Criminal Justice Degrees Guide

10 Most Corrupt Movie Cops

Most police officers take on the job because they want to serve and protect their communities. But there’s a lot of responsibility and power that comes with carrying a badge and gun. And sometimes, good cops turn bad. Very, very bad, especially in the movies. Spoiler alert: If you haven’t seen these films, we’re going to be revealing some key plots twists and endings for some of them, so read at your own risk. We just hope none of these films were based on true stories.

  1. Dennis Peck, Internal Affairs

    You may have trouble picturing Richard Gere as anything but Julia Roberts’ movie soul mate, but he also knows how to play a cop-gone-bad. Gere’s character Dennis Peck, a patrolman with some questionable morals, is a guy you never want to run across, whether he’s on duty or off. At first, you think he’s just a little crooked when it comes to protecting his fellow officers, but it’s worse than that. He sleeps with the wives of his associates, arranges a hit on his partner, and tries to manipulate the internal affairs officers who are investigating him. He’s cold, ruthless, and hiding behind a badge.

  2. Hank Quinlan, Touch of Evil

    Orson Welles not only wrote and directed this classic 1958 film noir; he also starred as the terrible police captain, Hank Quinlan. The captain has been planting evidence for years so that he’ll get more convictions in his cases. That’s not so bad, right? Well, when a drug enforcement officer, Miguel Vargas, is onto him, Quinlan becomes much worse, having Vargas’ wife kidnapped and framed for murder, and then trying to get Vargas himself arrested for a murder Quinlan committed. Does it help that Quinlan had planted evidence on a guilty person?

  3. Detective Trupo, American Gangster

    This character, played by a mustachioed Josh Brolin, kills a guy’s dog. That’s basically all you need to know to understand that he’s a seriously dirty cop. Since American Gangster is based on the true story of gangster Frank Lucas, Trupo is based on a real person Lucas referred to as Babyface, though it’s unclear how many of the details were made up for the movie. Trupo bullies and intimidates in order to get a cut of Lucas’ drug money, and runs his district like a criminal boss, even threatening fellow policemen. In the end, he proves himself corrupt and cowardly, killing himself to avoid prosecution.

  4. Lucien Cordier, Coup de Torchon

    Leave it to the French to show us a movie “policier” unlike any other. Lucien Cordier is an officer in a French West African village and is basically trampled on by everyone in his life, including the local criminals and his own wife. You can probably see where this is headed. Cordier snaps and uses his power for evil, slowly but surely killing all those who had humiliated him throughout his career by his own hand and by manipulating others. Whether it’s out of revenge or the desire to cleanse his village of terrible human beings, you’ll agree that he’s not your ideal police officer.

  5. Colin Sullivan, The Departed

    In this film about two informants (a police informant and a mob informant), Colin Sullivan ends up on the corrupt side of the battle. Sullivan is trained by a mob boss to become a mole in the police department and is then tasked with finding the rat in the boss’ crew, an undercover cop in the mafia. Sullivan feeds information to the very guy he’s supposed to be working against as a cop, and ends up getting lots of police officers killed, as well as killing some himself. If you didn’t understand how corrupt he was throughout the whole movie, though, the obvious-metaphor rat in the very last scene should’ve given it away.

  6. Samuel Norton, Shawshank Redemption

    OK, you caught us. Warden Samuel Norton isn’t quite a police officer; he’s in charge of a prison in Maine. But he’s too corrupt and the movie’s too good to leave off of the list. Norton uses Andy Dufresne, a former banker and now prisoner, to launder kickbacks he’s receiving for taking advantage of the prisoners. To keep Dufresne from quitting the immoral practice, Norton has the guy killed that Dufresne was mentoring and who had information that could set Dufresne free. Of course, there are always repercussions for trusting a smart prisoner too much, and Norton finds that out the hard way.

  7. Alonzo Harris, Training Day

    When rookie cop Jake Hoyt rides with veteran police officer Alonzo Harris for a day, he probably didn’t expect to do drugs, shoot a former cop, and end up having Harris try to get a crowd to kill him. Just another day on the job, right? Harris is absolutely the last person you hope is working to protect you, since most of his time seems to be spent stealing drug money, letting gang members work out their own problems, and trying to get enough cash to pay off the Russian mob. A smarter corrupt cop would’ve known not to mess with the Russians to begin with.

  8. Louis Renault, Casablanca

    With antics and one-liners that are more entertaining than disturbing, Captain Louis Renault is looking out for No. 1 during a time when it seems that’s the only way to survive. This classic World War II-era film encapsulates the corruption of the time, especially in places that acted as a sort of limbo between occupied Europe and America. Renault spent his time gambling (even when he used gambling as an excuse to close down a club), sucking up to important Nazi officials, and making women sleep with him in exchange for the papers to leave the country. And yet, strangely, you can’t help but like him.

  9. Norman Stansfield, Leon the Professional

    If you haven’t seen this film, you should if only to see a bad-ass 12-year-old Natalie Portman. She plays Mathilda, a girl whose whole family has been murdered by corrupt DEA agents headed up by Norman “Stan” Stansfield. Mathilda’s father had been keeping cocaine for the agents, but they found out he’d been keeping some for himself, and Stansfield, who’s addicted to drugs himself, decided to take out the whole family. Mathilda was out shopping when the murders happened, so now Stansfield wants to find her and kill her. She’s not totally helpless since she finds a father figure in the hitman down the hall, but it’s still not very nice of this officer to be trying to gun down a little girl.

  10. Dudley Smith, L.A. Confidential

    You may want to think of James Cromwell as the sweet farmer who gave a pig a chance in Babe, but he shows another side of himself in L.A. Confidential. He basically controls the organized crime in L.A., blackmails city officials to get his way, and murders (or has someone else murder) everyone that gets in the way of his quest for drugs and power. It’s hard to even keep track of all the people he kills during the movie and before it even starts. This may have just been the unedited Babe sequel, Babe: Pig in the City.

History’s 9 Most Notorious Pardons

Being president comes with some really great perks. You don’t have to worry about paying rent, you never have to wait in the security line at the airport, and you get to let people off the hook for crimes they’ve committed. Many of these pardons granted by the president, or rulers of other countries, go largely unnoticed by the public, but some have captured our attention. Whether it’s because they righted an injustice or because we think the pardons themselves were an injustice, these nine pardons are some of the most well-known.

  1. Marc Rich

    On President Bill Clinton’s last day in office, he made the unpopular decision to grant Marc Rich a pardon. Rich was a commodities trader, and a good one at that. He was able to build his business and fortune, but may have gotten too greedy when he ignored the U.S. embargo on business with Iran. Rich bought crude oil from Iran and Iraq and sold it to U.S. companies. In 1983, he was indicted for illegal trading with Iran and tax evasion, but he was in Switzerland and refused to return, landing him on the FBI’s 10 Most-Wanted Fugitives List. Clinton pardoned him at the beginning of 2001, and many believe the decision stemmed from the amount of money Rich’s ex-wife had donated to the Clinton Library and Democratic Party.

