Criminal Justice Degrees Guide

10 Most Terrifying Airplane Hijackings of All Time

By Nancy Farrell

Although flying the friendly skies is statistically the safest way to travel, the feeling of helplessness that comes when there’s any hint of danger is quite unsettling. Most frequent flyers have been on planes that encountered at least moderate turbulence, for example, and despite the fact that it’s not as dangerous as, say, an engine malfunction, most people can’t help but brace themselves for the worst possible outcome. Now imagine that experience times ten, with an unpredictable hijacker who’s hell-bent on making a political point to the world. Such dire situations can be difficult for the crew, passengers and law enforcement to handle, as evidenced by the incidents listed below. Excluding the unforgettable 9/11 attacks, these hijackings were among the most terrifying in the history of air transportation.

  1. El Al Flight 426 (1968): El Al Airlines, based in Israel, has always been a target for prospective hijackers. For that reason, it has taken thorough measures in recent decades to ensure passenger safety, and as a result, it’s one of the safest airlines around. Its biggest blemish, one that changed its procedures for the better, occurred when Flight 426 was commandeered by three members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Initially traveling from London to Rome, the plane was diverted to Algiers, where war had been declared on Israel a year earlier. All Non-Israeli passengers were released, leaving 12 Israeli passengers — 10 women and children were released at the end of the week — and the crew of 10. It took 40 days of negotiations to reach an agreement, and everyone — including the hijackers — were freed. A conflict between Israel and Algiers could’ve resulted without a resolution.
  2. Dawson’s Field Hijackings (1970): In a single day, four planes were simultaneously seized by the PFLP gunmen, who forced two to fly to Dawson’s Field in the Jordanian desert. All 310 passengers were freed, but Jewish passengers and the flight crews consisting of 56 members were kept behind. Expecting a hostile effort to free the hostages, the PFLP blew up the empty planes, demanding the release of the body of Patrick Arguello and the detained Leila Khaled, both of whom failed in their attempt to hijack El Al Flight 219. Conditions were met, and a conflict ensued between Hashemite King Hussein of Jordan and Palestinians known as Black September.
  3. Air France Flight 139 (1976): Six years after the Dawson’s Field incident, two members of the PFLP and two members of German Revolutionary Cells took control of Air France Flight 139 en route from Athens to Paris and diverted it to Benghazi, Libya. After releasing a female hostage who was pretending to have a miscarriage, the 247 remaining passengers and crew of 12 were taken to Entebbe Airport in Uganda, where four more hijackers joined the effort. Demanding the release of 40 Palestinians detained in Israel and 13 in other countries, they threatened to kill hostages if they were ignored. Operation Entebbe followed, as 100 elite commandos from Israel traveled to the site and stormed the scene amid a haze of gunfire to rescue the hostages. When the smoke cleared, three passengers, an Israeli commando and 45 Ugandan soldiers were killed. One passenger who was at the hospital was later murdered. Overall, 105 passengers were saved.
  4. Lufthansa Flight 181 (1977): Destined from Palma de Mallorca to Frankfurt Lufthansa with 86 passengers and five crew members aboard, Lufthansa Flight 181 was hijacked in midair by four militant Palestinians — members of the PFLP — who called themselves "Commando Martyr Halime." One invaded the cockpit with a pistol and demanded the flight to Larnaca, Cyprus , but it was diverted to Rome due to insufficient fuel. After traveling to Cyprus, Bahrain, Dubai and Aden, it settled in Mogadishu, and Operation Feuerzauber, primarily undertaken by West German counter-terrorism group GSG 9, resulted in a hostile raid of the plane and the killing of two hijackers and the injuring of the others, one of whom was mortally wounded. All 86 passengers survived.
  5. Malaysia Airlines Flight 653 (1977): The hijacking of Malaysia Airlines Flight 653 remains a mystery more than three decades later. Not long after departing Penang for Kuala Lumpur, Captain G.K. Ganjoor reported an "unidentified hijacker" was aboard and later reported they were "proceeding to Singapore." Eventually all communication was lost, and the plane crashed in Kampong Ladang, Tanjong Kupang, killing all seven crew members and 93 passengers, including Malaysian Public Works Department Head Dato’ Mahfuz Khalid, Malaysian Agricultural Minister Dato’ Ali Haji Ahmadand, and Cuban Ambassador to Japan Mario Garcia. Some suspected that a member of the Japanese Red Army was to blame, though no evidence exists to prove it.
