Columbus school students rarely bring real guns to school, but the district is experiencing an epidemic of students brandishing “look-alike” guns, reports the Columbus Dispatch. Columbus expels and suspends more students for fake guns than any other district in the state, accounting for 12 of the 38 expulsions for look-alike guns in Ohio last school year. It had 69 suspensions, accounting for about one in six of all such suspensions in Ohio. Under the district’s “zero tolerance” policy, it doesn’t matter whether anyone was in actual danger.
The issue was in the spotlight this week after the “Suspension Heard Round the World”: A principal kicked a Columbus 10-year-old out of school for three days for pretending his finger was a gun. Within hours, the story went viral on the Internet and was reported by news organizations globally. District spokesman Jeff Warner could not comment on whether a student’s hand would be considered an “item that resembles a firearm.” “Nevertheless, we will review our protocols, discuss the issue with our leadership team and principals, and determine if any redirection or clarification is needed with respect to this issue,” the school district said yesterday. “The safety of our students is always our foremost concern, especially when considering the increasingly frequent reports of violence in schools across our nation.”
Former New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly will run a new division for the real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield Inc. that will advise clients how to protect themselves from terrorism, crime and other threats, reports the Wall Street Journal. Kelly, Mayor Michael Bloomberg's police commissioner for 12 years, will lead the firm's new "risk management services" division that will help corporations decide where to locate and how to protect their buildings and their data.
It will help investors decide whether or not to buy buildings in certain countries and locations and how to set up their building and cybersecurity if they do. "It's a tremendous opportunity for me," Kelly said. "I think it gives me the ability to take some of the things I've learned and help start a new practice." Since leaving the government, Kelly has joined the Council on Foreign Relations as a distinguished visiting fellow, and signed a deal with Greater Talent Network to go on the speakers' circuit. He is also expected to serve as a "special adviser" to a planned New York state college for homeland security and emergency preparedness.
Anthony Graves survived 18 years in prison for murders he did not commit, a dozen of those years on death row, where he was twice scheduled for execution. Yesterday, says the Los Angeles Times, he stood defiant outside a courthouse in a blue pinstripe suit with several state legislators and announced that the State Bar of Texas would be investigating his complaint against the prosecutor who convicted him, Charles Sebesta. “Give us justice,” said Graves, 48, of Houston.
Sebesta, 73, former district attorney in rural Burleson County, 100 miles northwest of Houston, has defended his record and insists that despite Graves’ exoneration, he is guilty. “They’re bringing in politicians, members of the Legislature, in an attempt to intimidate the state bar,” Sebesta said. “This matter’s over.” Some legal experts do not agree with that assessment, including members of the state prosecutors' association. Two years ago, the Texas District and County Attorneys Association found errors in the Graves case that raised “serious questions about prosecutor misconduct,” including “tunnel vision on the part of the prosecutor” who focused on Graves early on and “stuck to that initial conclusion in the face of many contradictory circumstances.” The state bar will now decide whether Sebesta committed misconduct.
A Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling dismissing “Peeping Tom” charges against a man accused of taking photographs up women’s skirts on public trolleys quickly drew calls for legislation to outlaw the practice, reports the Boston Globe. The court unanimously said the state's criminal voyeurism law does not apply to what is known as “upskirting,’’ but prosecutors and state legislators said they will pass a new law to address what some called a criminal form of sexual harassment. “No respectable citizen wants this situation to be allowed to continue,” said Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley, whose office prosecuted the case. “Every person, male or female, has a right to privacy beneath his or her own clothing."
At least two bills introduced in recent years could have made the practice of upskirting illegal, but the legislation went nowhere. Senate President Therese Murray said she was “stunned and disappointed” and that the “Senate will act swiftly. We have fought too hard and too long for women’s rights to take the step backward that they did today.” Prosecutors needed to prove that women had a reasonable expectation of privacy on the train and that they were photographed while nude or partially nude. The court found that prosecutors failed to meet those requirements. “A female passenger on a MBTA trolley who is wearing a skirt, dress, or the like covering these parts of her body is not a person who is ‘partially nude,’ no matter what is or is not underneath the skirt by way of underwear or other clothing,” the court said.
