Diane Dimond from Creators Syndicate https://www.creators.com/read/diane-dimond Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Sat, 25 May 2019 17:58:58 -0700 https://www.creators.com/ http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss Diane Dimond from Creators Syndicate https://cdn.creators.com/features/diane-dimond-thumb.jpg https://www.creators.com/read/diane-dimond 2d0892bd4841cc704a5ccb7c26689113 The Staggering Costs of Imprisonment in the US for 05/25/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/diane-dimond/05/19/the-staggering-costs-of-imprisonment-in-the-us Sat, 25 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Guess how much our nation's system of mass incarceration costs each year? I'm talking about the taxpayer-funded budgets of prisons, jails, probation departments and the public employees who staff them. Add in the cost of running the criminal justice system; the amount spent on health care, food and incidentals for inmates; and the financial burden on families that have a person in the system. Put all that together and guess how much we, collectively, spend on our system of imprisonment in the United States: $182 billion a year. </p> <p>Let that sink in for a moment. At least $182 billion &#8212; <i> each year</i>, according to criminal justice think tank the Prison Policy Initiative. At a time when the nation's crime rate is declining (except in a few major cities), the cost of incarceration is ever increasing. Why is that? <p>Updated: Sat May 25, 2019</p> 56f19bccd005f137ad9c14030e0cdefa Allowing Prisoners to Vote: Let's Think This Through for 05/18/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/diane-dimond/05/19/allowing-prisoners-to-vote-lets-think-this-through Sat, 18 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p>So democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders wants to give all prisoners the right to vote. He said so during a recent campaign speech, much to the surprise of many. I was among them. </p> <p>Sanders believes that "the right to vote is inherent to our democracy" and even "terrible people" like the Boston Marathon bomber should be allowed to participate. No other democratic candidate has gotten behind this idea, although several have said they support returning the right to vote to convicts after their release. </p> <p>It is up to individual states to decide who can and cannot vote. In some states, convicted felons are never allowed to vote again. Other states require the newly released ex-con to apply for reinstatement to the voting rolls. Some make the applicant wait until after probation and/or parole is complete. Currently, only two states allow felons to cast ballots from behind bars: Sanders' home state, Vermont, and the neighboring state Maine. <p>Updated: Sat May 18, 2019</p> 6ca32b69985999653976a061219835a4 It Is Not a Crime to Win for 05/11/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/diane-dimond/05/19/it-is-not-a-crime-to-win Sat, 11 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>This is not one of my typical crime and justice columns. This one comes from a personal place. </p> <p>I love the television show "Jeopardy!" I adore host Alex Trebek, and I watch the program whenever I can. So when contestant James Holzhauer recently started racking up hundreds of thousands of dollars and then reached more than $1.6 million before a two-week hiatus, I was spellbound! Holzhauer is perhaps on his way to beating the all-time "Jeopardy!" champ, Ken Jennings, who took home more than $2.5 million in 2004. I can't wait to see if that record is broken. <p>Updated: Sat May 11, 2019</p> 6860e35955e9fd435a3ef4f11fa7e4d1 Are Lawyers Immune From Defamation Laws? for 05/04/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/diane-dimond/05/19/are-lawyers-immune-from-defamation-laws Sat, 04 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p>If someone libels, slanders or defames your character, you can sue them. Of course, you'll have to be able to prove in court how the person injured your reputation or business, and you'll have to show that what was said was more than just ugly opinion. You'll have to show the offender made a false statement of fact. </p> <p>I got to thinking: If everyone is equal under the law, shouldn't this standard also apply to those high-powered lawyers who routinely throw out defamatory comments while defending their celebrity clients? </p> <p>Brothers Bola and Ola Osundairo have filed a defamation lawsuit against the attorneys representing television actor Jussie Smollett. You probably remember that Smollett was accused by law enforcement in Chicago of filing a false police report in late January. <p>Updated: Sat May 04, 2019</p> aeb670bcbe334b94053986501e50b862 Reducing Mass Shootings by Recognizing Red Flags for 04/27/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/diane-dimond/04/19/reducing-mass-shootings-by-recognizing-red-flags Sat, 27 Apr 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Want to reduce the number of mass shootings in the United