Court and Judicial Corruption Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Court and Judicial Corruption Media Articles in Major Media
Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
When she was a scrawny 11-year-old, Sherry Johnson found out one day that she was about to be married to a 20-year-old member of her church who had raped her. She had become pregnant, she says, and child welfare authorities were investigating - so her family and church officials decided the simplest way to avoid a messy criminal case was to organize a wedding. Today she is ... part of a nationwide movement to end child marriage in America. Meanwhile, children 16 and under are still being married in Florida at a rate of one every few days. In fact, more than 167,000 young people age 17 and under married in 38 states between 2000 and 2010. Among the states with the highest rates of child marriages were Arkansas, Idaho and Kentucky. The number of child marriages has been falling, but every state in America still allows underage girls to marry, typically with the consent of parents, a judge or both. Twenty-seven states do not even set a minimum age by statute. A great majority of the child marriages involve girls and adult men. Such a sexual relationship would often violate statutory rape laws, but marriage sometimes makes it legal. Johnson ... says that her family attended a conservative Pentecostal church and that other girls of a similar age periodically also married. Often, she says, this was to hide rapes by church elders. She says she was raped by both a minister and a parishioner. A judge approved the marriage to end the rape investigation, she says, telling her, “What we want is for you to get married.”
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
A federal appeals court on Tuesday revived a high-profile challenge to the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance of internet communications. The ruling ... increases the chances that the Supreme Court may someday scrutinize whether the N.S.A.’s so-called upstream system for internet surveillance complies with Fourth Amendment privacy rights. The ruling reversed a Federal District Court judge’s decision to throw out the case. The district judge had ruled that the plaintiffs - including the Wikimedia Foundation - lacked standing to sue because they could not prove that their messages had been intercepted. Because of how the internet works, surveillance of communications crossing network switches is different from traditional circuit-based phone wiretapping. While the government can target a specific phone call without touching anyone else’s communications, it cannot simply intercept a surveillance target’s email. Instead ... to find such emails it is necessary first to systematically copy data packets crossing a network switch and sift them in search of components from any messages involving a target. Documents provided by [Edward] Snowden and declassified by the government have shown that this system works through equipment installed at the facilities of companies, like AT&T, that [connect] the American internet to the rest of the world. Privacy advocates contend that the initial copying and searching of all those data packets ... violates Fourth Amendment protections against government search and seizure.
Jose Charles was dazed, bleeding from his head and surrounded by police. His mother had gone to take one of the 15-year-old’s siblings to the bathroom at a Fourth of July celebration in Greensboro, N.C. - and returned to find an officer’s hand around Jose’s neck. Police charged Jose with four crimes, including attacking an officer. The teenager and his mother say police slammed and choked him without provocation. In a month, the court’s interpretation of the incident could determine Jose’s fate. Body camera footage from several officers who were at the scene of the encounter is sitting ... where almost no one can see it. Standing in the way of clarity and transparency, critics say, is a new North Carolina law that makes it more difficult than ever to view recordings of controversial interactions between police and members of the public. The law requires anyone who wants to see police body camera footage to pay a fee and plead their case to a Superior Court judge. The law gives an inordinate amount of power to prosecutors. Jose Charles’s mom, Tamara Figueroa ... said [her son] suffers from schizoaffective disorder. She said prosecutors have told her that if Jose doesn’t plead guilty to assault, they’ll ask a judge to send him to a [facility] which Figueroa calls “a kiddie jail,” unequipped to treat his mental illness. The video could change public perception and her son’s fate, Figueroa said: She has seen the footage and remains adamant that her son didn’t assault a police officer.