The U.S. Senate today failed by a 52-47 vote to confirm Debo Adegbile, President Obama's nominee to head the Justice...
Attempts at reducing disparate treatment of racial and ethnic youth in U.S. justice systems have not made much progress, retired Illinois Judge George Timberlake writes for the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange. An analysis of federal data by the exchange from 1990 and 2010 shows that minority youth were greatly over-represented at every point of the system. The comparison of that 20-year span shows little to no improvement in arrests, adjudications, detentions and transfers to adult court.
Timberlake is involved with training for judges on “Racial Equity and Justice.” It is aimed at reducing disparity in the child welfare system, but the program has equal or greater applicability to juvenile justice, Timberlake says. He says the training sessions and its aftermath have been "frank and sometimes disturbing," but judges are "seriously interested" in the issue. The judge cites material from the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges that guides judges through a series of questions aimed at objectively determining facts necessary to make decisions about removing a child from her family without racial bias.
The FBI is scrambling to fill instructor positions and restart classes at its training academy after the lifting of a...
The Supreme Court seemed to have little trouble concluding during an unusually one-sided argument yesterday that Arkansas police officers who had used deadly force to end a high-speed car chase could not be sued by the family of the driver, the New York Times reports. The case seems unlikely to give rise to a precedent of major significance.
It arose from a wild chase in 2004 that started in West Memphis, Ar., continued at 100-mile-per-hour speeds on a highway and ended in a hail of 15 bullets in a parking lot in Memphis. The shots killed the driver, Donald Rickard, and his passenger, Kelly Allen. The main legal question for the justices seemed both easy and limited, as the driver’s family had to prove not only that the officers’ conduct was unlawful but also that this was “clearly established” as a matter of law at the time of the shooting. It seemed a lost cause for the plaintiffs. The case was a sequel to the court’s 2007 decision in Scott vs. Harris, ruling against a Georgia man who was paralyzed when his car was rammed by the police during a chase.
Now that three senators have proposed naming a federal building in Washington after Eliot Ness, some Chicago aldermen are pushing back, saying that Ness’s achievements have been exaggerated and that he does not deserve the glory for capturing Al Capone, who was found guilty of tax evasion, reports the New York Times. Critics say a divide between the real Ness and the legendary Ness started over Scotch-fueled conversations with a journalist who expanded his stories into a book that sold 1.5 million copies. Ness died in 1957. “The book was mostly fiction,” said Jonathan Eig, author of “Get Capone: The Secret Plot That Captured America’s Most Wanted Gangster.” Eig has called Ness little more than a “nuisance” to Capone.
“Chicago should be on record telling what really happened,” said Alderman Edward Burke, whose resolution opposing putting the name of this city’s most famous Prohibition G-man on the headquarters of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is to be voted on today. Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Mark Kirk of Illinois and Richard Durbin of Illinois have introduced a resolution to honor “the legendary law enforcement agent who fought to bring Chicago mob boss Al Capone to justice” by naming the building after Ness. Ginger Colbrun, an ATF spokeswoman, said Ness was a pioneer of targeted law enforcement techniques, including surveillance and public relations tactics that are still used today.
A federal judge sentenced Stevie Marie Vigil to 27 months in prison for giving parolee Evan Ebel the gun he used to kill Colorado's prisons chief and a pizza delivery driver, the Denver Post reports. Vigil pleaded guilty to buying the handgun used by Ebel to kill Nathan Leon on March 17, 2013, and Department of Corrections director Tom Clements two days later. District Attorney George Brachler said Vigil's "reckless disregard for the law resulted in the cold-blooded murder of two good men — two good fathers, husbands and sons."
U.S. District Judge Christine Arguello said there was no evidence Vigil knew or could have predicted Ebel's plan. She said Ebel sought out women he could manipulate and get to do his bidding. Ebel "was a very bright and intelligent man who was also a sociopath," Arguello said. John Leon, whose son, Nathan, was Ebel's first victim, criticized the judge for what he felt was a lenient sentence. "She was wrong," Leon said. "Stevie Vigil knew that (Ebel) was going to do something bad."