Mentally incompetent Utah man dies in hospital after jail episode left him paralyzed
Is this the kind of country where we let mental illness go untreated to the point where someone in jail for fighting with a couple of cops is effectively allowed to commit suicide, while on suicide watch?
Jail video shows a naked Hall with disheveled long hair and beard running headfirst into a wall three times before climbing up on the sink and falling headfirst to the floor. At the time, Hall had been waiting five months for a bed and treatment at the Utah State Hospital. Utah designates 100 beds at the hospital for inmate mental health treatment, but once the beds are occupied, additional defendants await openings from jail cells.
The Utah LegislatureThe Utah Legislature recently set aside $3 million in an effort to resolve a federal lawsuit filed by the Salt Lake City-based Disability Law Center, which alleges mentally ill defendants are not provided a speedy trial and suffer in jail without treatment because the state does not provide enough hospital beds and specialists to treat them.
Why couldn’t they set aside $3 million before they were sued, to solve the problem before anyone died?
U.S. directs agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans
John Shiffman and Kristina Cooke, reporting for Reuters Washington bureau:
The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to “recreate” the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant’s Constitutional right to a fair trial.
This goes well beyond spying. This is, I would argue, exactly why people object to such domestic spying.
The logic is that those with nothing to hide have nothing to fear. However, the “Special Operations Division” probably isn’t infallible, since, well, no one is, and that means that you may have nothing to hide, and think you have nothing to fear, and be completely wrong.
Innocent people may have been convicted as a result of what appear on their face to be unconstitutional, extrajudicial practices.
Those arguing that the price for protection from terrorists and other would-be evil doers is letting the National Security Agency have a peak at our Gmail will have a much more difficult time making the same case for falsifying an evidence trail.
The defense was often held in the dark and, apparently, at least in some cases, investigators misled both the prosecution and judicial evidentiary discretion.
Oh, and as a cherry on top, here’s a gem from near the end of the Reuters story:
A DEA spokesman declined to comment on the unit’s annual budget. A recent LinkedIn posting on the personal page of a senior SOD official estimated it to be $125 million.
The monitoring of internet communications for sensitive information, it would seem, goes both ways.
Norwegian rape victim Marte Deborah Dalelv “pardoned” by UAE
I wrote yesterday about Ms. Dalelv’s 16-month sentence for sex outside marriage, among other absurd charges to levy against a victim of rape, in the city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. I’m happy to report that, according to Reuters, the 24-year-old has been “pardoned” and will be able to go back to Norway.
The fact that UAE called it a “pardon” is as unconscionable as the sentence itself, but freedom by any name is better than being jailed in the kind of nation that would punish a rape victim.
Dubai: Where rape is only a crime if you’re the victim
Update: she has been “pardoned.”
A Norwegian woman was raped, reported it to police, and was charged and convicted of extramarital sex, drinking alcohol, and perjury. She was sentenced to 16 months in jail.
For being raped.
And that’s three months longer than her attacker.
This is a major problem of international law. What happens when the economic and business relationship between two states places citizens in the crosshairs of antiquated and ignorant laws? What is the remedy when the Western expectations of a visitor are shattered by foreign norms that, well, prompt Western folks to use words like “antiquated” and “ignorant.”
The Norwegian government has the woman safely housed in what sounds like a naval base, but there is a warrant out for her arrest.
We will find out. I’ll be keeping an eye on this story.
Witness intimidation reform on the horizon in Philadelphia
The Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Craig R. McCoy reports on a recent special commission report on the problem and some suggested solutions. In a city where street wisdom warns that “snitches get stitches,” this is an encouraging development.
Nebraska court strikes down restrictions on internet use for sex offenders on free speech grounds
Professor David Post of Temple Law served as an expert for the plaintiffs — yes, sex offenders — in this case. His focus, as he points out in his Volokh Conspiracy post, was on the overbroad nature of the statute barring internet use by sex offenders, which he believes, and the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska agreed, was beyond what the First Amendment allows.
Your first thought might be “who cares about a sex offender’s free speech rights?”
The answer, of course, is that the Constitution cares, particularly after they have served prison time and otherwise complied with constitutionally sound penalties for their crimes.
The core of the court’s holding lies in the following passage:
The ban not only restricts the exchange of text between adults; it also restricts the exchange of oral and video communication between adults. Moreover, the ban potentially restricts the targeted offenders from communicating with hundreds of millions and perhaps billions of adults and their companies despite the fact that the communication has nothing whatsoever to do with minors.1
This looks to me like a well-meaning statute, meant to keep sex offenders away from kids online, that was very poorly drafted. You could achieve the desired goal using far narrower provisions. I hope someone proposes a corrected statute to that effect.