Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Tuesday, February 26, 2019
Clancy Tucker's Blog: 27 February 2019 - MICHELANGELO’S GROCERY LIST: MICHELANGELO’S GROCERY LIST G'day folks, Here's something different. Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarrot...
Monday, February 25, 2019
So excited for LISA BLACK and CHARLES TODD
☞Lisa Black, Perish – Kensington
Sara Paretsky, Shell Game, HarperCollins – William Morrow
Victoria Thompson, City of Secrets, Penguin Random House – Berkley
☞Charles Todd, A Forgotten Place, HarperCollins – William Morrow
Jacqueline Winspear, To Die But Once, HarperCollins – Harper
Friday, February 22, 2019
About the Book:
Goodreads * Amazon
The US justice system - does it work?
Some facts about the US justice system are often overlooked, such as the fact that more than 90% of criminal cases never go to trial, and trial by jury is the exception rather than the norm. But when they do, does the trial process work?
In the novel, Justice Gone, two steps of a criminal trial are examined. The first is the Grand Jury proceedings. Many of us don't realize the extent of the state's influence in these hearings. The District Attorney decides what evidence can be admitted, selectively issues subpoenas, and basically runs the show, while the defense plays little or no part. Commonly, overzealous prosecutors will make a case for an indictment that might not be warranted, generating criminal trials for those who may very well be innocent of the charges.
On the other hand, if an indictment is sought against law enforcement officers, the shoe may very well be on the other foot. Law enforcement is on the same side of the fence as the DA, and consequently a conflict of interests is difficult to avoid. That is why indictments against police for using excessive force are rare.
The second step of the trial process is trial by jury, which decides whether to convict or not. And this is where the public and the media can play an unwelcome part.
The trial of O.J. Simpson lasted over eight months and was watched by over 100 million television viewers (comparable to the Super Bowl), and was a sign that even in 1995, the people of the United States had yet to bridge the divide over race, as well as raising doubts over the behavior of law enforcement. But most of all, it provided an intimate glimpse into the US justice system, from jury selection to the jury's verdict.
Although we had a celebrity athlete on trial and the finest criminal defense lawyers in the US - the "Dream Team," the real centerpiece was the jury. Although the trial took eleven months of testimony, it took the jury only four hours to acquit.
So, the question is: Was the verdict of 'not guilty' responsible, impartial and correct?
A poll gave the obvious result that most African-Americans felt that Simpson was innocent, while most Caucasians felt the opposite. Was the fact that 80% of the jurors were African-Americans influence the outcome, i.e. did they acquit Simpson solely due to he being the same race as they?
In my view, race didn't matter for this particular case, because the defense succeeded in raising reasonable doubt. Even if the jury believed Simpson murdered those people, according to the principles of American justice, he should not have been convicted.
The strongest piece of evidence the prosecution had was the DNA forensics, but chain of custody became a big issue. In fact, the handling of all the evidence by the police came under scrutiny, and rightly so. Later during the trial, with the jury absent, Mark Furhman, the detective who found the bloody glove and socks, invoked the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination when asked "did you plant or manufacture any evidence in this case?"
Then there was the bloody glove found at the crime scene, which the prosecution challenged Simpson to try on. Simpson could not get his hand in.
In post-trial interviews, a few of the jurors said that they believed Simpson probably did commit the murders, but that the prosecution had failed to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. Three jurors together wrote and published a book called Madam Foreman, in which they described how their perception of police errors, not race, led to their verdict.
Even more controversial was the Casey Anthony case. Equal to the Simpson trial in terms of attention grabbing, the trial of Casey Anthony, who was accused of murdering her two-year-old daughter, was quite different. The big difference was that while the country was divided over Simpson's guilt, the public and the media overwhelmingly assumed Anthony was guilty, which in turn fueled the outcry over the not guilty verdict. One charge, that of first degree murder, was problematic, in that forensics experts could not determine the cause of the little girl's death, but in general the questions of how, why where and when were never answered satisfactorily. According to many legal experts, the not guilty verdict for Casey Anthony can be seen as a victory for the U.S. justice system, despite strong public opinion opposing it, mainly because it upheld the concept of reasonable doubt.
