For months, many experts (including myself) have been arguing that the Bush Administration’s claim of privilege in the congressional investigations (and the refusal to comply with subpoenas) is untenable, if not laughable. Nevertheless, Attorney General Mukasey has refused to allow a grand jury to see the evidence of the criminal contempt by Bush Administration officials. Now, a federal judge has ruled against the Administration. Judge John Bates has found that the Administration must comply with the subpoenas in the cases of he president’s chief of staff, Josh Bolten, and former legal counsel Harriet Miers on the firing of nine U.S. Attorneys. The decision not only puts pressure on Mukasey to stop his obstruction of the process, but it clearly reaffirms the view of many that Karl Rove is also in flagrant contempt.
Archive for July, 2008
After blocking any serious investigation or impeachment hearings on crimes committed by President Bush, Speaker Nancy Pelosi finally addressed the allegations of presidential crimes on that forum of deep intellectual and legal thought: the television show The View. She agreed to answer a question from Joy Behar, who will have to suffice as a substitute for Peter Rodino. In a perfectly bizarre moment, Pelosi stated that there is simply no evidence of any crime committed by the President despite the findings of the International Red Cross, various international groups, and a legion of constitutional experts. It seems that America has now had its impeachment hearing before the august body of Whoopi Goldberg, Barbara Walters, Joy Bahar, and Elisabeth Hasselbeck. If you feared that our democracy is de-evolving into a caricature of itself, just watch this video.
In Afghanistan, journalist Ghaws Zalmay faces the death penalty for printing a translation of the Koran (Qur’an) in in Dari, one of Afghanistan’s official languages. Yet, even if he is acquitted religious leaders are promising that he will still be put to death for his blasphemy as required under Sharia law. It is certainly a good thing that we got the Taliban out of power.
In a scene reminiscent of Robert Duvall’s character in The Apostle, Evangelist Anthony Hopkins, 37, was preaching on forgiveness when the police arrived to arrest him for the murder of his wife. The arrest in Mobile, Alabama, came after a relative alerted police to a body in a freezer in his home with eight children. His wife 36-year-old Arletha Hopkins hasn’t been seen for three years.
A federal judge in Jacksonville, Florida has ruled against Disney in its effort to block employees from bringing guns to work under a new state law. However, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle did uphold the right of the company to bar customers from bringing guns. This means that Grumby can now pack a sidearm as the ultimate disgruntled employees arrives each morning for work.
Gonzales High School educators seem to believe that outfitting their students like prisoners is good training for American society in the twenty-first century. They have purchased the jumpsuits for violators of the school dress code. The biggest surprise is that the school was not named after former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales but the Texas town itself.
One can certainly understand why the Khang family is a bit confused. This week the Minneapolis police department gave awards to eight police officers who raided the wrong home last year and exchanged gunfire with the father of six who thought that the house was being burglarized. The police have apologized for shooting up the home containing Khang, his wife, and six children aged 3 to 15. It didn’t help much. The house was destroyed and they could not afford to fix it up — and ultimately lost the house altogether.
There is an interesting criminal case in Connecticut that falls on the borderline between criminal law and torts. The president of a residential pool company was criminally charged with manslaughter for the death of six-year-old Zachary Cohn, who drowned after having his arm caught in a pool drain. Prosecutors allege that David Lionetti, president of Shoreline Pools, knew of the problem with the drain. This is only the latest tragic death involving such drains in pools, click here.
A New York City officer is under investigation after the video below showed him body-checking a bicyclist at a Times Square demonstration called the Critical Mass Ride. What is astonishing is that The biker, Christopher Long, of Hoboken, N.J., was arrested because he was obstructing traffic in the heart of Times Square, a criminal complaint said. He was charged with attempted assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. The officer has now been identified as Patrick Pogan, a 22-year-old rookie cop. click here. (more…)
In England, James McPhilbin (the first pictured man) was facing a common concern as a father. He was told that a teen boy was sending his daughter harassing text messages. Where most dads would call the parents or even speak to the boy, James’ nephew, Anthony McPhilbin, and two men (Alex Duff and Anthony Morton — shown above) decided to kidnap the kid. He was then taken to an apartment, torturing and stabbed with a knife. The 17-year-old proved to be innocent and the four men proved the value of AYSOS as a text message.
