Police Gazette &
True Stories from
the Police Blotter & Justice System
Which criminals spend the least amount of time in jail? Politicians and their pals, of course!
Jean Brault, president of Groupaction, a Montreal advertising firm, pleaded guilty to five counts of fraud in connection with Canada's so-called sponsorship scandal. He testified in court that he funneled over one million dollars to the Quebec wing of the Liberal Party of Canada in exchange for advertising contracts. On May 5th, 2006 he was sentenced to 30 months in prison but was released on parole five months later having served only one sixth of his sentence.
Canada's Worst Drunk Driver and the courts
that keep letting him get back on the road.
In the wee small hours of June 20, 1970, Charlie Hart drove an old Ford pick-up truck up a hill on Highway 79 in Lambton County, Ontario, on the wrong side of the road and killed two people. He was disqualified from driving at the time and he was drunk. The 20-year-old Hart got six months in a reformatory and was barred from having a drivers licence for three years. In February 2006 he was serving time for his 39th drunk driving conviction. Through the 1970s most of his sentences were for three months or less -- and of these were shortened further by parole. In 1990 he was sentenced to four years and paroled after seven months. Charlie Hart's behaviour doesn't change. It looks like the Canadian justice system's doesn't either.
Hubert W. Hogle, LLB asks a rhetorical question
in the letters column of the Globe & Mail.
A woman in Quebec drowns her six-year-old
autistic son in a bathtub. She explains that
she was depressed and frustrated at trying to
get school authorities to understand her son's
problem. The Crown proceeds on a man-
slaughter charge and asks for a three-year
sentence. The judge gives her a suspended
sentence (Woman Spared Jail In Autistic
Son's Death -July 3, 1997).
Robert Latimer is charged with killing his
daughter who had a severe form of cerebral
palsy. He explains that he could not bear
watching his child's continued suffering. The
Crown proceeds with a murder charge and obtains a conviction of second-degree murder resulting in a life sentence with no parole for 10
Is there any explanation for the difference
in treatment of these two individuals other
than their gender? Does the law automatically assume that a man who commits a violent act is a brute while a woman who does the same is merely disturbed?
How to Get a Job Working with Computers
On his 18th birthday, April 29th 2004, Sven Jaschan, who lives in the northwest German town of Waffensen, released the Sasser worm onto the Internet. The Sasser worm shut down British Airways flight check-ins, hospitals and government offices in Hong Kong, part of Australia's rail network, Finnish banks, British Coast Guard stations, and millions of other computers worldwide.
Jaschen was sentenced to 21 months probation by the Verden State Court outside Bremen and must perform 30 hours of community work, either at a hospital or a retirement home. Had he been an adult he could have been sentenced to five years in prison (unclear what that really means in terms of the German justice system) but because he was 17 when he wrote the Sasser worm, he was tried as a minor. After three years, Jaschan's conviction will be erased from the public record. Jaschan, meanwhile, has taken a job at a computer company that creates anti-virus programs.
So, if you're an irresponsible little jerk and you want to fast-track yourself into a good job working with computers, just write a highly destructive computer virus, release it onto the Internet and cause innocent victims millions of dollars worth of damage. It works. (Just try not to be in one of the hospitals you shut down when your virus hits.)
Anyone for Golf?
On May 17, 1990, Lucie Turmel, a 23-year-old Banff, Alberta cab driver
was viciously stabbed to death by Ryan Jason Love. The victim was found
lying in the street with 17 stab wounds, many of which showed she was
trying to defend herself as Ryan Love killed her. January, 1997.
Corrections Canada officials have recommended that, four years into his
life sentence, Love be transferred from the Matsqui prison in
Abottsford, British Columbia to the William Head Institution, also in
B.C. The William Head Institution, located on an 80-acre peninsula
across from Victoria, features townhouses instead of cells, a
golf course and a wharf where inmates can while away their leisure
hours fishing for salmon.
