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Criminal Trials

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Paraphernalia paranoia: Allston head shops shut down

Who is responsible for the wave of "functional glass art" shop raids that has recently taken place throughout Allston?
Busted
By VALERIE VANDE PANNE  |  July 02, 2010
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Trail of jeers

As summer officially kicks off this weekend, thousands upon thousands of people will be descending on our fair metropolis to get a glimpse of America's most history-drenched city.
Forget Paul Revere. This summer, treat yourself to a tour of Boston's worst in political corruption.
By LAWRENCE ''HUGGY'' BERGMAN  |  June 18, 2010
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Charges against former UMass student to be dropped

A Mattapan man's 28-month legal ordeal ended in a Northampton courtroom last week, as the Northwestern District Attorney's office agreed to drop all charges against him pending an additional two months of incident-free pre-trial probation.
Justice Is Served Dept.
By JEREMY C. FOX  |  June 11, 2010

Death penalty possible for Watland

Gary Watland, the brilliant and mentally ill convicted murderer whose 2006 scheme to have his wife smuggle a loaded handgun into the Maine State Prison in Warren was foiled when another prisoner tipped off officials, faces a possible death penalty if co
Prison Murder
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  May 28, 2010
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Mirror, mirror

Virtually every year, like clockwork, a college-football player is arrested for getting blasted and then running around town vandalizing cars — a crime that almost always involves ripping multiple side mirrors off of multiple automobiles.
Smashing up cars in South Alabama; Plus, it's that frisky NFL draft time of year
By MATT TAIBBI  |  April 30, 2010
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QB freak

Trying to parse the situation with Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and his sexual-assault allegations, one comes to some interesting conclusions. The strategy pursued by law enforcement in this case speaks volumes.
No charges for Roethlisberger, but Big Ben’s reputation might be sacked
By MATT TAIBBI  |  April 23, 2010


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It takes an identity thief

In late April 2006, shortly before the hearing to evict his tenant Karen Keester, Lee Gersch received a phone call from Keester’s twin sister, Michelle. She had just gotten divorced, Michelle claimed, and needed to move to Boston from Arkansas for a new
How Karen Keester made off with $250,000 — and became one of Boston's most accomplished con artists
By JACLYN TROP  |  April 23, 2010
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UMass racial-confrontation case may finally come to a close

A racial incident that rocked Western Massachusetts two years ago may finally be laid to rest this week, as a black former UMass Amherst student charged with aggravated assault returns to court, apparently having reached an agreement with the Northwester
Is justice being served?
By JEREMY C. FOX  |  April 02, 2010
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What's the scam?

Back on the morning of June 7, 1982, a man walked into the New York branch of the Middle East Bank on the 25th floor of a Madison Avenue office building and tried to deposit a $2 million check. The man, a native of the United Arab Emirates, left without
Trying to bilk the Scientologists
By JIM SCHUH  |  September 25, 2009
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You're all guilty!

Silverglate's thesis is as provocative as it is simple: justice has become sufficiently perverted in this nation that federal prosecutors, if they put their minds to it, could find a way to indict almost any one of us for almost anything. It is a truly r
In his new book, Three Felonies a Day , Harvey Silverglate dissects the corrupt justice practiced by federal prosecutors
By PETER KADZIS  |  September 25, 2009
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The punch that took two lives

What started out as a lazy late-summer school day for Joe Donovan and Yngve Raustein ended in the murder of the latter. Below, we trace Donovan's steps, from the point he first hooked up with the duo who would end up his cohorts in crime to the spot wh
Nearly 17 years ago, Joe Donovan initiated a tragic chain of events with a brutish act of machismo. But should he be in jail for life?
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  August 07, 2009


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Boston's $10 Million Boo-Boos

The bill continues to come due for the string of nine wrongful convictions discovered in Boston between 1999 and 2004 — a tab that has now topped $10 million in court settlements.
Righting a wrongful conviction
By DAVID S. BERNSTEIN  |  July 03, 2009
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White-supremacist code printed nationwide

While von Brunn survived to face federal criminal charges and may yet die slowly in federal prison, he did manage to get newspapers around the globe to print a white-supremacist code praising Adolf Hitler right next to his name.
Co-Opting the Media
By JEFF INGLIS  |  June 19, 2009
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Scammer solstice