In an ABC News interview, juror Jennifer Ford said that she and the other jurors cried and were "sick to our stomachs" after voting to acquit Casey Anthony of charges that she killed her daughter. "I did not say she was innocent," said Ford,. "I just said there was not enough evidence. If you cannot prove what the crime was, you cannot determine what the punishment should be."
So is the flaw in the system reasonable doubt itself. How can legal experts exclaim victory, even if a guilty person is allowed to be released back into society?
It's because the opposite case, convictions of innocent people are not only possible, but probably occur at a rate that would alarm you.
Let us look inside John Grisham's true crime study, An Innocent Man, a revealing and well documented account of three separate trials, and the wrongful conviction of five men (perhaps the title should have been The Innocent Men). In one case, the police and prosecutor used forced "dream" confessions, unreliable witnesses, and flimsy evidence to convict Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz of murder and rape. After suffering through a conviction and eleven years on death row, Williamson and Fritz were exonerated by DNA evidence and released on April 15, 1999. Similar narratives apply to the trials of Tommy Ward and Karl Fontenot, and the trial of Greg Wilhoit, namely horror stories of persecution, harassment, fraud, lying snitches, and fabricated evidence. If reasonable doubt had been applied, those men would have never been incarcerated on death row (this was in Oklahoma, where the death penalty still exists). Fortunately, these men were exonerated before they could be put to death.
One could surmise that so much of a trial outcome depends on the jury. That is why I dedicated a whole chapter in Justice Gone on the jury deliberations in the trial of Donald Darfield.
Whether it's a blessing or a curse, for court cases in the US, justice is in the hands of ordinary citizens.
About the Author:
In 1997, while visiting Lao People's Democratic Republic, he witnessed the remnants of a secret war that had been waged for nine years, among which were children wounded from leftover cluster bombs. Driven by what he saw, he worked on The Plain of Jars for the next eight years.
Nick maintains a website with content that spans most aspects of the novel: The Secret War, Laotian culture, Buddhism etc.
His second novel, Journey Towards a Falling Sun, is set in the wild frontier of northern Kenya.
His latest novel, Justice Gone was inspired by the fatal beating of a homeless man by police.
Nick now lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Follow the Author:
Website * Goodreads * Amazon
Thursday, February 21, 2019
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
The Bridge of Deaths is a love story and a mystery. Fictional characters travel through the world of past life regressions and information acquired from psychics as well as Archives and historical sources to solve “One of those mysteries that never get solved”. Based on true events and real people it is the culmination of 18 years of sifting through sources and finding a way to help the reader feel that he /she is also sifting through data and forming their own conclusions. The journey takes the reader to well known and little known events leading up to the Second World War, both in Europe and America. The journey also takes the reader to the possibility of finding oneself in this lifetime by exploring past lives.
What happens in the moments leading up to disaster? "The Bridge of Deaths" follows the story of a true life event of a plane crash shortly before World War II of an international meeting of many individuals. Compiling a work of intrigue based on those who lost their lives and what they may have been seeking.
Join Bill and Maggie in 2010 London as through their love and curiosity they unravel the secrets from known and little known events in the 1930s. Journey to Denmark on August 15th 1939, at the brink of World War II where a British Airways LTD airplane crashed and sunk. Five deaths were reported: two Standard Oil of New Jersey employees, a German Corporate Lawyer, an English member of Parliament, and a crew member for the airline. The reader walks away with his/her ultimate conclusions. "The Bridge of Deaths' is an unusual yet much recommended read.
