Jarrod Willis is going to prison for the rest of his life for a brutal 2009 rape that he was never a suspect in. Just a decade ago, this wouldn’t be possible.
But now, after a ferocious legal battle that privacy rights advocates and the ACLU thankfully lost, it is.
Willis’ DNA was added to the national DNA database after a recent drug arrest. Turns out, he was also the guy who committed a vicious 2009 rape and kidnapping that Charlotte-Mecklenburg police never even had a suspect for.
Originally, the state and federal DNA databases were only supposed to collect DNA from violent felons after they were convicted of violent crimes. But states quickly shifted to passing laws that allowed the collection of DNA from those merely arrested on violent felony charges.
Then, in recent years, states also began changing their DNA collection laws to include samples from lower and lower level felonies that weren’t violent. And they began inputting it before conviction, and in some cases whether the criminal was convicted or not.
And now, in just the last few years, you are beginning to see stories like Willis’ where violent criminals rape and murder, but then go on to commit lower level crimes like burglary, robbery and drug dealing that land their DNA in the database. They are subsequently caught because of it, something that never would have happened before.
Just over the border in South Carolina, Bruce Hill will spend the rest of his life in prison for a horrific 2005 home-invasion/double slaying of a locally beloved elderly couple. He was never a suspect in that crime either, until he committed a robbery in Tennessee in 2006. His DNA was collected after that and uploaded to the national system and the hit reported to Horry County authorities.
The next battle? Inputting the DNA of people who committ misdemeanors. It’s New York, of all places, that has been a leader in this. New York is the first state to input DNA in many misdemeanor cases. South Carolina leaves the decision up to judges whether to input misdemeanor DNA.
But as you can see from this chart, states still have a long way to go because many categories of felony crime DNA are still excluded. In February, North Carolina will implement one of the toughest DNA inputting laws in the country. Police will be allowed to collect DNA samples from criminals merely arrest –not convicted — for certain serious felonies and misdemeanors, rather than just convicted felons only.
Meanwhile, in 2010, the state got a record 420 hits.
Fast forward to 2020, when criminals are forced to operate in a new reality that is unfathomable right now, one in which any crime past or future could rat them out for all their other crimes. In this future system, criminals, acutely aware of the new scientific reality, will have a level of prior restraint placed upon them that thus far has been unknown to humanity.
The knowledge that their DNA was collected and entered into a database after a non-violent crime they committed at age 17 could literally alter the course of a criminal’s entire career. And in the UK, an even more advanced model called “familial DNA” is being implemented. Serial rapist James Lloyd’s DNA was never entered into the national UK DNA database, but his sister’s was after she was caught drunk driving. He was caught in 2006 after the system matched her DNA with that collected at the crime scene as a familial match.
There are readers of this blog who would no doubt object to this on privacy, but it is just science. Privacy rights advocates have challenged the idea of using DNA at from its inception in criminal cases, a practice that is now widely accepted by the public. This too will be one day, and is another 1.2 million DNA samples are added to the database each year, it will save thousands of lives.
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The big news on Friday was this: Mecklenburg County’s unemployment rate has ticked down to 10.3 percent in September from 11 percent in August.
The big context not provided by the local media was the fact that the unemployment rate dives every September in Mecklenburg County from whatever it was in August, just as it has every year for the last 21 years without fail. (Probably before then, too, but the numbers before 1990 aren’t available on the state’s employment commission website.)
John Quinterno took a stab at analyzing this in the Charlotte Observer’sarticle.
“Don’t lose sight of the big picture, which is that labor market conditions across the state have gotten worse in the past year and demonstrably worse since the start of the recession” in December 2007, said John Quinterno, principal at South by North Strategies Ltd. in Chapel Hill. “The state as a whole bottomed out in February 2010. Since then, we’ve added only 14,400 jobs statewide. We’re not really seeing any marked improvement.”
Here’s the rest of the big picture. (It drives me nuts how the state media is fond of reporting how many jobs we’ve put back, but rarely the total we’ve lost.)
The state is down a staggering 278,890 jobs since Sept of 2007.
So all this means … exactly nothing, other than that a bit of seasonal hiring has started. Which is what is going on nationwide, too.