For many years, Ted Stevens has been the virtual symbol of corruption in Washington, making himself a multimillionaire while serving in Congress. Despite detailed accounts of the shady dealings of Stevens and his family, Alaskans continued to return him to Washington where he and colleagues like Don Young tarnished the reputation of both houses. He is now a criminally indicted defendant, though the current allegations constitute small change in comparison to some of the past controversies surrounding the Stevens clan. The Stevens indictment is below.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has upheld the controversial sentences of former Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean for the shooting of an unarmed illegal immigrant and admitted drug smuggler — and then lying about the incident. While the court vacated the convictions on tampering with an official proceeding, it left the rest of the case intact — upholding the lengthy sentences for both men.
A truly bizarre case has been docketed in Cincinnati where Ohio citizens (and family members of a victim) are having to revisit one of the state’s most heinous murders. Kenneth Douglas, 55, has been charged with sexual assault of a corpse in 1982 when he worked as a morgue attendant. He was discovered through DNA evidence in an obviously disgusting case but one that raises some pretty difficult legal questions. It is also a case where police assumed that the man who murdered Karen Range must have been the same person who raped her but the evidence did not match his blood type. It turned out far worse than they imagined.
France is dealing with a uniquely French crime wave: people stripping or having sex at the World War I memorial to the Battle of Vimy Ridge. As with a growing number of cases in the United States of crimes caught on YouTube, the latest couple was caught after they posted their liaison on the Internet.
Irving Gonzalez signed a non-binding contract with the Army that allowed him to back out of joining the military at any time before appearing for boot camp. However, Army recruiter Sgt. Glenn Marquette was not going to lose a sale to a little act of free will, so he lied to the teenager — threatening jail time if he didn’t show up. The Army responded quickly. They reprimanded Marquette and then later quietly promoted him.
The Justice Department Inspector General Office has completed its review of allegations of violations of federal law by Bush officials in the hiring of prosecutors and immigration judges. The 140-page report found that former Alberto Gonzales aides Monica Goodling or former Gonzales chief of staff Kyle Sampson broke federal law and used politics rather than merit to select both attorneys and immigration judges. This will be the subject of my discussion tonight on MSNBC Countdown, click here.
Now this makes for an interesting vehicular assault charge: the victim was not in front of the car or even under the car, but on its roof. Diamond Mircea, 29, of Islip Terrace, N.Y., is charged with assault and drunk driving when he took off with his wife, Monica Mircea, 25, on the roof of his car. She fell off a block later. They were only recently married though the minister may have left out the reservation of “Till Brakes Do Us Apart.”
Knoxville, Tenn. police has released a statement that a letter in the car of church shooter Jim D. Adkisson reveals that he targeted the congregation due to its liberal views on civil liberties and women’s and gay rights. Adkisson killed two people at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in the middle of a children’s performance.
It is certainly becoming more and more clear why the Iraqi government wants a date for the withdrawal of our troops from their territory. The U.S. military has admitted that it killed a man and two women on their way to a bank by spraying their car with hundreds of rounds. Moreover, it is now clear that the military gave false information after the killings to the public and the media. Iraqi officials are now calling it murder while the military insists that the soldiers acted correctly.
In Omaha, Nebraska, Juan Briceno had a sudden flash of brilliance. Before the police administered his breathalyzer, he downed a bottle of Wite-Out on the officer’s desk. It turns out that white out does not affect the alcohol in your system. It does, however, turn your tongue and lips white. The video is linked below.
The United States Senate is getting involved in a growing conflict between the United States and Serbia over the unlawful flight of Miladin Kovacevic, a star basketball player who was on bail for an assault on college student, Bryan Steinhauer. Both were students at Binghamton College. Steinhauer has been in a coma since the attack and now weighs only 100 pounds.
