While like many I was shocked by the story of the shooting of an unarmed man, Michael Brown, by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, I have refrained from making public comments due to the conflicting accounts that have arisen in the case. As a criminal defense attorney, I have long resisted the tendency to rush to judgment, particularly in the midst of public unrest, in such cases. I saw that as a problem in the Trayvon Martin case. Those same concerns were raised this morning with the statement of Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon who publicly stated that “a vigorous prosecution must now be pursued.” Presumably, he is speaking of the arrest and prosecution of Officer Darren Wilson. However, the investigations into the case are continuing and, in my view, Nixon’s comments are wildly inappropriate at this stage.
I have said it before but I will say it again. The The National Football League (NFL) remains one of the most greedy and thuggish organizations in the country in dealing with host cities, artists, and citizens. The fact that it has been allowed to retain not-for-profit status is a grotesque triumph of money and lobbying in our country. Now, as proof that the NFL has lost any sense of shame, it is asking artists who want to play at the Superbowl to not simply play for free but to actually pay to play.
We just discussed the Generation Z murder where a college student was convicted of murder in part on evidence that he asked Siri on his iPhone for suggestions on how to dispose of a body. Now the same type of evidence is being raised in the case against Christopher Lee, 24, in California in the alleged murder of his lover. Lee reportedly admitted to doing internet searches on the same question and a witness said that he was also asked by Lee about “what was the best way to dispose of a human body.”
Apropos of our earlier discussion of celebrity mugshots with Gov. Rick Perry’s appearance in a Texas police station, Robert Burt has his own views on how to dress for your police portrait. If this mugshot of Robert Burt simply a bit surreal, it is because Burt was arrested wearing a teeshirt with his prior mugshot displayed on the front. He now has a great image for the back. Consider it a low-rent version of Norman Rockwell’s Triple Self-Portrait technique.
One of the first things that my kids did when I got my iPhone with Siri was to ask “how do I get rid of a body.” The question is such a favorite that Siri is programmed to answer. However, police allege that Pedro Bravo, 20, was serious when he asked Siri that question after kidnapping and strangling his friend Christian Aguilar (below), 18, in September 2012. The two were sharing a room at University of Florida. On the day that Aguilar died, police say that records show that Bravo asked “‘I need to hide my roommate.” Siri responded “What kind of place are you looking for? Swamps. Reservoirs. Metal foundries. Dumps.” Aguilar was later found in a shallow grave in a Levy County forest, about 60 miles southwest of Gainesville. The ultimate Generation Z murder case. Siri however was not indicted as an accessory before the fact.
In New Orleans, Armand Bennet, 26, was shot in the forehead during a traffic stop by New Orleans police officer Lisa Lewis. However, the police department did not reveal until much later that Lewis turned off her body camera just before shooting Bennett. Bennett survived and has now been charged under prior warrants for his arrest. It also reviewed that Lewis had had a prior run in with Bennet who escaped about a week earlier.