An unmarked New York State Police SUV pulls over a motorist for distracted driving. Troopers are using a fleet of the tall vehicles to crack down on texting while driving.
Credit Jim Fitzgerald / AP
New York State Trooper Clayton Howell checks a screen that displays driving records inside his patrol SUV. The vehicle allows him to see whether passing drivers are on their phones. "It's a bird's-eye view," he says.
Forty-one states and the District of Columbia have laws that make it illegal to text while driving. Six others forbid new drivers from texting behind the wheel.
But that doesn't stop drivers from doing it — and enforcing those laws can be difficult.
On a highway north of New York City, state Trooper Clayton Howell is in an unmarked SUV. He's looking for drivers who are texting or using hand-held phones, which is banned in New York, along with 11 other states.
In August, Attorney General Eric Holder told federal prosecutors to no longer hit low-level drug offenders with charges that carry mandatory minimum sentences. But it's not yet clear how broadly that directive is being interpreted.
Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 8:44 am
A new report says the Justice Department regularly coerces defendants in federal drug cases to plead guilty by threatening them with steep prison sentences or stacking charges to increase their time behind bars.
And for the first time, the study by Human Rights Watch finds that defendants who take their fate to a judge or jury face prison sentences on average 11 years longer than those who plead guilty.
Originally published on Fri October 25, 2013 10:43 am
Rebels in Nigeria are reportedly in contact with pirates holding two U.S. crewmen seized earlier this week from the offshore supply vessel C-Retriever, The Associated Press reports.
According to the AP, an email reportedly from the rebel group Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta says the men were captured off the coast of the Nigerian town of Brass, but there were no details of demands or a ransom.
Officials have said the captain and an engineer from the U.S.-flagged vessel were seized during an attack in the Gulf of Guinea on Wednesday.
Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 6:41 pm
Herman Wallace, one of the "Angola 3" inmates who survived more than 40 years of solitary confinement for the killing of a guard, died on Friday, just days after a judge overturned his conviction and ordered him free, saying he had not received a fair trial.
Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 4:26 pm
Herman Wallace, one of the "Angola 3" inmates who spent more than 40 years in solitary confinement for the killing of a guard, has been freed after his conviction was overturned.
U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson in Baton Rouge, La., said Tuesday that Wallace had not received a fair trial.
The Associated Press says that Jackson "had also ordered a new trial because women were unconstitutionally excluded from the grand jury that indicted Wallace in the guard's death. And, he ordered him immediately released."
Homicide remains a leading cause of death for young people, even as rates drop. In Chicago, a teenage boy grieves next to a memorial where Ashley Hardmon, 19, was shot and killed on July 2. Gunmen fired while she was chatting with friends.