Crimes and Their Punishments – Through the Ages

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

Take a look …

Crimes and Their Punishments

Someone stole Nintendo's new game console 2 weeks before it arrives — here's what happened

Nintendo’s new video game console, the Switch, doesn’t arrive until March 3. But at least one person already got their hands on one.

Super Mario

That person — gaming forum user “hiphoptherobot,” from NeoGAF — says the console was stolen. Not by him (allegedly), but by an unnamed person “somewhere down the chain.” When the user found out the Nintendo Switch was a stolen console, the user says he or she did not “feel comfortable keeping it” — and it’s since been returned to Nintendo.

Nintendo Switch

But last week — when “hiphoptherobot” started posting videos of the console in action — the user said the Switch was accidentally sent early from a retailer.

So, what’s going on? Here’s what we know.

SEE ALSO: How people managed to get their hands on the next PlayStation before it’s even announced

On February 17, the first video of the Switch — in the wild — showed up on Vidme.

It showed off the setup process of the console — nothing too thrilling, but stuff nobody had seen yet.

The video is still up, and you can see it in full right here:

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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'Criminal Minds' Season 12 Spoilers: Episode 14 Synopsis Released Online; What Will Happen In 'Collison Course … – International Business Times

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International Business Times

'Criminal Minds' Season 12 Spoilers: Episode 14 Synopsis Released Online; What Will Happen In 'Collison Course …
International Business Times
Criminal Minds” kicked off an interesting and tragic arc for Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) last week. The triple Ph.D. holder found himself in prison after being accused of killing an American citizen in Mexico who was selling drugs. The
Can Reid be saved in 'Criminal Minds' season 12?Blasting News
Criminal Minds Season 12 Episode 14 Reid Stays in Prison – Gosh!TVGosh!TV
'Criminal Minds' Season 12 Episode 14 Spoilers: Spencer Reid …Latin Post
Enstarz –Mobile & Apps –CarterMatt
all 9 news articles »

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The US is going after the highest-profile Venezuelan target yet — 'the narco of Aragua'

tareck el aissimi

On Monday, the US government announced sanctions against the highest-profile Venezuelan official yet targeted — Vice President Tareck El Aissami, who was named to the position by President Nicolas Maduro in early January.

The US Treasury Department declared El Aissami to be a specially designated narcotics trafficker for allegedly “playing a significant role in international narcotics trafficking.”

The US government also designated Venezuelan citizen Samark Jose Lopez Bello for providing material or financial assistance to the narcotics trafficking activities of El Aissami and blocked 13 properties owned by Lopez or others that it said “comprise an international network.”

The Treasury Department alleges that El Aissami oversaw narcotics shipments via planes leaving air bases and boats leaving the country’s ports. Suspicions about his involvement in the drug trade have earned El Aissami the moniker “the narco of Aragua,” after his home state.

“There’s information that El Aissami has been protecting loads of cocaine — we’re talking about ton quantities — coming from Colombia using Venezuela as a transshipment point,” Mike Vigil, a former chief of international operations for the US Drug Enforcement Administration, told Business Insider.

“There’s information that indicates that El Aissami actually directed … how that cocaine would be transshipped through a lot of their airports and seaports, and then he worked in collusion with what we call a testaferro, or a front man, by the name of Samark Lopez, who has been establishing front companies,” Vigil said.

Tareck El Aissami Nicolas Maduro Venezuela president

At the tail end of his presidential campaign Donald Trump adopted a hardline stance on the Venezuela, but his team wasn’t the driving force behind this round of sanctions, the investigation for which began under Obama.

“The timing, however, is indeed curious,” Tim Gill, a post-doctoral fellow at Tulane University focused on Venezuelan foreign relations, told Business Insider. “El Aissami recently became the Venezuelan Vice President and received extensive economic powers from Maduro, and Trump recently became U.S. President.”

The sanctions send a “clear message to people of Venezuela that America stands with them,” newly appointed Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said on Tuesday, adding that the measures would freeze “tens of millions of dollars.”

donald trump steve mnuchin

El Aissami and Maduro wasted no time in responding.

The vice president called the sanctions “miserable provocations” and pledged to show “greater strength” in response to what he called imperialist aggressions.

Maduro said he would present a formal note of protest to the US government over the designation and declared that he was the ultimate target of US policies.

“They are not attacking Tareck, they are attacking a country, a revolution and I am the final objective,” he said.