  2. Caspar Weinberger

    As Secretary of Defense under President Ronald Reagan, Caspar Weinberger was an important and well-respected man. He even received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and honorary British knighthood in his lifetime. But that didn’t save him from becoming embroiled in the messy Iran-Contra affair. The political scandal involved top officials secretly selling arms to Iran while an embargo was in place, supposedly because they believed it would prompt the release of hostages. Weinberger was indicted on perjury and obstruction of justice charges. President George H.W. Bush pardoned him (and five others) in 1992, before Weinberger’s trial could begin, leading some to believe the president might have something to hide.

  3. Blackbeard

    Yes, that Blackbeard. Edward Teach’s pirate name was Blackbeard and he has become something of a legend around the globe, perhaps the most famous pirate in history. British Blackbeard liked to take over and loot ships, especially those with valuable goods, like tobacco, sugar, and gold, and didn’t care if the ship was larger than what most pirates would go after. After hearing of the offer of a royal pardon for any pirates who turned themselves in by a certain date, Blackbeard accepted and settled down in North Carolina, a twist in the story no one expected. Of course, Blackbeard returned to pirating. A warrant was put out for his arrest and he was tricked and killed in 1718.

  4. Vietnam draft dodgers

    Opposition to the Vietnam War was fierce and loud, especially by those who were the right age to be drafted. One way young men found to avoid the draft, which is illegal, was to go abroad; about 100,000 Americans left the country in the ’60s and ’70s. Ninety percent of those went to Canada. These men would likely be charged and sent to prison if they returned to the U.S., but in 1977, President Jimmy Carter chose to give a blanket pardon to all draft dodgers.

  5. Gen. Robert E. Lee

    The famed Confederate general who lost the Civil War surrendered at Appomattox courthouse in 1865. President Andrew Johnson pardoned Confederate soldiers, but there were several groups of exceptions. These people, such as officers, had to send an application to the president asking to be pardoned. Lee sent his request and signed an Amnesty Oath to become a member of the Union again, and that should’ve been the end of his pardon. But no one ever processed his oath, so while he and everyone else acted as though he’d been pardoned, he wasn’t actually pardoned until 1868 when Johnson granted an unconditional pardon to everyone who participated in the rebellion. Even stranger, Lee wasn’t an official citizen until about 100 years later when a historian found his lost Amnesty Oath and President Gerald R. Ford officially made Lee a U.S. citizen again, though he’d been dead for a century.

  6. Peter Yarrow

    If you don’t know the band Peter, Paul and Mary, go check out the songs "Puff the Magic Dragon" and their famous version of "Leaving on a Jet Plane." Peter Yarrow, the Peter in the group, got a little carried away with a 14-year-old (read: underage) groupie and served three months in prison. Apparently President Carter was a fan of his, and Yarrow was given a pardon for the incident. If groupies aren’t fair game to musicians, is there anything left sacred in the world? Yarrow has since apologized for the indecent incident.

  7. Tokyo Rose

    Tokyo Rose is the name given by the Allied forces during World War II to female Japanese broadcasters, but has since been used mostly to refer to Iva Toguri. She was an American stuck in Japan when the war broke out and, along with many Japanese women, broadcast Japanese propaganda on the radio to the Allies. She went by the name Orphan Ann on the radio show. When the war ended, she was sent to prison in the U.S. for treason for her actions. Toguri always claimed she had been loyal to her country, refusing to give up her American citizenship and working with American POWs to make her broadcasts ridiculous. In the ’70s, these POWs came forward and supported Toguri’s story. She was pardoned by President Gerald Ford in 1977, perhaps a small victory for Japanese-Americans everywhere who had been mistreated during the war and its aftermath.

  8. Derek Bentley

    This pardon came at the end of a controversy that had been bubbling in the U.K. for 45 years. Derek Bentley was a British 16-year-old convicted of the murder of a police officer. His friend, Christopher Craig, also 16, was the one who physically committed the murder in 1952, but Bentley had been party to the murder and was hanged for his involvement. (Strangely, Craig served just 10 years in prison.) The public was very uncomfortable with Bentley’s execution, and his sister led a campaign to receive a posthumous pardon for him. Bentley received a partial royal pardon in 1993 and then a full one in 1998. The case made the British population question the merits of capital punishment and find some flaws in their justice system.

  9. Patty Hearst

    On the same day that President Clinton pardoned Marc Rich, he also granted a pardon to Patty Hearst, the heiress to newspaper giant Randolph Hearst. When she was 19, Hearst was kidnapped by a revolutionary group called the Symbionese Liberation Army. She eventually joined their group and performed a bank robbery with them. She was arrested in 1975, about a year and a half after her kidnapping, and sentenced to 35 years for the crime, though she only ended up serving 22 months. Hearst is one of the most well-known cases of Stockholm Syndrome, the psychological experience of having empathy and fondness for your captors. In light of this and all she’d been through, Clinton gave her a pardon.

The 8 Most Notorious Criminals in Hollywood History

Hollywood may be the land of big dreams and promises, but this place definitely sees its fair share of tragedies as well. From crimes of passion to money-motivated crimes, Hollywood criminals have been known to attack for any and all reasons. And we all know that one of the quickest ways to be a show stealer in Hollywood is to do something bad. Here are the eight most notorious criminals in Hollywood history.

  1. Paul Snider

    Paul Snider is the man responsible for killing his actress and Playboy model wife, Dorothy Stratten, before turning the gun on himself. The high-profile murder-suicide was a complete shock to Hollywood. The young Stratten had just been named Playboy’s Miss August 1979 and 1980 Playmate of the Year and landed a spot in Bob Fosse’s film Star 80. This increased level of fame caused her husband-manager, Paul Snider, to become increasingly jealous and bitter. On Aug. 14, 1980, Snider brutally shot and killed 20-year-old Stratten in their Los Angeles apartment and then committed suicide.

  2. Amy Fisher

    Amy Fisher, also known as the “Long Island Lolita,” was the infamous teenager responsible for nearly killing her then-boyfriend Joey Buttafuoco’s wife, Mary Jo, in 1992. Fisher was 16 years old when she began a relationship with the New York auto body shop owner and it didn’t take long before she wanted to get his wife out of the picture. On the afternoon of the shooting, Fisher had an accomplice drive her to the Buttafuoco’s home so that she could kill Mary Jo. When his wife answered the door, Amy lied and told her that Joey was having an affair with her younger sister. Mary Jo turned away in disbelief and Fisher shot her in the head and fled the scene. Mary Jo miraculously lived through the shooting, but suffered partial paralysis on one side of her face and a loss of hearing in one ear. Fisher was eventually arrested and sentenced to seven years in prison for attempted murder, and Joey served six months for statutory rape.

  3. Paul and Tom Ferguson

    Paul and Tom Ferguson were the murderous brothers responsible for killing the famous silent movie star, Ramon Novarro, in 1968. On the night of his murder, Novarro invited the Ferguson brothers over to his house in hopes of having sex with one of the two men. The Fergusons believed that the actor had a large sum of money hidden inside the house, and planned to find it. After the rendezvous between Paul and Ramon was over, the brothers demanded that he give them the money. When Novarro said he didn’t have any money on him, Paul brutally beat him and left him to die. Police were able to trace a call that Tom made on the house phone to his girlfriend in Chicago on the day of the murder. She ratted them out and the brothers were arrested and sentenced to life in prison, but were paroled within seven years of the trial.