VANCOUVER -- Nike Canada has been ordered to pay just over $2-million
to a former worker who got drunk on the job and was left a quadriplegic
in a car crash when he tried to drive home. Michael Jacobson was a
warehouseman with Nike in 1991, when he was helping set up a trade show
display at B.C. Place Stadium in Vancouver. While at work, he drank
several beers with his fellow employees. Later, he went to two clubs
drank more beer before attempting to drive to his home in suburban Port
Moody. His car crashed into a ditch, severing his spinal cord. B.C.
Supreme Court Justice Risa Levine found Nike 75-per-cent responsible,
saying the company knew Mr. Jacobson would be driving home and took no
preventative measures. Nike Canada is a unit of Nike Inc. of Beaverton,
Hmm... What if
she'd been a guy?
KENT, Washington -- Mary Kay LeTourneau, a teacher who
had sex with a 13-year-old boy and gave birth to his child, was
sentenced by Superior Court Judge Linda Lau to six months in jail
after the boy's mother said the woman "has been punished enough for her
mistake." At the time of sentencing LeTourneau had already served 100
days and would serve less than three months more time. She pleaded
guilty to two counts of second-degree child rape.
if she'd been a guy? -- Part II
VANCOUVER, B.C. -- A Justice of the British Columbia
Supreme Court has acquitted a Vancouver woman of a charge of gross
indecency and two charges of sexual assault. The woman, who was then a
school teacher (and cannot be named to protect the privacy of the
person she assaulted), carried on a two-year-long sexual affair with
of her 13-year-old male students. The woman began the affair with
the boy by masturbating him in class and then having kinky sex
with him at her apartment. Over the course of the affair the
woman took the boy on ski trips and gave him money and alcohol.
The judge ruled that a charge of gross indecency could not go to a jury
because the Crown did not address what community standards had been in
1982, the time of the alleged offence.
Now, for a bit of
extra fun, here's the same story with the sexes reversed:
VANCOUVER, B.C. -- A Justice of the British Columbia Supreme Court has
acquitted a Vancouver man of a charge of gross indecency and two charges
of sexual assault. The man, who was then a school teacher (and cannot
be named to protect the privacy of the person he assaulted), carried
on a two-year-long sexual affair with one of his 13-year-old female
students. The man began the affair with the girl by masturbating her
in class and then having kinky sex with her at his apartment. Over
the course of the affair the man took the girl on ski trips and gave
her money and alcohol. The judge ruled that a charge of gross indecency
could not go to a jury because the Crown did not address what community
standards had been in 1982, the time of the alleged offence.
Part III Anyone?
In June of 1998, a 25-year-old married, male school
teacher initiated a four-month-long relationship with a 17-year-old
female student who attended the same Dewbury, Alberta school he taught
in. The student became pregnant by him and, when the school principal
and the police found out about it, he was charged with sexual exploitation
of a minor. In December of 2000 a jury spent a zippy 45 minutes deliberating
before they decided, hey, no harm done, and brought in a verdict of
not guilty. What the...? Oops. My bad. The sexes already were reversed
on that one. It was actually a female teacher (named Jocelyn Jaster)
and the 17-year-old student was a guy. She walked, like always.
One And You Get to
Kill Another One Absolutely Free!
TORRINGTON, Wyoming -- A Canadian prison inmate
convicted in the June, 1997, stabbing death of a guard was sentenced to
a second life sentence yesterday (Sept. 12, 1998). Jurors spent about
11 hours deliberating whether Richard Aaron Dowdell, formerly of
Lethbridge, Alberta, should be executed by lethal injection or
sentenced to life without parole for killing Corporal Wayne Martinez.
Dowdell was already serving a life sentence for the 1990 murder of a
gas station attendant when he killed Martinez in an escape attempt.
Feel safer now?
Yeah, me too.
Betrand Gange of Montreal, described as an inveterate alcoholic, ran
over and killed a young brother and sister as they were walking to
school. He was sentenced to nine years in prison and had his driver's
license suspended for 15 years. He was drunk and driving without a
license when he killed the kids. If he keeps his nose clean in the
slammer, he'll be back on the road in about six years.
