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December 2013 Archives

LA Jail Abuse Indictment: Officials Abused Visitors, Beat Inmates

Los Angeles Sheriff's deputies beat jail inmates and visitors without justification, unjustly detained people and conspired to obstruct a federal investigation into misconduct at the jail, according to indictments unsealed Monday.

18 current or former deputies were arrested Monday by the FBI in a mass show of force, The Los Angeles Times reports. The most damning indictment (attached below) states that an official encouraged deputies to use excessive force and make unlawful arrests of visitors.

Visitors to the jails, uncharged and unsuspected of any crime, were reportedly abused and harassed over the past few years, according to the indictments.

Even an Austrian consulate official was improperly arrested and searched, according to the indictment.

That incident occurred in 2011 when the official and her husband were visiting an inmate who was an Austrian national accused of a crime.

Florida State star quarterback Jameis Winston will not face prosecution for sexual assault, State Attorney Willie Meggs announced on Thursday.

The announcement comes almost a full year after a former Florida State University student reported a sexual assault to police. Prosecutors will not press charges against Winston, or anyone else, and the case is now closed, Meggs told reporters at a press conference.

"We've carefully examined all the evidence in this case and have concluded that no charges will be filed against anybody in this case," Meggs told reporters.

Prosecutors have released the full investigation report (attached below). The final determination is laid out at the end of the document, starting on page 83.

Meggs said it's a duty of prosecutors to only file charges if there is a reasonable chance of conviction. He said issues of "memory lapse" and other holes in the case affected the decision not to prosecute.

About a month after the Dec. 7, 2012 incident, the woman identified the suspect as Winston, the country's top 2012 quarterback recruit who redshirted last fall to extend his eligibility. This season Winston has led Florida State to an undefeated season and is a front runner to win the Heisman Trophy.

Caged Chimp Is a Legal Person: Animal Rights Petition

An animal rights group has filed a writ of habeas corpus in New York state court, declaring that a caged chimpanzee is entitled to rights as a legal person.

The Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc. filed this legal petition on Tuesday, arguing that the court should grant Tommy, a captive chimpanzee in Gloversville, New York, legal personhood and the freedom that comes with it, reports the New York Times.

Although the petition (see below) does not request that Tommy to be set free to roam upstate New York, it does demand his “immediate release to a primate sanctuary” which can adequately provide for his needs.

Writs of habeas corpus are typically used by criminal defendants, as a way to legally challenge their imprisonment as unlawful. Tommy’s habeas petition would attempt to both obtain his release from his cage as well as have the law recognize him as a person.

Key to this legal strategy is a strange quirk in New York state law, which allows pets and other animals to be considered beneficiaries of trusts. The Nonhuman Rights Project believes this is evidence that New York state has and does consider animals as legal persons with property rights — and therefore Tommy has the same right to liberty as a human.