Sep 102007
 

Duke Lacrosse Case
There are several items to report related to the Duke Lacrosse rape case. Mike Nifong, the prosecutor in the case, spent 24 hours in jail for lying to the court. It seems like a small penalty, but at least he got something. Also, the New York Times is reporting that the players and their families are in negotiations with the City seeking $30 million, but more important, some obviously needed changes:

The changes requested by the students and their lawyers include oversight of the police department by an independent commission, stricter procedures and videotaping of witness identifications conducted by the police, and the passage of a City Council resolution calling on the state to establish ombudsmen for district attorney’s offices and require the transcription of grand jury proceedings.

They deserve every dime of the money, but I especially like it when people are about more than the money, and force needed changes on agencies and institutions like this.

St. Pete Council Chairman Commits Suicide
According to a story in St. Petersburg Times, City Council Chairman John Bryan walked into City Hall just after 1 p.m. Friday and handed in his resignation letter. Less than five hours later, he was slumped over in a golf cart in the garage of his Floral City house, dead from carbon monoxide poisoning. He was 56.

Apparently he’d been to court the day before for the start of proceedings related to an accusation that he’d sexual abused his adopted daughters.

A Portion of the Patriot Act is Struck Down
Shining Celebi writes

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero ruled in favor of the ACLU and struck down a portion of the revised USA PATRIOT Act this morning, forcing investigators to go through the courts to obtain approval before ordering ISPs to give up information on customers, instead of just sending them a National Security Letter. In the words of Judge Marrero, this use of National Security Letters ‘offends the fundamental constitutional principles of checks and balances and separation of powers.’

That can only be a good thing, and let’s hope this disgraceful attack on the Constitution is further taken apart.

Man Tracked with Cell phone Loses Job
By Charlie Sorrel, Wired Blogs

John Halpin, who had been working as a carpentry supervisor in New York for 21 years, was tracked by the GPS unit in the work provided phone he was given in 2005, and it turned out he was heading home early. His defense rested on the “I didn’t know I could be tracked” and “Sometimes I came to work early, too” arguments, but they didn’t wash.

That was certainly dumb enough, but according to Sorrel, the scariest thing to come out of the NY post story is that an employee can be tracked without his or her knowledge in every state except Connecticut and Delaware, where employers need to warn you before stalking you.

Shelby County Ohio Deputies Find 570 Pounds of Pot
Ben Sutherly, Dayton Daily News
Apparently during an accident investigation on I-75, a truck driver was arrested on “suspicion of drug trafficking,” when police found 570 pounds of pot in his truck.

Now I’m no legal expert, but that doesn’t sound much like “suspicion” to me.

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