Archive for July, 2008

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…)

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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.
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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.
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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.
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