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

R. Kelly's latest accuser alleges the singer paid her to keep quiet about an abusive, underage sexual relationship

r kelly

In the latest R. Kelly-related investigative report by BuzzFeed News, Jerhonda Pace, an alleged victim of the R&B singer, claims she received “cash settlements” from the singer in return for “signing nondisclosure agreements” crafted to cover up a sexual relationship she had with Kelly that turned abusive when she was 16 years old.

Pace, now 24, says she felt the need to violate her nondisclosure agreement to speak out against Kelly following a July report by BuzzFeed News that alleged that the singer was keeping women against their will in a “cult.” 

“I didn’t have anybody to speak up on my behalf when I was going through what I was going through with him,” Pace told the outlet. “He’s brainwashed them really bad, and it kind of reminds me of Charles Manson.”

One of the women in Kelly’s alleged cult has since denied the previous report, saying that she is of age and in a relationship with the singer on her own free will. Kelly’s representatives have repeatedly denied all allegations.

According to the new report, Pace met R. Kelly outside of his 2008 child-pornography trial. As a 15-year-old fan of Kelly’s, she says she faked being 18 to sneak into the trial, and she even defended the singer to MTV News while standing outside of the courtroom. After R. Kelly was acquitted of all charges in the trial, Pace says that a friend of the singer’s invited her to a party at his home in Olympia Fields, Illinois. She then began an allegedly abusive relationship with Kelly as a 16-year old. 

Pace alleges that the singer would film their sexual encounters and make her ask permission “to shower, eat, go to the bathroom, and leave the property” of his mansion. When she violated his “rules,” Pace says she was “mentally and physically abused,” according to BuzzFeed.

Pace left the relationship in 2010 after an alleged instance of abuse, and she contacted Susan E. Loggans, a Chicago lawyer. Pace claims the lawyer “negotiated a large settlement with Kelly” in return for her signing “a nondisclosure agreement and declining to pursue any charges or other claims against Kelly.”

Though her agreement included a “non-disparagement clause,” Pace is speaking out against Kelly for the first time, and she says she is now considering filing criminal charges against the singer. 

Kelly’s camp has since refuted the claims with the following statement:

“The allegations against Mr. Kelly are false, and are being made by individuals known to be dishonest. It is clear these continuing stories are the result of the effort of those with personal agendas who are working in concert to interfere with and damage his career. Mr. Kelly again denies any and all wrong doing and is taking appropriate legal action to protect himself from ongoing defamation.”

You can read BuzzFeed News’ full interview with Pace here.

SEE ALSO: R. Kelly is holding 6 women against their will in a ‘cult,’ according to their parents

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NYC criminal court won't be fair til all evidence is shared, advocates say – Metro US

Angel De La Cruz, 53, spent 25 years incarcerated for a 1991 murder in the Bronx that he said he did not commit.

He claims prosecutors were able to get a jury to convict him because they didn’t release all the evidence in court – specifically, that the main eyewitness who identified De La Cruz changed their testimony from “I don’t remember” to “It was him.” (The Bronx DA’s office did not respond to a request for comment on the De La Cruz appeal.)

“What they do is they give you all this information at the last minute. … You can bring it up later as ‘newly discovered evidence,’ but it’s not ‘newly’ because you had this all along,” De La Cruz said. “They hold the good stuff for themselves and they give you bits and pieces. … It deprives the defense lawyers the chance of preparing.”

De La Cruz joined a group of community leaders and criminal justice reform advocates demanding change to New York City’s “discovery” procedure outside Manhattan Criminal Court, which dictates how evidence is shared in court. They want police and prosecutors to be required to turn over all evidence in every case, rather than having the discretion to pick what evidence is submitted.

Some say the “discovery” process is a crucial way the criminal justice system is stacked against defendants. But it is one that has received startlingly little scrutiny in an era of calls for reform. Currently, in New York, most evidence is only released the day before trial begins.

