Features

The Escapee, the Rapist and Unjust Sentencing

by Diane Dimond on June 13, 2016

Robert Stackowitz in 1966 and 2016

Robert Stackowitz Mug Shots — in 1966 and 2016

The state of Georgia wants Robert Stackowitz back. Now, it is up to the governor of Connecticut whether to extradite the 71-year-old convicted felon so he can serve the remainder of a 17-year prison sentence.

Fifty years ago Stackowitz was a brash 21-year-old who, along with two buddies, committed a robbery by force. The trio burst into the home of Jimmy Moseley, held him at gunpoint, tied him up with the cord from a vacuum cleaner and robbed him of $9 and the keys to his truck.

“After they tied me up,” Moseley told a reporter, “they intended to kill me because they said they never leave witnesses.” The now 91-year-old says he still has nightmares and is still waiting for justice. [click to continue…]

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What Would You Do as a Witness to Crime?

by Diane Dimond on June 6, 2016

The Genovese Murder Continues to Haunt

The Genovese Murder Continues to Haunt

An infamous psychopathic serial killer died a couple of months ago in prison at the age of 81. You likely don’t recognize the name Winston Moseley but you might very well have heard about the last murder he committed.

In March 1964, Moseley hunted down, repeatedly stabbed, raped and killed a young New York woman named Kitty Genovese. The New York Times shocked the nation when it reported that 38 neighbors in and around Kitty’s Queens, New York apartment building had witnessed the 3 a.m. attack and did nothing in response to her repeated screams for help. No one called police, the paper reported, during the grisly 35-minute attack in which the killer retreated then returned to Kitty 3 times. They simply watched her die on the sidewalk. The story came to symbolize the hardening of American sensibilities, the idea that bystanders who declared, “I don’t want to get involved,” constituted a new sociological trend. [click to continue…]

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The Great Bathroom Debate

The Great Bathroom Debate – How Does it End?

This too shall pass from the headlines in time, but while the issue of who-can-legally-use-what-public-bathroom is still red hot here are some thoughts.

We are a nation of almost 320 million people. Statistics are not plentiful. There are no national figures kept but it’s estimated the number of transgendered Americans is about 700,000 or 0.3% of the population.

Since the biggest controversy these days seems focused on transgender students and what might happen in their school bathrooms or locker rooms perhaps the best statistic to focus upon comes from a 2014 survey of millennials by the Public Religion Research Institute. That survey found 1% of young people identify as transgender.  [click to continue…]

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How Many Gun Suicides Could Be Prevented?

by Diane Dimond on April 25, 2016

Now More Gun Suicides Than Gun Homicides

Now More Gun Suicides Than Gun Homicides

Thank goodness there have been no headline grabbing mass shootings in America recently.

I was thinking about that this week after reading about the 17th anniversary of the Columbine massacre. On April 20, 1999, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris shot dead 12 of their fellow students, one teacher and injured many others in a senseless bloodbath at their Colorado high school.

Let’s hope this lull in school/office/theater shootings continues. Yet, sadly, it is surely temporary given that in the United States there are as many 310 million guns in civilian hands. [click to continue…]

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Hastert was Speaker of the US House of Representatives

Hastert was Speaker of the House until 2007

Later this month one of the most powerful men ever to have served in the U.S. House of Representatives will face a federal judge to learn his fate. Dennis Hastert has pleaded guilty to evading U.S. banking laws, illegally structuring payouts to conceal other crimes and lying to the FBI. But that’s only a small part of his sordid story.

It’s a textbook case of why critics are able to say there is one system of justice for the rich and connected and quite another for the rest of us. It’s also another condemnation of our statute of limitations laws that say suspects can’t be tried for certain crimes if too much time has passed.  [click to continue…]

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Rape Matters – Catching Rapists Does Too

by Diane Dimond on April 11, 2016

Mounds of Rape Kits Waiting for Testing

Mounds of Rape Kits Waiting for Testing

So get this. Top justice officials have figured out a way to make the bad guys finance programs that help solve crimes. It’s such a unique solution to a long standing problem that I just have to share.

The District Attorney’s office in Manhattan – a jurisdiction that includes one of the preeminent financial centers of the world — is in a matchless position to collect billions of dollars from international banks that concoct schemes to get around U.S. sanctions.

For example, the French bank officials at BNP Paribas were forced to admit they illegally moved hundreds of millions of dollars through New York banks for clients in terror-sponsoring countries like Iran and Sudan. For threatening the security of our nation’s banking system and breaking our sanctions the French bank was fined more than $8.8 billion in penalties and criminal forfeiture. [click to continue…]

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Is Football Worth Damaging the Brain?

by Diane Dimond on April 4, 2016

Concussions and Kids - A Dangerous Mix

Concussions and Kids – A Dangerous Mix

It was the admission that made every parent of every kid who wants to play football gasp.

The question from Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky was simple. “Do you think there is a link between football and degenerative brain disorders like CTE?”

The answer, from no less than the National Football League’s senior vice president for health and safety, Jeff Miller: “The answer to that question is certainly yes.”

Wow. Now, it doesn’t take an Einstein to know that repeated, solid blows to a person’s head will cause problems. [click to continue…]

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Public Enemy #1 – The iPhone?

by Diane Dimond on March 14, 2016

A Criminal's Best Friend If It Has OS 8 Installed.

A Criminal’s Best Friend If It Has iOS 8 Installed

In this corner – the FBI – which says that all high tech company Apple cares about is protecting its mega-profits brand and not the nation’s security.

And in that corner – Apple – which says the feds will put everyone’s privacy in jeopardy if a court forces them to disable password protection on the iPhone of dead terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook. Farook and his wife shot to death 14 of his San Bernardino County co-workers last December and seriously wounded 22.

There might be valuable information on Farook’s phone, information that could help thwart future terrorist attacks. But then again, maybe there’s nothing on that phone at all. Both sides say it’s the principal of the issue at stake. [click to continue…]

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Reporting Crime Stats — Stat

by Diane Dimond on March 7, 2016

First Identify What You’re Fighting, Right?

              ~ Law enforcement needs to know what it doesn’t know. Tracking trends in crime is a way to keep communities safe.

Any decision made is only as good as the information used to make it, right? I submit the same holds true when figuring out how to fight crime.

Since the 1930’s the FBI has urged the nation’s law enforcement agencies to take part in its Uniform Crime Reporting Summary and record how many crimes occur in their jurisdiction in 10 top crime categories, including homicide, rape, robbery, arson and auto theft. [click to continue…]

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Eyewitness Testimony – The Eyes Can Be Deceiving

by Diane Dimond on February 15, 2016

Not Always Reliable

Not Always Reliable

How many times have you heard someone say, “Believe me, I know it’s true. I saw it with my own eyes!” When someone passionately tells us they were an eyewitness to an event we are programmed to believe their story.

It happens in courtrooms all across the country every day. An eyewitness takes the stand, puts a hand on the bible and swears to tell the truth about what they saw. In sometimes vivid detail they tell their story, point the finger of blame at a defendant and proclaim they are 100% sure about the identification. This compelling, first-hand testimony sways juries and has resulted in countless convictions. Some include sentences of death.

So how trustworthy is an eye-witness, anyway? [click to continue…]

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