Punishments for Crimes through the ages – from the bizarre to outrageous, from the sublime to the ridiculous. We don’t know how lucky we are!
Many of us are apt to complain about sentences handed out by our Courts for crimes these days – too harsh, too lenient. But a quick look at some punishments for crimes through the ages, including in some countries today, we should really consider how much we really have to complain about.
Not only have punishments been truly shocking (and in some instances still are), but even some of the crimes are truly unbelievable.
Many Sydney criminal lawyers would have had their work cut out for them if some of these historical crimes were still on the statute books! Lucky for us that our complaints about the justice systems these days are limited to whether an offender should be given a jail sentence or community service, or whether a 2 year sentence is sufficient or whether 5 would have been better, and so on.
Thank goodness we don’t have to contend with crimes for which the penalty is being tortured to death by some truly unimaginable means. Criminal lawyers in Australia, as in Europe, the United States, Canada, New Zealand and others, these days don’t have to plead for the type of mercy that offenders of times gone by had to. And of course, some of these barbaric practices do still exist today in other parts of the globe, as you can see below.
Some Crimes and Some Punishments You Won’t Believe
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Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and his criminal defense lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, are parting ways, throwing a wrench in the filmmaker’s legal strategy and potentially delaying his May trial in New York City.
“Both parties have agreed to part ways amicably and Mr. Brafman has agreed to cooperate fully with new counsel for Mr. Weinstein so as to ensure an orderly transition,” the two men said in a joint statement Thursday.
Mr. Brafman represented Mr. Weinstein in his case in state court in Manhattan, where he faces sex-crime charges, including rape, relating to alleged incidents with two women. Mr. Weinstein has pleaded not guilty and denied all accusations of nonconsensual sex.
The case had been scheduled to go to trial on May 6, a date which could get pushed back if new lawyers request additional time to prepare a defense. Mr. Brafman still has to formally notify the judge he is withdrawing from the case.
Mr. Weinstein intends to introduce his new legal team by early next week, the statement said.
Mr. Brafman is a high-profile and respected criminal-defense attorney who is known for having a knack with juries. His past clients have included Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former chief of the International Monetary Fund, and Martin Shkreli, a former pharmaceutical executive.
A judge dismissed sex-assault charges against Mr. Strauss-Kahn. Mr. Shkreli was convicted of securities-fraud charges.
There are four US states whose legal names include the term Commonwealth: Kentucky, Virginia, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. However, this term does not affect laws or life in these states today, nor did it when they were first created either.
According to the Massachusetts State Government, the term “Commonwealth” was incorporated into their constitution in 1780 and was used to express the ideal that “the people [of Massachusetts] … form themselves into a free, sovereign, and independent body politic, or state.”
The question of commonwealths becomes a bit more complicated when we move beyond the continental United States to look at a few of its island territories.
The US has five major territories: American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Of these five, only two of them are considered commonwealths — the Northern Mariana Island and Puerto Rico.
Like their state counterparts, the use of the term commonwealth in the full titles of these territories does not affect their legal status.
Though it legally has no significance, the title of “commonwealth” has come into question during disputes over the future of Puerto Rico’s status as a territory — namely, in the debate over whether the territory should remain as it is, become independent, or become a fully integrated US State.
Some supporters of Puerto Rico’s independence have supported a kind of fusion status that would utilize the term commonwealth and grant the territory rights similar to those of a Free Associated State, including the right to manage their own international affairs while still maintaining a special relationship with the United States.
Beyond the US
The term commonwealth is also still used beyond the US, notably in the Commonwealth of Nations – a 53 country intergovernmental group which includes countries such as Canada, Australia, South Africa, and India — where nearly all the countries share a history of being ruled by the British Empire as a territory or colony.
While most of these commonwealth countries are independent from the United Kingdom today, Queen Elizabeth II still serves as head of state for 16 countries in the Commonwealth of Nations, including Canada, Jamaica, and New Zealand.
Despite these countries having no legal obligation to one another, they do share a set of common goals. In its charter, the group commits to “the development of free and democratic societies and the promotion of peace and prosperity to improve the lives of all peoples of the Commonwealth.” Again, the term commonwealth here is used to emphasize the vision of a democratic and prosperous political community.
These countries also share a common appreciation for friendly competition and participate every four years in a sporting event — much like the Olympics — called the Commonwealth Games. Hosted most recently in Australia in 2018, athletes from these commonwealth countries come together to compete in sports like swimming and diving, table tennis, and gymnastics.
While the term commonwealth can be almost entirely dismissed as a remnant of political language from centuries ago, it is also a lasting reminder of the goals and ideals of politicians who shaped these nations — and a reminder of what those nations are still striving to achieve every day.
The long-running CBS procedural “Criminal Minds” has been renewed for a fifteenth season, which will also be the show’s last, Variety has confirmed.
The final season will consist of 10 episodes. The final 10 episodes will be shot back-to-back with the Season 14 episodes currently in production. With the final 10 episodes, the show will have aired 325 episodes when it ends its run, making it one of the longest-running shows in television history.
The show revolves around an elite team of FBI profilers who analyze the country’s most twisted criminal minds, anticipating their next moves before they strike again. It currently stars Joe Mantegna, Paget Brewster, Matthew Gray Gubler, A.J. Cook, Aisha Tyler, Kirsten Vangsness, Adam Rodriguez, and Daniel Henney. The series was created by Jeff Davis and is executive produced by Mark Gordon, Erica Messer, and Breen Frazier. ABC Studios produces in association with CBS Television Studios.
The series has been a cornerstone of the CBS schedule, though its ratings have fallen in recent years. In Live+Same Day, Season 14 is currently averaging a 0.8 rating in adults 18-49 and 4.7 million viewers per episode, though those numbers have typically risen noticeably in delayed viewing.
The show has also not been without controversy during its run. Most recently, Variety exclusively reported that the show’s long-time director of photography, Greg St. Johns, had faced multiple accusations of abusive behavior and sexual harassment towards crew members. St. Johns has since left the production. Prior to that, series star Thomas Gibson was fired from the show after an on-set altercation with a producer.
Business Insider continues to obtain more details on the settlement by HP and HPE to salespeople after a nine-year lawsuit battle.
We have now learned that 2,189 current and former California HP employees will be receiving settlement payments, with an average payment of $5,430.06. Some will be receiving much more and some less.
The case involved former salespeople first launching a lawsuit nine years ago claiming that HP’s computer systems weren’t tracking commissions properly and they weren’t getting paid in a timely manner.
HP and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise will pay 2,189 of its current and former California sales employees settlement fees, with an average payment of $5,430.06, after it settled their lawsuit for $25 million, court officials say.
Some will be receiving much more and some far less.
The case involved former salespeople alleging that HP’s computer systems weren’t tracking commissions properly and they weren’t getting paid in a timely manner. They filed suit some nine years ago.
However, in 2016 Business Insider reported that sales people were still complaining about messed up pay, after HP had split into two companies. The sources that we talked to at the time were not aware that other salespeople were suing.
Those sources told us in 2016 that the wacky pay situation had gotten so bad that some people were behind on their mortgages and facing foreclosure, others were late on their alimony. One salesperson was even told that he actually owed his employer money, over $130,000, after the first quarter of 2016, sources told us.
Business Insider again reported on these issues in 2017, after an HP executive sent an email to the troops apologizing. (That executive has since left the company.)
Several months after Business Insider’s second report, HP and HPE agreed to the $25 million settlement deal. And it took another year for the legal volley to officially end and for the court to approve the deal. That happened earlier this week.