Get Out Your
It's the KenniesBurg Kangaroo Kourt
In 1992, Julius Melnitzer, a high-profile,
high-spending lawyer in London, Ontario, Canada pleaded guilty to
defrauding four Canadian banks, friends and business associates of a
whopping $61 million. He was sentenced to nine years in jail (the fact
that it was the second-longest term ever imposed in Ontario for fraud
largely irrelevant -- Melnitzer was paroled after serving only two and
a half years of his nine year sentence). In addition to the jail time,
he was ordered to pay $20 million in compensation and was disbarred by
the Law Society of Upper Canada. Melnitzer is now a freelance writer in
Toronto and runs a computer and business consulting service. In an
interview published in the Criminal Lawyers' Association Newsletter he
was asked "What do you think is the proper punishment for a
white-collar criminal?" Melnitzer replied "I think it is senseless to
send white-collar criminals to jail."
O.K. Still got those
kalculators out? Good. First, enter the amount Melnitzer stole:
$61,000,000. Now subtract the amount he was required to give back:
$20,000,000. Mr. Melnitzer's net profit? $41,000,000. Now, divide that
amount by 2.5, the number of years Melnitzer spent in jail and remember
the answer you get. If anyone should ever ask you if crime pays, you
say "Yes, it pays $16,400,000 per year.
really in the same league, but still...
Politician Ralph Katzman was a member of the provincial legislature in
Saskatchewan, Canada. He represented the riding of Rosthern until he
caught with his greedy mitt in his party's cookie jar. He was the last
former member of the province's Progressive Conservative party to face
trial in a massive fraud scandal which broke in 2000. He was found
guilty of illegally diverting $450,000 from the Conservative caucus to
private bank account. And the sentence? Katzman was ordered to repay
$100,145.00 of the money he stole and spend a year in jail. In Canada a
politician sentenced to one year in jail will probably do about three
months in a "Club Med" style facility. But even if he stays in the
slammer for the entire year his net profit will be $349,855.00. Not bad.
to your room, young lady!
The following is from a Globe & Mail review of
David Paciocco's book Getting Away With Murder -- The Canadian
Criminal Justice System:
One evening in 1993, Lisa Ferguson loaded a rifle and went looking for
her husband. Finding him asleep on the couch, she shot him dead. It was
her response to [what she claimed was] an abusive relationship. Charged
with murder, Ferguson was eventually found guilty of manslaughter.
Two years later, another Ottawa woman also shot her sleeping husband.
Like Ferguson, Lilian Getkate was charged with murder, raised a
battered-woman defense and was finally convicted of manslaughter.
Both women were sentenced to what is known as a conditional sentence of
imprisonment. This means that they were sentenced to a term of prison,
but one that would be served at home, under conditions that many people
would regard as quite lenient. For example, one of the conditions
"imposed" on Getkate was that she "continue to maintain regular contact
with her family."
The conditional sentence of imprisonment was introduced in 1996 as part
of a systematic reform of the sentencing process. Here's how it works:
Having decided that a term of imprisonment is necessary, a judge then
considers whether the sentence of custody can be served at home. A term
of imprisonment served at home? If the offender abides by certain
conditions, he or she will never even see a prison. Most Canadians will
scratch their heads at a system that creates a fiction of this kind.
conditional sentence was created to reduce the number of admissions to
custody. But should it apply to someone who kills a sleeping human
4.9 Months per stab
Seems fair -- if you're a lawyer.
Alberta (Canada) lawyer, Maurice Sychuk
murdered his wife, Claudia, by stabbing her 22 times. He was sentenced
to life in prison (heh, heh, that's a good one, judge) and spent nine
years in jail. Upon his release he applied to the Law Society of
to be re-admitted to the bar. The story received a large amount of
media coverage and his application was denied. Whew!
of Life in Prison
On average, those convicted of first-degree murder in Canada are put
back on the street in 22.4 years. Ask yourself this rhetorical
question: When's the last time you heard of anyone -- anyone -- in Canada receiving a
sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole?