  4. OJ Simpson

    OJ Simpson is one of the most notorious criminals in Hollywood. Although he was famously acquitted in the high-profile murder of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, in 1995, the former professional football player and actor did get arrested and imprisoned for another set of crimes. In 2007, Simpson was arrested after he and a group of armed men robbed a room in a Las Vegas hotel-casino and stole sports memorabilia from a dealer. Simpson was convicted on 12 charges, including armed robbery, conspiracy to commit a crime, assault, and kidnapping and was sentenced to a maximum of 33 years in prison with a possibility of parole in nine years.

  5. Robert Bardo

    The tragic murder of 21-year-old My Sister Sam star Rebecca Schaeffer became one of the biggest crime stories in Hollywood history. Robert Bardo, 19, was the crazed fan who took the actress’ life. Bardo was obsessed with Schaeffer and began writing her love letters to get her attention. She wrote him back and the two corresponded through mail for months. On July 18, 1989, Bardo went to Schaeffer’s home after tracking it down from an Arizona detective agency and shot her in the chest and fled the scene. Bardo was ratted out by a family member who informed police that he told her he was going to visit the actress that day. He was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and is serving a life sentence.

  6. Brynn Hartman

    The murder of comedian Phil Hartman shook Hollywood to the core. Hartman was shot and killed by his wife, Brynn, who turned the gun on herself hours after the shooting. The tragic murder-suicide was the result of the couple’s marital problems and Brynn’s excessive drug use. Brynn was under the influence of cocaine and alcohol when she returned home the night of the murder and got into an argument with Phil about her addiction. Phil threatened to leave her if she continued to do drugs. Brynn waited for her husband to fall asleep before she shot him three times with a handgun. She immediately confessed to a friend that she killed Phil, but he did not believe her. While police were escorting the couple’s two children out of the house, Brynn locked herself in the bedroom and killed herself.

  7. The Menendez brothers

    The Menendez brothers made national headlines for the gruesome murder of their parents, entertainment executive Jose Menendez and his wife Mary “Kitty” Menendez in 1989. Lyle and Erik Menendez carefully plotted the brutal attack on their parents in their Beverly Hills home and even bought movie tickets to use as their alibi if they were suspected of the killing. The brothers’ motive was to kill their strict father and end the agony their mother had endured for years. After the boys viciously gunned down their parents, they dumped their shotguns and called police to report the crime. The Menendez brothers raised a great deal of suspicions when they spent their inheritance on luxury items and started phony businesses. During the investigation, Erik confessed to his psychologists that he and his brother killed their parents and the two were later taken into custody. The brothers were convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and are currently serving a life sentence without parole.

  8. Marvin Gay Sr.

    The tragic death of famous singer Marvin Gaye in 1984 was a shocking surprise, specifically because it was his Pentecostal preacher father who killed him. On the day of his death, Marvin Jr. was at his parents’ Los Angeles home and got into a heated argument with his father. The fight turned physical and was temporarily broken up by Marvin Jr.’s mother, but when his father returned to the room they were in, he gunned down his son with the .38 pistol Marvin had given him. Marvin Sr. killed his son and was arrested and convicted of the heinous crime. He was originally charged with murder, but was given a plea bargain for a six-year suspended sentence.

10 Most Surprising People Caught Cheating On Their Taxes

You’ve no doubt all heard the story of Al Capone, the notorious American mob personality that was finally caught because of tax evasion. He coined the audacious statement, "the government can’t collect taxes on illegal money." And whether you’re involved in organized crime or not, there’s nothing surprising about cheating on your taxes. If you’ve ever worked a job that’s mostly tip-based, for example, you’ve probably done it. But you’d better believe that some of the richest and most ethically turned people have been caught red-handed cheating on their taxes. And here they are. Check out these 10 most surprising tax cheats, and be sure to correctly file before April 17th!

  1. Walt Anderson

    Convicted of the largest tax evasion in the history of the United States, telecom executive Walt Anderson maintains his innocence on the web and beyond. Hiding more than half a billion dollars in offshore accounts in places like Panama and the Virgin Islands, the most surprising thing about this perpetrator is that he continually and publicly denies that he’s ever done anything wrong. While it’s a bum wrap to catch so much flak for not paying the government what it’s owed, it’s absolutely no surprise that he was caught and convicted, and that he’s been put in jail. As of March 2011, the executive’s tax bill came in at $248,962,929 with interest. Anderson’s continual hubris, even from behind bars, is a gentle reminder to even the most honest of working stiffs that once you’ve been caught in a lie, it’s much more advantageous to your reputation (and, of course, your sanity) to swallow your pride and admit to the wrong. Although he was offered a bit of absolution when the government had to retract $100 million of his fine due to a typographical error in his plea agreement, Anderson’s reputation is still in the toilet. The tax cheat is currently scheduled to be released from prison on Dec. 29, 2012 — just in time for a new fiscal year.

  2. Leona Helmsley

    We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.
    Prior to her death in 2007, Leona Helmsley had long been called the "Queen of Mean," and it’s no surprise that the sourpuss real estate mogul got caught shirking her tax duties to the government. What’s surprising about her case, however, is that she — as with Walt Anderson — never once showed an ounce of remorse for her deeds, or even a hint that she’d had a much-needed reality check. Although she is clearly American aristocracy, the billionaire tax cheat seemed to completely forget that her royal title was a social status, not a monarchical one. Originally sentenced to almost 20 years in prison, the mogul and meanie only did time for 18 months. Having very few friends, she lived the remainder of her days in a penthouse apartment overlooking Central Park — and left her $5 billion fortune and a trust to her dog. You can watch the entire 1990 Lifetime-style movie of her life, below. Bonus: Suzanne Pleshette!

  3. Billy Zane

    No wonder California’s broke — they can’t get their famous residents to pay any of their taxes. And while it’s not surprising that many celebrities are too busy, stupid, or unethical to pay their entire share of the tax pie, one of the most surprising tax cheats ever is Billy Zane. The Titanic and Tombstone actor has upped his acceptance of bit parts and non-headlining roles after the news was released that he owed more than $100,000 to the state of California. Now that’s acting your way out of a hole.

  4. Richard Pryor

    Sentenced to 10 days jail time for not paying his taxes in 1974, the comedic genius served the jail time in Los Angeles County. His reason for failure to remit? "You know, I forgot," Pryor said to the judge. Although his jokes and tropes changed American comedy forever, no one can avoid their debt to Uncle Sam.

  5. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    And speaking of people who changed America, there’s no tax cheat more socially influential to the fabric of the country that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The veritable American saint put his thumbprint on the world, pioneering the civil rights movement and preaching non-violence throughout his public career, cut short by his assassination in 1968. But even a saint can’t be perfect — in 1960, the good reverend was brought in on two warrants from the state of Alabama for signing fraudulent tax returns in 1956 and 1958. With an all-white jury (in 1960 Alabama, no less), King was acquitted with the help of Brown v. Board of Education litigator William Robert Ming, but the press continued to draw attention to King’s tax woes.
    Fun Fact: Though it’s probable that the inspirational leader didn’t actually cheat on his taxes, his lawyer (Ming) was sentenced and jailed in 1970 for tax evasion, even though the litigator had paid all back taxes and fines. Maybe the good old days really weren’t that good, especially for the good guys.