In the annals of wrongful convictions, there is nothing that comes close in size to the epic drug-lab scandal that is entering its dramatic final act in Massachusetts. About 23,000 people convicted of low-level drug crimes are expected to have their cases wiped away next month en masse, the result of a five-year court fight over the work of a rogue chemist. The prosecutors didn't want the scandal to end like this. They fought for a way to preserve the convictions. The chemist, Annie Dookhan ... worked at the William A. Hinton State Laboratory Institute in Boston for nearly a decade before her misconduct was exposed in 2012. She admitted to tampering with evidence, forging test results and lying about it. She served three years in prison. [It] is not entirely clear why Dookhan ... felt compelled to change test results on such a massive scale. She was by far the lab's most prolific analyst, a record that impressed her supervisors but also worried her co-workers - a red flag that went overlooked for years. She also maintained friendly relationships with prosecutors, even though her role was to remain objective. Lab scandals have undermined thousands of convictions in eight states in the past decade. Critics say forensic chemists feel a duty to help prosecutors rather than remain neutral. Because of the system's reliance on plea bargains to keep cases moving, defendants often don't have a chance to challenge results from drug labs.
Note: The FBI was found to have faked an entire branch of forensic science. If one chemist's falsified results led to so many unjust criminal convictions, and lab scandals are known to have undermined convictions in eight states, how trustworthy is the science that feeds the extremely profitable mass incarceration industry? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing judicial corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
There was once a time - before the investigations, before the sexual abuse conviction - when rich and famous men loved to hang around with Jeffrey Epstein, a billionaire money manager who loved to party. President Trump called Epstein a “terrific guy” back in 2002, saying that “he’s a lot of fun to be with. He likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.” Now, Trump is on the witness list in a Florida court battle over how federal prosecutors handled allegations that Epstein, 64, sexually abused more than 40 minor girls, most of them between the ages of 13 and 17. The lawsuit questions why Trump’s nominee for labor secretary, former Miami U.S. attorney Alexander Acosta ... cut a non-prosecution deal with Epstein a decade ago rather than pursuing a federal indictment that Acosta’s staff had advocated. Epstein pleaded guilty to a Florida state charge of felony solicitation of underage girls in 2008 and served a 13-month jail sentence. Epstein’s unusually light punishment - he was facing up to a life sentence had he been convicted on federal charges - has raised questions about how Acosta handled the case. In [a] 2011 letter explaining his decision in the Epstein case, Acosta said he backed off from pressing charges after “a year-long assault on the prosecution and the prosecutors” by “an army of legal superstars” who represented Epstein.
A Florida mother first brought billionaire Jeffrey Epstein’s peculiar caprices to the attention of Palm Beach police in 2005. Eventually, federal investigators and prosecutors built a case against Epstein ... that involved 17 witnesses and five other underaged women. But in September 2007, a Florida federal prosecutor named R. Alexander Acosta cut a secret plea deal with Epstein’s lawyers giving him ... an unusually lenient part-time, eight-hours a day county jail sentence, rather than the ten years or more in prison that a less powerful person might have gotten for repeated sex with minors. Acosta also deviated from legal norms when he granted the deal without first notifying the young women who had spoken to investigators about their experiences with the billionaire. Details of the deal were not made public until a federal judge unsealed it as part of a civil lawsuit brought by four women in 2015. Epstein was allowed to plead guilty to a single charge of soliciting prostitution from girls as young as 14. He ultimately served only 13 months in prison. On Wednesday, Acosta ... testified in front of the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee as Donald Trump’s nominee to be Secretary of Labor. Asked about the Epstein deal, he characterized it as within the bounds of normal prosecutorial behavior. “Acosta is pretending the failure to prosecute was routine,” [a] former prosecutor told Newsweek, asking for anonymity. “But that’s bullshit. What happened here was completely and totally out of the main.”
Racial disparities have long been evident in the U.S. criminal justice system, but a new report drilling into statistics on wrongful convictions points up exactly how nefarious the problem is. African Americans are much more likely to be wrongfully convicted of a murder, sexual assault or drug offense than whites. The report, by the National Registry of Exonerations, found that “innocent black people are about seven times more likely to be convicted of murder than innocent white people,” and thus also account for a disproportionate share of the growing number of exonerations. African Americans who were convicted and then exonerated of murder charges also spent four years longer on death row than wrongfully convicted whites (and three years longer for those sentenced to prison). According to the report, African Americans convicted of murder “are about 50% more likely to be innocent than other convicted murderers,” and that such wrongful convictions, even when later corrected, expands the impact of violence on African American communities.
