Punishments for Crimes through the ages – from the bizarre to outrageous, from the sublime to the ridiculous. We don’t know how lucky we are!
Many of us are apt to complain about sentences handed out by our Courts for crimes these days – too harsh, too lenient. But a quick look at some punishments for crimes through the ages, including in some countries today, we should really consider how much we really have to complain about.
Not only have punishments been truly shocking (and in some instances still are), but even some of the crimes are truly unbelievable.
Many Sydney criminal lawyers would have had their work cut out for them if some of these historical crimes were still on the statute books! Lucky for us that our complaints about the justice systems these days are limited to whether an offender should be given a jail sentence or community service, or whether a 2 year sentence is sufficient or whether 5 would have been better, and so on.
Thank goodness we don’t have to contend with crimes for which the penalty is being tortured to death by some truly unimaginable means. Criminal lawyers in Australia, as in Europe, the United States, Canada, New Zealand and others, these days don’t have to plead for the type of mercy that offenders of times gone by had to. And of course, some of these barbaric practices do still exist today in other parts of the globe, as you can see below.
Some Crimes and Some Punishments You Won’t Believe
Jailhouse lawyers are prisoners who manage to learn enough about the law while incarcerated to help themselves and other inmates with legal problems. We get letters from them every week. Tonight, we are going to introduce you to Shon Hopwood, who is arguably the most successful jailhouse lawyer ever—having had one of his cases argued before the U.S. Supreme Court while serving a 12-year sentence for armed bank robbery. Since his release he’s built a resume as a legal scholar, and been published in top law journals. We met him at one of the nation’s premiere law schools where he’s become its newest professor — a tale of redemption as improbable as any you’re likely to hear.
Shon Hopwood: Question one is: Was there a constitutional violation?
In his first semester at Georgetown University, Professor Hopwood is teaching criminal law.
Shon Hopwood: Were the first statements unlawfully obtained? Yes.
The irony isn’t lost on him or his students who know that he’s a convicted felon and that less than a decade ago was an inmate at the federal correctional institution in Pekin, Illinois.
Steve Kroft: You’re a professor at one of the finest law schools in the country. Is that something that you thought you would be able to do?
Shon Hopwood: No. It’s– it makes me laugh hearing you say it out loud because there are days where it doesn’t make sense to me, and I’ve lived it. So I can see why it doesn’t make sense to hardly anyone else.
“I wanted to live an exciting life. And shoveling cow manure in small-town Nebraska and living in my parents’ bedroom wasn’t quite cutting it.”
Steve Kroft: It’s easier for me to imagine you as a Georgetown law professor than it is for me to imagine you as a bank robber.
Shon Hopwood: Well, that’s because the bank robber’s long been dead and gone.
Hopwood was born here 42 years ago in the small farming community of David City, Nebraska, surrounded by cornfields and cattle. He was a bright, cocky, stubborn kid from a solid family and he hated rules; a good athlete and miserable student who won a basketball scholarship to Midland University and partied his way out of it in one semester. He drank himself through a two-year hitch in the Navy. Then added drugs to the mix when he returned to David City working in a feedlot.
He was broke, unrepentant and frustrated that things weren’t going his way.
Shon Hopwood: I wanted to live an exciting life. And shoveling cow manure in small-town Nebraska and living in my parents’ bedroom wasn’t quite cutting it.
One night he got a call from a friend asking him to come down to the local bar for a drink and listen to what turned out to be a very bad idea.
Shon Hopwood: He said, “What do you think about robbing a bank?” And most people would have laughed that off or said– “Maybe we need another beer,” or anything other than, “That sounds like a great idea,” which is what I ended up saying.
Steve Kroft: Really?
Shon Hopwood: You know, I don’t think either one of us thought that night that we were gonna actually do it.
Steve Kroft: It sounded exciting.
Shon Hopwood: It sounded exciting. Sounded like easy money that we didn’t have to work for, something that fit with where my mind was at, at the time, which was a reckless, immature, foolish 21-year-old.