States? Then let's ramp up efforts to stop domestic abuse. </p> <p>Just as a red flag is raised when a child tortures animals, often a precursor to later criminal behavior, there is plenty of evidence that mass shooters display red-flag behaviors, like aggression and violence against women and children, before they ever pick up a gun and start hunting fellow human beings. </p> <p>Oh, I know domestic abuse is a topic people don't like to talk about. And when they do, they often conclude it's a private matter or a "woman's issue." It happens behind closed doors. It's their business. We shouldn't interfere. Wrong, wrong, wrong. In case study after case study we see that those who beat and otherwise terrorize their families (some of the aggressors are women) then direct their unresolved anger at perfect strangers. It's a flaming red flag that we should no longer look past.<p>Updated: Sat Apr 27, 2019</p> 24e03e9e9bc58925fa649b08f266087a Our Justice System Isn't Fair for 04/20/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/diane-dimond/04/19/our-justice-system-isnt-fair Sat, 20 Apr 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p>We in America have lost faith. Not only is there a decline of religious faith in the United States; there is also a lack of confidence in the institutions that made this country a worldwide superpower, respected by all.</p> <p>I'm most worried about the lack of faith in our justice system. </p> <p>Today, people of all races, creeds and colors believe the status quo, which has created a current prison population of 2.3 million plus another 4.5 million on probation or parole. That simply isn't fair. Rich people get to pay their way out of problems while poorer people (mostly those with darker skin) get swallowed up by the system, imprisoned and tainted by their conviction record for life.<p>Updated: Sat Apr 20, 2019</p> 7f9af9abffb67549e53e7b0ede81a212 The Myths Surrounding Rape Victims for 04/13/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/diane-dimond/04/19/the-myths-surrounding-rape-victims Sat, 13 Apr 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Former Pennsylvania Prosecutor Kristen Gibbons Feden has a message for defense attorneys who represent accused rapists: The days of victim shaming are over. Her prosecution partner, Stewart Ryan, agrees, saying, "The band aid has been ripped off now," and more than ever victims are feeling strong enough to press charges against their attacker and go to trial. </p> <p>Credit the #MeToo movement. But also credit the team of Feden and Ryan (along with police investigator Sgt. Richard Schaffer) who delivered to the nation the first major celebrity sex-crimes conviction in recent history &#8212; that of comedian Bill Cosby. <p>Updated: Sat Apr 13, 2019</p> f2b094aec4e09cf4bf8a6478f5c141fa Eradicating Robocalls Once and for All for 04/06/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/diane-dimond/04/19/eradicating-robocalls-once-and-for-all Sat, 06 Apr 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Say, here's an idea for something Congress can do while it anxiously awaits release of the Mueller report. How about doing something to directly &#8212; and positively &#8212; help countless millions of Americans every single day? </p> <p>Stop all those damn robocalls that plague us once and for all! No one on the planet welcomes a robocall. No one. <span class="column--highlighted-text">We dutifully sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry, but they still come, billions of times every month. They are the daily bane of our already harried existence.</span><p>Updated: Sat Apr 06, 2019</p> 93928ea7d46a240251312ee1cd2aa3c6 The Stark Lessons After Mueller for 03/30/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/diane-dimond/03/19/the-stark-lessons-after-mueller Sat, 30 Mar 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p>We are just emerging from a traumatic nearly two-year-long political drama that will surely be written about in history books. It has created a national schism that's left permanent scars with disagreeing family members, political parties and the public's trust of the media. </p> <p>While the so-called Russian collusion scandal has not played out entirely, it is already time to ask ourselves what we can learn from it. </p> <p>The scandal was born of the body politic, an organization that has disintegrated into a game of media-assisted character assassination coupled with a scorched-earth policy aimed at attacking every person close to the opposition candidate. Today it is routine to viciously attack those who embrace different political views, even if it means using allegations that are 10, 20 or even 30 years old. <p>Updated: Sat Mar 30, 2019</p> ed5397616a7941023ad1161c259d68cf Mug Shots Live on -- Even for the Not Guilty for 03/23/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/diane-dimond/03/19/mug-shots-live-on-even-for-the-not-guilty Sat, 23 Mar 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>When the suspect of the Christchurch, New Zealand, mass