For a shocking glimpse of what’s been happening in the name of criminal justice in America, look no further than a Justice Department report last week on police behavior in Louisiana. Officers there have routinely arrested hundreds of citizens annually without probable cause, strip-searching them and denying them contact with their family and lawyers for days - all in an unconstitutional attempt to force cooperation with detectives who finally admitted they were operating on a mere “hunch” or “feeling.” This wholesale violation of the Constitution’s protection against unlawful search and seizure ... was standard procedure. The report described as “staggering” the number of people who were “commonly detained for 72 hours or more” with no opportunity to contest their arrest, in what the police euphemistically termed “investigative holds.” The sheriff’s office in Evangeline, with a population of 33,578, initiated over 200 such arrest-and-grilling sessions between 2012 and 2014. In Ville Platte, which has 7,303 residents, the local police department used the practice more than 700 times during the same years. The residents faced demands for information, the report said, “under threat of continued wrongful incarceration,” resulting in what may have been false confessions and improper convictions. “Literally anyone in Evangeline Parish or Ville Platte could be arrested and placed ‘on hold’ at any time,” the report found.
Law enforcement officials announced last spring that they were pursuing fraud investigations against the world’s largest oil company, ExxonMobil. “Fossil fuel companies ... deceived investors and consumers about the dangers of climate change,” [Attorney General Maura] Healey said at the time. Now those words are being used against Healey, in a lawsuit filed by ExxonMobil. In a stunning offense-is-the-best-defense legal strategy, the company is ... saying the Massachusetts Democrat’s investigation violates their free speech and other constitutional rights. In its legal battle to shut down her investigation, ExxonMobil has demanded that she testify about her efforts and provide documents from her office. Healey contends the corporate response is unprecedented: Not only is [ExxonMobil] refusing to comply, it is demanding an investigation of the investigating agency. “They took the tack of trying to shut down this investigation by suing us,” she said. When Healey issued subpoenas seeking ExxonMobil’s documents on climate change dating to the 1970s, she was “abusing the power of government to silence a speaker she disfavors,” lawyers for ExxonMobil wrote in their June lawsuit against her, alleging a violation of the company’s rights. And they criticized the stories that prompted the investigation: Reports published in 2015 ... suggested ExxonMobil had encouraged climate change confusion for years, despite its own research documenting the risks.
Tennie White, who was prosecuted by a joint team made up of attorneys from the Environmental Protection Agency and the environmental crimes division of the Justice Department, had spent her professional life exposing contamination. She was ... particularly vocal about protecting poor African-American communities. Before she was charged and prosecuted, White had spent much of her time volunteering for [the Coalition of Communities for Environmental Justice], an organization she had co-founded to help these Mississippians contend with pollution. She traveled throughout the state ... talking about environmental issues in black communities. So in 2012, when White was charged with fraud by the EPA, the organization she so often criticized, and the charges involved a company she had helped a community challenge, [those] who had been working closely with her felt they knew exactly what had happened. “She was framed,” said [White's former colleague Rev. Steve] Jamison. “It was that simple.” I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the EPA for all communications relating to the investigation of Tennie White in April 2016. The agency is supposed to resolve such requests within 20 business days, but I did not receive all the documents I requested. Nor did the EPA respond to my repeated requests to address the specifics of White’s case - and why her sentence for a crime of no environmental consequence was more severe than penalties for many others who caused serious harm.
Note: Despite its mandate to protect human health and the environment, the EPA has a long history of keeping the existence of toxic waste sites secret and preventing employees from talking with congressional investigators, reporters and the agency's own inspector general. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and health.
