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Thursday, Oct 30th

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GPS data at time of shooting should clear Baltimore man's conviction

Lamont DavisLamont Davis has a seemingly ironclad alibi for why he can’t have been the triggerman in a Baltimore shooting that left a five-year-old girl paralyzed. A GPS tracking device he’d been ordered to wear puts him in his home half a mile away at the time. Yet Davis sits in a Maryland prison serving life plus 30 years in the case, which was front page news in the city when it happened in 2009.

Davis’ lawyers call what happened to him a failure of the system and a mindboggling miscarriage of justice, a case where the passion to punish someone trumped the technological evidence. And that’s why they’re asking Baltimore’s top prosecutor to agree that his conviction should be set aside.

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Pro Publica: The Red Cross’ Secret Disaster

Red Cross disastern 2012, two massive storms pounded the United States, leaving hundreds of thousands of people homeless, hungry or without power for days and weeks.

Americans did what they so often do after disasters. They sent hundreds of millions of dollars to the Red Cross, confident their money would ease the suffering left behind by Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Isaac. They believed the charity was up to the job.  They were wrong.

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Supreme Court stays Missouri inmate's execution

mark ChristesonThe U.S. Supreme Court late Tuesday halted the execution of a Missouri man who killed a woman and her two children, citing concerns that his legal counsel was ineffective.

Mark Christeson, 35, was scheduled to die by injection at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday at the state prison in Bonne Terre before the late stay of execution was issued. Missouri Department of Corrections spokesman Mike O'Connell said it wasn't clear what will happen next for Christeson.

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Court filing: FBI impersonated repairmen in ruse

Paul PhuaFederal agents turned off Internet access to three luxury villas at a Las Vegas hotel then impersonated repair technicians to surreptitiously get inside and collect evidence in an investigation of online sports betting, according to defense lawyers challenging the practice.

The FBI employed the ruse against the recommendation of an assistant U.S. attorney, Kimberly Frayn, according to lawyers for four of eight men charged in the case. They filed a motion late Tuesday in federal court in Las Vegas to dismiss evidence in the case. According to a conversation recorded by an investigator for the hotel, the prosecutor told FBI agents "it was a consent issue," the lawyers said.

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Could You Be the Next Innocent American to Have Your Bank Account Seized by the Government?

IRA can seize your bank accountYou may be innocent, but that doesn’t mean a federal agent can’t grab your money and property at will — and keep it without any consequences.

The Internal Revenue Service is supposed to go after criminals who launder money or people who cheat on their taxes, but lately, agents have been going after ordinary Americans who have been accused of nothing, nada, zilch. Bewildered citizens are having their bank accounts seized and forking over thousands of dollars in legal fees to try to combat this gross violation of their rights — let’s just call it outright theft — often to no avail.

You could be next.

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'Born and raised' Texans forced to prove identities under new voter ID law

Texas ID lawEric Kennie is a Texan. He is as Texan as the yucca plants growing outside his house. So Texan that he has never, in his 45 years, travelled outside the state. In fact, he has never even left his native city of Austin. “No sir, not one day. I was born and raised here, only place I know is Austin.”

You might think that more than qualifies Kennie as a citizen of the Lone Star state, entitling him to its most basic rights such as the ability to vote. Not so, according to the state of Texas and its Republican political leadership. On 4 November, when America goes to the polls in the midterm elections, for the first time in his adult life Eric Kennie will not be allowed to participate.

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Sobering conditions at Narco Freedom’s three-quarter houses

Sobering conditions at drug free homesHenderson, a Harlem native who frequently wears a Yankees cap, arrives at the clinic by 8 a.m., where a single, faded blue sign by to the door reads, “NF We care.” It is one of 10 outpatient drug treatment centers in New York City run by the nonprofit Narco Freedom, which serves 6,000 people a year. Tax records show Narco Freedom received approximately $44 million in revenue in 2012, 83 percent of it from Medicaid.

Henderson lives in a three-quarter house — so called because it is a step between a halfway house and full independence — that’s also owned by Narco Freedom. The larger rooms house 12 men, divided among rows of bunk beds. Rent is $215 a month — standard among three-quarter houses in New York, since that’s what the city’s welfare agency, the Human Resources Administration, pays in temporary shelter assistance to landlords. (While Narco Freedom often applies directly to the HRA on behalf of tenants, Henderson says he pays the rent from his monthly $805 Social Security check.)

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