  6. Janice Dickinson

    How surprising is it, really, that Janice Dickinson is in trouble with the IRS for the second time in as many years? Originally having liens over $200,000 filed against her for unpaid taxes, this supermodel O.G. now owes $43,000 more, according to reports from January 2012. Can the former alcoholic and catwalk strutter turned reality television trainwreck pay off all of her debts by November 2012? Forget the upcoming Presidential election — we’re sure that PerezHilton trolls and VH1 watchers alike will prefer to tune in to this news cycle. And that comes as no surprise, although it really, sadly should.

  7. Pedro Espada

    You wish it would come as a shock that a politician illegally re-routed money and ended up getting caught for cheating on his taxes, but you would be sorely mistaken. The former majority leader of the New York state senate was charged in late 2011 with rerouting charitable monies to his family, political cohorts, and friends. His trial is ongoing, and getting major press nationwide, and his son has also been indicted in the crimes. One of his accountants shared an April 15, 2010 e-mail from Espada, that included the line, "just wanted to make sure you filed my extension and I’m not going to jail." Time will tell, Senator. Time will tell.

  8. Lil Wayne

    How much more can you get out of your FREE WEEZY shirt, anyway? It’s a bit surprising that one of the world’s most outspoken gangsters wouldn’t just take care of his business so the government would be off of his back. And it will be infinitely more surprising if he’s arrested for tax evasion instead of illegal gun possession. (Maybe he took a lesson from famed mob boss Al Capone?) The IRS branch in Miami, Florida filed a $5.6 million lein against the hardcore rap superstar in early 2011. The star told Interview magazine (founded by Andy Warhol, by the way) in the same year that he intended to make $50 million last year. Not just "generated $50 million," the rapper added, "but actually banked $50 million." In 2010, the IRS filed a lien against Weezy for $1.1 million, allegedly for back taxes owed from 2008-2009. Here’s hoping that the only sirens Weezy will be hearing any time soon are the orgasmic cries from Mrs. Officer.

  9. Wesley Snipes

    Owing almost $3 million in back taxes, the Blade actor (best known in cult communities for his drag role in To Wong Foo) was arrested in 2006 with two others for conspiracy to defraud the United States. First claiming that he was a "non-resident alien," the American born actor was acquitted of the original charges (his cohorts were convicted), but still managed to rack up a three year prison sentence for willful failure to file his federal tax returns. He began serving time in December of 2010, and the Supreme Court has refused to hear his appeal.

  10. Nicholas Cage

    Nicholas Cage just can’t pull it together these days, can he? The stalwart star of many classics (Raising Arizona, anyone?) and classic flops (Ghost Rider; Ghost Rider 2; Ghost Rider 2 3D) paid off a $14 million dollar debt in 2009. Immediately after paying off his taxes (and beginning his descent into the dregs of Cage-d weirdness) that year, he was served another tax lien from the state of California, this time for $3.8 million. So it’s not just the quality of his work that’s suffering, as you can see. The super strange movie star has his share of surprising problems, on screen and off.

8 Real Cases That Made It Onto “CSI”

CSI and its spin-offs are often panned for not being realistic procedural shows. "The CSI Effect" is a term used to describe the problems that arise in public perception of the procedures and capabilities of real police work inasmuch as it’s affected by fictitious, television police work. And with investigative professionals and detectives performing raids on the show, the criticisms are not off the mark. But that’s only one side of the argument. Using real-life scenarios to fictionalize and dramatize has long been a mainstay of the cop show, and CSI is no exception. Ripped from the headlines, check out these eight real cases that made it onto CSI. Purists beware: spoilers within.

  1. Felonius Monk

    In this episode from season two of the globally popular show, a group of Thai Buddhist monks are shot in their Vegas monastery, ostensibly by a local gang.

    The Real Case:

    At a West Valley, Ariz., Buddhist temple, six monks (and three others) were massacred execution-style, after being forced to lie on the floor. The 1991 case proved to be a doozy, and a new trial was re-ordered in 2008 due to a probable false confession.

  2. Justice Served

    This season one episode’s case was about a runner who was killed by a dog in a park, and whose liver was surgically removed postmortem. The killer was a nutritionist, harvesting organs to treat a blood disorder.

    The Real Case:

    Richard Chase, (awesomely) nicknamed "The Vampire of Sacramento," killed six people in the capital of California. He also killed animals and drank his victims’ (human or otherwise) blood in order to treat a blood disorder. The blood disorder, by the way, was one that he had completely fabricated. Before becoming a serial killer, he was institutionalized for injecting rabbit’s blood into his veins, and was stopped by police, who found a bucket of cow’s blood in the trunk of his car.

    A Thought:

    Why didn’t the CSI people just do this exact case? Why the need to change anything? The guy may have been a sadistic necrophiliac cannibal, but he had a super-cool nickname. It’s ripe for TV! Why the fictionalizing, CSI? Also, is anyone else jealous that they didn’t do enough acid in the ’70s to become a serial killer with the words "vampire" and "Sacramento" in their nickname? No? OK, well. Just checking.

  3. Burked

    A Vegas casino owner’s young adult son is found dead on the floor of a hotel, and it looks like he’s been the victim of a sad drug overdose. The CSI pros reveal in this season two shocker that he did not overdose, but was murdered by a weird strangling procedure called burking.

    The Real Case:

    In 1998, a wealthy Las Vegas gambling executive (…they have those?) named Ted Binion was apparently murdered by burking. His girlfriend Sandra Murphy and her (other) boyfriend were convicted of the murders, but both were later acquitted upon appeal.

  4. Overload

    Season two’s "Overload" is the first time that CSI creators ordered the ol’ "fibers from the blanket fabric gave you away" trick. A young boy is undergoing a "rebirthing" treatment, and an unlicensed therapist smothers him to death. She claims that he had a seizure and hit his head, but in the end, the truth comes out. Thanks, hour-long crime dramas. Thanks a mint.

    The Real Case:

    Adopted 10-year-old Candace Newmaker of Colorado was smothered to death during one of these unconventional therapies in 2000. It’s an awfully sad story that received international media attention, and hopefully discouraged future "rebirthing" strategies for dealing with attachment issues. The young girl was wrapped in a flannel sheet, designed to emulate a womb. She was supposed to fight her way out of it, which was supposed to attach her to her (adoptive) mother. The story of the account is absolutely disgusting, tear-inducing, and grisly, but feel free to read it here.

  5. 35k O.B.O.

    A couple goes out to eat for their anniversary in this season one CSI episode, but they never make it past that. Someone steals their car, slits the woman’s throat, stabs the man, leaving them murdered in the street. Later in the episode, the SUV shows up with a body inside. A bloody handprint is the lynchpin in catching the killer.

    The Real Case:

    On Mother’s Day in 1995, the Universal CityWalk Murders occurred. Two women were stabbed to death and left at the top of a parking garage in Hollywood, Calif.. The twisted tale revealed the handprint as the key evidential factor.

  6. Double Cross

    This one’s fairly dark, and not just because Catholic clergy wear black. This season seven shockfest reveals a nun, murdered and crucified on a cross in a Catholic church. Two of her sister nuns found her, and the priest is the primary suspect. The CSI team reveals bruises that prove she was strangled with rosary beads.