That said, the good news is that Charlotte’s employment market had 1,571 more jobs this September than last September. (A number that could and likely will be adjusted downward in a few months, but still, at least it wasn’t negative.)
So that’s good, until you consider that in August the county job market had 1,008 fewer jobs than the August before. In fact, the jobs picture here has zig-zagged all over the place. In four months of this year, there were more jobs than last year. In the other months there were fewer jobs, and there was no rhyme or reason to the order this happened in except that described above.
Which means … I don’t know what.
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You pull up to a fast food drive thru and there are two choices. A huge, high-priced burger that comes with all the fixings and six side items, and a huge, high priced burger with that comes with all the fixings and six side items. You couldn’t possibly eat the whole thing. You want something smaller, cheaper and with different fixings.
You drive around to the window and ask why there are only two high-priced, identical options. The lady tells you they aren’t identical at all. One comes in a blue package, the other in a red, and no, you can’t get the burger any other way. There are no lower priced options.
You’d throw your hands up in disgust and drive to another fast food restaurant right away. Now imagine that by law, you find out when you pull up the next fast food restaurant that you aren’t allowed to eat there. You can only eat at the first restaurant. The politicians who cooked up this whacked out scheme would soon find themselves thrown out of office, probably violently. People simply wouldn’t tolerate it.
But they go along with it largely without complaint in the US, and in North Carolina, which was just ranked one of the nine least competitive health care markets in the country.
Just two companies, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina and United Healthcare, control 81 percent of the state’s commercial health insurance policies, the American Medical Association says.
Essentially, your choice is between the Cadillac health care plan you can’t afford and the Cadillic health care plan you can’t afford. Consolidation, political cronyism, licensing that prohibits competition across state lines and an inability to buy across state lines has all but destroyed competition and locked state consumers into an insurance market hell. Obamacare will change none of this, while adding government subsidies for some to buy a big burger, charging younger consumers more for the burger and taking away a few of the sides.
But everyone will be guaranteed a place in the original drivethru any sensible consumer would drive away from within minutes once they read the menu.
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Let this fire you up today.
You don’t just live in the greatest country on earth, you live in the wealthiest in terms of energy. The good news is that all of our major problems are self-created by the political class. The answer is in the ground. When we extract it, the world won’t just look to us, they’ll depend on us. An economic boom will follow unlike any you’ve known. You won’t read this in an American newspaper, but its already common knowledge in the UK. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard explains.
The American phoenix is slowly rising again. Within five years or so, the US will be well on its way to self-sufficiency in fuel and energy …
Assumptions that the Great Republic must inevitably spiral into economic and strategic decline – so like the chatter of the late 1980s, when Japan was in vogue – will seem wildly off the mark by then.
Telegraph readers already know about the “shale gas revolution” that has turned America into the world’s number one producer of natural gas, ahead of Russia.
Less known is that the technology of hydraulic fracturing – breaking rocks with jets of water – will also bring a quantum leap in shale oil supply, mostly from the Bakken fields in North Dakota, Eagle Ford in Texas, and other reserves across the Mid-West.
“The US was the single largest contributor to global oil supply growth last year, with a net 395,000 barrels per day (b/d),” said Francisco Blanch from Bank of America, comparing the Dakota fields to a new North Sea.
Total US shale output is “set to expand dramatically” as fresh sources come on stream, possibly reaching 5.5m b/d by mid-decade. This is a tenfold rise since 2009.
“The implications of this shift are very large for geopolitics, energy security, historical military alliances and economic activity. As US reliance on the Middle East continues to drop, Europe is turning more dependent and will likely become more exposed to rent-seeking behaviour from oligopolistic players,” said Mr Blanch.
And yet we blow billions on the Solyndras? The libs know that if the American people ever find out the truth, they’ll be set back a generation. No one will need them and their government handouts. This must terrify them.
How many companies get paid for their services whether they provide them or not?
In the city of Charlotte, the answer is politically connected ones. Taxpayers are paying roughly $10 million a decade and about $1 million a year for street lights that don’t work, Pundithouse.com reports.
