Legal Research Blog
As the economy continues to look somewhat less than vigorous, Americans have become more creative in their ways to save a few bucks and make a little more. Whether it’s driving cars on gasoline fumes or steeling manhole covers for scrap metal, there is no doubt that consumers have become more thrifty, just not necessarily in a good way.
This spring a Wisconsin woman went above and beyond all other “get rich quick” schemes when she planted a dead rat in her food at a well known restaurant located in Grand Chute. Believing her plan to be flawless, Debbie Miller demanded that the restaurant pay her $500,000 as restitution or she would report them to the authorities and of course, the media. Luckily for the restaurant, owners were skeptical of Miller’s claims and decided to run a few tests before coughing up the cash. The tests results returned with more than enough evidence to prove the restaurant’s innocence and land Miller in jail, including that the rat had been microwaved, a feature absent from this restaurant’s kitchen.
Several questions surround Miller’s motives for the bizarre trick, particularly considering her previously sparkling clean record. Now facing charges of extortion, she could be spending her next few years in prison not a penny richer.
Khodorkovsky comes to the half-way point on his eight year sentence, conveniently after the installment of the country’s new President, Dmitri Medvedev. In spite of skepticism that Medvedev was placed in the role by Putin himself, now serving as Prime Minister, Khodorkovsky, along with his team of legal representation, is hopeful that times are changing for the Kremlin. Both he and his lawyers have stated that they have reason to believe the court system in Russia is moving away from its corrupt past and will take a fair amount of consideration into his parole hearing.
Since his arrest in 2003, Khodorkovsky has maintained that he is innocent of all charges pressed and was recently quoted as saying, “From the beginning, there was never any necessity for my confinement, and there is even less at the current moment.” The statement refers to recently surfacing charges of money-laundering that could potentially hurt Khodorkovsky’s chances of an early release.
The United Nation’s high court has attempted to step in and stall the execution of a number of Mexican nationals currently on death row in the United States. Mexico asked the World Court to intervene after they found supposed errors in the way the US handled the trials of 51 of their citizens resulting in the death penalty. According to Mexico, the US judicial system deprived the Mexican citizens in question their right to seek consular assistance guaranteed by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations in 1963. According to the article 36 of the treaty, every country has the right to know when one of its citizens has been charged with criminal activity while abroad and communication between the state and its citizen should be permitted
While the court is still reviewing whether or not the presence of consular assistance would have made a difference in the case of the 51 individuals, they have ordered that the US put a moratorium on all related executions. Although the court’s rulings are considered binding, their inability to enforce the order leaves everyone wondering what the US response will be. Previous attempts by the Executive branch to stall the executions have been ignored by the courts holding to their sentences.
Source: Yahoo! News
To diversify our posts on violent crime, which have focused on notable gun control cases in recent months, the Fastcase Blog today follows trends in knife crimes around the world. According to the BBC, violent knife crimes have been up drastically in the UK, thanks to gang rivalries and a violent youth culture. This week, the BBC investigates the knife carrying culture in several other countries, in an effort to find the roots of its tragic resurgence in Britain.
In many countries, violent crime is down in recent years, but concerns remain about the level of knife crime that persists. In Spain, for example, a BBC correspondent notes that ethnic gangs in the cities are the greatest worry, but they tend to stick to firearms. Some reports indicate a rise in knife violence among the youth specifically, but official statistics do not reflect a significant trend. In the U.S., despite an appreciable drop in violent crime in the city of New York in recent decades, its image as a major center for urban violence persists. Finally, Russia has reported that violent crime in Moscow has decreased by a third in 2008, but that skinhead gangs and hate crimes have taken over a new niche with knife related incidents.
Japan, however, is a country that has seen its level of violent crime grow, and knife violence has played a significant role in that increase. While crime in Japan remains relatively minimal, several gory public stabbings have led to an outcry against knife crime, which increased by 40% in 2007. Some are demanding that double edged knives, popular thanks to their use in video games, be outlawed.
So, while gun violence overwhelmingly dominates the public debate here in the United States, the knife carrying cultures in many other countries have warranted growing concern internationally. The BBC sums up the modern scourge of violent crime, summarizing the ideas of French criminologist Alain Bauer:
“Western societies are all caught in a similar pattern of youth violence, which… is linked to a collapse of confidence in authority.”
Source: The BBC