July 24, 2012 |
The NCAA has done more than hammer the Penn State football program with crippling sanctions. It has entered the crime business. In past situations in which athletics and criminal activity intertwined, the NCAA got involved only after its rules had been violated. For example, in 2003, when Baylor basketball player Patrick Dennehy was killed by a teammate, the NCAA stepped in with penalties when it learned the coach was paying players. Whether the NCAA overstepped its bounds in the Penn State case has been debated.
July 23, 2012 |
Let's be clear: The NCAA, as expected, dropped a Monday-morning hammer on Penn State's football program. NCAA President Mark Emmert was given extraordinary power to use Wild West justice in the most heinous of circumstances. Emmert correctly called the child-abuse case that led to former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky's conviction “an unprecedented, painful chapter in the history of college athletics.” Penn State's football program, as I wrote in November after the scandal broke, is doomed for a decade.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 11, 2012 |
Los Angeles County prosecutors and sheriff's officials have for years concealed complaints about law enforcement misconduct and other important evidence from defendants in criminal cases, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday by civil rights attorneys and legal scholars. At a news conference announcing the suit, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California blasted the Sheriff's Department and district attorney's office for following policies he said played "fast and loose with evidence of innocence of those prosecuted.
June 4, 2012 |
CAIRO - In a cafe off the Nile, a man with a backpack and a quiet air orders double espressos and awaits the next twist in a diplomatic drama that has cast him as the lone American peering from a defendant's cage in a musty Egyptian courtroom. It's not an image Washington or Cairo relishes, but Robert Becker, the son of a firefighter who wanders the world as a political operative, is a chain-smoking conundrum, a man of principle to his friends but a tedious complication to U.S. and Egyptian officials seeking to move beyond a scandal that has damaged relations between once-close allies.
May 30, 2012 |
This is a corrected version of the original post; see the note below. Brian Banks spent more than five years in prison for a rape and kidnapping that, as the courts now find, he did not commit; the repercussions of how the case sorts itself out in the justice system will take a lot longer than that. There are several threads to follow and figure out in the story of the promising teenaged Long Beach football star who, on his lawyer's advice, pleaded no contest to the rape charge rather than chance a jury trial and a 40-years-to-life sentence.
April 12, 2012 |
Successfully prosecuting neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman for second-degree murder will require an excruciatingly detailed timeline about the last few minutes of Trayvon Martin's life -- and finding jurors who haven't already made up their minds about the highly...
March 21, 2012 |
Defendants in criminal cases have a constitutional right to a competent lawyer's advice when deciding whether to accept a plea bargain, the Supreme Court ruled, providing a significant expansion of rights that could have a broad impact on the justice system. "Ours for the most part is a system of pleas, not a system of trials," Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said for the majority in a pair of 5-4 decisions. Noting that about 97% of federal convictions and 94% of state convictions result from guilty pleas, Kennedy wrote that "in today's criminal justice system, the negotiation of a plea bargain, rather than the unfolding of a trial, is almost always the critical point for the defendant.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 19, 2012 |
The interview begins on a cheerful note. USC law professor Thomas Lyon asks a 4-year-old to tell him about her last birthday. She says she took ice cream, chocolate and cake, "mixed it up and ate it. " Then she shared some with her brothers. Lyon gently turns to the tragic matter at hand. "Tell me why you came to talk to me; tell me what happened," he asks the child, the only eyewitness to a homicide. At first she mumbles "hmm" a few times and rocks in her chair as Lyon repeats the question.
January 20, 2012 |
The Justice Department has conducted a major action to shut down MegaUpload, a popular file-sharing site widely used for free downloads of movies and television shows. After receiving indictments from a grand jury in Virginia for racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to commit copyright infringement and other charges Jan. 5, federal authorities Thursday arrested four people and executed more than 20 search warrants in the U.S. and eight foreign countries. Authorities also seized 18 domain names and an estimated $50 million in assets, including servers run in Virginia and Washington, D.C. MegaUpload is a "digital locker" that allows users to store files that can be streamed or downloaded by others.
January 20, 2012
The Obama administration this week urged the Supreme Court to let it apply new laws to old crimes in cases against immigrants who are in the country legally. But that kind of retroactivity would be both unusual and unfair; the court should say no. The administration made its argument in Vartelas vs. Holder, a case that will test whether a provision in a sweeping 1996 immigration law that bars legal immigrants convicted of certain crimes from traveling abroad and then reentering the United States can be applied to people whose crimes were committed before the law was passed.