In addition to the $25 million penalty fee, HP and HPE said they are currently overhauling their sales and commission-tracking computer systems. The companies told the court that they have already spent or budgeted between $60 million and $70 million through their fiscal 2018 on the new systems and expect to pay another $5 million in fiscal 2019, according to legal documents.
The new system is known as the Incentive Compensation Environment or “ICE”, according to court documents. And it integrates with cloud financial software from startup Anaplan, with inventory-tracking software from startup Zyme and with Salesforce (although HP Inc., the PC and printer HP company, has since ditched Salesforce for Microsoft Dynamics).
Penalties, not back pay
The settlement wasn’t backpay, but a penalty, and each person’s share depended on their wages, Jonathan Parrott tells us. Parrott is an attorney at the Franklin Azar law office working for the plaintiffs.
Of the $25 million that HP and HPE agreed to pay, nearly half went to the lawyers and legal fees. And a few million went to state agency penalty fees as well. The named plaintiff, Jeffery Wall — the one who sued before the suit was turned into class action status for thousands of people — was paid an additional $25,000, settlement documents show.
When the settlement was originally agreed to, back in December, 2017, there were some 1,323 people as plaintiffs in the class action suit and payments to people ranged from the lowest of $144 to the highest of $81,237.
However the final payments wound up quite a bit lower because the court agreed to add another 866 salespeople as plaintiffs to the case. All of them split a kitty of about $11.5 million, out of the $25 million. (The rest went to lawyers fees and government agency penalty fees).
So the total number of salespeople who went to court over pay issues at HP and HPE was nearly 2,200 people.
Parrott told us another interesting fact about this settlement as well: Although plaintiffs included both former and current HP/HPE sales employees, only the ones who left the company received significant cash. Most the money for current employees is being paid as a per-employee penalty fee to the state, he said.
Even so, many class action suits representing this many people result in only a small token payment to the plaintiffs, Parrott says, as would be expected whenever legal fees take a big chunk of the award and everyone else shares the rest.
A spokesperson for HPE did not respond for an immediate request for comment on the payment amount but previously told Business Insider: “HPE is pleased that the mediated resolution in this dispute that was reached by the parties in 2017 has been approved by the Court.”
BuzzFeed News published a bombshell report on Thursday night, alleging that President Donald Trump instructed his longtime lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about how long the Trump Tower Moscow deal had been worked on.
Following the release of that report, people began sharing a clip from William Barr’s confirmation hearing. Barr is Trump’s nominee for attorney general. If confirmed, he would oversee the special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the Russia investigation.
In an exchange with Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar from Wisconsin, Barr answers questions on what he considers obstruction of justice.
During his Tuesday hearing, William Barr, President Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general, answered a series of questions from Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota about obstruction of justice.
In June 2018, Barr sent an unsolicited memo about obstruction of justice to the White House. The memo addressed the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election and whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to sway the election in Trump’s favor.
The memo, which has prompted skepticism from Democrats over Barr’s ability to serve as attorney general, questions the scope of Mueller’s investigation — and whether the special counsel can probe Trump about obstruction of justice.
During the hearing this week, Democrats questioned Barr about the memo — including the following exchange with Klobuchar — and where he did acknowledge that a president can obstruct justice.
“In your memo, you talk about the Comey decision and you talk about obstruction of justice, and you already went over that, which I appreciate,” Klobuchar says. “You wrote on page one that a president persuading a person to commit perjury would be obstruction. Is that right?
“That — yes,” Barr replies. “Or any, well any person who persuades another.”
“You also said that a president — or any person — convincing a witness to change testimony would be obstruction,” Klobuchar continues. “Is that right?”
“Yes,” Barr says.
“OK. And on page two you said that a president deliberately impairing the integrity or availability of evidence would be an obstruction?”
“Yes,” Barr says.
“OK. So what if a president told a witness not to cooperate with an investigation or hinted at a pardon?” Klobuchar asks.
“I’d have to know the specific — I’d have to know the specific facts,” Barr replies.