What do you say to someone who spent years on death row for a murder DNA evidence later proved he didn't commit? It's a question that Utah legislators and law students were faced with last week when they met Ray Krone, an Arizona man who was tried, convicted and sentenced to death for a 1991 Phoenix barroom slaying only to be exonerated and freed after years of staring down his potential execution. Krone is the 100th death row inmate freed in the United States since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976 and Utah executed Gary Gilmore. He was in Utah last week, meeting with more than a dozen legislators on Wednesday ahead of another attempt by death-penalty opponents to repeal Utah's law on executions in the upcoming legislative session. Last legislative session, a bill to repeal the death penalty passed the Senate but was blocked in the House. Marina Lowe, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah, said stories like Krone's, where the system got it wrong, were missing from the debate last year. "I want the public to see there are actually two sides of the justice system. It's not simply that everyone has done something wrong or they wouldn't have been arrested," Krone said. "To ignore the fact that people are being exonerated and to ignore the fact that our justice system is getting it wrong, to ignore the fact that police and prosecutors can perjure themselves - to ignore that fact puts us all at danger in our justice system if we are caught up in that."
Note: 100 innocent people who would have been executed have been exonerated. How can this happen? Can we trust our judicial system with all of its corruption to sentence people to death? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing judicial system corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
A UK-based charity has warned that British tourists and expats in Dubai and across the United Arab Emirates (UAE) should not report incidents of rape after a woman who was allegedly gang raped was arrested and charged with “extramarital sex”. Detained in Dubai, an organisation that assists people who have become victims of injustice in the UAE, has warned against reporting rape or other crimes in the country because of the “manipulation when it comes to criminal accusations” and the “racist” preconceptions held against Western tourists. Radha Stirling, founder of the charity, said that following the recent case – as well as a number of other shocking incidents in recent years where rape victims have been detained in the UAE – she advises British tourists not to report crime. The latest case involves the arrest of a 25-year-old woman who was on holiday in Dubai in October when she was allegedly attacked by two British men, who allegedly befriended her and lured her to their hotel room before pinning her down and raping her while recording it on a phone. When the woman reported the rape at a police station, she was arrested for breaking Emirati laws against extramarital sex, while her attackers have since flown home to the UK. Her passport has reportedly been confiscated and she is prohibited from leaving the country. The prescribed punishments for extramarital sex in the UAE include imprisonment, deportation, floggings and stoning.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
Most complaints of child sexual abuse in Malaysia do not lead to successful prosecutions. According to classified data Malaysian police compiled and shared with Reuters, 12,987 cases of child sexual abuse were reported to police between January 2012 and July of this year. Charges were filed in 2,189 cases, resulting in just 140 convictions. No details were disclosed in the cases where there were convictions. Child rights advocates have long pushed the government to publicly disclose data on child sexual abuse to increase awareness so action can be taken to address what they call a growing problem. A veil was lifted in June when a British court handed Richard Huckle 22 life sentences for abusing up to 200 babies and children, mostly in Malaysia, and sharing images of his crimes on the dark web. Child sexual abuse data ... is protected under Malaysia’s Official Secrets Act. The government provides data on child abuse only at the request of a member of parliament. In 17 years of operation, PS the Children, Malaysia’s biggest NGO dealing with child abuse, has seen zero convictions on the cases it has handled, its founder Madeleine Yong told Reuters. Malaysia does not have a law specifically prohibiting child pornography and defines rape narrowly as penile penetration. Australian detectives who investigate paedophiles in the region believe Malaysia has become one of Southeast Asia’s biggest centres for the transmission of child pornography on the Internet.