While El Aissami is a new designee and was relatively recently appointed to the vice presidency, he looms large over Venezuelan politics and has been implicated in some of the country’s more sinister institutions.

Born in November 1974, El Aissami had humble beginnings in Merida, in western Venezuela. The son of Syrian and Lebanese immigrants, his father, Carlos El-Aissami, was the head of a local branch of the Iraqi Ba’ath Party.

El Aissami soon moved east, to Aragua, where he attended the Basic School of the National Armed Forces.

Venezuela states map

He later moved back west, where he attended the University of the Andes in Merida, according to a profile by Venezuelan news site Vertice News.

There, one of his professors was Adan Chavez, brother of Hugo Chavez, who would later be president from 1999 until his death in 2013.

“His politics are really all a product of the Chavez era,” Alejandro Velasco, a history professor at New York University, told Business Insider.

“He’s part of the new generation, younger generation … certainly his radicalism can’t be traced to a pre-Chavez era,” Velasco said, “and most of his actual politics came in … the Andes, where he was a student.”

El Aissami earned degrees in law and criminology and became involved in politics while in school, where he eventually met Hugo Chavez.

Other students grew suspicious of him, however, coming to believe he had connections to guerrilla movements that operated in the Venezuela-Colombia border area. He was also accused of bringing in armed thugs to bully the competition in student elections.

Tareck El Aissami Hugo Chavez Venezuela president

After leaving school, he took a position in the Venezuelan Interior Ministry’s passport and naturalization agency, before being elected to the national parliament in 2005.

He was appointed minister of interior and justice in 2008, holding that position until he was elected governor of Aragua state, which stretches south from the Caribbean coast in central Venezuela.

“My sense in terms of El Aissami is that his pretensions were always national in scope,” Velasco said. “His ideas weren’t about making any major inroads — it was really looking ahead to the bigger and brighter things.”

Those political ambitions could have facilitated the narco activity El Aissami has been accused of.

Empowered by his status among the ranks of Chavez supporters, called chavistas, El Aissami may have linked up with elements within the armed forces that increasingly came to see their logistical resources and relative impunity as means to pursue illicit activities — narcotics trafficking chief among them.

hugo chavez

“Sometime back in 2010, Venezuela’s largest … drug trafficker — a guy by the name of Walid Makled Garcia — was arrested in Cucuta, Colombia, and he gave declarations immediately to Colombian security forces and said that his biggest associates in Venezuela were all generals,” Vigil told Business Insider.

“And he also indicated that he was providing money to El Aissami’s brother that was going to a lot of high-ranking government officials so that they could protect the loads of cocaine being transshipped through Venezuela,” said Vigil, author of “Metal Coffins: The Blood Alliance Cartel.”

“The other thing is that Aragua … provides [El Aissami] with actually a really clear link to two crucial nodes of the narcotics trade,” Velasco said.

“One being the border region with Colombia through Tachira state, and the other one being Aragua, which is in a central region,” he continued, “and so there you have sort of the clear path from the source country … to the exit area, which would be the Caribbean.”

El Aissami’s links to the border region, Vigil said, also allegedly include ties to Colombia’s left-wing FARC rebels, a stalwart in the drug trade, and to the right-wing paramilitaries that fought the FARC and also maintained a presence in the drug trade.

While the US indictment only pertains to El Aissami’s suspected narcotics activity, there have been accusations he was involved in black-market passport sales, distributing Venezuelan passports, which grant the holder entry to 130 countries, to people from the Middle East, some of whom were connected to the terrorist group Hezbollah, according to a CNN investigation.

Lebanese Hezbollah supporters carry a replica of Hezbollah emblem during a religious procession to mark Ashura in Beirut's southern suburbs, Lebanon October 12, 2016. REUTERS/Aziz Taher

“So he came to the attention of the US government several years ago, under the Obama administration, when a multitude of fraudulent Venezuelan passports started to popping up in many places,” Vigil said. “So with those passports they could literally travel to just about any country in the world.”

The extent of Venezuela’s involvement with Islamic extremism is questionable. Actions like the sale of passports may just constitute crimes of opportunity, rather than indicate any kind of deeper ideological or operational linkage.

And while groups like Hezbollah have connections to Venezuelan officials, it appears that, for now, those groups’ undertakings in Latin America are limited to “money laundering and the funneling of drug profits to their organization, because now a lot of these terrorist networks are using drug profits to fund their operations,” Vigil said.

