 after the defendant rushed a witness as his trial….Saile Angilau, an alleged gang member charged with racketeering conspiracy, was shot several times at a Salt Lake City federal court house after Angilau attacked someone who was on the witness stand….Angilau was the only person shot….

     Judge Tena Campbell declared a mistrial, noting that the shooting happened in front of jury members, who were "visibly shaken and upset."

     Angilau is one of nine alleged members of the Tongan Crip Gang charged in a 2010 indictment with racketeering conspiracy. The indictment alleges Angilau committed several convenience store robberies in Salt Lake City and assaulted the stores' clerks from December 2002 to July 2007. Angillau was charged with several other crimes, including assaulting a federal officer.

Amanda Watts and Jason Henna, "Marshal Shoots Utah Defendant Who Rushed Witnesses," CNN, April 21, 2014 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: Another Mother Drives Into the Water To Drown Her Children

     Police say Joann Smith, 49, of Florence Township, New Jersey, sped off a boat ramp into the Delaware River on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. She's charged with three counts of attempted murder and three counts of endangering the welfare of children.

     A man driving on West Front Street in Florence saw the sinking vehicle and ran out to help Smith and her three children, ages 15, 14, and 13, the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office said. One of the children came away from the capsized van with a cut leg.

     Smith was checked into a medical facility for evaluation. Her bail was set at $600,000….The incident comes after another mother was accused of driving a minivan into the Atlantic Ocean with her three children in Daytona Beach, Florida on March 4, 2014….

Gabe LaMonica, "Van With Children Hits River; Mother Charged," CNN, April 17, 2014 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: NYC Police Officer Kills Old Man Armed With Shotgun

     Police shot and killed a man in Queens Saturday, April 12, 2014 after he shot and killed his daughter. Authorities say an 86-year-old man called 911 saying that he had shot his daughter and her dog with a 12-gauge shotgun, and that he wanted to kill himself.

     Police officers responding to the scene on 38th Street in Long Island city found the man with the shotgun and ordered him to put it down, but he turned the gun toward them, prompting officers to shoot and kill him.

     Sources say the man's daughter was found with a shotgun wound to the head and was pronounced dead at Elmhurst Hospital….The dog, a brown Yorkshire Terrier, is being treated by the ASPCA for a neck laceration. It is expected to survive.

"Police Shoot and Kill Elderly Queens Man After He Kills Daughter," NY1 News, April 12, 2014 

Arresting Police Rough Up an Old Man

     An Elderly Missouri man dialed 911 and asked for an ambulance to come and help his ailing wife. Instead, the police showed up, threw him to the ground, sat on his head and handcuffed him. He later received stitches for his injuries. "I never had anybody jump on me for doing nothing," said the man, Elbert Breshears of Humansville, Missouri….

     The trouble began after Breshears called to get help for his wife, who suffers from dementia. He asked for paramedics to come provide assistance to her after she knocked out one of their home's windows. The Humansville police arrived first, however. According to Breshears, an officer tackled him right away, then barked at him to stand up. "He told me to get up," recalled Breshears. "I told him I couldn't."

     Officers threw him into a pile of gravel and sat on his back and head as they attempted to handcuff him. Breshears pleaded with the officers to get off him. "I told them I can't get my hands up to where you can handcuff me. If you let me up you can handcuff me," he said. "I got no objection to being handcuffed."

     A doctor had to sew up his head and removed gravel from his wounds.

     Breshear said that he has had trouble with police in the past. A spokesperson for the police declined an interview with local reporters, but did say that the man is facing charges for abusing his wife, resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer. Breshears claims the charges are ridiculous. "I didn't hit my wife," he said. "I've lived with the woman for 47 years. I love the woman. I can't help what she does," he added, referring to her dementia.

     The wife was taken away from her home and is now under professional care. Breshears plans to sue the police.

Robby Soave, "Elderly Man Calls for Ambulance, Violent Cops Beat Him Instead," The Daily Caller, April 21, 2014 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Who Murdered Jeremiah Oliver?

     To get away from her estranged husband against whom she had been granted a restraining order, 28-year-old Elsa Oliver and her three children moved from their home in Fitchburg, Massachusetts to Florida where they lived with her mother. Early in 2013, Elsa, still married to Jose Oliver, returned to Fitchburg, a town of 40,000 in the north central part of the state. She came home with 5-year-old Jeremiah, his 7-year-old sister, and his older brother who was nine.

     In Fitchburg, Elsa began a relationship with Albert Sierra, a local man six years younger than her.

     In June 2013, a social worker with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF), during a monthly visit to the Oliver home, noticed that Jeremiah wasn't in the house. In response to the social worker's inquiry regarding the boy's whereabouts, Elsa said he was in Florida living with her mother. The social worker took Elsa for her word and didn't verify the story.

     Five months later, the social worker left a DFC card at Elsa's house with the message there would be no further monthly visits from the agency.

     Jeremiah's sister, on December 2, 2013, told her elementary school counselor that her mother's boyfriend, Alberto Sierra, had abused her. The 7-year-old and her 9-year-old brother were taken out of Elsa's custody and placed into protective care. Jeremiah still wasn't around, and his siblings had no idea what happened to him. When detectives asked Elsa about Jeremiah, she stuck to her Florida story.

     After Jeremiah could not be located in Florida, a state juvenile court judge brought Elsa into court and asked her to account for her missing son. She refused to answer the judge's questions. The judge gave Elsa 72 hours to produce the boy. At the hearing, officials noticed physical signs that Elsa had been recently abused.

     Shortly after the judge's deadline passed without proof that Jeremiah was alive, a Worcester County prosecutor charged Elsa with two counts of reckless endangerment of a child and two counts of accessory after the fact of a felony. These charges related to the alleged physical abuse of Jeremiah's sister. Police officers booked Elsa into the Worcester County Jail where she was held under a $5,000 cash bond.

     Police officers also arrested 22-year-old Albert Sierra on charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (a knife) and two counts of assault and battery on a child causing bodily injury. A judge denied Sierra bail. Both of the accused pleaded not guilty to all charges.

     A party made up of Fitchburg police officers, K-9 units, and 100 volunteers searched the vicinity of the Oliver house without finding the missing boy. Detectives and others involved in the case believed that he had been murdered and that Elsa, out of fear, was covering up for her boyfriend.

     While the police tried to find Jeremiah's body, a bureaucratic fight broke out within the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families over who in the agency bore the most blame for the delayed reaction to Jeremiah Oliver's disappearance. The head of the public union that represents DCF employees protested the firing of Jeremiah's social worker and her supervisor. The union leader accused the department's commissioner of deflecting blame by scapegoating the social worker and her boss. In the meantime, the 5-year-old was still missing and presumed dead.