It wasn’t until months later when they started scouting locations that Shon realized they might actually do it.
Steve Kroft: So this is one of your banks?
Shon Hopwood: It is. This is the third bank.
The idea was to stick up very small banks in tiny towns like Gresham where there was no police presence and little risk of armed confrontation.
Shon Hopwood: We wanted to get in and out of the bank as quickly as possible, not hurt anyone, grab as much money as we could, and run. And that’s basically what we did in all five bank robberies.
Steve Kroft: Were you any good at it?
Shon Hopwood: No. I did 11 years in federal prison for stealing $150,000. I don’t think that’s good.
Eventually the FBI put out a composite sketch and began closing in. In July 1998, he was apprehended in this Omaha hotel 10 months after his first robbery.
Shon Hopwood: When they arrested me they searched my car and found $100,000 in cash that was directly traceable to the bank I had just robbed, and multiple guns, and a scanner, and binoculars.
Steve Kroft: They had ya?
Shon Hopwood: They had me.
And they would have him for a long time. When he entered the federal penitentiary in Illinois in May of 1999, he was 23 years old.
Steve Kroft: Was it dangerous?
Shon Hopwood: Of course. In part because there’s not a lot for the inmates to do.
He doesn’t talk about the things that he witnessed and experienced in federal prison. He doesn’t want his family to know and he sees no value in reliving them, except for the job he landed in the safety of the legal library, which every federal prison is required to have.
Shon Hopwood: And for the first six months I worked at the prison law library I didn’t hardly touch the books. They were big, they were thick, they were intimidating.
Steve Kroft: What was the spark that got you to start opening the books and looking at them?
Shon Hopwood: Self-motivation.
It all started with a Supreme Court ruling that Shon thought might help him get his sentence reduced and it ended with him assisting other prisoners with all sorts of cases.
Shon Hopwood: I spent two months working on my own case, researching and I was never able to get any legal relief for myself the entire time I was in federal prison.
Steve Kroft: But you were for other inmates?
Shon Hopwood: I did. Lawyers had made really bad mistakes, and it really cost their clients sometimes, you know, a decade or two in federal prison.
Inside the walls at Pekin he won the respect of fellow inmates, and discovered that he had an aptitude for something: the law.
Shon Hopwood: I would be sitting in my cell reading a federal reporter, which is a compendium of federal court of appeals cases, and I would just read that cover-to-cover as if it was a novel, just for fun.
Steve Kroft: Was it fun?
Shon Hopwood: Oh, I think the law is fascinating.
Steve Kroft: In what way?
Shon Hopwood: It was like a big puzzle for me.
Three years into his prison term he got an opportunity to show just how much he’d learned when John Fellers, a friend and fellow inmate asked Shon to appeal his drug conviction to the highest court in the land.
Shon Hopwood: He came to me and said, “Would you take the case and would you file this petition to the Supreme Court?” I said, “No absolutely not.”
Steve Kroft: Why?
Shon Hopwood: His case was very complex and I didn’t think I could do it. But John was very persistent.
He would spend months working day and night on the petition. It required him to master the facts of the case, understand the statutes and legal precedents, identify the errors made by lawyers and judges in the appeal process and then craft an argument in the language of the court before mailing it off to Washington.
Steve Kroft: Did the Supreme Court know that the brief had been written by a prisoner?
Shon Hopwood: The first hint would’ve been the fact that it was typed on a typewriter. I don’t think law firms in 2003 were using typewriters to knock out Supreme Court briefs.
Four out of nine Supreme Court justices must agree for a case to be heard. That year more than 8,000 petitions were filed, 74 were accepted, one of those was written by Shon Hopwood.
Shon Hopwood: And one morning, a friend of mine came running and screaming my name “Shon, Shon, Shon.” And, what he had was a copy of the USA Today and I read the article and it said the court had granted John Fellers’ case.
Steve Kroft: What went through your mind?
Shon Hopwood: I was shocked. I was shocked that the court had granted the case and that I had done something that, you know, lawyers wait their whole lives to do and done it the first time.