Note: Watch an excellent segment by Australia's "60-Minutes" team "Spies, Lords and Predators" on a pedophile ring in the UK which leads to the highest levels of government. A second suppressed documentary, "Conspiracy of Silence," goes even deeper into this topic in the US. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
Hundreds of activists gathered to block construction of the Dakota Access pipeline on Thursday. Police with tanks and riot gear surrounded them and began making mass arrests. One officer on the loudspeaker warned the demonstrators not to shoot “bows and arrows”. For some Native American activists, the officer’s comment was the latest sign that a highly militarized police force has little understanding of indigenous culture. The notion that the criminal justice system is biased against Native American protesters came into sharp view hours later, when a jury in Portland, Oregon, issued a verdict of not guilty for white militia leaders who staged an armed occupation of federal land to protest government policies. The fact that protesters with guns were acquitted on the same day police arrested 141 “water protectors”, who have often relied on indigenous songs and prayers to convey their message, sparked a firestorm on social media. At the Standing Rock camps in North Dakota, where the fight against the $3.8bn oil pipeline is escalating ... Native Americans said the Oregon verdict was an infuriating and painful reminder that the law treats them differently – and that the odds are stacked against them in their ... battle to save their land. The ultra-conservative activists who seized the Malheur refuge were fighting against environmental restrictions aimed at protecting ... public lands. In North Dakota, the Native American-led movement is grounded in the idea that the land is sacred and must be preserved.
Note: For more on this under-reported movement, see this Los Angeles Times article and this article in the UK's Guardian. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.
I was 29 and mowing the lawn at my mother’s house in Birmingham, Alabama, on a hot day in July 1985 when I looked up and saw two police officers. I asked the detective 50 times why I was being arrested. Eventually, he told me I was being arrested for a robbery. I told him, “You have the wrong man.” He said, “I don’t care whether you did it or not. You will be convicted.” At the station, it became clear I’d been at work when the robbery occurred. The detective verified this with my supervisor, but then told me they were going to charge me with two counts of first-degree murder from two other robberies. When I met my appointed lawyer, I told him I was innocent. He said, “All of y’all always say you didn’t do something.” I might have seen him three times in the two years I waited for trial. The only evidence linking me to the crime was the testimony of a ballistics expert who said the bullets from the murder weapon could be a match to my mother’s gun. They found me guilty. [In] 1986 I went to death row. Eventually, [in] 2015, the State of Alabama dropped all charges. I was released that same day. When you’ve been locked up for nearly 30 years, nothing is the same. It was like walking out on to another planet at the age of 58. Every night, I go outside and look up at the stars and moon, because for years I could not see either. Now, I am determined to go wherever I am asked to help end the death penalty. I am so thankful that I get to travel with Lifelines and [the Equal Justice Initiative], and share my story.
Two documentary film-makers are facing decades in prison for recording US oil pipeline protests, with serious felony charges that first amendment advocates say are part of a growing number of attacks on freedom of the press. The controversial prosecutions of Deia Schlosberg and Lindsey Grayzel are moving forward after a judge in North Dakota rejected “riot” charges filed against Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman for her high-profile reporting at the Dakota Access pipeline protests. But authorities in other parts of North Dakota and in Washington state have continued to target other film-makers over their recent reporting on similar demonstrations. Schlosberg, a New York-based film-maker, is facing three felony conspiracy charges for filming protesters on 11 October at a TransCanada Keystone Pipeline site in Pembina County in North Dakota. The 36-year-old ... could face 45 years in prison. In Goodman’s case, a judge forced prosecutors to drop a serious “riot” charge. But prosecutors and sheriff’s officials said they may continue to pursue other charges against the critically acclaimed journalist. In Schlosberg’s charges, North Dakota prosecutors have alleged that she was part of a conspiracy, claiming she traveled with protesters “with the objective of diverting the flow of oil”. “I was surprised at the conspiracy charges. I never thought that would ever happen,” her attorney Robert Woods told the Guardian. “All she was doing was her job of being a journalist and covering the story.”
US journalist Amy Goodman is facing charges of participating in a "riot" after filming Native American-led protests over an oil pipeline in North Dakota. The Democracy Now! reporter said she would surrender to authorities on Monday in response to the charge. District Judge John Grinsteiner will decide whether there is sufficient evidence to support the riot charge. Ms Goodman filmed the crackdown on protesters by authorities last month. "I wasn't trespassing, I wasn't engaging in a riot, I was doing my job as a journalist by covering a violent attack on Native American protesters," Ms Goodman said. The charge relates to her Democracy Now! coverage of the protests against the Dakota Access pipeline on 3 September. Earlier this month US actress Shailene Woodley was arrested at a construction site for broadcasting the North Dakota protests on Facebook. The video by the Divergent star was viewed more than 2.4 million times on social media within hours of being posted. The Dakota Access oil pipeline project, which will cross four states, has drawn huge protests. Native Americans have halted its construction in North Dakota, saying it will desecrate sacred land and damage the environment.
