Submitted By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

lil-miss-hot-mess-smallFacebook LogoThe LGBT community and Facebook are in the midst of a great controversy for Facebook requiring anonymous or aliased members of the Drag Queen community to provide their legal names for their user accounts. The community is concerned that the forced use of their “real” names could lead to discrimination, harassment and hate crimes and that their Drag names are an essential component of their personal identity. Facebook counters that its policy has been in place since the beginning and these policies are necessary to protect the integrity of its service and to bring accountability to its users by requiring actual names within the users’ profiles.

The controversy raised important questions about the role of privacy, anonymity, and free speech in an increasingly public world along with balancing the needs of different segments of our society, and individual choices.

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b>Submitted by Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Stacey Dean Rambold

Stacey Dean Rambold

We previously reported HERE and HERE what many believe to be a grave miscarriage of justice where Montana School Teacher Stacey Dean Rambold was sentenced to Fifteen Years in prison with all but thirty one days suspended after being convicted of the child rape of a fourteen year old student. The victim later committed suicide.

After a public outcry and pressure placed upon the former judge and the prosecutor’s office Judge Randal Spaulding resentenced Rambold, this time to 15 years in prison, with five years of suspended, according to a prosecutor in the case. The court remanded Rambold to custody. He will receive credit for time served under his original sentence.

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Submitted by Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Caius Veiovis

Caius Veiovis

We previously discussed HERE the case of Caius Veiovis, a murder trial defendant having satanic tattoos and horn-like bumps implemented on his face. The trial raised questions as to whether his appearance might be prejudicial to a jury.

A Springfield Massachusetts jury found Caius guilty after six days of deliberation. The verdict included findings of guilt for kidnapping and intimidation of a witness.

After the reading of the verdict, Caius yelled to the jury, “I’ll see you in Hell!”

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Submitted by Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Radovan Karadžić in 1995

Radovan Karadžić in 1995

Prosecutors before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague are expected to present closing arguments in the years long trial of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžić for eleven counts of war crimes, including genocide charges for his involvement in the massacres of Bosnian Muslims and Ethnic Croats during his reign as the President of the Republika Srpska in the Bosnian war that was waged in the aftermath of the breakup of Yugoslavia.

Karadžić was a fugitive from justice from 1996 until his arrest in Belgrade in 2008 where shortly thereafter he was extradited to The Netherlands pending charges before the ICTY. He was preceded in trial by Slobodan Milošević, the former President of Serbia but who died prior to the conclusion of his trial. General Ratko Mladić, a Bosnian Serb military official, is also standing before the ICTY for events during the Srebrenica Massacre.

The prosecution expects that if most of the charges result in convictions, Karadžić likely will remain imprisoned for life.

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Submitted by Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Stewart Parnell

Stewart Parnell

In what promises to be a sign of holding executives liable for their involvement in putting poisonous products into the food supply a Federal Jury convicted former Peanut Corporation of America owner Stewart Parnell of Conspiracy, Obstruction of Justice, Wire Fraud, and other crimes relating to a nationwide outbreak of salmonella that sickened over seven hundred individuals in forty three states and likely killed nine. Federal investigators in 2009 traced tainted peanut butter supplied by Parnell’s business to several producers who then packaged it into peanut butter containing foods according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The seven week trial, the culmination of a five year ordeal, has perhaps in measure brought closure and justice for those suffering damages from executives who knowingly and intentionally conspired to endanger so many.

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holderericBelow is my column on the resignation of Eric Holder as United States Attorney General. For civil libertarians, Holder’s tenure as Attorney General under President Obama has been one of the most damaging periods in our history with a comprehensive attack on various constitutional rights and principles from free speech to the free press to international law. In recent polling by NBC and the Wall Street Journal, Holder was the second most unpopular government official after the positively radioactive Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

As someone who previously called for Holder’s firing after the investigation of various journalists under national security powers, I am hardly one who can offer congratulatory sentiments for such a record. However, much like President Obama, one has to wonder what could have been if Holder had chosen a more principled and less political approach to his office. Holder is resigning the same week that a federal judge ordered the release of “Fast and Furious” documents after the Justice Department was accused of a pattern of delay and obstruction. Holder was previously held in contempt by Congress for his withholding documents and conflicting accounts to an oversight committee looking into the scandal. Indeed, Holder was looking at an even more aggressive period with the possible loss of the Senate and increased GOP seats in the House.

Ironically, Holder came into office trying to distinguish himself from such disastrous predecessors as Alberto Gonzales but proved no less political or blindly loyal to his own president. Indeed, both men fought aggressively to expand the powers of the presidency and national security laws over countervailing individual rights and separation of powers principles. It will be civil liberties and not civil rights that will be the lasting, and troubling, legacy of Eric Holder. The column is below:

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124934515-e57055cd-e51d-400f-9705-9aecf3e4626cSamira Salih al-Nuaimi died last week as she lived: a brave symbol of human rights in a region of religious extremist and oppression. Al-Nuaimi, a mother of three and lawyer, was taken from her home in Mosul by Islamic State fighters and taken to a Sharia court for trial for apostasy in her abandoning of true Islamic teachings. This true Islamic path for ISIS then included days of torture and the executive of Al-Nuaimi.

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