Seth Waxman: It’s not that unusual for prisoners to file their own petitions. What is freakishly unusual is for one of those petitions to be granted.
Seth Waxman, a prominent appellate lawyer and the former solicitor general of the United States is not easily impressed. But when he was asked to argue the Fellers case before the Supreme Court, he said he would do it only if Shon Hopwood would work from prison as part of the team.
Seth Waxman: I wanted him to be involved, because I was really curious. It seemed actually almost inconceivable that somebody with his level of education and his level of exposure to the life of the law could actually write a much better than average cert petition.
Steve Kroft: So this woulda been good for a Washington lawyer?
Seth Waxman: Even for a licensed, appointed lawyer representing a federal prisoner, you would say, “Wow.”
Waxman won the Fellers case before the Supreme Court in a unanimous decision, and became Shon’s mentor during his final six years in prison.
Shon Hopwood: When a former solicitor general of the United States says that you did a good job writing a brief that has an impact– especially when you’re surrounded in this environment where prison guards are telling you every day that you’re worthless and that you don’t amount to anything.
Steve Kroft: Did you win some more cases?
Shon Hopwood: I did. I won another case on the Supreme Court, I won a case on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and I won cases– mostly on resentencing motions for federal prisoners and federal district court cases kind of all over the country.
He found a purpose in life and when Ann Marie Metzner, who’d once had a high school crush on Shon began writing letters and paying him visits, he started to think he might have some kind of future when he got out. But he knew there were huge obstacles ahead.
Steve Kroft: Did you decide you wanted to be a lawyer while you were in prison?
Shon Hopwood: I did, but I didn’t think I could. I had had countless number of lawyers tell me I could not go to law school, and even if I could I would never get licensed by any of the state bar associations, given my crimes.
When he was released to a halfway house near Omaha in 2008, he had never seen an iPhone, never been on the Internet and was computer illiterate. But as if by miracle he saw an ad for a document analyst at Cockle Legal Printing one of just a few companies in the U.S. that helps attorneys assemble briefs for the Supreme Court. Andy Cockle and his sister, Trish Billotte, remember that Shon showed up for his interview in ill-fitting clothes, with a rumpled letter from Seth Waxman and an 11-year gap in his resume.
Andy Cockle: We work with attorneys everyday, all week long that are trying to get their case granted. And none of ’em do. And this guy comes out and says I had–
Trish Billotte: Two.
Andy Cockle: Two of ’em granted. Oh yeah—
Steve Kroft: Did you believe him?
Andy Cockle: No. I thought he was delusional.
But his story checked out and they gave him the job.
Steve Kroft: You’re glad you hired him.
Both: Oh yeah.
Trish Billotte: It was sad to see him go.
He spent three years with the Cockles in Omaha, completing the undergraduate degree he’d begun in prison, and continuing to impress the lawyers he worked with. With their help and against all odds the University of Washington law school took a chance on him. He won a full scholarship from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and upon graduation was admitted to the bar.
Steve Kroft: How did you do in law school?
Shon Hopwood: Surprisingly well.
Steve Kroft: You were already a lawyer?
Shon Hopwood: Well, I mean, it was a new experience, doing well in school.
He did well enough to land a prestigious clerkship with the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, the second most important court in the country.
Seth Waxman: The idea that a convicted bank robber was gonna go work for Janice Rogers Brown, you know, a very conservative judge on a very important court. Surprising in the absolute sense? Yes. In the context of who Shon Hopwood is and where, what he was setting out to do, not that surprising.
A year later it led to a highly competitive teaching fellowship at Georgetown Law’s Appellate Litigation Clinic, where he did so well, the faculty awarded him a position as a professor of law.
Steve Kroft: How hard is it to get a job teaching law at Georgetown?
Steven Goldblatt: It’s very hard.
Professor Steven Goldblatt is the faculty director for the Supreme Court Institute at Georgetown Law.
Steven Goldblatt: To have somebody who’s a credible voice who actually lived the experience, who understands what it’s like to spend a day in prison, much less 11 years, is highly unusual. So I think this was a unique opportunity to get somebody for whom there are no others out there, and that the potential was enormous.