“We’re trying to get CPL 240 [the New York criminal procedure law pertaining to discovery] repealed, and put in more just and sane rules, which basically require the prosecutor to turn over evidence within a reasonable amount of time,” said Syed Ahmed, a lawyer and board member with Discovery for Justice, which organized Tuesday’s rally to call for support of legislation that could change the state laws.

The Supreme Court’s 1963 Brady decision established that prosecutors must turn over all exculpatory evidence to defendants. But in New York, non-exculpatory evidence doesn’t have to be turned over under 240, Ahmed said, and prosecutors “get to decide what evidence is exculpatory or not.”

Changing that could help the system operate more fairly, he said. Guilty defendants knowing the evidence against them might plead out more quickly, while defendants with some or no responsibility could present a more educated defense.

State Sen. Jamal Bailey and City Council Member Andy King both spoke in support of changing the laws at the rally. Assemblyman Joseph Lentol and state Sen. Tony Avella have introduced bills, which have also gotten the support of the New York State Bar Association, to change the laws at the state level.

Ahmed argued that the system won’t be fair until defendants are guaranteed a look at all evidence against them before trial.

“What if this person is not guilty and is being pigeonholed and forced to take a plea without knowing what’s out there, and the only reason is they don’t want to risk going to trial and facing the maximum?” Ahmed asked. “That leads to unfair outcomes. This is a question of fundamental fairness.”

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A California Senator wants to make it illegal for VCs to sexually harass entrepreneurs

Senator Beth Jackson

A California senator is hoping to create a new law to end sexual harassment in the venture capital world. 

Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) is introducing a bill this week that would explicitly prohibit sexual harassment by venture capitalists as an amendment to a current civil rights law. 

The bill, SB 224, comes in response to accounts from women tech entrepreneurs who have described how they were sexually harassed while seeking funding from venture capitalists. 

The proposed bill would amend the Unruh Act, a civil rights law in California that protects against sexual harassment in business relationships. The current law lists doctors, landlords, teachers and others as liable for sexual harassment. This bill would amend the law to clarify that consequences exist for investors too, and provide protections for entrepreneurs who are harassed.

“If we want to see the venture capital industry change and an end to sexual harassment of women in technology, we need strong legal protections. No matter how well intentioned, decency pledges and promises are not enough.” said Senator Jackson in a statement.

Jackson was referring to a public plea made by LinkedIn founder and Greylock partner, Reid Hoffman, that asked firms to sign a Decency Pledge, a promise to treat the relationship between a VC and an entrepreneur like a manager and employee.

Hoffman proposed the idea after dozens of female tech entrepreneurs came forward in recent weeks with accounts of being sexually harassed while seeking funding for their ideas and startups. Prominent investors like Dave McClure of 500 startups and Justin Caldbeck of Binary Capital have resigned in the wake of such allegations.

But self regulation like a decency pledge isn’t the same as ensuring VCs are covered under the Unruh Act.

“We need to be clear there are consequences for this type of behavior,” said Jackson. “The idea is to take a very strong position, and make it very clear that this is the kind of intersection between power and opportunity where we are not going to tolerate sexual harassment.”

So far, Jackson says the response to the bill has been overwhelmingly positive. Because the current legislation sessions ends soon, in September, she plans to move the bill forward when the legislation reconvenes in January, and expects to have a vote on it by the end of that month. 

SEE ALSO: DEAR VCs: Here’s why everyone thinks Silicon Valley has a problem with women

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Nicholas Brendon fighting depression with hugs – Montgomery Advertiser

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Here’s a list of some of the celebrities who are coming to Wizard World Comic Con Oct. 20-22 in Montgomery.
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‘Buffy’ and ‘Criminal Minds’ star wants to meet, hug fans who have depression like him when he visits Montgomery in October

When Nicholas Brendon makes the journey to downtown Montgomery in October, his role as Xander Harris on TV’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” is bound to be a huge draw for the Wizard World Comic Con crowd.

