Arizona officials on Monday reopened the investigation into a deputy's explanation of how he was shot in the remote desert south of Phoenix amid speculation it was a hoax timed to enflame the debate over illegal immigration.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
The U.S. Supreme Court is going to hear arguments next week in a case involving Westboro Baptist Church, which was sued after protesting at a Marine's funeral. The central question is whether this type of activity falls under First Amendment protection. (Westboro says it already plans to protest outside the court, even as they make their arguments inside.)
The Wall Street Journal has a preview of the court's upcoming term, and the article says the Westboro case is one of a few high-profile First Amendment cases that will come before the Supremes. This particular court has a record that's a little unpredictable in this area.
Hat Tip: Many thanks, Keith G in PV!
An Australian man died after his wife set his penis on fire, hoping that it would stop him from cheating, authorities allege.
If you've got a few minutes, be sure to read this piece about Stephen Brodie, a Texas inmate who has been cleared of a girl's rape in the early 1990s. Brodie confessed to the crime, though he says he was pressured and interrogated for hours without an interpreter. (Authorities still say nothing untoward happened during their investigation.) There was no physical evidence linking him to the crime.
(AP Photo/LM Otero, File)
A new poll suggests that likely voters favor California's Proposition 19, a measure that would legalize marijuana for recreational purposes, the Sacramento Bee writes. About 49 percent of those surveyed favored legalization. Much of the support is among those 40 and younger, and people living in San Francisco or Los Angeles.
Prop 19 is on the Nov. 2 ballot.
A Springfield city councilman has sued the school district and the sheriff's department in federal court, alleging that students' bags and purses were wrongly searched during a lockdown drill in April. (That link goes to the always excellent Kathee Baird's blog.)
The courts tend to give authorities a lot of leeway when it comes to school searches. The Missouri Attorney General's office has a pamphlet here with more detail on Missouri's rules. This case will probably hinge on whether the search can be justified as reasonable.
Someone stole a truck full of Little Debbie cakes from outside a Wal-Mart in Wichita early on Monday morning, the Eagle reports. The estimated value of the cakes, which were found stashed along a bike trail, was $6,000. Police later located the truck, which had been abandoned in a canal.
Musical accompaniment courtesy of Fugazi ...
Federal prosecutors recently charged five Missouri men in connection with the sexual abuse and torture of a young woman in Lebanon, Mo. On Monday, one of the defendants -- Dennis Henry of Wheatland, Mo. -- asked a judge to let him out on bond. The request was denied. Henry has worked as the postmaster in Nevada, Mo., and according to his attorney, "believed that the woman did not object to their relationship."
Alyssa Bustamante, the mid-Missouri teenager accused of killing a younger neighbor, has lost a bid to continue her education while awaiting trial, the AP reports. Her attorneys asked that Bustamante be allowed to take classes through a distance-learning program. She's accused of killing Elizabeth Olten, age 9.
Overland Park police are starting a mounted search-and-rescue unit, Chief John Douglass' blog reports. What's a little different is that civilians will be a big part of the group. (They'll each have to provide their own horse, though they'll get some special training and equipment in return.)
USA Today had an article recently noting that many police departments have cut their mounted patrols because their budgets have gotten smaller. It sounds like OP will be using its unit for search, and not for crowd control, which KCPD and other agencies do.
One of the country's best-known mounted patrols, the nonprofit Texas Equusearch, recently sent out an alert asking for donations because they were in a budget fix.
Welcome back to the Open Thread, our blog's space for off-topic comments and discussion. If you've seen an interesting story somewhere else, feel free to post a link below.
As always, please follow our standard rules: Please sign your comments, and please avoid profanity, as well as racially and sexually abusive language. And when you sign your comments, please use only one nickname. If you need to reach me, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks again, and have a great day!
Monday, September 27, 2010
In Fort Myers, Fla., authorities were called to stop a couple who were allegedly having sex under a tree outside the Good To Go convenience store, the Naples News reports. The store manager said the encounter went on for an hour and only stopped when the sheriff's office intervened. I direct your attention to paragraph five.
In McIntosh County, Ga., authorities lose about 550 street signs per year to thieves, and one official says the solution is obvious: Stop giving their streets such awesome names. Among the signs that have been stolen: Mary Jane Lane, Boone's Farm and Green Acres.
Great news, everyone! The FBI has given a test to its agents, to make sure they understand how our laws on surveillance work. That way, we can be sure they're not accidentally violating the law.
Did I mention the test was open book?
And that, according to an inspector general report, a bunch of FBI agents cheated on it?
Hat Tip: Many thanks, Natasha PV!
We linked to this story last week, but blog regular Tim P has tracked the cellphone video of the incident here.
Hat Tip: Many thanks, Tim P!
Before you ask: No, there are no photos. I'm not sure what her strategy was. That workers would be so shocked, they wouldn't run after her? Or was she trying to rid herself of loose clothing that would make her easier to grab and catch?
A Florida man has been acquitted of charges that he exposed himself to high-school students in November 2008. His defense: He'd actually been wearing a Halloween costume that included a fake rubber penis. To convict him, the prosecution would have to prove the penis that students saw was actually real.
Hat Tip: Saw this via the Obscure Store!
The White House wants to require all Web services that "facilitate communication" to be able to comply with a wiretap order. Officials want to make it easier to wiretap Internet communication, whether it's being conducted via Skype, Facebook or Blackberry. The New York Times broke the story this morning.
The government says it needs this capability because more suspects are using the Internet to communicate, and encryption makes it harder for investigators to go after them. They argue that the legislation is not an expansion of power -- they already have authority to wiretap phones -- and they just want to be able to do the same thing over the Internet.
Privacy experts, though, worry that changing how these services work will make it easier for hackers to intercept others' messages.
Johnson County is one of two sites working with the Justice Department to find ways to keep the mentally ill out of jail, Joe Lambe writes this morning. About 17 percent of the jail's inmates are mentally ill, and many of them are "frequent fliers." A lot of those people are getting into trouble because there aren't treatment centers available and they have a difficult time getting the necessary medication.
Hat Tip: Many thanks, Keith G in PV!
Mayors Against Illegal Guns -- a group that includes the mayors of Kansas City, Bonner Springs, Lake Quivira and Lansing -- is issuing a report on states that "most often export guns used in crimes across state lines," the New York Times reports. The top three are Mississippi, West Virginia and Kentucky. (Missouri and Kansas don't make the top 10.) The Brady Center released a similar report this summer.
Their goal is to single out states that, according to the mayors group, have gun laws that are too loose. And they're going to try and use the study to lobby for tougher gun-control laws. The NRA, as you might imagine, is unimpressed.
A Minnesota man reportedly told his wife that two strangers were kidnapping him. He was found a week later in Las Vegas, and police report that he had NOT been kidnapped, the AP says. Authorities say they aren't planning any charges against him. (Maybe because his wife is probably going to kill him.)
I love this quote via KOCO-TV:
"As the police arrived, the police officer saw him taking off dressed in high heels. Ends up that's my ex-son-in-law, so that's awesome," Palmer said.
Phillip Garrido -- the man accused of kidnapping Jaycee Dugard, keeping her prisoner for 18 years and fathering two children with her -- might not be competent to stand trial, the judge says. The case has been suspended temporarily until the issue can be resolved. Garrido's wife, meanwhile, is not getting any delays. (Garrido, you might remember, did time at Leavenworth. That's actually where he met his wife and got married.)