Want to read more? Subscribe Now or Sign In
Hide ( X )
  • THE CRIME REPORT - Your Complete Criminal Justice Resource

  • Investigative News Network
  • Welcome to the Crime Report. Today is

Crime and Justice News

< <    1 2 3 4 5 6 .. 2099   > >

States Make It Easier To Ban Synthetic Drugs, Raise Penalties

It’s been four months since anyone in Broward County, Fl., has died from an overdose of alpha-PVP, known as flakka, a crystal-like synthetic drug meant to imitate cocaine or methamphetamine. The drug has taken a deadly toll, and left health and law enforcement officials scrambling to stem a new public health crisis, reports Stateline. In small doses, flakka elicits euphoria. Just a little too much sends body temperatures up to 105 degrees, causing a sense of delirium that often leads users to strip down and flee from paranoid hallucinations as their innards literally melt. If someone survives an overdose, they are often left with kidney failure and a life of dialysis. Flakka is among a growing number of addictive and dangerous synthetic drugs being produced easily and cheaply with man-made chemicals in clandestine labs in China.

Because the drugs were largely unregulated when they hit the market, some states have struggled to combat them. Legislators, health professionals and police are trying to eradicate the drugs by making it easier to qualify them as illegal and ramping up penalties for selling them. Since 2010, when synthetic drugs started becoming popular in the U.S., 32 states have passed laws to make it easier to classify synthetic drugs as illegal. This year, the District of Columbia and Florida passed similar measures, and in at least 10 other states, changes to controlled substance laws took effect, according to the National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws. Among the most popular synthetic drugs in the U.S. are synthetic cathinones, known commonly as bath salts, and synthetic cannabinoids, essentially smokable imitation marijuana products, which are sold in stores using kid-friendly branding like Scooby Snax.

Read full entry »

User Comments (0 )

Obama Issues "Ban The Box" Rule For Federal Job Applicants

In its effort to reform the justice system, the Obama administration is pushing to remove questions about criminal history from federal job applications, reports the Christian Science Monitor. Also known as "ban the box," the rule would prohibit federal government from asking question about criminal history until there has been “a conditional offer of employment.” The “ban the box” idea has been gaining momentum, fueled by the concerns of reformers who have long held that “the box” systematically discriminates against felons, denying them opportunities that would help them integrate back into the society. Men with criminal records comprise 34 percent of unemployed men between 25 and 54. 

The new proposed federal rule was published online Friday; the public will have 60 days to comment before a final rule is issued. If enacted, the rule would likely affect 100,000 applicants seeking jobs based on hires made last year by the federal government, said Beth Cobert of the Office of Personnel Management said, The New York Times reports. The rule would not apply to jobs relating to the intelligence community, national security, or law enforcement. Between 70 and 100 million people the U.S. have criminal record histories.

Read full entry »

User Comments (0 )

Supreme Court, 5-3, Upholds Ex-Baltimore Cop's Conspiracy Conviction

A divided Supreme Court today upheld the conviction of former Baltimore police officer Samuel Ocasio, who contended that he could not legally be found guilty of conspiracy in a kickback scheme tied to an auto body shop. Officers were accused of sending owners of damaged vehicles to a particular business in exchange for cash. Writing for an unusual group of justices, Justice Samuel Alito said that to prove a conspiracy under the federal Hobbs Act, prosecutors have "no obligation to demonstrate that each conspirator agreed personally to commit—or was even capable of committing—the substantive offense of Hobbs Act extortion." Alito said Ocasio's argument "is contrary to age-old principles of conspiracy law." He was joined by Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagan.

Dissenting, Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Chief Justice John Roberts said the Ocasio conviction should not stand because there was no proof that he conspired with anyone besides himself and the body shop owners. The majority opinion is a "contortion of conspiracy law," said the dissenters. Justice Clarence Thomas issued a separate dissent, saying that the majority ruling "holds that an extortionist can conspire to commit extortion with the person whom he is extorting." He added that the decision "expands federal criminal liability in a way that conflicts with principles of federalism."

 

Read full entry »

User Comments (0 )

Police Inconsistent On Data Releases; Some Victims Exposed

The Dallas Police Department made public the names, ages, and home addresses of some alleged sexual assault victims on an official website, reports the Washington Post. The incident, which the police department blamed on a technical error, highlights how the push to put more police records online may inadvertently leave victims exposed. Federal Trade Commission technologist Lorrie Cranor said departments across the U.S. have been inconsistent in how they scrub records as they offer more transparency about their activities after high-profile police shootings and other uses of force.

Cranor found a police department that created a database that hid personal information in cases of sexual assault but allowed the names, addresses and ages of victims of other crimes to be published. Others withheld the names of victims but published their home addresses. “When records are readily accessible and easily searchable, there may be some undesirable consequences,” Cranor said. “Of particular concern is the possibility that people who access open police data may be able to identify crime victims or reveal their locations. For victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, this could put their safety and security at risk.”

 

Read full entry »

User Comments (0 )

S.F. Chief Releases Contents Of Officers' Racist, Homophobic Texts

San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr has released transcripts of racist and homophobic text messages that were allegedly exchanged between a former lieutenant and two former officers. The San Francisco Chronicle says the messages came to light after a woman accused one of the officers of raping her. The messages are loaded with slurs and ugly stereotypes. One officer, responding to a photo of a blackened Thanksgiving turkey, asks, “Is that a Ferguson turkey?” referring to the city that saw widespread protests after police fatally shot Michael Brown in 2014. Suhr made the transcripts public at a news conference surrounded by leaders in the city’s black community, two days after former Lt. Curtis Liu was charged with obstructing the rape investigation of ex-Officer Jason Lai.

The chief is under mounting pressure to show he is in control of a force that is facing heavy criticism, and a U.S. Department of Justice review, over the racism of some officers as well as the circumstances of recent fatal shootings. Some of the messages, which include derogatory and at times threatening statements toward black, Latino, Indian, transgender and gay people, were released by Public Defender Jeff Adachi on Tuesday, when he announced he was reviewing more than 200 cases that the officers’ bias may have tainted and may need to be dismissed. Messages refer to black people as “savages” and Latinos as “beaners.” In one exchange, an officer talks about black and Latino people stealing iPads, calling them “F— typical savages.”

Read full entry »

User Comments (0 )

< <    1 2 3 4 5 6 .. 2099   > >

TCR at a Glance

Behind Broken Doors

May 5, 2016

School officials in a Massachusetts district work to aid children of domestic violence.