A federal jury returned a verdict in excess of half a million dollars against a Village of Westmont, Illinois police detective for having violated a mother’s First Amendment rights by maliciously prosecuting her for a crime she did not commit. The arrest, prosecution and harassment of Dawn Zitzka occurred after Mrs. Zitzka spoke out against the Westmont Police Department for the way in which it investigated the sexual assault of a young girl. The verdict was published today.
The case was tried before a federal jury in a dramatic 8-day trial in the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. During the trial, witnesses testified that Mrs. Zitzka complained publicly about what she perceived to be the inadequate investigation of the assault of the young girl. Mrs. Zitzka spoke out by placing a sign in her car window stating that the “Westmont P.D. Does Not Protect & Serve!” She also publicly criticized the Westmont Police Department by writing to Village officials and to Illinois State’s Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office and by speaking before the Village of Westmont Board of Trustees.
Thereafter, Mrs. Zitzka was arrested and prosecuted for a crime she did not commit. Mrs. Zitzka was prosecuted for four different criminal offenses. She was ultimately found not guilty on two of those charges after separate trials before judges in the DuPage County criminal court. After continuing the prosecution against Mrs. Zitzka for two years, the DuPage County Prosecutor’s Office ultimately dismissed the remaining charges for lack of evidence.
Two brothers and their father were sentenced to death on Monday for cheating 15,000 investors out of over $1.1 billion in east China’s Zhejiang province.
Ji Wenhua, president of the Yintai Real Estate and Investment Group, was sentenced to death for the crime of fund-raising fraud, said the Intermediate People’s Court in the city of Lishui, where the company was based.
However, his brother, Ji Shengjun, and father, Ji Linqing, could be spared execution as their death penalties have a two-year reprieve.
The family, along with others, had illegally raised over 7.04 billion yuan ($1.12 billion) between 2003 and 2008 before they were taken into police custody in 2008, holding the truth from investors that their company had been losing money for years, according to the court.
A third brother, Ji Yongjun, was sentenced to life imprisonment.
How barbaric! They should be given a bonus and a bailout!
“the White House may decline to address certain procurement, law enforcement, adjudicatory, or similar matters properly within the jurisdiction of federal departments or agencies, federal courts, or state and local government.”
Isn’t that a very elaborate way to say “everything”?
Right now the rich can and are crashing asset prices by forcing countries into austerity through attacks on their currencies and control of their elites. They then buy up assets for fire-sale prices. (The history of fire-sale is worth commenting on. Crassus, the Roman Senator of the first triumvirate, had a fire fighting team. When a fire broke out they’d go to the fire, fight off the other fire teams, then Crassus would buy the burning buildings from their owners, negotiating as they burned. If they refused to sell, well, they lost everything.)
These attacks on currencies are deranged. The countries are not in that much difficulty, certainly the idea that France is in enough difficulty to be under attack is crazy. These attacks are about power: the global rich were bailed out after the crash, now they are using their hot money in attack after attack, demanding austerity, which will cause semi-permanent depression in those countries which accept it. That allows them to buy up what they want, keeps their labor costs down, and lets them divert what money they spend on investment which creates actual real economic growth into developing countries which are cheaper for them.
But watching European leaders respond has also made clear that they are either compromised, ideologically neo-liberals or completely ineffective.
The ascension of Mario Monti to the Italian prime ministership is remarkable for more reasons than it is possible to count. By replacing the scandal-surfing Silvio Berlusconi, Italy has dislodged the undislodgeable. By imposing rule by unelected technocrats, it has suspended the normal rules of democracy, and maybe democracy itself. And by putting a senior adviser at Goldman Sachs in charge of a Western nation, it has taken to new heights the political power of an investment bank that you might have thought was prohibitively politically toxic.
This is the most remarkable thing of all: a giant leap forward for, or perhaps even the successful culmination of, the Goldman Sachs Project.
It is not just Mr Monti. The European Central Bank, another crucial player in the sovereign debt drama, is under ex-Goldman management, and the investment bank’s alumni hold sway in the corridors of power in almost every European nation, as they have done in the US throughout the financial crisis. Until Wednesday, the International Monetary Fund’s European division was also run by a Goldman man, Antonio Borges, who just resigned for personal reasons.
Even before the upheaval in Italy, there was no sign of Goldman Sachs living down its nickname as "the Vampire Squid", and now that its tentacles reach to the top of the eurozone, sceptical voices are raising questions over its influence. The political decisions taken in the coming weeks will determine if the eurozone can and will pay its debts – and Goldman’s interests are intricately tied up with the answer to that question.