Police are looking for your MySpace page

The press has recently reported on law enforcement looking for registered sex offenders on MySpace.com. But just because most of us are not child molesters does not mean there is nothing to fear from MySpace or other similar places.

Most people post information about themselves and their friends and they don’t care who knows it.

And if that’s you . . . well that’s your business. But it can come back to haunt.

You may want to consider what evidence you place on a webpage.

  • A fellow in a nasty break-up may want to avoid saying things about his (formerly) significant other. It feels great, but it may do more than make her mad. It may give her ideas. If an accusation is made, someone may draw the prosecutor’s attention to things you said that now make you look guilty.
  • If your MySpace page shows a video of you stumbling drunk and singing drinking songs, it may not be helpful for you after you are accused of a serious DWI.

Police, prosecutors, social workers and juvenile officers: They are all clued in to this stuff. They will find your page, probably from your friend’s pages. So–if you care–keep it in mind as you paint your life story across Officer Friendly’s computer monitor.

What if you get a traffic ticket in Missouri?

If you receive a traffic ticket most state and local agencies try to make it easy to plead guilty to the charge and pay the fine. Many city tickets can be paid in person before court or by mail. Many counties (including Cole County) allow fines for most state traffic violations to be paid through the Fine Collection Center. For your convenience, they take Mastercard and Visa 24/7.

Police CarThere are, however, some things to keep in mind when you pay such tickets:

  • Most moving violations will result in the addition of points to your Missouri driving privilege.
  • In paying off a ticket for a point violation of a state traffic law, you are pleading guilty to a misdemeanor crime.
  • If you have multiple or prior traffic violations you may pile up enough points to cause the Department of Revenue to suspend or revoke your license.
  • These violations will appear on your driving record and may affect your ability to carry affordable auto insurance.
  • If there was an accident involved, you may also be admitting liability where an injured party has a damage claim.

If any of the above is a problem, you need to have the case reviewed to determine if you have a defense to the charge. Even if the evidence is strong enough to make conviction likely, there are other options that may lower the charge against you or avoid some or all of the license points assessed.

Taser and gasoline: New way to commit “suicide by cop?”

I was just reading about the unhinged guy in Texas who threatened to burn himself and his house. It seems he doused himself with gas and when a Texas Ranger shot him with a Taser, the poor guy burst into flames and was burned to death.

There was also a theory that a lighter was the actual source of the fire. I wonder if Texas uses the Taser with the video camera aboard like our local sheriff?

At least then they could tell exactly what happened.

I hope Sheriff White has taken note of this story.

Missouri Highway Patrol given names of 178 sex offenders on MySpace

That’s what the article in the Columbia Missourian says. I have to agree. There must exist at least one or two drooling bottom-feeders dumb enough to use MySpace to troll for kiddies under THEIR OWN NAME. They have apparently found 7 of them in Texas.

It should be interesting to see how those prosecutions pan out. Prosecutors love to CHARGE these guys (great headlines), but they hate to try them–because juries often let them go.

However . . .

Through the years, my work has acquainted me with with many sex offenders. They seem–on the whole–more intelligent than your average defendant.

Doubtless there are thousands of registered sex offenders in Missouri who–should they wish to go prowling on MySpace–are smart enough to sign up under an alias. Nothing could be easier.

Eighth Circuit rules lethal injection in Missouri is not cruel and unusual

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals today lifted the injunction preventing the execution of convicted killer Michael Taylor. The controversy surrounded the three drug procedure used in executing murderers by lethal injection, typically as follows:

  1. A 5-gram dose of sodium pentothal (also known as thiopental) was injected to render the inmate unconscious, and
  2. a 60-milligram dose of pancuronium bromide was administered to paralyze the inmate’s muscles, and
  3. a 240-milliequivalent injection of potassium chloride was injected to stop the heart.

ExecutionerThe main claim made by Mr. Taylor was that there was a risk that if the first drug (the anesthetic) was not effective, he would suffer pain after the second drug paralyzed him and while the third drug caused his death.

In the district court, the state offered written procedures that it believed would assure a painless death (according to the experts who testified at the hearing), but the lower court rejected those written protocols and added numerous additional requirements. Today that lower court decision by a federal judge was reversed by the eighth circuit court of appeals.

The new state requirements:

  • A physician, nurse, or pharmacist prepares the chemicals, which are injected by nonmedical department employees.
  • A physician, nurse, or emergency medical technician holding either an “EMT- intermediate or EMT-paramedic” certification inserts the intravenous lines and confirm that the IV lines are working properly both before and during the execution.
  • Medical personnel must supervise the injection of the contents of the syringes by department employees. Before the second and third chemicals are injected, medical personnel must examine the prisoner physically to confirm that he is unconscious using standard clinical techniques.
  • The second and third chemicals are injected only after confirmation that the prisoner is unconscious and after a period of at least three minutes after the first injection of thiopental. The protocol also requires accurate documentation of the chemicals given.

The eighth circuit independently reviewed these protocols and found that they did not violate the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. They ruled that the lower court had no constitutional reason to impose any further requirements on the state.

The procedure was found to have no significant risk of pain to the prisoner. They noted that the “experts agree that if a 5-gram dose of thiopental is successfully delivered, there is virtually no risk that an inmate will suffer pain through Missouri’s three chemical sequence.”

Regarding this amount of anesthetic, the court noted testimony from experts stating that a five gram dose of sodium pentothal was 17 times the amount normally required to cause anesthesia sufficient for surgery.

Other testimony showed that the prisoner’s EEG would be “flatlined” before three minutes had passed. Translation: he’s dead before the second and third drugs are even given.