Category Archives: crime and punishment

Two nuns embezzle half a million dollars to gamble in Las Vegas, face NO charges

Posting may be light today as I’m writing for real (i.e., not on this site, and for dosh) with two deadlines. Like Maru, I do my best. Please enjoy—if that’s the right word—this short BBC article that’s at once funny and irritating (click on the screenshot): The funny part is, of course, the idea of […]

The shooting in Pittsburgh

I’ve been asked by several people why I haven’t responded to the horrible news of 11 people shot to death in a synagogue in Pittsburgh. It happened on Squirrel Hill, a Jewish area of the city in which, it so happens, most of my relatives used to live. I’m not sure whether any of them […]

A misguided execution of a cognitively disabled prisoner

This report, from the science journal Nature (click on screenshot) shows what happens when punishment is purely retributive. The story: Vernon Madison killed a police officer in Alabama in 1985. He was sentenced to death.  In the ensuing 33 years on death row, Madison has had multiple strokes that have left him without any memory […]

Did the Kavanaugh hearings help Trump?

As I’ve written before, my feeling, based on what I know and the testimony I heard, is that Brett Kavanaugh was guilty of sexual assault or malfeasance. Now I think he’s guilty not just of lying about that, but lying about many things, and that is perjury and disqualifies him from the Supreme Court. But […]

American professor: “White crime dramas” are a sign of racism. So are black and Hispanic crime dramas

I really should stop looking at HuffPo, as it’s simply the Left’s version of Breitbart: a tendentious and often ridiculously slanted look at politics. Both sites anger me. If you know what subject a HuffPo article is about, you already know what it’s going to say. Or, at least, you know what line they’re going to […]

Errors in forensic DNA testing are still pervasive: false matches and wonky statistics

About twenty years ago I spent a good deal of my time testifying for the defense in criminal cases involving DNA evidence. These were trials in which the prosecution claimed that the defendant’s DNA profile had been found to match crime-scene samples (these involve blood or sperm analysis), and in which the prosecution presented “match […]

“Nazi puncher” gets a $1 fine, no jail time

I’m cooling my heels in the SFO airport with a big cup of Peet’s coffee, but will be in Chicago this evening. I hope my ducks are there when I return tomorrow. According to Vice (and other sources), Jason Kessler, the guy who organized the white supremacist “Unite the Right” Rally in Charlottesville—a rally in […]

Pope Francis does something good: changes Catholic dogma to oppose the death penalty

If we’re to be credible in our criticism of religion, we must also laud it when someone uses their religious authority to do something good. And that was just done by Pope Francis, whom I’ve criticized before for being all sweet talk and no action. This time there’s action—at least a formal change in Church […]

Bill Cosby will probably die in jail

I was surprised at the verdict given the hung jury in Bill Cosby’s previous trial, but according to all accounts (and his own admission that he gave women drugs “to relax them” before having “consensual sex”), entertainer Bill Cosby appeared to be a serial rapist. And today he was found guilty of drug-accompanied rape. Justice […]

Students continue to blame U of C shooting on failures of the University police and poor mental health care for students

As I reported a few days ago, a University of Chicago student went on a rampage one evening last week, breaking windows and bashing cars with a metal bar. He was wearing a hat and visor covering his face. The University of Chicago police were called, and ordered the student, who was stalking the alley […]