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63 posts from October 2007

October 29, 2007

Exonerated citizen

Exonerated citizen, originally uploaded by Lindsay Beyerstein.

New York, NY.

Barry Scheck, co-founder of the Innocence Project introduced Alan Newton, a man who served 22 years in a New York prison before being exonerated through the work of Scheck's organization.

Newton and Scheck were participating in today's forum on preventing and reversing wrongful convictions, sponsored by the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy.

About yay big...

Barry Scheck, originally uploaded by Lindsay Beyerstein.

New York, NY.

Attorney and law professor Barry Scheck discussing the problem of wrongful convictions at DMI's Marketplace of Ideas forum at the Harvard Club in Manhattan.

Westchester County DA

DiFiore and Scheck, originally uploaded by Lindsay Beyerstein.

New York, NY.

Westchester County district attorney, Janet DiFiore prepares to address today's forum on exonerating the innocent and preventing wrongful convictions.

The forum was sponsored by the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy, as part of DMI's Marketplace of Ideas series.

Fellow panelist, defense attorney and law professor Barry Scheck can be seen in the background.

DA Craig Watkins

DA Craig Watkins, originally uploaded by Lindsay Beyerstein.

New York, NY.

Dallas County DA Craig Watkins addressing the Drum Major Institute's Marketplace of Ideas.

Today's forum was about public policies for reducing wrongful conviction rates and exonerating people who have been wrongfully convicted.

In 2006, Watkins became the first elected black district attorney in Texas history.

During his short time in office, Watkins has reopened the files of hundreds of people convicted in Dallas County.

Shortly after being sworn in, DA Watkins reversed his predecessor's policy of opposing DNA testing requests.

Watkins has also reformed eyewitness ID protocols to reduce the chances of mistaken identification.

"The role of a district attorney is to seek justice," Watkins says, "A DA shouldn't just convict, but see that justice is being served."

Barry Scheck at DMI

Barry Scheck, originally uploaded by Lindsay Beyerstein.

New York, NY.

Constitutional lawyer and famed defense attorney Barry Scheck speaking at today's forum on preventing and reversing wrongful convictions, sponsored by the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy.

DMI Marketplace: Preventing wrongful convictions

Today, the Drum Major Institute hosts Dallas DA Craig Watkins, NY State Sen. Eric Schneiderman, Westchester DA Janet Defiore, and Barry Sheck of The Innocence Project. 

DMI executive director Andrea Batista Schlesinger  will moderate a discussion about  strategies for preventing wrongful convictions and exonerating the innocent.

The event will be blogged in real time at DMIblog starting at 8:00am.

October 28, 2007

Pseudo-CNN page frames Hispanic group for wildfires

Speaking of fake news... Someone registered the domain name "cnnheadlienews" on Oct. 25 2007, to run a bogus news story alleging that Hispanic separatist group had claimed responsibility for setting the California wildfires.

The page is dummied up to look like a CNN web page. There's no other content on the site. A WHOIS search reveals that the page is registered to something called "Bleach Boy Manufacturing."

There is no such corporation on file with the Tennessee Secretary of State.

Katharine Zalecki of Huffington Post reports that some anti-immigrant websites cited the story as fact, without noticing or caring that the url was a dead giveaway.

Official behind FEMA fake press conference quits, joins ODNI

Think Progress notes that the FEMA official responsible for last week's infamous fake press conference has resigned and gone to work for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Correction: Actually, the fake news conference appears to have cost John P. Philbin his job at ODNI. Philbin had been slated to take the ODNI job before the now-infamous fake news conference on the California wildfires, but the offer has since been rescinded.

October 27, 2007

Snitch on yourself to the TSA

The TSA encourages the public to report suspicious activity. When Connor Islip of the Guardian reviewed communications submitted to the Transportation Safety Administration communication center, he was surprised to find how many air travelers wrote in to report their own security slips:

Of the more than 100 communications reviewed, a large plurality consists of citizens who, like the woman from Islip, arrive at their destinations and feel guilty about a security transgression. Few mention other security threats; when they do, they are largely reports on the ethnicity of fellow travellers.

One man called in - on the fifth anniversary of September 11, no less - to report that he "had put two canisters of propane gas" in his luggage. "He had forgotten that the canisters were inside the luggage," writes the TSA officer who took the call. "The consumer discovered the canisters after arriving at [Oakland], his final destination."

Another man got off a plane from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale only to "notice that I had with me three huge bottle rockets and a big firecracker, with some sparklers in the outside pouch" of his carry-on. [Guardian]

I wonder how many of these public-spirited individuals will get stuck on the no-fly list forever.

October 26, 2007

Giant squid pumpkin

A Halloween pumpkin in the shape of a giant squid, via Bruce Schneier.