7-year-old faces felony charges for BB gun incident | CharlotteObserver.com

A 7-year-old boy’s alleged errant shots with a BB gun will have him in a Catawba County courtroom this week, facing felony charges for shooting into an occupied vehicle.

Prosecutors in Catawba County have charged Sam Grant, in connection with a February incident off Buffalo Shoals Road near the Catawba community in the southeast part of the county.

Deputies say Sam, who turns 8 on Thursday, was outdoors shooting a BB gun. His parents told WGHP-TV of High Point that their son was shooting at an abandoned house across the two-lane road. However, some of his shots struck passing vehicles. Nobody in the two vehicles was injured, deputies say.

The boy was charged with two felony counts of discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle.

Family members told WGHP they were shocked with prosecutors’ decision to charge their son. His initial court date is Friday in Newton.

via 7-year-old faces felony charges for BB gun incident | CharlotteObserver.com.

Waiting period for laws, not guns: Column

Professor Reynolds is always on target.

After the state of New York passed its far-reaching and poorly thought out post-Newtown gun law with unseemly haste, I suggested that we might need a waiting period for laws more than for guns. After all, the idea behind waiting periods for guns was that people might get overexcited and do something rash, but would “cool off” if they had to wait a few days before getting their hands on a dangerous instrument. But laws are dangerous instruments, too, and legislators seem highly prone to sudden fits of hysteria.

Suddenly, I’m hearing agreement with this idea from an unlikely source — New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a tireless champion of gun restrictions. The 7-round magazine restriction that was a major feature of the New York law turns out to be unworkable and to make the state’s police (who aren’t exempted from the law’s coverage) criminals if they carry their usual Glocks.

Bloomberg observed: “We just got to start to thinking a little bit more about the implications of things before we rush to legislate and rush to legislate everything.”

via Waiting period for laws, not guns: Column.

Today Rand Paul and Pat Leahy Introduced a Bill to Fix Our Atrocious Federal Mandatory Minimum Laws – Hit & Run : Reason.com

This is a great example of an area where the Tea Party and Occupy can see eye-to-eye. Rand Paul 2016!

Here’s why this bill is important: A guy–let’s call him Weldon–sells pot to a government informant, who notices that Weldon has a gun strapped to his ankle. The next time the informant buys pot from Weldon, he notices a gun in Weldon’s car. When police move in to arrest Weldon, they find guns in his house. Weldon has never fired these guns, never used them to coerce anyone. He has, however, sold pot three times* while in possession of a firearm, so prosecutors charge Weldon with “multiple counts of possession of a gun during a drug trafficking offense.” He is convicted. What do you think Weldon’s sentence is? Ten years? Twenty years? Try 55 years–five for the first gun-related offense, and 25 for the second and third. That’s the mandatory minimum federal sentence for Weldon’s charges, meaning the judge who sentenced him could not sentence him to less time–only more.

Weldon Angelos is a real person, by the way, and the existence of a safety valve in 2004, the year he was sentenced, would’ve allowed the judge to sentence him to 18 years instead of 55 (that was the judge’s preference). It would’ve meant Weldon, who was 24 at sentencing, would go free at age 42 instead of age 79. But because the federal system has mandatory minimums with no parole, Weldon will spend most of the rest of his life behind bars for selling several hundred dollars worth of pot while wearing a gun on his ankle.

via Today Rand Paul and Pat Leahy Introduced a Bill to Fix Our Atrocious Federal Mandatory Minimum Laws – Hit & Run : Reason.com.

Bryan Ferry’s son Merlin: A knife? That’s not a real crime | Metro News

I call this a pre-crime arrest.

He warned of the ‘devastating consequences’ on his ‘lucky life’ if he carries a knife again. ‘One of my nightmares is that I give a lenient sentence to someone for having a bladed article and read a few months later that they have stabbed someone,’ said the judge.

‘You are just another young man carrying a knife and that makes you very frightening to people in west London and that is why people think I should send you to prison.’ Prosecutor James O’Connell said Ferry was rude when police in west London stopped his uninsured Saab car in September.

via Bryan Ferry’s son Merlin: A knife? That’s not a real crime | Metro News.

Forget the Cellphone Fight — We Should Be Allowed to Unlock Everything We Own | Wired Opinion | Wired.com

While Congress is working on legislation to re-legalize cellphone unlocking, let’s acknowledge the real issue: The copyright laws that made unlocking illegal in the first place. Who owns our stuff? The answer used to be obvious. Now, with electronics integrated into just about everything we buy, the answer has changed.

We live in a digital age, and even the physical goods we buy are complex. Copyright is impacting more people than ever before because the line between hardware and software, physical and digital has blurred.

The issue goes beyond cellphone unlocking, because once we buy an object — any object — we should own it. We should be able to lift the hood, unlock it, modify it, repair it … without asking for permission from the manufacturer.