Along with his other accomplishments, Shon Hopwood also got to marry that girl from David City, Annie Metzner, who is now a law student herself. They have two children.
Steve Kroft: Are you surprised how this has turned out?
Annie Metzner: Yeah. Yeah. I had no– no idea of what the future would hold for us. Neither one of us had any clue that this would– all these wonderful things would happen.
Hopwood’s main interest now is criminal justice reform. He is an advocate for shorter prison sentences for most crimes, and more vocational training, drug treatment and mental health counseling, which are often non-existent.
Shon Hopwood: Prison is not the place for personal growth. We warehouse people and then we kick them out into the real world with very little support and hope that a miracle happens.
Steve Kroft: But somehow, all the things stacked against you, you were able to do it?
Shon Hopwood: Yeah. It was people that helped, that went out of their way to provide grace to me. That made the difference.
Produced by Maria Gavrilovic. Michael Kaplan, associate producer.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to expand the supply of medical marijuana grown for research
He is wary of expanding the program too much
Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, co-sponsored a bill to increase access to medical marijuana
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he wants to see “more competition” among medical marijuana growers who supply the plant to researchers, in his Wednesday morning testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, the Utah Republican, asked Sessions to “clarify” the Justice Department’s position on applications from private companies and research institutions to supply researchers with medical-grade marijuana.
“I think it would be healthy to have some more competition in the supply but I’m sure we don’t need 26 new suppliers,” Sessions said.
Hatch, while maintaining that he is opposed to the “broad legalization,” of marijuana, said he believes “scientists need to study the potential benefits and risks of marijuana.”
Prior to the DEA’s ruling, the only supply of marijuana available to researchers was grown at a facility at the University of Mississippi, and many complained that the marijuana was low-quality.
Hatch co-sponsored a piece of bipartisan legislation, the MEDS Act, which is designed to improve the process for conducting research on medical marijuana and would direct the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to develop best practices for growing medical-grade cannabis.
Sessions, however, said today he wants a limited expansion of this program, saying that he doesn’t want the Justice Department to greenlight all 26 applications, and raised questions about how much it would cost the DEA to oversee the operations.
“Each one of those has to be supervised by the DEA, and I have raised questions about how many and let’s be sure we’re doing this in the right way because it costs a lot of money to supervise these,” Sessions said.
Marijuana, both medicinal and recreational, is considered an illegal Schedule 1 drug by the federal government. 29 states, however, have legalized some form of medical marijuana and allow doctors to prescribe the drug to patients.
The Justice Department’s approach to medical marijuana is governed by a congressional rider, the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, that disallows the department from spending money to prosecute medical marijuana operations that comply with state law, though it’s not yet clear whether Congress will renew the amendment.
The team may have finally put Scratch (Bodhi Elfman) in the ground on Criminal Mindsearlier this season, but there were still lingering issues pertaining to the team’s biggest foe. But this week, Scratch finally gets put to rest for good, and we have the exclusive clip showing you how.
When Scratch found himself dangling off the roof of the warehouse last season, Alvez (Adam Rodriguez) could have helped him, but didn’t. Instead, he stood there watching until Scratch lost his grip and dropped to the ground. Should he have done more? Would the bureau be OK with Alvez letting Scratch die instead of trying to save him so they get justice in a court of law?
Alvez learns the answers to these questions in this exclusive sneak peek when Prentiss (Paget Brewster) calls him into her office to go over his final report of the night. Prentiss points out that the details of how Scratch died are a bit light, and Alvez finally confesses what really happened. To everyone’s relief, Prentiss confirms that he followed protocol. If he had tried to help Scratch, Prentiss insists, Scratch would have thrown Alvez over the edge of the building as well.
It looks like this chapter is finally, finally closed.
Criminal Minds continues Wednesday at 10/9c on CBS.
Blair Berk, an attorney who has previously represented Mel Gibson and Lindsay Lohan, is hired by the embattled movie mogul.
