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Judge tosses conviction for rape of woman with Down Syndrome: She didn't "behave like a victim"

Appeals Court Judge Christopher McFadden
© Unknown
A jury's conviction of a man for the rape of a woman with down syndrome wasn't good enough for a Georgia Court of Appeals judge, who tossed out the case because he felt like the victim's behavior wasn't victim-y enough for him.

William Jeffrey Dumas, who was originally convicted of two counts of rape and one count of sodomy, was sentenced to 25 years in prison. The story should have ended there, but for the work of Appeals Court Judge Christopher McFadden, who felt that the man didn't do it. There was no hard evidence that exonerated the man that hadn't come up in the trial in which he was convicted, but the judge just had a feeling.

According to an order justifying his decision, McFadden cited that the victim lacked an "exhibited visible distress," in being around the defendant immediately following the alleged rape incidents. He also said that Dumas didn't appear very remorseful for the crime so therefore wasn't likely too have committed it. So in McFadden's court room, if you remain indignant about a crime you have been charged with, he will side with you. A new development in legal theory which, if made universal, would prevent the conviction of roughly every single person ever charged with a crime.
"At no time prior to her outcry ... did (the victim) behave like a victim," McFadden wrote in his decision. "Nor did Mr. Dumas behave like someone who had recently perpetrated a series of violent crimes against her. ... It requires more than that bald argument to satisfy this court that it should ignore the fact that, until the outcry, neither of them showed any fear, guilt or inclination to retreat to a place of safety."
Victims often behave in different ways and what a rape victims does immediately after the rape is not an indicator of whether or not it occurred (although defense attorneys have argued that it is, of course.) Part of what researchers of sexual assault call "Rape Trauma Syndrome" is that people respond to it differently. These aren't always obvious, either. In many cases, for example, the victim won't show outward signs of distress. This can be seen as part of the coping process with what is a major physical and psychological trauma.

Light Saber

Israeli teens refuse to join army over settlement policies

israel teens
© Reuters / Amir Cohen

A group of Israeli teenagers has sent an open letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu declaring their opposition to being drafted into the military because of Israel's policies surrounding West Bank settlements, which they view as "human rights violations."

The letter was signed by 50 teens and published on the Facebook page of an Israeli pacifist group called Yesh Gvul, which means 'There is a Limit.'

"The main reason for our refusal is our opposition to the occupation of the Palestinian territories by the army," the teenagers wrote, as quoted by AFP.

The teenagers pointed out that the army plays a huge role in what Israel does in the West Bank, adding that it has a negative effect on both Palestinians and Israeli society.

"There are actions that are considered war crimes according to international law on a daily basis such as assassinations - extrajudicial killings, building of settlements on the Palestinian territories, administrative detentions, torturing, collective punishment and unequal distribution of resources such as water and electricity," the teens wrote.

"The problem in the military system is not limited to the confines of its effect on the Palestinian society, but seeps into the daily lives of the Israeli society as well."

Arrow Down

FBI launches investigation into a private prison so violent it is called "Gladiator School"

Private Prisons
© Occupy for Accountability Org
In what is one of the most disturbing private prison stories you'll ever hear, a facility in Idaho run by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) in under investigation by the FBI due to claims it was so violent inmates called it "Gladiator School."

So how does a prison transform into such a place? Apparently, CCA was so eager to cut costs that it chose to understaff the facility and hand over control to prison gangs.

I've covered private prisons on many occasions in the past, including this CCA facility in particular. I think private prisons are one of the worst ideas possible in a democratic society.

I suggest you read some of my prior articles:

A Deep Look into the Shady World of the Private Prison Industry
Idaho Dumps Private Prison Company Due to "Violence, Understaffing and Over-billing"
America in 2013: Florida Football Stadium Named After a Private Prison Company
America in 2013: For-Profit Prisons Get Favorable Tax Breaks

Now from the Associated Press:

Black Magic

'Go get cancer': Vile trolls now target MOTHER of bullying victim, 14, who took her own life


Evil trolls: Izzy Dix, 14, pictured left, hanged herself in her bedroom after suffering months of vile taunts, insults and cruel remarks. Her mother Gabbi, right, now believes she is being targeted by internet trolls
  • Schoolgirl Izzy Dix was found hanged at her home in Devon last year
  • She told family she was a victim of vile taunts, insults and cruel remarks
  • Her mother Gabbi now fears she is being targeted by internet trolls
  • Cyber bullies have set up a fake Facebook profile in her name
A mother whose 14-year-old daughter killed herself after being subjected to bullying says internet trolls are now targeting her.

Schoolgirl Izzy Dix hanged herself in her bedroom after suffering months of vile taunts, insults and cruel remarks.

Her mother Gabbi, from Brixham, Devon, launched a national campaign in the wake of her daughter's death to stamp out cyber bullying - but has now become the victim of internet trolls herself.

The horrified mother called police after discovering a Facebook page which appeared to glorify her daughter's tragic death. Vile comments left on the site urged other youngsters to 'do an Izzy Dix' and 'go get cancer'.

Trolls also created a fake profile for Gabbi, complete with a stolen Facebook photograph, and posted hateful comments in her name.


Apple refused grieving sons' request to unlock iPad that belonged to cancer victim mother because 'they need dead woman's written consent'

© Daily Mail
Josh Grant, 26, pictured, was shocked when Apple asked for written consent from his mother, who passed away from breast cancer earlier this year, to unlock her iPad.
  • Anthea Grant passed away from breast cancer, aged 59, earlier this year
  • Her sons Josh and Patrick were named co-executors of her will and estate
  • They were shocked when Apple refused to unlock iPad and asked for written consent from mother before telling them to get a court order
  • Josh Grant, 26, accused the tech giant of having an 'utter lack of understanding and discretion in a time of great personal sadness'
  • Apple said Mr Grant asked for password and not an 'Activation Lock' to be unlocked
A grieving son has accused Apple of having an 'utter lack of understanding and discretion' after the company refused to unlock his dead mother's iPad - and asked for written permission from her.