    The Real Case:

    Father Gerald Robinson of Toledo, Ohio was accused and convicted (twice, and he’s appealing to Ohio’s Supreme Court) of the murder of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl in Toledo Mercy Hospital in 1980. Pahl was strangled and stabbed to death, and one can’t help but wonder if she was read her last rites…

  7. Shooting Stars

    UFO cults and mass suicides — what more could a CBS viewer ask for? In this episode of CSI, 11 members of a creepy UFO cult dump a body in a garden, and then off themselves in an abandoned military facility. The CSI team goes on the prowl, looking for the remaining two members of the group.

    The Real Case:

    In 1997, the Heaven’s Gate cult (also a UFO one) staged a mass suicide. Thirty-nine people were found dead because they believed that an alien space craft was coming to get them on the tail of the comet Hale-Bopp. The story was huge news, but for those of you that missed it, this was not the stuff of legend. Thirty-nine people killed themselves in San Diego because they believed that a UFO was following a comet, and they wanted to make contact. And this is the one that didn’t get made up in a room full of bored Hollywood writers with too much pot to smoke and an American public to impress. Makes it a little easier to understand how people get so swept up with Scientology. And not in a good way.

  8. I Like To Watch

    Why is every TV show about rape these days? In this garishly titled episode from 2006, a man pretends to be a fireman in order to gain access to a real estate agent’s apartment. He rapes her, and is later discovered and arrested by the CSI team.

    The Real Case:

    It’s virtually the same story, just without four well-planned commercial breaks. On Halloween in 2005, a New York City woman was viciously sexually assaulted by journalist and playwright Peter Braunstein, who posed as a fireman to get into her residence. Braunstein was dubbed the "Halloween rapist" and the "fake firefighter." Not as hardcore of a nickname as "The Vampire of Sacramento," but good enough to ridicule a criminal monster. His May 2007 trial lasted a staggering four weeks, and — believe us — it got really weird.

The 7 Types of Internet Trolls We Wish Would Move to Arizona

So, Arizona wants to outlaw trolling. Good luck with that, nubes. Specifically, House Bill 2549 — which has passed the state’s legislature and is awaiting signature or veto from Governor Jan Brown — reads, "It is unlawful for any person, with intent to terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy or offend, to use ANY ELECTRONIC OR DIGITAL DEVICE and use any obscene, lewd or profane language or suggest any lewd or lascivious act, or threaten to inflict physical harm to the person or property of any person."

Media Coalition, a watch group for first amendment rights, posted a letter to the state’s governor on the issue (read it in its entirety here). In the letter, the group asks that Governor Brown veto the bill because, they argue, "[w]hile protecting people from harassment is a worthy goal, legislators cannot do so by criminalizing speech protected by the Constitution. All speech is presumptively protected by the First Amendment against content-based regulation, subject only to specific historic exceptions." And they’re exactly right. It’s impractical (and unconstitutional, and a bit too Thought Police-y) for Internet speech to be illegal, especially if it’s merely the type that’s used to annoy. Don’t Feed The Trolls usually works pretty well, and rarely does it involve the police.

And the story comes at a good time. This week also gave us Samantha Brick, a British writer that’s being riffed on, demonized, and trolled to the hilt over her Daily Mail article regarding her life struggles with being really, really, ridiculously good looking. And the popular site Jezebel seems to think, in the wake of Samantha BrickGate, that the Daily Mail is trolling us all. From an article in Wednesday’s Jezebel posts: "I can’t help but feel like the Daily Mail is playing a trick on her [Samantha Brick]. The Daily Mail is a large-scale professional troll, and this article is troll-bait of the highest order — a master stroke of carefully orchestrated misogyny. It basically screams, ‘HERE, TROLLS!’" And you may have been the unwilling victim of trolling on Reddit, 4Chan, or even on Facebook. And honestly (especially if you hang out on 4Chan or Reddit), who’s to say that you aren’t a troll yourself?

While trolling shouldn’t be illegal, there are some criminally bad types of trolls on the Internet. But with so many options to mute, ban, and opt out, it’s doubtful that any measure as Draconian as banning bullies will remain a law for long. It does, however, warrant an investigation into the whys and hows of the Internet troll. First things first: trolling is rude. And it’s mean. And annoying. And, often, inevitably fruitless. Just as there are so many ways to be uncool, there are so many ways to be an Internet troll. In Brazil, trolls are referred to as pombos, which comes from pombos enxadristas, which means "chessplayer pigeons." This term comes from the popular Portugeuse adage, "arguing with fulano is the same as playing chess with a pigeon: the pigeon defecates on the table, drop the pieces and simply fly, claiming victory." Such is the process of the Internet troll. On today’s forums, up-votes and down-votes can sometimes change a troll’s behavior, but there are a lot of personalities that just don’t quit — regardless of the reaction.

What gives, trolls? Why do you have to be so anti-? Your behavior is attention-seeking at its best, and putrid vitriol at its ugliest. And even though we don’t want you to act like that, and certainly prefer not to have you around — we don’t want you to be illegal. But if that’s going to happen, we hope that this typology will have all you trolls considering moving to the great desert state of Arizona. Scotsdale, Phoenix, Tuscon, wherever — if Internet trolling becomes illegal there, these are the seven types of people that should seriously relocate.

  1. The YouTube Commenter

    Are you having a great day? Well, we’ve got the solution for you. YouTube.com is the web’s leading video sharing site, and has become a hugely popular search engine. Comments on the videos are those of an open forum, with very little moderation (especially in the pre-YouTube-by-Google days), and are generally a web junkie’s daily reminder that everyone on the Internet (so, pretty much everyone in the world) is grossly ignorant, contributing to global idiocy in scads, and generally sucks really, really hard. Reading public YouTube comments is guaranteed to kill any hope that you had left for humanity, and has proven itself to be an effective activity for taking that optimism of yours down a notch or two.

  2. The Sock Puppeteer

    If you’ve got any concept of ROI, you’re clearly not a Sock Puppeteer. These people can’t actually have paying jobs — they’re entirely too busy ruining everyone’s Internet fun and potentially having an extremely odd personality disorder. The Sock Puppeteer is a curious type of troll who creates several alternate, additional accounts on a commenting forum to flank their original trolling comment or argument with support. The fake accounts are called sock puppets, and they function as an army of affirmation around a certain troll’s spammy or counterproductive posts. A troll may have many sock puppets, creating a fake community of posters that agree with him. It’s all very Being John Malkovich meets Sybil of them, don’t you agree?

  3. The Hate Monger

    One of the most nauseating types of Internet trolls is The Hate Monger. This commenter blasts the Internet, and otherwise civil discussion, with hate speech. Be it sexist, racist, homophobic ("GAY!" is an oft-used trolling one-off), or otherwise, the Hate Monger reflects the ignorant dregs of humanity. You’ll see them everywhere, but particularly virulent is their presence on forums that children can easily read and those aimed at politicosocietal discussion. Hate Mongers ignore common courtesy, and often spell most non-off-color remarks with the accuracy of a home-schooled 10-year-old. In lieu of rattling off inflammatory epithets, maybe just watch the video of the late, great Christopher Hitchens on hate speech, below.

