Blogs

Alameda County sheriff seeks drone to fight crime
Oct 19, 2012, - 0 Comments

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Alameda County Sheriff's Department is hoping to become one of the handful of local law enforcement agencies that have received federal clearance to use unmanned aerial drones to fight crime, a goal that already is arousing concerns among privacy advocates.

Civil liberties and privacy groups revealed Thursday that Sheriff Greg Ahern is seeking Department of Homeland Security funding to buy a small remote-controlled drone called a Dragon Fly. If the money comes through and the Federal Aviation Administration permits the department to test the device, Alameda would be the first public safety agency in California to deploy technology first developed for spying on U.S. enemies overseas.

A memo that one of Ahern's captains prepared over the summer, obtained by the Freedom of Information Act web site MuckRock, says the drone would be equipped with a long-distance camera, live video downlink and infrared sensors that could be used for monitoring bomb threats, fires, unruly crowds, search and rescue operations, and marijuana grows. Read More

12 unsolved murders have possible ties to Manson family, LAPD says
Oct 19, 2012, - 0 Comments

LOS ANGELES - The LAPD on Thursday announced it has open investigations on a dozen unsolved homicides near known Manson Family hangouts around Los Angeles.

The revelation came amid a legal battle to obtain hours of audio tape recordings between former Charles Manson follower and convicted murderer Charles "Tex" Watson and his lawyer.

"We have an obligation to the families of these victims," Cmdr. Andy Smith told NBC4. "Our detectives need to listen to these tapes. The tapes might help with solving these murders."

News of the open investigation was first reported by the Los Angeles Times Thursday and confirmed to NBC4 by LAPD officials. Smith told the Times the 12 murders they are investigating "are similar to some of the Manson killings."

Manson and his followers shot to infamy in 1969 after the murders of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four others at a Benedict Canyon home in the hills above Los Angeles. That rampage was followed the next night by the murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in their Los Feliz home. Read More

Dixmoor Five, wrongly convicted of murder, sue police
Oct 17, 2012, - 0 Comments

BY KIM JANSSEN Federal Courts Reporter Chicago Sun Times

Five south suburban men who were wrongfully convicted of murder while they were teenagers have filed a federal lawsuit alleging crooked cops framed them.

The so-called “Dixmoor Five” — who between them served more than 70 years for the 1991 rape and murder of 14-year-old Cateresa Matthews — say Dixmoor Police and the State Police coerced false confessions, witheld evidence and invented witness testimony.

DNA evidence identified the true killer, a convicted sex offender with no connection to Robert Taylor, Jonathan Barr, James Harden, Shainne Sharp and Robert Veal, the suits say. Read More

Florida judge sets June start date for George Zimmerman murder trial
Oct 17, 2012, - 0 Comments

NBC News

A Florida judge has set June 10, 2013 as the start date of the murder trial of George Zimmerman.

Zimmerman, 29, a former neighborhood watch volunteer, is charged with second-degree murder for shooting and killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26.

Zimmerman claimed self-defense in the case and has pleaded not guilty.

Attorneys in the case said they estimate the trial will last three weeks, and Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda said he expected the jury selection would take longer than the trial itself, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Read More

Bin Laden driver’s conviction overturned by U.S. appeals court
Oct 16, 2012, - 0 Comments

A federal court Tuesday threw out the terrorism conviction of Osama bin Laden’s former bodyguard and driver, ruling that he was improperly prosecuted before a military tribunal for a war crime that did not exist at the time he was accused of having committed it.

The unanimous decision by a three-judge appeals panel came in the case of Salim Ahmed Hamdan, who authorities say met bin Laden in 1996 at an al-Qaeda training camp.

Hamdan was tried in 2008 before a military commission at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He was acquitted of conspiracy but convicted of material support of terrorism; he was sentenced to 5 1/ 2 years in prison and released in 2009 to his family in Yemen.

In seeking to overturn his conviction, Hamdan argued that material support of terrorism was not considered a war crime under international law when he was accused of aiding al-Qaeda. In a 28-page ruling, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit agreed. Read More

South Africa Hip-Hop Star Convicted of Murder
Oct 16, 2012, - 0 Comments

By RODNEY MUHUMUZA Associated Press

A court in South Africa found a hip-hop star guilty Tuesday of the murder of four schoolchildren in a drag-race crash that had victims' families worried that wealth and fame would get the accused off easy.

Molemo Maarohanye, best known by his stage name Jub Jub, faced charges of murder and attempted murder stemming from a March 8, 2010 drag race in which he and his co-accused drove cars that ploughed into a group of schoolchildren, killing four and seriously injuring two. The crash happened in Soweto, not far from the magistrate's court where they would be charged.

A magistrate ruled that the men had been driving under the influence of drugs, finding both guilty on four counts of murder and on two counts of attempted murder. Read More

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