“OK, you wrote on page one that if a president knowingly destroys or alters evidence that would be obstruction.”
“Yes,” Barr says.
“OK. So what if the president drafted a misleading statement to conceal the purpose of a meeting?” she asks. “Would that be obstruction?”
“Again, I’d have to know the specifics,” Barr says.
“If there was some reason to believe that the president tried to coach somebody not to testify or to testify falsely that could be obstruction of justice?”
“Yes,” Barr responded.
The exchanges — focused specifically on the first two questions about witnesses — was being shared Thursday night, after a new report from BuzzFeed News alleged that President Donald Trump instructed his longtime lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about how long the Trump Organization was in talks for a proposed Trump Tower in Moscow.
If these allegations, told to BuzzFeed News by two law-enforcement sources, prove to be true, this could point to obstruction of justice as Democratic lawmakers pointed out on Twitter.
After what will have been a decade and a half on television, Criminal Minds will come to an end. As fans count down the days until the series’ conclusion, let’s take a look back at the past cast members who helped make it as successful as it’s been over the years, and what they’ve been up to since leaving the program.
Mandy Patinkin – Jason Gideon
Mandy Patinkin’s Jason Gideon was the one to kick it all off, as Jason Gideon served as Criminal Minds‘ Senior Supervisory Special Agent for 3 seasons. Unfortunately, Gideon eventually became disillusioned by the consequences of his and the team’s failures, and Dr. Reid arrived at his cabin to find his badge and a note that he was off to find happy endings again. Gideon was later killed off in a Season 10 storyline off-camera.
In real life, Mandy Patinkin’s exit wasn’t fully explained until years later when the actor referred to Criminal Minds as the “biggest public mistake he ever made.” Patinkin was disgusted with the amount of rape and murder showcased on the program and told New York Magazine (via Deadline) it was “destructive to his soul and personality.” Patinkin offered no judgment towards those who enjoy the show but did question if it was something folks should be watching before bed.
Mandy Patinkin kept busy after his exit from Criminal Minds in many roles, and his longest television stint by far has been as Saul Berenson on Homeland. That ride is coming to an end after Season 8 and is scheduled to air Summer 2019. Patinkin doesn’t have a ton on the horizon following that, but a new film he’s in called Before You Know It is premiering at the Sundance Film Festival on January 27.
Lola Glaudini – Elle Greenaway
Elle Greenway had a rougher run than some members of the B.A.U. as she was attacked by a criminal the team was investigating. The emotionally scarring incident was the start of what evolved into a mental breakdown in which Greenaway shot and killed a serial rapist unprovoked. She escaped the incident without charges but resigned from the B.A.U. in Season 2 just as Hotch was planning to fire her.
Lola Glaudini’s short run on Criminal Minds turned into quite a run on film and television, with her playing a part in quite a few high profile shows. Audiences can spot her as Anita Novak on Showtime’s Ray Donovan, or possibly as Polly Hinton in a future episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Glaudini is also in the Minka Kelly film She’s In Portland, which is due out in 2019.
Thomas Gibson – Aaron Hotchner
Supervisory Special Agent and B.A.U. Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner was with the show from the start and experienced some crazy things. This included the collapse of his marriage and murder of his ex-wife, but Hotchner persevered and kept his cool to bring down bad guys. Hotchner’s ride came to an abrupt end as the character went into witness protection in Season 12 to protect his son. Hotchner ultimately left the B.A.U. to become a full-time father.
While it was an incredibly rushed exit for such a beloved Criminal Minds character, it was also inevitable as actor Thomas Gibson was fired following a physical altercation with a writer on the show’s set. Fans have asked for a “Hotch” return since then, but responses from showrunner Erica Messer on whether or not that will happen even in light of the show’s cancellation have been non-committal.