Another lawyer? Ah, hell, just let
Think you can steal $170,000 from your employer and walk away without
doing any jail time? If you're a lawyer the answer would be yes.
In-house lawyer Noel Denis Hassett stole that amount from Talisman
Energy Inc. but Provincial court Judge Tom McMeekin, in a written
ruling, said Hassett's attempts at rehabilitation warranted a
conditional sentence (in Canada a conditional sentence means you are
required to stay indoors at home in the evenings). McMeekin placed
Hassett under a two-year curfew -- oooh, scary -- and ordered him to
complete 200 hours of community service. Hassett will also serve two
years of probation following the completion of his conditional term,
the judge said.
Judge McMeekin agreed with defence lawyer Robb Beeman that
Hassett had made significant strides in turning his life around. "The
court is of the view in these circumstances the accused should be
encouraged in his rehabilitation efforts and spared actual
incarceration," the judge wrote.
"The defence places before the court numerous favourable
references from family, friends, fellow-employees and members of the
bar," McMeekin said.o, if you're a lawyer and you steal a whacka dough,
pretty much all you have to do is get your pals to tell the judge
you're a swell guy and you get a walk. Seems -- hey wait a minute, most
judges used to be lawyers, didn't they? Aaaahhh.
Robert Chaulk was 15, he and another youth, Darren Morrissette broke
into the Winnipeg home of 83-year-old George Haywood and murdered him
beating him with a garden hose and stabbing him 17 times. After two
trials, Chaulk was found not guilty by reason of insanity and released.
On January 1, 1999,
Chaulk got into an argument with a couple, Mirset Zec and Debra
Beaulieau, who lived in the same apartment building he did. He
stabbed each of them 30 to 40 times and beat Mr. Zec's face and body so
badly that police could not determine whether the murder victim was a
man or a woman.
guilty to a reduced charge of manslaughter and was given two life
sentences. He will be eligible for parole in six years. Mr. Haywood,
Zec and Ms. Beaulieau, on the other hand, will stay dead forever.
Lesson? If you're gonna kill people, do it in Canada!
Eaters Speak Out!
letter appeared in the Globe & Mail in December of 1999.
Regarding the small
story that was buried near the back of your news section (Child
Gets Unescorted Passes -- Dec. 9): would some enlightened criminologist
or defence lawyer or National Parole Board member or Liberal justice
minister please explain to us garlic-eaters who shake our heads every
time we read about our criminal justice system how a man (and I use the
term in the taxonomic sense only) who has been convicted of 19 child
molestations, been declared a dangerous offender and is considered to
have assaulted perhaps hundreds of victims is given unescorted
temporary passes from prison?
Oh, wait a minute.
He's been told to stay away from "public places where children are
likely to be." Phew! That's O.K., then. For a minute, I thought the
National Parole Board and our laws had let us down again. No, no,
everything's just fine. I am sure this gentleman can be trusted to
observe the conditions of his parole.
B. Kroeker, Winnipeg
of the prison golf course?
May as well use that "Get Out of Jail Free" card.
the fall of 1999, convicted cop-killer Gary George Fitzgerald walked
away from British Columbia's Ferndale Institute, an "open concept",
minimum security prison with an inmate golf course. His absence was not
discovered until he failed to turn up for the 11:00 p.m. bed check.
Police said they considered Fitzgerald a dangerous psychopath and put
the public on alert.
Fitzgerald went to
Canoga Park, California where he got a drivers license, a car and
a job designing Web pages on the strength of a computer course
he'd taken in prison.