  6. TWA Flight 847 (1985): Six members of Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad were responsible for the infamous two-week ordeal involving TWA Flight 847. En route from Athens to Rome, the plane was overtaken just after takeoff and diverted to Beirut, where 19 passengers were released, and Algiers, where 20 passengers were released. The plane returned to Beirut, and the hijackers proceeded to single out United States Navy Seabee diver Robert Stethem, beat him, fatally shoot him and dump his body onto the ramp. Seven American passengers with Jewish-sounding names were removed from the plane and held hostage elsewhere in Beirut. The plane traveled back to Algiers, released 65 passengers, and returned to Beirut. The hijackers made several demands, including the release of the "Kuwait 17" involved in the 1983 bombing of the U.S. embassy in Kuwait and international condemnation of the U.S. and Israel. Eventually, the 40 remaining hostages were released and nobody else was harmed.
  7. EgyptAir Flight 648 (1985): Remembered as one of the world’s bloodiest and scariest plane hijackings, the events aboard EgyptAir Flight 648 will forever serve as a reminder of how not to deal with terrorists. After three Palestinian members of the Abu Nidal Organization took control of the plane destined from Athens to Cairo, an Egyptian Security Service member opened fire, killing one of the hijackers. In return, he was shot dozens of times and killed. As a result of the exchange of bullets, the fuselage of the plane was punctured, and the pilot was forced to descend so that everyone on board could breathe. Low on fuel, the plane landed in Malta against the wishes of Maltese authorities, and a stand-off commenced. Eleven passengers and two injured flight attendants were released, but Maltese Prime Minister Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici’s hard-line approach resulted in the execution of two American passengers. Egyptian commandos later stormed the plane, causing a chaotic, fiery scene — from either the explosives from the commandos or grenades from the terrorists — in which 56 of the 88 remaining passengers were killed. Sixty of the 92 passengers initially on board were killed.
  8. Pan Am Flight 73 (1986): While preparing to depart for Frankfurt from Karachi, Pakistan, four members of the Abu Nidal Organization, dressed as Karachi airport security guards, hijacked Pan Am Flight 73. The crew immediately escaped through an overhead hatch in the cockpit, grounding the plane. In response, an Indian-American passenger was executed after demands that the crew return to the plane weren’t met. Later, as the plane sat in darkness without power and Pakistani authorities prepared to storm in, a grenade was tossed and random shooting began. In the end, 20 passengers will killed, but many escaped due in part to the heroics of 22-year-old flight purser Neerja Bhanot, who helped them off the plane and shielded three children from bullets.
  9. Iraqi Airways Flight 163 (1986): Air safety was a major concern in the Middle East in the mid-1980s, as deadly hijackings were becoming more common — see the previous three paragraphs. Iraqi Airways Flight 163, traveling from Baghdad to Amman with 91 passengers and 15 crew members, was taken by four men affiliated with Hezbollah. Security personnel immediately attempted to neutralize them, but they responded by detonating grenades in the passenger cabin and cockpit, causing the plane to crash near Arar, Saudi Arabia. Sixty passengers and three crew members died.
  10. Ethiopian Airlines Flight 961 (1996): Captured on camera by a South African honeymooner on a beach in the Comoros Islands, the video of the descent and crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 961 stunned the world. It was hijacked by three nervous and disorganized Ethiopians who were seeking political asylum in Australia. Knowing he didn’t have enough fuel to make such a trip, Captain Leul Abate traveled toward the Comoros Islands, hoping to find an available runway. When both engines failed, he was unable to locate Prince Said Ibrahim International Airport and was forced to ditch in shallow waters. Numerous residents and tourists swam to the aid of the passengers. Even still, the ordeal was costly, as 122 of the 172 passengers and crew members died.

10 Most Corrupt State Governments

It seems that political corruption is influenced by several intrinsic factors that are almost impossible to change. Some states have struggled with the same issues of embezzlement, extortion and bribery for centuries, and have done little to change for the better, which explains why, as Americans, we’re perpetually cynical about our elected officials, despite purporting ourselves to be a moral beacon for the world. Charles Caleb Colton said it best: "Corruption is like a ball of snow; once it’s set a rolling, it must increase." The following state governments are proof of that, as their politicians have routinely made headlines for their wrongdoings. Hopefully, some day, each will undergo a sort of moral cleansing and make changes for the better.

  1. New York: The last few years have been rough for New York governors. First, Eliot Spitzer resigned in 2008 after it was revealed that he had made several liaisons with a call girl. The investigation of possible bribes led to the ordeal. His successor, David Paterson, was accused of witness tampering in a domestic abuse case involving a staffer and lying under oath about charges he obtained free tickets from the Yankees for the World Series — he was ultimately fined $62,125 for the latter. Of course, New York City was infamous for its corruption during the 19th century, when Boss Tweed, leader of the Tammany Hall political machine, stole between $25 million and $45 million from the city.
  2. Tennessee: Under the radar of the nation’s dirtiest states flies Tennessee, which experienced an enormous scandal in 2005 known as Operation Tennessee Waltz. Seven lawmakers were arrested on bribery charges, all of whom were already suspected of corruption. Led by State Senator John Ford, who took a $55,000 bribe, they agreed to push legislation to help a phony company named E-Cycle comprised of federal agents. Sadly, the legislation almost passed. On the plus side, however, Ford is now serving a 66-month federal prison sentence and faces additional corruption charges in Nashville for accepting $800,000 in bribes from medical contractors.
  3. Illinois: Former governor Rod Blagojevich infamously tried to sell President Obama’s vacated senate seat, and has managed to further embarrass Illinoisans by relishing the resulting limelight, notably appearing in season nine of Celebrity Apprentice. He was impeached and removed from office in January of 2009, the same month Obama was sworn into office, and has been the subject of more than a dozen federal investigations since 2005. Blago is the sixth Illinois governor to have been arrested or indicted in the state’s history. George Ryan, his predecessor, is currently serving a six-year prison sentence for his role in a scandal involving the illegal sale of truck operators’ licenses for political contributions. He was one of 79 state officials, lobbyists and other participants who were charged for their participation.
  4. Mississippi: Southern states such as Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama have long had established good ol’ boy networks supporting cronyism and general elitism. Mississippi’s most recent high-profile corruption case, however, involved someone who detested the old way of doing things in the South. As a prosecutor, Bobby DeLaughter secured the conviction of Byron De La Beckwith, the man who murdered civil rights leader Medgar Evers in 1963 — the Rob Reiner film Ghosts of Mississippi famously depicted the trial. As a state judge, he ruined his career after lying to a federal agent who was investigating a gift of $1 million his friend received that came from a corrupt attorney who intended to influence a case. Currently, DeLaughter is serving an 18-month prison sentence.
  5. Florida: The prevalence of Florida’s corruption is evident in the numbers. From 1998 to 2007, it led the nation in the number of federally convicted public officials with more than 800. Things haven’t improved much in the ensuing years — for example, last December, the state Republican Party was subpoenaed for its financial records in a corruption inquiry by the FBI, IRS and U.S. Attorney’s Office. Apparently, party big wigs went on a spending spree using party-paid American Express cards. Not long before that, there were criminal inquiries into the state’s former House speaker, a chairman and a fundraiser. The ball is still rolling in the Sunshine State.
  6. Virginia: Virginia tax payers can’t be pleased with the handling of their hard-earned money. In January, former Del. Phillip A. Hamilton, one time a member of the state’s House Appropriations Committee, was indicted by a grand jury on bribery and extortion charges. Responsible for overseeing a bill that sought $500,000 to construct a new teaching center at Old Dominion University, he successfully obtained a $400,000 per year job from the school, an apparent abuse of power. Also recently, former Secretary of Finance John W. Forbes II was given a 10-year prison sentence for stealing $4 million from a fund purposed to support literacy.
  7. New Jersey: When New Jersey does corruption, it does it big. See Operation Big Rig, an ongoing investigation that has been undertaken in three phases since 2002, netting a total of indictments of more than 60 public officials and people connected to them. The third phase, which involved real estate developer Solomon Dwek and an extensive money laundering network, resulted in the arrest of 44 people in 2009, including 28 political officials for corruption. The operation has caused the demise of several high profile political figures.
  8. Ohio: Amid the state’s economic struggles, Ohio hasn’t had much else to hang its hat on — aside from the Buckeyes, anyway. Its former governor Robert Taft was convicted in 2005 of ethics violations for his involvement in Coingate, an investment scandal centered on Republican Party fundraiser and coin dealer Tom Noe, who stole $13 million from a fund for the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. In 2002, former congressman James Traficant was found guilty of bribery, racketeering, filing false tax returns and forcing aids to do work on his farm. He served seven years in prison, during which David Duke kindly offered his support. After he was released, he ran for his old seat in the 2010 election — not exactly the national representation Ohio needed.
  9. South Carolina: Then-Governor Mark Sanford’s 2009 disappearance and the resulting revelation that he was having an extramarital affair with an Argentine journalist made for juicy headlines. The fallout included his resignation as Chairman of the Republican Governors Association and a censure due to his misuse of travel funds. Once discussed as a presidential candidate, his stock took a significant hit because of the scandal, though it may not slow him down in 2012. This year, Willie E. Randall, Jr., former Union County Tax Assessor, certainly outdid Sanford in the dirtiness department, pleading guilty to a number of charges including extortion and accepting bribes. What’s more, he pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine.
  10. Alabama: Alabama’s state legislature took a bit of a PR hit in late 2010, when four state legislators, three lobbyists and four others were charged in a scandal that involved bribery, extortion, money laundering, obstruction of justice, making a false statement and mail and wire fraud. The legislators, of course, took and even demanded bribes. Earlier in 2010, former Birmingham mayor Larry Langford was sentenced to 15 years in prison for soliciting and receiving $236,000 in cash, jewelry and clothes from businessman and former Alabama Democratic Party chairman Bill Blount.

9 Ways School Has Changed Since Columbine

Twelve years ago, two troubled students opened fire at their Littleton, Colorado, high school, killing 13 people and themselves. The Columbine High School massacre will forever be remembered as the worst school shooting in U.S. history, and one that has drastically changed our nation’s school system. Here are nine ways school has changed since Columbine:

  1. Heightened School Security: Schools have significantly increased their security measures since the 1999 Columbine massacre. Some of the common school security upgrades include: metal detectors, security cameras, required ID badges, enforced dress codes, banned or see-through backpacks and on-campus police officers. These often costly security measures have been the subject of much controversy, specifically over the rights of students and invasion of privacy.
  2. Increased Communication: Since the Columbine shooting, schools have taken new measures to increase communication among students, teachers and faculty about violence, weapons, bullying and other threats. Administrators have urged students to report any safety concerns to an adult, so that they can properly address the situation before anything escalates. Open communication and students’ participation in sharing information has helped prevent school attacks.
  3. Zero-Tolerance Policies: After the Columbine massacre, schools have truly put their foot down on student threats and bullying by enforcing zero-tolerance policies that punish any violation of a rule, regardless of ignorance, accidents or other circumstances. Most schools have adopted zero-tolerance policies for possession or use of weapons and drugs. Students, staff, parents and other school visitors who are in possession of a weapon or drug are punished. Zero-tolerance has lead to many criticisms and overreactions by school districts, such as student expulsions for bringing nail clippers or a knife to cut a cake to school.
  4. Increased Awareness: Schools and communities as a whole have become increasingly aware of the warning signs associated with troubled students and school attacks since Columbine. Students, faculty and parents are much more watchful of their surroundings at school and pay closer attention to unusual behavior. Schools take special notice of outcasts and encourage inclusion to foster a sense of belonging and bridge the gap between students. However, this heightened level of awareness and attention on students can also breed paranoia in the school system.
  5. Student Privileges are Limited: The school environment has undergone several changes since Columbine, and students have had to say goodbye to some of their beloved privileges in the process. Although generally minor, many schools have made the switch to mandatory school uniforms to decrease violence, theft and prevent the wearing of gang colors and insignia, while also helping school officials recognize intruders in the school. In addition to losing dress code privileges, some schools have also done away with off campus lunches and have forced students to wear ID badges so faculty and police can keep a close eye on everyone.
  6. Emergency Crisis Plans: Since Columbine, schools have become more prepared for school shootings by implementing lockdown drills similar to fire and natural disaster drills. These emergency crisis plans typically involve covering the classroom windows, locking the doors and having students sit in silence under their desks with their heads covered.
  7. Bullying and Violence Prevention Programs: After the Columbine shooting, schools have developed anti-bullying and violence initiatives to prevent bullying and provide support to victims of bullying. Violence and bullying prevention programs have helped students, teachers and parents understand the harmful effects of bullying, while teaching them how to stop it from happening. These programs also provide a safe place for victims and bullies to talk about their experiences with bullying.
  8. More Mental Health Counseling: Mental health counseling has become a norm in many U.S. schools, especially after Columbine. Students are often screened by counselors and school psychologists to determine their level of danger to others and themselves. Mental health counseling is needed for safety reasons, but it’s also an essential part of therapy for these troubled students.
  9. Cell Phones are Allowed on Campus: In an effort to ease parents’ worries and let them know their children’s whereabouts, most schools have allowed students to have cell phones on campus. In case of an emergency, such as Columbine, students now have a way to communicate with their parents or law enforcement by using their cell phones. Before the Columbine shooting, few schools allowed cell phones to be carried on campus or used on school grounds, but this decision has also caused a great deal of disruptions in the classroom and has even given way to bomb threats and other school attacks.

15 Musicians Who’ve Done Time

By Nancy Farrell

There’s probably something to the fact that most musicians who’ve gone to prison come from the country and hip-hop fields, but it’s going to take some graduate-level thesis work to extrapolate the real meaning. The easiest observation to make is that those genres tend to prize performers whose personas are rooted in anti-establishment lyrics and actions, and that the art and artist fed each other to the point where going to prison started to seem like one of those things you did to start your career or reinvigorate it. Or who knows, maybe people just crack under pressure regardless of what kind of music they make. Whatever the reason — feel free to insert your own — there are plenty of musicians who’ve done time over the years, whether it’s for minor infractions, drug charges, or serious crimes. It just goes to show that no matter how many fans you get, you’ve still got to deal with the boys in blue.

  1. Steve Earle: Steve Earle’s musical career is divided into two halves: his records before prison, and those that came after. He got his start in Nashville writing songs for country artists and gradually doing more performing on his own, and his profile rose with his 1986 debut, Guitar Town, and later records like Copperhead Road. But in the early 1990s, the wheels pretty much came off. He gave in completely to his heroin addiction, and he didn’t record for years. In 1994, he was arrested and jailed for posession, which was essentially his low point, locked up after years out of the public eye. But in a weird way, the stint behind bars focused his style. When he got out a year or so later, he released Train a Comin’, an acoustic album that mixed originals with covers, and that was shortly followed by I Feel Alright. Both received critical acclaim and reignited his career. He’s since kicked his bad habits.
  2. Chuck Berry: Chuck Berry was not a young man to be trifled with: from 1944-47, while he was still a teen, Berry did hard time for armed robbery. That would’ve been his last brush with prison if not for a later application of the Mann Act, which is officially called the White-Slave Traffic Act. The Mann Act prohibited white slavery and the transporting of white women across state lines for what the language deemed "immoral purposes"; the real purpose was to apprehend men accused of sleeping with underage women. In December 1959, a young woman alleged that Berry had sex with her after taking her across state lines to work as a hat-check girl. He was sentenced to five years in prison in the spring of 1960, though a series of appeals lowered that to three years, of which he served 18 months.
  3. Sid Vicious: John Ritchie was dead at 21 from a heroin overdose. The man lived a short, troubled, erratic life, and he dealt with the law up to the end. Lover Nancy Spurgen was fatally stabbed in October 1978, and Sid Vicious was charged with the murder. Details surrounding her death were fuzzy, but the public verdict came in against Sid almost instantly. Sid made bail in February and wound up overdosing the night of his release at a family gathering. He died before he could be tried for Nancy’s murder.
  4. Merle Haggard: Merle Haggard spent time in San Quentin State Prison in the late 1950s for robbery. He’d been in trouble with the law since a teen, when shoplifting and larceny sent him to juvenile hall time and again. He started to get his musical career going with the help of friend and performer Lefty Frizzell, but the threat of being broke again pushed him to rob once more. He was in San Quentin for three years, during which time something pretty cool happened: he saw Johnny Cash perform. The first of Cash’s many prison concerts was in January 1958 at San Quentin. Hag got his life together, earned a GED, and started recording when got out, and not long after that he was dominating country music.
  5. Tupac Shakur: Tupac Shakur didn’t live to see 26, and he spent many of his few years dealing with the law. In February of 1995, he was sentenced to prison (for a term of 1 1/2 to 4 1/2 years) for the charge of sexually assaulting a woman in a New York hotel room in 1993. Tupac’s side was that he’d hooked up with the woman a few days before; she alleged that he and several other men had gang-banged her, though Tupac countered that he’d fallen asleep after having sex with her and didn’t know what happened. He was found guilty, but in a sad twist, he was shot several times in November 1994, right before the verdict in his trial was to be announced. As a result, he was in a wheelchair for his wounds when he made it to court days later to hear his guilty verdict read. He entered prison in February 1995 and was released 11 months later, having released the smash Me Against the World while behind bars.
  6. Jim Gordon: Jim Gordon had an epic career going as a session drummer, appearing on the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, playing with dozens of artists, and eventually joining the briefly assembled Derek and the Dominos for their only effort, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. He co-wrote the infamous piano coda to "Layla" with Eric Clapton, a tune that’s been used just about everywhere. By the end of the 1970s, though, Gordon was suffering from what would later be diagnosed as acute paranoid schizophrenia, and he complained of symptoms including hearing voices. In June 1983, he killed his mother by stabbing her with a butcher knife, and though his condition was considered during the trial, he was ultimately convicted of second-degree murder and given a sentence of 16 years to life. He’s still in prison.
  7. Phil Spector: Phil Spector’s known for his producing work, but he got his start on the other side of the microphone. Before he was even 20, he’d formed a group called the Teddy Bears that had a hit with "To Know Him Is to Love Him," which hit No. 1 on the charts and was covered by others over the years. After that, he stuck to writing and producing, and he had his hand on so many hits that to even attempt to list them here would be ridiculous. (Here’s a list to get you started.) His musical career came to an end around 2003, though, when actress Lana Clarkson was shot and killed at Spector’s home. Spector was charged with the murder, and though the first trial ended with a hung jury, the second one resulted in a conviction. In May 2009, he was sentenced to 19 years to life in prison, and he’s currently serving his time at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison.
