Archive for July, 2009

170px-karl_roveKarl Rove spoke to congressional investigators last week and reportedly admitted that he did play a role in the hiring and firing of federal prosecutors, including at least one of the nine U.S. Attorneys at the heart of the scandal.

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China's flagAfter a new factory opened in Jilin, China, citizens flooded local hospitals with complaints about convulsions, breathing difficulties, vomiting and temporary paralysis. They all lived or worked near the new Jilin Connell Chemical Plant. The Chinese government responded in an all too familiar way: declaring the cases to be little more than “mass hysteria” and ordering doctors to stop treating the patients. More than 1,200 of the workers at the new factory has sought medical help.

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180px-Handcuffs01_2003-06-02Lawyer Pepin Tuma, 33, was speaking with friends on Saturday night about his outrage over the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. when he passed a group of D.C. police officers, including Second District Officer J. Culp. The lawyer started to chant “I hate the police” as he walked by and ended up under arrest.
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150px-Striptease_-_Tuning_WorldNow, this is a rare rape case. The female defendant is accused of raping a man in front of witnesses with a sex toy and then admits to the penetration but insists that it was a joke. That is the case of stripper Maree Naggs who was arrested after a “buck’s party” (bachelor party) in Australia.
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rangeenbabaWe have previously followed the work of tantriks in India, here. Now, one of these witchdoctors has been accused of beheading a five-year-old girl in a ritual to help a man produce healthy children.
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200px-TextingTow Truck driver Nicholas Sparks, 25, is being cited as an example of the dangers of multi-tasking — particularly when you are driving a flatbed truck. Sparks is accused of texting on one cell phone while speaking on another cellphone — before hitting a car, crashing through a fence, sideswiping a house and then driving into an in-ground pool outside of Buffalo.
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300px-Mr._M's_Complete_Denture1Fixodent is having trouble convincing some customers that its denture cream allows them to “Enjoy Life Without Worrying About Dentures.” There are a growing number of lawsuits alleging zinc poisoning and neurological injuries linked to Fixodent denture adhesive cream. Procter & Gamble insists that there is no connection between its product and these injuries. With more than 35 million Americans using denture creams, the potential level of liability is considerable. This does not include the variety of zinc-based products in other areas.

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sullivanThe World Bank/IMF protest case had a sanctions hearing yesterday that had found its way into the media. Because I am lead counsel (with Dan Schwartz) in one of the two cases (Chang) against the District of Columbia, Federal government, Fairfax County, and various police officers, I will not comment on the controversy.
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180px-Matthew_Broderick_and_Sarah_Jessica_Parker_at_the_Tribeca_Film_FestivalTwo police chiefs — Martins Ferry Police Chief Barry Carpenter and Bridgeport Chief Chad Dojack — have reportedly been arrested and booked in a case involving actors Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker — and the surrogate mother who recently gave birth to their twin girls. The police chiefs are accused of illegally breaking into the home of the 26-year-old Michelle Ross to obtain information to be sold to a tabloid.

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picardWhen Ruth Madoff recently agreed to a deal with prosecutors under which she would retain millions, we expressed outrage and opined on the possibility of a civil “clawback” lawsuit. It has now happened. Court-appointed trustee Irving Picard accuses Madoff of a “life of Splendor” funded by illegally gained funds from her imprisoned husband Bernard Madoff. Ruth was last seen cringing on to a fur coat as she was being thrown out of a Manhattan $7 million penthouse when it was seized by agents.

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Broward County prosecutors in Florida have dropped four DUI charges against Alexandra Torrensvilas after this video showed Hollywood police officers making up a false story to pin the blame of an accident on her. The problem is that they did it in front of their dash cameras.
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black20panthers20philadelphiaNbplogoAssociate Attorney General Thomas J. Perrelli overruled career lawyers at the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division to drop a complaint against three members of the New Black Panther Party of intimidating voters in Philadelphia during November’s election — including one member Samir Shabazz who brandished a nightstick.
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220px-Boston_Police_patchBoston Police Officer and National Guardsman Justin Barrett has gone public to deny he is a racist and apologize to professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. for repeatedly calling Gates a “banana-eating jungle monkey,” insisting that “I have so many friends of every type of culture and race you can name. I am not a racist.”

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125px-Flag_of_Arizona.svgThe fire sale of America continues this week with Arizona legislators considering selling their House and Senate buildings and then leasing them back from private companies to raise cash. As we continue to pour billions into the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, states are selling off parks and historic sites (here and here). The result is a windfall for private investors who are scooping up deals from legislators who are eager for ready cash.

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180px-Pepsi_logo250px-Мышь_2Amy and Fred Denegri allege that they were a bit surprised at their Florida beach house when Fred complained about a funny taste in his Diet Pepsi and was a wee bit surprised to find a mouse in the can. We can now understand Pepsi’s old slogan: “It’s the Cola”/”Dare for More”
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The Travis County Constable’s Office has released the dashcam video of the tasering of 72-year-old Kathryn Winkfein by Deputy Chris Bieze. We previously discussed this story but the video is highly disturbing in the decision to shoot the 4’11” great grandmother. Before he fires the weapon, Winkfein responds to Bieze’s threat to taser with an “I dare you.” He didn’t need a double dare.
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300px-Fomfr_whipLubna Hussein, a former journalist and current United Nations worker, is facing 40 lashes for the crime of wearing pants in a public place — an act of unspeakable “indecency” under Sharia law in Sudan. She says that 10 other women arrested at a restaurant in Khartoum, including some non-Muslims, were already flogged.

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thumb_wedding_happy_bridethumb_wedding_ball_and_chainFormer Pennsylvania lawyer Ralph Mirarchi appears to have as bad marital as legal problems these days. Under a plea bargain, Marachi was supposed to have his sentence reduced once his wife sold their New Jersey home to help repay his victims. Instead, Mirachi, 69, was sentenced to up to 8 1/2 years after his wife of forty years Dorothy “Dot” Mirachi decided to keep the home and allegedly used money from another real estate sale to pay off her Lexus rather than her husband’s victims.
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largemouthbasstax1The City of Clearwater, Florida has decided to throw one back. We have been following the story of bait shop owners Herb and Lori Quintero in Clearwater, Florida who challenged a fine for having a fish mural painted on the outside of their business — later covered up by a copy of the first amendment. The controversy was a combination of remarkably bad lawyering and judgment by the city. It has now concluded after two adverse rulings against the city and a $55,000 settlement paid to the Quinteros.
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taser gun bart officer-218-85300px-Dollar_General_logoWhen Antonio Love failed to heed orders to come out of a bathroom at a Dollar General store, Mobile police used pepper spray and a Taser on him — ultimately arresting him for resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and failure to obey a police officer. The problem is that Love, 37, is deaf and mentally disabled.
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180px-john-yooThe debate continues to rage this week over the push by Vice President Dick Cheney and others to have former President George Bush deploy active military units in a suburb of Buffalo to arrest a small group of men who were suspected of supporting terrorism (here). Nor surprising, Bush officials went to Berkeley law professor John Yoo to tell them that (surprise!) the President was not bound by the Fourth Amendment or federal law if he unilaterally declared the operation to be a national security matter. Yoo and his former colleague conclude that “the president has the legal and constitutional authority to use military force within the United States to respond to and combat future acts of terrorism, and that the Posse Comitatus Act does not bar deployment.” I discussed the controversy on this segment of Countdown.
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blogimage_gaysoldier2.jpg_thumbs_600x852_thumbs_200x284The British army took a remarkable and commendable step this month by featuring Trooper James Wharton, an openly gay soldier. While U.S. military officers continue to fret over gays in the military and discharge decorated heroes for their private relations, the British has shown that tough guys can be gay guys.

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125px-Tweety Amanda Bonnen thought that she was merely expressing herself when she posted a public tweet on Twitter on May 12th complaining about mold in her Chicago apartment. The Horizon Group Management company has responded by suing her for defamation in a rare tweet tort by a business. However, tortious tweets are finding their way into court as the basis for liability claims.