     Duval Patrick, the governor of Massachusetts, promised an investigation into DCF's handling of Jeremiah Oliver's case. He asked the Child Welfare League of America to review the workings of the agency. Several local politicians wanted more--they called for the governor to fire the agency's commissioner, Olga Roche.

     In March 2014, the Child Welfare League of America reported that state social workers missed nearly one in five home visits during a recent 12-month period.

     A Worcester County grand jury, in March 2014, indicted Elsa Oliver and Alberto Sierra on charges of kidnapping, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and reckless endangerment. Oliver was held on $125,000 bail and Sierra on $100,000. Three other people were indicted for interfering with a criminal investigation and misleading the police.

     On April 18, 2014, Worcester County District Attorney Joe Early announced that Jeremiah Oliver's body had been found at nine that morning. The remains were wrapped in a blanket inside a suitcase discovered in a grassy area 40 feet off Interstate 190's southbound lane not far from Exit 6 in Sterling, Massachusetts. Found 12 miles from his home, the boy, according to the district attorney, was a victim of criminal homicide.

     The day after the missing boy's discovery, DCF Commissioner Olga Roche assured the public that the "DCF continues to focus on Jeremiah's siblings to ensure they are receiving the support they need during this very difficult time." The commissioner admitted that the boy's killing reflects a "serious failure" on the part of the child protection agency.

     On April 19, Jose Oliver, the murdered boy's father, in a cell phone call to a reporter from the spot where his son's body was found, said, "I know the body has not been here for six months. I believe the body was thrown here Thursday morning [April 17]. Anybody that drives through here, you could see it. There's more people involved in this besides my wife and Alberto Sierria. A couple of people know what happened. My question is who did it and why they did it. I want answers."

Criminal Justice Quote: Thieves at the Gas Pump

     Two Texas men allegedly manipulated gas pumps at local 7-Eleven stores in the Austin area to allow gas to flow freely, charging drivers a discounted rate for the fuel….Guilibaldo Gonzales Puente, 48, and Alejandro Conteno Alvarez, 33, would create a rally point, and, at times, spend between one to three hours at the pumps filling up cars….

     "A lot of the vehicles were large trucks with big bladders in the back, which could hold between 200 and 400 gallons," Detective Rickey Jones, said. Puente and Alvarez were arrested at a gas pump Monday, April 14, 2014.

"Two Men Accused of Stealing More than $27 G in Gas," Fox News, April 16, 2014 

Criminal Justice Quote: The Nanny State

     …..The conservatives' war on marijuana and the liberals' war on tobacco are manifestations of paternalism--the idea that government has the legitimate authority to stop adults from doing bad things, like smoking substances that politicians and bureaucrats do not approve of. [Some of these same politicians and bureaucrats smoke either cigarettes or pot. Laws are for us, not them.] Of course, smoking, whether of marijuana or tobacco, does have negative health consequences--but respecting the right of individuals to be wrong, as long as they do not interfere with the rights of others, is one of the pillars of a free society. [I'm afraid the free society structure has collapsed a long time ago.]

Ron Paul in Judge Andrew P. Napolitano's Lies The Government Told You, 2010 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: Rapper Goes Over the Edge

     Rapper Andre Johnson severed his penis and jumped from a Los Angeles apartment building early Wednesday, April 16, 2014….Johnson was seriously injured, but survived the fall from the second level of the building in North Hollywood, Los Angeles….Johnson, along with his recovered penis, were taken to Cedars-Sinae Medical Center, where he was treated….

     Details about what triggered the incident were not available. [Let me guess--drugs.] Johnson has been a member of Northstar, a Long Beach, California, hip hop group that was part of the Wu-Tang Clan family, according to the Wu-Tang Clan website. He performs under the name Christ Bearer….[Doctors were unable to reattach the severed member.]

Alan Duke, "Rapper Andre Johnson Severs Penis, Jumps Off Building, But Survives," CNN, April 16, 2014 

Criminal Justice Quote: Xbox-Playing Dad Suffocates His Crying Baby

     Sheriff's deputies in north Florida say a man suffocated his young, crying son so he could play video games. Authorities say 24-year-old Cody Wygant is charged with third-degree murder and child neglect. He was being held Friday, April 18, 2014 without bail at the Citrus County Jail.

     Sixteen-month-old Daymeon Wygant wasn't breathing when emergency crews arrived at the home on Thursday morning. He was pronounced dead at a hospital. According to investigators, Wygant said the boy was crying uncontrollably, preventing him from playing his Xbox games. He covered the boy's nose and mouth [with his hand] for three to four minutes until the boy became lethargic, then placed him in a playpen and covered him with bedding.

     Detectives say Wygant didn't check on Daymeon for five hours….

"Deputies: Man Smothered Crying Son Over Video Game," seattlepi.com, April 18, 2014 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Whackademia Quote: Squirt Gun Control: School Administrators All Wet

     Zero tolerance strikes again: A Maine high school suspended a 10th-grader for possessing a lookalike firearm after a bright yellow squirt gun fell out of his backpack. Administrators at Lewiston High School determined that the rules mandated a 10-day suspension. District Superintendent Bill Webster...told the Lewiston-Auburn Sun Journal that he could not comment on the details of the case. He did say that all facts were considered.

     "I can say that a student bringing a water pistol to school will, at first, be told that they [sic] are being suspended from school for ten days," he said in a statement. "We then work to get more facts and complete a review that often results in a reduction of the suspension period. Also it is not uncommon for other factors to enter into the suspension decision, including the level of student cooperation." [The fact that Webster is obviously unaware of how stupid this sounds is alarming.]

     Webster implied that the student should consider himself lucky, since many other districts would have expelled him without a second thought. [Thought? There's no thinking here.]

     Indeed, anti-gun hysteria has led to the implementation of draconian bans of harmless toys, and even finger gestures, at U.S. schools….

Robby Soave, "School Suspends 10th-Grader For Having Bright Yellow Squirt Gun," The Daily Caller, April 17, 2014 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Public Urination

     Portland, Oregon water officials are discarding 38 million gallons of drinking water that a 19-year-old was caught urinating into one of the city's reservoirs. A security camera caught the man urinating at about one in the morning on Wednesday, April 15, 2014 through an iron fence into Mount Tabor Reservoir No. 5 in southeastern Portland….Minutes later, two other men, ages 18 and 19, attempted to scale the fence and one of them entered the reservoir.

     The three men were caught, citied for trespassing and prohibited from returning to Mount Tabor Park. The 19-year-old was cited for public urination…."Our customers have an expectation that their water is not deliberately contaminated," said David Shaff with the Portland Water Bureau. He acknowledged that the health risk is slight. "We have the ability to meet that expectation while minimizing public health concerns."...

     The 38 million gallons--about 760,000 soaks in a bathtub--will be drained into the sewage system, eventually reaching a treatment plant before they are dumped into the Columbia River. [Who knows how many dead bodies lay on the bottom of the river receiving this cleansed water?]