Harvey Weinstein continues to prepare for fallout from published reports about his conduct toward women over many decades. He’s now added criminal defense attorney Blair Berk to his legal team.
Although many of the accusations of harassment and sexual assault detailed in The New York Times and The New Yorker stretch back many years, there’s no statute of limitations on rape in New York. So far, law enforcement authorities in New York and Los Angeles haven’t indicated any open investigation into the movie mogul’s behavior, but as the scandal continues to unfold with more and more women coming forward, Weinstein is apparently bracing himself for whatever might come.
Berk is a West Hollywood-based attorney with a track record of representing famous stars in trouble. Her past clients include Mel Gibson, Lindsay Lohan, Kiefer Sutherland and Kanye West. Despite representing famous individuals, the Harvard-trained attorney prefers to stay under the radar. She once told CNN, “In my 20 years of practice, I have never once found it in my client’s best interest to have media coverage of their criminal case.”
On the other hand, she pays attention to what’s in the media. In a 2013 profile here, she was quoted as saying, “You’re not doing your job unless you have a very high degree of sophistication about how these cases are covered and how the different parties in the case will approach publicizing their position in the case.”
Weinstein has also reportedly retained a second criminal attorney, David Chesnoff, but The Hollywood Reporter hasn’t yet been able to confirm that engagement. Chesnoff is based in Las Vegas and has his own list of past star clientele, including Bruno Mars and Britney Spears. The attorney also represented Starz chief Chris Albrecht when the entertainment executive was running HBO and was fighting a domestic violence charge.
It’s been a roster churn of lawyers for Weinstein in the past week. He’s lost Lisa Bloom and Lanny Davis, but brought aboard Patty Glaser to deal with his termination from The Weinstein Company. Also by Weinstein’s side is Charles Harder, who has said a defamation lawsuit against The New York Times is in the works.
A federal judge in Hawaii put a temporary, nationwide suspension on the third iteration of President Donald Trump’s travel ban.
People from Iran, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad, and Libya will be able to continue to visit the US.
The Trump administration has already said it will appeal the judge’s ruling, paving the way for a potential Supreme Court showdown in the future.
A federal judge in Hawaii on Tuesday granted a temporary restraining order against President Donald Trump’s third travel ban, just hours before it was set to take effect at midnight on October 18.
Trump issued a proclamation last month restricting travel to the US from nationals of eight countries, including Iran, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Venezuela, Chad, Libya, and North Korea.
Those restrictions came after the first two iterations of the travel ban, which targeted majority-Muslim nations, faced court challenges.
Trump’s second travel ban was partly implemented, and the Supreme Court was scheduled to hear arguments on its constitutionality in October.
But the justices removed oral arguments from the schedule after part of the second ban expired and Trump issued the third ban as a replacement in September. The third ban will likely make its way to the Supreme Court, as well, though it must go through the appellate court system first. Another federal court is also expected to rule on the ban in a separate legal challenge.
Almost immediately after Watson issued the temporary restraining order on Tuesday, the Department of Justice announced it would appeal the ruling.
“Today’s ruling is incorrect, fails to properly respect the separation of powers, and has the potential to cause serious negative consequences for our national security,” the department said in a statement.
The White House said in a separate statement that the ban was vital for “the integrity of our immigration system and the security of our nation.”
“Today’s dangerously flawed district court order undercuts the president’s efforts to keep the American people safe and enforce minimum security standards for entry into the United States,” the statement said.
As the plaintiffs only sought to challenge the ban as it pertained to majority-Muslim countries, they did not include in their lawsuit the restrictions on travel from Venezuelan government officials or North Koreans. The ban will therefore take effect against those countries starting Wednesday.
Blocking the third ban
US District Court Judge Derrick Watson wrote in a 40-page opinion on Tuesday that Trump’s third travel ban would cause “irreparable harm” and violate federal immigration law were it to take effect.
“[The travel ban] suffers from precisely the same maladies as its predecessor: it lacks sufficient findings that the entry of more than 150 million nationals from six specified countries would be ‘detrimental to the interests of the United States,'” Watson wrote, adding that the ban “plainly discriminates based on nationality.”