What is much less clear is what the leveling of sanctions on a high-profile official like Tareck El Aissami means for the US-Venezuela relationship going forward.

donald trump

The investigation in El Aissami was largely conducted under the Obama administration, and, Vigil said, was delayed in recent months because the Obama State Department wanted to see if a dialogue between the Maduro government and the opposition — locked in a deep-seated political conflict — could be established.

Venezuela’s response may also signal a desire for further engagement.

“El Aissami has, of course, condemned the sanctions, but he has not specifically condemned Trump himself,” Tim Gill, post-doctoral fellow at Tulane University, told Business Insider.

“This suggests that the Venezuela government might still try to play its hand with Trump, especially given Trump’s warmth towards Russia, one of Venezuela’s closest international allies,” Gill added.

While Trump appears to have voiced support for factions of Venezuela’s opposition, the ultimate shape of his policy toward Venezuela remains to be seen.

“Pressure is mounting from both Democratic and Republican members of Congress, as evidenced in a recent letter signed by 34 individuals, to take a harsher position on the Maduro government,” Gill said.

“At the moment, the administration appears tied up with issues involving China, Mexico, and Russia, as well as the Middle East,” he added. “Trump will eventually have to say something on Venezuela, and this will set the tone for the future of U.S.-Venezuela relations.”

SEE ALSO: Mexicans poured into the streets this weekend to protest Trump, but he’s not the only one they’re mad at

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'Criminal Minds' Season 12 Episode 13 Spoilers: Spencer Gets in … – Christian Post

Feb 14, 2017 | 11:06 AM

Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) will be held in a Mexican prison for murder in the upcoming episode of “Criminal Minds.”

Facebook/CriminalMindsReid is in trouble in the upcoming episode of “Criminal Minds.”

In the episode titled “Spencer,” the synopsis (according to TV Guide) reveals that one of the Behavioral Analysis Unit members will encounter problems in Mexico. In an attempt to save that person, the International Response Team will be tapped to help. The promo shows that the one in trouble is Reid, who previously asked for an extension of his leave to be with his sick mother. The teaser does not explain much about what happened, but it is revealed that he is being accused of murder. Reid looks lost during his booking. His hair is unkempt and it seems like he has had no sleep.

The specialist is supposed to be in Houston with Diana (Jane Lynch). Reid decided to put his mother in an institution where she could be properly treated since she is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. He took some time off to take care of her himself, but he knew he had to go back to work soon. Reid even tried experimental drugs to cure Diana. When he returned from his leave, his colleagues were all worried about him. JJ (A.J. Cook) told the others that Reid appeared to be going off the deep end.

In a recent interview with TVLine, showrunner Erica Messer and actress Kirsten Vangsness, who co-wrote episode 13, said that “Spencer” is related to Diana and that it is a “course changer.”

“I seem to co-write the episodes that change the course for people. That does not mean the ends of people, it just changes their course. So [Episode 13] is a course changer,” Vangsness said.

Messer adds: [It is] a journey for [Reid] and for the team that I would argue we never even imagined would happen — and yet it happens, and we’re along for this ride. And it’s an intense one.”

“Criminal Minds” season 12 episode 13 will air on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 9 p.m. EST on CBS.

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Islamic scholars, criminal law experts to testify at Ahok hearing … – Jakarta Post

Two Islamic scholars and two criminal law experts are scheduled to testify on Tuesday as witnesses in a follow-up hearing in the trial of Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama.

The eleventh hearing will be held by the North Jakarta District Court in the auditorium of the Agriculture Ministry in Ragunan, South Jakarta, at 9 a.m.

“The Islamic scholars are Yunahar Ilyas from the Indonesian Ulema Council [MUI] and KH Miftachul Akhyar from the Nahdlatul Ulama central executive board [PBNU],” Ahok’s lawyer, Edi Danggur, said as quoted by kompas.com in Jakarta on Monday.

Meanwhile, the two criminal law experts scheduled to appear are Abdul Chair Ramadhan and Mudzakkir, he went on to say.