  4. The Dead Kid Troll

    Prior to the Internet, "troll" garnered images of the Scandinavian mythological creature, a garish monster that lives under bridges and bothers the Billy Goats Gruff. And if you’ve heard of The Dead Kid Trolls, it’s not hard to see why the name fits. Alexis Pilkington was a high school girl that committed suicide in 2010, and she was cyberbullied after her death. Friends and relatives had to see comments like, "[s]he was obviously a stupid depressed — who deserved to kill herself. she got what she wanted. be happy for her death. rejoice in it" posted on public forums, as well as pictures that had been Photoshopped to include a noose. These types of trolls are certainly the worst; they’re extremely unsettling and counter to any healthy grieving process for a lost friend or child. Of the wretched trolls, these are the worst.

  5. The Baiter

    A special place in hell could be reserved for The Baiter — this troll has a serious case of superiority, and always an ulterior motive. Whether posting one-off comments or engaging in back-and-forths, The Baiter always wants to bring the discussion back to their wheelhouse. A Political Baiter, for example, will always turn the discussion back to politics — even if the original post is about pandas or the trials of wearing socks with sandals. It could be anything benign, and The Political Baiter will make comments about the "liberal media" or "liberal elite" or "anti-intellectual conservatism" that take the original content to a different (often inappropriate) contextual level. Not that discussion is bad, but The Baiter wants the discussion turned their way, and they’ll often make the hook just pretty enough to eat (read: respond to). Once you’ve bitten off their "in," The Baiter doesn’t quit. And doesn’t quit. And doesn’t quit. And if you still don’t understand what a troll is, this video is probably the best of the bunch:

  6. Spambot Trolls

    Spambot Trolls might not even be people, but they crud up comments of otherwise civil discussions, and they do so all over the Internet. They paste text and links into comments that often lead to datamining bugs or dead-ends, and there’s not much rhyme or reason to their names, words, or links. The Spambot Troll is like an automated Baiter; they just waste energy and space, and sometimes provoke a reaction, though it’s hard to imagine that anyone takes their bait.

  7. The IRL Troll

    The IRL (that stands for In Real Life to all you AFK people) Troll is the type of person that acts like an Internet bottom-feeder in everyday life. Perhaps it’s someone that spends too much time in front of a glowing screen, or perhaps it’s just someone who burned their mother’s copy of Emily Post. These are the people that you’re not entirely sure should be at every single dinner party that you go to, and it’s getting a little strange that they’re always there. They have a comment for everything, and often a contrarian opinion that’s not well-reasoned enough to be respectful to the people or place hosting them. Often they are loud, and always they are sour. To them, it’s their principles, not commonly accepted guidelines of social interaction that guide their actions and lives. And often they exhibit this behavior online, as well. They dwell in all things off-topic, and they can also function as stalkers or fair-weather "friends." Oftentimes you find yourselves calling mutual acquaintances to discuss the illegitimate insanity of their latest Facebook status. Not always a harasser as much as an annoyance, The IRL Troll should stay off the Internet — and out of your face. And we hear that Arizona is lovely this time of year.

8 Amazing Technological Advancements in Today’s Prisons

Technological innovations can spur the growth of businesses and increase quality of life. But what about in places where we never go? Even in prisons, where inmates stay in small cells and wear orange jumpsuits, technology is changing the way that business works. Corrections facilities are their own micro-economy, and technological advancements and new methods are shaping the way that 21st century prisons will look and function. Whether on the warden’s side or the criminal’s, take a look at these eight amazing technological advancements that are changing today’s prisons.

  1. WANDD

    With just a few clicks and swipes, the days of worrying about a hidden shiv are over. The Weapons and Non-Permitted Devices Detector, also called the WANDD, is a handheld and operated scanner that makes it easier to detect hidden makeshift weapons that violent inmates often fashion. The product, created by Luna Innovations, Inc., identifies homespun weaponry, regardless of material (metal and non-metal weapons can be spotted with WANDD). The product was tested with success at the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail in Williamsburg, Va.

  2. PharmaJet

    Recently approved by the FDA, PharmaJet is a needle-free injection system, and works well for medicating and immunizing sick inmates. This addition to the prison medical system makes the entire healthcare process safer, for doctors, patients, and those that fear the needle (or what a crazy criminal might do with it).

  3. Cell Phones

    Even the inmates can benefit from technology, but they still have to find a way to get it. For inmates, cell phones (which are contraband in most cases) are great tools for organizing and even protesting. In December of 2010, several Georgia state prisons were locked down for more than a few days when inmates used the machines to organize a work-stopping protest against inhumane prison conditions.

  4. Biometrics

    Biometrics puts a more intimate spin on the concept of an ID badge. The Corrections Biometric Management System, or CBMS, features technology that detects a person by their retinas, fingerprints, and more. Unlocking cells, cabinets, and storage units, with this leap forward, prison officials will be able to tell exactly who and where their inmates and employees are at all times — and what they’re biologically permitted to access.

  1. RFID Tracking

    Radio frequency identification tracking is a great way to keep track of an inmate’s or cell block’s whereabouts. TSI Prism from Black Creek Integrated Systems is a real-time location and tracking tech that was specifically designed for the corrections industry. Saving guards time and energy, RFID tracking will surely change the way that prisons are run and prisoners are tracked.

  2. The Wolfhound

    Not so fast, crims. Those cell phones you just used to protest are illegal in prisons, and someone’s going to find and confiscate that contraband. Enter: The Wolfhound. In October 2009, the Berkeley Varitronics Wolfhound detected cell phones (via detecting their calls and text messages) hidden beneath floors and inside walls. The California prison system confiscated more than 4,000 cell phones, and the Wolfhound made prison tech history.

  3. TASER X12 Less Lethal Shotgun

    This is the ultimate gun for a prison riot. It’s colored yellow, to indicate that it’s a "less lethal" weapon, and is optimized for use up to 100 feet. After engaging with a target, the gun fires off a painful, 20-second pulse. Bad enough to stun and stop, but usually not enough to kill, the TASER X12 is a seemingly more humane way to play cops and robbers.

  4. Telehealth

    Telehealth systems are found in all Texas prisons (of which there are quite a few). This camera-based system, developed to diagnose and deliver health services using telecommunications technology has saved lives and a considerable amount of money for Texas inmates and prisons.

8 Things Sean Payton Should Do While He’s Suspended

Starting April 1, New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton will be suspended for a year without pay for his role in an "active bounty program" funded by Saints players and defensive coach Greg Williams during the 2009, 2010, and 2011 seasons. The under-the-table program rewarded players for injuring opposing team players and knocking them out of a game. Vikings fans suspected something was going on during the January 24, 2010 Vikings-Saints game, a game that would determine who would go to the Super Bowl that year. Quarterback Brett Favre took several brutal hits, including a controversial combination hit by Saints Bobby McCray and Remi Ayodele. Although he hasn’t admitted any wrongdoing, Payton did concede, "As the head coach, anything that happens within the framework of your team and your program you’re responsible for … that’s a lesson I’ve learned." So what are some things Payton could do during the 2012 season as penance for his and his team’s mistakes?