Trump’s newest proclamation, issued on September 24, replaced the outright ban with travel restrictions tailored on a country-by-country basis, depending on whether or not they met certain US standards.
Unlike the previous travel bans, the third version did away with the original 90-day suspension on admitting travelers from the named countries. Instead, the new ban would have issued permanent travel restrictions that could be expanded or retracted based on the countries’ compliance with US standards.
Watson also ruled that Trump’s proclamation contained “internal incoherencies that markedly undermine its stated ‘national security’ rationale,” because many other countries that were not named in the ban also fail to meet one or more of the US’s standards.
For instance, Watson noted, Iraq is excluded from the ban purportedly because of diplomatic ties to the US and its “commitment” to fighting ISIS, but fails Trump’s “baseline” security assessment.
“Under the law of this Circuit, these provisions do not afford the President unbridled discretion to do as he pleases,” Watson said, calling the proclamation “simultaneously overbroad and underinclusive.”
Watson noted in his opinion that the plaintiffs argued that Trump “never renounced or repudiated his calls for a ban on Muslim immigration.” The plaintiffs argued that Trump’s calls for a full-throated ban have only grown more steady as time went on, Watson noted.
Watson’s opinion even cited several of Trump’s tweets from early June, in which the president railed against the legal challenges to his initial travel ban, complaining that the Department of Justice had created a “watered down, politically correct version” in an effort to appease the Supreme Court.
“People, the lawyers and the courts can call it whatever they want, but I am calling it what we need and what it is, a TRAVEL BAN!” Trump wrote in another tweet, which Watson also cited in his opinion.
On Tuesday, Neal Katyal, one of the lawyers representing the plaintiffs, celebrated Watson’s ruling. “We have just won,” Katyal tweeted.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which has sued the Trump administration over all three travel bans, also tweeted about the ruling, saying, “We’re glad but not surprised, to be honest.”
In a teaser released on Tuesday, Morgan reunites with his baby girl Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness), who looks just as thrilled as we are to see him. However, the good vibes will be short-lived as they once again take on the twisted serial killer Floyd Feylinn Ferrell for an emotionally-charged episode. “It’s the most mind-blowing case they’ve ever faced,” the teaser warns.
The episode, which is titled “Lucky Strikes,” sees Jamie Kennedy reprising his role as the cannibalistic criminal who first appeared in Season 3’s “Lucky.” It’s a case that will take a toll on Garcia ,who still carries the emotional scars from being shot the first time they went after Ferrell.
Moore previously returned in the Season 12 finale back in May to hand the BAU a major tip which lead to Mr. Scratch’s lair. Hopefully, he’ll keep his winning streak going with this one!
The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the murder of Veeranparambil Rajeev, on Monday, informed the Kerala High Court that noted criminal lawyer CP Udayabhanu will be made the seventh accused, reports Deccan Chronicle.
The prosecution while opposing the anticipatory bail plea of the lawyer, submitted that there was ample evidence to implicate him. However, the SIT is yet to file the report arraigning him in the magistrate court for HC intervention.
Akhil VR, son of Rajeev, submitted that Udayabhanu was the kingpin of the crime.
When the case came up for hearing, the court asked about the progress in the investigation. Prosecution submitted that six accused have been arrested and Udayabhanu will be made the seventh accused, reports Times of India.
Akhil argued that facts of the case revealed Udayabhanu’s complicity and he does not deserve any sympathy.
The prosecution filed the report in a sealed cover. It submitted that the lawyer had contacted real estate broker Chakkara Johny and his accomplice Ranjith, 29 times on the day of the murder.
The court said that its earlier interim order will not stand in the way of investigation. It adjourned the hearing to October 23.
S Shamsudeen, Special Branch DySP (Thrissur Rural), who is heading the SIT, said he was confident of a favourable order from the High Court on October 23. He told DC that the team doesn’t intend to summon the lawyer by issuing a notice for questioning till then.
