Tag Archives | Crime

“They Did What They Liked”: Chevron and Dow on Trial

Jonathan McIntosh (CC BY 2.0)

Jonathan McIntosh (CC BY 2.0)

via Dissent Magazine:

“They want me to be bankrupt, they want my wife to leave me, they want me to jump off a building,” says Steven Donziger, a lawyer based in New York City whose team won an unprecedented judgment against Chevron in 2011. That year, an Ecuadorean court found Texaco guilty of having polluted close to 2,000 square miles of the Amazon basin with crude oil, toxic wastewater, and other contaminants. The country’s Supreme Court eventually ordered the company’s successor, Chevron, to pay $9.5 billion for environmental remediation, medical treatment, and other relief for those affected. But Donziger’s victory painted a bull’s-eye on his back. The lawyer says he’s been watched; that he’s had laptops, thousands of documents, bank statements, and tax returns seized by court order and handed to Chevron’s lawyers; and that friends and supporters have been turned against him by threats of ruinous lawsuits.

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Facebook threats and the Supreme Court: a guide to today’s case

John Marino (CC BY 2.0)

John Marino (CC BY 2.0)

via Gigaom:

The Supreme Court on Monday will hear the appeal of a man who went to prison for posting violent rants on Facebook. The case will shape the future of what people can and can’t say online, and is being closely watched by the tech industry, domestic violence groups, and civil libertarians.

Here’s a short overview of the facts and the law, and where to learn more.

What did the man write on Facebook to land in such trouble?

Anthony Elonis, a 31-year-old man from a small town in Pennsylvania, served more than 3 years in prison over a series of Facebook posts in which he threatened to kill his ex-wife, strap a bomb to his chest and shoot up a kindergarten class. Elonis says he never intended to harm anyone, and the Facebook posts — many of them rap lyrics quoting Eminem — were just a way of  a venting, and that the violence he described was no more than hip hop-inspired hyperbole.

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Cops Arrest 90-Year-Old Advocate and Clergy For Scary Crime of Feeding the Hungry

Abby Zimet writes at Common Dreams:

Bound by faith and virtue to resist newly passed “homeless hate laws” in Fort Lauderdale, a 90-year-old homeless advocate and two ministers were arrested by a phalanx of burly cops for resolutely continuing to share food with homeless people in public, part of a “week of resistance” to a growing body of laws there and in at least 20 other cities that criminalize poor people by restricting their panhandling, camping, storing belongings, going to the bathroom and other activities deemed  “life sustaining” to the homeless – that is, essentially, for existing. The ordinance against food-sharing, which went into effect Friday, sparked a call for a week-long series of actions and protests by churches and advocacy groups; among them, Food Not Bombs vowed to mark the law’s passage on its first day, Halloween, by holding their usual weekly food share and greeting the city “with our middle fingers fully extended.”

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‘I hate Fox News’: California man attacks Halloween reveler in reporter costume

Sean Kory

Sean Kory

via The Raw Story:

Police arrested a California man who was accused of attacking a Halloween reveler dressed up as a Fox News reporter.

Sean Kory shouted, “I hate Fox News,” before grabbing the victim’s microphone prop, shoving it down his pants, and rubbing it on his crotch, police said.

The 29-year-old Kory then attacked the phony reporter with an aluminum tennis racket, investigators said.

The victim was not injured in the attack.

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Does Inequality Cause Crime?

By craftivist collective via Flickr (cc by 2.0).

By craftivist collective via Flickr (cc by 2.0).

Surprised?

via The Atlantic:

In 1899, Thorstein Veblen described a type of good that is more lusted after the more expensive it is (think Ferraris). And in 1968, the economist Gary S. Becker theorized that criminals perform cost-benefit analyses just like everyone else: What are the odds of getting caught, and what’s the potential payoff? These two frameworks have lived out vibrant lives in academic journals, high-school textbooks, and college lecture halls, but, as they’re ostensibly unrelated, they’ve rarely been put in conversation with one another.

A study put out this month in Oxford Economic Papers does just that, in an effort to come up with a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between inequality and violence. There’s a good amount of research from all over the world that suggests that places with pronounced income inequality are more likely to have high rates of violent crime, a finding that makes intuitive sense: the wider the socioeconomic gap, per Becker’s 1968 model, the more gains potential criminals perceive.