  1. Learn to play the trumpet

    Music is integral to daily life in New Orleans, and nearly everyone you meet there plays an instrument. Before New Orleans-born Louis Armstrong, there was the mysterious Buddy Bolden, a trumpet player who, at the turn of the century, introduced the instrument, a military instrument no less, to the world of the dance bands, and set the course for a style of improvised music that would come to be known as "jazz." The trumpet is a harsh mistress, requiring hours of practice before one can play anything sounding remotely musical. But if he puts in the time, Payton just might have his trumpet chops ready for next year’s Mardi Gras.

  2. Start sewing a Mardi Gras Indian costume

    Speaking of Mardi Gras, the elaborate, colorful costumes worn by members of New Orleans’ Mardi Gras Indian tribes, some weighing more than 100 pounds, take an entire year to create. The bead work alone demands several hours of sewing by hand. Payton might not be all that handy with a needle and thread, but helping to sew an Indian’s costume would be an opportunity for him to develop that skill and give something back to the community. So long as the traditionally secretive tribes don’t mind welcoming a suspended football coach into their fold.

  3. Read Confederacy of Dunces

    Payton should read John Kennedy Toole’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Confederacy of Dunces not so much as penance, but because if he hasn’t read it, and come to know the book’s obese, slovenly, flatulent hero Ignatius J. Reilly, then he really has no business coaching a New Orleans football team. Maybe Payton would take some comfort reading about a character as delusional as Reilly who throughout the book remains convinced that "the dunces are all in confederacy against him." Payton could grow a mustache, show up at his next press conference wearing a green hunting cap with ear flaps, scream about how the Goddess Fortuna has "spun him downwards" on her wheel of fortune and see if anyone gets the joke.

  4. Pray

    There’s a reason why you see Saints fans in the Superdome dressed up as bishops. Although well known for its hedonism, parties, and parades, the city of New Orleans is deeply spiritual. During the 2010 season, one Catholic bishop at St. Louis Cathedral reportedly told the congregation, "St. Paul reminded us in the second reading that we are part of the body of Christ. Today we are also reminded that we are all part of the Who Dat Nation." St. Louis Cathedral and St. Augustine Catholic Church, a church founded by free people of color who purchased pews so that slaves could participate in services, are just two New Orleans churches where Payton, a good Irish Catholic, could take some time to ruminate over the events of the past few seasons.

  5. Learn to make a roux

    We mentioned music, but food, glorious food, is not only integral, but crucial to daily life in New Orleans. There are several nationalities representing in New Orleans’ culinary culture, but Cajun and Creole cooking dominate its award-winning restaurants. Maybe we’re presuming too much, but our guess is that spending some time slaving over a hot stove would do Payton some good, especially if he’s given the task of stirring a combination of flour and oil every 15 seconds over the course of an hour to create a roux for traditional homemade gumbo. Like praying, cooking can be a contemplative experience.

  6. DJ a late-night show on WWOZ

    New Orleans radio station WWOZ is one of the few radio stations left in the U.S. that plays, well, music. Traditional jazz, brass band music, and blues are all represented along with Irish folk music, novelty records from the ’50s, and even deep wax and classic soul. But in spite of the fact that New Orleans is well known for its own unique style of hip-hop, WWOZ programming stays away from that genre. To remedy this, why not give Payton a DJ slot from 3 a.m. to 4 a.m. where he plays nothing but classic tracks from the No Limit and Cash Money labels? Up and coming New Orleans rappers can join him in the studio to profess their love for The Saints and promote their latest tracks. We’re surprised no one had already thought of this! Football and hip-hop go together like red beans and rice.

  7. Be on call at New Orleans Habitat Musicians’ Village

    Created by New Orleans natives musicians Harry Connick Jr. and Branford Marsalis in collaboration with New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity, Musicians’ Village provides housing for several generations of musicians who were displaced in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Why not give Payton a toolbox, brushes, and a few cans of paint, and have him be the on-call handyman of Musicians’ Village during the 2012 season? Imagine the look of surprise on a resident’s face when, after requesting help in repairing a roof or repainting the trim on their house, the coach of the New Orleans Saints shows up to take care of the job.

  8. Serve hurricanes at Pat O’Brien’s

    When it comes to penance, working as a waiter at French Quarter institution Pat O’Brien’s, serving booze to barely legal college students and disoriented tourists after dark on a Friday or Saturday night more than qualifies. Pat O’Brien’s notorious "specialty drinks" menu was born out of a shortage of grains and sugars during the Second World War, necessitating the use of rum in any alcoholic cocktail you wanted to mix and serve. Payton would be expected to work weekends, 6 p.m. to 4 a.m., with no break, and donate all of his tips to the New Orleans Musicians’ Health Clinic.

9 Most Frequently Broken Laws

You’ve never left the scene of a crime; you’ve never murdered anyone. You don’t drink and drive. You vote and begrudgingly pay your taxes. You’re just the pinnacle of a law abiding citizen, aren’t you? Answer: you’re not. Believe it or not, we’ve all broken laws, and chances are it’s a few more than you might think. Check out this list of the nine most frequently broken laws in America, and prepare to realize that you’re more of a criminal than you ever thought.

  1. Speeding

    There are 260 million cars in the United States, and that’s 260 million cars that have, at one time or another, broken a speed limit law. Have you ever been on an American highway? Any motorist driving the paltry speed limit will be honked at and whizzed by, and probably soon banished to the outside lane or frontage road. Even if you’re not a speed demon, everyone’s been in a hurry or had an emergency at one time or another. Additionally, it’s common knowledge that driving a few miles over the posted speed won’t net you a ticket, except in the most stringent of speed limited areas (school zones, for one). And you road warriors commonly break other traffic laws, like running red lights and not using proper turn signals.

  2. Underage Drinking

    If your cool uncle ever let you have a beer with him during your high school years, you’ve participated in underage drinking. (And probably gross underage drinking. Your uncle is the last person on the planet who drinks Old Milwaukee, dude.) If you’ve ever gotten sauced enough on Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill to dance on a table at a sorority party in college (oh, so you’re the one … ), you’ve definitely participated in underage drinking. And if you say that you waited until your 21st birthday to try your first sip of booze, you’re lying — or you’ve probably got a fairly free social calendar this weekend, don’t you? Underage drinking is by no means cool, but it’s an extremely common practice among those of high school and college age. According to SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), 26.4% of underage kids use alcohol every month, which puts the population of those imbibing at more than 10 million.

  3. Smoking Weed

    If you use marijuana in the United States, you’ve got about 30 million stoner friends. While the substance is classified as a Schedule I narcotic and outlawed on the federal level, many states have decriminalized its use for medical purposes. But those without glaucoma in California still seem to find a way to get blazed: an incredible 52% of all 2010 drug arrests in the United States were marijuana related.

  4. Pirating Music

    You’re reading this list on the Internet, are you? Then you’ve probably downloaded something illegally, even if you’re not certain that you have. Pirating music, videos, and software is illegal and, many argue, immoral — as it’s, functionally, the act of stealing. Piracy has taken its toll on its target industries, too; music purchases have decreased worldwide since piracy became a hard-to-enforce illegal norm.

  5. Jaywalking

    Maybe you didn’t drink when you were young, and maybe you don’t get stoned now, but every ambulatory American has jaywalked at least once in their lifetime, and probably more than once. Jaywalking is the act of illegally crossing the street at a time or place not then designated for pedestrian crossing, and there’s no one who hasn’t done it. Ever walked across in the middle of the street? Or just gone ahead even though the red hand was lit up because there was absolutely no one coming and you were in a sketchy neighborhood where you were pirating music, smoking weed, and underage drinking? Well then, dear reader, you’re a dirty, rotten lawbreaker.