He was apprehended
on January 6, 2000 by four immigration officers from the Foreign Alien
Removal Unit and eight Los Angeles police detectives while he was
loading his clothes into the trunk of his car outside a coin laundry.
charged with being unlawfully at large but police say this will not
result in any additional jail time because he is already serving a life
So, what's so
unusual about this story? Not much, really. Canadian prisons allow
killers to walk out of them all the time. The Globe & Mail
story (from which this account has been abbreviated) appeared under the
by-line of one Erin Anderssen, Crime Reporter. Referring to Fitzgerald,
Ms. Anderssen's story includes this statement: "...he was serving the
tail-end of a life sentence for a brutal double murder." The tail-end
a life sentence? Although Fitzgerald's age is not given, the story does
not indicate that he was of extreme old age and, presumably, close to
death. Nor does it say he was dying from some incurable disease. So
how, inquiring minds might wish to know, can someone whose death is not
imminent be serving the tail-end of a life sentence? Could it be that
this crime reporter has become so jaded and so accustomed to the
travesty of the sentence of "life in prison" in Canada that she just
assumes a brutal killer and a dangerous psychopath who is given a "life
sentence" will simply be let go? Probably she does.
Which of the following, as illustrated by this story, is a good example
of the inanity of the Canadian criminal justice system:
- Brutal murderers
and dangerous psychopaths are placed in minimum security prisons
where they can simply leave if they so choose.
- Killers are
sentenced to life in prison without any expectation that they will,
in fact, actually spend the rest of their lives there.
- There is no
penalty for breaking out of jail if a prisoner is already serving a
- All of the above.
In an Agence France-Presse wire story datelined
Liverpool, England an uncredited reporter brings us up to speed with
shenanigans of English child killer Ian Brady, one of the notorious
Moors murderers from the 1960s. According to the published account,
Brady had been petitioning the High Court in Liverpool to allow him to
starve himself to death. The High Court, in its wisdom(?), turned him
conclusion, the reporter filing the story said: "The nature of the
crimes, coupled with public outrage at any hint of a release has kept
[him] in detention far longer than most other prisoners sentenced to
life terms." Longer than life? Are we to conclude from this that the
British penal system is stockpiling corpses in its jails? Hope they're
refrigerated at least. Hope the power doesn't go off.
How bad do they have to be
to simply throw away the key?
In September of 2001 William Fyfe pleaded guilty to killing five women
over an 18-year period in the Montreal area. Police said most of his
victims were stabbed to death but some were beaten and sexually assaulted.
Fyfe is now also a suspect in unsolved murders in other parts of Canada.
He was sentenced to, yet again, "life in prison without possibility
of parole for 25 years." Inquiring minds might wish to know why any
sane public official would ever consider putting this guy back
on the street. Five murders over an 18-year period! Hello! There's
a pattern here!
Four Life Sentences
Another "you do the math" example
Here's the guy: Mitchell McArthur. Career criminal. 134 previous convictions. On October 20, 1994, he shot the manager of a Bank of Montreal branch in Port Perry, Ontario in the leg to force him to open the safe. He and an accomplice then robbed the bank. As they made their escape they shot two police officers, inflicting serious head wounds on both. They also shot a third police officer, shattering his arm. They then fired 30 shots into a crowded plaza, hitting one person in the back and arm. Half an hour later they broke into the home of an elderly couple and held the woman hostage until her husband returned home. They then kidnapped him and forced him to drive them to where their car was parked.
Here's what the court said: McArthur's 134 previous convictions prove him to be "a lifetime, incorrigible criminal [whose] moral values and sense of personal entitlement have much more in common with a Hollywood movie script than the realities of our community." The three justices who brought down the verdict went on to say "Violent attacks on police officers who are doing their duty are attacks on the rule of law and on the safety and well-being of the community as a whole." They said that there is no case on record in the province of Ontario where a criminal tried to kill as many police officers as McArthur did during this robbery and added that all four victims have suffered "devastating physical and emotional consequences."
Here's the verdict: 134-time loser Mitchell McArthur was handed four life sentences for his various crimes on the day of the bank robbery. This sounds like we will not be troubled by Mitchell McArthur again -- until you get to the now-familiar Canadian justice system gotcha: he will be eligible for parole in seven years.
