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November 27, 2008

Woman convicted of 3 misdemeanors in Web suicide case

Woman convicted of 3 misdemeanors in Web suicide case - San Jose Mercury News
LOS ANGELES — A federal jury handed down what legal experts said was the country's first cyberbullying verdict Wednesday, convicting a Missouri woman of three misdemeanor charges of computer fraud for her involvement in creating a phony account on MySpace to trick a teenager, who later committed suicide. The jury deadlocked on a fourth count of conspiracy against the woman, Lori Drew, 49, and the judge, George Wu of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, declared a mistrial on that charge. While it was unclear how severely Drew will be punished — the jury reduced the charges to misdemeanors from felonies, and no sentencing date was set — the conviction was highly significant, computer fraud experts said, because it was the first time that a federal statute designed to combat computer crimes was used to prosecute what were essentially abuses of a user agreement on a social networking site. Under federal sentencing guidelines, Drew could face up to three years in prison and $300,000 in fines, though she has no previous criminal record and her attorney has asked for a new trial.

November 26, 2008

Efrén Paredes, Jr. -- Railroaded St. Joseph, Mich. man up for parole

My friend ** Nancy ** asked me to post this. If you have any interest, please follow up. Via email | Efrén Paredes, Jr. Public Hearing Press Conference
Date: Wednesday, December 3, 2008 Time: 12:00 PM Location: NorthStar Center * 106 Lathrop St. * Lansing, MI 48912 The Michigan Parole Board has scheduled a public hearing on Thursday, December 4, 2008, to consider the possible commutation of sentence for Efrén Paredes, Jr., #203116. It will be held at 11:00 a.m. at the T-100 Training Center, G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility, Jackson, Michigan. Efrén is an innocent Latino former honor student who was arrested at age 15 and wrongly convicted in 1989 for a murder and armed robbery he did not commit; a crime to which others plead guilty. The crime occurred in St. Joseph, Michigan (Berrien County), USA. The case against Efrén was entirely circumstantial. There was no physical evidence linking Efrén to the crime, no eyewitnesses to the crime, and Efrén was home with his parents and two brothers when the crime occurred. He was arrested, tried and convicted in a three month period and was sentenced to three life sentences. Efrén has been imprisoned nearly 20 years and is now 35-years-old.
The Berrien County Prosecutor's Office and investigating police provided false and erroneous information to the media in an attempt to convict Efrén in the media before trial. Their unethical conduct and betrayal of the public trust infected every level of the legal process and contributed to Efrén's unlawful conviction. The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) prohibits the imposition of life without parole sentences and the death penalty against juveniles. One hundred ninety-two nations in the world have ratified the CRC. Refusal to acknowledge this treaty is a human rights violation that contravenes the evolving standards of decency in a civilized society. Efrén enjoys the support from notable scholars and knowledgeable people across the country, including authors, criminologists, clergy, community leaders, activists and a world renowned wrongful convictions expert and veteran private investigator, Paul Ciolino. Ciolino is the author of numerous articles in professional publications and the book "In the Company of Giants: The Ultimate Investigation Guide for Legal Professionals, Activists, Journalists & the Wrongfully Convicted." In addition he co-wrote the best-selling and critically acclaimed textbooks "Advanced Forensic Criminal Defense Investigations" and "Advanced Forensic Civil Investigations." Others supporting Efrén's release include The Injustice Must End (TIME), National Lawyers Guild, Michigan Coalition for Human Rights, NorthStar Center, Peace Education Center, Multi-Racial Unity Living Experience (MRULE), Advocacy, Re-entry, Resources, and Outreach (ARRO), American Friends Service Committee -Lansing (AFSC), Second Chance for Youth (SCY), College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), Chicanos y Latinos Unidos (CAMP), Greater Lansing Network Against War and Injustice (GLNAWI), Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Everybody Reads Bookstore, Gone Wired Cafe, et al. According to Efrén's family, "We strongly support the commutation request that was submitted by The Injustice Must End (TIME) Committee on Efrén's behalf to the Michigan Parole Board. We are confident that upon his release Efrén will be a productive member of society and society as a whole will benefit from his release. As long as Efrén remains incarcerated we all remain imprisoned to injustice."

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Drug companies routinely fake results, lie to doctors about their drugs

Drug Companies Cook Books, Misleading Doctors | Wired Science from Wired.com

The difference between what drug companies tell the government and doctors suggests that they're cooking the books, which could mislead doctors making prescriptions.

Of 33 new drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2001 and 2002, one-fifth of supporting clinical trials were not published in medical journals, according to a new study. And those results that were published were often more positive than what companies presented to the FDA in their applications. As a result, potentially unreliable data is being used to promote drugs on which billions of dollars and thousands of lives may ride.

"Some studies aren't published at all. Then, when they are, there are little changes that make the papers look more favorable towards the product," said review co-author Lisa Bero, a University of California, San Francisco health policy expert.