My girlfriend Emily, fierce competitor and endurance athlete, celebrated her first “Whole Iron Woman” blog anniversary over the weekend — you can count that among one of many proud boyfriend moments!
While it’s a bit late for Valentine’s Day, gushing over one’s significant other is never out of style. Emily and I met several years ago when I was on hiatus from college and working as a bartender at a small, independent restaurant in Nashville. Unbeknownst to me, I waited on her and her family a time or two before we actually met. After being introduced by mutual friends, we went out a couple times (and by “went out” I mean I dragged her to my favorite dive bar, and then to my bi-weekly all-night poker game), and we eventually lost touch after she moved to New Jersey to work on statewide races.
Every day, there’s another lesson in why the government must be limited, restrained, put on a leash and forced to go on a massive diet. But some times, those lessons are more twisted and sick than others. Radley Balko fills us in:
On April 10, 2010, Raquel Nelson lost her 4-year-old son. Nelson was crossing a busy Marietta, Georgia, street with her son and his two siblings when they were struck by a hit-and-run driver. Police were able to track down the driver, Jerry Guy, who later admitted he had been drinking and had taken painkillers the night of the accident. He was also mostly blind in one eye. Guy had already been convicted of two prior hit-and-runs. He pleaded guilty, served six months of his five-year sentence, and was released last October.
If it ended there, this story would merely be tragic. But it gets worse. Last week Nelson herself was convicted on three charges related to her son’s death: reckless conduct, improperly crossing a roadway and second-degree homicide by vehicle. Each is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 12 months in prison. Nelson could spend up to six times as many months in jail as the man who struck her son and then fled the scene. Nelson’s crime: jaywalking.
That’s right, folks: a poor woman just lost her son, and now she’s going to jail because they weren’t in the crosswalk when they were hit. Three years in jail, to be exact. This brings up an important point: the distinction between law vs. justice.
Radley Balko, who has been covering this sad story for several years, reports over at the Huffington Post that Cory Maye will soon be released from prison:
After 10 years of incarceration, and seven years after a jury sentenced him to die, 30-year-old Cory Maye will soon be going home. Mississippi Circuit Court Judge Prentiss Harrell signed a plea agreement Friday morning in which Maye pled guilty to manslaughter for the 2001 death of Prentiss, Mississippi, police officer Ron Jones, Jr.
Per the agreement, Harrell then sentenced Maye to 10 years in prison, time he has now already served. Maye will be taken to Rankin County, Mississippi, for processing and some procedural work. He is expected to be released within days.
I’ve mentioned Maye a few times here since his story became nationally known, thanks to Balko’s work. For those of you that aren’t familiar with this, Cory Maye was at home with daughter on the evening of December 26, 2001 when police officers entered his side of the duplex (whether they announced themselves is still unclear). The search warrant named a known drug dealer that shared the other half of the duplex. The warrant didn’t specifically list Maye or his girlfriend, rather “persons unknown.”
Upon hearing noises, Maye grabbed his gun and went into his daughter’s room. When Officer Ron Jones entered the room, Maye fired three shots. Maye claims that he didn’t hear officers announce themselves and didn’t realize he had fired at police until he heard them shouting after he had discharged his weapon.
You can learn more about the events in this video:
We’re kicking the United Liberty Podcast off again this week with Jason and Brett speaking to Radley Balko, senior editor at Reason magazine and blogger at The Agitator (a favorite of ours here at UL).
The discussion centers around the alarming trend in police militarization and the murders Kathryn Johnston and Johnathan Ayers. We also discussed Cory Maye’s case (video here) in Mississippi and Radley’s work in exposing the questionable methods of Dr. Steven Hayne, a forensic pathologist whose tesitmony at Maye’s trail was essential the death sentence handed down by the jury.
Maye has since been granted a new trail by Mississippi Court of Appeals.
“Tomorrow, Roger Clemens goes on trial for lying…to politicians. Which is like trying a woman for flashing her breasts at a stripper.” – Radley Balko
Roger Clemens went on trial this week for lying during an investigating into the use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) in baseball. Mind you, he is not being put on trial for actually using the drugs – and he shouldn’t be; rather telling a the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in 2008 that had not used them.