But we really don’t own our stuff anymore (at least not fully); the manufacturers do. Because modifying modern objects requires access to information: code, service manuals, error codes, and diagnostic tools. Modern cars are part horsepower, part high-powered computer. Microwave ovens are a combination of plastic and microcode. Silicon permeates and powers almost everything we own.

via Forget the Cellphone Fight — We Should Be Allowed to Unlock Everything We Own | Wired Opinion | Wired.com.

Conservatives Should Take the Lead Against Government Injustice – Kurt Schlichter – [page]

If you think a twenty-something ought to be tossed in federal prison for 35 years because he tried to download some musty academic journal articles without permission, you are a lot things, but a conservative is not one of them.

You might be relieved to know that Aaron Swartz, one of the internet geniuses behind RSS and Reddit.com, will not be imprisoned for a third of a century. Unfortunately, that’s because the fragile young man hanged himself after the United States attorney prosecuting the case generously offered him the alternative of pleading guilty to a felony, paying a crippling fine and going to prison for six months.

I guess we can all rest easier knowing he’s no longer a looming threat to the American way of life.

This is a disgrace. We should be ashamed that this is happening in our name – and conservatives should take the lead in putting a stop to it.

via Conservatives Should Take the Lead Against Government Injustice – Kurt Schlichter – [page].

Women delivering newspapers in Torrance shot in manhunt for ex-cop – latimes.com

We need gun control for cops, first. These are the people the left trusts to have guns.

Two women who were shot by Los Angeles police in Torrance early Thursday during a massive manhunt for an ex-LAPD officer were delivering newspapers, sources said.

The women, shot in the 19500 block of Redbeam Avenue, were taken to area hospitals, Torrance police Lt. Devin Chase said. They were not identified. One was shot in the hand and the other in the back, according to Jesse Escochea, who captured video of the victims being treated.

It was not immediately known what newspapers the women were delivering. After the shooting, the blue pickup was riddled with bullet holes and what appeared to be newspapers lay in the street alongside.

via Women delivering newspapers in Torrance shot in manhunt for ex-cop – latimes.com.

Oregon Bill 71. Death of FPV in oregon which may spread.

This bill would make putting a camera onto out quads illegal and send us to jail and heavy fines for flying them. Yes this is only in oregon now but if they pass it into law it WILL spread to to other states. We need to help fight this, sign the petition and start contacting your lawmakers and get this re-written. I do agree laws need to be passed for GOVERNMENT use of UAV’s but the videos we do should not fall under those laws. RC fliers have a history of great self regulation, with a few instances of idiots but they are few and far between, lets prevent the government from making us all criminals by doing what we love.

via Oregon Bill 71. Death of FPV in oregon which may spread..

Can juries tame prosecutors gone wild? – Boston Globe

This needs to be part of any reform of the legal system in this country.

To critics, this means that the charging process essentially rigs the game against defendants from the outset. Civil libertarians regard this as a dangerous gap in our rights: While the police who investigate and arrest us are bound by strict limits on what they can do, and courts must abide by procedures designed to treat defendants fairly, there are hardly any guidelines in place to protect us during the charging phase. The result—as any “Law & Order” fan knows—is a system where the prosecutor loads up as many charges as possible to force a guilty plea, and moves on to the next case.

“What we really have is a plea bargain system with a thin froth of showy trials floating on top,” said Glenn Reynolds, a professor at the University of Tennessee College of Law who published a widely circulated paper earlier this month on the topic of prosecutorial overreach.

Changing this, say reform-minded experts like Reynolds, would not necessarily require a radical reworking of how prosecutors do their jobs. Instead, it would be enough to strengthen an institution that’s already in place, though widely marginalized: the grand jury, a panel of citizens who are supposed to watch over the shoulders of prosecutors to make sure their fellow citizens aren’t being improperly charged, bullied, or targeted arbitrarily.

Grand juries today are required by law in just 19 of the 50 states—Massachusetts among them—and even there, they’re used only to indict felons. Officially, their job is listen to the prosecutor lay out the evidence and determine whether there is probable cause to charge the suspect with a crime. But in practice, grand juries tend to serve as rubber stamps, indicting almost everyone who comes before them. (It was a federal grand jury that indicted Aaron Swartz on felony charges in July 2011.) The joke in legal circles is that any prosecutor worth his salt could convince a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich.

To restore grand juries’ power to protect people from prosecutors, one important change states could make, Simmons says, is to give suspects the right to testify at their own hearings, and their attorneys the right to present exonerating evidence. Currently, there are only four states in the United States where those rights are in place; among them is New York—and, tellingly, approximately 6 to 10 percent of New York’s criminal cases are struck down by the grand jury, vastly higher than the national average. When Simmons was a prosecutor in New York earlier in his career, he said, there were several times when people he was trying to indict—a young military veteran accused of cocaine possession, a man who tried to bribe a police officer so he wouldn’t have to spend the night in jail—spoke up on their own behalf, and convinced the grand jury they didn’t deserve the proposed charges. In those ­cases, Simmons says, there was clearly probable cause to indict, but the jurors decided there was something about the situation that made the prospect of criminal punishment seem unfair

via “Can juries tame prosecutors gone wild?” – Boston Globe