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Finally, Wall Street gets put on trial: We can still hold the 0.1 percent responsible for tanking the economy

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan ChaseA recent fraud trial in Califirnia could finally pave the way for culpable Wall Street banksters to be criminally prosecuted, reports Thomas Frank at Salon:

The Tea Party regards Barack Obama as a kind of devil figure, but when it comes to hunting down the fraudsters responsible for the economic disaster of the last six years, his administration has stuck pretty close to the Tea Party script. The initial conservative reaction to the disaster, you will recall, was to blame the crisis on the people at the bottom, on minorities and proletarians lost in an orgy of financial misbehavior. Sure enough, when taking on ordinary people who got loans during the real-estate bubble, the president’s Department of Justice has shown admirable devotion to duty, filing hundreds of mortgage-fraud cases against small-timers.

But high-ranking financiers? Obama’s Department of Justice has thus far shown virtually no interest in holding leading bankers criminally accountable for what went on in the last decade.

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Precognitive police

What could possibly go wrong? Color blind profiling? An excuse to shoot first and cover up later? A dystopian nightmare waiting to happen? What are your thoughts disinfonauts?

via aeonPP_image_Wiki

Predictive policing could help prevent crime. But do we want a future where computer oracles and spies track us from birth?

When a troubled young man named Adam Lanza stormed into Sandy Hook Elementary School and slaughtered 20 first-graders and six teachers in a small Connecticut suburb in December of 2012, a shroud of sorrow and confusion engulfed the United States and countries all over the world. Why were all these children murdered, and why did someone so clearly disordered have access to so many guns?

I covered the mass shooting for the New York Daily News, and worked 14-hour days interviewing victims’ families, attending press conferences, and doing as much on-ground reporting as possible. The toughest part of the coverage came a week in, at the memorial for a six-year-old named Dylan Hockley.

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Medicare Scam: Billions went to powered wheelchairs, but how many claims were legitimate?

Pride Jazzy Select power chair by  Stephen B Calvert Clariosophic (Wikimedia Commons)

Pride Jazzy Select power chair by Stephen B Calvert Clariosophic (Wikimedia Commons)

via The Washington Post:

LOS ANGELES — In the little office where they ran the scam, a cellphone would ring on Sonia Bonilla’s desk. That was the sound of good news: Somebody had found them a patient.

When Bonilla answered the phone, one of the scam’s professional “patient recruiters” would read off the personal data of a senior citizen. Name. DOB. Medicare ID number. Bonilla would hang up and call Medicare, the enormous federal health-insurance program for those over 65.

She asked a single question: Had the government ever bought this patient a power wheelchair?

No? Then the scam was off and running.

“If they did not have one, they would be taken to the doctor, so the doctor could prescribe a chair for them,” Bonilla recalled. On a log sheet, Bonilla would make a note that the recruiter was owed an $800 finder’s fee.

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Time is a Flat Circle: ‘True Detective’ as Psychodrama

true-detective-1Many will agree that HBO’s True Detective season 1 has been one of the more thought provoking episodic narratives of 2014. HBO has defined itself for some time now on distributing quality original content, leading the way in that regard, though Netflix is now entering the picture as a serious contender in its own right.

Nevertheless, there is something particularly daring about using the tried and true, rather old school cops and bad guys format for a character-piece.

What do I mean by that? Well, the case they are investigating does little more than provide us a mirror for the two “bad men,” our protagonists Rust and Marty. So if you’re looking to unlock the Keys to Carcosa, you’re going to be horribly frustrated with this series.

The Lange murder is just a Trojan Horse. The real story here is much richer and stranger: who are these men, and how did this murder change their lives?

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Chicago Just Convicted A Thief Using Facial Recognition Technology

Now that the general public knows that they are being watched, may as well reinforce that with confirmation. No need to worry, right? You’ve done nothing wrong.

English: Different Types of Cctv Cameras

Different Types of Cctv Cameras (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

via Vocativ

For years, we’ve been hearing about how facial recognition software will help solve crime.

Privacy concerns aside, this is the idea: If a criminal is caught committing an offense on surveillance footage, the technology could theoretically scan the person’s face and produce a positive ID based on mug shots or DMV photos.

The problem is, the software kind of sucks, partially because surveillance footage is so grainy. This was one of the many subplots that unfolded in the wake of the Boston marathon bombing.

But the technology is getting smarter.

In Chicago, the tech was used—for the first time in the city’s history—to find a crook and lock him up in prison.

Pierre D. Martin, 35, was a small-time criminal with a long rap sheet, and his mug shot appeared in the police system.

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