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With over thirty years of experience in providing clients with specialist investigative services, the founders of Court Search have now created the ultimate solution for international court litigation research, providing global coverage in identifying both current and historic court matters regarding both individuals and corporate entities
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The latest news...
Crime & Consequences Crime and criminal law
- The Ahmaud Arbery Verdicts and the Felony-Murder Ruleby Kent Scheidegger
The felony-murder rule, in effect in some form in most states, is the controversial rule that if a person is killed during the commission of certain felonies, all parties to the felony are guilty of murder of that person. The rule can be harsh in some applications, and I agree that some judicious pruning is in order in many jurisdictions, but many critics want to get rid of it altogether. Here is the WSJ’s report of the today’s verdicts in the Ahmaud Arbery case: Travis McMichael, 35, chased Mr. Arbery with his father, Gregory McMichael, 65, and William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., 52, in two pickup trucks on Feb. 23, 2020. Travis McMichael shot Mr. Arbery three times with a 12-gauge shotgun, killing him. Travis McMichael was found guilty on all counts, including one count of malice murder and four counts of felony murder. Gregory McMichael was found guilty of four counts of felony murder and acquitted on a charge of malice murder. Mr. Bryan was convicted on three counts of felony murder and acquitted on malice murder and an additional felony murder charge. Two of the three would have been acquitted of murder, and convicted only of non-homicide offenses, if Georgia did not have the felony-murder rule. Listen carefully for the ringing denunciation of the felony-murder rule from the sources that normally attack it. Hearing crickets? The WaPo has this report. The first quote in the story is Al Sharpton. (Why?) He praises the verdict. The other quotes in the story, except for the family and lawyers of the defendants, are also in support. No one is quoted saying it is unjust to convict two of the defendants of murder when the jury found the elements of “malice murder” unproved. The NYT story is similar, but it parses the difference in the two types of murder: Under Georgia law, malice murder is applied when a person is found to have deliberately set out to kill someone. The charge of felony murder applies when a death results in the course of another felony — regardless of whether the person intended to kill someone. Both carry a sentence of up to life in prison. The jury found Travis McMichael, the man who shot Mr. Arbery, guilty on all nine counts, including malice murder and felony murder. Gregory McMichael was found not guilty of malice murder, but guilty of all other counts he faced, including felony murder. William Bryan, who filmed the fatal encounter, was found not guilty of malice murder. He was found not guilty of one count of felony murder and one count of aggravated assault, but guilty of three counts of felony murder and three other charges. Good as far as it goes, but not a word indicating that felony murder is controversial and there is a national drive to abolish it? My own preferred solution to the felony murder puzzle is to keep the rule but create a partial affirmative defense, reducing the charge to manslaughter if the defendant... The post The Ahmaud Arbery Verdicts and the Felony-Murder Rule appeared first on Crime & Consequences.
- Justice Department Awards $139 Million to Advance Community Policingby Elizabeth Berger
The federal government has awarded $139 million in grant funding to 183 law enforcement agencies across the nation through the Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) COPS Hiring Program (CHP). The funds are to be dedicated to the hiring of additional full-time law enforcement professionals and the advancement of community policing efforts. Community policing is a proactive approach that focuses on transforming leadership within agencies, improving relationships with the community, and targeting specific problems (e.g., gun violence, mental health crises). Per the announcement, 102 awardees (56%) will use the funding to focus on building legitimacy and trust, 41 (22%) will seek to address high rates of gun violence, 21 (11%) will focus on other areas of violent crime, and 19 (10%) will focus on combating hate and domestic extremism or police-based response to persons in crisis. Key areas related to community policing range from things like de-escalation and communication skills to proactive patrol in high-crime areas, and directed patrol to target specific problems like gun violence or repeat offenders. Another component of community policing is to provide officers with the skills, tools, and coping strategies needed to build resilience and maintain their mental and physical wellness to succeed on the job. A 2014 report by the COPS Office describes some of the earlier “lessons learned” by micro-grant community-policing awardees. Reviews of the research on community policing has found it to be effective in improving trust with the community and increasing perceptions of police legitimacy. Research on problem-oriented policing strategies as a whole has also found them to significantly decrease crime. The post Justice Department Awards $139 Million to Advance Community Policing appeared first on Crime & Consequences.