Tag Archives | Crime & Punishment

Real-Life Superhero Defends Tennessee Town

ViperVia NBC News:
COLUMBIA, TN (NBC) — In a town where they've engraved "justice" and "honor" on the public square, a new word, a new name is the talk of Columbia. Bike shop owner A.C. Howell said, "The Viper, I believe. Isn't he the Masked Viper?" Yes, the Viper. He's a man police found patrolling the public square with an arsenal of equipment, including plastic sticks and ninja throwing stars. His goal? Find crime and report it to police. Officers spotted him outside the wheel last week. The bike shop's owner couldn't help but chuckle. "I don't know. He needs something to do. Probably needs a job. I hope he's looking out for my benefit. I hope he's guarding my store," said Howell.
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31-Year-Old Woman Poses As 14-Year-Old Boy to Become 16-Year-Old Girl’s “Boyfriend”

Patricia Dye, 31

Patricia Dye, 31

Lawrence Budd of the Dayton Daily News writes:

A Franklin woman pretended to be a 14-year-old boy named Matt Abrams to get close to a Springboro girl, authorities said.

Patricia Dye, 31, of Franklin, remained in the Warren County Jail on Tuesday, July 6, charged with unlawful sexual conduct with and corruption of a 16-year-old Springboro girl in late May at the girl’s home. Dye, who used the alias Matt Abrams, is 4 feet 11 inches tall, smaller than the 5-foot-5 victim, according to police reports.

“They were boyfriend-girlfriend,” Sgt. Bob Marchiny said. “(Dye) looks just like a boy.” Police began investigating Dye after the girl ran away from a hotel where they had been living together for three days in June. The girl did not realize Dye was a woman, Marchiny said.

“We realized the person she was with wasn’t who we thought she was,” Marchiny said.

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Man Arrested for Photographing Cop Who Followed Him Into His Home

No Cell Phones!Rosa Golijan writes on Gizmodo:
We've discussed the legality of recording on-duty police officers in the past, but that was in the context of public streets. What if the officer you're photographing followed you into your home — without just cause? A man named Francisco Olvera found out what happens when he was arrested for "illegal photography" by an officer in Sealy, Texas: Olvera says the trouble started when Alderete responded to a complaint of loud music coming from his home. In front of the home, Alderete asked Olvera to show identification and as Olvera walked into his house to get it, Alderete followed him in. "Olvera did not believe that Alderete had the authority to enter Olvera's residence and, therefore, took a picture of Alderete using his cell phone," the complaint states. Olvera claims that Alderete saw a can of beer on a kitchen counter, next to Olvera's wallet, and immediately handcuffed him.
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Nebraska Man: Hitler Made Me Grow Marijuana

Hitler PotSteve Elliott writes at Toke of the Town:
Sieg High? Just when you think you've heard every possible reason for cultivating cannabis, some imaginative farmer comes along to prove you wrong. A 42-year-old Nebraska man told police "Adolf Hitler made me grow it," after they discovered marijuana plants in his West Omaha home, reports Jodi Baker at WOWT. The Omaha Police Department's narcotics unit served a court-ordered search warrant on Darin Badami's home near 114th and West Center Road on Wednesday morning. The man's unique excuse didn't get him out of being arrested on felony charges. For those of a historical bent, Hitler, despite being born on April 20, was a non-smoker who initiated the first anti-smoking campaign in modern history.
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Drunken Mugshots Are Nothing New: Here Are Some British DUIs From 1904

Caught drunk driving a steam engine? Via the Daily Mail:

Drunk in 1904

James Doyle, a labourer, was convicted of being drunk and disorderly in a public house in 1904.

Angry, bewildered and shame-faced these Edwardian drunks stare into the lens of the police camera.

They were ‘habitual drunkards’ whose offences included being caught while in charge of a horse, carriage and even a steam engine.

Issued a century ago, the drunks were given the equivalent of modern-day Asbos in that they were banned from being served in pubs because of their past behaviour.

Information was compiled by the Watch Committee of the City of Birmingham, which was set up by the police to enforce the Licensing Act of 1902.

The act was passed in an attempt to deal with public drunks, giving police the power to apprehend those found drunk in any public place and unable to take care of themselves.