5.0 out of 5 stars "An unusual yet much recommended read",
AMAZON US - CLICK HERE
On August 15th, 1939, an English passenger plane from British Airways Ltd. crashed in Danish waters between the towns of Nykøbing Falster and Vordingborg. There were five casualties reported and one survivor. Just two weeks before, Hitler invaded Poland. With the world at the brink of war, the manner in which this incident was investigated left much open to doubt. The jurisdiction battle between the two towns and the newly formed Danish secret police created an atmosphere of intrigue and distrust. The Bridge of Deaths is a love story and a mystery. Fictional characters travel through the world of past life regressions and information acquired from psychics as well as archives and historical sources to solve "one of those mysteries that never get solved." Based on true events and real people, The Bridge of Deaths is the culmination of 18 years of sifting through conventional and unconventional sources in Denmark, England, Mexico and the United States. The story finds a way to help the reader feel that s/he is also sifting through data and forming their own conclusions. Cross The Bridge of Deaths into 1939, and dive into cold Danish waters to uncover the secrets of the G-AESY.
Source Danish Museum of Science and Technology, The Zonen Salvage Collection
Monday, February 4, 2019
Civilizations come and go; eons pass by with one ever present reality – the propagation of stories. From the 12 labors of Hercules to the daily exploits of the Kardashians, humanity’s fascination with a tale other than its own continues to be a standard across space and time. But how far is a tale from historical fact? This unanswerable question is what prompted me to create The Anuk Chronicles.
It all started as a child believing beyond any doubt, that Perseus and Hercules were real entities who achieved great things. Then came the story of Noah, which I would later learn had many variations to its narrative. The final nail in my coffin was driven deep with the introduction to ancient Sumer and their religion of reverence to the Anunnaki: “those who came from above.” Anuk is simply a shortening of Anunnaki. I am trying to avoid complications with the History Channel (joke...or is it?)
All of a sudden things started to make sense; I could see the connective tissue amongst the Norse, ancient Greece, the ancient Egyptians, the Hindu epics, Mesopotamia, Asia, Native-American culture. The evidence was overwhelming, existing in the monuments left behind and in the deep oral traditions relegated to the realm of mythology. I had to know more, and so began my dive into the rabbit hole.
Research was challenging at first, but with the wealth of knowledge shared by authors such as Erich von Daniken, Graham Hancock, and Zacheria Stichin, I was able to piece together a fantasy story with elements of actual archeology. What if the anti-diluvian world was as modern as ours? What if the pyramids were not tombs? What if the gods were real, but only in their humanity which evolved them through stories into divinity? These questions formed the foundation to my universe. The framework of history, society, and characters would later fall into the realm of fantasy, which I created from real persons and social upheavals we are familiar with.
The story itself has taken on many versions as I originally wrote it as a series of screenplays for television. In fact, the visual style in which it is presented may give the reader a sense of traveling through a season of a TV show. There is a definitive beginning, middle, and end to the series as the remnants of history is what drives this title, albeit with a twist.
The hope I have is that readers take away a sliver of truth from the material, and if nothing else begin to question what the official version of history is. I humbly offer The Anuk Chronicles as a fictionalization of Alternative History, and hope it stimulates a sense of adventure with readers.
Gods. War. Judgement Day. Novelist Abdur R Mohammed blends ancient myth, religious belief systems, and his deep imagination to create a fantastic new world on the pages of his fiction debut, Rise of Prophecy.
The Age of Virgo ends with an ancient Anuk prophecy looming over the world:
peace ushers in prosperity; war brings annihilation.
Prince Timon of Atlantis seeks the power of the Anuk star-people to conquer the world, but is challenged by the mysterious Liviana, who attempts to prevent the prophecy from unfolding.
She is on a collision course with Alexius, a disgraced noble who inherits a secret from the gods. War is coming. Mortals and gods are in an epic power game in which strength, smarts, and allegiances are tested.
About the Author Abdur R Mohammed is from New York City and currently lives in Virginia Beach, VA.
He spent 13 years with the U.S. Navy, serving in F/A-18 fighter squadrons, and travelling the globe where his deep-seated curiosity about mythology and philosophy was further stimulated.
Mohammed has degrees in Criminal Justice and Psychology.
He is working on Vol. 2 of The Anuk Chronicles while polishing up the screenplay for Vol. 1.
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