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Amanda Knox: Justice At Last in Perugia

It's over, for good. Amanda Knox can finally put this horrific 8 year ordeal behind her. Italy's Supreme Court of Cassation has fully exonerated both Amanda and Raffaele Sollecito of murder.

The supreme Court of Cassation panel deliberated for 10 hours before declaring that the two did not commit the crime, a stronger exoneration than merely finding insufficient evidence to convict.

...The decision to overturn the convictions without ordering a new trial amounted to a rebuke of another high court ruling two years ago that vacated Knox and Sollecito's 2011 acquittal, ordering yet another trial.

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Another Judgment Day for Amanda Knox

The Supreme Court in Italy will rule Friday on yet another appeal in the Amanda Knox case.

If she loses, will she be extradited? Will Italy even file the request? I don't think given the unique and twisted history of the case, disputed facts and the different and lesser protections afforded defendants by the Italian legal system, which allows prosecutors to appeal not guilty verdicts and according to some news reports, considers jeopardy not to attach until final judgment is rendered after appeal, the U.S. would grant an extradition request. Nor do I think a diplomatic showdown will result if it refuses. This case needs to be put to rest.

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FBI Investigating MS Hanging Death of Otis Byrd

The FBI is investigating the hanging death of Otis Byrd, an African American, in Mississippi. Claiborne County Sheriff Marvin Lucas said today it is not clear if Byrd's death was a homicide or suicide. He also cautioned against assuming it was a hate crime:

Lucas, who is himself African-American, said Friday that he's worried people will jump to the conclusions that Byrd was murdered and that race was a factor.

"I don't want the community to go excited saying it was a white-on-black thing. That's the worst thing that can happen, is people making it into a race issue," Lucas said. "And that's my biggest fear. And I don't want that to happen.

It sounds like a homicide from other remarks of Lucas: [More...]

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Ferguson Suspect in Police Shootings Charged

20 year old Jeffrey Williams has been arrested and charged with the Ferguson police shootings. Police say he may not have intended to shoot the officers. They say that's his story, they don't know if they "fully buy it."

“I’m not sure we completely buy that part of it,” the prosecutor said. “I wouldn't say he wasn't targeting police. I’m saying right now the evidence we have supports filing the charge that he may have been shooting at someone other than police and struck the police.”

He's not charged with attempted murder. The complaint is here. Protest organizers say they aren't familiar with Williams.

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Oscar Pistorius: Eligible for Release Within Months

Oscar Pistorius may be eligible for release from prison by August. He would finish his sentence on home detention. The timing is significant because it is unlikely the appeals court will have heard the state's appeal by then.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) on Friday said it would only submit its transcripts to the High Court at the end of May; and a date for the appeal would only be set after both the State and defence file their heads of argument.

This will most likely take around two months, which means it would be heard once Pistorius becomes eligible for early release.

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Ferguson Shooter: Rush to Judgment?

Why is no one asking whether the Ferguson shooter might be a lone wolf terrorist?

In November, 2014, ISIS supporters called for using Ferguson as an excuse for lone wolf attacks:

In particular, Al Nusra Al Maqdisiyya, a prominent group of pro-ISIS activists on social media, wrote on its Twitter account: "O lone mujahid, you must use the breakdown of security in #Ferguson to increase the burning in America. They are squabbling over worldly [matters], so you send them to hell! #ISIS.”

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NZ Court Orders Release of Some Kim Dotcom Funds

Kim Dotcom has had a few setbacks in U.S. and New Zealand courts recently. Today he won a round in New Zealand. The court released funds from his frozen assets to pay his legal fees and living expenses.

His legal fees are around $4 million. $12 million in assets were seized during the 2012 raid. No news articles yet for details, I'll update when they are available.

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All White Jury Chosen in Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Trial

The jury has been selected and opening arguments begin tomorrow in the death penalty trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, charged with the Boston Marathon bombings. According to media reports, all of the 18 jurors and alternates are white. (More than 1,300 people were initially summoned for potential jury service in the case.)

