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June 16, 2010 | By Maria L. La Ganga, Los Angeles Times
Declaring that the legal system should be allowed to do its job, Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Ron Brown sentenced Aaron Vargas to nine years in prison Tuesday for shooting to death the man who began molesting him when he was 11. Vargas, 32, was originally charged with murder for shooting Darrell McNeill, 63, to death in McNeill's Fort Bragg trailer in front of the man's horrified wife. He faced 50 years to life in prison for the Feb. 8, 2009, crime. Then other victims began to come forward alleging that McNeill had also molested them or tried to, including McNeill's stepson.
May 25, 2010 | By Susan Carpenter, Los Angeles Times
Like Carl Hiassen, Francine Prose and Susan Straight before him, John Grisham is paying attention to the younger set. His new legal thriller, "Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer," is targeted at readers between 9 and 12, the age group otherwise known as tweens. The main character of this novel, 13-year-old Boone, is slightly older than that, but as a bicycle-riding junior high schooler, he is definitely still a kid. Certainly, he's far from law school, let alone the bar exam, so what's with that title anyway?
May 24, 2010 | By Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times
On a recent afternoon, the head of the nation's legal immigration system opened himself to a cascade of complaints from more than 300 attorneys, immigrant advocates and others at a teleconference based at the Western regional headquarters of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in Laguna Niguel. The visa process is arbitrary and inconsistent, he was repeatedly told. The forms are obtuse, the demands for evidence excessive. The agency exudes a "culture of no" biased against visa petitions.
March 8, 2010
Some conservative critics of the Obama administration are claiming that Al Qaeda has infiltrated the Justice Department in the persons of nine lawyers who once represented or advocated for suspected terrorists. Keep America Safe, whose board includes Elizabeth L. Cheney, former Vice President Dick Cheney's daughter, has posted a series of scurrilous items about the attorneys on its website. Among the attacks is a video containing a newspaper headline reading "DOJ: Department of Jihad?" and flashing the question "Whose values do they share?"
January 27, 2010
Not very gentle on Ben Re " Federal Reserve chief's job on the line," Jan. 23 It is a telling commentary on our fractious politics when populists from the left and right unite to protest Ben S. Bernanke's reappointment as Fed chairman. Wall Street Brahmins and Washington lackeys attempt to continue the charade that only a chosen few can manage the American economy. But the case against the chairman's reappointment is overwhelming. He and his predecessor, Alan Greenspan, protected the banking system and their club of cronies to the detriment of the general population.
December 9, 2009
The landslide reelection of Bolivia's leftist President Evo Morales this week comes as no surprise. He is the first Aymara Indian and native Quechua-speaker to lead the country, whose indigenous majority was underrepresented and widely exploited for centuries by a minority of European descent. A new Constitution, drafted under his stewardship, codifies Bolivia's "plurinational" character and cultural diversity. He nationalized the energy and telecommunications industries, raised taxes on foreign firms and delivered on promises to use income from natural resources to fund programs for the poor.
August 24, 2009 | Barbara Demick
Chinese authorities, facing scathing criticism at home and abroad, on Sunday released from prison a celebrated legal scholar and two other activists. Xu Zhiyong, founder of the Beijing-based Open Constitution Initiative, was unexpectedly freed on bail at 11 a.m. after more than three weeks in prison on charges of tax evasion. A co-worker, Zhuang Lu, was also released. In a separate case, Ilham Tohti, an economics professor who had written about economic discrimination against the Uighur minority, was released after about six weeks in custody, according to a Uighur website.
August 21, 2009
Re "Afraid that he could return," Column One, Aug. 17 Dear Mrs. Mathews, Thank you for having the courage to speak out for yourself and all the other women who have suffered the trauma of rape and the humiliation and mistreatment by our legal system. I think, and hope, that in the years since your experience the "system" has improved , but I realize many offenders go unpunished. I believe your fears are realistic, and I hope the parole board will listen to your pleas to keep your attacker behind bars.
August 2, 2009 | Megan K. Stack
Valery Kazakov was almost to the prosecutor's office when the killers caught him. He was shot as he cut through an alleyway, and when he stumbled bleeding into the street, a man bent down to stab the final breaths out of him. It was 3 o'clock in the afternoon, in the heart of the sleepy town of Pushkino. As far as the townspeople were concerned, it was a public execution.
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