Note: A judge later rejected the riot charge for Goodman, but the fact that she was even accused speaks volumes. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.
Activists have no right to force public disclosure of the names of Latin American military leaders trained at a U.S. Army installation formerly known as the School of the Americas, a divided federal appeals court ruled Friday. A federal judge had ruled in 2013 that the government must identify students and instructors at the school at Fort Benning, Ga., whose graduates have included Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega and Salvadoran death squad leader Roberto d’Aubuisson. But in a 2-1 ruling Friday, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ... said the information had little public value, and that disclosure would invade the trainees’ privacy. “There are many groups in foreign countries that would seek to harm those who are publicly associated with the United States military,” Judge Sandra Ikuta said in the majority opinion. She also cited assurances by the Defense Department and an oversight board that the school ... is complying with a federal law that requires it to instruct students about human rights. Federal law additionally requires the department to deny enrollment to any member of a military unit that has committed a “gross violation of human rights,” Ikuta said. Dissenting Judge Paul Watford said the majority was taking the government’s word that everything was in order — a “fox-guarding-the-henhouse notion” — despite past revelations of abuses by School of the Americas graduates. He noted that past training materials disclosed by the Pentagon in 1996 included manuals providing “instruction on torturing and executing insurgents.”
Note: The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly known as the School of the Americas, graduated more than 500 human rights abusers. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Thanks to a disagreement between the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF), more than 2,000 guns were purchased in the past 15 years by people the FBI said should not have had them, according to a new report from the Office of Inspector General. This new report, which uncovered a loophole through which some of those deemed unfit to own firearms by the FBI can purchase them, puts a new scrutiny on the current laws, and how they're enforced. The FBI is responsible for running background checks on those purchasing guns. If the agency finds those buyers unfit, the responsibility to retrieve them falls on the ATF. But the two federal agencies disagree on who qualifies as a “fugitive from justice,” a label that prohibits prospective buyers from acquiring firearms, USA Today reports. While the FBI has considered anyone with an outstanding warrant to fall under the category, the ATF argues that prospective gun owners should be allowed to purchase firearms in the state where they have a warrant, but not in other states. The FBI sought to clarify the discrepancy by bringing the issue before the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. There, the agencies received “informal advice.” When the FBI requested a more formal ruling two years later, the counsel failed to render a decision, allowing the issue to persist some six years later. The report called for clarification on the “fugitive of justice” discrepancy to ensure proper enforcement of the law.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
The pervasive influence of corporate cash in the democratic process, and the extraordinary lengths to which politicians, lobbyists and even judges go to solicit money, are laid bare in sealed court documents leaked to the Guardian. The John Doe files amount to 1,500 pages of largely unseen material gathered in evidence by prosecutors investigating alleged irregularities in political fundraising. Last year the Wisconsin supreme court ordered that all the documents should be destroyed, though a set survived that has now been obtained by the news organisation. The files open a window on a world that is very rarely glimpsed by the public, in which millions of dollars are secretly donated by major corporations and super-wealthy individuals to third-party groups in an attempt to sway elections. Five Wisconsin prosecutors carried out a deep investigation into what they suspected were criminal campaign-finance violations by the campaign committee of Scott Walker, Wisconsin governor. In 2015, Justice Prosser refused to recuse himself from a case in which the state supreme court sat in judgment over the John Doe investigation, despite the fact that the investigation focused on precisely the same network of lobbying groups and donors that had helped him hang onto his seat. The judge joined a majority of four conservative justices who voted to terminate the investigation and destroy all the documents now leaked to the Guardian.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.