Law and Order

Public Safety
4:26 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Nosy Driver In The Next SUV? It May Be A Cop Watching You Text

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.
Jim Fitzgerald AP

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 6:35 pm

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.

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Public Safety
11:03 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Report: Threat Of Mandatory Minimums Used To Coerce Guilty Pleas

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.
Stephen Lam Reuters /Landov

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.

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Public Safety
8:44 am
Fri October 25, 2013

Nigerian Rebels Reportedly Contact Pirates Who Seized U.S. Crew

A 2008 photo of the offshore supply ship C-Retriever.
Christian Serrano Courtesy of ShipSpotting.com

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.

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Public Safety
4:45 pm
Sat October 5, 2013

Angola 3 Inmate Tastes Brief, 'Bittersweet' Freedom

Herman Wallace (left) and his legal team discuss his trip home to New Orleans after his release from prison on Tuesday. Wallace died on Friday.
Lauren McGaughy The Times-Picayune /Landov

Originally published on Sat October 5, 2013 5:36 pm

Herman Wallace died early Friday in New Orleans, three days after gaining his freedom. Wallace had spent the previous 41 years in solitary confinement in Louisiana.

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Public Safety
6:11 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

'Angola 3' Inmate Dies Just Days After Being Freed

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.

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Public Safety
12:38 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Dying 'Angola 3' Inmate Freed After Decades In Solitary

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."

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Crime
11:01 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Justice Department Pushes New Thinking On Kids And Crime

The Justice Department, along with the Department of Education, is trying to stop what experts describe as a "school-to-prison pipeline."
J. David Ake AP

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 9:45 am

For a man who spent the bulk of his career as a public defender, Robert Listenbee's new role walking around the halls of the U.S. Justice Department may not be the most comfortable fit.

But Listenbee, who became administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention earlier this year, says his transition has been smooth. And besides, he says, he couldn't resist the "extraordinary opportunity."

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Crime
6:11 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Judge Orders New Trial In New Orleans Bridge Shooting Case

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 7:19 pm

A federal judge ordered a new trial for five former New Orleans Police Department officers convicted in connection to the shooting deaths of two men on the Danziger Bridge in New Orleans.

The shootings gained national attention because they took place during the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports the judge ordered a new trial because of the "grotesque" misconduct of federal prosecutors. The paper adds:

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Crime
1:24 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

For Youths, Fewer Homicides But Still Many Deaths

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.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 15, 2013 8:14 am

Homicide rates among teenagers and young adults have dropped to the lowest level in 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That's good news, but it still means about 4,800 young people under age 25 were murdered in 2010.

Teenagers and young adults remain more likely to be killed than older adults, and homicide is a leading cause of death in the young, behind motor vehicle accidents.

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East Baton Rouge Parish Metro
11:32 am
Tue June 11, 2013

Crime Still A Major Concern For EBR Parish Residents

A widespread fear of crime remains among the residents of East Baton Rouge Parish. That’s according to the Baton Rouge Area Foundation’s latest City Stats report released Monday.

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