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July 30th, 2009
11:28 PM ET

Fake scent-tracking dog sends man to prison for 26 years

Randi Kaye | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

A Florida man who was convicted of murder in part because of the work of an allegedly infallible scent-tracking dog, was freed from jail eight months ago because DNA testing confirmed that the dog and the dog’s owner were a fraud. Unfortunately for Bill Dillon he had to spend 26 years in prison before the error in his case was rectified.

Bill Dillon, was 22 when he was sentenced to life in prison in 1981, for killing a man in Canova Beach on the eastern coast of the state.

During the trial, Dillon was adamant that he had not committed the crime. But a man named John Preston testified in court that he and his scent-tracking German-Shepherd connected Dillon to the killer’s bloody t-shirt. Preston said his dog, “Harrass 2,” even tracked Dillon’s scent repeatedly in later tests.

Dillon expected to remain in prison for the rest of his life – all because of “Harrass 2,” and his handler, Preston, who billed himself around the country as a so-called scent -tracking expert.

But nearly three decades later, in 2007, DNA testing proved that Dillon’s DNA did not match the DNA on the killer’s shirt. The dog was wrong. Just eight months ago, after 26 years behind bars, Bill Dillon walked out of prison a free man.

“Supposedly the dog got my scent three times,” Dillon told CNN, “and I never saw freedom again.” Dillon also said he remembers the dog’s “huge” head from the trial and that he looked like a “bear.”

FULL POST


Filed under: 360° Radar • Crime & Punishment • Randi Kaye
July 30th, 2009
09:50 PM ET

'An Accident of Time and Place'

Scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. had a confrontation with a Cambridge, Massachusetts, police sergeant.
Scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. had a confrontation with a Cambridge, Massachusetts, police sergeant.

Henry Louis Gates Jr.
The Root

I would like to applaud President Obama for bringing Sergeant Crowley, me and our families together. I would also like to thank the President for welcoming my father, Henry Louis Gates, Sr., who for most of his life has been a Republican!

My dad turned 96 this past June, and the fact that he worked two jobs every day is the reason that my brother, Dr. Paul Gates, and I were able to receive such splendid educations. I am honored that he chose to join me at the White House, along with my fiancée, my daughters, and my brother.

Sergeant Crowley and I, through an accident of time and place, have been cast together, inextricably, as characters – as metaphors, really – in a thousand narratives about race over which he and I have absolutely no control.

Narratives about race are as old as the founding of this great Republic itself, but these new ones have unfolded precisely when Americans signaled to the world our country’s great progress by overcoming centuries of habit and fear, and electing an African American as President.

Read more...

July 30th, 2009
09:45 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 07/30/09

There are new clues on how Michael Jackson may have obtained his drugs and some of the names he used. The details are coming from the search warrants issued when investigators went inside Jackson's doctor's properties in Las Vegas. We'll have the latest for you in the death investigation.

Want to know what else we're covering? Read EVENING BUZZ

Scroll down to join the live chat during the program. It's your chance to share your thoughts on tonight's headlines. Keep in mind, you have a better chance of having your comment get past our moderators if you follow our rules.

Here are some of them:

1) Keep it short (we don't have time to read a "book")
2) Don't write in ALL CAPS (there's no need to yell)
3) Use your real name (first name only is fine)
4) No links
5) Watch your language (keep it G-rated; PG at worst - and that includes $#&*)

And take a look at our live web camera from the 360° studio. Watch the WEBCAM


Filed under: 360° Radar • Live Blog • T1
July 30th, 2009
07:36 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Ale to the Chief

Sgt. James Crowley and professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. sat down with the president and vice president Thursday.
Sgt. James Crowley and professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. sat down with the president and vice president Thursday.

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Tonight at the White House, it was the president, the professor and the policeman enjoying cold beers with a bunch of cameras and their controversial connection. You may recall, two weeks ago tonight white Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley arrested black Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates after he broke into his own home. The allegation from the cop: disorderly conduct. The allegation from the professor: racial profiling. Cops dropped their charge. But the controversy grew when days later Pres. Obama weighed in and said the cop acted "stupidly." That's when the president made some phone calls suggesting a beer and here were are tonight. How did the beer gathering go? Any tension? Candy Crowley has the raw politics.

Also on our radar, details on what was in the search warrants when cops raided the Las Vegas properties of Michael Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray. Once again, 360's Randi Kaye is the first with this information. She got her hands on the search warrants filed in court today. There are also new developments on who will get custody of Jackson's children.

And, new clashes in Iran today. Police fired tear gas and beat protesters who gathered at a memorial for those killed in the uprisings since last month's disputed presidential election. Today marked the traditional 40-day mourning period for perhaps the most well-know victim of the violence, Neda Agha Solton. The 27-year-old student was shot  on June 20, with her death caught on video. Today protesters chanted, "Neda is alive! Ahmadinejad is dead!", a reference to the president of Iran who opponents say had fraudulently won re-election. Ahmadinejad is expected to take his oath of office for a second-term next Wednesday. There will likely be more protests on that day.

Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10pm ET. See you then!


Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
July 30th, 2009
05:35 PM ET

Deal reached for custody of Michael Jackson's children

Debbie Rowe will not pursue custody of the children she bore with Michael Jackson, a lawyer says.
Debbie Rowe will not pursue custody of the children she bore with Michael Jackson, a lawyer says.

Alan Duke
CNN

Michael Jackson's ex-wife and the mother of his two oldest children, Debbie Rowe, has agreed not to challenge the singer's mother for custody of the children, according to a joint statement from lawyers for Rowe and Katherine Jackson.

