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The Crime Blog

While criminal activity is becoming more and more prevalent in todays society, determining justice for the offenders is becoming more and more difficult. What is "just" I ask, what balance is there between excessive and fair punishment?

Last Build Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2018 10:57:31 +0000

Copyright: Copyright (c)2007 Daniel E. Wood

Sorry for the lapse in posting!

Mon, 26 Mar 2007 04:19:00 +0000

I must apologize to you all for not having updated The Crime Blog recently. I have been extremely busy with studying for my mid-term exams. Now that they're over, I will once again be posting starting with the news of the coroners report of Anna Nicole Smith to be released early this week.

Stay tuned for more updates!

The Crime Blog Podcast - Episode 02

Tue, 27 Feb 2007 17:33:00 +0000

Welcome to the second episode of The Crime Blog Podcast.

You may have noticed some new things going on here. Not only will the podcast focus on criminal highlights, but also major issues that are currently in litigation within the court system, controversial issues, and news events that have an impact on society. Music has been added to help polish off the podcast.

Episode 2 - Topics of discussion:
- Jesus costume for Halloween? Not at a public school!
- Obese 8-year old~200lbs. and social services
- Mother coaches children to fake retardation
- Geese speak to a killer, 'They told me to do it'
- CIA Leak deliberations
- Taliban assassination attempt on Dick Cheney (suicide bombing)
- Nicolas Jacobsen, hacker of T-Mobile and The U.S. Secret Service

The Crime Blog Podcast >> Episode 02 (11:14)

Media Files:

Anna Nicole Smith to be buried in the Bahamas

Fri, 23 Feb 2007 19:17:00 +0000

(image) A judge has ordered that Anna Nicole Smith's body be given to the custody of the guardian of Smith's infant daughter. Judge Seidlin made no secret of his wishes: "I want her buried with her son in the Bahamas," he told a stunned courtroom. "I want them to be together."

However, the mother of Smith, Virgie Arthur, said she will formally appeal this decision today (Friday, February 23, 2007) in Florida's 4th District Court of Appeals.

"I'm very grateful that Anna Nicole's wishes are going to be carried out," Stern told reporters outside the courthouse. "That's all that matters."

Said Birkhead: "We all loved Anna and it's in her best interest to come together."

The medical examiner, Joshua Perper, predicted the appeal would be dismissed in short order. "Probably in a day or two there's going to be a final decision," he told reporters. "So we'll be able to make the arrangements."

Perper, who carried out the autopsy, said it will likely take another 10 to 14 days before he can determine the cause of death, but expressed confidence he would be able to do so. "At this time, we don't have any evidence of foul play," he said about Smith's death.

Thursday's decision does not mean that legal issues related to Smith will end soon. Birkhead's lawyers filed a motion in a Florida family court asking for an emergency hearing to be held Friday morning to request that a DNA sample be taken from Dannielynn.

The Rundown:
Smith married Texas oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II in 1994 when he was 89 and she was 26. She had been fighting his family over his estimated $500 million fortune since his death in 1995.

Cop killer a "chaotic patriot" ? Faces death penalty

Tue, 20 Feb 2007 15:43:00 +0000

After a five day trial, Steven Bixby (39) of South Carolina has been convicted of the shooting(image) deaths of two police officers that were at his parents home over an argument regarding 20-feet of land that would be used to widen a highway. Bixby's mother (Rita Bixby, 74) was charged as an accessory due to the fact that she had prior knowledge of the father and son threatening to shoot police if they stepped on their land (even though she wasn't home at the time of the murders).

Bixby wrote than 1,500 pages worth of letters to his former girlfriend Alane Taylor with a year of his 2003 arrest. In them, Bixby justifies his actions, calling them "right and correct in God's eyes."

"I started to cry but I got refocused on the job," he wrote to Taylor. "If we had wanted to, that whole day would have been an entire bloodbath."

