Archive for ‘Misc.’

June 1, 2010

Supreme Court says to be silent, you have to speak up


Court: Suspects must say they want to be silent

I could go either way on this, but I’m going to side with the majority opinion of the court.

The case: a man who was arrested on suspicion of murder told police he understood his Miranda rights (the right to an attorney and to remain silent). He then remained silent for almost three hours before answering one question — and that one-word answer basically got the prosecution a conviction.

The guy appealed the decision all the way to the Supreme Court. His argument was it violated his Miranda-given right to silence when they used that response to convict him. The Supreme Court, on a 5-4 vote, disagreed.

The police did their job in this case. They told him his rights, and he clearly understood. Not only did he explicitly say so, but he didn’t say a word for the majority of the interview. Then he chose to say something knowing that he didn’t have to.

The dissenters, led by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, said the decision should have been overturned because the police didn’t show that the defendent had explicitly waived his Miranda rights. But I think the act of speaking WAS waiving his rights.

Maybe after three hours of questioning he was worn down and wasn’t thinking straight.  I think this decision actually helps defendents in that way, because the ruling says defendents can — and have to — state that they’re going to remain silent to stop an interrogation. Perhaps it’s counter-intuitive that people have to speak in order to invoke their right to silence. But, it’s consistent with previous rulings that say if a defendent asks for a lawyer, he/she can’t be questioned until that lawyer is present.

My one hesitation on this issue is that, as Sotomayor states, this decision assumes that suspects waive their Miranda rights if they don’t explicitly invoke them. I see her point. But, suspects don’t have to invoke their Miranda rights if they don’t want to. Suspects should be advised on arrest that they must invoke their rights in order to be protected by them.

Of course, there could be something I’m missing. What do you think?

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May 31, 2010

Check this out…


China aims to become supercomputer superpower

This a pretty cool story, but I was more interested in was the graphic a few paragraphs down. It’s a pretty cool way of illustrating the point that these supercomputers are really fast. Props to BBC News.

Then, a little bit more down the page, there’s a link to this graphic — http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/10187248.stm. This lets you analyze all the Top 500 supercomputers in the world by county, speed, operating system, etc.

Amazing how far graphics have come. It just goes to show you there’s any number of ways to illustrate a story. Getting good at building graphics is becoming a more valuable skill to news outlets. Not a bad skill to add to your arsenal. Maybe “building graphics for news outlets” should be a new class in the J school.

The U.S. is dominating in supercomputers, by the way. But China’s trying to catch up.

May 13, 2010

A home for my tangents


I’m a writer. I have a lot to say, and throughout my life, I’ve realized that I can say it so much better in writing than out loud. I’m not sure what career I’ll pursue or what my journalism experience will lead to, but I’ll always be a writer.

A problem I have when writing or just talking to my friends is that I ramble and go off on a million tangents. But in journalism, we value being concise and focused. So, I created this blog hoping to find a home for those random tangents.

This blog is also designed to complement my writing and keep people updated on my work. I’ll post links to published stories and write a little side story on the production of each one.

Visit my website that I designed in Dreamweaver. It’s a little rough, but it’s a start. It contains my clips, resume, and some bio information.

“Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.”