Law and Disorder Radio

Law and Disorder June 16, 2008

Updates: Landmark Win: Guantánamo Detainees Have Constitutional Right to Habeas Corpus


Federal jury awards $6.2 million in Taser death lawsuit

Here on Law and Disorder we’ve talked with many guests on the dangers of Taser stun guns. Recently Taser International Inc., the largest stun-gun maker, lost a $6.2 million jury verdict over the death of a California man who died after police shot him multiple times with the weapon. A San Jose, California jury says that Taser failed to warn the police of Salinas, California that prolonged exposure to Tasr’s electric shock could cause a risk of heart attack. The 40 year old victim Robert Heston died February 20, 2005 after his father had called Salinas police because his son was “acting strangely,” and seemed to be on drugs, according to the lawsuit complaint.

This is the first defeat for Taser International in a product-liability claim. Though, a product liability claim, another issue of concern is how police abuse and torture people indiscriminately with tasers.

  • Nearly 400 people in the United States have been killed in Taser-related deaths in the past 7 years.
  • Stun guns are already widely abused on people who take too long to pull out ID, who are loud in public, elderly, disabled or in the wrong place at the wrong time.
  • Medical examiners are afraid to rule Tasers as the primary or contributory cause of death out of fear of retribution. In meetings with coroners, Taser International has actually threatened to sue if stun guns are cited on death certificates.
  • Taser International has formed questionable PR ties with law enforcement. It established and funded the Taser Foundation for Fallen Officers in 2004.
  • Taser International Slogan: Saving Lives Everday

Guest: Civil rights attorney John Burton who litigated the case. Burton says there are 68 more Taser-related death cases to be litigated.


The Cuban Five: 11th Circuit Court Upholds Convictions

We’ve been following the case of the Cuban Five for years. Last week, the 11th U.S. District Court of Appeals in Atlanta upheld the convictions of the Cuban Five who are serving long prison sentences charged with spying and conspiracy to commit murder. The Five were falsely accused by the U.S. government of committing espionage conspiracy against the United States, and other related charges.

The Five pointed out vigorously in their defense that they were involved in monitoring the actions of Miami-based terrorist groups, in order to prevent terrorist attacks on their country of Cuba. The Five’s actions were never directed at the U.S. government. They never harmed anyone nor ever possessed nor used any weapons while in the United States. The Cuban Five are five Cuban men who are in U.S. prison, serving four life sentences and 75 years collectively, after being wrongly convicted in U.S. federal court in Miami, on June 8, 2001.

Cuban Five: Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González.

Guest: Len Weinglass – U.S. Civil Rights Attorney and Activist

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