News Roundup

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In North Carolina, the top story is the exoneration of Henry McCollum and Leon Brown, who were incarcerated for over 30 years in connection with the rape and murder of 11-year-old Sabrina Buie. DNA evidence links another man to the crime, and the prosecutor is reportedly considering bringing charges against him. McCollum was on death row. WRAL has the story here. One interesting sidebar is that in Callins v. Collins, 510 U.S. 1141 (1994), Justice Scalia referenced the case as an example of a particularly appropriate one for the death penalty.

In other news:

Ferguson police adopt body cameras. Tensions seem to have calmed a bit in Ferguson, Missouri. One concrete reform that has already resulted from the situation is the adoption of body cameras by the police. As this local story observes, companies have donated 50 body cameras to the department, and they are already in use, apparently to the satisfaction of all concerned.

Blame and celebrity nude photo hacking. It was revealed this week that hackers obtained nude photos of several celebrities, including Jennifer Lawrence, apparently by hacking into their cloud storage. That’s a crime, of course. Some have also suggested that it was foolish for the celebrities involved to take such photos, or to store them without greater safety precautions. Eugene Volokh recently posted this thoughtful piece about when using such an incident as a teachable moment about digital security bleeds into blaming the victim.

The zombie defense. Park Dietz & Associates, a forensic psychiatry outfit, has this interesting post about the Ambien defense, which the post somewhat provocatively characterizes as “the zombie defense.” I’ve previously posted about the related issue of automatism under North Carolina law.

There was hardly any left over! Finally, a woman in Arkansas was charged with stealing $144 worth of eye shadow. You can see her mug shot in this local story. I’m not saying it is conclusive evidence of guilt, but it is certainly going to be difficult for the defense to explain.

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2 comments on “News Roundup

  1. How does society repay two men that were falsely arrested, and maliciously prosecuted (persecuted), and then falsely incarcerated for three decades? I ‘don’t feel that any amount of monetary compensatory damages would be sufficient to pay for the lose of thirty years of the enjoyment of life, and liberty. Are the accusers now going to be placed on trial? If not why not?

    As far as people posting private info to the ‘cloud’ and it being exposed ‘they ought to know better’. I despise the ‘cloud concept’ which is being ‘pushed’ on us whether we like it or not. Maybe an action against the promoters of the cloud is in order. NOTHING IS SECURE there and they know it, sic pushing it as ‘secure’ is false and misleading (fraud).

    We need more cameras focused on all government actors. Each person, their offices, vehicles, court rooms, and chambers ALL need to be wired for the defense of the People they supposedly serve.

  2. According to the Innocence Project, “In about 30% of DNA exoneration cases, innocent defendants made incriminating statements, delivered outright confessions or pled guilty.”
    What does this tell us about the multitude of cases outside that tiny sample of wrongful convictions? How many thousands of prison cells are occupied by innocent victims who have no recourse to DNA exoneration?

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