     In 2011, the city dumped 8 million gallons, a mere 160,000 baths, from Mount Tabor Reservoir No 1 after a 22-year-old man from Molalla, Oregon admitted to urinating in it. He eventually pleaded guilty to misuse of a reservoir and was sentenced to community service. [Theres a criminal offense in Oregon called misuse of a reservoir?] In that case, it cost the water bureau $32,700, passed on to customers, to drain the reservoir, and that decision caused a wave of backlash from many who said it was an unnecessary response.

     Some complained that animals sometimes fall into the reservoir and die without any such action taken. "I think part of it is just that general yuck factor of, 'Yes, we have birds on there all the time, but we don't have people peeing in it all the time,'" Shaff said in defending the 2011 decision. If the area were in drought conditions, he said he probably would make a different decision….

Teresa Blackman and Jeff Thompson, "Oregon Official Drain Reservoir After Man Urinates in It," KGW-TV Portland, April 17, 2014 

Criminal Justice Quote: Child Killer Denied Parole Again

      Eric Smith has been denied parole for the seventh time. The Savona, New York native is serving a life term for killing a 4-year-old boy when Smith was 13. Smith is serving nine years to life in prison for killing Derrick Robie in Savona. He was convicted of murder in 1994 for luring the little boy into the woods where he hit him with a rock, stuffed paper in his mouth and crushed his skull with a 26-pound boulder.

     The 34-year-old prisoner is in maximum security Collins Correctional Facility south of Buffalo, New York. After a hearing on April 11, 2014, the parole board said the "serious and brutal" crime is more compelling than Smith's clean disciplinary record, positive prison programming and release plans. The board noted "significant community opposition" to Smith's release from prison.

"Smith Denied Prole," Associated Press, April 14, 2014 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Whackademia Quote: Band Teacher Accused of Sexual Relationship With Student

     The El Paso County [Colorado] Sheriff's Office says a 38-year-old man was arrested after he was allegedly having a romantic relationship with a 16-year-old student. David Hurd was employed as a contract band choreographer and coach at Air Academy High School….A school resource officer received a report of the inappropriate relationship, and the case was investigated by the sheriff's office.

     Hurd, who lives in Aurora, Colorado [outside of Denver] was arrested on April 11, 2014. He was booked into the Aurora City Jail on a $50,000 bond. He faces two counts of sexual exploitation of a child and one count of obscenity.

     Hurd was involved in multiple marching band activities throughout the county as a consultant and choreographer for many years. Investigators are concerned there may be more victims….

Raquel Villanueva, "Band Teacher Arrested for Sexual Exploitation of Child," KUSA-TV, April 14, 2014 

Criminal Justice Quote: U.K's Mental Health Act: Holding Kids in Jail

     Hundreds of children in England and Wales were detained under the Mental Health Act and locked in police cells because officers did not have anywhere else to take them….There were 305 detentions of under-18s in the first 11 months of 2013….Some were held for more than 24 hours….the practice of detaining children suspected of being mentally ill was first uncovered by the BBC in 2012….

     Some children were detained for periods of time--including 17-year-olds held for more than 24 hours and 15-year-olds for between eight and 15 hours. Police have the power under the Mental Health Act to take people they suspect of being mentally disturbed and who could be a danger to themselves or others to a "place of safety" to be assessed by a doctor. This detention may only last up to 72 hours. Places of safety will usually mean a hospital, care home or any other suitable place but, in exceptional circumstances, it may also be a police station.

Nicola Beckford, "Hundreds of Children Detained in Police Cells," BBC News, January 25, 2014 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: Two Cannibals in Pakistan Ate a Baby

     Two brothers previously jailed for cannibalism and then released, have been arrested again after police discovered a child's severed head at their home in a remote village in northwest Pakistan. Mohammed Arif Ali was arrested on April 14, 2014 after neighbors alerted police to a "foul smell" coming from his house in the village of Kahawar Khan in the Khakkar district of Punjab….

     When officers went to investigate, they discovered the decapitated head of an infant next to a burning stove. The head, which is now being examined at a hospital in the nearby village of Darya Khan, looked to be around five days old….[I don't know if the severed head was five-days old or that was the age of the infant. How the infant died has not been revealed.]

     Arif Ali was arrested at the scene, while his broher, Mohammed Farman Ali, was apprehended by police hours later on the outskirts of their village. Police said both men confessed to eating human flesh. The brothers were released from prison last year after serving a two-year jail term for similar offenses--they admitted dismembering a woman's body they had stolen from a graveyard in Darya Khan where they lived at the time.

     With no explicit law on cannibalism in Pakistan, the two men were convicted of desecrating a dead body and other public order offenses in a case that provoked widespread revulsion across Pakistan….

Sophia Saifi and Paul Armstrong, "Two Brothers Re-arrested in Pakistan for Cannibalism," CNN, April 15, 2014 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: DNA Based Mugshots

A study published on March 20, 2014, reports on the possibility of computers to accurately create virtual mugshots on an individual based solely on that person's DNA. Several scientists from around the world, the majority of them from Belgium and the U.S., have studied facial features based on the aspects of ancestry, gender and individual genetic traits to come up with a formula for accurately predicting facial reconstruction from saliva, skin or a strand of hair. This means that if this initial study is improved upon and the process is refined, in the future (one author of the study claims this may happen within the next 5 to 10 years), accurate criminal mugshots may be created for police and other investigators from genetic material found at the scene of a crime….

Julie Mahfood, "DNA Mugshots Possible," Liberty Voice, March 22, 2014 

Whackademia Quote: On Duty Substitute Teacher Pleasures Himself

     A 72-year-old substitute teacher at Westhill High School in Stamford, Connecticut was put on suicide watch after he was allegedly caught masturbating in a school hallway while looking at school children on February 26, 2014. According to police, at about 7:33 AM, Michael Luecke was spotted lying on the floor by a teacher's assistant who thought he was injured. When she got closer, she realized the man had his hands in his pants and he was fully aroused….

     The assistant yelled at Luecke and notified school officials. Luecke ran off….A video surveillance tape showed Luecke in a corner of a stairwell looking at students in the courtyard. Once he was identified, Luecke was found in the classroom he was overseeing, and removed….He was brought to the main office and detained by school resource officers….

     Luecke was charged with public indecency, second-degree breach of peace and risk of injury to a minor. He was held on $25,000 bond. Because he was placed on suicide watch, his clothing was taken from him and his police photograph shows him dressed in a suicide smock….

     Luecke, a former biotechnology consultant, was employed by both Stamford and Greenwich school districts as a substitute teacher….He had been employed as a high school substitute since 2009….

"Substitute Teacher Charged With Indecent Exposure," Newsmax, March 2, 2014 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: Notre Dame Student Passed Out in Business He Burglarized

     A student at the University of Notre Dame was arrested after he smashed a stained glass window at a massage therapy facility in downtown South Bend, Indiana with a 100-pound flower pot, ransacked the place and then helped himself to a bunch of Hot Pockets and some drumsticks.