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CalBarSealThe State Bar of California will allow a remarkable graduate of UC Davis School of Law to sit for the bar exam after the intervention of the California Supreme Court. Sara Granda is a quadriplegic who was barred from sitting on the exam due to a technical glitch on her online application.
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stephen+thompsonStephen L. Thompson, 58, a courthouse janitor in Clark County, Indiana had a curious response to a court reporter who rebuffed his expressions of affection. Hell hath no fury like a janitor scorned.
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7-27-09taserx3Despite continuing controversies associated with the expanding use of tasers, Taser International has concluded that the problem is that officers cannot taser enough people before facing the hassle of reloading. Before an enthusiastic crowd of hundreds of law enforcement officers, the company unveiled its new triple action taser X3-20.
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47608Ah, those long summer nights at Camp Hamas. Who can forget them? A recent media report has shown pictures of kids reenacting the June 2006 abduction of Schalit in front of a beaming Osama Mazini, a senior Hamas political leader leading negotiations with Israel over his release.

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DSC00606.JPGAlexandria (Va.) Police Chief David P. Baker, 58, has been put on administrative leave after crashing his unmarked city car and then blowing 0.19 on a sobriety check — twice the legal limit. Deputy Police Chief Earl Cook has replaced him as acting chief.

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225px-palin1DVaderFormer Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin left office with a signature attack on the media in which she accused of making up stories against the military and persecuting her family. There was no mention of the various Republicans describing her as an embarrassment or former McCain staffers describing her as a living nightmare. It comes down to the media and their war on America.

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China's flagThere is a bizarre story out of China where dozens of Chinese students have seen their future wiped out by the disappearance of the manila folders containing their records. In China, these paper folders follow a student throughout his or her career with every achievement, score, and prospect for a college education. While Chinese officials say that the folders were lost in a move of an office to a floor above, reformers believe that corrupt officials sold the folders to the parents of underachieving students, who then use their records to secure valuable jobs and college entrance.

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newbadge200px-McDonald's_New_LogoDenver police officer Derrick Curtis Saunders, 29, allegedly wants his fast food faster. Saunders is “on leave” to deal with criminal charges after reportedly pulling his weapon at a McDonald’s to speed things up behind the counter.
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pray04sthumbnailPakistan flagThere is another horrific story out of Pakistan in the abuse of women and girls. In this case, Assiya Rafiq, 16, was kidnapped by a group of men who proceeded to beat and rape her for a year. When police accused them of bank robbery, the men agreed to turn over a bribe — and Assiya. The Police Chief and his officers then allegedly proceeded to rape her and accuse her of bank robbery.

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215px-His_Girl_Friday_posterMiami Herald Reporter Carol Rosenberg has been accused of sexual harassment in a complaint by Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon. In what may be the first complaint of its kind against a reporter, Gordon accuses Rosenberg of “multiple incidents of abusive and degrading comments of an explicitly sexual nature.” Gordon, 41, has added, rather implausibly, that he has “been abused worse than the detainees have been abused.” My guess is that working with Rosenberg is still a bit better than a turn on the waterboard. The question is whether she is more like Hildy Johnson, the hard-charging and tough-talking journalist — or foul-mouthed sexual harasser leaving Navy officers crushed in her path. [UPDATE: The Miami Herald has cleared Rosenberg of wrongdoing, citing lack of corroboration].
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humorous-075_smallWe have seen the horror of human manipulation of animal styles (here), but this is dog is looking at years of therapy and inter-species confusion
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240px-Albinistic_girl_papua_new_guineaBurundi authorities have secured a life sentence for an individual accused of involved in the trafficking of albino body parts for witchcraft. The victims were murdered and then mutilated to sell as parts for witchcraft ceremonies and potions.
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NEW CORRECTIONS PAGE

