Frank Caira: The Ecstasy Cook Who Plotted to kill the Wrong People

     Murder for hire masterminds are almost as stupid as for ransom kidnappers. They almost always get caught, and end up getting sentenced to life. As a murder-for-hire mastermind, Frank Caira was interesting because he worked at Northw…

     Murder for hire masterminds are almost as stupid as for ransom kidnappers. They almost always get caught, and end up getting sentenced to life. As a murder-for-hire mastermind, Frank Caira was interesting because he worked at Northwestern University as a medical researcher, and used workplace chemicals to manufacture Ecstasy pills in his suburban Chicago home.

     In 2009, a federal grand jury, relying on evidence uncovered by DEA agent Patrick Bagley, indicted the married, 41-year-old Downers Grove, Illinois drug manufacturer. In December 2009, when Caira realized the best plea deal he could get involved 14 year behind bars, he decided to hire someone to kill DEA agent Bagley and Shoshanan Gillers, the assistant United States Attorney in charge of his prosecution.

     Because Caira didn't know any hit men, he reached out to his friend, Jack Mann. They met on a bench at the Oak Branch Shopping Center. Mann said he knew a gang member who might commit the double murder.

     After being approached by Mann, the gang member tipped off the authorities. After that, all of Caira's murder for hire meetings were secretly recorded. In the summer of 2011, with the would-be hit man and Jack Mann as key prosecution witnesses, the federal grand jury found Caira guilty of soliciting two murders. (Murder-for-hire is a federal crime as well as a state offense.)

     On July 6, 2012, the federal judge sentenced Frank Caira to 82 years in prison. To reporters, his attorney said this: "People like Mr. Caira don't deserve to die in jail." Really? If a man who tried to have two federal law enforcement officers murdered doesn't belong in prison for life, no one does. While defense attorneys are known to say ridiculous things on behalf of their clients, this comment is beyond the pale. 

from http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/

Public Defenders Need a Sense of Humor

Some defense lawyers are pretty funny, especially public defenders. You need a sense of humor to make it in that business, for a good number of your clients commit poorly planned crimes that are often caught on crystal clear video, frequently fail to r…

Some defense lawyers are pretty funny, especially public defenders. You need a sense of humor to make it in that business, for a good number of your clients commit poorly planned crimes that are often caught on crystal clear video, frequently fail to return your phone calls, and still expect exoneration via some sort of legal hocus-pocus. I once asked a public defender how his client's trial went. "We came in second!" he said with mock enthusiasm.

Adam Plantinga, 400 Things Cops Know, 2014

from http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/

Choosing the Right Vocabulary For a Children’s Book

As adults, we often forget that children can comprehend more than they can articulate, and we end up communicating to them below their level, leaving them bored. Or, the opposite can happen: children are growing up faster than we did and act very sophi…

As adults, we often forget that children can comprehend more than they can articulate, and we end up communicating to them below their level, leaving them bored. Or, the opposite can happen: children are growing up faster than we did and act very sophisticated although their vocabulary skills are underdeveloped. Striking the balance between writing below or above their level is tricky.

Alijandra Mogilner, Children's Writer's Word Book, 1999

from http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/

The Numbers Racket

If there is one business that most mob men cherish above all others, it is the numbers. The numbers is easily one of the most beautiful things ever invented. It is simple to set up, simple to run, almost risk-free, and incredibly profitable. Like me, m…

If there is one business that most mob men cherish above all others, it is the numbers. The numbers is easily one of the most beautiful things ever invented. It is simple to set up, simple to run, almost risk-free, and incredibly profitable. Like me, most mob members look upon the numbers with nostalgia, because it is the first thing they ever did in crime. [I doubt that criminals look upon anything with nostalgia. State lotteries have essentially replaced the numbers racket. States that once declared gambling--they call it "gaming"-- immoral and illegal, now encourage it.]

Joey in Joey The Hitman (with David Fisher) 2002

from http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/

Writing As A Lonely, Insecure Occupation

     The writer’s life is inherently an insecure one. Each project is a new start and may be a failure. The fact that a previous item has been successful is no guard against failure this time.     What’s more, as has often…

     The writer's life is inherently an insecure one. Each project is a new start and may be a failure. The fact that a previous item has been successful is no guard against failure this time.

     What's more, as has often been pointed out, writing is a very lonely occupation. You can talk about what you write, and discuss it with family, friends, or editors, but when you sit down at that typewriter, you are alone with it and no one can possibly help. You must extract every word from you own suffering mind.

     It's no wonder writers so often turn misanthropic or are driven to drink to dull the agony. I've heard it said that alcoholism is an occupational disease with writers.

Isaac Asimov, I. Asimov: A Memoir, 1994

from http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/

Friday Squid Blogging: Giant Squids Have Small Brains

New research: In this study, the optic lobe of a giant squid (Architeuthis dux, male, mantle length 89 cm), which was caught by local fishermen off the northeastern coast of Taiwan, was scanned using high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging in order to examine its internal structure. It was evident that the volume ratio of the optic lobe to the eye in…

New research:

In this study, the optic lobe of a giant squid (Architeuthis dux, male, mantle length 89 cm), which was caught by local fishermen off the northeastern coast of Taiwan, was scanned using high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging in order to examine its internal structure. It was evident that the volume ratio of the optic lobe to the eye in the giant squid is much smaller than that in the oval squid (Sepioteuthis lessoniana) and the cuttlefish (Sepia pharaonis). Furthermore, the cell density in the cortex of the optic lobe is significantly higher in the giant squid than in oval squids and cuttlefish, with the relative thickness of the cortex being much larger in Architeuthis optic lobe than in cuttlefish. This indicates that the relative size of the medulla of the optic lobe in the giant squid is disproportionally smaller compared with these two cephalopod species.