The letters include ramblings about the significance of some numbers, including mathematical equations involving his birth date, age and length of jail time.

He says God "wants all the evil to be exposed" and mentions a premonition of the shootout: "I saw this in a dream about a month before it happened."

"We the people are a majority," Bixby wrote. "The laws were made to protect us from the police."

Bixby now faces the death penalty.

The Crime Blog Podcast feedback

Tue, 20 Feb 2007 15:19:00 +0000

I'm currently working on the second episode of the podcast, and after getting some feedback on the first, I will be improving it a bit. It will be more dynamic and energetic, I'll write a tighter script to keep myself from saying 'ummm' or 'uhh' and I'll try to do some more things that will hopefully make it a more professional podcast and also more entertaining for the listener.

On another note, thank you for subscribing to the feed and/or podcast. I didn't think The Crime Blog would start taking off the way it has, it's a great surprise!

Here's a run down of subscribers so far, I'm happy to see that there is a wide variety of people reading and tuning in!


McCain: Roe v. Wade "should be overturned"

Mon, 19 Feb 2007 17:23:00 +0000

(image) Conservative Arizona Senator John McCain said in his latest in South Carolina, "I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned..." McCain also stated that he would appoint judges who "strictly interpret the Constitution of the United States and do not legislate from the bench" should he be elected for the presidency in 2008.

Roe v Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973) gave women the right to terminate a pregnancy via abortion.

According to the Roe decision, most laws against abortion violated a constitutional right to privacy under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The decision overturned all state and federal laws outlawing or restricting abortion that were inconsistent with its holdings. Roe is one of the most controversial and politically significant cases in U.S. Supreme Court history. Its lesser-known companion case, Doe v. Bolton, was decided at the same time in 1973.

The central holding of Roe v. Wade was that abortions are permissible for any reason a woman chooses, up until the "point at which the fetus becomes ‘viable,’ that is, potentially able to live outside the mother's womb, albeit with artificial aid. Viability is usually placed at about seven months (28 weeks) but may occur earlier, even at 24 weeks." The decision prompted national debate that continues to this day about whether abortion should be illegal, about who should decide whether it is illegal, about the role of the Supreme Court in constitutional adjudication, and about the role of religious and moral views in the political sphere. Roe v. Wade reshaped national politics, dividing much of the nation into "pro-choice" and "pro-life" camps, and inspiring grassroots activism on both sides.

Critics describe Roe as illegitimate for straying from the text and history of the Constitution, and imposing abortion policy on the states and Congress contrarily to American principles of federalism and democracy. Another criticism of Roe is that it failed to recognize the personhood of fetal human life, either beginning at conception or later. Supporters describe Roe as vital to preservation of women's equality, personal freedom, privacy, and the primacy of individual rights, although the opposition to Roe often references the primacy of the individual when referring to the fetus.

By declaring that he is against abortion, McCain is alienating himself from many voters that are pro-choice. I believe that this will ultimately hurt his chance for presidency. The last true conservative president was Ronald Regan (40th President of the United States, 1981-1989).