130px-Wite-Out_123.PNG180px-Pencil_EraserOn a trial basis, I have added a new corrections page at the top of the blog to allow readers to spot and raise any factual or grammatical problems with stories. I often add blog stories early in the morning or during brief windows of free time during the day. In the rush to get out a new story, I will sometimes miss typos that can be understandably annoying to readers. I am a terrible typist. This page is an effort to enlist our regulars in spotting any such problems to improve the site.
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200px-MatchmakerDVD2Rabbi Izhak Levy Rosenbaum of Brooklyn has been arrested for running an international human organ selling ring. Rosenbaum’s role was disclosed to the FBI by an anthropologist, Nancy Scheper-Hughes of the University of California, Berkeley, who has been studying organ markets. She described him as the “main broker” in the international trafficking of human organs — allegedly taken from “vulnerable” people in Moldova, Israel and possibly other countries and sold to wealthy recipients in the United States. Rosenbaum called himself “the matchmaker.”
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Saudi Arabia flagSaudi Arabian police have arrested Mazen Abdul Jawad for the crime of speaking about his sex life in public. Shariah law makes it a crime for him to be “publicizing his sinful behavior,” according to prosecutors. Various people filed complaints after Jawad appeared on a Lebanese show called “Red Line.”
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225px-palin1Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin continued to leave her mark on American politics just days before leaving officer early. In a speech before a wildly enthusiastic group, Palin told fans that good Americans should “never apologize for our country.” It was a curious lesson to give children at a picnic — no matter what our nation does, we should never apologize because we are Americans. Apologies are for non-Americans to make (who should presumably also apologize for not being Americans).
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225px-richard_cheney_2005_official_portrait180px-Cpt._J._Dow_Covey_and_Staff_Sgt._Justin_Evaristo_2nd_Infantry_Division,_IraqIn yet another indication of how extreme Bush officials were in their war on terrorism, the New York Times is reporting that Vice President Dick Cheney and others pushed former President George Bush to send troops into Buffalo New York to arrest a group of men accused of terrorism.
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160px-john_conyersholderericThe chairman of the House Judiciary Committee today called for U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special counsel to probe potential abuses of power under the Bush administration. House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) has called upon U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor to look into alleged Bush crimes. Holder has continued a rather transparent effort to block or curtail any investigation to prevent the prosecution of Bush officials for the torture and surveillance programs.

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nicubunu_open_mouthIt took New York Attorney Joseph DePaula four years but he has finally prevailed in his false arrest claim after he was thrown into jail for calling an officer a “prick” in court in 2005.
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125px-Flag_of_Liberia.svg200px-flag_of_the_united_statessvgThe recent gang rape of an eight-year-old girl by four boys — aged 9-14 — was shocking enough. Now, police have stated that the girl’s father — who is from Liberia — blamed the girl for being raped and told that police “Take her, I don’t want her.”
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140px-Family-bible225px-Kim-jong-il_portrait North Korea has added yet another infamy to its record: the execution of Ri Hyon Ok, 33, for distributing Bibles. As is often the case, North Korea tacked on a charge of spying for South Korea and the United States — as if the two countries would enlist a spy who divides her time between surveillance and evangelical activities.
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225px-official_portrait_of_barack_obama180px-Henry_Louis_GatesAs expected, President Barack Obama attempted to backtrack from his statements yesterday denouncing the police for the “stupidity” of their arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates. In today’s statement, Obama insisted that when he referred to their stupidity he did not mean to malign them. While “stupidity” is not a term of endearment, it can apparently be used without any negative connotations for the arresting officers — even when linked with the nation’s history of racism and profiling abuses.

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180px-Henry_Louis_Gates250px-al_sharpton_by_david_shankboneCambridge Police Sergeant James M. Crowley is considering a defamation lawsuit, according to his lawyer. The possibility of a lawsuit adds an intriguing element to this controversy over the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. The Massachusetts Police Commissioner Robert Hass has also come out to criticize the comments of President Barack Obama denouncing the actions of the police as “stupidity” and suggesting that it was a case of racial profiling.
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calbarseal In what may be the first disbarment for a lawyer’s conduct as a jury member, Francis T. Fahy has been disbarred for misconduct in a story that we previously discussed.
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StuPhoto2There is an interesting fight brewing in Silverton, Oregon. The people of Silverton received national attention with the election of Stu Rasmussen, the nation’s first openly transgender mayor. Now, however, a complaint has been filed against Rasmussen who showed up in a swim top and miniskirt to meet with local kids. A parent has charged that Rasmussen showed “too much skin” while Rasmussen insists that it was too “hot and sticky” to wear anything else.
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6kasota0722Tyler Heilman, 24, was shot and killed outside of his home in Kastoa, Minnesota by Deputy Sheriff Todd Waldron. The shooting is particularly controversial because Heilman was unarmed and wearing only a speedo swimsuit.
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220px-hillary_rodham_clinton225px-Kim-jong-il_portraitThe North Korean government would be a lasting source of late night jokes if it were not for the fact that it is trying to make a nuclear weapon and has been tied to such efforts by other nations. Now the Foreign Ministry has issued a series of bizarre schoolyard taunts against Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, saying she “looks like a primary schoolgirl and sometimes a pensioner going shopping.” That was from the spokesman for the Foreign Ministry — the diplomatic arm of North Korea.
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