In May, high school senior Kaitlyn Hunt could have quietly accepted a plea bargain offered by Florida prosecutors and avoided imprisonment. Instead, with the encouragement of her parents, the former cheerleader claimed that her prosecution for having sex with a 14-year-old girl was motivated by homophobia. The "Free Kate" campaign garnered nationwide attention, including interviews on NBC's Today show and ABC's 20/20 program. Hunt gained the support of the American Civil Liberties Union and Equality Florida, the state's largest gay-rights organization.
Alabama attorney/blogger Roger Shuler was arrested Thursday in Shelby County and held without bond, charged with two counts of contempt of court in a case that has sparked conspiracy theories pointing the finger of blame at Republican officials, including the son of former Alabama Gov. Bob Riley.
Capt. Ken Burchfield of the Shelby County Sheriff's Office confirmed Friday that Shuler was being held in the county jail in Columbiana pending a hearing. Shuler was arrested "pursuant to a court order," and was also charged with resisting arrest, Burchfield said. A jail mugshot showed Shuler, inmate No. 288928, with an apparent swollen bruise on his left eye.
The February 2012 shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martion might never have happened if school officials in Miami-Dade County had not instituted an unofficial policy of treating crimes as school disciplinary infractions. Revelations that emerged from an internal affairs investigation explain why Martin was not arrested when caught at school with stolen jewelry in October 2011 or with marijuana in February 2012. Instead, the teenager was suspended from school, the last time just days before he was shot dead by George Zimmerman.
Lori Brasnahan was trying to save her daughter's life when she was stabbed to death in March, prosecutors say. Branashan and her daughter were abducted from the parking lot of Great Northern Mall near Syracuse by a man who brutally raped the 10-year-old girl before murdering Brasnahan, a 47-year-old school librarian.
Prosecutors in Onondaga County, N.Y., say the man responsible for that atrocity, David Renz, 29, had been released from federal custody in January, two days after the FBI arrested Renz on a child pornography charge. Renz reportedly had thousands of illegal sexual images of children on his computer, and also had a juvenile record for a 1999 incident in which Renz, then 15, molested a 9-year-old girl. Nevertheless, U.S. Magistrate Andrew T. Baxter released Renz, ordering him to wear a GPS tracking bracelet.
Kaitlyn Ashley Hunt's prosecution for having sex with a 14-year-old girl has, as I reported last week, made the Florida teenager a cause célèbre of the gay-rights movement. Since the 18-year-old ex-cheerleader rejected a plea bargain on charges of lewd and lascivious conduct -- it is a felony under Florida law for an adult to have sex with anyone under 16 -- officials in Indian River County have braced themselves for the potential of a trial that could become a worldwide media circus. The Sheriff's Office, charged with security at the courthouse in Vero Beach, is reportedly "having conversations about what a new security plan will look like if there's protestors and a crush of media."
In January, Rush Limbaugh warned that there was "an effort under way to normalize pedophilia," and was ridiculed by liberals (including CNN's Soledad O'Brien) for saying so. But now liberals have joined a crusade that, if successful, would effectively legalize sex with 14-year-olds in Florida.
When news first broke of the shooting spree that left six dead in Arizona, the only thing liberals seemed to care about was the killer's motive. They almost instantly surmised, without any evidence at all, that the cause of this massacre was some kind of right-wing extremism for which they could blame Sarah Palin, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and the Tea Party movement.
As more and more evidence pointed away from their explanation of choice, however, liberals seemed to lose interest in finding clues to the political framework of the madness that police say caused 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner to target Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
That quote, from a commenter at my personal blog, described the effort of several news organizations to fabricate a connection between Jared Loughner's murderous rampage and the Tea Party and/or Sarah Palin.
Less than four hours transpired between the time the shootings occurred in the parking lot of a Tucson grocery store and the time the Associated Press identified 22-year-old Loughner as the suspect. The first AP bulletin to identify him misspelled his name "Laughner," and another couple of hours passed while reporters, bloggers and amateur newshounds corrected the spelling and began to assemble enough background on Loughner to get some idea of what inspired this crime.
A gunman who opened fire during a Florida school board meeting before apparently committing suicide left a "testament" on his Facebook page that blamed the "wealthy" for his crime.
Clay Duke, 56, pulled a pistol during a Tuesday school board meeting in Panama City, Fla., and fired several shots, according to press accounts. A security officer for the school system shot and wounded Duke, who then fatally shot himself, police told reporters.
Before pulling the gun, Duke used a can of red spray-paint to make the letter "V" inside a circle on a wall of the meeting room. This was evidently a reference to the 2006 movie V for Vendetta, in which a character uses terrorist tactics to fight an oppressive government. While holding board members and the superintendent at gunpoint, Duke complained that his wife had been fired by the school system.
The Internet was abuzz Monday with the news that a Long Island, N.Y., resident lost his arm in a Fourth of July fireworks mishap:
Grim-faced relatives yesterday told a critically injured Long Island dad that doctors wouldn't be able to reattach his left arm -- which he had blown off with illegal fireworks. . . .
Smith had been trying to shoot one of the explosives from a makeshift launcher in front of his Fairview Avenue home in Islip Terrace shortly before 6 p.m. Saturday when it fired into his shoulder, authorities said. . . .
To anyone familiar with fireworks, the key phrase there is "makeshift launcher." Another story clarifies the situation slightly: