Sunday, June 28, 2020


1804 Members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition court-martialed privates John Collins and Hugh Hall for drinking on duty and stealing whiskey from the supplies. Collins received 100 lashes on his back and Hall received 50.

1903 The British government officially protested Belgian atrocities in the Congo.

1905 Russian troops intervened as riots erupted in ports all over the country, with rioters looting many ships.

1916 A British court sentenced Irish-born diplomat Sir Roger Casement to death for high treason for his part in the Easter Rising.

1946 British authorities arrested more than 2,700 Jews in Palestine in an attempt to end alleged terrorism.

1967 A British court found Keith Richards guilty of allowing his property to be used for the smoking of marijuana and sentenced him to one year in jail and imposed a fine. It found Mick Jagger guilty of illegal possession of pep pills and sentenced him to three months in jail. Neither rocker served time for the offenses.

1972 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Furman v. Georgia the death penalty could constitute "cruel and unusual punishment," prompting some states to revise their capital punishment laws.

1992 A divided U. S. Supreme Court ruled that women have a constitutional right to abortion, but the justices also weakened the right as defined in the Roe v. Wade decision.

1995 The Sampoong Department store in Seoul, South Korea collapsed, killing 502 people and injuring 937. During construction, owner Lee Joon changed the original plans numerous times (such as adding an ill-advised fifth floor) and fired engineers who warned of structural dangers. Investigations revealed the foundation was poorly laid, the landfill it was built on was unstable, builders used a substandard concrete mix of cement and sea water and poorly enforced concrete for walls and ceilings, failed to use enough reinforcement bars in the concrete, and built floor slabs directly onto columns that were too few and too narrow. Lee Joon was found guilty of criminal negligence and served 7 years. His son and the store's CEO received 7 years for accidental homicide and corruption; two city administrators served sentences for bribery, and other officials, company executives, and construction personnel were jailed.

Lee Joon and the store's CEO offered their entire wealth to compensate the victims' families and ended up paying out $300 million in 3,293 cases.

1999 Los Angeles police arrested teen idol Leif Garret during a sting operation. He pled guilty to drug possession and avoided jail time by agreeing to a stint in rehab.

2006 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-3 that President George W. Bush's plan to try Guantanamo Bay detainees in military tribunals violated U.S. and international law.

2009 Financier Bernard Madoff received a 150-year sentence for his multibillion-dollar fraud.

2011 The state of Nevada passed the first law permitting the operation of autonomous cars on public roads.

Sunday, June 21, 2020


photo credit: Britannica

1611 The crew of famed explorer Henry Hudson mutinied during his voyage to find a northwest passage. Thirteen starving and homesick crewmen put Hudson, his son, and seven others off the Discovery; the stranded men were never heard from again. After the ship returned to England, the crew was arrested for mutiny but none was punished for it—or for murder.

1633 The Inquisition sentenced Galileo to life in prison for teaching that the Earth revolves around the Sun. The sentence was reduced the following day to house arrest for life.

1772 The Court of King’s Bench ruled in Somerset v Stewart that slavery is unsupported by English common law.

1839 Cherokee tribesmen assassinated tribal leaders Major Ridge, John Ridge, and Elias Boudinot for signing the Treaty of New Echota, which had led to the Trail of Tears.

1870 The U.S. Congress created the Department of Justice.

1897 Indian revolutionaries Mahadeo Vinayak Ranade and the three Chapekar brothers assassinated British colonial officers Charles Walter Rand and Lt. Charles Egerton Ayerst in Pune, Maharashtra, India "for atrocities committed on the people of Pune under the guise of plague eradication." The killers were later caught and hanged.

1953 A Brooklyn newspaper delivery boy dropped a nickel he was given as change. It broke open and revealed microfilm from a Soviet spy.

1964 In Grove Press, Inc. v. Gerstein, the U.S. Supreme Court voted that the book Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller was not obscene and could not be banned in the U.S.

1977 Former U.S. Attorney General John N. Mitchell began serving a sentence for his role in the Watergate cover-up.

1981 Mark David Chapman pleaded guilty to killing rock musician John Lennon.

1992 The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that hate-crime laws that ban cross-burning and similar expressions of racial bias violate free-speech rights (R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul).

1998 In Pennsylvania Bd. Of Probation and Parole v. Scott, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that evidence illegally obtained by authorities could be used at revocation hearings for a convicted criminal's parole.