  6. Littering

    Have you ever thrown a cigarette butt or a receipt down on the pavement? That’s littering, and you’ve made an American Indian shed a single tear. How does it feel to make the noble natives of our great land break down and cry, you litterbug? Littering is illegal in the United States, and is often punishable by payment of a fine, which can be extremely hefty in certain areas, such as state parks and preserves. Next time you think about throwing down that gum wrapper, remember that you’re being watched.

  7. Copyright Law

    You probably break copyright law every day, and you probably don’t even know when you’re doing it. Copyright laws in the United States are extremely complex and varied, so much so that you can barely be sure whether your mix tape or mashup is legal or not. Additionally, you may be breaking copyright law by using software at work that you didn’t know wasn’t intended for commercial use, or that may have been illegally obtained (unbeknownst to you and your company, no doubt). Luckily for all of those parodies and playlists of the current remix culture, some of these laws aren’t enforced to the letter, and you may be safe to play another day.

  8. Cheating On Your Taxes

    Tips? What tips?
    Face it: if you work in the service industry, you’re cheating on your taxes. Waitstaff, childcare workers, and the like do a lot of their dealings in cash, which makes it easy to fudge when April 15th rolls around. While most people probably don’t intend to cheat on their taxes, doing so (accidental or otherwise) could net you an audit and possibly jail time. Common methods of cheating on your taxes are: claiming too many dependents (you’re 25 and you have six kids? Really?), false use deductions (do you really have a deductible-friendly, home-based business, or do you call yourself a freelancer as an excuse to play online every evening?), not declaring all income, and not selecting the correct filing status. Lucky for most of us, we don’t mean to break the law — and if we do, and we’re caught, it can usually be cleared up with a small fine.

  9. Gravity

    If you’ve got a hoverboard, you 1) live in the future, and 2) are a lawbreaker. And even if you’re not a futuristic hipster (one assumes that hoverboards will be a toy for the cool kids), you probably know that Newton’s law of universal gravitation (F=Gm1m2/d^2) has been superseded (for all intents and purposes, broken) by the more accurate, complex, and beautifully succinct equation, Einstein’s theory of relativity (e=mc^2).

The 8 Biggest Craigslist Crime Stories

Most people come to Craigslist to find apartments, job openings, and cheap furniture, while others use the popular classified advertising website to do their dirty work. In recent years, Craigslist has become a hotbed for predators and scam artists looking to take advantage of unsuspecting victims. What’s worse is no Craigslist section is safe from criminals. Whether you’re browsing the personals, for sale, or jobs section, you never really know who’s on the other end and what kind of danger you might be in. So before you agree to meet at a seller’s house or send money to a complete stranger, read these eight biggest Craigslist crime stories first.

  1. Med student kills masseuse from Craigslist

    Boston University medical student, Philip Markoff, also known as the "Craigslist Killer," was charged with murdering a New York City masseuse on April 14, 2009. Markoff found 26-year-old Julissa Brisman on Craigslist and contacted her for her erotic massage services. The two met in a luxury hotel in Boston, where Markoff lured her into a room and shot her to death. Police found Brisman’s underwear and a semiautomatic weapon inside of Markoff’s apartment, as well as ammunition and other materials that matched those used in another kidnapping-armed robbery on a Boston masseuse. Markoff was charged with the armed robbery and murder of Brisman, as well as two other armed robberies. While awaiting trial, Markoff committed suicide in prison.

  2. Ohio Craigslist murders

    A bogus Craigslist ad led to the death of one man and the attempted murder of a second man who were seeking work as a caretaker for a ranch in Ohio. Richard Beasley, 52, and Brogan Rafferty, 17, have been charged with murdering and attempting to murder the victims. Rafferty was 16 at the time of the crime, but is being charged as an adult. The date of the trial has yet to be determined, but prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Beasley.

  3. Teen slays Craigslist nanny

    Michael John Anderson, 19, said he wanted to know what it felt like to kill when he brutally murdered 24-year-old Katherine Ann Olson, who responded to a phony ad the teenage boy had posted on Craigslist. In the ad, Anderson pretended to be a married woman named "Amy," who was looking for a nanny. After exchanging e-mails back and forth, Olson agreed to meet for an interview at Anderson’s house, where he shot her in the back and put her body in the trunk of her car. He left the car abandoned in a park five blocks away from his parent’s house. Police found her blood and the gun he used to shoot Olson inside the home. Anderson was arrested and found guilty of first degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

  4. Woman killed friend, cut baby from womb

    Korena Roberts and Heather Snively had a lot in common; both were young, soon-to-be mothers, or at least that’s what Roberts had told people for months. The 27-year-old met Snively after placing an ad on Craigslist looking for baby clothes. The two women became quick friends, but Roberts never disclosed her secret — she was not actually pregnant. About a week later, Roberts beat Snively with a police baton and used a straight razor to cut open her abdomen and take out the unborn baby to pass it off as her own child. Snively and her infant died. Roberts pleaded guilty to the murders and has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.

  5. Craigslist minister steals couple’s wedding presents

    In 2007, a Portland couple hired a minister they found on Craigslist to officiate their marriage and discovered he wasn’t the trustworthy person they thought he was. The couple had been asking for Home Depot gift cards in lieu of gifts or cash to help them fund their kitchen renovation, but was surprised to see that all they had were three gift cards at the end of the wedding. As it turns out, the minister stole the gift cards and surveillance cameras at Home Depot caught him buying tools and detergent with them.

  6. Man rapes maid found on Craigslist

    In 2011, a California man was arrested and taken into custody for allegedly raping a housekeeper he found on Craigslist under the "maid" section. When the woman arrived at Michael Delgado’s apartment, he locked the doors and allegedly raped and sexually assaulted her with a foreign object for over an hour. Delgado walked the victim out and she asked a passerby to call police. He was arrested on suspicion of rape, rape with a foreign object, false imprisonment, and assault.

  7. Teen killed, found in burned car

    Sarah Weyrick was new to Houston and was in need of some cash to pay her bills. The 19-year-old posted a Craigslist ad in the "personals and casual encounters" section, saying "Need help with a couple of bills — just two bills. Tough times call for drastic measures." Sometime after posting the ad, her body was discovered in a burning car in an apartment complex on June 2, 2010. An autopsy showed that Weyrick had been stabbed multiple times around her neck and was put in the backseat of her car before someone set it ablaze to cover the evidence. One month after the incident, police arrested and charged Phillip E. Boldon, 31, with murdering Weyrick.

  8. Florida Craigslist car scam

    Tina Morris fell victim to an unfortunate Craigslist scam when she was shopping online for a car for her daughter. Morris came across a seemingly promising Craigslist ad for a 2007 Honda Accord listed for $2,900. The woman selling the car as part of a divorce claimed to live in Lake City, Fla., but said the vehicle was located in a New Jersey shipping yard. Morris was told that the sale was being handled by an agent from eBay motors, but when the seller asked for an additional $1,000 for insurance, Morris got suspicious and called eBay motors. She found out that it was all a scam and her money was long gone.