On any given week up to 10 percent of the city’s 80,000 streetlights are inoperable, usually the result of something as simple as a burned-out bulb. Under a long-standing agreement with Duke Energy, which installs, maintains, and provides power for Charlotte’s public streetlights, the city is responsible for paying a monthly charge of $9.90 per light, whether it works or not. That tallies up a monthly bill of about $80,000 for streetlights that don’t.
The city agreed to pay whether the streetlights work or not as part of a long-standing agreement with Duke Energy. Council member Andy Dulin wanted to rock the boat on this, as did Michael Barnes, but they got nowhere with the rest of the council. (Duke’s employee campaign fund and its executives have long histories of donating copious dollars to local politicians.) If you are a local politician, it is simply understood that you don’t question Duke.
So for now, taxpayers will go on paying to stay in the dark. And the most outrageous part? The city’s 311 call center handles the calls about non-working lights, not Duke, sparing them the need to run their own call center.
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On this, evil stepmonster Elisa Baker and I agree. Adam Baker, her husband, got away with the murder of his daughter, Zahra. Or being an accessory to murder. Or at a minimum attempting to thwart the investigation into her murder. Or some combination of the three.
Elisa Baker, Zahra’s stepmother, recently pled guilty in her death. She gave the Charlotte Observer her first public interview, which ran Sunday.
In it, she puts most of the blame on Adam Baker. Authorities apparently had a hard time tying him to the murder of 10-year-old Zahra Baker because it was Elisa’s cell phone that was in the areas where parts of the body were dumped according to cell phone records. Adam’s cell phone was in Burke County area at the time. There’s no doubt that Elisa Baker is guilty. And you can’t believe most of what she says, as her own family members have cautioned. But what if she isn’t lying or isn’t totally lying about her husband’s involvement?
What drives me nuts is the glaring discrepancies in Adam Baker’s stories that have never been adequately explained by investigators. While laughing on the 911 call, Adam Baker claimed this:
ADAM BAKER: The police were out here last night. They found a ransom note for my bosses daughter… um… I got up a little while ago… and it appears they took my daughter instead of my bosses daughter.
DISPATCHER: How old is your daughter?
ADAM BAKER: She is 10. She’s handicapped.. she has a prosthetic leg… so that…
DISPATCHER: How long has seen been missing?
ADAM BAKER: Ummm. We checked in there last night about 2:30 and she was there… and all this happened last night around 5 …so I don’t know if they set a fire in the yard to distract us to go out and then they snuck in the door… or.. I don’t know.
… DISPATCHER: OK, so.. No one has seen your daughter since 2:30 this morning…? [It is now after 2 pm that day]
ADAM BAKER: No.. like I said we, uh, had all that drama last night and we… me and my wife went back to bed. And my daughter is I think’s coming into puberty.. cause she is hitting that brooding stage (laughter) so we only see her when she comes out when she wants something. And that’s about it
Adam Baker was smack in the middle of the plot to throw police off the trail, and yet his wife was the only one who faced charges of faking the ransom note and interfering with the investigation. How could that be? Authorities wasted valuable time debunking those claims.
And he and the authorities have never fully explained lie number two, how Baker could claim on the 911 call to have checked in on his daughter in bed “and she was there” and then later tell everyone who would listen that he hadn’t seen her at all in the few weeks before she disappeared.
You’ve got to listen to the 911 call to fully appreciate how little Baker gives a rip about his daughter being missing. I’ve been more frantic over the loss of a wallet.
What I do think we’ll one day find out is that local authorities were in way over their heads and badly botched this investigation. Nothing else explains this.
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It’s a start.
But only a start. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has lost control of uptown three times since 2005 and in all three incidents, the culprits have mostly been teenagers. In 2005, a violent, unruly mob raged through uptown after the fireworks.
The next year, a massive brawl broke out after the New Year’s Even celebration, with 40 arrests. Police made changes to those events and others uptown because of the violence, and confidently proclaimed they’d solved the problem only to lose control of uptown again on Memorial Day this year, this time to a ;likely gang related crowd of “as many as 30,000 people,” the Charlotte Observer reported. One person was murdered execution style in that one before police got it under control. Another was shot.