shooting was led into a courtroom, photographers captured his shackled image. The judge then ordered that the face of Brenton Harris Tarrant, accused of the worst mass murder in New Zealand history, be blurred from public view to ensure he gets a fair trial. </p> <p>What a quaint judicial order in this media-saturated day and age. <p>Updated: Sat Mar 23, 2019</p> 5933cc59d802b7879c1bf079f145c524 Immigration: Crisis or Not, It is a Problem for 03/16/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/diane-dimond/03/19/immigration-crisis-or-not-it-is-a-problem Sat, 16 Mar 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p>So, what is the reality of immigration into the United States? Is it the "humanitarian crisis at the border" some speak about, or is it, as others maintain, nothing much to worry about?</p> <p>Both statements are correct &#8212; to a point. Border apprehensions had been declining for years. But it used to be the majority of immigrants were solo males looking for work to send money home. Today, it is mostly families with children attempting to enter the U.S., and we are simply not equipped to handle them all.</p> <p>Americans hardly know what to believe anymore. We live in a facts-be-damned era when assertions are made and then reported by the news media, often with no perspective or assurance that the comments are true.<p>Updated: Mon Mar 18, 2019</p> 86c621ed90dede970889a9779a80650b A Primer on Pedophiles for 03/09/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/diane-dimond/03/19/a-primer-on-pedophiles Sat, 09 Mar 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>People worldwide have watched the HBO documentary "Leaving Neverland" featuring two men who said they were repeatedly sexually abused by Michael Jackson as children. The documentary delved into how such abuse can occur, a predator's methods and the lifelong damage it can do to a child victim. I'm not convinced most Americans truly understand how a pedophile operates. </p> <p>There is still this perception that these sexual crimes are suddenly forced upon the child, that violence, restraints and bloodshed are the norm. Nothing could be further from the truth. <p>Updated: Sat Mar 09, 2019</p> 0be84f8ac498f617b9ac63b4b343989b The State of Hate in the US for 03/02/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/diane-dimond/03/19/the-state-of-hate-in-the-us Sat, 02 Mar 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Is America really full of hate? Are we truly a nation teeming with victims? Outsiders could certainly come to that conclusion after digesting the steady stream of agitated comments from activists, politicians and media reports about the divisive state of our interpersonal relationships.</p> <p>Hate speech, hate crimes, violence perpetrated by hate groups &#8212; all topics the media has made a near-daily staple of its coverage. Headlines scream that hate is on the rise!<p>Updated: Sat Mar 02, 2019</p> d5428f389a5871447d967cabac69e029 Gun Owners Have Rights -- And Responsibilities for 02/23/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/diane-dimond/02/19/gun-owners-have-rights-and-responsibilities Sat, 23 Feb 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Guess how many stolen guns are out there floating around America. (Hint: It's in the millions!)</p> <p>These are guns that most frequently make their way to the criminal element, and are used with impunity because the shooter knows it will be difficult to tie them to the weapon. Imagine the trouble this causes law enforcement as it tries to find the perpetrator of a deadly crime in which a stolen gun was used. There are no sales receipts floating around when guns change hands this way.<p>Updated: Sat Feb 23, 2019</p> fff072d2b01a3f34457d5992088414b2 His Name Was Bobby for 02/16/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/diane-dimond/02/19/his-name-was-bobby Sat, 16 Feb 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Now we have a name. After two agonizing decades, the "Boy Under the Billboard" case I wrote about last year has finally been solved. But in determining the identity of the strangled 10-year-old boy who was abandoned under a highway billboard, the sheriff's detectives also unraveled a dark family mystery. </p> <p>His name was Robert "Bobby" Adam Whitt, a boy with a thick thatch of dark hair who was described as "a precious little boy" and "so sweet ... so kind," who loved to dance with his cousins, and play video games and air hockey. Whitt's recently located family says he adored his father and was the apple of his grandmother's eye. </p> <p>The odyssey to figure out the identity of this discarded child involved hundreds of people, from the responding officer and laboratory technicians who worked tirelessly on scant crime scene evidence, to the staff at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, to the famous facial reconstruction artist, Frank Bender, who took the child's skull and recreated a chillingly accurate rendition of what he looked like. <p>Updated: Sat Feb 16, 