“I was fortunate enough to do a show that was very iconic,” said Brendon during a recent phone interview. Buffy was on TV from 1997-2003. Fourteen years since the show ended, it’s a role he’s still recognized for by the fans. “Pretty much all the time Xander. That and Kevin Lynch on ‘Criminal Minds.’”

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But those roles are just roles, not who he really is inside. 

“I fight depression on an epic level,” said Brendon. “I talk with my fans about that as well.” 

In Brendon’s words, “Depression just sucks.” It’s lead him into dark corners of life. But instead of just focusing on his own painful side, he uses events like Wizard World to reach out in person to fans who have their own struggles. People with anxiety. People who are insecure. People who feel bullied. People who stutter like he used to for years.  People with depression.

“Trust me, people out there are depressed,” said Brendon. “They’re depressed in your town.” 

In real life, Brendon is one of millions in the U.S. with depression. It can have different effects on adult men and women, seniors and children. According to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Alabama, major depression affects about 5 percent of the U.S. adult population in any given year. That’s roughly 9.9 million adults. People with this condition should seek out a doctor or mental health professional to determine the best course of treatment.

So what can one person like Brendon at a comic convention do to help others with depression, and maybe himself along the way?

In Brendon’s other words, “hugs heal.” He wants to hug his fans, especially any who are battling depression. If a fan needs a joke, Brendon will give them one. If they want a hug, he’s more than willing. 

“I’m not an actor. I’m a person who acts,” said Brendon. “I’m a human being. I just want to help people as much as I possibly can in my short time here on this planet.”

Brendon’s career has crossed a lot of ground, as an actor in movies and TV shows, theater, cartoon voice, video games, working with comic books, and even producing his own webcomic. He has several projects in the works currently, including three movies and a TV series “Dark/Web” in post production. 

“I’m decent at actually playing other characters,” Brendon said. 

According to NAMI, depression is a lot different than just feeling down or sad. It’s a disorder that causes people to be profoundly sad and irritable. It can cause major changes in sleep, appetite and energy. It can make it difficult to think or remember, and cause people to be agitated. It can cause people to feel guilty, worthless, hopeless and empty, and often comes with thoughts of death and suicide. 

There’s no single cause of depression, but it there are treatments available. According to NAMI, about 80 to 90 percent of people suffering from serious depression can be returned to their normal life. 

However, because of the stigma in society attached to depression, many people don’t ever want to talk about it. Ironically, it can make them into actors, trying their best to hide their condition from everyone around them. That’s where people like Brendon step in, to raise awareness and get people like his fans to feel less afraid about admitting they have depression. With less fear, more people may seek out treatment.

“There has to be more of a dialogue about depression,” said Brendon. “I have to deal with it every day.” 

That’s why it’s so important for him to help fans who are going through similar issues. He’ll be at Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center for a three-day event Oct. 20-22, with other special guests including Nichelle Nichols (“Star Trek”), Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite, The Benchwarmers), Emily Swallow (“Supernatural,” “The Mentalist), Holly Marie Combs (“Charmed,” “Picket Fences”) and Briana Buckmaster (“Supernatural,” “White Ninja”), and more to be announced.

More information about Wizard World is available online at wizardworld.com/comiccon/montgomery.

“If I can make your life better for one day, then I’ve done a great job in my life of that day,” Brendon said. “I just want to help people as much as I possibly can when I meet them in that moment…. I just want to hug anyone who needs a hug.” 

Learn more about depression online at namialabama.org.

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Trump's lawyer has morphed into his political advocate – The Hill (blog)

Every criminal lawyer has been confronted, at one time or another, and asked, “How can you represent that detestable individual?” The most transparent of us would likely say, in the vein of famed bank robber Willie Sutton when asked why he robbed banks: “Because that’s where the money is!”

The more high-minded, sanctimonious or nuanced will roll out the lawyer’s “duty to defend” — the Constitution’s guaranty of the right to counsel for anyone entangled in the criminal process, however despicable they, or their ideas, might be, even to the lawyer.