Read More and see lots of photos in the Daily Mail

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When Twitter Can Make You A Jailbird

Go To Jail CardRICHARD LARDNER writes on the AP via Yahoo News

Maxi Sopo was having so much fun “living in paradise” in Mexico that he posted about it on Facebook so all his friends could follow his adventures. Others were watching, too: A federal prosecutor in Seattle, where Sopo was wanted on bank fraud charges.

Tracking Sopo through his public “friends” list, the prosecutor found his address and had Mexican authorities arrest him. Instead of sipping pina coladas, Sopo is awaiting extradition to the U.S.

Sopo learned the hard way: The Feds are on Facebook. And MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter, too.

Law enforcement agents are following the rest of the Internet world into popular social-networking services, even going undercover with false online profiles to communicate with suspects and gather private information, according to an internal Justice Department document that surfaced in a lawsuit.

The document shows that U.S. agents are logging on surreptitiously to exchange messages with suspects, identify a target’s friends or relatives and browse private information such as postings, personal photographs and video clips.

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How Not To Get 35 Years For Pot Possession

Texas PotCraig Malisow writes on Houston Press:

Smith County (East Texas) judges and juries have long had a reputation of meting out severe, some might say ridiculous, punishment for drug convictions. And Henry Wooten’s case is no exception: the 54-year-old Tyler man was sentenced to 35 years in prison for possessing slightly more than four ounces of pot. Wooten actually got off easy — the prosecutor asked the jury to give him 99 years. (We just hope TDCJ can free up room for this menace to society; maybe the state can release a child molester or serial arsonist to find a cell for Wooten.)

While the sentence may be asinine, we can’t help but feel Wooten brought much of this upon himself — mostly by choosing to be both a pothead and live in Tyler, when clearly that calls for an either/or scenario. But Wooten could have taken at least a few steps to minimize his chances of being busted so easily, and Hair Balls would like to lay out a few of these so that other lovers of the weed in Smith County can take heed.

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The Supreme Court Has Ruled That You’re Allowed to Ingest Any Drug, Especially If You’re An Addict

Another chapter from my book 50 Things You’re Not Supposed to Know, published in 2003.

For more on me, check out: The Memory Hole.

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Supreme SealIn the early 1920s, Dr. Linder was convicted of selling one morphine tablet and three cocaine tablets to a patient who was addicted to narcotics. The Supreme Court overturned the conviction, declaring that providing an addicted patient with a fairly small amount of drugs is an acceptable medical practice “when designed temporarily to alleviate an addict’s pains.” (Linder v. United States.)

In 1962, the Court heard the case of a man who had been sent to the clink under a California state law that made being an addict a criminal offense. Once again, the verdict was tossed out, with the Supremes saying that punishing an addict for being an addict is cruel and unusual and, thus, unconstitutional. (Robinson v. California.)

Six years later, the Supreme Court reaffirmed these principles in Powell v.Read the rest

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‘Toyota Defense’ Might Free Jailed Minnesota Man

Koua Fong Lee

Koua Fong Lee

STEVE KARNOWSKI writes on the AP via Yahoo News:

LINO LAKES, Minn. – Ever since his 1996 Toyota Camry shot up an interstate ramp, plowing into the back of an Oldsmobile in a horrific crash that killed three people, Koua Fong Lee insisted he had done everything he could to stop the car.

A jury didn’t believe him, and a judge sentenced him to eight years in prison. But now, new revelations of safety problems with Toyotas have Lee pressing to get his case reopened and his freedom restored. Relatives of the victims — who condemned Lee at his sentencing three years ago — now believe he is innocent and are planning to sue Toyota. The prosecutor who sent Lee to prison said he thinks the case merits another look.

“I know 100 percent in my heart that I took my foot off the gas and that I was stepping on the brakes as hard as possible,” Lee said in an interview Wednesday at the state prison in Lino Lakes.

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Stephen Fry And Friends Slam U.S. On Prison Population

British comedian/actor Stephen Fry and his pals ham it up on British TV show 'QI', making some very salient points about the ridiculously high levels of incarceration in the United States. You might think they are being anti-American, but listen more carefully: they are actually anti-human rights abuses.
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