     Police responded to an alarm at Therapeutic Indulgence…at 9:30 AM on Sunday, March 30, 2014. Inside, they found Notre Dame student Brian McCurren passed out in a kitchen area on the second floor. Police say McCurren, 19, had warmed up an impressive number of Hot Pockets in a microwave and consumed them. He helped himself to some tasty drumsticks, too. However, he seems to have become satiated and passed out at some point while eating the drumsticks.

     The Maineville, Ohio native also had some macaroni and cheese bubbling in an antique-style oven when he passed out. Prior to his feast, McCurren allegedly used a 100-pound flower pot to break through the front door of the spa facility. He then picked up a hammer and dug through some drywall….Business owner Sara Rose Frazier said McCurren also destroyed furniture and sprayed the contents of a fire extinguisher over the place, causing thousands of dollars of damage….

     Police strongly suspect alcohol was involved, not least because McCarren blew a .106 in a standard breath test around 10 AM before he was led out of the burglarized business in handcuffs….McCurren faces a raft of charges including burglary, vandalism, underage drinking and--no doubt for the Hot Pockets--minor consumption. He spent the night in jail….

Eric Owens, "Notre Dame Student Broke Into South Bend Spa, Wrecked It, Ate Hot Pockets," The Daily Caller, April 1, 2014 

Criminal Justice Quote: Did Poker Champ Phil Ivey, Jr. Cheat a Casino?

     The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey is suing a World Series of Poker champ who it says cheated the house for $9.6 million….The lawsuit alleges that poker pro Phillip Ivey Jr. allegedly cheated while playing several sessions at a Baccarat table in 2012….While playing, Ivey allegedly cheated by fixating on pattern flaws on the back of the cards, a technique commonly known as "edge sorting."…

     The lawsuit also names card manufacturer Gemaco Inc. of Blue Springs, Missouri, who designed the cards….Also named in the lawsuit is a female partner of Ivey's, Cheng Yin Sun, who allegedly gave instructions to the dealer.

     Ivey admitted to using a similar technique in a London casino in 2012….He won 7.3 million pounds, or roughly $12 million, in one session. Ivey sued the casino last July when it refused to pay him.

     Born in California, Ivey moved to New Jersey at a young age. He mastered his craft by playing poker in Atlantic City throughout his teenage years with a fake ID….

"Borgata Sues Poker Pro Phil Ivey Who Allegedly Cheated House for $9.6 Million," NJ.com, April 11, 2014 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: Campus Cop Kills Unarmed Student

     New details have emerged in the killing of 23-year-old Texas college student Cameron Redus who was shot five times--and once in the back--by a police officer during a traffic stop. Redus, a student at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas, was pulled over by campus police corporal Christopher Carter a few blocks from the student's apartment. Redus had been driving under the influence….

     Al altercation soon broke out between Redus and Carter. According to Carter, Redus successfully wrested Carter's police baton from his hands, though the officer re-acquired it soon after. According to a neighbor who overheard the incident, Carter then instructed Redus to surrender. Redus responded, "Oh, your're gonna shoot me?" in a sarcastic tone. Carter did just that. He shot Redus--who was unarmed--five times….

     The bullets were fired at close range and hit him in the left eye, chest, left elbow, right hip, and back. The shot to the back was likely the one that killed him, according to the autopsy report. Officer Carter is on administrative leave pending the results of the investigation. The university has so far maintained that Carter will return to work in an administrative capacity….

Robby Soave, "'You Going to Shoot Me?' Asked Student Before He Was Shot Five Times, Once in the Back," The Daily Caller, March 24, 2014 

Criminal Justice Quote: The Kansas City Highway Sniper Case

     Police say they have linked some of the previously considered random shootings targeting vehicles traveling on Kansas City-area highways over the past month. Kansas City police didn't indicate on April 9, 2014 what led them to that conclusion, but federal authorities are helping investigate 13 shooting incidents between March 8 and April 6, 2014, including three in which drivers were wounded. Ten of the shootings took place in Kansas City, while the other three were in the suburbs of Blue Springs and Lee's Summit, Missouri, and Leawood, Kansas.

     Police say several other possible victims came forward after hearing about the shootings in the media, but it's unclear how many are connected. They also say victims and witnesses have provided inconsistent statements, making it difficult to establish how many of the shootings are related.

"Police: 13 Kansas City Highway Shootings May be Linked," Associated Press, April 10, 2014 

Lacing Brownies With Pot Called Student Prank

     The girl who was arrested last fall for selling marijuana-laced brownies to classmates to raise money for a prom dress, is facing possible further punishment. On April 6, 2014, Saira Munoz, 19, was sentenced to four years probation and nine days in jail on drug charges. With time already served, she did not have to go back to jail.

     Now it turns out she may be in this country illegally and could be deported. Immigration officials say they are reviewing the case and have yet to file deportation proceedings. Last fall, Munoz enlisted the help of a classmate to help her sell the brownies. A customer who was acting erratically after eating one of the brownies on campus was taken to a hospital in a ambulance for observation. Investigators found cannabis in the brownies.

     It was the talk of the campus at Yuba City's River Valley High School [California] when she was arrested on drug charges and for recruiting a 13-year-old to help her sell the brownies. "We have a 13-year-old freshman, so that's bad," student body Vice President Diojot Shergill said. But Shergill also said deportation was too harsh of an outcome. Classmates feel it was more in line with a student prank, even though Munoz did if for cash….According to another student named Dursimrim Kalar, "She should not be deported for making weed brownies. I know lots of students who do that."…

Chris Patterson, "Teen Faces Deportation for Sale of Pot," CBS News, April 10, 2014

Friday, April 11, 2014

Criminal Justice Quotes: Smart Guns, Stupid Idea

     Attorney General Eric Holder wants to explore "common sense" gun reforms, like mandating that gun owners should have to wear bracelets before they could activate their firearms. Holder made his remarks while testifying before a U.S. House of Representatives appropriations committee on Friday April 4, 2014. He acknowledged the existence of the Second Amendment, which gives people the unqualified right to own and carry weapons, but nevertheless expressed support for several gun control measures that he described as "common sense reforms."…

     "One of the things we learned when we were trying to pass those common sense reforms last year…is how guns can be made more safe by making them…talk to a bracelet that you might wear--how guns can be used only by the person who is lawfully in possession of the weapon," said Holder, referring to the so-called "smart gun" technology….[Here's an idea: How about manufacturing even smarter guns that in the hands of an ex-gun felon cannot be discharged as long as he is wearing his mandated bracelet that deactivates all firearms.]

