Posts tagged as:

child abuse

  • As condition of bail, federal magistrate orders arrestee to recant charge of government misconduct [Eugene Volokh]
  • Possible life sentence for pot brownies shows “utterly irrational consequences of pretending drugs weigh more than they do” [Jacob Sullum, Radley Balko] Life sentence for guy who sold LSD: “the prosecutor was high-fiving [the] other attorneys” [Sullum]
  • Do low-crime small towns across America really need MRAP (mine-resistant ambush-protected) armored vehicles and other military gear, thanks to federal programs? [Balko]
  • Minnesota reforms its use of asset forfeiture [Nick Sibilla, FIRE] Rhode Island, Texas could stand to follow [Balko]
  • If not for video, would anyone believe a story about Santa Clara deputies “spiking” premises with meth after finding no illegal drugs? [Scott Greenfield]
  • Falsely accused of abuse: “He Lost 3 Years and a Child, but Got No Apology” [Michael Powell, NY Times "Gotham"; Amine Baba-Ali case]
  • Two federal judges denounce feds’ “let’s knock over a stash house” entrapment techniques as unconstitutional [Brad Heath, USA Today]

Medical roundup

by Walter Olson on March 14, 2014

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January 10 roundup

by Walter Olson on January 10, 2014

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The San Antonio Four, women released after more than a decade of imprisonment over child-abuse crimes they say they never committed, talk to NBC News. “Plea deals were offered, but they refused to accept them on the grounds that they were innocent.” One of the two accusers (pre-teens at the time) has recanted, the other sticks by her story.

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The Massachusetts attorney general is now running for governor of the state after losing a Senate run three and a half years ago, so this makes a good occasion to revamp a 2010 post slightly so as to remind readers of Coakley’s central role in the Amirault travesty of justice, described so well by Dorothy Rabinowitz here. Earlier on the Amirault case here and here; on Coakley’s prosecutorial record here.  More: John Stossel and (via Memeorandum): Bronwyn’s Harbor, No Quarter (citing views of Jeralyn Merritt/TalkLeft); Dan McLaughlin, RedStateDan Riehl (Woodward, Souza cases). Yet more: on Coakley’s offer to a deal to one defendant on condition that the experienced defense counsel handling the deal agree not to represent a second defendant in future, see Scott Greenfield (characterizing the move as “a deliberate effort to undermine the constitutional right to counsel”), Kenneth Anderson/Volokh, and John Steele/Legal Ethics Forum. In 2010 we wondered whether Coakley’s Senate-race nosedive under critical public and press scrutiny amounted to the first time a Massachusetts prosecutor had paid a price for being wrong in the Amirault episode.

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In Hopewell, Va., Mr. Montgomery spent four years behind bars after Ms. Coast falsely accused him of a rape eight years earlier, when he was 14. Eventually she admitted she’d made it up. “Coast however was sentenced by Hampton Circuit Court Judge Bonnie L. Jones to just two months in jail and ordered to make $90,000 in restitution for perjury. Jones suspended the rest of the five-year sentence and even allowed Coast to serve the remainder on weekends so not to disrupt her life.” [Jonathan Turley via Amy Alkon, Richmond Times-Dispatch]

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“They will spend 10 years and all their money on litigation because of their inability to agree on anything,” a therapist predicted accurately. Yet more unsettling: the mom leveled false abuse accusations at the dad before eventually recanting. [Winnipeg Free Press]

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  • “‘Stand Your Ground’ task force offers no big changes to Florida law” [Orlando Sentinel, Tampa Bay Times]
  • “Statutes of Limitations Apply Especially to Government Agencies” [Ilya Shapiro on Cato Institute amicus brief in Gabelli/SEC case] “The rule of lenity is violated when people go to prison for breaking ambiguous laws/regulations.” [Roger Marzulla, Federalist Society "Engage"]
  • Sen. Rand Paul on the Missouri rabbit breeder case [Daily Caller]
  • Mondale Act of 1974 (CAPTA) laid down basis for child abuse witch hunts [William Anderson, Agitator]
  • Sententiousness vs. due process, plus a window into comments moderation at BoingBoing [Popehat] Background on State v. Fourtin [Gideon's Trumpet first, second post]
  • Massachusetts: “State’s Chemist Admits ‘Testing’ Drug Samples by Looking at Them” [Lowering the Bar]
  • Plea bargaining: For Scott Greenfield, a showdown for justice at high noon turns into one of life’s little compromises [Simple Justice]

