The Appeal of Death Row

Why would a California convict opt for a death sentence? With few executions and better living conditions, why not?   AS AN ORANGE COUNTY jury debated in 2009 whether the white supremacist Billy Joe Johnson should live or die for murdering a fellow gang member, he asked to be sent to death row. Not because he felt any sudden remorse for the five people he’d killed over the years—“I commit crimes when people piss me off,” he once explained, matter-of-factly—but because Johnson believed he’d have better living conditions, including liberal phone privileges, a bigger cell, and daily human interaction, at San Quentin’s death...

Al-Kidd, Plaintiff i...

Today, the court hears Abdullah al-Kidd’s case against John Ashcroft over the Bush administration’s detention practices   Abdullah al-Kidd wasn’t what I expected when I met him on February 14 in a conference room at a legal firm in downtown Los Angeles. Al-Kidd’s...

Occupy L.A.: Where t...

Taking on City Hall and picketing against foreclosures, the Occupy Wall Street movement — backed by L.A. heavies — has embraced the Pacific, even if it hasn’t exactly embraced the specific. LOS ANGELES — For a populist revolution in uneasy times, the right spark can...