Iran will impress the world today with a demonstration of its technical abilities by hanging 30 people for a variety of crimes from drug possession to simple felonies, including disturbing public safety and security, being a public nuisance while drunk and being involved in illegal relationships. Iran is second only to China in its rate of execution. China currently has the lead with 470 last year to Iran’s 317. This will, however, make a bent in the deficit.
Rev. Al Poisson may be looking for some new material. The minister claims that he merely made a passing joke to a security guard when he was dragged out of a hospital, beaten, and tasered. Regardless of the catalyst, the video below has raised some serious questions on the level of force being used on this 66-year-old minister.
Prominent journalist and radio host Uri Orbach has a curious sense of outrage. In a column, Orbach describes the outcry after the release of a recent picture of a handcuffed Palestinian being shot by an Israeli soldier with a rubber bullet at close range. Instead of decrying the need for better training or calling for justice, however, Orbach is infuriated that Palestinians have been given cameras to allow them to record such abuses.
Dr. Kevin Antario Brown is a well known figure in high society. He is the son of was Bermuda Premier Ewart Brown and runs a medical charity. Now, he is accused of molesting eight patients, including a 15-year-old teenager. The case is particularly serious given the use of an undercover agent — an element that heavily influences a jury.
In an earlier blog, we discussed a clearly meritless lawsuit by rabid radio take show host Michael Savage, here. A federal judge in San Francisco dismissed the conservative commentator’s lawsuit against Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, for copyright infringement.
Sen. John McCain has proposed the adoption of an American version of the Prime Minister Question Session where he would appear before the Senate regularly for unscripted exchanges. I have long advocated such a tradition in the United States and it was the subject of a NPR story.
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Keith Walendowski, 56, was upset with his lawn mower, which refused to start. In classic Bill Mauldin fashion, he then proceeded to shoot the lawn boy. He is now charged with a felony for possession of a short-barreled shotgun or rifle and a misdemeanor for disorderly conduct while armed.
In Robert Dahl’s essay, Lamb to the Slaughter, the wife kills her husband with a frozen leg of lamb and then destroys the evidence by feeding it to the investigators. In Newark, N.J., 76-year-old Marlene Mackenzie was certainly as creative but not nearly as successful: she killed 80-year-old Robert Mackenzie by throwing a cocktail glass at his head.
National Enquirer reporters Alan Butterfield and Alexander Hitchen have filed a criminal complaint with the Beverly Hills Police Department against the security staff of the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The paper is also not backing off from its story — virtually daring Edwards to file a defamation lawsuit.
Carnegie Mellon University professor Dr. Randy Pausch, 47, died of pancreatic cancer today. Pausch inspired the nation with his “last lecture,” a moving discussion of his life and his approaching death. This story became the subject of a best seller and his lecture below was viewed by millions.
Detroit politicians continue their almost daily contributions to the criminal blogs and blotters. Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is now being investigated for allegedly assaulting a deputy accompanying an investigator for the Wayne County prosecutor at the home of the mayor’s sister. The officers were attempting to serve a subpoena on Bobby Ferguson, a city contractor and close friend of Kilpatrick. The mayor’s sister, Ayanna Kilpatrick, is married to Daniel Ferguson, a cousin of Bobby Ferguson.
In an extraordinary act of self-censorship, the Los Angeles Times has asked its bloggers not to discuss the Edwards story about his alleged affair and child with Rielle Hunter. The story was broken by the National Enquirer after allegedly catching Edwards at a hotel with the woman.
Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin and the city of Memphis appear to have such excess of amounts of money and time that they have decided to pursue Internet bloggers critical of their work. They have filed to try to learn who has been filing critical entries under MPD Enforcer 2.0.
There is the Flying Nun and now there is the Embezzling Nun. Sister Barbara Markey, 73, apparently was never quite comfortable with her vow of poverty. She pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $250,000 from the Omaha archdiocese. After she was sentenced to three to five years in prison by an irate Nebraska judge, she asked Judge Thomas Otepka let out of the plea and go to trial.