2019</p> c84d7d05d92f126f1d6b495bc374d25b Time To Retire the Perp Walk for 02/09/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/diane-dimond/02/19/time-to-retire-the-perp-walk Sat, 09 Feb 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Let's talk about a police practice known as the perp walk. It's the walk of shame of a suspected perpetrator of a crime, usually in a case that's top of the headlines or soon will be. </p> <p>As police move the handcuffed prisoner from place to place, both the public and the media are allowed to be on hand to shout accusations, take photos and videos and ask loaded questions. <p>Updated: Sat Feb 09, 2019</p> de782698358a64397ebacec90287bad0 How Many More Might Accuse Michael Jackson? for 02/02/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/diane-dimond/02/19/how-many-more-might-accuse-michael-jackson Sat, 02 Feb 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>The landscape has changed on a story I first began reporting some two decades ago, and newly released details demand an update to the sad saga. </p> <p>Two men have come forward to discuss in graphic detail what they say was their yearslong sexual abuse at the hands of entertainer Michael Jackson. Their claims spill out in a new four-hour documentary released at the Sundance Film Festival. Titled "Leaving Neverland," the biopic will be shown on HBO this spring.<p>Updated: Sat Feb 02, 2019</p> 1f5a0f3e2f94c3f10e55303dc2ceb6b0 Advances in DNA -- a Detective's Best Friend for 01/26/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/diane-dimond/01/19/advances-in-dna-a-detectives-best-friend Sat, 26 Jan 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Raymond "DJ Freez" Rowe got away with murder for more than two decades. As a popular fixture on the party scene in and around Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, he was "the" man to call for music at high school dances, restaurants, clubs and weddings. He was the last person his fans would have suspected in the brutal sexual assault and murder of 25-year-old schoolteacher Christy Mirack. </p> <p>But DJ Freez's luck ran out when his curious half sister sought out genealogy information and uploaded her DNA to start searching their family tree. Her biological information showed similarities to DNA found at the Mirack crime scene and ultimately led cold case detectives to her brother. Police followed the DJ to one of his gigs and collected his empty water bottle and used chewing gum. His DNA told them they had found their killer. </p> <p>Once confronted, Rowe admitted that on the early morning of Dec. 21, 1992, he forced his way into Mirack's apartment, beat her with a wooden board, raped her and strangled her with her own sweater. Christmas presents she'd planned to take to school were scattered around the room, evidence of a struggle. DNA technology coupled with a public genealogy service solved a crime that had shaken that Susquehanna River community for more than 26 years. Earlier this month, Rowe was sentenced to life in prison with no parole. <p>Updated: Sat Jan 26, 2019</p> 288601da47795d2a2d3f20e29eb49496 The U.S. Immigration System Helps Child Abusers for 01/19/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/diane-dimond/01/19/the-us-immigration-system-helps-child-abusers Sat, 19 Jan 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>We talk a lot about sexual abuse and harassment here in the United States. We are a country with a heightened sense of what's right and wrong when it comes to sex crimes. We are also a nation that preaches to others around the globe about the evils of forced marriage and marriages involving children. </p> <p>Our State Department has told officials in developing countries that forced marriage is a "human rights abuse and, in the case of minors, a form of child abuse." </p> <p>So why does our government actually encourage wedlock between girls as young as 13 and men in their 70s? <p>Updated: Sat Jan 19, 2019</p> 6d3eba18a27197047912ea416d56bacd A Border Wall for $55 for 01/12/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/diane-dimond/01/19/a-border-wall-for-55 Sat, 12 Jan 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>All this recent talk about walls got me thinking. History books and legends are full of examples of the need for and laborious building of walls around cities, countries and various structures.</p> <p>The Wall of Jericho was built thousands of years before Christ and kept the city population safe &#8212; for a while, anyway. The city of Troy was protected from Greek invaders by a huge wall, that is, until the Trojan War and the infamous Trojan horse ploy. There is the Great Wall of China, all 13,000 miles of it, that kept out invaders who sought to overthrow several Chinese dynasties. The wall around the Alamo foiled early Indian attackers but later proved to be pretty ineffective. And then there was the Berlin Wall, which divided East and West Germany for 28 years and then was destroyed in spectacular televised fashion in 1989. <p>Updated: Sat Jan 12, 2019</p>