Robby Soave, "Eric Holder Wants Gun Owners to Wear 'Smart Gun' Bracelets," The Daily Caller, April 7, 2014  

Whackademia Quote: The New College Major--Rioting

    An annual celebration at Iowa State University has gotten out of hand with a rowdy crowd overturning cars and knocking down light poles, seriously injuring one student. Police say the crowd began amassing late on the night of April 8, 2014 in the Campustown area in Ames and started pelting officers with rocks and beer cans.

     People in the crowd overturned at least two cars and knocked down two light poles, and one reportedly stuck a student. The injured person eventually had to be airlifted to a Des Moines hospital.

     University president Steven Leath says his university cabinet will gather to evaluate options for the remainder of the week's activities for the annual Veishea celebration, one of the oldest campus traditions, showcasing a variety of educational and entertainment events. [These university administrators should start a new tradition--no more "celebrations." That, of course, will not happen. If it did, the students might riot.]  

Criminal Justice Quote: Street Crime in Rio

On April 9, 2014 a television network was conducting a live interview with a woman about Rio, Brazil's street crime when a robber brazenly ripped a gold chain from her neck.

"How Bad is Brazil's Crime?" NPR, April 10, 2014 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: Smart Car Tipping

     How many goofballs does it take to flip over a Smart Car? Andrew Smith wants to know. Early Monday morning, April 7, 2014, he heard a loud racket outside his apartment in San Francisco's Bernal Heights neighborhood and thought nothing of it. Then a neighbor knocked on his door and told him that his wife's 2009 Smart Car--all 1,808 pounds of it--was sitting on its roof….

     San Francisco was abuzz over the trail of the tiny two seaters that were turned on their sides. A fourth car had been propped up on its rear end….San Francisco police said car flippers had also struck in the Exceisior neighborhood. One witness…saw about eight hoodie-clad men…pile out of a van and in mere moments flip a car on its side.

     The pranks against the German cars, first manufactured in the late 90s, will be investigated as felony vandalism. The fad began years ago in Amsterdam where Dutch delinquents deposited the vehicles into canals. The fad also has taken root in Canada….

David E. Early, "Smart Car Tipping Takes a Mysterious Turn in San Francisco," San Jose Mercury News, April 8, 2014


Criminal Justice Quote: Do Guns Save Lives?

     There are conflicting estimates of the number of individuals who successfully use guns to defend themselves and others. Neither police departments nor the federal government keep such statistics. Gary Kleck, a criminologist at Florida State University, has done extensive research into all forms of gun violence. In his widely acclaimed 1991 book, Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America, Kleck estimates that there are between 400,000 and 500,000 uses of firearms each year for defensive purposes. In recent years, his research has indicated that there may be up to 2.5 million instances of self-defense with firearms annually.

     The vast majority of these confrontations do not end in violence--usually a potential victim merely shows a gun and an aggressor retreats….

Robert A. Waters, The Best Defense, 1998

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wrestling With Unruly Students

     A cell phone video showing a teacher and wrestling coach at Santa Monica High School fighting with a student has gone viral and the teacher and coach have been placed on leave…In a letter to parents, Sandra Lyon, the superintendent of the Santa Monica Unified School District, said the altercation happened in a classroom Friday morning, April 4, 2014.

     "A deeply disturbing incident involving a teacher and student occurred in a classroom at Santa Monica High School, resulting in the Santa Monica Police Department being called to the campus. A number of videos capturing at least a portion of the incident are circulating, and I can tell you from what I witnessed on one of those videos is utterly alarming," Lyon wrote. [Really? Utterly?]

     Lyon added, "Based on what I have viewed, the kind of physical restraint used by the teacher is unacceptable. I have placed the teacher on leave pending the outcome of an independent investigation." CBS Los Angeles reports witnesses said the incident unfolded because the student was openly holding a bag of marijuana. [I would say this is "utterly alarming."]

     When the teacher, who students identified as science teacher Mark Black, tried to confiscate it, the student got physical….There has been an outpouring of support for Black on social media. Many argue it was clear that Black was defending himself. Some said Lyon acted hastily in placing him on leave and called for the superintendent to resign….

"Teacher on Leave After Fight With Student Caught on Video," CBS News, April 7, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: Individual Rights Versus the Public Good

     The parents of the child with autism in Hartford, Connecticut, were convinced that he should be in the classroom with other students. He had shown a tendency to be violent at an early age, but by 2002, when in the seventh grade, he was unusually large and increasingly prone to violence. He began attacking other students without provocation. He kicked the teacher and, a few days later, punched her in the face. The school told the parents that he had to be removed to an environment where he couldn't injure others. Asserting their legal rights under federal law, they refused. His conduct grew worse. He bragged about hitting the teacher, and started throwing furniture. The sense of urgency increased. "It is very difficult to control him while he is throwing furniture," the teacher's report stated. "He is a grave danger to other children, paraprofessionals and the teachers."

     The class practiced evacuation drills so that they could move quickly when the attacks started. But no one at the school had the authority to send him to a special educational setting where there was more control. Under federal law, the school had to institute formal legal proceedings and receive a formal order from the judge. The parents, heedless to the terror felt by the other students, demanded that their child stay put. The teacher took a leave of absence. After almost two years of legal hearings and thousands of dollars of expense, the school finally received the final order in the spring of 2004 that the child was unsuited to be in the classroom with other students,

      Fairness is an important goal for Americans. But what happened in Hartford, Connecticut doesn't bear much resemblance to fairness. Disruption is by definition abusive, even if at the hands of someone who can't help himself. But no one in the school had the authority to weigh the needs of the individual against those of the rest of the school community--at least not without drawn-out legal proceedings.

Philip K. Howard, Life Without Lawyers, 2009 

Criminal Justice Quote: Raiding FBI Agents Paw Through Old Man's Artifact Collection

     Dozens of FBI agents and police cars have descended upon the Indiana home of 91-year-old Donald Miller, a world traveler with a massive rare artifacts collection. The raid was in response to government concerns that Miller's collection may violate international treaties. [And we thought terrorism was a problem. Thank God for the FBI watching out for us.]

     Mr. Miller is a popular figure in the Rush County, Indiana community, and his collection has been featured in the local newspaper. Neighbors say that he is a kind old man with a fascinating life story: He worked on the Manhattan Project [the development of the atomic bomb] and visited more than 200 countries….Miller claims that he acquired the items legitimately, by bartering for them. He has always been willing to show visitors his collection.

     But the FBI thinks his collection might violate state and federal laws, as well as international treaties. Agents arrived at the house on April 2, 2014, sorting through the artifacts and trying to determine how each was acquired. It is unknown whether Miller will face criminal charges.

     Members of the community told reporters that Mr. Miller is an icon and his collection a historical landmark. "Leave the old man alone!" said Andi Essex, whose company did work on Miller's house. "He's done so much for people." Essex said she was amazed by Miller's collection when she first saw it. She asked if she could bring her grandfather to the house to see it, and Miller enthusiastically agreed….