1999 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that persons with remediable handicaps cannot claim discrimination in employment under the Americans with Disability Act (Olmstead v. L.C.).

2004 A Belgian court gave convicted child molester and murderer Marc Dutroux the maximum sentence—life in prison—for the kidnap, rape, and murder of young girls.

2011 Federal authorities found and arrested legendary Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger in Santa Monica, Calif.

Sunday, June 14, 2020


photo credit: Historic UK

1381 King Richard II's forces crushed the Peasants’ Revolt in London. Sir William Walworth, the Lord Mayor of London, struck down insurgent leader Wat Tyler with his sword as the 14-year-old king looked on.

1648 Midwife Margaret Jones was hanged in Boston for witchcraft in the first such execution for the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

1904 More than 1,000 people on an annual church outing burned to death or drowned when fire erupted aboard the steamboat General Slocum in New York City's East River. Fire hoses and life preservers were rotten and lifeboats were inaccessible; the crew had never practiced a fire drill. Eight employees of the Knickerbocker Steamship Company were indicted although only the captain served any time for criminal negligence.

1917 Great Britain pledged the release of all the Irish captured during the Easter Rebellion of 1916; the last of the republican prisoners were released a year later.

1970 In Los Angeles, jury selection began in the trial of Charles Manson for the Tate-LaBianca murders.

1972 Police in Langenhagen captured Ulrike Meinhof, co-founder of the Red Army Faction, a West German far-left militant group. For several years Meinhof had participated in a range of terrorist activities including bombings, robbery, kidnapping, and shootings.

1983 In City of Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health, the U.S. Supreme Court reinforced its position on abortion by striking down state and local restriction on abortions. It declared unconstitutional the requirement that abortions after the first trimester be performed in a hospital, that an unmarried minor under 15 must obtain parental consent or a judicial bypass, that the mother must wait 24 hours, that a doctor must inform the patient of the stage of fetal development, the supposed health risks of abortion and the availability of adoption and live birth resources, and that the fetal remains be disposed of "in a human and sanitary manner."
In 1992 the case was overruled by the plurality in Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

1985 Soviet Lithuanian national Bronius Maigys attacked Rembrandt's painting Danaë in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. Maigys threw sulfuric acid on the canvas and cut it twice with a knife. He was judged insane and spent eight years in an asylum; it took experts twelve years to repair the damage.

1986 Pravda, the Communist Party newspaper, reported that the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant dismissed plant director Viktor Bryukhanov and chief engineer Nikolai Fomin for not following safety protocols during the April 26 nuclear accident. At least 26 people died, hundreds were hospitalized, and more than 100,000 people evacuated from contaminated areas in the Ukraine and Belarus. Six former officials and technicians of the plant were found guilty of violating safety regulations and sentenced to up to 10 years in labor camps.

1992 In United States v. Alvarez-Machain, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a criminal suspect kidnapped from a foreign country could be prosecuted in a U.S. court.

1995 During his murder trial, O.J. Simpson struggled to put on a pair of gloves that prosecutors claimed were worn by the killer of Simpson's ex-wife, Nicole, and her friend, Ronald Goldman. Police found one bloody glove at the murder scene and one at Simpson’s estate.

2003 After five weeks of testimony and ten days of deliberation, a Houston jury convicted accounting firm Arthur Andersen of obstruction of justice for shredding documents related to its audit of energy giant Enron. Although the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously overturned the conviction in 2005, the accounting firm did not survive.

2006 In Hudson v. Michigan, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that even when police violate the knock-and-announce requirement, subsequently discovered evidence may still be admitted at trial.

Sunday, June 7, 2020


photo credit:

793 Vikings in longships plundered St. Cuthbert's monastery on the island of Lindisfarne off the northeast coast of England. They massacred the monks indiscriminately and stole irreplaceable relics, gold and silver devotional objects, and precious manuscripts.

1405 King Henry IV ordered the beheading of Archbishop of York Richard le Scrope and Thomas Mowbray, 4th Earl of Norfolk, for their participation in the Northern Rising against him.

1789 Virginia congressman James Madison proposed a Bill of Rights to the Constitution in the U.S. House of Representatives.

1921 For the second time in a month, Manhattan police arrested Babe Ruth arrested for speeding—he was driving 26 mph. The Sultan of Swat was fined $100 and spent the next day in jail.

1929 Venezuelan rebel Rafael Urbina led the taking of Fort Amsterdam in Curaçao and the kidnapping of the Dutch governor, Leonardus Albert Fruytier, in another doomed attempt to overthrow dictatorial President Juan Vicente Gómez.