Thomas Gibson’s once-thriving Hollywood career has somewhat stalled since his Criminal Minds removal, with one on-screen performance happening in Aisha Tyler’s film Axis. Gibson’s also involved in a television project called Shadow Wolves, which has a two-part pilot that’s been circulating Hollywood for some time now. It hasn’t been picked up yet, so fans of Gibson will need to wait and see if another project comes, or Criminal Minds decides to bring him back for the final season.
Shemar Moore – Derek Morgan
Derek Morgan was the low-key superstar of Criminal Minds, as the Northwestern Quarterback-turned-Supervisory Special Agent was the strength of the B.A.U. when the situation called for it. He would eventually step into the role of Unit Chief, albeit that run came to an end once the Boston Reaper was captured. Morgan eventually resigned from his position to care for his family, and brought his 13-season run to an end.
Criminal Minds viewers probably already know where to find Shemar Moore, as the actor’s exit led to his run in CBS’ S.W.A.T. Fans can catch him there, or if they’re the type who appreciates animated superhero adventures, can hear Moore’s voice in the animated feature Reign of the Supermen, which is out Tuesday, January 29.
Rachel Nichols – Ashley Seaver
FBI cadet Ashley Seaver was one of Criminal Minds‘ more interesting additions to the team as she grew up with a father later discovered to be a horrific serial killer. It was an interesting plot, but one that didn’t run that long. Seaver was in and out of the CBS procedural in Season 6. Seaver was permanently out of the team in Season 7 and was said to have transferred to a domestic trafficking task force.
Rachel Nichols’ run on Criminal Minds was short, but her career since then has been long. More recently, Nichols was seen on the DC Universe series Titans as Angela Roth, and has had recurring and guest spot roles on shows like The Librarians and Taken. Nichols is currently involved in a film called The Adventures of Buddy Thunder that’s in pre-production, and audiences should expect to see her appear in more shows if 2019 is like past years.
Jeanne Tripplehorn – Dr. Alex Blake
Although Dr. Alex Blake was a Linguistics expert and new addition to Criminal Minds in Season 8, she had some past history with the B.A.U. long before her rejoining. Blake ultimately sought redemption for the events that led to her early retirement, and found them but at a terrible price. Two seasons later Blake became especially rattled when Reid almost died protecting her and handed in her badge not long after.
Jeanne Tripplehorn took a break from acting after Criminal Minds, then resurfaced in 2017 with a couple roles in 2018 as well. She hasn’t had much to do with television but appeared in the films We Only Know So Much and Gloria Bell in the past year. The fact Tripplehorn hasn’t done television since 2014 may mean she’s a question mark for a potential return, although who knows what she may or may not be up for.
Jennifer Love Hewitt – Kate Callahan
Jennifer Love Hewitt’s Kate Callahan was another one-and-done addition to the B.A.U., as the true blue FBI agent was added in Season 10. Kate and her husband were the guardians of her niece, whose parents died as a result of the attacks on September 11. Kate was pregnant throughout the season, and almost got taken away by human traffickers. She was saved and decided to take time away to be with her family.
Jennifer Love Hewitt’s break from acting lasted much longer than a year, and audiences haven’t seen her until recently on Fox’s Ryan Murphy drama 9-1-1. Hewitt’s Maddie Kendall was added in Season 2 and used to fill the void left by Connie Britton, who did not return as a series regular. Of course, Hewitt’s run in Hollywood was well established before her guest spot on Criminal Minds, so viewers can always check out her work from that era too.
Damon Gupton – Stephen Walker
Stephen Walker joined the B.A.U. in Season 12, and was meant to help out with the team’s ongoing battle against Mr. Scratch. Despite his extensive experience in the field, Walker ended up falling prey to Mr. Scratch and died as a result of his injuries following an accident with a semi-truck.
Actor Damon Gupton has kept busy since exiting Criminal Minds and can be seen in projects such as Dirty John, or The CW superhero series Black Lightning. Audiences will see a fair bit of him on the latter series, as his character Bill Henderson has become one of the hero’s closest confidants. Fans will have to settle for those shows, because it doesn’t seem likely Criminal Minds will be bringing him back to life for the final season.