  8. Rick James: Despite (or because of) his pop success, Rick James had a rough life. In the early 1990s, with his music career cooling down, James gave in to his crack addiction (on which he spent as estimated $7,000 a week for five years) and participated in some bizarre and sordid acts. In 1991, James and Tanya Hijazi (his future wife) allegedly kidnapped and beat Mary Sauger, a music industry executive, in Los Angeles. Out on bail, James and Tanya then kidnapped a young woman and held her hostage for days while sexually assaulting her and burning her with a crack pipe. James earned a five-year sentence — the judge, clearly no fan of funk, called the sentence "a gift" — and wound up serving two years in Folsom Prison. His attempts at a comeback were derailed by health issues, and he died in August 2004 from a variety of heart and other issues that were no doubt compounded by the number of drugs in his system at the time.
  9. Johnny Paycheck: Johnny Paycheck was born Donald Lytle, but he adopted the name of a boxer when he started shaping his recording career in the late 1960s. He’d been singing a while by then, but it was as Johnny Paycheck that he tasted real success, notably for "She’s All I Got" and his cover of David Allan Coe’s "Take This Job and Shove It." His outlaw image became real in 1985, when he got sucked into a bar fight in Ohio and shot at a man with a .22 pistol, sending the bullet cutting along the guy’s scalp. He was sentenced to seven years in prison, though when he finally began doing time in 1989, he served just under two years before being pardoned by Ohio Governor Richard Celeste.
  10. Ike Turner: Ike Turner’s musical career and personal life have been nothing if not controversial — his second marriage, to Tina Turner, was marked by abuse and heavy drug use, according to Tina’s autobiography — and that includes some serious prison time. Apparently a major fan of cocaine, Ike was busted for possession in the 1980s and sentenced to four years, though he only served two. The sentence was also tied to drunken driving and a parole violation. Unfortunately, the drugs were never far away: he died in 2007 at age 76 from a cocaine overdose.
  11. James Brown: The Godfather of Soul was no stranger to prison cells. He saw his first one when he was just a teenager, doing three years for theft. In 1988, he was involved in a car chase with police that crossed from Georgia into South Carolina, a crazy incident that saw him hit with weapons and drug charges that totaled up to earn him a six-year prison sentence, of which he served three. After his death, the release of his FBI file showed that Brown claimed he and his vehicle were actually assaulted by law enforcement, and that the chase hadn’t been as one-sided as it appeared at the time. Still, Brown did plenty of other stuff that had him cross paths with police even if he didn’t do time for it, notably decades of domestic violence.
  12. Bobby Brown: Bobby Brown, that big basket of crazy, has had an up-and-down career as a group performer, solo artist, and husband to the equally unhinged Whitney Houston. He’s done a few brief stints in prison, and though none have been the longer sentences that other musicians have seen, they’re still an embarrassment. He was jailed in Georgia in 2004 after a series of misadventures that started with DUI and possession charges and led to parole violations. In 2007, he was briefly jailed in Massachusetts when he didn’t show up for a court date or pay child support to a former girlfriend.
  13. Lil Kim: Lil Kim went to prison not for committing a crime but for lying about her knowledge of it. In 2001, outside the office of New York’s Hot 97, Kim’s entourage got into a brawl with rapper Capone and his companions. Capone had recently put out an album with a track that knocked Lil Kim, and the two groups decided this was worth going to the mattresses over. Soon enough, the shooting started, and one man wound up shot in the back. Kim then lied to police about her knowledge of the cause of the fight and her relationship with those present, and for that she was convicted of perjury and conspiracy. In 2005, she was sentenced to prison for a year and a day, and she served her time in Philadelphia, earning release after 10 months.
  14. Peter Yarrow: Peter Yarrow’s by all accounts a pretty innocent guy: as part of Peter, Paul, and Mary, he sang earnest protest music, cut the children’s hit "Puff, the Magic Dragon" (which he emphatically states is not about drug use), and basically made a living being a hippie. But in 1970, he spent three months in jail for doing something monumentally stupid. Yarrow, who was past 30 by then, was convicted of engaging in sexual behavior with a 14-year-old girl. He pleaded guilty to taking "immoral and indecent liberties" with her and served his time, though he was officially pardoned in 1981 by President Carter. Yarrow apologized for the incident and moved on with his career.
  15. Lil Wayne: Lil Wayne (pictured above) is as known for his collaborations and mix tapes as he is for solo records, but he’s also had more than his share of criminal problems. In July 2007, after his first headlining performance, he was arrested outside New York’s Beacon Theatre for gun possession. (This after cops took him into custody for openly smoking weed with another guy, which for an up and coming musician seems really stupid. Even Willie Nelson knows to spark up in privacy.) He pleaded guilty to the charge of criminal possession, but his sentencing was repeatedly delayed for dental surgery. Eventually, in March 2010, Lil Wayne was sentenced to a year in prison to be served at Rikers Island in New York. He was released that November on good behavior. His time in prison actually helped him out of another jam: On tour in Arizona in 2008, he was busted for possession of narcotics, and though he pleaded not guilty in 2008, a bench warrant was issued for his arrest in 2010, when he was at Rikers. He was sentenced to three years of probation.