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Still, however wedded the attorney as a professional might be to the client’s cause – meaning, however zealous he might be in carrying out his defense function, even if with gross, inward misgivings, according to the Rules of Professional Conduct in most jurisdictions his representation of the client “does not constitute an endorsement of the client’s political, economic, social or moral views or activities.”

If the lawyer will be required by the client to pursue “tactical” measures that he finds offensive, he should probably refuse the engagement, for once engaged, he will be morally bound to keep his promises to his client. In any event, the attorney must pursue the “objectives” – that is, the litigation goals – the client wishes.

All of which brings us to President Trump and John Dowd, Trump’s lead, personal lawyer in the Russia investigation. By all accounts, Dowd is a skilled, experienced criminal lawyer who has zealously represented clients over a long career.

He now represents a client who believes (or simply complains) that he is the repeated victim of “fake news.” Trump is a client who has publicly insisted there is basically moral equivalence between the Neo-Nazi groups marching in Charlottesville and, what Trump has termed, the “alt-left”, i.e., the protesters who challenged those marching.

With that background, Dowd transmitted to conservative journalists, government officials and friends an email with the subject line “The Information that Validates President Trump on Charlottesville” – sent to him, by the way, by a conspiracy theorist who believes the FBI has been infiltrated by Islamic terrorists – which repeated secessionist Civil War propaganda and alleged that Black Lives Matter is permeated by terrorists.

These may be the views of Trump’s base, but the real question – is this what the president’s lawyer should be doing?

More than 25 years ago in Nevada, Dominic Gentile, an attorney, held a press conference the day after his client was indicted, and made statements that may potentially have prejudiced an eventual jury (in fact, the client was ultimately acquitted). The U.S. Supreme Court unambiguously stated, during the course of its decision, that “[a]n attorney’s duties do not begin inside the courtroom door . . . . A defense attorney may pursue lawful strategies to obtain dismissal of an indictment or reduction of charges, including an attempt to demonstrate in the court of public opinion that the client does not deserve to be tried.”

Indeed, an attorney should employ these strategies to fend off an indictment – presumably Dowd’s intention of ginning up public opinion in a particular direction on behalf of his client-in-chief.

Still, has Dowd basically become what, in the ‘60’s, one would have called a “movement lawyer” – that is, a lawyer entirely engaged not only with the client, but to the philosophy or agenda the client espouses, in this case unrelated to the case on which he is representing the client?

In other words, Dowd, the attorney, seems not simply to be an attorney articulating his client’s innocence (or at least non-guilt), but he appears to be actually “joining with” the president to publicize why the client’s political beliefs are valid. If that were indeed his strategy, it would seem he hopes to establish that Trump is a “victim” of a totally biased media trying to push Trump into the waiting arms of special counsel Mueller, or a potentially impeachment-happy Congress — one that might begin to see Trump’s Charlottesville remarks as the last straw.

Now, this can be a very effective, and important, strategy – the lawyer is putting his own reputation on the line as a “true believer” in his client’s position. But Dowd is no movement lawyer and, if you are going to fake it, you better pick your topics carefully and hit a bases-loaded-out-of-the-park home run. Otherwise you – as lawyer – will likely do nothing other than hurt your own credibility, and most importantly, also your client’s.

This is particularly so given that Dowd, in forwarding the email, did not address in any way the Russia investigation, Mueller or any act for which Trump may, theoretically, eventually be indicted. Instead, he circulated an email on a completely unrelated topic, and declared, in effect, “My client is right and must be vindicated for his beliefs.”

Trump’s base is Trump’s base, and the base will likely largely remain. So can a seasoned lawyer, like Dowd, believe that what he is doing will move those who do not agree with Trump to his side?