Criminal Minds airs on CBS Wednesdays at 10:00 p.m. ET. To see what else is on television around that time or to see what’s premiering in the days to come, visit our midseason premiere guide.
Guam’s Catholic Church filed for bankruptcy Wednesday, a move that will help sidestep a court showdown in dozens of child sexual abuse lawsuits.
A lawyer for the church said the bankruptcy was filed with federal court in Guam, a US island territory in Micronesia, in the Western Pacific, that has a long history of close ties to the US military.
The church faces multimillion-dollar lawsuits for sexual abuse from about 190 accusers.
The Vatican is also being targeted, with local media reporting more than 200 child sex abuse cases have been filed on Guam in the last two years naming the Holy See.
HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — Guam’s Catholic Church filed for bankruptcy Wednesday, a move that will allow the archdiocese to avoid trial in dozens of child sexual abuse lawsuits and enter settlement negotiations.
Ford Elsaesser, an attorney representing the church, said the Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition was filed with federal court in Guam.
The church faces multimillion-dollar lawsuits for sexual abuse from about 190 accusers.
Elsaesser couldn’t put a figure on the dollar amount the church is hoping to raise for its settlement. But it said its current assets are valued at $22.9 million with liabilities of $45.6 million. The church also plans to sell non-essential real estate and add the proceeds to the settlement fund.
The Chapter 11 reorganization also allows the church to continue its operations, keeping parishes and parochial schools open, Elsaesser said. This bankruptcy filing will halt current lawsuits and create a deadline for abuse victims to file new claims before the church settles with accusers.
During the reorganization phase, a notice will be given to everyone who may have a claim but has not filed, Elsaesser said. The deadline to file is estimated to take place in May to June. An unclaimed trust fund will also be established for future claimants who did not file within the bankruptcy deadline, he said.
Last November, Archbishop Michael Byrnes announced the church’s decision to file for bankruptcy after mediation efforts to try to settle claims failed.
“This path will bring the greatest measure of justice to the greatest number of victims,” Byrnes said last year. “That’s the heart of what we’re doing.”
Byrnes said the bankruptcy will provide finality for victim survivors.
The Chapter 11 reorganization also allows the church to continue its operations where parishes and parochial schools will remain open.
When theannouncementwas made in November, attorney Leander James, who is working with alleged victims in Guam, praised the move.
“We welcome the announcement,” James said in a statement. “Bankruptcy provides the only realistic path to settlement of pending and future claims.”
Pope Francis named a temporary administrator for Guam in 2016 after Archbishop Anthony Apuron was accused by former altar boys of sexually abusing them when he was a priest. Dozens of cases involving other priests on the island have since come to light.
Apuron’s nephew, Mark Apuron, is one of those who alleges sexual abuse. His attorney David Lujan amended his civil complaint on Monday, to include the Vatican, according to The Guam Daily Post. The civil complaint names the Holy See, Archdiocese of Agana, Capuchin Franciscans, and former Guam Archbishop Anthony Apuron.
The Vatican was named in the complaint because the Holy See “had direct control over the former Guam archbishop with the power to appoint and remove the Catholic leadership on Guam,” The Guam Daily Post reported. However The US Foreign Sovereignties Act makes it difficult to pursue a lawsuit against a foreign nation like the Vatican.
Earlier last year, the Vatican removed the suspended Apuron from office and ordered him not to return to the Pacific island after convicting him of charges in a Vatican sex abuse trial.
The Vatican didn’t say what exactly Apuron had been convicted of, and the sentence was far lighter than those given to high-profile elderly prelates found guilty of molesting minors.
Apuron, 73, has denied the allegations and has not been criminally charged. He appealed his case, according to the Guam Daily Post, and Pope Francis has not made a decision yet said appeal.