Posts tagged ‘Crime’


Whatever Happened To Pickpocketing?

Pickpocketing in America was once a proud criminal tradition, rich with drama, celebrated in the culture, singular enough that its practitioners developed a whole lexicon to describe its intricacies. Those days appear to be over.

“Pickpocketing is more or less dead in this country,” says Harvard economist Edward Glaeser, whose new book Triumph of the City, deals at length with urban crime trends.

Marcus Felson, a criminologist at Texas State University who has spent decades studying low-level crime, calls pickpocketing a “lost art.” Last year, a New York City subway detective told the Daily News that the only pickpockets left working the trains anymore were middle-aged or older, and even those are few and far between.

“You don’t find young picks anymore,” the cop told the paper. “It’s going to die out.”

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Jonathan Pollard: Israel Should Butt Out

By Frank Anderson, former CIA Chief Officer for Near East and South Asia

In January, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a letter to President Obama asking for the early release of Jonathan Jay Pollard, who was convicted of spying for Israel and sentenced to life in prison in 1987. The United States has steadfastly refused requests for Pollard’s release; it has every reason to continue that policy.

The Pollard clemency pleas are partly based on the close relationship between Israel and the United States. Under this theory, spying for Israel was not serious because it was on behalf of an ally and a friendly government, rather than an enemy of America.

But espionage on behalf of any foreign power is a serious crime for which there are severe punishments. It is a deed that should “shock the conscience” and evoke strong condemnation.

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Mom Charged In Dismembering Daughter

Zahra Baker’s stepmother, Elisa Baker, was officially indicted in the murder of the disabled North Carolina child on Monday.

The 10-year-old Zahra, a cancer survivor who lost her leg at age 5 and her hearing in both ears, garnered nationwide attention after she was reported missing in October. Her decapitated and dismembered body was found a month later. The little girl’s head has not been recovered.

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US Official Arrested In Pakistan Is CIA

An American jailed in Pakistan for the fatal shooting of two armed men was secretly working for the CIA and scouting a neighborhood when he was arrested, a disclosure that is likely to further frustrate US efforts to free the man and strain relations between the US and Pakistan.

Raymond Davis, 36, had been working as a CIA security contractor and living in a Lahore safe house. Davis shot the men in what he described as an attempted armed robbery as they approached him on a motorcycle. A third Pakistani, a bystander, died when a car rushing to help Davis struck him. Davis was carrying a Glock handgun, a pocket telescope and papers with different identifications.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration insisted anew Monday that Davis had diplomatic immunity and must be set free.

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Judge Found Guilty In ‘Kids-For-Cash’

A federal jury in Pennsylvania on Friday found former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella Jr. guilty in the infamous “kids-for-cash scheme,” in which he and another judge received kickbacks of up to $2.8 million for putting juveniles into detention centers owned by friends.

Children as young as 10 were jailed and at least one killed himself as a result of harsh sentences that ruined their lives. A child’s guilt or innocence rarely, if ever, was considered by the judges.

Ciavarella left the bench in disgrace two years ago after the allegations came to light and is expected to be jailed for at least 13 years. But instead of being caged immediately he was allowed to walk out of court – right into a barrage of abuse from the mother of an all-star wrestler who committed suicide after he sent him to jail. Edward Kenzakoski, 17 was never the same after being jailed for a first-time minor drug offense, his mother Sandy Fonzo raged.

“Do you remember my son? Do you remember my son? He was an all-star wrestler and he’s gone,” she screamed. “He shot himself in the heart. You scumbag, you ruined my fucking life.” Fonzo continued yelling as she was moved away, “I’d like him to go to hell and rot there forever.”

Following the verdict, Assistant US Attorney Gordon Zubrod said the court system during the time of Ciavarella and the other judge, Michael Conahan, was a “criminal enterprise.”

In 2009, both judges were offered plea agreements that would have resulted in 87 months in prison but those offers were nullified by US District Judge Edwin Kosik, who deemed them insufficient. Kosik presided over the Ciavarella case.

More than 70 juveniles and their families have filed a class-action lawsuit against the two former judges claiming they “used kids as commodities that could be traded for cash.”

The judges did little to hide their activities. Detention centers were notified of the number of incoming juveniles to expect each day – prior to the juvenile hearings to determine guilt or innocence. Records showed that the average length of a juvenile hearing in their courtrooms was under two minutes per juvenile.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has thrown out thousands of juvenile convictions issued by Ciavarella, saying he disregarded the constitutional rights of the defendants.

In the video below, Sandy Fonzo, whose son committed suicide, screams at former judge Mark Ciavarella after he’s found guilty in the “kids-for-cash” scheme (profanity).
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Madoff Speaks: ‘Funds and Bankers Knew’

In his first interview since his arrest in December 2008, Bernie Madoff maintained that family members knew nothing about his crimes.

But during a private two-hour interview , and in earlier e-mail exchanges, he asserted that banks and hedge funds were “complicit” in his elaborate fraud.

He spoke with great intensity and fluency about his dealings with various banks and hedge funds. In asserting the complicity of others, Madoff pointed to the “willful blindness” of many banks and hedge funds who dealt with his investment advisory business and their failure to examine discrepancies between his regulatory filings and other information available to them.

“They had to know,” Mr. Madoff said. “But the attitude was sort of, ‘If you’re doing something wrong, we don’t want to know.’”

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US ICE Official Shot Dead In Mexico

The Associated Press is reporting that a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent was killed and another wounded while driving through northern Mexico Tuesday, in a rare attack on American officials in this country which is fighting powerful drug cartels.

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Italy’s Berlusconi To Be Tried

An Italian judge has ordered Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi to stand trial on charges he paid for sex with a 17-year-old girl and then tried to cover it up.

The judge’s ruling came weeks after prosecutors said they were investigating Mr. Berlusconi on charges that he paid Karima El Mahroug, a nightclub dancer nicknamed Ruby Heart-Stealer, for sex before she turned 18 and abused his office in calling the police to intervene when she was detained in May for theft.

Berlusconi and Mahroug say they did not have sex, although Mahroug said 7,000 euros by Berlusconi the first time she came to his villa for a party last year.

The age of consent is 14 in Italy and prostitution is legal, but not with someone under the age of 18.

The charges carry a maximum sentence of 3 years for underage prostitution and 12 years for abuse of office.


US-Border Activist Convicted Of Murder

The leader of an Arizona border defense group was found guilty today of murdering a 9-year old girl, Brisenia Flores, and her father, Raul Flores, during a home invasion robbery in an attempt to raise money for her organization.

Shawna Forde, founder of Minutemen American Defense, was also convicted of attempting to murder the girl’s mother.

The mother, Gina Gonzalez, testified that her husband woke her to say the police were at the door. The woman at the door identified herself and a man with her as law enforcement officers looking for fugitives, Gonzalez said.

When her husband questioned the veracity of their story, Gonzalez said the gunman opened fire, shooting her husband and Gonzalez. As Gonzalez played dead on the floor, the gunman fired two bullets into her daughter’s head, despite the little girl’s pleas.

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Brazilian Incest Rapist Decapitated

Ed. Note: Hard to imagine anyone more deserving of this end.

A Brazilian man convicted of imprisoning his daughter and fathering seven children with her is one of six inmates decapitated in a prison riot in Brazil, authorities said today.

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Polite Robber: Called Victim “Sir”

Seattle Times

A man accused of robbing a Seattle convenience store at gunpoint last weekend might have earned points with its owner by being polite.

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But saying “sir” probably won’t impress prosecutors or federal authorities who say they have supervised him since he wrapped up a prison term for an earlier string of hold-ups.

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