If Dowd wants to help his client, emailing that “there is literally no difference between” Robert E. Lee and George Washington seems not the way to go. That seems more likely to make Dowd himself sound like a hired hack, or himself a racist – both characterizations for which there appears to be no support whatsoever.

But at bottom, it will undermine counsel’s credibility, and thus his ability to defend his client, if the allegations against the president come into full view, and if actual charges are considered or brought against him either by the Congress or the grand jury.

Joel Cohen, a former state and federal prosecutor, practices criminal defense law at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP in New York. Cohen is an adjunct professor at Fordham Law School. He regularly lectures and writes on law, ethics and social policy for the New York Law Journal and other publications, and is the author of “Broken Scales: Reflections on Injustice.” Dale J. Degenshein of Stroock assisted in preparing this article and Broken Scales. 


The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.

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More Americans are calling for Trump's impeachment than ever — here's how that would play out

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A new poll by PRRI released Thursday reveals rising support for President Donald Trump’s impeachment, with four in 10 Americans hoping to see the president removed from office.

That number is larger than it was six months ago, according to the poll.

The poll followed widespread outrage for Trump’s response to violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, where an apparent white supremacist plowed a car into counter protesters, killing one woman.

Trump made multiple statements after the violence, at first blaming “many sides” Saturday, before issuing an explicit condemnation of white nationalists and neo-Nazis on Monday. During a Tuesday press conference, Trump reverted back to blaming both sides.

“You had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent,” Trump said Tuesday. “Nobody wants to say that, but I’ll say it.”

In the wake of the press conference, #ImpeachTrump became a top trending topic on Twitter this week.

Here’s how impeachment would work:

What does it mean to be impeached?

An impeachment is essentially a formal indictment of a government official. Being impeached does not remove an official from office — rather, it means formal charges are being brought against them.

Two US presidents have been impeached: Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson.

Clinton was impeached in December 1998 on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice — he was accused of lying under oath about his extramarital affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. He eventually was acquitted.

Johnson was impeached in 1868 on the primary charge of violating the Tenure of Office Act by removing Secretary of War Edwin McMasters Stanton and trying to replace him with Lorenzo Thomas. Johnson was also acquitted.

President Richard Nixon resigned before impeachment proceedings could begin.

What charges can the president be impeached on?

At the federal level, the president, vice president, and “all civil officers of the United States” can be impeached for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors,” according to Article II of the US Constitution.

While all felonies are impeachable, the Supreme Court has never formally ruled on what constitutes an impeachable offense.

“After Watergate, many people said that an impeachable offense is whatever the House and Senate think it is,” Robert Deitz, a former top counsel for the National Security Agency and CIA, told Business Insider. “So I could imagine people saying: ‘Look, I don’t give a damn whether what [the president] did is felonious or not. But the comment or conduct itself has brought disgrace upon the White House, and therefore we think [the president] should be impeached for that.'”

Keith Whittington, an expert on presidential impeachment and a professor of politics at Princeton University, said: “It may be that he’s acting completely within his legal authority and yet still has abused his office in ways that might rise to the level of impeachable offenses.

“But that would have to be something that would need to be explored through congressional hearings,” he said.

US President Bill Clinton looks over to his wife Hillary January 28, during a memorial service on Capitol Hill for Lawton Chiles, a former senator who was governor of florida when he died in December. The impeachment trial of Clinton in the Senate is temporarily on hold as senators attempt to work out the details of deposing witnesses.

How does the impeachment process work?

In the case of a presidential impeachment, the onus is on Congress to bring a charge.

The House of Representatives drafts an article of impeachment, while the Senate holds the trial.

Any representative can initiate the presidential impeachment process.

The House Judiciary Committee typically reviews resolutions calling for the impeachment of a person, while the Rules Committee presides over resolutions calling for investigations into whether certain conduct is impeachable. It sends that resolution to the Judiciary Committee if it feels the conduct is objectionable.

The Judiciary Committee ultimately decides whether there are grounds for impeachment. If a majority of its members agree, the committee drafts a formal article of impeachment, which lays out a charge being brought against an official. That article is then brought and debated before the full House.

