The Justice System Has to be Fair – to Everyone
There is a lot of unfairness in the world. The American justice system stands ready to counter that, right?
Not so fast.
When it comes to men and allegations of paternity women have a decidedly upper hand. Whatever the woman claims in court most often becomes fact. And once a court has ruled on paternity and established child support it can be next to impossible change. Not even if a DNA test excludes the man from any possibility of parenthood. [click to continue…]
Experts Warned of Massive Infection
How is it that some of the pending catastrophes we read or hear about in the media simply fade away? What seems so cataclysmic today barely gets a mention next week.
If only irresponsible reporting was declared an actual crime, even just a misdemeanor, there might be less of it. And a lot more doubling back to correct the record when journalists come to realize they’ve been duped.
Case in point: The much ballyhooed prediction of a widespread — even worldwide — Ebola epidemic.
Consider this my mea culpa. It’s my attempt to double back to underscore what appears to be deliberate misinformation from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control. [click to continue…]
First Animal DNA Lab in the U.S.
As far as crime laboratories go it is not very impressive looking. And it is not very big, with a permanent staff of just three forensic scientists and a few interns. But the work product that comes out of the Veterinarian Forensic Lab at the University of California at Davis is important and it has changed the way crimes are investigated and prosecuted worldwide.
The lab has been called the “CSI of the four legged world” and it is the nation’s first laboratory dedicated to animal DNA profiling.
It’s accredited by the prestigious American Society of Crime Lab Directors because the VFL conducts animal-related forensic tests as rigorously as any lab dealing with human DNA. [click to continue…]
Learn the Smell of Geraniums!
My dear Grandma Cora always grew geraniums – red geraniums, to be specific. Nearly every time I went to went to visit her she had pots of them flowering outside the front door.
I would gently stroke the leaves and breathe in that unmistakable geranium smell. To this day I love the smell of geraniums so much I grow them myself – all year around.
Now I discover that retaining the memory of that smell could help save lives. Same holds true for the smell of garlic, horseradish and other common odors.
If suddenly detected in the wrong place at the wrong time it could signal that a chemical weapons attack is underway. [click to continue…]
Ken Landwehr circa 1978
This is a story about a cop’s cop. A hometown kid who devoted his life to keeping his community safe, a man who took on the duty no one should have to do – to minister to the murdered and help seek justice for their families.
This column is dedicated to the late Lt. Ken Landwehr, Commander of the homicide unit of the Wichita, Kansas Police Department because he epitomizes the determination, integrity and ingenuity that all great detectives possess. His deeds will live on in the annuals of America’s crime and justice history.
Landwehr was the son of an aircraft worker and a homemaker. He was an Eagle Scout as a boy and devoured books about the investigations of the legendary Sherlock Holmes. He attended Bishop Carroll Catholic High School where he played tricks on the nuns and was no stranger to occasional bouts of brawling and drinking. [click to continue…]
Tops on the List : Tolerance
Tops on my Crime and Justice Wish List this year is the sincere hope that America finds a way to become a better functioning and more tolerant country.
I wish for the lethargy of the electorate and the deterioration of trust and respect – in our government and in each other – to magically evaporate.
It is a tall order, I know. We live in an ugly era of perpetual backbiting that serves no real purpose but to distract us from finding solutions to very real problems.
Democrats routinely ridicule Republicans and vice versa. Various ethnic groups point to those who are different and declare their problems are the other groups fault; both heterosexuals and homosexuals complain their lifestyle is under attack; the unemployed and under-employed label business people and corporations as greedy devils without acknowledging they are the very entities providing the most jobs. Our children grow up hearing our viciousness toward one another and are likely to continue the corrosive tradition of intolerance. [click to continue…]
A Cop With Death Fantasies
The “Cannibal Cop” Case was not really about free speech. But it raises the question: When Does Internet Fantasy Become Criminal?
In case you hadn’t heard about it – it was a bizarre criminal case sensationalized by both the media and the defense team. Slogans and spin were tossed about so fast and furiously that the real facts of the case were hard to determine. At the core of the federal case a very important issue: when do thoughts expressed in internet chat rooms become fodder for criminal prosecution? Could something you write on-line be used against you in a court of law?
From the get-go reporters branded the defendant in this case, New York Police officer Gilberto Valle, “The Cannibal Cop” – a man who used the internet to feed his vile fantasies and conspire with others to kidnap, cook and eat female victims.
Attorneys for Valle maintained federal prosecutors were trying to convict their client, “For his thoughts … his (written) fantasies,” and not for any bona fide criminal activity. [click to continue…]
“The Great Brain Robbery”
The worldwide headlines say it all.
From the United Kingdom: “Pathologist ‘Stockpiled Children’s Organs.’”
In Canada, the headline: “Ontario Service Has 4,000 Autopsy Organs, Unmatched to Families.”
From Las Vegas, this shocker: “Misplaced. Thrown away. Stolen. Sold? Nobody Knows What Happened to Richard Boorman’s Missing Organs.” And from New York: “Parents Shocked to Learn Examiner Kept Son’s Brain.”
The cleverest headline for this macabre topic: “The Great Brain Robbery.”
It is the last thing grieving next-of-kin should have to worry about. But if burying an intact body is important to a family’s religious, moral or ethical beliefs, they should ask the funeral home to make sure their loved one has all of his or her organs in place. [click to continue…]
Hopes and Wishes for 2013
Where do I even begin with my annual Wish List for the New Year? Because the fog of despair still hangs over us from the elementary school shooting in Connecticut – and because the list of individually meaningless gun control ideas continues to grow – I’m compelled to start there.
I fervently hope that we, as a nation, can come to an agreement on a whole package of anti-gun violence ideas to try to make this country safer. I hope the shrill hysterics – heard from both sides – can be tuned down in favor of common sense solutions.
To those who think all we need to do is get rid of assault rifles, 30-bullet magazines or those video games youngsters spend so many hours playing I say: Don’t kid yourself. After Newtown, Connecticut there was another gun massacre in Webster, New York. I seriously doubt the shooter, William Spengler, who served 17 years in prison for beating to death his grandmother with a hammer, had ever played a violent video game. [click to continue…]