1 Literary/Journalistic Plagiarism How have people who have been accused of plagiarism responded to the accusation? How have the accusation of plagiarism affected the accused person's success or reputation? Does the verity of the accusation come into play? Example summary #1a: user profile: granularity="specific" Most people accused of plagiarism react by challenging the verity of the charges, but not always. Princess Michael of Kent settled out-of-court. Wilbert Rideau, sued by a fellow prisoner, acknowledged some guilt.. Lyle Menendez dropped out of Princeton reportedly because of a plagiarism scandal. Joseph R. Biden , Jr. asked for a judicial review of charges he plagiarized in a freshman paper and was cleared. In response to accusations he used material from speeches by Neil Kinnock , he just called it an oversight. Art Buchwald sued Paramount alleging theft of a movie idea. Banker Jacques Attali reacted by denying the charges and suing for libel. The results of such accusations on reputation or success vary from significant to almost non-existent. The plagiarism charges against Biden contributed to his leaving 1988 presidential race but he apparently suffered little from using the Kinnock material. The accusations against Jacques Attali may have contributed to his resignation. Jonathan Kandell, sued the Wall Street Journal claiming he was wrongly asked to resign and had his reputation smeared. A professor at Texas Tech was allowed to resign quietly. The San Diego Tribune decided not to run a story containing material directly from a press release. The reporter was not otherwise punished. Scholars reviewing Martin Luther King, Jr.'s papers have found evidence of plagiarism in his dissertation and other papers. Reactions include disappointment but also emphasis on his greatness being based on his human rights work not on his early scholarship. Example summary #1b: user profile: granularity="general" The immediate response of people accused of plagiarizing is generally to deny the charges. Some sue for libel. Princess Michael of Kent had to settle out of court, but probably without admission of guilt. Accused plagiarists do not think they plagiarized, at least not intentionally. If their work is similar to earlier work, they claim the similarity is non-existent and/or coincidental. If they clearly have used someone else's words without citation, they say that the omission is accidental, or that the original source is so obvious as to make explicit attribution unnecessary. Most people who are suspected of plagiarizing soon after the alleged incident, suffer immediate punishment. Joe Biden lost a bid for the U.S. presidency, journalists lose their job, college students must leave school. However, if people suffer long-term ill-effects, it is for faults other than plagiarism. Attali had to resign from his post as head of the European Bank for Reconstruction for extravagant spending, not plagiarism. Well-founded charges of plagiarism may tarnish a famous person's reputation, but doesn't destroy it. Society ignores or downplays incidents of plagiarism and focuses on the plagiarist's other accomplishments. Dylan Thomas and Samuel Taylor Coleridge continue to receive wide praise for their non-plagiarized literary works. Despite charges of plagiarism, Martin Luther King Jr. and Friar Luca Pacioli (who wrote a 15th Century book on double-entry bookkeeping) are honored for their non-literary accomplishments -- MLK for his courage and leadership in the Civil Rights movement, and Pacioli for popularizing (if not inventing) double-entry bookkeeping. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2 fatal alcohol-related car accidents What criminal charges can be filed against the driver responsible in fatal alcohol-related car accidents? What factors influence the charges and sentencing? Example summary #2: user profile: granularity="general" The driver who causes a car accident (usually while breaking traffic laws) can be charged with drunk driving if his blood alcohol level meets the state's definition for intoxication (at least 0.08-0.10%). If the accident is fatal, the driver is charge with vehicular manslaughter. This is upgraded to vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence if the driver exhibits a wanton disregard for human life (e.g., has a history of drunk driving). Leaving the accident warrants a charge of hit-and-run. A charge of murder is possible when the driver shows signs of malice or being aware of his actions. Some prosecuters argue that if the driver has previous convictions for drunk driving, then he knows the danger of driving drunk and, by choosing to drive drunk, he shows malicious intent (i.e., does something knowing that it will very probably kill someone). A murder charge is sometimes pursued in highly-publicized cases (e.g., when the victim is the son of a MADD activist; or in the deadliest alcohol-related accident in US history, which killed 27 children.) Sentencing must be within the boundaries set by state sentencing guidelines. More serious offenses get heavier sentences. A judge may impose a lighter sentence if the driver pleads guilty, or has no prior criminal record or alcohol-related offenses. A heavier sentence is imposed if the driver has prior convictions, or the case is widely publicized and the judge wants to send a message deterring others from drunk driving (as in the case against Olympic silver medalist Bruce Kimball).