The House can consider each article individually or look at the resolution as a whole. If a simple majority votes to impeach based on any article or the full resolution, the impeachment goes to the Senate.

The Senate holds the trial for the charges. Typically, the vice president oversees Senate trials, but in a presidential impeachment, the chief justice of the Supreme Court presides.

The trial unfolds in the same way a criminal trial would in a courtroom. Representatives act as the prosecutors, while the official is defended by an attorney or attorneys of their choosing.

The Senate then deliberates in private, the way a jury does. For an official to be removed from office, two-thirds of senators must vote to convict them.

If that official is convicted, they are immediately removed from office and may be prohibited from holding office in the future. A conviction also opens the door for a possible a criminal prosecution.

SEE ALSO: POLL: 40% of Americans now say they want Trump impeached

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Uzbekistan: “More Than 10000 Criminals Roaming the Streets” – EurasiaNet

Uzbekistan’s president had some harsh words for the police during a government meeting last week.

Speaking on August 17, Shavkat Mirziyoyev noted that more than 3,000 crimes remain unsolved and that out of 16,000 wanted persons, only around 5,200 have so far been detained.

Mirziyoyev called on the the General Prosecutor’s Office, the Interior Ministry, the National Security Services and the Supreme Court to undertake a deep analysis of the work of the police and to draw up a detailed report.

As has lately become customary for similarly critical outbursts on the work of government bodies, the remarks were broadcast on state television.

“If we cannot bring some order to the work of our interior ministry agencies, our people will never come to trust us. People need peace, which should be ensured to them by the Interior Ministry. At the root of all these shortcomings is the unsatisfactory quality of work being done during the recruitment, placement and training of personnel,” Mirziyoyev said.

Mirziyoyev also pointed out that over the course of this year to date, 223 criminal cases have been opened against police officers and that 462 police officers have been hauled up on disciplinary charges. The scale of the problem may not be fully evident, however, as there have been cases of police actively covering up their crimes, he said.

This is one of many taboos being broken by Mirziyoyev of late. Back in the days of the late President Islam Karimov, revealing figures about the amount of crimes committed by policemen themselves would simply have been inconceivable.

Criminal lawyer Munozhat Parpiev told EurasiaNet.org that the transformations are even extending into the justice system.

“Before, if we appealed a court decision, it was quite useless. Now the situation has changed and our appeals are considered within 10 days, and it can have a meaningful impact on the judicial process. Lawyer’s enquiries are responded to and you can get information,” Parpiev said.

This new regime of transparency arguably began on December 13, when the Interior Ministry created a form on its official website through members of the public could register complaints and suggestions. That led to a tidal wave of responses. A telephone “trust line” — with the brief and memorable number 1102 — was set up on May 1.

All this does not disguise the fact that reports of distressing police abuses continue to go unaddressed. One such instance is the case of Murodillo Omonov, a 32-year old businessman in the Surkhandarya region, around 700 kilometers from the capital, Tashkent, who was allegedly tortured and later died as a result of mistreatment he suffered after being detained by police on January 20 as he returned home from a wedding.

Omonov’s mother has taken up the cause of trying to get to the bottom of the case, but, according to rights activists, has been actively hindered, not to say harassed, by the authorities every step of the way.

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Photos show thousands of counterprotesters descending on Boston to drown out a right-wing 'free speech' rally

boston counter protesters

Roughly 40,000 people descended on Boston Common on Saturday to protest a controversial right-wing “free speech” rally that had been planned.

The event came one week after violence and chaos erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia during a white nationalist rally. One woman died after an apparent white supremacist plowed his car into a crowd of counterprotesters.

In contrast, Saturday’s demonstrations in Boston remained largely peaceful, despite some skirmishes with police. Twenty-seven people were ultimately arrested, police told media.