Abdul is a criminal law expert from the MUI while Mudzakkir is from the Indonesia Islamic University (UII) Yogyakarta. They were scheduled to testify in a previous hearing last week but because they were on duty, their testimonies were delayed to Tuesday. (ebf)

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Former Obama staffer David Plouffe fined $90K for illegally lobbying Chicago for Uber

David Plouffe

Former Obama campaign manager and Uber executive David Plouffe has been fined $90,000 for illegally lobbying Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel on behalf of the ride-hailing giant, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The fine was imposed by the Chicago Board of Ethics after 2015 emails between Plouffe and Emanuel were unearthed in a separate case.

The Ethics Board found that Plouffe had not registered as a lobbyist when he contacted Emmanuel about regulations related to Uber service at airports.

Uber was also fined $2,000, according to the Tribune.

“We work hard to ensure our registrations are accurate and up to date,” an Uber spokesperson told Business Insider. “We regret that in this instance we made a mistake and we will comply with the board’s assessment.”

Plouffe recently left Uber to be head of policy for Mark Zuckerberg’s philanthropy initiative, The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which declined to comment.

SEE ALSO: Here’s why Elon Musk isn’t stepping down from Trump’s advisory council

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'Criminal Minds' Season 12 Episode 14 Spoilers News: Is Reid … – Christian Post

Spencer Reid’s (Matthew Gray Gubler) most harrowing ordeal yet continues in “Criminal Minds” season 12, episode 14, “Collision Course.”

In the effort of the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) to get him out of prison with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) unable to back them up, they enlist the help of defense attorney Fiona Duncan (Jeananne Goossen).

CBSA promotional still from “Criminal Minds” season 12

Fiona happens to be an old friend of Prentiss (Paget Brewster). According to executive producer Erica Messer, she will be the one “trying to get [Reid] out of this mess” provided he cooperates.

The attorney reveals to Reid in the promo for “Criminal Minds” season 12, episode 13 that he owns the murder weapon, but the supervisory special agent insists that he did not murder Nadie Ramos.

Duncan urges him to tell the truth or she would not help him. This suggests that there might still be something that Reid is not telling them.

Messer describes “Criminal Minds” season 12, episode 14 as a “strong episode” that presents an “interesting moral dilemma.” The installment will answer the question of whether or not he will plead guilty and the implications of it.

“What would that mean? Will he be out on bail until there’s a trial? How could he plead guilty to something he has no clear memory of?” the EP mused.

“His moral code says he never would’ve done that. And his FBI agent side is like, don’t admit to something you didn’t do. And yet if he does that, he’ll get a lighter sentence and all that stuff. Do you make that deal with the devil? Or do you take your chances on being proven innocent? It’s a really great episode,” she went on to say.

Fans are worried that Reid might end up doing time. With the situation he is in, it will be very difficult for him to get out of it without consequences.

“Criminal Minds” season 12, episode 14, “Collision Course,” Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.

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Fantasy Aces Hires Criminal Lawyer as New York Gaming Commission Turns Up the Heat – Casino.Org News

The New York Gaming Commission has launched an investigation into Fantasy Aces, the daily fantasy sports site that filed for bankruptcy at the end of January, apparently unable to pay its players.

 Fantasy Aces investigated by New York Gaming Commission

Trent, Tom and Brian Frisina are the co-founders of Fantasy Aces. The company’s apparent co-mingling of player funds and operating costs may render it liable for wire fraud. (Image: Fantasy Aces)

According to the Wall Street Journal, the company’s management has hired attorney Robert J. DeGroot, a criminal defense lawyer, to field questions from the commission about exactly what happened to its players’ funds.

It became the commission’s duty to oversee DFS at the beginning of August last year, when the state enacted a bill to license and regulate the industry, one of eight states to do so last year. On August 22, the first temporary licenses were issued, one of which was granted to Fantasy Aces.

A condition of licensing was that licensees must keep player funds segregated from operating costs, an obligation Fantasy Aces, apparently, did not fulfill.

$1.3 Million Owed

Bankruptcy filings state that players are owed $1.3 million, while an account listed as “Players Account” contains just $2,419. The company also states it has assets of $1.8 million, which will be liquidated to pay creditors, but it also has liabilities of $2.96 million.

Earlier this week Fantasy Draft, a rival site that had been close to purchasing the Fantasy Aces just prior to its application for bankruptcy, announced that it would step in to cover the players balances, a gesture, it said, would “preserve the lifeblood of the industry.”

But this does not excuse the fact that the Fantasy Aces’ management may have committed wire fraud if they are found to have violated their licensing by co-mingling player funds with operational costs, and the appointment of a criminal lawyer is a tacit acknowledge of this.

