Tag Archives: Justice System

Dead Man to be Sued Over Flying Body Parts

Let’s start the year off with a bit of the absurd…

It’s sure to only get stranger- it’s an election year in the USA!

From RawStory.com:

An 18-year-old man who was hit and killed by a train in 2008 will be the subject of a present-day lawsuit after an appellate judge ruled that a woman injured by his flying body parts may pursue a claim against his estate.

Ruling that the man was negligent, and that the result was “reasonably foreseeable,” the judge granted the woman’s request to allow the suit to proceed.

The initial suit had been blocked by a lower court in Cook County, which said the elderly Gayane Zokhrabov may not sue the now-deceased Hiroyuki Joho because Joho could not have anticipated the potential for third-party injury posed by his actions.

Steve Schmadeke, reporter for The Chicago Tribune, noted that the decision was reversed on Thursday by an appeals court.

The vehicle was reportedly traveling over 70 miles-per-hour when it hit Joho, who was allegedly running across the track to catch another train.

Zokhrabov suffered a broken leg, broken wrist and an injured shoulder after a portion of Joho’s body was flung more than 100 feet, smacking into her on a train platform.

“If you do something as stupid as this guy did, you have to be responsible for what comes from it,” her attorney reportedly said.

It was not immediately clear what sort of “estate” the young man’s family has.

via Dead man to be sued over flying body parts | The Raw Story.

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Why Does the South Execute More People?

Fascinating story from the Institute for Southern Studies about racism, the death penalty and it’s roots in Slavery….


The regional disparity is striking. Since the Supreme Court lifted a ban on death sentences in 1976, 1,264 people have been executed in the U.S. And 921 of those executions — or 73 percent of the total — took place in 13 Southern states.

Its true that Texas — and what some call its death machine — skew the numbers: Its 474 executions account for nearly 38 percent of the U.S. total. But the fact remains: Of the many things you can call the death penalty, one fitting adjective is that its largely Southern.

What has made the South the home base of capital punishment? As you might suspect, executions have their roots in the history of slavery. As noted in A Short History of the American Death Penalty [pdf]:

“In contrast to capital punishment in the northern states, capital punishment in the South was not limited primarily to common law felonies. Rather, the death penalty was a powerful tool for keeping the slave population in submission. Crimes that interfered with the ownership of slaves were punished by death. In 1837, North Carolina, which lacked a penitentiary, had about 26 capital crimes including slave-stealing, concealing a slave with intent to free him, second conviction of inciting slaves to insurrection, and second conviction of circulating seditious literature among slaves.”

This racially-influenced law-and-order mentality spilled over into other crimes: In North Carolina, stealing bank notes, “crimes against nature” “buggery, sodomy, bestiality” and a second offense of forgery and statutory rape came to be considered capital offenses.

Racial disparity was literally written into the law with the Southern death penalty. After the Civil War, Black Codes created more crimes punishable by death for African-Americans than whites. In the 1830s, Virginia had five capital crimes for whites but an estimated 70 such crimes for black slaves.

Today, the well-documented racial disparity in death sentences has become one of the central arguments among opponents for ending capital punishment.

But less discussed is the racial divide in how people view the death penalty. For example, underneath the polls showing widespread support is one of the most well-documented facts in death penalty research: that it enjoys much higher support among whites than other racial groups, especially African-Americans.

For example, a 2005 Gallup poll was typical in finding that, while there was little difference in death penalty support among different age groups, and only a moderate 12-point gap between men and women, there was a 27-point difference between white 71% and black 44% support.

MORE:   ISS – Why does the South execute more people?.


Filed under Death Penalty, Justice System

The Media’s Casey Anthony Shame

Another good article, in addition to my earlier post, about the Media manipulation of this sad little story…

From Howard Kurtz via The Daily Beast:

What television news was guilty of was massive overkill. There was absolutely no reason for the TV business to turn the death of 2-year-old Caylee into a national soap opera—that is, short of milking the story for ratings. (Newspapers and magazines have largely stayed off this bandwagon.)

Sadly, many children are killed by parents in the United States each year, and most barely merit a short story in the local paper. If they’re African-American, they are barely on the radar. Casey Anthony is white, middle-class and attractive—the trifecta for producers and bookers.

Such trials are the spawn of O.J., whose murder case dominated the media in the mid-1990s. But Simpson was a world-famous athlete. Chandra Levy at least worked for a member of Congress. Since then, television news has tried to fill the void by taking unknown victims and defendants—Laci Peterson, Natalee Holloway—and turning them into cause celebres so that viewers would develop a rooting interest in the players and the subplots.

I find it sickening, which is why I’ve largely avoided writing or talking about the Anthony case until now. Like many of those who even casually followed the story, I thought she was probably guilty. But I never understood why I should care about this murder above so many others. Let’s be honest with ourselves: this is the exploitation of tragedy until it becomes entertainment. And that’s why the situation is even worse than the indictment by Anthony’s lawyer would suggest.

