Best Criminal Conviction - 2009
Charles "Chuckie" Taylor Jr.
He cut off one man's penis and left him for dead in a ditch. He poured molten plastic on another. He tore through Monrovia's trash-strewn dirt roads in a custom-made SUV with his despotic "Demon Forces" security team, beheading, shooting, and maiming anyone he wished.
Charles "Chuckie" Taylor Jr. was born in Boston and grew up in suburban Orlando, but in the end turned out to be cut from the same cloth as his dad, Liberian dictator Charles Taylor. And when Chuckie Taylor Jr.'s four-year reign of terror in his father's homeland ended in 2003, he tried to hide from justice in the United States, as so many other foreign war criminals had done before him.
Thanks to a Miami jury and an untested federal law, he failed. In January, Taylor became the first person convicted under a 1994 law prohibiting Americans from torturing abroad. He earned 97 years in prison for his crimes — and his conviction brought hope that someday warlords might stop looking to plush Miami waterfront homes as a safe haven to hide from their sins.