Extra Extra : Justice (courts/crime/law)

Prosecutors question police shooting that killed 4, decline to file charges

An investigation by WTVJ-South Florida has raised questions about a botched police sting three years ago. Officers in 2011 shot and killed four men – including their own confidential informant – during the raid. No charges were filed against the officers. Now prosecutors say they’re not sure if they deaths were justified.

Watch the station’s thee-part series, which includes video of the shootings: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Extra Extra Monday: ATF stings, voter fraud and the new subprime bubble

Investigation: ATF drug stings targeted minorities | USA TODAY

The nation's top gun-enforcement agency overwhelmingly targeted racial and ethnic minorities as it expanded its use of controversial drug sting operations, a USA TODAY investigation shows.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has more than quadrupled its use of those stings during the past decade, quietly making them a central part of its attempts to combat gun crime. The operations are designed to produce long prison sentences for suspects enticed by the promise of pocketing as much as $100,000 for robbing a drug stash house that does not ...

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Theme park employees caught in sex stings, child porn arrests

A six-month investigation by CNN reveals 35 employees from Florida’s Walt Disney World, five from Universal and two from SeaWorld have been arrested for sex crimes against children, trying to meet minors for sex, or for child pornography since 2006. CNN obtained police interrogation videos, police and court records and interviewed some of the men who were arrested, as well as law enforcement. The investigation has prompted proposed legislation that would allow businesses catering to children to polygraph employees.

Extra Extra Monday: Investigations highlight problems at homeless shelters, group homes, jails

Reporting Rape, and Wishing She Hadn’t | The New York Times

A New York Times examination of the case, based in part on hundreds of pages of disciplinary proceedings — usually confidential under federal privacy laws — offers a rare look inside one school’s adjudication of a rape complaint amid a roiling national debate over how best to stop sexual assaults on campuses.

Whatever precisely happened that September night, the internal records, along with interviews with students, sexual-assault experts and college officials, depict a school ill prepared to evaluate an allegation so serious that, if proved in a court of law ...

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Extra Extra Monday: Fatal flaws in Oklahoma’s execution system, absent city council members, teacher misconduct

Fatal Flaws: How Oklahoma’s lethal injection process went wrong | Tulsa World

Nearly 15 years after Stephanie’s murder, Lockett lay dying as her family watched along with a gallery of law enforcement officials, prison administrators and journalists through the window of Oklahoma’s execution chamber.

State officials had promised in court records and interviews that Oklahoma’s new execution protocol would dispatch him swiftly and painlessly. They were so confident in this assurance that Gov. Mary Fallin ordered Lockett to be executed April 29, the same night another convicted killer was set to die.

Lockett’s death didn’t ...

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Extra Extra Monday: Nebraska releases prisoners early; Koch brothers hold secret summit; Missile defense system proves unreliable

$40-billion missile defense system proves unreliable | Los Angeles Times

The Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, or GMD, was supposed to protect Americans against a chilling new threat from "rogue states" such as North Korea and Iran. But a decade after it was declared operational, and after $40 billion in spending, the missile shield cannot be relied on, even in carefully scripted tests that are much less challenging than an actual attack would be, a Los Angeles Times investigation has found.

The Missile Defense Agency has conducted 16 tests of the system's ability to intercept a mock enemy warhead. It has ...

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Lack of lawyers leaves Georgia teens fearing lifelong harm from minor cases

Hundreds of kids from poor families are pushed through the court system without legal counsel, according to The Guardian US.

The Southern Center for Human Rights found that in 2012 more than 680 kids went through the Cordele, Georgia circuit courts for juvenile offenses. And while a very small number had a private lawyer, only 52 had a public defender.

"That means that each year more than 600 kids under the age of 17 are effectively being thrown into the bearpit of the US criminal justice system and left to fend for themselves," The Guardian wrote.

The problem is so ...

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Sealed court files obscure rise in electronic surveillance

Every year, the federal government makes thousands of requests for court-ordered electronic surveillance, often without a warrant. And long after the investigations that spawned them have ended, the vast majority of these legal proceedings are sealed indefinitely from public view—unlike nearly all other aspects of American judicial proceedings.

The Wall Street Journal surveyed 25 of the top federal district courts in the U.S. and found that most couldn’t provide even basic data on the electronic-surveillance orders, which allow investigators to trace telephone calls, locate wireless phones and monitor Internet accounts. What data were available indicates a significant ...

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Attorney General emails detail discussions before botched Oklahoma execution

In the weeks leading up to a botched execution, an Oklahoma assistant attorney general referred to defense attorneys’ warnings that the execution could go awry as “hysterical speculation,” records released to the Tulsa World show.

Assistant Attorney General John Hadden also wrote in a March 21 email that he was “not eager to answer a bunch of questions” from reporters about the state’s execution plans but worried about appearing “overly secretive.”

Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s office released more than 100 pages of emails to the World Friday following an Open Records Act request. The World requested all emails ...

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Virginia law enforcement agencies get millions from seizures

The Virginian-Pilot found that law enforcement agencies in Virginia have received more than $57 million over the past six years to use in their departments by seizing cash, cars, land and other property.

It's a process known as civil asset forfeiture, and while it rakes in millions for police, critics say it forces people never convicted of crimes into court battles to get their property back.

Virginia agencies have used the millions they've received from such seizures to pay for a little bit of everything: K-9 units, bullets, undercover vehicles.

Defendants can get the civil forfeiture postponed until ...

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