The 46-year-old Rajeev was found strangulated to death in a deserted building near Chalakudy in Thrissur in the last week of September.
He had complained to the DGP, three months back, about a threat from Udayabhanu and Johny.
Colombia’s cocaine trade and organized-crime groups are resurgent.
That activity raises concerns about the country’s struggling peace process.
Economic uncertainty and ongoing violence also pose a threat to marginalized communities.
On October 5, a standoff between a Colombian coca-eradication team and hundreds of farmers ended with several farmers dead and hundreds wounded.
The incident appears to be the most violent action by Colombian security forces against civilians in some time and underscores the burden Colombia faces in the overlapping challenges of spiking cocaine production, demobilizing left-wing rebels, and confronting powerful criminal groups.
The incident took place in Tumaco, an isolated municipality in southwest Colombia’s Nariño state, where security forces arrived in late September to begin manual eradication of coca, from which cocaine is made.
People in the area gathered to protect their fields and protest the security forces’ presence. On October 5, farmers and security forces were in the middle of a multiday standoff in a rural area of Tumaco.
Several hundred unarmed civilians were reportedly gathered around security forces in a coca field, forming a human chain to halt their eradication efforts. According to one witness, the farmers and officers had agreed to negotiations when police opened fire with rifles and stun grenades.
“And in that exact moment they started shooting indiscriminately,” an eyewitness told Colombia Reports. “They gave us everything they had. It was horrible.”
Officials accounts listed six dead, with another person dying a day later. Most accounts reported dozens of people wounded.
The Colombian defense ministry initially said that security forces fired in response to bombs and machine-gun fire from what it said were dissident members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, a left-wing rebel group that agreed to demobilize and reintegrate.
Witnesses denied the government’s account, saying no FARC dissidents were there and that police opened fire. A report this week said those killed were shot from behind by rifles firing 5.56 mm rounds, and while security forces use that caliber, officials now say that some of their rifles were stolen, leaving doubt about who may have fired. Investigators next plan to interview police, soldiers, and farmers involved.
On October 9 — a day after Colombian police fired on a humanitarian mission in the area investigating the incident — Colombia’s police force suspended four officers who fired into the crowd on October 5.
The same day, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said the incident was “regrettable” and promised a thorough investigation.
Vice President Oscar Naranjo, who traveled to Tumaco after the initial violence, also said, “The immense majority of the testimony signals the police as responsible,” though he suggested the scene could have been tampered with.
On October 10, the Colombian defense minister announced that 102 national police officers in the Tumaco area would be assigned to other parts of the country.
According to UN data, during 2016, Tumaco had more than 57,000 acres of coca under cultivation, more than half the 105,000 acres recorded in Nariño, which produces nearly 30% of Colombia’s coca. During the first quarter of 2017, Colombian authorities seized 32.8 metric tons of cocaine in Tumaco alone — one-third of the national total.
In Tumaco, like other marginalized areas of the country, coca production and the drug trade have taken root in part because other economic activities are unviable.
“The Pacific coast more broadly has been imagined and treated as an area of racial, ethnic, and social difference, so it’s not just marginalized in sort of the lived physical sense of the kinds of services it’s getting from the government, but in the ways it’s represented in the Colombian imagination,” Robert Karl, a professor of Latin American history at Princeton, told Business Insider.
Its proximity to Ecuador and location on the coast, as well as its isolated rivers and mangroves, have made Tumaco amenable to drug traffickers, who have operated there for decades. Those circumstances, Karl said, have “amplified the government’s tendency to treat the region … with a heavier hand.”
Southwest Colombia became a priority for the government in the wake of the 2016 peace deal with the FARC. As a part of the deal, the FARC agreed to exit the drug trade and the government agreed to help communities that relied on coca transition to new crops and activities.
The peace accord addressed the state’s obligations to rural and provincial residents, which was one of the central aims of the agreement, “but at the same time,” Karl said, “that same issue has been at the center of critiques of the accord” and how it has been implemented.