From the New York Times:

A recent, lucky opportunity to study part of a giant squid brain up close in Taiwan suggests that, compared with cephalopods that live in shallow waters, giant squids have a small optic lobe relative to their eye size.

Furthermore, the region in their optic lobes that integrates visual information with motor tasks is reduced, implying that giant squids don't rely on visually guided behavior like camouflage and body patterning to communicate with one another, as other cephalopods do.

from https://www.schneier.com/blog/

Statement from the International Association of Chiefs of Police on Police Use of Force

Managing use of force is one of the most difficult challenges faced by law enforcement agencies. The ability of law enforcement officers to enforce the law, protect the public, and guard their own safety, the safety of innocent bystanders, and … Continue reading

Managing use of force is one of the most difficult challenges faced by law enforcement agencies. The ability of law enforcement officers to enforce the law, protect the public, and guard their own safety, the safety of innocent bystanders, and even those suspected or apprehended for criminal activity is very challenging. For these reasons, law enforcement agencies develop policies and procedures, as well as conduct extensive training, to ensure that any use of force is carefully applied and objectively reasonable considering the situation confronted by the officers.

Law enforcement officers are trained to treat all individuals, whether they are a complainant, suspect, or defendant, with dignity and respect. This is the bedrock principle behind the concepts of procedural justice and police legitimacy.

from https://theiacpblog.org

Me on Restaurant Surveillance Technology

I attended the National Restaurant Association exposition in Chicago earlier this year, and looked at all the ways modern restaurant IT is spying on people. But there’s also a fundamentally creepy aspect to much of this. One of the prime ways to increase value for your brand is to use the Internet to practice surveillance of both your customers and…

I attended the National Restaurant Association exposition in Chicago earlier this year, and looked at all the ways modern restaurant IT is spying on people.

But there's also a fundamentally creepy aspect to much of this. One of the prime ways to increase value for your brand is to use the Internet to practice surveillance of both your customers and employees. The customer side feels less invasive: Loyalty apps are pretty nice, if in fact you generally go to the same place, as is the ability to place orders electronically or make reservations with a click. The question, Schneier asks, is "who owns the data?" There's value to collecting data on spending habits, as we've seen across e-commerce. Are restaurants fully aware of what they are giving away? Schneier, a critic of data mining, points out that it becomes especially invasive through "secondary uses," when the "data is correlated with other data and sold to third parties." For example, perhaps you've entered your name, gender, and age into a taco loyalty app (12th taco free!). Later, the vendors of that app sell your data to other merchants who know where and when you eat, whether you are a vegetarian, and lots of other data that you have accidentally shed. Is that what customers really want?

from https://www.schneier.com/blog/

Petition of the day

Petition of the dayThe petition of the day is: City of Hays, Kansas v. Vogt 16-1495 Issue: Whether the Fifth Amendment is violated when statements are used at a probable cause hearing but not at a criminal trial.

The post Petition of the day appeared first on SCOTUSblog.

Petition of the day

The petition of the day is:

16-1495

Issue: Whether the Fifth Amendment is violated when statements are used at a probable cause hearing but not at a criminal trial.

The post Petition of the day appeared first on SCOTUSblog.

from http://www.scotusblog.com

SCOTUSblog announces partnership with First Mondays

SCOTUSblog announces partnership with First MondaysAs SCOTUSblog approaches its 15th birthday in October, we have been reflecting on how we might be able to expand the blog’s offerings. Many of our readers have asked why we don’t offer a regular podcast to update our audience on the doings of the Supreme Court. We think that’s a good question: Podcasts allow […]

The post SCOTUSblog announces partnership with First Mondays appeared first on SCOTUSblog.

SCOTUSblog announces partnership with First Mondays

As SCOTUSblog approaches its 15th birthday in October, we have been reflecting on how we might be able to expand the blog’s offerings. Many of our readers have asked why we don’t offer a regular podcast to update our audience on the doings of the Supreme Court. We think that’s a good question: Podcasts allow listeners to gather information as they go about their business – in the car or at the supermarket or doing chores around the house – without carving out time to read a blog post. And rather than reinventing the wheel, we thought it would make sense to offer a platform to an established podcast that, like SCOTUSblog, tries to make the Supreme Court accessible to a wide range of people. So we’re excited to announce that we are embarking on a partnership with First Mondays, a well-regarded podcast that is wrapping up its first year of episodes about the Supreme Court.

The co-hosts of First Mondays, Ian Samuel and Dan Epps, bring a wealth of knowledge, experience and enthusiasm to their podcast. Ian is a Climenko Fellow and Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School who clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia. Dan, who clerked for Justice Anthony Kennedy, is an Associate Professor of Law at Washington University in St. Louis. Beginning next Monday morning, July 31, we’ll be putting every new First Mondays episode, along with the accompanying show notes, on the blog for our readers to enjoy. Ian and Dan will maintain complete editorial independence, and SCOTUSblog will gain an additional resource to help achieve our goal of providing comprehensive and insightful coverage of the court.

Yesterday, Ian and Dan sat down with Eric Citron, a partner at Goldstein & Russell and frequent SCOTUSblog contributor, and Andrew Hamm, our blog manager. They talked about, among other things, the First Mondays origin story, the challenge of providing information and analysis that is both accurate and accessible, and how the First Mondays/SCOTUSblog partnership will work. The audio of the interview is below. As always, thanks for reading (and listening).

The post SCOTUSblog announces partnership with First Mondays appeared first on SCOTUSblog.

from http://www.scotusblog.com