John Holloway at Slate has the sobering tale behind the case involving John Thompson, who was nearly executed for the crime of capital murder, his conviction based on paid-off “witnesses,” and evidence made to vanish, all under the watch of a dapper New Orleans district attorney and sometimes singer named Harry Connick Sr. (And, yes, the DA’s son is that other Harry Connick.)
Here’s one of the better paragraphs from the Holloway story.
How is new evidence uncovered? This is how: a private investigator hired by lawyers looking for a miracle charms her way into a lab and flips through thousands of pieces of microfiche looking for a blood test whose existence has been repeatedly denied by the DA’s office. She doesn’t blink, or wander, or doze off at the wrong time. And when she finds it, she makes several copies of it and gets the hell out of Dodge to call the lawyers.
Tenacity, boobs, and luck.
The Supremes will hear arguments in Connick v. Thompson, on Wednesday.
SECOND SUICIDE IN LA COUNTY JAIL IN TWO DAYS
What in the worlds is going on? Here’s a link to the LA Times story.
An inmate killed himself Tuesday at Men’s Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles, the second suicide at the facility in as many days.
In Tuesday’s incident, the 29-year-old was pronounced dead at the jail after he was discovered around 5:20 a.m., the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.
The man, described as a gang member, pleaded guilty last year to assault with a deadly weapon and received a 21-year sentence. He was also found guilty of robberies and carjacking and was scheduled to be sentenced Friday for those crimes, the department said. His name was not released…..
These back-to-back jail suicides call to mind a July 2010 report by the Office of Independent Review, which noted there was an uptick in suicides in the county’s jail system and, while many suicides were prevented by deputy vigilance, the OIR documented a terrible case of neglect and falsified records that arguably allowed a young man named John Horton to kill himself last year, when it was well known he was at risk.
It is hard to know what if anything these two suicides signify. But the issue bears watching.
LA TIMES ENDORSES COOLEY FOR AG AND MAKES AN INTERESTING CASE AS TO WHY.
The endorsement is here. As much as have disagreed with Cooley on certain issues, I think they have a point.
NY TIMES’ DAVID CARR WRITES ABOUT A “BANKRUPT CULTURE” AT ZELL’S TRIBUNE CO, AND BOOB-GAWKER, RANDY MICHAELS, FIRES BACK WILDLY AT THE MESSENGER
Okay, first the opening of David Carr’s devastating story about the Tribune Co, which runs in Wednesday’s NY Times (and which many say shows only the tip o’ the iceberg in terms of the cringe-making craziness of Zellworld):
In January 2008, soon after the venerable Tribune Company was sold for $8.2 billion, Randy Michaels, a new top executive, ran into several other senior colleagues at the InterContinental Hotel next to the Tribune Tower in Chicago, David Carr writes in The New York Times.
Mr. Michaels, a former radio executive and disc jockey, had been handpicked by Sam Zell, a billionaire who was the new controlling shareholder, to run much of the media company’s vast collection of properties, including The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, WGN America and The Chicago Cubs.
After Mr. Michaels arrived, according to two people at the bar that night, he sat down and said, “watch this,” and offered the waitress $100 to show him her breasts. The group sat dumbfounded.
“Here was this guy, who was responsible for all these people, getting drunk in front of senior people and saying this to a waitress who many of us knew,” said one of the Tribune executives present, who declined to be identified because he had left the company and did not want to be quoted criticizing a former employer. “I have never seen anything like it.”…
Now read Randy Michaels’ whacked-out preemptive memo about the Carr story, courtesy of LA Observed.
CALIFORNIA SUPREMES HEAR FIGHT OVER UNDOCUMENTED STUDENTS AND STATE TUITION
The SF Chronicle has the story:
The issue of benefits for illegal immigrants landed at the state Supreme Court on Tuesday, as out-of-state students challenged a law allowing anyone who has graduated from a California high school to pay in-state tuition at a public university, regardless of immigration status.
The 2002 law, intended to encourage youngsters to attend college, enables undocumented students to pay the same lower fees as other state residents – at the University of California, $11,300 instead of $34,000 a year.
A lawyer for 42 non-Californians who pay the higher fees at UC, state university and community college campuses argued that the statute is discriminatory and violates federal immigration law…..
LA MAG HOSTS LAW & ORDER’S DICK WOLF FOR EARLY MORNING SALON/CHAT
I meant to be at this event but was horridly cold ridden so didn’t go at the last minute. Fortunately, Kevin Roderick has a report.
Los Angeles moved its periodic breakfast series to Kate Mantilini in Beverly Hills for this morning’s session with the creator of “Law and Order: Los Angeles.” Wolf regaled the likes of City Council president Eric Garcetti, exiting Bon Appetit editor Barbara Fairchild and NBC correspondent Josh Mankiewicz with behind-the-scenes stories from the show….
DOES TEA PARTY = POT PARTY?
Josh Harkinson from Mother Jones says it does.
Here’s a clip:
Last month in the nation’s capital, Gary Johnson, a former governor of New Mexico and outspoken critic of big government, took the podium at Glenn Beck’s 9/12 rally to talk up economic issues. He warmed up the crowd of tea partiers with tales of how he’d fended off unnecessary state spending through liberal use of the veto stamp, and how he’d boosted educational competition through charter schools. Then Johnson dropped a bomb. “Half of what we spend on law enforcement, the courts, and the prisons is drug related,” he proclaimed. “I suggest that legalizing marijuana will make this country a better place.”
The crowd erupted in a clash of boos and applause—evidence, Johnson told me later, that the tea party is ripe for debate on the issue. “What the tea party talks about is wise spending,” he said, adding that the war on drugs was certainly no better a deal than Social Security or Medicare. The tea party’s libertarian elements, he noted, have already led to the unthinkable: “You find more Republican candidates right now espousing legalization of marijuana than you do Democrats.”