Shocking: Woman, 84, confesses to sex with boy, 11

Fri, 16 Feb 2007 14:35:00 +0000

This little piece of news is definitely shocking to hear about.Georgie Audean Buoy (84), has plead guilty to having sex with an 11 year-old boy who was in her foster care.Due to the age of Buoy and the lack of a criminal record before this, Buoy will only serve 36 months in accordance to the plea deal. However, she must register herself as a sex offender when she gets out of prison, pay $5,000 in damages to the victim and up to $7,500 to cover counseling fees.Now, my question here is, why is there a stigma in regards to men vs. women sex offenders, how are women offenders treated in regards to their sentencing and how they're treated in the media? There is no question that male sex offenders receive harsher punishments, as the fact alone that "females comprise only 1.2 percent of arrests for rape and 8.0 percent of arrests for all other sex offenses (U.S. Department of Justice, 2002). Women who are sex offenders are most often convicted of offenses against children (Faller, 1987; Lewis and Stanley, 2000; Rosencrans, 1997; Vandiver and Walker, 2002) or low level felonies (other than rape); because of the latter, female sex offenders are often considered "less serious" sex offenders (Hetherton, 1999).""The only assessment to date of female registered sex offenders (Vandiver and Walker, 2002) focused on identifying a typology of offending patterns, including victim and offender characteristics. This review of official records revealed that these offenders were almost all white, with a mean age of 31 at the time of their first sex offense. Females comprised a slight majority (55 percent) of the victims of these female sex offenders. All had juvenile victims and less serious (if any) criminal records than their male counterparts. Vandiver and Walker (2002) were not able to gather complete data on how many of their sample of female sex offenders were related to their victims; from the data available, though, 94 percent of the victims were related to the offender."Coming to the conclusion that female sex offenders receive lighter punishments due to the fact that there is simply not a high rate of offenders, nor do these offenders commit other violent crimes or serious felonies or even have a past criminal record. Punishment is usually up to the discretion of the presiding judge, unless a case goes to trial, then a jury will decide. In any case, those offenders (female) that have been convicted of sex offenses (usually) get a lighter sentence than what a male offender would receive for the same offense.Some information taken from: Experiences and Attitudes of Registered Female Sex Offenders. Federal Probation, (68)3, December 2004. Richard Tewksbury, Ph.D. Department of Justice Administration, University of Louisville.ReferencesFaller, K.C. (1987). Women who sexually abuse children. Violence and Victims, 2(4), 263–276. Hagan, F.E. 2003. Research Methods in Criminal Justice and Criminology (6th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.Hetherton, J. (1999). The idealization of women: its role in the minimization of child sexual abuse by females. Child Abuse and Neglect, 23(2), 161–174.Lewis, C.F. and C.R. Stanley. (2000). Women accused of sexual offenses. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 18(1), 73–81.Rosencrans, B. (1997). The Last Secret: Daughters Sexually Abused by Mothers. Orwell, VT: Safer Society Press.Vandiver, D. M., & Walker, J. T. (2002). Female sex offenders: An overview and analysis of 40 cases. Criminal Justice Review, 27(2), 284–300.[...]

The Crime Blog Podcast

Thu, 15 Feb 2007 07:26:00 +0000

To podcast or not to podcast, that is the question.

After much deliberation and thought, I've decided to create a podcast for The Crime Blog. I will try to post a new episode of the podcast on a weekly basis. Podcasts will cover everything from current court cases, interesting subject matters and research ideas and discussion to controversial issues that are within the realm of law.

I would love to have contributers to the podcast that could possibly have their own segment talking about particular issues. Drop me a comment if you're interested in this!

The Crime Blog Podcast >> Episode 01 (6:18)

Media Files:

Teacher Convicted of Exposing Students to Porn

Wed, 14 Feb 2007 19:47:00 +0000

Julie Amero (40), a Connecticut substitute teacher was showing a hair style website to her students, when she clicked a link that inadvertently went to a porn site, displaying pornographic depictions of oral sex.The principal of the school said that there was no firewall protection because the vendor's bill was unpaid.Amero faces up to 40 years in prison.What I want to know is, why wasn't there any anti-spyware/adware and firewall in place? In my opinion, I believe the principal is responsible in part due to the fact that the budget wasn't balanced properly in order to pay the vendor who supplies the software for the school. However, that doesn't mean that Amero is off the hook. What was she doing showing students a hair style website? Unless she was teaching cosmetology or a hair styling class, she had no reason to be showing students those type of sites. Her lack in judgement could unfortunately land her in prison for up to 40 years.Is 40 years excessive? I think so. So how does one determine what length of time she deserves to serve? What factors are considered when coming to that conclusion?I believe that Amero should not face any incarceration time, as this was an unfortunate mistake that as even computer consultant Herb Horner testified for the defense that the children had gone to an innocent Web site on hair styles and were redirected to another hairstyle site that had pornographic links. "It can happen to anybody," Horner said.The defense argued that the images were caused by adware and spyware -- programs that are often secretly planted on computers by Internet businesses to track users' browsing habits. They can generate pop-up ads -- in some cases, pornographic ones. have said in her defense, " ." However, as Mark Steinmetz of the jury stated, "So many kids noticed this going on," Steinmetz said. "It was truly uncalled for. I would not want my child in her classroom. All she had to do was throw a coat over it or unplug it. We figured even if there were pop-ups, would you sit there?" Instead of leaving it on, why didn't she pull the plug or at the very least just turn the monitor off?"What is extraordinary is the prosecution admitted there was no search made for spyware -- an incredible blunder akin to not checking for fingerprints at a crime scene," Alex Eckelberry, president of a Florida software company, wrote recently in the local newspaper. "When a pop-up occurs on a computer, it will get shown as a visited Web site, and no 'physical click' is necessary."Smith, the prosecutor, would not say what he plans to recommend when Amero is sentenced March 2. John Newsone, a defense attorney in Norwich familiar with the case, said Amero might be spared prison or face perhaps a year to 18 months.Principal Scott Fain said the computer lacked the latest firewall protection because a vendor's bill had gone unpaid. "I was shocked to see what made it through," he said.But Fain also said Amero was the only one to report such a problem: "We've never had a problem with pop-ups before or since."Amero should be fired as a substitute teacher for that school system and not be allowed to teach again. This may seem harsh, but doesn't going to prison for up to 40 years seem even harsher? Her lack of judgment proves that she doesn't have the common sense needed in order to be in charge of a class of students. I have a right to say this, as I myself am a substitute teacher in my free time.[...]

Anna Nicole Smith

Wed, 14 Feb 2007 18:32:00 +0000

While I hesitate to even post about Anna Nicole Smith, especially since its been covered exhaustively over the past week. I do however make this post with a different goal than what the major news outlets have had.

I for one, am sick and tired of hearing about Anna Nicole Smith and having 6 hours of the same coverage telecasted throughout the day. We know she died of circumstances unknown, we know she has a newborn baby in the Bahamas that 3 men (Howard K. Stern, Larry Birkhead and Frederick Von Anhalt) claim to be the father of. We also know that whoever turns out to be the biological father will most likely have right to Smith's inheritance that will go to the baby and thus to the biological fathers charge.

However, what we don't know is why; her bodyguard tried to resuscitate her instead of her nurse who was there as well (she has two private nurses - one nurse is the bodyguards wife); why DNA testing wasn't done immediately after birth of the child and why it has taken Smith's death and a layover of 10 days (judges order) to get a DNA test; and lastly, why Smith died - there was no evidence of poisoning, overdose on drugs, "physical injury such as blunt force trauma, gunshot wound, stab wound or asphyxia as a cause of death.” However it has now been revealed that Smith “had been sick for several days with what was approximately some kind of stomach flu” before she collapsed and the only signs of minor trauma to Smith’s body were some bruises on her back, said to be the result of a recent slip in the bathroom.

Anna Nicole Smith's (39) death was termed as “a sudden unexpected and unexplained death.”

Florida v. John Couey

Wed, 14 Feb 2007 02:41:00 +0000

(image) John Evander Couey has plead guilty to the rape and murder of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford. He was charged with capital murder, burglary with battery, kidnapping and sexual battery on a child less than 12 years of age.

Couey, a convicted sex offender with a 30-year criminal history, is being held at the Citrus County jail, away from the general inmate population for his own safety.

(image) Jessica, a vivacious and happy third-grader, was abducted one night from her bedroom in the small town of Homasassa.