1953 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that restaurants in the District of Columbia could not refuse to serve blacks.

1956 American airman Edward C. Clarke shot and killed Technical Sergeant Richard B. Fitzgibbon Jr. in Saigon, Viet Nam, over a reprimand Clarke received earlier in the day, making Fitzgibbon the first American casualty of the Viet Nam War.

1968 Authorities in London arrested James Earl Ray, the suspected assassin of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

1978 A jury in Clark County, Nevada, ruled that the Howard Hughes "Mormon will" was a forgery.

1984 The Australian state of New South Wales declared homosexuality legal.

1987 Fawn Hall, secretary to national security aide Oliver L. North, testified at the Iran-Contra hearings, saying she had helped to shred some documents.

1987 The Labour government of New Zealand passed legislation against nuclear weapons and nuclear-powered vessels in New Zealand, making it the only nation to legislate against nuclear power.

1988 The judge in the Iran-Contra conspiracy case ruled that Oliver North, John Poindexter, Richard Secord, and Albert Hakim had to be tried separately.

1994 A New York judge sentenced mass murderer Joel Rifkin to 203 years in prison for the murders of nine women. He confessed to killing eight more.

1998 The U.S. Federal Trade Commission brought an antitrust complaint against semiconductor giant Intel Corp., alleging it used its dominance in the microprocessor market to withhold key information from certain customers and competitors. Intel chips ran about 90 percent of the world's personal computers and it held an 80 percent market share in worldwide chip sales.

1998 Car maker Honda agreed to pay $17.1 million in civil fines for disconnecting anti-pollution devices in 1.6 million cars.

2001 Janitor Mamoru Takuma killed eight children aged 6-8 and injured fifteen others, including two teachers, in a mass stabbing at the Ikeda Elementary school in the Osaka Prefecture of Japan. He was wrestled down by staff within minutes. Takuma had a long history of psychological issues and was diagnosed with paranoid personality disorder. Found guilty of multiple counts of murder, Takuma was executed by hanging only a year later.

2001 The "International Committee for Art and Peace" stole Marc Chagall’s painting Study for 'Over Vitebsk from the Jewish Museum in New York City. The 8x10 painting was valued at about $1 million. The ICAP announced it would return the painting after the Israelis and Palestinians made peace but effected its return in February 2002 by mailing it to a nonexistent address in St. Paul, Minn. It was redirected back to a postal center in Topeka Kansas where an alert employee checked for stolen art on the internet and called the FBI.

2008 Factory worker Tomohiro Katō rented a truck and plowed into a crowd in the Akihabara shopping quarter in Tokyo, Japan, killing three pedestrians. Then he jumped out of the truck and went on a stabbing spree, attacking at least twelve people with a dagger, killing four and injuring eight. Police cornered him in a narrow alley after a brief chase; with a gun pointed at him, Katō dropped his knife. The Tokyo District Court sentenced him to death in 2011.

2009 A North Korean court sentenced two American journalists to twelve years of "reform through labour" for illegally entering the country. Laura Ling and Euna Lee were filming a report about North Korean refugees attempting to cross the narrow Tumen river into China when North Korean guards, objecting to being filmed, came and dragged them across the river from the Chinese side. In 2009, the North Korean government pardoned them after intervention by former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

2017 The Kansas Department of Corrections freed Richard Anthony Jones after 17 years of incarceration for robbery after his lookalike was discovered. Without admitting another man committed the crime, in 2018 the state agreed to pay him $1.1 million in compensation and give him a "certificate of innocence.”

2018 WhatsApp rumors of child kidnappers in India prompted a mob in Assam to beat two men to death and injure seven others, one critically. An angry crowd of 1500 in Chandgaon village in Vaijapur, Taluka, cornered Bharat Sonavne and Shivaji Shinde in a nearby farm and attacked them with wooden sticks after receiving fake messages on social media about the presence of a "gang of robbers.” Police booked more than 400 villagers on charges of murder and attempt to murder but made no arrests.
The same day, villagers in Karbi Anglong brutally beat Abhijeet Nath and Nilotpal Das with bamboo poles and wood before torturing them to death. The two friends were returning from a picnic spot where they recorded the sounds of twilight. The mob suspected them of being child lifters. Police arrested fifteen. Unfounded rumors circulated by WhatsApp lead to the deaths of at least 31 innocent citizens in May-June.