It's summertime, and the scammin' is easy. What else can explain the recent appearance of a former NFL player in court to face 22 counts of . . . wait for it . . . mortgage fraud!
Football meets fraud in Georgia. Plus, Wazzu wackiness, and Tim Donaghy gets busted up.
By MATT TAIBBI  |  June 19, 2009
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Far and away

Man, has this been an interesting few weeks in sports crime, featuring some of the weirder cases you'll ever hear about.
Some of the strangest cases we've had
By MATT TAIBBI  |  January 28, 2009

Advocates renew challenge to punitive probation practices

At the conclusion of its 2008 session, the General Assembly passed a bill that would have reformed state criminal justice procedure for probationers charged with new crimes.
Violations
By ARIEL WERNER  |  December 03, 2008


A mighty bad man

October 3, 1995, brought my worst experience at the University of Memphis.  
Balls, pucks, and monster trucks
By RICK WORMWOOD  |  October 09, 2008
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Blunt object

Question 2 supporters claim Massachusetts district attorneys committed “at least 15 violations of Massachusetts campaign-finance and election laws” in the runup to the marijuana-decriminalization vote. 
The political fight over a November marijuana-reform ballot question has sparked a Battle of the Bong
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  September 24, 2008

The mentally ill, criminalized

She is afraid he will continue to be kept in the Supermax, which will make him worse, she says.
Common nonsense
By LANCE TAPLEY  |  September 10, 2008
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Astro naught

Always a darned shame when we hear that the Clemens family has fallen on hard times.
Sports blotter: "More trouble for the Clemens family" edition
By MATT TAIBBI  |  September 10, 2008
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Will race enter the race?

Two years ago, when Dianne Wilkerson inexplicably failed to submit the necessary signatures to get her name on the Democratic primary ballot for re-election as state senator, a 28-year-old upstart seized the opportunity.
Dianne Wilkerson and Sonia Chang-Díaz don’t talk about the racial split in their Senate showdown, but it’s likely to make its mark
By DAVID S. BERNSTEIN  |  July 30, 2008


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From janitor to detainee: one woman’s story

As part of her job cleaning the Superior Court in Providence, Angela de la Vega often imagined how hard it must be to be a judge.
Immigration
By AMY LITTLEFIELD  |  July 23, 2008
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Head case

Who is Jim Marzilli, exactly? Is he a predatory letch? Or is he a deeply troubled man who needs to be kept from harassing women — but also from hurting himself?
Media coverage of a State House sex scandal reveals the pitfalls of reporting on mental illness
By ADAM REILLY  |  July 23, 2008
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Darkness falls in the Dark Knight

“The night is darkest just before the dawn,” says District Attorney Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight .
Scars run deep in Christopher Nolan’s Götterdämmerung
By BRETT MICHEL  |  July 16, 2008

William Lemmer: Coming home

This article originally appeared in the July 11, 1978 issue of the Boston Phoenix.
The further history of a Vietnam-era informer
By JEFFREY STEIN  |  July 10, 2008
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Naked in the public square

In the finest Puritan tradition, Middlesex District Attorney Gerald Leone is crusading to save Harvard Square from the shock and awe of the nude human form.
Freedom Watch
By HARVEY SILVERGLATE AND JAMES TIERNEY  |  June 25, 2008


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You’re fired! Or not . . .

This past summer, Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis was outraged by the actions of four officers, including three lieutenants, accused of manipulating the detail system to defraud the department.
More naughty cops
By DAVID S. BERNSTEIN  |  May 14, 2008

More than a few loose ends

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis has ordered a review of evidence in the wrongful conviction of Stephan Cowans, following a report in the Phoenix that raised questions about possible police misconduct .
BPD to review Cowans evidence
By DAVID S. BERNSTEIN  |  March 05, 2008
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See no evil

An intriguing battle pitting government against the press is currently percolating on the North Shore and here in Boston.

What’s on the videotape Dan Conley won’t make public? Plus, winners in the Times’ McCain mess.


By ADAM REILLY  |  February 27, 2008
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The case of Milan Kohout

Kohout, a serious man, was engaged in the serious business of political protest.
The right of a performance artist represents the rights of all Americans. Plus, an opportunity with Cuba.
By EDITORIAL  |  February 21, 2008