July 05, 2011 07:05pm

via The Media’s Casey Anthony Shame – The Daily Beast.

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The Casey Anthony Verdict

James Wolcott, at the “Vanity Fair” website pretty much sums up my thoughts on this….

Great article about the collective nervous breakdown and media hysteria this case seems to be generating…

Don’t get me wrong, the murder of any child is tragic.  It’s the media firestorm and manipulation I find, frankly, disgusting.

I really haven’t paid much attention to this….mainly because I came across Nancy Grace’s coverage on TV in a hotel room when I was traveling.  During the 5 minutes or so I could tolerate watching her false anger and over-acting, I decided I just didn’t care to know about anything she was trying so hard to exploit for her own ratings.

It’s a tough title to win and the competition is intense, but Nancy Grace has to hold the title as the World’s Most Annoying Uptight White Woman.  And when she covers these things, she still manages to somehow make it all about her….


People need to remember a few things:

  1. In the American Judicial System, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty.  No matter what Nancy Grace thinks.
  2.  “Not Guilty” does not mean innocent.
  3. “Not Guilty”  means reasonable doubt exists
  4. Reasonable doubt means the prosecution didn’t prove the case beyond the reasonable possibility that the accused is innocent.
  5. Unlike some countries, the U.S. Justice system errs on the side of caution.  The Founders believed it was better to let a guilty person go free than make it easy to convict the innocent.  They were wise men.

But then “reasonable” is not a word anyone could apply to any aspect of this tragic mess….

I’ll let James Wolcott take it from here….

I don’t claim powers of clairvoyance or psychic reading, but the other day I was channel-hopping and paused at one of the cable channels doing a live feed from the Casey Anthony trial. I hadn’t followed the case, had only a dim awareness of the apparently endless discussion of duct tape, stench from the car, and Casey Anthony’s visit to a tattoo place that had taken place within the endless cable palaver during the trial coverage, but after a few minutes of watching I vaguely thought, I dunno, I could see her getting off.

So when the not-guilty verdicts came down within the last hour on the charges of murder and manslaughter (she was found guilty on the charges of lying to investigators), I seemed to be one of the few whose world didn’t flip sideways–I wasn’t that surprised and if anything pleased that the jury made up its own collective mind in defiance of the lynch-mob clamor on the cable channels.

It can’t be said that the know-nothing know-it-alls on Fox News and Nancy Grace’s Sweeney Todd cooking school accepted the jury’s verdict with modesty and maturity. After expressing shock and taking turns to tell us how “stunned” they were, they accused the jury of suffering from Stockholm Syndrome (staring at Casey Anthony’s face somehow melting their reason and resolve), appearing to resent that fact that the defendant might be freed soon (since she might be granted time-served on the lesser charges, having already served years behind bars), and acting peevish that they didn’t get their way, having already convicted Casey Anthony on the airwaves for years now and treating the trial as an audiovisual demonstration of what to them was self-evident.

“Appearing to resent” and “peevish” are too mild, actually–many of the instant commentators on cable were visibly, audibly angry at the AUDACITY these acquittals. (Once exception: Judge Andrew Napolitano on Fox News, who was calm and sensible.)

It may have annoyed Nancy Grace (everything annoys Nancy Grace), but defense attorney Casey Anthony slamdunked it afterwards when he told the press that this verdict was a rebuke to the demonization of his client and the ugly, unprofessional spectacle of lawyers going on TV to talk about a case about which they clearly didn’t know as much as they thought they did.

What little I saw of the coverage was disgusting and sob-sister, this endless fetishizing of “little Caylee,” as if these well-dressed, high-paid lawyers and media mouths had adopted her as their own little angel, and minutes after the verdict came down there was Judge Jeanine Pirro wailing, Where is the justice for this little girl? (“Justice for Caylee” was the sidebar subhead on Grace’s Headline News coverage, as if it were a personal crusade.)

Look, I don’t know if Casey Anthony is guilty or not, but neither does Nancy Grace or any of the performing seals brought in as expert commentators to bark and clap their fins, and maybe if they acknowledged they lack of godly omniscience they might be a little less “shocked” and “stunned” the next time around.

Barring exorcism, I don’t expect Nancy Grace to change, she being the only person whose nose seems tilted into a permanent sneer.

Postscript: Thanks, Florida, FOR WASTING OUR TIME YET AGAIN.

via The Casey Anthony Verdict | James Wolcott’s Blog | Vanity Fair.

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Clarence Thomas Faces Call For His Disbarment in Missouri Supreme Court | AlterNet

If only….

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas should be disbarred for his failure to truthfully complete financial-disclosure forms over a 20-year period, according to a complaint filed by the watchdog group Protect Our Elections (POE). This would not affect his ability to sit on the Supreme Court, but it would add to mounting pressure on the Department of Justice to investigate Thomas.

via Clarence Thomas Faces Call For His Disbarment in Missouri Supreme Court | AlterNet.

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