Four Texas women have been serving long prison terms since a 7-year-old and 9-year-old girl, nieces of one of them, accused them in a lurid tale of assault. Now, the younger accuser has grown up and recanted [Michelle Mondo, My San Antonio]:

“I want my aunt and her friends out of prison,” Stephanie, 25, said by phone last week. “Whatever it takes to get them out I’m going to do. I can’t live my life knowing that four women are sleeping in a cage because of me.”…

On and off the witness stand, the sisters changed their accounts of the timing, the use of weapons, the perpetrators and other basic details of the assault every time they told it to authorities, records show.

P.S. And another Texas recantation, of charges lodged during a bitter custody fight, the defendant has served more than 12 years of a 20-year sentence.

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“Shaken-baby” horror

by Walter Olson on March 23, 2012

More evidence that innocent parents are in prison over infant deaths [Emily Bazelon, Slate; earlier here, etc.]

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December 30 roundup

by Walter Olson on December 30, 2011

Medical roundup

by Walter Olson on December 4, 2011

  • Talking back to the “malpractice litigation is no big deal, docs should grin and bear it” theorists [David Sack, ACP via White Coat] “Worst states for medical malpractice risk” [White Coat]
  • Jury awards $25 million against hospital that didn’t file abuse report after boy came in with broken wrist [Fayetteville, N.C. Observer]
  • “Doctors Question Disability Decisions as Agency Moves to Speed Up Process” [WSJ via Walter Russell Mead]
  • New “Federalist Society equivalents” in medicine (Benjamin Rush Society), business, foreign affairs [John J. Miller, Philanthropy]
  • Fieger wins $144 million verdict blaming hospital for newborn’s cerebral palsy [suburban Detroit Tribune]
  • Feds force birth control coverage on Catholic organizations, and free association suffers [Roger Pilon, Cato]
  • Phone call from doc to patient’s home did not establish subsequent jurisdiction to sue there [Madison County Record] NY steps up program to streamline courts’ handling of med-mal claims [WSJ]

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A concocted “multiple personalities” tale wrecked many lives by launching a thousand bogus recovered memories of abuse, not a few of which made it to court. Debbie Nathan (“Satan’s Silence”) has a new book out, “Sybil Exposed,” telling the story. [Laura Miller, Salon (link fixed now)]

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June 23 roundup

by Walter Olson on June 23, 2011

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May 20 roundup

by Walter Olson on May 20, 2011

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In dozens of prosecutions each year, parents or caregivers are charged after infants who died under their care have been found to display supposedly infallible indicators of abuse — in particular, subdural and retinal hemorrhage with brain swelling. Many convicted defendants stoutly maintain their innocence all along; others are sent to prison on the basis of equivocal “confessions”. Even when (as is common) there is no pattern of previous child abuse, it often happens that authorities remove other children from an alleged abuser’s home as legal action proceeds. Has the hope of using cutting-edge forensics to identify abusers wound up leading the authorities and courts to inflict new injustices? [Emily Bazelon, New York Times Magazine] More: Balko.

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February 2 roundup

by Walter Olson on February 2, 2011

  • Many of the best New Jersey sledding slopes are off limits now: “Litigators ruin pretty much everything” [Bainbridge]
  • Granola bar trans-fat lawsuit leaves Russell Jackson unimpressed;
  • “Criminal barbering”: license lapse gets 82-year-old Oregon hair-cutter in legal trouble [Perry]
  • Tomorrow’s economy won’t thrive if municipal authorities strangle innovative businesses where they incubate [Conor Friedersdorf, City Journal]
  • Need to bring property taxes under control? Try litigation reform [NJLRA]
  • Convicted at height of 90s child-abuse prosecution fever, Ohio pair seek to reopen case [Briefcase] More: Balko.
  • Here’s an idea: “Let the shareholders decide if SOX is worth the costs.” [Ribstein]
  • Retired Massachusetts attorney found in possession of stolen art trove [five years ago on Overlawyered] Updates courtesy reader Ronald Stimbert: Legal Blog Watch 2008 (attorney convicted); Cape Cod Times 2010 (paintings returned to owner).

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