Here's the math: Four life sentences divided by seven years until parole equals one year, eight months per life sentence. It truly is a wonder the criminals of the world aren't packing their bags and coming to Canada.
Disabled Sister Fails to Put Up Much of Fight
In 1994, Canadians Sebastian Burns and Atif Rafay massacred Rafay's
entire family: his mother, father and disabled sister. Burns, for
his part, helped to kill them by clubbing them with a baseball bat.
In 2004 they were both found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.
Now, I know what you're thinking. Life in prison, that's a good one.
It'll be like one of those standard, lame-ass Canadian life sentences
-- life in prison with no possibility of parole for the next ten minutes.
But no. The killers were Canadian but the crime was committed in Seattle,
where the Rafay family was living at the time. And the sentence, handed
down in a Seattle courtroom, was not just life, it was three consecutive
life sentences with no possibility of parole -- ever. Some jurisdictions
obviously have looked up life in the dictionary and understand what
it means; they're just not in Canada.
Brockville, Ontario in 1999, a Crown bid to have a repeat sex offender,
who psychiatrists describe as an untreatable sexual predator, declared
dangerous offender failed. Instead, Madam Justice Inger Hansen declared
Wayne Harvey a long-term offender and sentenced him to three years in
prison for his last sexual assault on a 12-year-old girl. Judge Hansen
also recommended that Harvey, 55, undergo treatment while in jail and
imposed a 10-year probationary term following his release. Had he been
declared a dangerous offender, Harvey could have been held indefinitely
(a vague term in the Canadian justice system which means he could be
kept in jail forever but also means he could be let go in a few
Harvey has 42 criminal convictions dating back to 1967. Most involve
sex crimes which started with voyeurism and progressed to sexual
sadism. But is he dangerous? Apparently not.
Musta forgotten to feed him.
For five weeks.
Jordan Desmond Heikamp was born premature to a
19-year-old homeless woman in May of 1997. He died of starvation five
weeks later while living with his mother in a Toronto hostel for new
mothers under the supervision of the Catholic Children's Aid Society.
of criminal negligence causing death were dropped against Jordan's
mother and a social worker.
Mary Hogan of Ontario Court said no evidence was presented at the
eight-month preliminary hearing to support criminal charges.
McConville, executive director of the Catholic Children's Aid Society
Toronto said she thought there was a great sense of relief following
Helde, president of the Central Ontario branch of the Ontario
Association of Social Workers said that different parts of the system
not communicate effectively with each other.
Rochman, the lawyer representing Jordan's mother, said she was pleased
with the decision.
Jordan might have said, "I'm dying. Why doesn't somebody help me?"
Love Their Pit Bulls.
Canadian Judges really love them!
If you were unlucky enough to be on 128th Street in Surrey, British
Columbia on the afternoon of December 18th 1998 you would have seen
Pit bulls attack and badly maul an elderly man outside their owner's
home. Chased off by passerby Allan Lavallee, they then attack
39-year-old Danielle Ovenden and drag her up the driveway of their
owner's home. Passersby Glen and Kim Nikkel get the dogs off her and
dogs retreat inside their owner's house. Joan Dupre, a neighbor across
the street, comes out to the sidewalk to report that she has called
911. The dogs see her and go for her, ripping apart face and leg. While
Kim Nikkel tries to protect Danielle Ovenden, Glen Nikkel goes to the
aid of Joan Dupre. The dogs leave Ovenden and go for him. He fends them
off and they return to Ovenden ripping one of her ears off and opening
a large gash along her spine. Police arrive and are able to kill one of
the dogs. The other is found later and put down. A third pit bull is
found inside the house, locked a laundry room.
Ovenden required 300 stitches and months of reconstructive surgery.
Joan Dupre required 260 stitches to her face, right arm and legs. The
owner of the dogs, Nick Page, was fined $1,200 (Canadian funds --
approximately $800 U.S.) and another $300 (Canadian) for an attack one
of the dogs made on a child a few months earlier. He was allowed to
the third pit bull and the judge refused a prosecutor's request that
Page be banned from owning pit bulls for two years.
you're ever in Surrey, B.C., stay the hell away from 128th Street!
