Extra Extra : Justice (courts/crime/law)

College disciplinary boards impose slight penalties for serious crimes

Secretive college judicial systems make it easy for students responsible for violent offenses – including sexual assault – to transfer between schools.

The Columbus Dispatch and Student Press Law Center used disciplinary records from 25 public universities to identify students who had transferred despite university punishment. Some of the students were reprimanded for more than one serious offense at the same school. Sanctions for such offenses are often minor – placing a student on probation, issuing a written reprimand, or ordering the accused to write a paper.

The investigation also found that most schools don’t understand or refuse to follow state and ...

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Federal records shed light on ‘staggering disparity’ in U.S. arrest rates

While police in Ferguson, Missouri arrest black people at a rate almost three times higher than people of other races, an analysis by USA TODAY found that trend extends to cities across the country. At least 1,581 police departments arrest black people at rates even more lopsided than in Ferguson. USA TODAY based its findings on arrests reported to the federal government in 2011 and 2012.

Extra Extra Monday: Child abuse deaths unheeded, strawberry pesticides, habitual drunk driving

Nursing homes unmasked: Who owns California’s nursing homes? | Sacramento Bee
As private investment groups scoop up an ever-larger share of the nation’s skilled-nursing care market, it has become increasingly difficult to decipher who owns the nation’s largest chains.

Elder-care advocates will tell you this is no accident: A convoluted ownership structure, they say, is a way for owners to hide assets and shield themselves from civil and criminal liability when patients are abused or neglected in their care. Confusing lines of ownership also make it harder for regulators to detect worrisome patterns of care among facilities within ...

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After prank, West Virginia trooper fatally shot uninvolved 18-year-old boy

The Charleston Gazette combed through hundreds of pages of investigative documents to recount the night an 18-year-old died after an altercation with a West Virginia state trooper.

Timmy Hill was shot twice, once in the head and once in the chest, after a struggle with Senior Trooper B.D. Gillespie. Gillespie had gone searching for the teens responsible for pranking him by putting wet underwear on his cruiser earlier in the night. Although Hill wasn’t involved, he’d met up with the teens who were.

The Gazette’s story uses interviews, photos and documents presented to a grand jury ...

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Denver jail's Taser use at odds with federal guidelines

Denver Sheriff Department deputies are relying on their Tasers to force compliance with their orders by inflicting pain on inmates, according to a report by the Denver Post.

The Post obtained the 14 Taser cases so far this year through a public records request. An analysis found that deputies are using the stun guns outside federal guidelines and against the department’s own use-of-force policy.

In at least six of the incidents, the inmate who was shocked had been experiencing some sort of mental health episode.

For the full story, click here.

N.J. troopers repeatedly slammed Kenwin Garcia to ground during fatal '08 incident, records show

In an update to a major investigation released earlier this month, NJ Advance Media has found that a Newark man who died in 2008 after a struggle with police was repeatedly slammed to the ground by those restraining him.

The Oct. 1 report – published at NJ.com and in The Star-Ledger – focused on the life and troubling death of Kenwin Garcia. In 2008, Garcia was stopped by New Jersey State Police while walking along the side of a highway. An altercation ensued, and Garcia died days later. The resulting state investigation was largely glazed over publicly. No charges were filed ...

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Jacksonville children are in detention longer than Florida law intends

Florida juveniles are being locked up in Jacksonville-area detention centers longer than in any other part of the state and longer than the law intends, according to a Florida Times-Union investigation.

The wide-ranging look at the area’s juvenile detention system also found that kids are sometimes held in overcrowded conditions. The troubling conditions are draining taxpayers’ wallets and raising concerns about the legal system’s handling of juveniles.

Extra Extra Monday: Uneven assessments, National Guard misconduct, Chicago migration myth

Across Wisconsin, uneven property assessments fly in the face of fairness | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

By measure after measure, in cities, towns and villages across Wisconsin, property assessors are discounting uniformity and trampling on fairness, while officials with the state Department of Revenue do little to rectify the disparities, an investigation by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has found.

In dozens of communities, 20% or more of residential property taxes are being paid by the wrong people, according to the Journal Sentinel's analysis of Department of Revenue records for each of the state's 1,852 municipalities. The analysis considered communities ...

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Records show mistakes, questionable evidence in woman's overturned murder case

In light of the recent exoneration of Michelle Murphy, who spent 20 years in prison on a wrongful conviction for killing her baby, the Tulsa World investigated the elements that led to Murphy's 1995 conviction in the first place.

The investigation shows the state of Oklahoma relied on faulty blood analysis, the dubious testimony of a troubled 14-year-old neighbor and an unrecorded, incriminating statement to convict Murphy. All three elements were so problematic they should have been challenged in court. Also, jurors never heard other evidence that might have given them reasonable doubt about convicting Murphy.

To read the ...

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Asset seizures fuel police spending

Police agencies have used hundreds of millions of dollars taken from Americans under federal civil forfeiture law in recent years to buy guns, armored cars and electronic surveillance gear. They have also spent money on luxury vehicles, travel and a clown named Sparkles.

The details are contained in thousands of annual reports submitted by local and state agencies to the Justice Department’s Equitable Sharing Program, an initiative that allows local and state police to keep up to 80 percent of the assets they seize.

The documents offer a sweeping look at how police departments and drug task forces across ...

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