Josh Grant, 26, from London, became the co-executor of his mother Anthea Grant's will and estate with his brother Patrick when she passed away from breast cancer, aged 59, earlier this year.

He said his mother enjoyed playing games on the iPad after her husband died in 2010 and said she liked its raft of new security measures since updating to iOS7.


Missing Malaysian jet may have disintegrated in mid-air

© Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon
A relative (woman in white) of a passenger onboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 cries as she talks on her mobile phone at the Beijing Capital International Airport March 8, 2014.
Officials investigating the disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines jetliner with 239 people on board suspect it may have disintegrated in mid-flight, a senior source said on Sunday, as Vietnam reported a possible sighting of wreckage from the plane.

International police agency Interpol confirmed that at least two passports recorded in its database as lost or stolen were used by passengers on the flight, raising suspicions of foul play.

An Interpol spokeswoman said a check of all documents used to board the plane had revealed more "suspect passports" that were being further investigated. She was unable to say how many, or from which country or countries.

Nearly 48 hours after the last contact with Flight MH370, mystery still surrounded its fate. Malaysia's air force chief said the Beijing-bound airliner may have turned back from its scheduled route before it vanished from radar screens.

"The fact that we are unable to find any debris so far appears to indicate that the aircraft is likely to have disintegrated at around 35,000 feet," a source involved in the investigations in Malaysia told Reuters.

Light Saber

Professor detained and interrogated at airport files suit

fourth amendment
A woman who was detained without cause at Indianapolis International Airport has filed suit saying federal officials violated her constitutional rights.

The case was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana on behalf of Christine Von Der Haar, a senior lecturer in the Department of Sociology at Indiana University. In June of 2012, Von Der Haar accompanied a friend to the airport's office of Customs and Border Protection to pick up computer equipment he had shipped separately when he flew to Indianapolis a few days earlier. The customs agent, after asking the couple if they were planning to marry, questioned them separately about email communications and the nature of their relationship, and confined Dr. Von Der Haar in a guarded room for more than 20 minutes.

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects against unreasonable searches and seizures.

"This case raises troubling issues about the power of the government to detain and question citizens," said ACLU of Indiana Legal Director Kenneth Falk, who represents Von Der Haar.

The lawsuit, Christine Von Der Haar v. Sherlana Lieba, Mr. Combsaclu, Cause No. No. 1:14-cv-247, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana on Feb. 19, 2014.

Contact: 212-549-2666, media@aclu.org


Philadelphia Judge issues anti-troll ruling: Defamation, not protected by either the federal or state constitution

© NYPost
A Philadelphia judge has ordered Philly.com to reveal the name of an anonymous commenter, in a defamation suit brought by electricians' union leader John Dougherty.

An attorney in the case says it could have a broad impact on incendiary online comments and those users, sometimes called "trolls," who post them anonymously.

The anonymous defendant in the suit, disguised by the nonsense name "fbpdplt," called Dougherty a name in the comments section of an article on the website, one of the properties in the media group that also owns the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News.

The website is not a party to the suit but it received a subpoena, more than a year ago, for information on the commenter. Its attorney, Eli Segal, says, "the company went to Court to make sure that the defendant received notice and an opportunity to be heard."

Evil Rays

Texas police blockade parking lot at child's birthday party, tase couple for not leaving

© RawStory
Jodie White
A mother and father attending a birthday party for their 1-year-old nephew were tased by Baytown, Texas officers for not leaving a parking lot that police cruisers had blocked in.

Jodie and Christopher White told KHOU that police were called to the party because of an altercation between some of the adults in attendance. They were trying to leave, but the parking lot had been barricaded by arriving police cruisers.

When police told the couple to leave, they pointed out that they were unable to.

"There were police in the parking lot blocking it in so we couldn't move," Jodie White said.

Police allegedly repeated their request, and Jodie White responded in a manner that, she admitted, was insulting, "they just rushed my car and opened the door and tasers were just everywhere."

A member of the family recorded the incident, and when police rushed the White's car, multiple children can be heard in the background, screaming.

Star of David

Words of sense: If they can sanction Russia over Crimea, we can sanction Israel over Palestine

sanctions israel
© zeevveez / Flickr
I'm so delighted that President Obama and Congress are moving to impose sanctions on Russia over its military intervention in Crimea. Regardless of whether one thinks this is a wise or just policy in the case of Russia, this is setting a great political precedent in the United States for considering boycotts, divestment and sanctions on Israel over its military occupation of Palestine - the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

Until now, it has been the case that in the United States, if you talk about any kind of boycott, any kind of divestment, any kind of sanction to pressure the Israeli government to end its military occupation of Palestine, some apologists for the Israeli occupation have gone into rhetorical meltdown. Until now, we've collectively tolerated that the hysterical opposition to "BDS" (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) of these apologists for the Israeli occupation be taken seriously in public discourse. In New York, Maryland, and Illinois, state legislators want to punish you if you even think about boycotting one egg from the Israeli occupation. We're all for the right of free speech - unless you misuse your free speech rights to say something bad about the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

But now, when it is proposed to sanction Russia over its military intervention in Crimea, it passes through public discourse like a hot knife through butter. No one complains that Russia is being "unfairly singled out." No one claims that people who want to impose sanctions on Russia are motivated by an irrational hatred of the Russian people. No one claims that supporters of sanctions want to "delegitimize Russia" or "destroy Russia," nor that supporters of sanctions "refuse to accept Russia's right to exist."