April 5, 2013 Huffington Post
Prosecutors and police cooperated more than ever before in 2012 to free people falsely convicted of crimes they didn't commit, according to a new study.
Last year, 63 people were exonerated, according to figures compiled by the National Registry of Exonerations. In more than half of the cases, law enforcement officials launched the process to clear the names of the innocent -- or at least cooperated with reviews triggered by others.
The participation of district attorneys and cops in 54 percent of the exonerations stands in stark contrast to previous years tallied by the Registry. Going back to 1989, researchers spotted the helping hand of law enforcement in only 30 percent of the exonerations.
"We see a clear trend. Prosecutors and police are more open to re-investigating cases and clearing the names of innocent people who were wrongfully convicted," said University of Michigan law professor and Registry editor Samuel Gross in a statement. "This is as it should be. The purpose of law enforcement is to seek truth and pursue justice. I’m glad to see they are now doing so more often after conviction, to help correct some of the terrible mistakes we sometimes make."
Julius & Ethel Rosenberg
On April 5, 1951, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are sentenced to death after being found guilty of conspiring to transmit atomic secrets to the Soviet Union. The Rosenberg case began with the arrest of Klaus Fuchs, a German-born and U.S.-employed scientist who confessed to passing classified information about the U.S. atomic program to the Soviets. Following his 1950 conviction, U.S. authorities began an extensive investigation of Los Alamos, New Mexico, the top secret U.S. atomic development headquarters where Fuchs worked during the war.
April 4, 2013 Associated Press
WILLIAMSON, W.Va. — Just months before being gunned down, Sheriff Eugene Crum made good on a campaign promise to do what many in law enforcement have attempted in southern West Virginia — crack down on drugs, especially the illegal sale of prescription pills.
In three months and two days on the job, he'd already helped indict dozens of suspected drug dealers through Mingo County's new Operation Zero Tolerance.
Authorities haven't said whether that work was related to his shooting death at midday on a street in the small town of Williamson on Wednesday, but residents and county officials suspect it.
Crum's team has targeted people "who spread the disease of addiction among our residents," said County Commission President John Mark Hubbard.
Resident Jerry Cline stood near the site of the slaying hours later, the drug crackdown clearly at the forefront of his thoughts.
"He told them right before he got in as sheriff, 'If you're dealing drugs, I'm coming after you. I'm cleaning this town up,'" Cline said. "He got out just to do one thing, and that's to clean this town up. That's all that man tried to do."
Martin Luther King Jr. assassination scene
On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. is shot to death at a hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. A single shot fired by James Earl Ray from over 200 feet away at a nearby motel struck King in the neck. He died an hour later at St. Joseph's Hospital. The death of America's leading civil rights advocate sparked a wave of rioting in the black communities of several cities around the country.
April 3, 2013 Associated Press
MANTI, Utah — For six years Troy James Knapp eluded authorities, who say he moved from cabin to cabin across the Utah mountains, taking food and weapons and leaving notes to brag about it.
It all ended Tuesday as authorities made what they say was a surprisingly easy capture outside a remote cabin after the suspect fired off a few harmless shots.
"He was laughing with our guys. He said, 'Boy, you really snuck up on me,'" said Sevier County Sheriff Nathan Curtis. "He threw his rifle down in the snow and said, 'You got me.'"
The 45-year-old survivalist is suspected of burglarizing dozens of Utah cabins and leaving notes telling owners to "get off my mountain" and warning county sheriffs he was "gonna put you in the ground!"
Iron, Kane and Garfield counties have all issued arrest warrants for Knapp on burglary and weapons charges. More charges are expected, including counts of shooting at a police helicopter and officers on the ground during his capture.
April 3, 2013 Guardian
Allegations of corruption and tax fraud struck at the heart of Spain's royal family on Wednesday as the king's daughter, Princess Cristina, was formally named as a suspect in a court investigation.
The dramatic decision by investigating magistrate José Castro will see the princess called to give evidence at a courthouse in Palma de Mallorca, capital of the Balearic Isles, on 27 April.
The decision is a blow for King Juan Carlos, as a once model royal family begins to buckle under the weight of public scandal.
A spokesman at the king's Zarzuela Palace in Madrid expressed surprise at the decision. "The royal household is in absolute agreement with a decision by state anti-corruption prosecutors to appeal against the decision," he said.
Princess Cristina, aged 47, must explain her role as a board member of a non-profit foundation set up by her husband, former Olympic handball player Iñaki Urdangarin.
April 3, 2013 Associated Press
ACCOMAC, Va. — A former volunteer firefighter and his girlfriend are responsible for all but a handful of the 77 arsons set on Virginia's Eastern Shore over the past five months, state police said Tuesday.
Charles R. Smith III, who went by the alias Charles Applegate when he served as captain of the Tasley Volunteer Fire Department several years ago, and his girlfriend, Tonya S. Bundick, were arrested early Tuesday, shortly after an abandoned residence was set ablaze.
The pair has been charged in only one fire, but Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said they are believed to be responsible for most of the blazes set since November. She said more charges should be filed soon.
"We now have a very complex prosecution ahead of us due to the sheer numbers of arsons these two people are responsible for setting," Geller said.
All of the fires were set in or near abandoned or unoccupied commercial and residential buildings, and no injuries were reported.
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With the purpose of writing about true crime in an authoritative, fact-based manner, veteran journalists J. J. Maloney and J. Patrick O’Connor launched Crime Magazine in November of 1998.
Their goal was to cover all aspects of true crime: from organized crime to serial killers, from capital punishment to prisons, from historical crimes to celebrity crime, from assassinations to government corruption, from justice issues to innocent cases, from crime films to books about crime. Read More