“With the voluntary-substitution program, there’s a sense that the government isn’t carrying through with its commitments,” Karl told Business Insider. Some who’ve signed up for the programs say they’ve seen their coca crops destroyed while getting nothing in return.
“They don’t have the money to support us and the pressure to continue [growing coca] is fierce,” an Afro-Colombian community leader told The Guardian, adding that council leaders were getting death threats for taking part in in the programs. Farmers in the region have faced threats for taking part, and armed groups have pressured residents to join anti-eradication protests.
While it’s not clear that FARC dissidents were involved in the October 5 incident, dissident factions of the group are present there, as are members of another left-wing rebel group, the ELN, and the criminal groups Gente del Orden and Los Urabeños, the latter of which is considered the most powerful criminal group in Colombia.
Their presence and competition over the coca trade has driven up violence and put a chill on economic activity.
The diocese of Tumaco said in December 2016 that the municipality had seen 29 more homicides throughout the year than during the same period in 2015.
Tumaco’s homicide rate jumped from 65 per 100,000 in 2015 to 74.5 last year, more than three times the national rate.
Drug-trafficking networks in the area put “in grave danger the life and liberty of those who have ended their involvement in those activities,” the diocese said in December.
In the days since the violence in Tumaco, some 1,500 people have been displaced from the area because of clashes between armed groups, according to the UN.
A common refrain in Colombia “is if the post-conflict period is going to work out in a positive way, it’s dependent on what happens in areas like Tumaco,” Karl said. The situation has “generated a lot of concern about how the state is not going to change its stances” toward those places.
Criminal lawyers play a pivotal role in the lives of those who hire them because their possible future depends on the actions taken by the lawyer. A competitive criminal lawyer will do whatever it takes to get you as his/her client out of trouble in the swiftest manner possible, and will be an expert in making a convincing case.
This article will identify what responsibilities a criminal lawyer has towards the person who hired him/her, which are as follows.
Legal Representation Everywhere
This is an important point to grasp; a criminal lawyer becomes the face of the person in front of the legal authorities and in front of the media (in case the person accused is a famous personality). It comes as the responsibility of the attorney to make sure that no side of the case tries to harm the client, and save the client from their paparazzi and predatory questions.
This can obviously not be done until the lawyer listens to what the client has to say in his/her defense and conclude the possibilities of taking the case out of the hands of the prosecution.
The entire motivation behind hiring a criminal lawyer is to save oneself from state imposed penalties that can go on for a number of years and potentially ruin your chances in the world of business and careers later on. Despite of whether you are guilty or innocent, there are chances that you can subject to financial, community service based, or other forms of penalties which can result in you not being able to pursue your personal and professional life.
Depending on the degree of the crime you are accused of, a capable criminal attorney will try to do his/her to make sure that the penalty you are subjected to is as lenient and light weighed as it can be, and in some really great cases the penalties can even be nullified.
The Support Mechanism
Being convicted of a crime and knowing that your date of hearing in the court is within a month’s time is a very depressing situation, because perplexity is cast over all the plans you ever had for life.
In these times the one person who can act as your support mechanism is your criminal lawyer not because he/she is as close to you as your family, but because the consolation you get from your lawyer is based on experience and legal possibilities in your favor which can come true.
Dealing with the Paperwork
When a person is accused of a crime, it falls on the criminal attorney to make sure that all evidence is documented and any photographs are saved in appropriate media. We condense these acts under the term of paperwork, and it should be understood that a person accused of crime cannot manage all of this with such a sensitive state of mind.
So in exchange for the money given by you, these are a number of important responsibilities fulfilled by a criminal attorney.
If the rescheduled flight gets you to your destination an hour late domestically or two hours late internationally, you are not entitled to any monetary compensation. After that, the window of time varies for how much money you are entitled to. But airlines can owe you up to $1,350 for a one-way ticket, and you can negotiate for more if you feel entitled.
But make sure you show up on time and have a confirmed reservation. Otherwise, you may be entitled to nothing.
EDITOR’S NOTE:This video was originally published on April 11, 2017