     The collection includes a human skeleton and a piece of a Nazi bunker, according to Essex.

Robby Soave, "Your Tax Dollars at Work: FBI Raids 91-Year-Old Man's Rare Artifact Collection," The Daily Caller, April 4, 2014 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Whackadamia Quote: Let's Do Away With Spring Break

     A popular spring break party near the University of California, Santa Barbara campus turned violent Saturday, April 5, 2014, resulting in more than 50 arrests and 6 injured police officers. Hundreds of law enforcement officers spent Saturday night and early Sunday morning restoring order to the streets of Isla Vista….

     At about 9:30 Saturday night, a campus police officer was hit in the head with a backpack that contained large bottles of alcohol. The violence escalated when a sheriff's deputy was hit in the head with a brick.

     Street signs were vandalized, mattresses set on fire and property, including law enforcement vehicles, were damaged, amid the riot….Authorities used tear gas, pepper spray, flash bang grenades and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. At least 96 people were taken into custody and at least 44 people where hospitalized….

     The riot reportedly bagan after authorities responded to two stabbings in the area, but it's not yet clear what prompted the disturbance….

Jessica Chasmar, "56 Revelers Arrested, 6 Officers Injured in California Spring Break Riot," The Washington Times, April 6, 2014 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Detroit Mob Assaults Steven Utash After His Truck Hits Boy

     At four in the afternoon of April 2, 2014, Steven Utash, a 54-year-old tree trimmer from the Detroit suburb of Roseville, struck a ten-year-old boy while driving his pickup truck home from work on a busy thoroughfare in an east side Detroit neighborhood. The boy was hit when he darted onto the street into the path of the slow moving vehicle. The accident happened near a Clark gas station, a Happy's Pizza place, and a liquor store.

     Immediately after the mishap, Mr. Utash pulled over, jumped out of his truck, and ran to the screaming boy. What unfolded next was caught on a Clark gas station surveillance camera. 

     Ten or more men quickly surrounded Mr. Utash and began punching and kicking him. As he lay on the pavement being beaten, Mr. Utash repeatedly said he was sorry and pleaded with his attackers to stop. With his wallet, paycheck and cash gone, and his cellphone and equipment stolen from his truck, the bloodied Mr. Utash stumbled toward the gas station to get help. One man who tried to help him was himself assaulted by the mob. 

     Paramedics transported the ten-year-old to St. John's Hospital where a doctor treated him for scrapes, bruises, a swollen lip, and a sore foot. None of the boy's bones had been broken. Under the circumstances, his injuries were minor and he would be fine. 

     At the same  hospital, Physicians placed Mr. Utash into an induced coma. According to reports, he suffered serious brain injury that will require a prolonged period of recovery. 

     Outraged citizens in the Detroit area, through an Internet program called Go Fund Me, raised on Mr. Utash's behalf, $96,000 in just a few days. The campaign has drawn more than 2,000 donors. The hard working victim of the unprovoked vigilante attack earns a modest living, and does not have health care insurance. It is estimated that Mr. Utash's hospital costs are $20,000 a day. 

     On April 5, 2014, Detroit police officers arrested two teenage boys believed to have been involved in the gang assault. The unnamed suspects are 16 and 18-years-old. In the wake of the attack, Detroit police chief Mike Duggan asked residents of the east side neighborhood to remain calm, and people outraged by the assault to have patience while detectives work to identify all of the attackers and thieves.

     In June 2014, one of the suspects, 18-year-old Bruce Wimbush, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault.

     Although Mr. Utash is white and all of his attackers are black, the chief of police said the crime was not motivated by race. Many people consider that analysis nothing more than politically correct rhetoric.  If Mr. Utash had been black, would he have been so viciously attacked and robbed? If Mr. Utash were black and all of his attackers white, would the media race baiters be out in full force? This is a disturbing case. 

Criminal Justice Quote: Man Missing For a Year Was Dead in His Home

     An Alaska man missing for more than a year was found dead in his home on Monday, March 31, 2014….The home had been occupied by renters for nearly a year, but they apparently had no idea the body was in the home….Samuel E. McAlpine, 37, was last seen March 17, 2013, when he told his mother he was going on a date. McAlpine's sister reported him missing 12 days later….

     Family members weren't initially concerned, because he frequently disappeared for weeks at a time….McAlpine was going though a divorce at the time and had moved out of the home he shared with his now ex-wife, Christine….They were unable to sell the home, so Christine rented it out to tenants. Those tenants moved in to the McAlpine home around April 1, 2013, and recently moved out….

    Christine detected a foul oder when she came to clean and show the house to potential new tenants. She discovered her ex-husband's body in a small storage space under the stairs. Police, who do not suspect foul play, think McAlpine died before the tenants moved in….Drugs and alcohol are believed to have played a role. An autopsy is pending….

Kevin Conion, "Missing Alaska Man Found Dead in Home After a Year," CNN, April 2, 2014 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: Stay Away From Cops in Riot Gear

     The Tucson police officer who was caught on video brutally pummeling a female student as she walked innocuously near the campus of the University of Arizona has been identified as Joel Mann….The thuggish incident occurred on Saturday, March 29, 2014 as packed bars near campus cleared out after the Arizona Wildcats men's basketball team lost a thrilling overtime game.

     Mann, a sergeant with 18 years of experience, was one of a legion of officers deployed in full, pseudo-military riot gear. He wore a helmet and face shield. In the video, Mann comes out of absolutely nowhere and violently pushes a woman over a metal frame. She is smashed head over heels to the ground….

     Tucson's police department has reassigned Mann after a large number of anonymous threats were made against him….All told, about 50 police officers showed up in riot gear that night. Numerous bystanders say the officers began to act with great hostility toward people in the vast crowd--essentially starting the riot they were sent to prevent. The department has indicated that it is investigating the threats against Mann, and, if warranted, will seek prosecution. It's not clear if Tucson police will seek prosecution against Mann for his violent outburst against the student….

Eric Owens, "Tucson Cop Who Randomly Slammed Woman to the Ground Not So Tough After Receiving Threats," The Daily Caller, April 3, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: Guns in America

     American culture is a gun culture--not merely in the sense that 75 to 86 million people own a total of about 200 to 240 million guns, but in the broader sense that guns pervade our debates on crime and are constantly present in movies and the news. How many times have we read about shootings, or how many times have we heard about tragic accidental gun deaths--bad guys shooting innocent victims, bad guys shooting each other in drug wars, shots fired in self-defense, police shootings of criminals, let alone shooting in wars? We are inundated by images through the television and the press. Our kids are fascinated by computer war games and toy guns.

     So we're obsessed with guns. But the big question is: What do we really know? How many times have most of us actually used a gun or seen a gun being used? How many of us have ever seen somebody in real life threatening somebody else with a gun, witnessed a shooting, or seen people defend themselves by displaying or firing guns?