Here’s how the day unfolded:

SEE ALSO: Trump labels Boston protesters ‘anti-police agitators,’ then praises them for ‘speaking out against bigotry and hate’

A right-wing rally for ‘free speech’ had been planned for Saturday

But many feared it would draw white supremacists and neo-Nazis

Roughly 40,000 people showed up to protest against the rally

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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From General Hospital to Criminal Minds, now Shemar Moore will … – WGNO

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NEW ORLEANS — From General Hospital to Criminal Minds, now Shemar Moore will return to TV.

The revamped TV series S.W.A.T. that aired in the 70’s and the movie S.W.A.T. that stars Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds will have a new look in the Fall on CBS.

Shemar says that the times have updated and so has the show which will include events that are happening today like the racism in America.

In the rebooted series Shemar plays Sergeant Daniel “Hondo” Harrelson. His character takes over the squad of a highly skilled unit after his former boss was killed in the line of duty.

Catch the first season of S.W.A.T. on CBS Thursday, November 2nd 10/9c.

To see more of Shemar’s interview CLICK HERE.

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Self-expression through socks: Alamance lawyers play 'crazy sock game' – Burlington Times News

GRAHAM — There are many ways people who visit the Alamance County courts express themselves. You see images and messages on T-shirts, jewelry, and skin — and even on jewelry poking through ears, noses, lips, cheeks and eyebrows. But generally you don’t see these things on the people working there.

Most courthouse workers are expected, or even required, to be a little more buttoned down. The lawyers especially are pretty much stuck wearing suits, but some folks just need to let it out somehow.

“If we could all wear tie-dyed suits we would,” said Robert Giles, a criminal-defense attorney in Graham.

Giles has yet to be seen wearing tie-dye in court, but he is one of a handful of lawyers around the courthouse sporting brightly colored or wildly patterned socks. On a recent Tuesday he was proudly wearing a pair with a pastel-colored argyle.

Brad Buchanan, also a Graham lawyer who handles a lot of cases at the Alamance County Criminal Courts Building — and wearing socks depicting Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” — agreed there are few options for color.  

“(Socks) and the neckties, but neckties are so in your face, you don’t want to go too far with those,” Buchanan said.

Even with socks, lawyers have to know their limits.

Attorney John Cox also plays what he calls the “crazy sock game,” but not in front of a jury. It’s too distracting.

“Unless your evidence is really bad,” Buchanan joked.

The crazy sock fashion appears to be a local phenomenon.

“It’s an Alamance County thing,” Giles said. “If you go to other counties, they wear boring socks.”

Todd Smith spends a lot of time in federal court. In Greensboro, he said, “they know me,” and aren’t surprised by his wardrobe habits, but recently in Fayetteville a security guard asked him to remove his shoes at the metal detectors for a thorough security check.

“And the guy says, ‘What’s with the socks?’” Smith recalled. “I said, ‘”I’m from Alamance County. We’re all doing that.’”

“He said, ‘Yeah, sure.'”

This has been going on for a while. Giles said it started with a long-time real-estate lawyer in Burlington and a recently retired Alamance County senior Superior Court judge.

“It was Doug Hoy and Wayne Abernathy — before he became a boring judge,” Giles said.

Smith said it might also have been Early Kenan, known around the courthouse as a sharp dresser. Kenan, however, who had a client on trial this past week, was wearing black socks to match his suit.

“I refuse to play that game,” Giles said about wearing matching socks.

Novelty socks aren’t hard to find. Buchanan said they are in most big department stores. One brand he likes is called Happy Socks.

Giles said shopping for them has become kind of a hobby.

“I just look for them everywhere.”

The search can be a painful reminder of the impacts of globalization.

“We made socks here in Alamance County for hundreds of years,” Giles said. “When you start looking for cool socks, it’s very hard to find any made in the USA.”

Reporter Isaac Groves can be reached at igroves@thetimesnews.com or 336-506-3045. Follow him on Twitter at @tnigroves.

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