A Few Pertinent
From the book, Con Game: The
Truth About Canada's Prisons by Michael Harris.
On average Canadian prisoners serve just
32 per cent of their sentences before receiving day parole and 39
per cent before receiving full parole.
According to a 1999 report by the
National Parole Board, 37 convicted killers paroled during a
24-year period killed another 58 people after being released. The
Parole Board did not include any murders committed by parolees who
had been convicted of crimes other than homicide. If it had, the
total would be 367!
Criminals on parole or statutory release
committed 194 attempted murders from 1987 to 2000 as well as 2,647
serious offences including sexual assault and armed robbery --
that we know about.
With his 2002 appointment of
Marie Deschamps to the Supreme Court of Canada, Prime Minister Jean
Chretien created a supreme court in which five of the nine
justices were born, raised and completed university in a single
province -- Quebec. Prime Minister Jean Chretien was born, raised
and completed his university education in the province of Quebec.
Coincidence? Yet another example of Canada's cry-baby province
demanding, and getting, waaaaay more than its fair share of
everything? You decide.
Stones May Break My Bones
But Words Can Get Me Executed
Iranian history professor Hashem Aghajari gave a speech in June of
2001. The Iranian court deemed that what he had said insulted Islam and
questioned clerical rule and sentenced him to death. It also banished
him, sentenced him to 74 lashes and decreed that he be banned from
teaching for 10 years. Almost seems like the "death" part would take
care of the "banned from teaching for 10 years part" but who am I to
second-guess the Iranian judiciary?
Accessory to Murder?
1.78 Days Sounds About Right
HAMBURG, Germany, Feb. 19, 2003.
Nearly a year and a half after more than 3,000 people died in the Sept.
11 attacks, a Hamburg court today delivered the first conviction of a
suspect in the plot set in motion from this northern German city by a
small terrorist cell. 28-year-old Mounir el-Motassadeq was found guilty
of 3,066 counts of accessory to murder and of playing a crucial
logistical role for the members of Al Qaeda who ultimately succeeded in
ramming passenger planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
A panel of seven judges sentenced him to the maximum term allowable
under the law here: 15 years in jail. Like that annoying saying goes:
you do the math.
Keep and Eye on Prisoners?
Nah. Too Much Trouble.
James Hutchison's criminal career began in 1944 and included armed
robbery, theft, illegal possession of weapons, kidnapping and many
escapes from lawful custody. In 1974 he and an accomplice forced two
Moncton, New Brunswick police officers to dig their own graves then
they handcuffed and shot them to death. Hutchison was sentenced to life
in prison. On November 8, 2000 he escaped while on a day pass by simply
walking away from Kingston Humane Society where he was doing yard work.
The incident resulted in a Corrections Canada report, released on
January 4, 2001. Instead of recommending that the rules governing the
supervision of prisoners on temporary passes be tightened up, the
report said that it was unrealistic to have a rule that supervisors
keep inmates within sight and earshot. Corrections Canada regulations
no longer state that inmates like James Hutschison must be in "sight
and sound at all times." Wardens may now waive the requirement of
constant supervision. Your tax dollars at work.
Those Wacky American Lawsuits
Betty Bullock started smoking Marlboro and Benson & Hedges cigarettes
when she was 17. For the next 47 years she ignored all of the medical
evidence that smoking causes lung cancer and says she believed Philip
Morris Cos. Inc. (the company which manufactured the brands she smoked)
when it said that smoking would not give her cancer. She got lung
cancer and, of course, sued Philip Morris. A California jury has ordered
Philip Morris to pay her $28 billion. That's not a typo. $28,000,000,000.
If the award were to be paid in a lump sum it would make Betty Bullock
the third richest person in the world (after Bill Gates and Warren
Buffett). So, is there any better place in the world to be a complete
idiot than the United States of America? We think not.