US law

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DNA Evidence Clears Two Men in 1983 Murder - NYTimes.com. Photo LUMBERTON, N.C. — Thirty years after their convictions in the rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl in rural North Carolina, based on confessions that they quickly repudiated and said were coerced, two mentally disabled half brothers were declared innocent and ordered released Tuesday by a judge here.

DNA Evidence Clears Two Men in 1983 Murder - NYTimes.com

The case against the men, always weak, fell apart after DNA evidence implicated another man whose possible involvement had been somehow overlooked by the authorities even though he lived only a block from where the victim’s body was found, and he had admitted to committing a similar rape and murder around the same time. The startling shift in fortunes for the men, Henry Lee McCollum, 50, who has spent three decades on death row, and Leon Brown, 46, who was serving a life sentence, provided one of the most dramatic examples yet of the potential harm from false, coerced confessions and of the power of DNA tests to exonerate the innocent.

US law: Federal

CISPA / TPP / ACTA / SOPA / PIPA / COICA. FISA. PATRIOT Act. DOJ. SCOTUS. Bill of Rights. US law: States. Boxed In: How a Criminal Record Keeps You Unemployed For Life. People like Luis Rivera are being locked out of the formal workforce forever thanks to one youthful mistake.

Boxed In: How a Criminal Record Keeps You Unemployed For Life

(Reuters/John Gress) This article was reported in partnership with the Investigative Fund of the Nation Institute. Luis Rivera had some peace of mind for about five months, from late fall of 2010 through early spring of the following year. That’s the closest thing he’s seen to financial stability in more than twenty years.

Prosecutor in Aaron Swartz 'hacking' case comes under fire. A politically ambitious Justice Department official who oversaw the criminal case against Aaron Swartz has come under fire for alleged prosecutorial abuses that led the 26-year-old online activist to take his own life .

Prosecutor in Aaron Swartz 'hacking' case comes under fire

Carmen Ortiz, 57, the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts who was selected by President Obama, compared the online activist -- accused of downloading a large number of academic papers -- to a common criminal in a 2011 press release. "Stealing is stealing whether you use a computer command or a crowbar," Ortiz said at the time. The Truth about Aaron Swartz’s “Crime” « Unhandled Exception. I did not know Aaron Swartz, unless you count having copies of a person’s entire digital life on your forensics server as knowing him.

The Truth about Aaron Swartz’s “Crime” « Unhandled Exception

I did once meet his father, an intelligent and dedicated man who was clearly pouring his life into defending his son. My deepest condolences go out to him and the rest of Aaron’s family during what must be the hardest time of their lives. If the good that men do is oft interred with their bones, so be it, but in the meantime I feel a responsibility to correct some of the erroneous information being posted as comments to otherwise informative discussions at Reddit, Hacker News and Boing Boing.

Apparently some people feel the need to self-aggrandize by opining on the guilt of the recently departed, and I wanted to take this chance to speak on behalf of a man who can no longer defend himself. Carmen Ortiz and Stephen Heymann: accountability for prosecutorial abuse. Honest Hyperbole and Free Speech - Adam Liptak. Here was a typical Twitter message: “15% of Cincinnati’s Fire Dept browned out today to help pay for a streetcar boondoggle.

Honest Hyperbole and Free Speech - Adam Liptak

If you think it’s a waste of money, VOTE YES on 48.” Mr. Miller, 46, a mechanical engineer, said he expected a debate. What he got instead was a legal action from supporters of the streetcar project under an Ohio law that forbids false statements in political campaigns. In the end, Mr. Comment: Stolen Valor and Super PACs. A peculiar law with a mellifluous name will meet its doom before the Supreme Court this week.

Comment: Stolen Valor and Super PACs

The reasons why will tell us something about the Presidential campaign. To explain: Congress passed the Stolen Valor Act in 2005 to address a distasteful, if not exactly earth-shaking, problem. News reports had revealed several cases of would-be politicians and other prominent people who had falsely claimed to be decorated war heroes. The new law made such lies a crime. Why I’m Suing Barack Obama - Chris Hedges' Columns. Why I’m Suing Barack Obama Posted on Jan 16, 2012 AP / Dusan Vranic Detainees pray at the U.S. military detention facility known as Camp Bucca in Iraq in this 2009 photo. What makes our NDAA lawsuit a struggle to save the US constitution. I am one of the lead plaintiffs in the civil lawsuit against the National Defense Authorization Act, which gives the president the power to hold any US citizen anywhere for as long as he wants, without charge or trial.

What makes our NDAA lawsuit a struggle to save the US constitution

In a May hearing, Judge Katherine Forrest issued an injunction against it; this week, in a final hearing in New York City, US government lawyers asserted even more extreme powers – the right to disregard entirely the judge and the law. On Monday 6 August, Obama's lawyers filed an appeal to the injunction – a profoundly important development that, as of this writing, has been scarcely reported.

In the earlier March hearing, US government lawyers had confirmed that, yes, the NDAA does give the president the power to lock up people like journalist Chris Hedges and peaceful activists like myself and other plaintiffs. Government attorneys stated on record that even war correspondents could be locked up indefinitely under the NDAA. The degradation of justice. By now you will have read that self-described 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other alleged plotters will shortly have their day in court.

The degradation of justice

Well, in a sort of a court, the kind where the rules have been made up on the fly (by Congress, no less!) And where convictions are all but guaranteed. It is a system that may one day be operating not just in the confines of Guantanamo prison, but here in the USA, so we should all be paying close attention. Jurors Can Say No.

FOIA

US law enforcement & criminal justice. U.S. Drug Policy Would Be Imposed Globally By New House Bill. The House Judiciary Committee passed a bill yesterday that would make it a federal crime for U.S. residents to discuss or plan activities on foreign soil that, if carried out in the U.S., would violate the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) -- even if the planned activities are legal in the countries where they're carried out.

U.S. Drug Policy Would Be Imposed Globally By New House Bill

H.R. 313, the "Drug Trafficking Safe Harbor Elimination Act of 2011," is sponsored by Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), and allows prosecutors to bring conspiracy charges against anyone who discusses, plans or advises someone else to engage in any activity that violates the CSA, the massive federal law that prohibits drugs like marijuana and strictly regulates prescription medication.