Archive for November, 2012

225px-Pat_Robertson_Paparazzo_Photography260px-Europasaurus_holgeri_Scene_2Pat Robertson remains something of an enigma. Just when you dismiss him as a religious wing nut who says that God gives him tips of who will win elections; atheists want people to be miserable; and causes earthquakes to punish Haitians as Devil worshippers. Then Robertson turns around and calls for the legalization of marijuana and now called for evangelists to stop suggesting that the Earth is only 6000 years old when every scientific fact points to the contrary. I wish he would just pick one side of the sanity/insanity line and stick with it because this is getting confusing.

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CT_-_State_Police_BadgeConnecticut State Trooper Aaron Huntsman, 43, has been charged with larceny for allegedly stealing jewelry and cash from the victim of a fatal motorcycle crash on Sept. 22. There is perhaps no greater violation of public trust for an offer than the robbery of a deceased victim. If convicted, for that reason, Huntsman would likely face heavy aggravators on sentencing, pushing the sentence higher.

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10467185-largeThere is a bizarre case out of New Orleans where Alabama football fan Brian H. Downing has begun serving a two-year sentence for “teabagging” an unconscious LSU fan outside a Bourdon Street restaurant — a vile humiliating act that was videotaped and posted on YouTube. The victim is also suing Downing in tort. Notably, Orleans Parish Criminal District Judge Karen Herman commented at sentencing that he “chose wisely” in accepting the plea bargain — indicating that she would have hit him with an even higher sentence for the disgusting act.

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220px-Mohamed_Morsi_croppedAs protests continue over the power grab of President Mohammed Morsi, Islamists pushed through a draft constitution without the involvement of Christian or liberal members to give Muslim clerics oversight over legislation and add restrictions to free speech, women’s rights, and other civil liberties.

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220px-NosferatuShadowI wonder if Homeland Security has a color coding for this particular warning. A Serbian village, Zarozje, is in full panic after its mayor issued a serious public health warning of an outbreak of vampires. One particular vampire actually: Sava Savanovic, which by the way is a great name for a vampire.

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Washington, D.C. had the worst high school graduation rate in the country in 2011 — down roughly 20 percent from just two years ago. The drop appears partially the result of a new (and better) accounting system that tracks actual students rather than allowing a ridiculous calculation method that tended to inflate numbers. Nevada had the lowest graduation rate of any state (62 percent) and D.C. did worse than Native American reservations (61 percent). The best state was Iowa with 88 percent followed by Vermont and Wisconsin (both at 87 percent).

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There was a justified outcry recently when a video surfaced (below) of an Ohio man William Bailey making fun of a young girl with cerebral palsy at a bus stop. It is a brief video but enough to enrage a nation. Now, Canton Municipal Judge John A. Poulos ordered the maximum sentence for Bailey, who pleaded no contest to reduced misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and aggravated menacing. I realize how emotionally charged this case has become, but should mocking be treated as a criminal act?

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There is another lawsuit against a police department for shooting a family dog without provocation. The latest victim is Rosie, a 3-year-old Newfoundland belonging to Charles and Deirdre Wright in Washington state. Rosie got loose and ended up in the backyard of Lora Perry. Perry said that police came and shot and killed Rosie who was not being aggressive in any way in her yard. The Wrights have now filed a civil rights suit.

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Egyptian judges are in the news for their resistance to the attempt of President Mohammed Morsi’s claim of unchecked power. However, progressive values can mean radically different things in some parts of the world. An Egyptian court this week convicted in absentia Wednesday seven Egyptian Coptic Christians and a Florida-based American pastor of insulting Islam and sentenced them to death.

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We have yet another case of a pet paying for the bad relationship of humans. Richard J. Atkinson, 63, pleaded guilty to stabbing the parrot, Bailey, of his former girlfriend with a serving fork. He then trashed the house. For the crime, he has received a six month jail sentence.

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We have another chilling tale of the plight of women in some traditional Islamic areas. A woman known as Nurbanu had divorced her husband when she found him in bed with another woman. The husband than responded to the divorce by throwing acid in her face — an all-too-common crime against women in the Middle East. The woman was disfigured and blinded, but the husband received only one year of jail for the crime. Nurbanu said she was then coerced to remarry him and he now allegedly continues to beat her. Warning the picture below is graphic and disturbing.

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Indiana State Police Superintendent Paul Whitesell surprised many when he added his voice to those supporting legalization of marijuana. Whitesell appears to support legislation that would decriminalize possession of marijuana.

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We have previously discussed the potential liability stemming from pranks. This video sent to me by a former student seems the perfect avenue for an infliction of emotional distress claim or negligence claim after inducing a heart attack in the subject.

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There is a rather unexpected debate occurring in Germany where the government is moving to re-criminalize bestiality. Since 1969, bestiality has been legal in Germany, but it would now be punishable with a fine up to 25,000 euros ($31,000).

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There is an interesting argument raised in a motion for a new trial for convicted murderer, Christopher Vaughn (left). Vaughn was convicted this summer in less than an hour in the killing of his family. Vaughn however is talking about the murder trial of another defendant, Drew Peterson (right). He is arguing that the conduct of the Peterson attorneys was so public and obnoxious that it tainted his own case before the jury.

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