     The truth is that most of us have very little firsthand experience with using guns as weapons. Even the vast majority of police officers have never exchanged shots with a suspect. Most of use receive our images of guns and their use through television, film, and newspapers.

John R. Lott, More Guns, Less Crime, Second Edition, 2000

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: Medical Examiners Replacing Coroners

In response to the corruption and bad science, Massachusetts established the first medical examiner system in 1877. The difference was that medical examiners were appointed pathologists with special training in forensics and death investigation; coroners were often elected lay people who relied on medical personnel to do autopsies. Most medical examiner systems lacked the political power of coroner's officers--they were not elected offices and they did not serve subpoenas, hold coroner's inquests in homicide cases, or issue arrest warrants. After Massachusetts switched to an ME system, New York City followed suit in 1918, and after 1950 a flurry of medical examiner systems displaced or began overseeing coroner's offices.

John Temple, Death House, 2005 

Criminal Justice Quote: Officer Cleared in Killing of Hostage Taker and Hostage

     The officer who can't shoot straight who killed an innocent Hofstra University student while a wanted felon was holding her at gunpoint has been cleared of wrongdoing. On April 2, 2014, the Nassau County, New York District Attorney's Office announced that Nassau County officer Nikolas Budimlic "acted accordingly" when he shot Andrea Rebello in the head….Budimlic "reasonably perceived threats of deadly force against himself and others and acted accordingly," declares the district attorney's official report.

     The incident occurred in May 2013 when Delton Smith, wearing a black ski mask and carrying a gun, went into a house near the Hofstra campus shared by Rebello, 21, her twin sister and others. It was about 2:30 in the morning. Smith, 30, was wanted for armed robbery….He forced students, including Rebello, upstairs and directed them to cough up valuables. One of the roommates offered to go to the ATM to get $700….Smith allowed the roommate to leave for the cash. When she did, she promptly called 911.

     Police arrived and commenced a deadly hostage standoff. Smith had Rebello in a headlock….Not content to let a robbery situation end without anybody dying, Budimlic fired a flurry of shots. He shot Smith seven times, killing him. Budimlic also shot Rebello in the head. She later died at Nassau University Medical Center.

Eric Owens, "Cop Who Shot Hofstra Student in the Head Walks Free," The Daily Caller, April 2, 2014 

Hellementary Education Quote: Middle School Students Hear Gym Teacher Recall His First Erection

     A northern California gym teacher is facing the wrath of angry parents after they discovered that he took it upon himself to teach his eighth-grade charges his very own version of the birds and the bees without parental permission. The unnamed gym teacher works at Morada Middle School in Morada, California, a speck of a town just outside of Stockton….Parents say his sex syllabus went way beyond the parameters of what is appropriate for junior high physical education coursework.

     "Come to find out, he also told the class when he got his first boner, which was very inappropriate, which is what made my daughter really uncomfortable," an anonymous parent reported. "That's not something she wanted to hear," the furious mother added….

     School district officials have placed the unidentified gym teacher on administrative leave. It's not clear if the leave is paid or unpaid….

Eric Owens, "Gym Teacher Designs His Own 'Sex Ed' Course, Tells Eighth Graders About His First Boner," The Daily Caller, April 3, 2014


Friday, April 4, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: School Nurse Suspended After Heroin Bust

     A nurse at Narragansett High School in Charlestown, Rhode Island is on paid administrative leave after being charged with heroin possession….Lynn A. Magnusen, 52 is facing the drug possession charge after police say they found her unconscious in a car at Rippy's Liquor & Marketplace at 7:10 PM on March 13, 2014.

     Magnusen, while at police headquarters, retrieved a small bag of heroin from her vagina. Narragansett schools superintendent Katherine Sipala said that Magnusen was placed on paid administrative leave on March 17 on the advice of school lawyer Stephen M. Robinson. A substitute nurse has been hired to fill in for Magnusen at the school for the remainder of the school year….

Katie Mulvaney, "Narragansett High Nurse Faces Heroin Possession Charge," Providence Journal, March 31, 2014 

Criminal Justice Quote: Illegal Aliens Convicted of Other Crimes Not Deported

     Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released 68,000 foreign nationals who had criminal convictions last year [2013] instead of pursuing deportation, according to newly uncovered documents--a statistic one senator says represents an enforcement crisis. The internal documents were obtained and published by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), a Washington D.C.-based group that advocates stricter immigration enforcement. According to the documents and the group's analysis, ICE agents reported encountering 193,000 "criminal aliens" in 2013, but only targeted 125,000 for deportation. a total of 67,879 were released. CIS called it a "large scale abuse of authority."

     "The Obama administration's deliberate obstruction of immigration enforcement, in which tens of thousands of criminal aliens are released instead of removed, is threatening the well-being of American communities," study author Jessica Vaughan said in a statement. "It's not a matter of if, but how many families will suffer harm as a result."

     The statistics challenge repeated claims by the administration that, when weighing whether to pursue deportation, they are prioritizing cases where the illegal immigrant in question has been convicted of a crime. Indeed, the documents show that those with a criminal record are far more likely to be targeted for deportation than those without one. But they also show the agency is letting thousands who have a criminal record off the hook.

     The CIS report said factors such as "family relationships, political considerations, or attention from advocacy groups" are likely helping to "trump criminal convictions as a factor leading to deportation."…

     The ICE documents did not break down the types of criminal activity that those allowed to stay in the country had been convicted of. But the CIS report noted a 2012 report by House Republicans that tracked 26,000 illegal and criminal immigrants who were re-arrested and found they were tied to 58,000 crimes and violations--many of them drunken driving arrests, but also major criminal offenses like murder and rape….

Judson Berger, "Enforcement 'Crisis'? Documents Show 68,000 'Criminal Aliens' Released Last Year," Fox News, March 31, 2014


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Whackademia Quote: Penn State Student Files False Kidnapping Report

     A Penn State student [main campus, State College] who told police she had been kidnapped from a campus sidewalk faced charges of making a false report. Police said on March 31, 2014 that Samantha Sernekos, 20, of Landing, New Jersey, admitted to authorities that the January 25 incident had not happened.

     Police Chief Tyrone Parham said authorities examined surveillance video and other evidence during a two-month investigation and concluded no crime had occurred. Campus police ramped up their night patrols after the student reported she had been pulled into a vehicle, driven off campus and escapted as her abductors were trying to assault her….

"Police: PSU Student Made Up Kidnap Story," Associated Press, March 31, 2014 

Whackademia Quote: The April Fool at Virginia College

     When the morning 911 call came in on April 1, 2014 about gunshots fired on the campus of Virginia College in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, police feared the worst. "I'm thinking Columbine High School, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech," Sheriff Chuck Wright told reporters.

