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Archive for July, 2010

What’s Another Day in Jail When You’ve Been Wrongfully Incarcerated for Almost Three Decades?

Friday, July 30th, 2010

A Houston man was set to be released after serving 27 years for a rape he did not commit. Apparently, he became too emotional about the situation and the court decided to keep him another day. Uh. What? He apparently became angry when bailiffs put him leg-irons and handcuffs for his day in court; a day that everyone knew was supposed to be his release date. One observer called his continued incarceration a “mystery.” Long-time observers of Texas courtrooms might not find it mysterious, at all.

The story can be read here.

Lance Armstrong Records Subpoenaed by Feds

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Federal prosecutors have subpoenaed records from a lawsuit filed by Texas company pertaining to allegations of the use of performance enhancing drugs.  The story appears in today’s Austin American-Statesman here. The investigation by federal authorities is located in Los Angeles, but records are being sought from around the country.

Attorney-Client Privilege Exists, even for Wayward Hollywood Starlets

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

In a blatant violation of attorney-client privilege, a lawyer consulted by Lindsey Lohan aired some of her dirty laundry in People Magazine.  To be clear, ANY communication with an attorney that you MAY hire is confidential and privileged.  The lawyer cannot divulge the substance of the communication without consent from the prospective client.  The lawyer cannot divulge information learned during the course of the representation or consultation, without regard to whether the information is “public knowledge.”

Cyber Crime Update – Violating Website Terms of Usage May Land Violators in Federal Court

Monday, July 12th, 2010

We’ve all gotten used to typing out the funky words that appear in funky script (e.g., THARN NASES, or some-such nonsense).  It’s designed to keep people from using computer programs to execute mass actions, like ticket purchases or posts to blogs.  Some ticketing agents in New Jersey are being prosecuted for having a computer program do that very thing.  That’s right: PROSECUTED.  Not, sued. PROSECUTED.  On behalf of all of us, the citizens of the Republic.

Threat Level, an on-line section of Wired Magazine that tackles tech and security issues leads its post this way:

“Prosecutors in a New Jersey ticket scalping case are pushing the envelope on the federal computer hacking law, setting a precedent that could make it a felony to violate a website’s terms of service and fool a CAPTCHA, according to electronic civil rights groups intervening in the case.”

Read More http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/07/ticketmaster/#ixzz0tTRYwCuT
As with many white collar prosecutions, the line between criminal and civil misconduct become blurred.  In this case, critics fear that a website proprietor could define criminal conduct merely by defining terms in its terms of service.

Texas DWI Laws to be Re-examined by Legislature

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

As I’ve written about on this blog and elsewhere for years, our enforcement of DWI laws in Texas is broken.  State lawmakers are now reconsidering many aspects of our Driver Responsibility Program and its implications for Texas Citizens, reports the San Antonio Express-News .  The Austin American-Statesman has published an editorial calling for a treatment based approach.

The county courts are bursting at the seams; the prosecutors face tough choices on the allocation of resources; MADD doesn’t like protections afforded by the Constitution and the legislature is going to consider cutting a revenue stream.  Some people are going to be mighty uncomfortable on this one.

Federal Court: Russian Spies Plead guilty Very, Very Quickly

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

Boy, that was fast.  The ten people accused of being Russian spies have plead guilty in Federal Court in New York City, reports the BBC.  A spy-swap seems eminent; I don’t expect that the District Judge will order a Pre-Sentence Investigation.  The eleventh alleged spy made his getaway after being arrested in Cyprus.

DNA Testing at Austin Crime Lab Under Scrutiny

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

As many as 2,000 cases are under review for irregularities after allegations surface regarding the Austin PD’s crime lab and DNA testing protocol.

Texas’ “State Jail” System to be Revisited by Legislators

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

The Austin American-Statesman reports that the legislature may revisit the usefulness of the State Jail system that houses some of the state’s non-violent, felony offenders.  Recidivism concerns for these individuals are feuling the concerns.

Social Networking Cites and Child Pornography

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

ABC News reports that social networking cites are being targeted with child pornography.  The upshot, don’t forward the link, you could be committing a federal crime that carries a minimum of ten years in the federal pen.  Report the offensive and illegal materials to the local F.B.I.

Federal Power to Control Travel of Citizens Challenged

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

The ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the federal government’s ability to keep people from flying into and out of the country, and seeks to test the limits of this federal power.  Threat Level, a feed from WIRED magazine’s website details the story here.  Ten U.S. Citizens or residents are in a legal  no-man’s land that the fly list (which may or may not exist.

The ACLU’s thoughts on the subject can be found here.