DeGroot Says No Comment

DeGroot failed to respond to WSJ’s request for a comment, but bankruptcy lawyer Richard Marshack, an independent trustee appointed to oversee Fantasy Aces’ chapter 5 liquidation, said it appeared to him that player funds had indeed not been segregated.

A statement on DeGroot’s website said that all accounts were on hold during while “we work with the bankruptcy court in finding the fastest possible solution for our players.”

Lee Park a spokesman for the gaming commission confirmed to WSJ that Fantasy Aces was being investigated for non-compliance with state gaming laws, although he declined to go into detail.

“Any further action that might be taken is under review pending developments in bankruptcy court to protect contest patrons,” he said.  

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DHS head Kelly: Trump is preparing a new 'streamlined' immigration ban

John Kelly

A new version of a Trump administration travel ban will be “streamlined,” U.S. Secretary for Homeland Security John Kelly said on Saturday.

Kelly told the Munich Security Conference that the new order would not stop green card residency holders or travelers already on planes from entering the United States. 

“I would say the president is contemplating releasing a tighter, more streamlined version,” he said.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s initial attempt to clamp down for security reasons on immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries and on refugees snarled to a halt amid a judicial backlash and chaos at airports.

Trump’s original order, which he said was meant to head off attacks by Islamist militants, barred people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering for 90 days and excluded all refugees for 120 days, except those from Syria, who were banned indefinitely.

Last week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the government’s emergency appeal to lift the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on Trump’s immigration order issued last week by a federal judge in Seattle, indicating in its opinion that Trump’s past comments about a “Muslim ban” can be used as evidence for discrimination.

The Trump administration originally said it would appeal the federal appeals court ruling, but Trump has since said he would issue a new order addressing some of the issues raised by court decisions against the ban.

trump immigration ban protest

Kelly said that the administration had been surprised by the ruling and would try to do better. 

I “will have opportunity to work (on) a rollout plan, in particular to make sure that there’s no one in a sense caught in the system of moving from overseas to our airports,” Kelly said.

Asked whether green card residency permit holders would be allowed in, Kelly said: “It’s a good assumption and, as far as the visas go, … if they’re in motion from some distant land to the United States, when they arrive they will be allowed in.”

He promised “a short phase-in period to make sure that people on the other end don’t get on airplanes. But if they’re on an airplane and inbound, they’ll be allowed to enter the country.”

The abrupt implementation of the order last month plunged the immigration system into chaos, sparking a wave of criticism from the countries affected, and from Western allies and some of America’s leading corporations, especially technology firms.

(Reporting By Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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'Criminal Minds' Season 12 Episode 14 Spoilers: Is Reid Hiding … – Christian Post

CBS

A promotional still from “Criminal Minds” season 12

Spencer Reid’s (Matthew Gray Gubler) most harrowing ordeal yet continues in “Criminal Minds” season 12, episode 14, “Collision Course.”

In the effort of the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) to get him out of prison with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) unable to back them up, they enlist the help of defense attorney Fiona Duncan (Jeananne Goossen).

Fiona happens to be an old friend of Prentiss (Paget Brewster). According to executive producer Erica Messer, she will be the one “trying to get [Reid] out of this mess” provided he cooperates.

The attorney reveals to Reid in the promo for “Criminal Minds” season 12, episode 13 that he owns the murder weapon, but the supervisory special agent insists that he did not murder Nadie Ramos.

Duncan urges him to tell the truth or she would not help him. This suggests that there might still be something that Reid is not telling them.

Messer describes “Criminal Minds” season 12, episode 14 as a “strong episode” that presents an “interesting moral dilemma.” The installment will answer the question of whether or not he will plead guilty and the implications of it.

“What would that mean? Will he be out on bail until there’s a trial? How could he plead guilty to something he has no clear memory of?” the EP mused.

“His moral code says he never would’ve done that. And his FBI agent side is like, don’t admit to something you didn’t do. And yet if he does that, he’ll get a lighter sentence and all that stuff. Do you make that deal with the devil? Or do you take your chances on being proven innocent? It’s a really great episode,” she went on to say.

Fans are worried that Reid might end up doing time. With the situation he is in, it will be very difficult for him to get out of it without consequences.

“Criminal Minds” season 12, episode 14, “Collision Course,” Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.

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