The Bush Administration has released torture memos that reveal the extent to which officials laid the groundwork for a criminal defense in its torture program. The 2002 memos instructed interrogators in a good-faith defense for any claim that they were committing federal crimes.
Andrew Giuliani, son of Rudy Giuliani, has gone to court to fight for his right to golf on teh Duke University team. He was recently thrown off the team with little notice or explanation by its coach, O.D. Vincent. The filing is based on a loose theory of contract, even though decisions of eligibility are generally viewed as matter of discretion for university staff.
Formula One racing head Max Mosley has won a lawsuit in London alleging an invasion of privacy by News of the World for their release of pictures and a video of his sadomasochistic fantasy Nazi-themed party with prostitutes. He denied that the party had a Nazi theme, a view supported by the court. The newspaper was ordered to pay $120,000 plus his legal fees and costs.
A New Zealand judge, Rob Murfitt, has taken custody from parents of a nine-year-old girl so that he can chose a better name than Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii.” It is clear that these parents should be under psychiatric analysis, but there is an interesting question of whether you can lose custody, even briefly, for picking a bad name.
A very interesting decision has emerged out of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Former law school professor (and potential candidate for the Supreme Court) Michael W. McConnell wrote the opinion that the limitation to colleges other than those “pervasively sectarian” violates the Constitution as discrimination against certain religions.
When Laslo Mujzer, 43, saw the donations in a Florida mall fountain, he clearly decided that he was a good candidate for charity. He took 42 cents before a woman alerted the mall security force. Now, Mujzer is facing a criminal charge of misdemeanor theft. Bail alone costs $500, leaving him $499.58 short.
RoseMary Shell was not willing to become just another jilted bride. When Wayne Gibbs refused to be her husband, a personal injury lawyer was willing to say “I do.” Now a Georgia jury has awarded Shell $150,000 for the breaking of a marital contract by her former fiance. In the meantime, a Hindu family in Massachusetts is suing for a contractual breach in an arranged marriage when the girl proved unattractive.
Columnist Robert Novak has a reputation for being an aggressive and fast driver. It may now have put him into legal jeopardy. He is accused of hitting a man in his black Corvette who was lawfully crossing in a pedestrian walkway in Washington and then speeding from the scene — only to be stopped a block away by an attorney who chased him on a bicycle. Novak joked in 2001 about his hatred for jaywalkers and the option of running them over. A video of the aftermath is linked below.
Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac must be wondering why he bothered in 1701 to found the city. Detroit’s government continues its downward spiral toward collapse with new indictments, criminal allegations, and scandal. The federal prosecutors have introduced a superseding indictment alleging more lies from Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick about past affairs. In the meantime, city council members are now under criminal investigation for other crimes while they also engage in bizarre public arguments.
Dan Glass, a member of the appropriately named climate change pressure group Plane Stupid, unsuccessfully tried to superglue himself to Prime Minister Gordon at a Downing Street reception. He was unsuccessful and worse yet, the British allowed him to stay at the reception after laughing off the attempt.
The FBI is accused of launching a coordinated effort to bury the results of a finding by an Arizona crime lab analyst, Kathryn Troyer, that individuals may have very similar DNA profiles. The finding throws into question the claims made in court about the unlikelihood of two individuals sharing such similarities. Where such matches have been portrayed as 1 in 113 billion — a virtual guarantee of conviction — it turns out to be more common. Rather than being concerned over past representations in court and the accuracy of its work, the FBI reportedly worked diligently to stop other analysts from performing the same tests and to discourage any citation to the study.
Oklahoma City may have the largest bestiality case in history — and without question the most disgusting. Diane Sue Whalen 54, and Donald Roy Seigfried, 55, are accused of training their dogs to have sex with Whalen and other women. Whalen was apparently busted by her own son who found 150 tapes of her performing sex acts with the dogs — including a mixed breed and labrador Lucky and Buddy and a blue heeler named Merlin owned by Seigfried. Seigfried allegedly filmed the events.