The defense filed a motion a few weeks ago challenging the jury pool, saying the juror groups had been reordered by the court resulting in a statistically lower pool of minority jurors. [More...]

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DOJ: No Civil Rights Charges Warranted for Zimmerman

The Department of Justice has announced the closure of its civil rights investigation against George Zimmerman. No charges will be filed due to insufficient evidence.

After a thorough and independent investigation into the facts surrounding the shooting, federal investigators determined that there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt a violation of these statutes. Accordingly, the investigation into this incident has been closed. This decision is limited strictly to the department’s inability to meet the high legal standard required to prosecute the case under the federal civil rights statutes; it does not reflect an assessment of any other aspect of the shooting.

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Prosecutor Requests DSK Charges Be Dismissed

The prosecutor in the trial of Dominique Strauss-Kahn has asked that the charges of aggravated procurement be dismissed for lack of evidence. The women involved have dismissed their claims for damages against him.

Lille Prosecutor Frederic Fevre told the judges:

"Did Dominique Strauss-Kahn pay prostitutes? The answer is no. Did he p*mp prostitutes for others? The answer is no,"

The prosecutor originally recommended against the charges, but the investigating magistrate judges overruled him, saying that Strauss-Kahn was a key planner of the parties and knew that the women who attended them were prostitutes. But the evidence at trial failed to show DSK knew they were prostitutes and he testified and denied knowing they were paid. [More...]

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The Anthem Breach

It's bad enough that 80 million people insured through Anthem have had their personal data stolen by hackers.

The hackers gained access to up to 80 million records that included Social Security numbers, birthdays, addresses, email and employment information and income data for customers and employees,

What's worse, is there's very little that can be done to protect yourself now that it's happened. [More....]

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Mexico : U.S. Can Have El Chapo in About 300 Years

Mexico now says the U.S. is unlikely to play host to Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman anytime soon.

Mexico's Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam yesterday told the Associated Press he expected a new extradition request by the U.S. to be filed yesterday or today. He also made it quite clear they aren't turning him over , at least not for 300 or 400 years:

"I could accept extradition, but at the time that I choose. 'El Chapo' must stay here to complete his sentence, and then I will extradite him," Murillo Karam told The Associated Press in an interview. "So about 300 or 400 years later — it will be a while."

He said it's a matter of "national sovereignty." [More...]

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How to Get a Gold Star From the DEA

Bump and Update: The Flores Twins have each been sentenced to 14 years. The Judge said had they not continued to deal drugs while cooperating, they would have gotten 12 years.

The infamous Flores twins of Chicago will finally be sentenced Tuesday. Some background on twin brothers Pedro and Margarito Flores, is in this Chicago Reader article. The Government filed its sentencing memorandum a few weeks ago, which I have uploaded here. Their sentencing guidelines (level 47, Category I) call for a sentence of life in prison (there is no parole in the federal system and good time doesn't apply to a life sentence.)

Due to the Flores Twins' “extraordinary cooperation”, which the Government maintains resulted in more than 50 people being charged (list here), most of whom are their workers and customers, the Government is asking for a sentence at the low end of a reduced range of 10 to 16 years. The Government writes:

Absent their cooperation, the government would argue life imprisonment is the appropriate sentence for these defendants. However, they are not being sentenced absent cooperation.

How big were the Flores twins? [More....]

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"El Chapo" Guzman: U.S. Makes New Push for Extradition

Mexico's Attorney General last week said he believed the U.S. was hours away from filing a new extradition request for Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. His lawyers immediately filed a new request a writ of Amparo seeking protection from extradition.

It's all very confusing, since the news and the court filings are in Spanish and Google translate does not do a good job of translating legal terms. I'm reprinting the summary of the court's order below from the court's website, and hoping someone can respond in comments as to whether I'm reporting this correctly. [More...]

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Jane Doe #3 Strikes Back at Dershowitz

Virginia Roberts, aka Jane Doe #3 and Jane Doe #102, has filed an Affidavit in support of her allegations that she had sex with Alan Dershowitz while she was under the age of 18. The article contains a link to the Affidavit. [More...]

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