Her body was found three weeks later, on March 19, 2005, buried in garbage bags behind a mobile home a short distance from her own house. She had her favorite stuffed dolphin and her hands were bound by speaker wire, but authorities say it appeared she had tried to poke her fingers through the bags. She died of asphyxiation.

Couey, who was arrested for previous sex crimes involving children in 1978 and 1991, was living with his half-sister at the trailer near the Lunsford home. But authorities searching for Jessica didn't know that, because he had moved there without telling them as required under sex offender registration laws.

As the search intensified, Couey traveled to Georgia, where he was arrested on an unrelated Florida warrant. He confessed to Jessica's abduction and murder to two Citrus County sheriff's detectives who traveled there to interview him, but that taped confession was thrown out by a judge because Couey wasn't allowed to consult a lawyer as he requested.

That means the jury won't hear what is perhaps the strongest evidence against Couey. But the jury will be told that Couey described where to find Jessica's body and that he told jail guards and others about his alleged role in the crime. Prosecutors have DNA and other evidence placing Jessica in the Couey mobile home before she died.

• Jury selection began Monday in the trial for John Evander Couey
• The 48-year-old sex offender faces the death penalty if convicted
• Jessica Lunsford was kidnapped, raped and killed in 2005
• The girl's death led to tougher sex offender laws in at least 19 states

Update: Couey was recently moved to Miami due to publicity issues with jury selection.

Mother forces boy to stand naked outside as punishment

Wed, 14 Feb 2007 02:31:00 +0000

Simone Roundtree (30) stands accused along with her friend Katrina Batista (27) of forcing Roundtree's 10-year-old son to stand outside in subfreezing temperatures as a punishment.

Both are charged with conspiracy and endangering the welfare of a child. Roundtree was held on $2,000 bail while Batista was held on $8,000 bail. New Castle County Police Cpl. Trinidad Navarro said the boy had been forced to sleep on a box spring on a basement floor and had a bucket for a toilet.

The 10-year-old boy is now in state custody.

California v. Cynthia Sommer

Tue, 13 Feb 2007 20:17:00 +0000

(image) After almost 12 hours of jury deliberation, Cynthia Sommer (33) was found guilty of the 2002 fatal poisoning (arsenic) murder of her husband, Sgt. Todd Summer (23) of the US Marine Corps. After complaining of stomach pains, cramps, and other illnesses Sgt. Todd Sommer died suddenly on February 18, 2002. His death was originally ruled as cardiac arrhythmia with unknown etiology. More than a year later, scientists found elevated levels of arsenic in Todd Sommer's tissues: more than 1,000 times the normal level in his liver and 230 times the acceptable level in his kidneys.

Although there was a huge lack of evidence linking Sommer to the murder of her husband, the State managed to get a conviction based on circumstantial evidence. Prosecutors admitted they had no evidence — no purchasing records, electronic paper trail or any direct link to prove that Sommer had access to the arsenic that killed her husband. Instead, they focused on the defendant's seeming inability to live within her means and her promiscuous behavior after her husband's death.

Sommer was not linked to having any connection to arsenic, nor was she linked to any other physical evidence.

Part of the States case they presented was the fact that Sommer, weeks after her husband died, was out at parties and hosting parties (including sex parties/orgies), going to thong and wet t-shirt contests in Tijuana, and getting piercings and tattoos on her body. They argued that this is not the way that a normal person would grieve. However, the defense argued that everyone has their own way of grieving and for some people that includes getting attention, especially physical attention from other people. This is how they tried to explain the reasoning behind Sommer having sexual relationships with other Marines following her husbands funeral death and later on.

Sommer stood to gain $250,000 in veteran benefits after her husband died. She was accused of murdering him to gain financially in order to pay for her breast implants among other things.

Sentencing begins on March 23, 2007

Hello World!

Tue, 13 Feb 2007 19:48:00 +0000

Welcome to the very first post for The Crime Blog. This blog will be updated with information regarding past and current court cases, constitutional right issues and other legal issues that arise within our culture today.