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…]
Blind Justice: Laws Apply To All Citizens
The law says dangerous or illegal actions have consequences. Countless U.S. citizens enter the justice system every year after authorities determine they did something that physically or emotionally harmed someone, financially cheated another person or exposed people to peril.
So why do government employees so often escape the punishment you or I would face in similar circumstances?
Case in point: In what very nearly looks like a case of federally sponsored child trafficking the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement put countless children at risk yet no one has been held accountable. Beginning in fall of 2011, tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors from Central America began to flood across the Mexican border in search of a better life in America. We were not prepared. [click to continue…]
Kids in the Criminal System. Then What?
Everyone knows youngsters aren’t mentally or emotionally equipped to make good decisions. That’s why most parents watch their teenagers like a hawk.
But every year thousands of American kids get themselves in to serious trouble with the law. Some of these youngsters had no prior police record. Some who entered the criminal justice system were under the age of 10. In the most dire cases, teens have been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of ever being released.
Imagine your son (or in less frequent cases, your daughter), suddenly caught up in a crime that resulted in murder, manslaughter or rape — doomed to spend the rest of their lives behind bars, perhaps in solitary confinement to keep them away from prison violence. [click to continue…]
Supreme Court Justices Could Give the White House Massive New Power
It will be a monumental decision either way. One that has the potential to shape national politics and public policy for decades to come. And don’t be fooled into thinking it’s just about U.S. immigration policy. It is much bigger than that.
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether it is legal for a sitting president to issue an executive order that changes existing law, thus by-passing Congress, the branch of government empowered to make the laws. [click to continue…]
SPAM: Unwanted Emails Soliciting Your Business
You would think that since Mexican law enforcement finally re-captured the world’s most prolific drug dealer I’d be writing about El Chapo and his possible extradition to the United States. Or that I might have something to say about Sean Penn, the fading movie star, posing as a journalist, who wrote a fawning magazine article about the man who has spread so much poison across the globe.
Nope, I’m no fan but I don’t think Penn broke any laws last October when he secretly traveled deep into Mexico for a clandestine sit-down with the fugitive. Case closed.
This week I write to say I don’t want any free coupons for toilet paper discounts. I don’t need advice on burial insurance, breast augmentation, a mid-wife or penile enlargement guarantees. I don’t want to click a box on an e-mail and learn what my credit score is or why my hair is falling out – because it isn’t, thank you very much. [click to continue…]
President Obama Sheds Tears for Gun Victims
There has been much media coverage on the President plans to control gun violence but I fear we’re missing the bigger picture.
Surely, the emotional frustration the president displayed while unveiling his latest executive order is worth noting and so are his ideas. But, realize, these are the same suggestions he proposed in 2013, after the Sandy Hook elementary school tragedy. Congress ignored them.
By now you’ve heard about his proposals: More people who sell guns – at gun shows and on-line – should be licensed and get mandatory background checks on their buyers. The FBI should process the checks 24/7 with a group of new agents and notify states when someone has illegally tried to buy a gun. [click to continue…]
Charged With a Felony
It never should have taken this long. It never should have taken more than 50 women alleging sexual assault at the hands of a celebrity before that celebrity was ordered to court to answer the allegations.
But it has finally happened. Comedian Bill Cosby now finds himself in a very un-funny position. He was arraigned this week in a Pennsylvania court on a felony charge of aggravated indecent assault, forced to give up his passport and post a $1 million bond to keep himself out of jail. The charges were filed right before the state’s statute of limitations on such a crime would have run out.
The event that compelled Cosby to appear occurred nearly 12 years earlier. [click to continue…]
2015: Horrible Year in Many Respects
There’s no getting around it. Americans have just gone through an Annus Horribilis, to borrow a phrase from Queen Elizabeth. 2015 has been filled with disturbing news about acts of terrorism and the threat of more, mass shootings, racial unrest and major questions about how our criminal justice system works – or doesn’t.
Add in what many see as unsettling and contradictory political pronouncements about our future and is it any wonder that we feel frightened, frustrated and without hope? Fear – of homegrown or lone-wolf terrorists, gun violence, policy brutality, racial strife, our children’s future – has become the new American normal. [click to continue…]
Especially Not Over the Holiday Season!
It’s that time of year again. People want your money.
Charities know folks are in a giving frame of mind as the holidays draw near. Rip-off artists also realize that during this season folks are often just too busy to notice a scam when it’s right under their nose.
Hey, thieves need holiday spending money too and aren’t fussy about how they get it.
One old scam that’s now returned is the fake phone call from the Internal Revenue Service. [click to continue…]