     But it was all a bad April Fool's joke than an employee of the college tried to play on family members. But no one was laughing. And the woman who sent the text to her daughter that led to the 911 call has been arrested and charged with creating a disturbance with additional charges pending.

     It started when Angela Timmons, a 54-year-old employee of the college fired off a text message to a family member saying that she heard gunshots inside the building and was hiding in the bathroom for her own safety….A little later, another text from Timmons stated it was an April Fool's joke. And while the daughter called the police back, it was too late….Police officers had already swarmed the campus….

John Luciew, "College Worker Arrested Over April Fool's Report of Gunshots Fired on Campus," PennLive.com, April 2, 2014


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Whackademia Quote: Ricin in McCarthy Hall

     A Georgetown University student who made deadly ricin in his dorm room was arrested in Washington, D.C. on March 21, 2014 for illegal possession of a biological toxin….The student, Daniel Harry Milzman, made the white powder with materials he bought at local stores, including The Home Depot and American Plant Company….He found the recipe for making ricin by doing a search on his iPhone….

     Wearing goggles and a dust mask for protection, Milzman used Epsom salts and castor beans, among other materials, to make the ricin in his dorm room about a month ago….He stored what he had made in plastic bags sealed with hockey tape.

     On Tuesday evening, March 18, 2014, Milzman showed some of his ricin to his residential advisor who promptly contacted the university's counseling services who in turn called the police….Milzman described his efforts during an interview with FBI agents later that day….The FBI Laboratory tested the  contents of the bags and confirmed they contained the ricin toxin….

"U.S. Student Arrested For Making Ricin in His Dormitory," Reuters, March 22, 2014 

Cop Arrested for Soliciting Prostitution

     A suburban Minneapolis police chief was arrested for allegedly soliciting a prostitute in February 2014--but stayed on the job until March 22, 2014. Robbinsdale's former top cop, Steven Smith, was one of 11 people who allegedly responded to a Backpage.com escorts advertisement, police in nearby Coon Rapids said in a release.

     Smith, 45, kept working until March 22--four days after a Coon Rapids officer happened to recognize him from his mugshot….The towns are twenty miles apart. According to Captain Cary Parks, "Smith had no identification on him [when arrested] that indicated he was a police officer." No one realized they'd cuffed the high-profile suspect….

     Cops said Smith had offered to pay $150 in cash for sex and $50 more not to use a condom….He used the name Scott as a alias….

     Coon Rapids police say the department is not obligated to notify an employer if one of its employees is arrested. State policy requires that cops notify their department within three days of an arrest….

Stephen Rex Brown, "Minnesota Police Chief Busted For Prostitution," New York Daily News, March 25, 2014 

Criminal Justice Quote: Murder-For-Hire Mastermind Escapes Execution

     The Mississippi Supreme Court on Thursday, March 17, 2014, denied a motion by the state to set an execution date for death row inmate Michelle Byrom. Byrom, 57, was convicted of hiring a hit man to shoot her husband, Edward Byrom Sr., in 1999. The state Attorney General's Office had requested March 27 to be Byrom's execution date.

     Byrom would be the first woman executed in Mississippi since 1944. Byrom argued in documents filed with the state Supreme Court that she has new evidence that her son, Edward Byom, Jr. killed her husband and that she never hired a hit man as her son told prosecutors. [The state supreme court has granted Byrom a new trial. Since 1976, 13 women have been put to death in the U.S. During this period more than 1,300 men have been executed. There are currently 63 women inhabiting the nation's death rows.]

Therese Apel, "No Execution Date Set For Mississippi Woman," (Jackson, Mississippi) Clarion-Ledger, March 28, 2014 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: Trigger-Happy Albuquerque Cops

     The Albuquerque Police Department has come under fire for killing a possibly unarmed suspect on his front porch just 10 days after officers shot an unarmed homeless man to death for what was essentially a trespassing charge. In the most recent case, the shooting death of Alfred Redwine, police insisted the man was armed and fired first….Police Chief Gordon Eden said he does not know whether the shooting was justified.

     Family members who witnessed the shooting claim that Redwine was unarmed, however. He was holding a cell phone, not a weapon, they said. Cell phone footage suggests that Redwine did not fire a weapon….Police were responding to a domestic disturbance call in which a woman claimed that Redwine was pointing a gun at her children….

     Redwine was the second ABQ police victim in 10 days. Officers also killed a homeless man who had camped in an unauthorized area. Police evidently only meant to shoot him with non-lethal rounds, but at least one real round hit him, and he died from his injuries….

     The ABQ police department is currently under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Robby Soave, "Did Albuquerque Police Jump the Gun Again?" The Daily Caller, March 27, 2014 

Criminal Justice Quote: Home Invader Shoots and Kills 10-Year-Old Girl

     Washington, Pennsylvania police said someone fired multiple shots through the closed front door of the apartment where Taniyah Thomas, 10, her mother, her mother's boyfriend and an infant were sleeping early Monday, March 31, 2014. One of the shots struck Thomas in the head, killing her, as she was moving through a hallway in her home….The shooting happened about 3:50 AM. Thomas was pronounced dead at 4:19 AM.

     At a news conference, police say they suspect the shooting was the result of an attempted home invasion, but they didn't say who might have been the intended target….The suspect or suspects fled after the shooting. Police said the shooter or shooters didn't enter the apartment.

     In addition to Thomas, police said her mother Shantye Brown, 34, the mother's boyfriend Robert Lester, 26, and an infant were inside the residence….

Jason Cato, "10-Year-Old Girl Shot and Killed in Washington," Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, March 31, 2014 

Criminal Justice Quote: 86-Year-Old Man Commits Double Murder Then Kills Himself

     An apparent dispute over housing ended with an 86-year-old NewYork City man shooting his grandson and killing his grandson's girlfriend before taking his own life….Police were trying to sort out what led Heriberto Pagan to drive from his home in Brooklyn to his daughter's Staten Island house on Friday, March 28, 2014 and shoot two people before taking his own life….

     Investigators were looking into the possibility that the grandson "was trying to take over" the home with his girlfriend and Pagan "wasn't appreciative of the way" his daughter was being treated in the process. It was not clear if the daughter was at home at the time.

     Police found Pagan, a gunshot wound to the head, outside his car Friday evening near the home where the shootings occurred. He was hospitalized in critical condition, but died the next morning….In the vicinity, police were alerted to another shooting victim, Pagan's 47-year-old grandson, who was critically injured with a gunshot wound to the head and found outside the Staten Island house where he lived with his mother and girlfriend….

     Inside the house, police found a second victim, Claritle Christina Huerta, 28, also shot in the head. She was pronounced dead at a local hospital….Pagan shot his grandson as the younger man approached the house. He then shot Huerta inside before driving a few blocks and shooting himself….

Ray Sanchez and Morgan Winsor, "NY Man, 86, Shoots Grandson, Girlfriend Before Taking Own Life," CNN, March 29, 2014