The agreement does not involve any financial payments to Rowe "apart from the continuation of spousal support payments" that Michael Jackson personally agreed to make to Rowe after their divorce, the lawyers said.

Rowe will get visitation rights with the children and the "timing, frequency and manner of visits shall be implemented according to the best interests of the children, as determined by a child psychologist selected jointly, and paid jointly," by Jackson and Rowe, the announcement said.

Keep reading...


Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Michael Jackson
July 30th, 2009
05:34 PM ET

Prescription drug use Q&A

Program Note: For more on the state of prescription drug use (and abuse), tune in to AC360° tonight 10p ET.

The Partnership for a Drug-Free America

Q: What age are teens abusing prescription drugs?

A: Kids as young as 12 are trying or using prescription drugs non-medically - to get high or for "self-medicating." Pharmaceuticals are often more available to 12 year olds than illicit drugs because they can be taken from the medicine cabinet at home, rather than marijuana which necessitates knowing someone who uses or sells the drug. Also, pills may have a perception of safety because they are easier to take than smoking pot or drinking alcohol and are professionally manufactured in a lab.

Q: What types of prescription drugs are teens abusing?

A: The National Survey on Drug Use and Health identifies 4 types of prescription medications that are commonly abused — pain relievers, stimulants, sedatives and tranquilizers. Eleven percent of teens (aged 12-17) reported lifetime non-medical use of pain relievers and four percent reported lifetime non-medical use of stimulants.

Q: Do different groups abuse different types of medications?

A: Yes. Painkillers are the most common pharmaceutical abused by teens, especially by younger teens. Stimulant abuse is more common among older teens and college students than younger teens. Girls are more likely to be current (past month) abusers of prescription medications than boys (4.3 vs. 3.6 percent). [Source: 2002 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. ]

Read more...


Filed under: 360° Radar
July 30th, 2009
05:25 PM ET
July 30th, 2009
04:55 PM ET

Neda lives on ... forty days later

Neda Agha-Soltan was gunned down on a Tehran street on June 20.
Neda Agha-Soltan was gunned down on a Tehran street on June 20.

Octavia Nasr | BIO
AC360° Contributor
CNN Senior Editor, Mideast Affairs

Support and solidarity for Iran's opposition continues to be expressed in many ways and forms around the world. In cities such as New York, Stockholm, Istanbul, Vancouver and Rome, supporters of the Iranian opposition movement have been organizing concerts, demonstrations and hunger strikes.

Iranian enthusiasts have been turning street corners of the world’s major cities into activism centers where people gather and show support for Iranians who continue to dispute results of their presidential elections.

In Tehran today, Iranian police cracked down and dispersed thousands of protesters as they tried to commemorate the 40th day of mourning the death of Iran's icon, Neda Agha Sultan. Neda captured the world when her last moment of life and her death were recorded on a mobile phone camera. For Shiite Islam, the 40th day after death marks the final day of mourning.

Outside Iran, in Los Angeles, around the U.S. and across the world, people followed the news on anti-government radio stations where callers shared their eyewitness accounts of today's developments.

FULL POST

July 30th, 2009
04:30 PM ET

A “Teachable Moment” at the White House?

President Obama has invited police Sgt. James Crowley and Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates for beer.
President Obama has invited police Sgt. James Crowley and Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates for beer.

David Gergen | Bio
AC360° Contributor
CNN Senior Political Analyst

President Obama promised last week that he would convert the ugly confrontation between a black Harvard scholar and a white police officer into a “teachable moment” for the nation. As Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Sgt. Jim Crowley come to the White House today for their “beer summit,” how can he succeed? How should the three men structure their conversation and how should they then talk to the country?

For counsel, I turned to an excellent family therapist who has had a long record of success in counseling couples (aka, my wife Anne), and she provided some sound answers. Each of the parties, she said, has to recognize up front that during a contentious incident that set them off, their minds were flooded with emotions that overcame their rational selves.

The key to achieving reconciliation is for each of them to talk through the incident as they saw it each step of the way, analyzing what they saw and said, and with their rational minds, trying to figure out how they might have handled it better. It is critical that the other player(s) not interrupt but let them tell their story fully. Hearing the other person respectfully allows one to see how their perspectives differed – and from that, begin to reframe the incident in ways that bring them closer together.

FULL POST

July 30th, 2009
04:27 PM ET

Blind women help detect breast cancer

The blind assistants use tape strips with braille coordinates to accurately locate cancerous lumps.
The blind assistants use tape strips with braille coordinates to accurately locate cancerous lumps.

Nick Wade and Joana Krause-Palfner
For CNN

Blind women are being trained to use their sensitive touch to help detect breast cancer earlier and more precisely than doctors.

The program, called "Discovering Hands," is the brainchild of German gynecologist Dr. Frank Hoffmann.

Two years ago, he created Braille strips as a system of orientation, allowing the blind to carry out breast examinations.

Using these strips blind women are trained to become Medical Tactile Examiners (MTUs) because they are more able to detect smaller lumps than sighted doctors.

Hoffman argues that because of their disability, the blind can possess a more acutely developed sense of touch, which has proved to be a valuable asset in breast examinations.

Once the strips are placed along specific areas of the breast, they are then used to report a precise location to the doctor as the MTU reads their Braille coordinates.

"We are turning a disability into a gift," Dr. Hoffmann told CNN.

Read more...


Filed under: Beyond 360 • T1
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