Murder suspect Broderick Laswell, 19, filed a lawsuit in federal court in April against the Benton County (Ark.) Jail, alleging that he was being "literally" "starved to death" while awaiting trial, and complaining of "blurry" vision and of almost passing out. As evidence of his plight, Laswell pointed out that, in eight months behind bars, his weight had dropped from 413 pounds to 308.
It's Good to Be a British Prisoner (continued): In June, Abu Qatada, a cleric described as one of Europe's most dangerous terror proselytizers, was released from jail, where he has been awaiting deportation (for three years) to Jordan and confined to his home in London. British courts refuse to deport him because, when Jordan tries him on serious terrorism charges, it might possibly use evidence obtained by torture of Abu Qatada's colleagues. Thus, he will remain in Britain, under heavy guard (estimated to cost the equivalent of $1 million a year), in his tax-abated home with his wife and five children, who receive the equivalent of about $90,000 a year in welfare benefits. (Abu Qatada himself receives the equivalent of $16,000 a year from the government, for a previous back injury.)
A U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in July that officials at a junior high school in Safford, Ariz., should not have strip-searched a 13-year-old girl when all they wanted was to see if she was carrying ibuprofen. However, her "right" to privacy carried the day among the judges by only 6-5, as the dissenters pointed out that it was, after all, prescription-strength ibuprofen they were after and that officials proceeded based on information from an "informant." (The majority apparently holds junior-high-age "informants" in lower regard.)