Now nearly all of the department’s 1,700 officers are getting training in how to deal with riots ahead of the 2012 Democrat National Convention, WSOC-TV reports. At the helm? CMPD Captain Harold Medlock, who assures us that
“… that this is not all new to Charlotte. Several hundred officers have already been trained in riot control and have been called in to handle trouble in uptown twice in the last five years.”
Yah, and no offense guys, but that didn’t go so well.
As I documented here, these are hard core radicals who have already begun planning for their DNC protests a year out. They are well studied in crowd manipulation and the strategic use of violence to call attention to their cause, which, no matter what they say, is the reelection of President Obama.
The hardcore radicals have already begun to test the police in New York and learn how to manipulate them, just as they did with trial protests in New York a year ahead of the 1968 Chicago riots that occurred at that year’s Democrat National Convention.
Hopefully Captain Medlock is just warming the department’s officers up for additional training by someone who …. ah … really knows what they are doing.
Bonus Observation: All it will take is a second recession, starting, starting with an unemployment rate of 9 percent, and Obama faltering in the polls to get this.Read full article » 2 Comments »
There’s no recipe on how long it takes for an injury to come back, especially a knee injury to a person of Jeff’s size and a big offensive tackle. Every individual, every injury is different. So I think it’s hard to go into length of time.
It’s been nearly two years since Otah first injured the knee and 15 months since he went under the scope the second time. So perhaps the answer as to when Otah’s knee is good to go for a prolonged period of time is “never.”
Bonus observation: The Panthers have many needs, especially on defense. Still, don’t be surprised if they draft or sign someone to replace Otah. Otah will be in the last season of his contract next year, so cutting him if he’s not 100 percent fit by training camp will be an easy move.Read full article » 1 Comment »
Walking while distracted is killing people, News 14 reports.
Two pedestrians killed in two days in the Charlotte region highlights a growing problem across the country: walking while distracted.
Actually, they got the story partially right. Here’s how the lead sentence should have read:
Two pedestrians killed in two days in the Charlotte region highlights a growing problem across the country: walking
Walking, as in walking along a roadway, like bike riding, has become a politically correct activity, something one should be encouraged at all costs to do over driving, which pollutes and leads to obesity. Everyone should walk says the government, the media and Michelle Obama.
But no one ever talks realistically about how dangerous it really is.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, during the first six months of 2010 nearly 1,900 pedestrians died across the country. That’s an increase of seven compared to the first six months of 2009.
Holy crudoli. Do you realize that is 3,800 pedestrians killed a year? A staggering 38,000 killed in a decade?
If they died any other way we’d call it an epidemic. People would wear those breast cancer style ribbons and put magnetic stickers on their cars railing against it. Instead, the government and media encourage people to ditch their cars to become roadside pedestrians without telling them the truth about how darned dangerous it is.
Per kilometer, traveling by foot is 23 times more dangerous than driving, according to a Rutgers University and European Commission study.
I’m not suggesting that people shouldn’t walk along the roadways. What I am suggesting is that the media and the government tell people the truth about how dangerous it really is if they are going to encourage them to do it. With so many other forms of exercise available, going on foot just isn’t worth it unless it is absolutely necessary.
So why is it so politically correct to tell the truth and warn people about the dangers of pedestrianism? My theory is that among many of those with a microphone and a printing press, saving the planet is more important than individual human lives — thousands of them.
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Tom Tillis, Speaker of the House from Mecklenburg, wants to test welfare-style program beneficiaries/applicants for drug use.
That means you can expect a slew of news reports that tell half the story about Florida’s experience with drug testing in a deliberate attempt to keep the program from spreading here. The media here in North Carolina will tell you that it is a waste of money because only a tiny percentage of people test positive, ususally less than one percent. But watch for what the media around here won’t tell you — that nearly 20 percent of applicants declined to take the test in Florida after being asked to take it as part of their benefits application.
No doubt that’s because they feared they would test positive. Which means the program is doing its job.
Which no one is going to want to report. The Charlotte Observer already kicked off the trend by leaving this very important piece of data out of its story. Let’s see if we can find one honest media outlet in the state that reports Florida’s experience with drug testing accurately as this controversial issue heats up. If you spot a news report telling the truth on this, and by that I mean including the stats on the applicants who declined to take the test, email the link to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll keep track.Read full article » 13 Comments »