I get that no one forced him to come forward, but it’s laughable for Clemens to be indicted for lying to and “obstructing” a parliament of whores, to quote P.J. O’Rourke. And let’s face it, there are plenty of other things more important that a trial to avenge the delicate sensibilities of members of Congress.
John Stossel rightly notes that this is both a waste of time and taxpayer resources (emphasis mine):
When the Feds went after Barry Bonds, the taxpayers had to cough up more than $55 million to pay for it. I bet Clemens’ case will cost at least that. Why should you have to pay for this?
At the time Clemens allegedly took steroids, lots of players did, and the substances weren’t even illegal in private MLB.
Congress loves such hearings because they bring the narcissists the media attention they crave. Since 2000, there have been 11 congressional hearings related to Major League Baseball.
Clemens may have lied to Congress about using Performance Enhancing Drugs.
Admittedly, I didn’t pay any attention to the Casey Anthony trial. My knowledge of the case is limited to what I heard on the radio in the mornings on my ride into work. The media’s coverage of the case, I believe, takes away from the actual issues facing the country right now; such as the debt ceiling and budget deficits we are facing.
In case you haven’t heard, Anthony was found not guilty of murdering her daughter, Caylee, and other charges. She was found guilty of lying to investigators and will serve time for that.
Prior to the verdict being announced, everyone believed Anthony’s guilt was a “slam dunk.” But around 2:30 today, my Facebook and Twitter feeds lit up with complaints from slack-jawed followers of the case about the verdict. Radley Balko quipped, “Reaction to Casey Anthony verdict is alarming. Twitter consensus is apparently ready to dispose of the Fifth Amendment.”
The obsession isn’t a surprise given the media’s seemingly endless focus on it. Because of this, Anthony was tried in the court of public opinion long before she ever had her day in court. Fortunately, a jury is tasked with determining innocence or guilt in this country, not law professors, legal analysts and commentators or a loudmouth with a television show.
Last week, the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled in a 7-2 decision that Cory Maye, who was convicted of killing a police officer in a botched drug raid in 2001, should receive a new trial (you can read the court’s opinion here or scroll to the bottom of the page):
The Mississippi Supreme Court has ordered a new trial for Cory Maye, but reached a different conclusion in doing so than one ruled on by the Court of Appeals last year.
The Court of Appeals ordered a new trial because a judge denied Maye his constitutional right to be tried in south Mississippi’s Jefferson Davis County, where the crime occurred.
The Supreme Court on Thursday didn’t rule on the venue issue. Instead, Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. said the trial judge erred in not telling the jury that it could consider Maye’s claim of self-defense.
Maye’s attorneys had contended Maye was clearly defending himself - and protecting his sleeping daughter - when he fired shots at people invading his home and killed police officer Ron Jones.
Since the original trial, the work of Dr. Steven Hayne, a forensic pathologist whose testimony at Maye’s trail was essential to the death sentence handed down by the jury, has been called into question thanks to investigative reporting done by Radley Balko (Brett and I talked to Balko about this case and more in April).
We often hear that the rise in immigration is related to crime, including violent crime. Is that true? A look at the evidence shows that border towns in the United States are actually seeing a drop in violent crime, despite increasing drug related violence in Mexico:
During the 1990s, immigration reached record highs and crime rates fell more precipitously than at any time in U.S. history. And cities with the largest increases in immigration between 1990 and 2000 experienced the largest decreases in rates of homicide and robbery.
The findings by Tim Wadsworth, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Colorado at Boulder, contradict much of the public rhetoric about the relationship between immigration and crime.
As the Arizona Republic reported this month, violent crime in that state’s border towns has remained essentially flat during the past decade even as drug-trade violence on the other side of the border has burgeoned.
If higher rates of immigration were boosting crime rates, one would expect long-term studies to show crime rising and falling over time with the influx and exodus of immigrants. Instead, Wadsworth found the opposite.
Wadsworth’s work tested the hypothesis, famously advanced by Harvard sociologist Robert Sampson, that the rise in immigration could be related to the drop in crime rates.
Over at Reason, Radley Balko brings us video of a drug raid into a home where police entered and within seconds shot and killed the family’s dog, presumably in front of the child they were there to protect from endangerment. Unfortunately, this is part of a growing and troubling trend.
The video is disturbing: