If police accounts are proven, Andrew Sosa of Cape Coral, Florida stands as one of the truly worst human beings in the news this week. Sosa was arrested for child neglect after he allegedly left an infant in a car for hours as he partied in a strip club.
Archive for the 'Criminal law' Category
We previously discussed the lesbian waitress in New Jersey, Dayna Morales, 22, who attracted international attention after being denied a tip by a family which allegedly wrote on the check that they did “not agree with your lifestyle.” The family later came forward with evidence suggesting that Morales had lied and that not only did she receive a tip from them but that they supported gay rights. We have been discussing the growing evidence that Morales appears to have lied — particularly after former friends can forward to say that she has a history of habitual lying. The question that we discussed was her criminal and civil liability after she and the restaurant attracted thousands of customers and donations after the national media covered her alleged mistreatment. Now, the restaurant has said that they have let Morales go and that all donations will be returned.
Many of us on this blog have been advocates for years in favor of medical marijuana legalization. Frankly, as I have expressed before, I fail to understand the logic, let alone the humanity, that would sustain opposition to such drugs for people who are suffering. This woman however made a video that is simply remarkable. It shows the improvement, particularly in speech, that she experiences after using medical marijuana for her cerebal palsy.
Submitted By: Mike Spindell, Guest Blogger
Many blogs have been written here that deal with the phony “War on Drugs” and the negative effects it has on society, particularly those lacking resources, or being people of color. This piece is not about the “War on Drugs”, but this ridiculous “war” has actually driven the abuses of our criminal justice system that is my topic today. Because the “War on Drugs” provides context for this subject I’ve included links at the bottom that supply the context behind my opinions here. Human Rights Watch produced a report this week about how most defendants in Federal drug cases are forced to plead guilty under the threat of the imposition of a mandatory sentence. I read an article in Huffington Post referencing this study and it immediately brought to mind two aspects of law enforcement and prosecution today that raise my ire.
The first is the process of plea bargaining, which I believe makes a mockery of our Criminal Justice System. The second is the concept of Mandatory Minimum Sentencing (MMS) which in my opinion leads inevitably to miscarriages of what we would like to call justice. The idea of negotiation, bargaining if you will, is that each of the two sides has the ability to provide enough of value to be able to establish a mutually beneficial contract. Clearly though when it comes to a Prosecutor bargaining with a defendant there is, except in the case of the wealthy/powerful, an unequal negotiation. The Prosecution has the authority and resources of the State backing it up. Most defendants and indeed most people in prisons, have little resources. In the public’s (thus jury’s) mind, most defendants are really guilty until proven innocent, despite the “presumption of innocence” that is supposedly a hallmark of our legal system. Adding immeasurably to the Prosecution’s resources are “Mandatory Minimum” sentences (MMS). They were instituted by legislators who wanted to appear “tough on crime” and so represent drastic solutions to punishment needs, in order to appear as “tough” as possible. With the trump card of MMS prosecutors are in a position to threaten a defendant to “cop a plea” to avoid a more draconian prison sentence. The Human Rights Watch study shows how these two procedures have become a feature of American Criminal Justice that in my opinion makes a mockery of it. Continue reading ‘Cheap Justice, Bad Law = Broken System’
Minding Your “P”s and “P”s: Richmond (Va) Restaurateur Defends “Right” To Video Customers In BathroomsPublished 1, December 6, 2013 Bizarre , Criminal law , Justice , Society 33 Comments
By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
A restaurant owner in one of Richmond’s rural suburbs is defending his use of a surveillance camera in the men’s room. Owner of Calabash Seafood Restaurant and Club Midway, Dennis Smith, isn’t letting anybody tell him how to protect his property from would-be vandals. “I’ve been doing this for 34 years. I’m not concerned with the public’s opinion of how to run my business,” said the 55-year-old owner. “I know how to run it better than anybody. I don’t need them, the county, the government or anybody else telling me how to do it.”
New York Police Respond To Unarmed Disoriented Man in Traffic By Shooting Two Innocent Women . . . Prosecutors Charge Man With The Police ShootingsPublished 1, December 6, 2013 Bizarre , Criminal law , Politics , Society 48 Comments
On September 14, Glenn Broadnax, 35, allegedly jumped in front of cars in New York’s Time Square. He was reportedly disoriented and, according to his counsel, was communicating with dead relatives in his mind. However, two police officials feared that the unarmed Broadnax was reaching for a weapon. They responded with a barrage of gunfire that cut down two bystanders. Now, prosecutors have charged Broadnax with assault for the shootings by the police officers on the theory that “recklessly engaged in conduct which created a grave risk of death.”
We previously discussed the curious case of Dayna Morales, a lesbian waitress a tip because they refused to support her “lifestyle.” An ex-Marine and server at Gallop Asian Bistro in Bridgewater, N.J., produced a receipt that said “I’m sorry but I cannot tip because I don’t agree with your lifestyle and how you live your life.” People flocked to the restaurant to leave big tips for Morales and she received national acclaim for donating the tips to the Wounded Warrior charity. She was later challenged by the couple who produced a receipt showing that they did in fact tip her, never wrote anything on the receipt and actually support gay rights. Former friends also came forward to allege that Morales is a habitual liar who was discharged from the Marine Corps for failing to go to training. She has since been suspended from her job at the restaurant. We explored the possible criminal and civil liability that Morales could face if she had in fact lied. I noted that Morales’ promise to give the windfall of sympathetic tips to Wounded Warriors was a good idea to avoid allegations of fraud. However, new local coverage reports that Wounded Warriors has no record of the donations, though she may have made the donations under a different name or in a different locality.
On the death of Nelson Mandela, the case of Williamson County State’s Attorney Charles Garnati before the the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission would seem to confirm just how much work has yet to be done. Garnati has been called to account to an argument in a murder trial that contrasted the black defendant with people “in our white world.”
While politicians continue to push for wars in places like Syria to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction, they tend to ignore the much greater amounts of radioactive material available in this and neighboring countries at hospitals and other institutions. This week we saw just how easy it is to acquire such material capable of being used as a weapon. Thieves simply hijacked a truck with medical waste that would have allowed them to create a potent radioactive dirty bomb. It was a mistake and they likely paid for the mistake with their lives.
Missouri Lawyer Accuses Police Of Threatening To Kill His Family Pets And Kick In Front Door If He Insisted On A WarrantPublished 1, December 5, 2013 Animals , Constitutional Law , Criminal law 40 Comments
If a recent story is to be believed, it appears that there are many things that you can demand to see in the “show me state” but a warrant is not one of them. A Kansas City man is accusing the police department of shocking conduct after he declined a demand that he allow police officers to search his house without a warrant. Eric Crinnian, a lawyer, said that an officer threatened that, if he insisted on his getting a warrant, he would come back in force, bust down his door, and shoot any dogs in the house. The response from a local criminal justice professor is also rather interesting.
In a case that seems right out of Arsenic and Old Lace, Carla Rae Hague, 71, has been arrested for allegedly attempting to kill Judge Charles Hague, by putting antifreeze into his food or drink. Judge Hague survived but the hospital found high levels of ethylene glycol in his system. Police arrested Carla Rae Hague for felonious assault and is sitting in a jail cell next to the courthouse where her husband is a judge. She is expected to be charged with attempted murder and possible tampering with evidence.
Michigan is the latest state to have DNA clear a man imprisoned for years for a crime that he did not commit. What is most striking about the case of Jamie Peterson (right) is that lawyers had fight to re-test evidence that could prove his innocence. Prosecutors opposed the simple re-testing of evidence in the case that was not analyzed previously (as have prosecutors in other states). Finally, prosecutors relented and it was shown that it belonged to a man that police had cleared in first-degree murder in 1998. A second man was arrested this week but police insist that Peterson is not cleared. The case also shows the great cost to the rule of law that was presented by the Supreme Court ruling that there is no right to such testing in a post-conviction case. Chief Justice Roberts decision in the 5-4 case in District Attorney’s Office v. Osborne allows prosecutors and police to resist such simple testing to prove innocence in cases like Peterson’s. Indeed, the Court has produced an all-too-common double standard for citizens. It ruled in 2013 that police could routinely take DNA samples from suspects to use against them but the same individuals have no right to access to DNA testing to prove their innocence.
You Have The Duty To Remain Silent . . . : Dallas Police Officers Barred From Making Statements For 72 Hours After Shootings To Review Videotapes and Other EvidencePublished 1, December 4, 2013 Bizarre , Criminal law , Politics , Society 31 Comments
There is an astonishing story out of Texas where the Dallas Police Chief David Brown quietly changed a rule that would require officers involved in a shooting to wait 72 hours before making a statement. There is no cognizable public interest behind such a rule, but it comes after a scandal where a surveillance video showed one of Brown’s officers shooting a mentally ill suspect for no apparent reason. The video contradicted the officer’s testimony and undermined the charge against the victim. Brown’s solution was not greater disciplining and monitoring of officers but to impose a delay to allow officers to craft their statements.
The BBC has a story this week about a police raid on a man firing a shotgun that led to his death. Unfortunately, in the United States, that is all too common a story. However, there was one fact in the story that stood out: this was the first such killing by police in the recorded history of Iceland. I am not sure how to verify this fact but even if it were only the 100th in history it would astonishing.
Police Called To Texas High School To Break Up Fight, Police Taser Teenage Boy, And Leave Him With Severe Brain InjuryPublished 1, December 2, 2013 Criminal law , Society 28 Comments
Maria Acosta has sued the Bastrop County, its police department, and its school district after a tragic accident left her son Noe Nino de Rivera with a brain injury. Acosta says that her son had broken up a fight at Cedar Creek High School when police arrived. They told him to put his hands in the air, but she says that they shot him anyway with a taser that knocked him to the ground where he struck his head causing “a severe brain hemorrhage”. Randy McMillan, a Bastrop County sheriff’s officer who works as a school resource officer, is named in the lawsuit. Police say that Noe Nino or “N.N.” acted “aggressively.”
Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Guest Blogger
The five alleged 9/11 defendants currently being held at Guantanamo Bay where they have been detained since 2006, are currently preparing their defenses for trials that are scheduled for September 2014. All five defendants have been subjected to what the United States government called enhanced interrogation techniques at CIA black sites even before they got to Gitmo. Continue reading ‘Kangaroo Commissions and Torture’
Tags: CryptoLocker, encryption, extortion, ransomware, scam
Submitted by Charlton Stanley, Guest Blogger
“I am regularly asked what the average Internet user can do to ensure his security. My first answer is usually ‘Nothing; you’re screwed’.”
– Bruce Schneier
The quote by Professor Bruce Schneier at the top of this article is the unvarnished truth by one of the leading internet and cryptography experts in the world. Which brings us to the subject of this story. The latest threat to everyone’s computer is a form of malware called “Ransomware.” This is not new, having first appeared years ago. Those first attempts were clumsy, the software codes easily broken, and the perpetrators caught. However, in the past few weeks the threat is back, more sophisticated and more dangerous than almost any malware threat to date. Although often referred to as a virus, it is not a true computer virus, because it does not self-propagate. It is a Trojan. Ransomware does not try to steal your files, passwords or photographs. Rather, it holds them hostage until you pay a ransom. There are several ransomware viruses going around, but CryptoLocker is the one getting the most media attention. How it works is this; you click on a file that may have arrived by email. Sometimes it will arrive by clicking on a web page link. Possibly a PDF of some business letter or report. Shortly after clicking an infected link, the image at the left appears. You will have no warning until it is too late. When the warning box appears, your files are already encrypted. Follow me over the flip to see the message:
We previously discussed the lesbian waitress in New Jersey, Dayna Morales, 22, who attracted international attention after being denied a tip by a family which allegedly wrote on the check that they did “not agree with your lifestyle.” The family later came forward with evidence suggesting that Morales had lied and that not only did she receive a tip from them but that they supported gay rights. Now, former friends are going public with allegations that Morales is a habitual liar. The irony is that, after the prior posting drew analogies to Stolen Valor cases, Morales is now accused of lying about her service with the U.S. Marine Corp. Morales has remained conspicuously silent despite numerous media appearances during the rise of the story.
In celebration of Thanksgiving, I give you our annual Turkey Torts of a few potential and actual lawsuits from this holiday. Personal injury and criminal defense attorneys have much to be thankful for in a holiday that often brings family members together in sometimes awkward or hostile or inebriated circumstances. The result is a horn of plenty for litigators. It also may make any tense or dysfunctional moments with family today seem a bit less significant. Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!
We have previously discussed how Barack Obama has become the president that Richard Nixon always wanted to be. From his Administration’s comprehensive attack on privacy and civil liberties, investigation of journalists, to his claim of unilateral authority to kill citizens, Obama has created an Imperial Presidency that could haunt this nation for generations. He has succeeded with the silent acquiescence of many liberals and Democrats who have embraced personality over principle in continuing to support his Administration. Now, a new report documents how the National Security Agency under Obama has been gathering records of online sexual activity and evidence of visits to pornographic websites to be used as part of a proposed plan to harm the reputations of people consider radicals. The obvious comparison to Nixon is only dwarfed by the comparison to J. Edgar Hoover, but again the silence is deafening from the Democrats. In the meantime, the so-called “reforms” of the NSA as expected would preserve the massive data-gathering programs of the agency — as guaranteed by such “reformers” as Dianne Feinstein.
For days, there has been much outrage on the blogosphere about a couple who refused to give a lesbian waitress a tip because they refused to support her “lifestyle.” Dayna Morales, an ex-Marine and server at Gallop Asian Bistro in Bridgewater, N.J., produced a receipt that said “I’m sorry but I cannot tip because I don’t agree with your lifestyle and how you live your life.” People flocked to the restaurant to leave big tips for Morales and she received national acclaim for donating the tips to the Wounded Warrior charity. Now the couple has come forward and claims that it is all a hoax. Worse yet, they say that they have proof.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit that, if true, would stand as one of the most grotesque and vicious cases of police abuse in recent memory. Marlene Tapia says that she was arrested and forced to strip naked for a contraband examination. The officers at the Metropolitan Detention Center (Bernalillo County New Mexico) claimed that she had a plastic baggie in her vagina and, according to the lawsuit, forced her to bend over and as punishment sprayed mace inside of her vagina.
We previously saw a father and his son arrested for ripping off a lottery winner at their New York convenience store. Now, we have a second case out of New York where a Long Island deli owner and his son allegedly tried to cheat a millon-dollar lottery winner out of his prize. Where the earlier convenience store family tried to rip off a drug addict, Karim Jaghab, 26, and his father Nabil Jaghab, 57, are accused of trying to tip off a 34-year-old man who did not speak English.
Thin Blue Marital Line: Florida Officer Allegedly Beats Another Officer Over An Affair With A Third OfficerPublished 1, November 25, 2013 Bizarre , Criminal law 10 Comments
There is an interesting case out of St. Cloud, Florida where a woman is charged with hitting another woman who she believed is having an affair with her husband. That is unfortunately not uncommon. However, the attacker is police officer deputy sheriff Edeania Nettles and the victim is another officer, Jennifer Hoyos, and the husband is police sergeant, Elbert John Nettles. It was the charge that I found interesting in this case.
David Noel James, Baron of Blackheath, and his wife were horrified. The conservative Tory peer and his wife (who is a youth justice officer) were driving to Twickenham for a rugby game when they drove past a bus of children mooning them. Lord James wants the government to mete out punishment and not simply turn the other cheek at the little hoodlums.
Who’s To Blame For George Zimmerman’s Most Recent Violent Assault Charge? Why It’s You His Former Lawyer SaysPublished 1, November 23, 2013 Bizarre , Courts , Criminal law , Justice , Lawyering , Media , Society 90 Comments
Tags: George Zimmerman, Mark O'Mara, Samantha Scheibe, Shellie Zimmerman, Trayon Martin
By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
“Now if I stop there it sort of sounds like I’m asking you to let my guilty client go,” O’Mara told the jury. “I’m not. He’s not guilty of anything but protecting his own life. But the quote continues, ‘but for guilt and crimes that are so frequent in this world that they cannot all be punished, but if innocence itself is brought to the bar and condemned, perhaps to die, then the citizens say whether I do good or whether I do evil is immaterial. If innocence itself is no protection, and if such an idea as that were to take hold in the mind of the citizens, then it would be the end of security whatsoever.’”
~Mark O’Mara’s closing argument to the jury in State of Florida v. George Zimmerman
Innocence? You remember George Zimmerman from the last news cycle, right? He’s the wanna-be Batman, who shot and killed Trayvon Martin on a rainy night as the teenager came back from the all-night convenience store. George was that “mellow” and “peaceful” man who just happened to pack a gun for self-defense according to his then-lawyer, Mark O’Mara. Exonerated by a hand-picked jury, one of whom now regrets the acquittal saying he “got away with murder,” Zimmerman, we were told, would just ride off into the sunset with his loving and apparently loyal to the point of perjury wife, chastened by the experience of being wrongly accused of murder. George was a victim in all of this his family said, and threats to his life were comparable to the Aurora Theatre shooting or the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. He needs protection shouted his brother, Robert Zimmerman, Jr., in an email to St. Mary’s Police Chief Steve Bracknell: ”Zimmerman is a Sandy Hook, Aurora waiting to happen. Your job is to protect the communities you serve and you are failing big time.”
For those who fear that law is a diminishing profession, fear not. There are still ample numbers of moronic individuals who seem driven to have accidents. This guy is one such person. I am less concerned about his decision to forego a helmet than I am the safety of this dog. What I see is a guy with matching shorts and motorbike and a dog that seem more like an accessory to the outfit than a companion to the biker. I see a very loving dog and an owner who seems to care less about the dog’s welfare.
“2 Drunk 2 Care”: Self-Proclaimed “Pothead Princess” Tweets Of Being Drunk And Then Kills Two Women On Florida HighwayPublished 1, November 22, 2013 Criminal law , Society 30 Comments
There is a highly disturbing story out of Florida where Kayla Mendoza, who describes herself as the “pothead princess” and seems to tweet only about being high or drunk, allegedly killed two women by driving the wrong way on a highway. Shortly before the accident, Mendoza tweeted “2 drunk 2 care.”
Across the country, including here in Washington, teenagers are playing a dangerous game called “Knock-em-out” where a person is selected at random and a teenager tries to knock him or her out with one punch (often from behind). As the video shows, victims often hit their heads on the pavement and risk serious injury. One teenager, Marvell Weaver, in Lansing Michigan however picked the wrong guy. On this twitter, Weaver is shown holding a shotgun and saying he would “blow your mouth back.”
The Palestinian Authority embraced a curious hero this week among those released as part of an agreement with Israel. Issa Abed Rabbo was the longest serving prisoner of the 104 released this week. Rabbo, 49, was heralded as a hero and given a pension and a large sum of money by the PA. However, Rabbo was convicted of taking two young hikers, binding them, putting bags over their heads, and then shooting them to death in 1984. That is not the makings of any freedom fighter that I know of.
Republican Florida Rep. Trey Radel has been charged with misdemeanor cocaine possession in Washington, D.C. A newly elected Tea Party Republican, Radel issued a contrite statement that he has struggled with alcohol and that his alcoholism led to “an extremely irresponsible choice.” UPDATE: Radel has pleaded guilty and received a one year probation sentence.
There are “three time losers” in some recidivist cases and then there is Shermain Miles. For Miles, the magic number is 396. That’s right, she has racked up roughly 400 arrests since 1978 but insists that 396 is the magic number and that she is now considering a change in her lifestyle.
Not that long ago, police departments joined together to call upon the United States Supreme Court (with the support of the Obama Administration) to allow citizens to be tracked with GPS devices placed on their vehicles without a warrant or probable cause. The litigants argued that this was a minor intrusion into the rights of citizens and that there was no expectation of privacy in such movements. The Court wisely rejected the arguments in United States v. Jones. Now police in Boston are objecting to a plan to place such devices on their patrol cars as an unwarranted intrusion.
“Superfanastic” or Superfraud? Scientology Opens Massive Florida Facility For “Super Power” Training As Former Members Sue For FraudPublished 1, November 19, 2013 Criminal law , Religion , Society 25 Comments
We previously discussed the fraud prosecutions of fortune tellers in the United States as well as crackdowns in other countries. We discussed the uncertain line drawn in such cases between such soothsaying and magical services and the practices of protected religious organizations. A recent story raise precisely this question out of Clearwater, Florida where the Church of Scientology has opened a $145 million, 377,000-square-foot complex that features a new “superpower program” for followers who wish to attain god-like abilities.
There is a disturbing case out of New Mexico where police fired into a van full of children after the mother tried to drive away from officers. As shown on the video below, an officer stopped Oriana Ferrell on a routine traffic stop only to see her drive away. What followed was a chase, smashing windows of the van, and the shocking decision of an officer to fire into a vehicle with kids in the backseat.
There is a highly troubling case involving Jeremy Hammond,27, who was sentenced to 10 years for the December 2011 hacking of Strategic Forecasting. It was the maximum possible sentence that Chief US District Court Judge Loretta Preska could give him. The case involves a recurring controversy over the government’s effort to punish hackers and whistleblowers revealing a massive surveillance state and attacks on privacy in the United States. However, this case has the added disturbing element of an allegation of a conflict of interest by Preska who refused to recuse herself from the case despite the fact that her husband was an alleged victim of the hacking.
The Evil Twin Defense: Court Rules Army Officer Can Blame His Twin For Serial Assaults on Young GirlsPublished 1, November 18, 2013 Bizarre , Constitutional Law , Courts , Criminal law 20 Comments
We have previously discussed actual evil twin defenses in past cases (here and here and here and here). However, a case out of Colorado Springs now has a detailed opinion specifically allowing the use of the defense in a major case. District Judge David Shakes ruled Friday that an Army artillery officer, 1st Lt. Aaron Lucas, could argue that his twin brother may be responsible for a series of sexual assaults.
Submitted By: Mike Spindell, Guest Blogger
In recent years many studies have come out that have made the case that a high proportion of CEO’s of major companies are sociopaths. At the end of this blog I’ll provide a number of links that discuss this, some from major conservative business magazines. We do know that from 1% to 3% of humans are sociopaths sharing all of these 10 characteristics:
#1) Sociopaths are charming. #2) Sociopaths are more spontaneous and intense than other people. #3) Sociopaths are incapable of feeling shame, guilt or remorse. #4) Sociopaths invent outrageous lies about their experiences. #5) Sociopaths seek to dominate others and “win” at all costs. #6) Sociopaths tend to be highly intelligent #7) Sociopaths are incapable of love #8) Sociopaths speak poetically. #9) Sociopaths never apologize. #10) Sociopaths are delusional and literally believe that what they say becomes truth.” http://www.naturalnews.com/036112_sociopaths_cults_influence.html
Now the problem with the definition of Sociopathy is that there can be a good deal of subjectivity in making the diagnosis, absent a clinician interviewing the subject. After all many people are charming, spontaneous, invent lies, try to dominate others and speak “poetically” and that doesn’t make them sociopaths. The subjectivity comes in trying to determine whether a given person is incapable of feeling guilt, shame, remorse and is delusional. A trained clinician may be able to do this via an intensive interview, but the nature of this disorder is such that even a trained clinician can be fooled by a sociopath. Rather than argue back and forth about the negative effects of CEO sociopaths on this society as the root of so much dysfunction, my readings this week suggest another theory that would provide a simpler explanation of why it seems that so many in this country have so little compassion and empathy for the less fortunate among us. We need not deem them sociopaths, but people who are simply removed from the misery that they inflict. The apocryphal story of Marie Antoinette’s “let them eat cake” may well characterize those who control most of this country’s wealth. It may be why some are sincere philanthropists, yet show such disdain and lack a sense of responsibility for the suffering that they cause. Let’s explore this further. Continue reading ‘Selfish or Sociopath, Does It Make a Difference?’
If news accounts are correct, Cleveland and Lisa Cox may be the personification of a consumer society . . . to the point of treating their son as an unwanted or defective product. The couple is charged with abandonment after they took their 9-year-old son back to the Butler County Children’s Services where they adopted him at 3 months old. They are seeking the termination of their parental rights and responsibilities.
Oops, Our Bad: Syrian Rebel Group Pulls Wounded Soldier From Hospital, Decapitates Him, And Prances Around With His Head . . . Only To Learn He Is A Rebel FighterPublished 1, November 15, 2013 Bizarre , Criminal law , International , Politics , Religion , Society 27 Comments
The problem with being a murderous religious extremist is when you behead your own allies in one of your blood-soaked celebrations of hate. That is the problem facing the al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). The group held one of its signature beheadings with joyous killings and prancing around with body parts only to learn that the victim was a wounded anti-government soldier. Oops.
A Montgomery, Alabama officer has resigned shortly before being fired after the release of a video shows him drag racing another motorcyclist. The other man, Lawrence Lee Spillers, recorded the encounter on his helmet camera and says that he never thought the officer would be fired in releasing the video.
There is an investigation in Fredericksburg, Virginia after the posting of a YouTube clip show police tasering, Lantz Day, 36, for what appears to be 42 consecutive seconds. On the video below, you can hear what sounds like the taser and Day screaming for them to stop. There is no reason that I can see why the tasering continued after Day was down and surrounding by officers, which leads to the concern that officers were punishing him for attempting to run. He was unarmed and under suspicion of property damage.
There is growing tension in Israel between Orthodox Jews and the country’s gay community. As gays and lesbians have fought for the recognition of same-sex unions, Orthodox Jews have become equally vocal in fighting against such recognition. Into this volatile environment walked an Orthodox mayor who showed little evidence of intellect and even less judgment. Moshe Abutbul, the Haredi mayor of Beit Shemesh, near Jerusalem, stated categorically in an interview that there are no gay people in his city and that such people should be left to health officials and the police. The comments by Abutbul, a member of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, resulted in the filing of a criminal charge for incitement. While Abutbul appears a perfect moron, I do not believe that people should face criminal charges for expressing their views — even the absurd thoughts of a hateful religious bigot.
Continue reading ‘Israeli Mayor Facing Criminal Complaint For Anti-Homosexual Comments’
We previously discussed the outrageous act of Harvey Updyke who poisoned the famous “Toomer’s Oaks” because he is an Alabama fan. He has now been ordered to pay $796,731.98 in restitution to the university. He will be allowed to pay $500 a month . . . for 132 years.
A Not-So “Good Catholic Fellow” Wins Appeal: Florida Court Orders New Sentencing After Judge Lectures On Catholic ValuesPublished 1, November 11, 2013 Bizarre , Constitutional Law , Courts , Criminal law , Lawyering , Politics , Religion , Society 26 Comments
A Florida appellate court has ordered a new sentencing for Percy Edgardo Torres, 44, of Jacksonville in light of a tongue-lashing that he received from Judge Russell Healey who used his sentencing to lecture him on his violation of Catholic principles.
Former Texas District Attorney Accused Of Prosecutorial Misconduct That Sent Innocent Man To Prison For 25 Years . . . Receives 10 Days In JailPublished 1, November 11, 2013 Bizarre , Criminal law , Lawyering 18 Comments
We previously discussed the case of former Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson who committed various prosecutorial abuses to secure the imprisonment of Michael Morton (shown here), now 58, an innocent man who spent 25 years in jail. This includes a disscussion this weekend on the blog. He has now pleaded guilty and will received just 10 days in jail as part of his settlement.
What is striking about this action is that the driver is harmlessly going through papers. However, his window is partially closed which may have irritated the officer.
From Mike Nifong’s mishandling of the Duke LaCrosse case (which led to his disbarment) to the Oklahoma Supreme Court refusing to disbar Robert Bradley Miller for withholding evidence in capital cases and issuing false subpoenas to Angela Corey’s questionable prosecution of the Trayvon Martin shooting (which seemingly had little or no consequences to Corey whatsoever), stories of prosecutorial misconduct are nothing new to this forum. As always, such malfeasance can be driven by a number of factors – political considerations, public and media pressure, laziness, incompetence, and blind professional ambition to name a few. Regardless of the reasons underlying these kind of cases, the salient point is that such bad behavior on the part of prosecutors undermines the credibility of and the faith of the public in the criminal justice system.
This brings us to the case currently in the news of former Texas prosecutor Ken Anderson.
The former Williamson County District Attorney and Judge (appointed by Rick Perry) agreed to a plea deal for criminal contempt of court for failing to turn over exculpatory evidence in the 1987 murder trial of Michael Morton, later exonerated when the conviction was overturned in 2011. Anderson will pay a $500 fine, perform 500 hours of community service work, spend 10 days in jail and lose his license to practice law. As part of the plea deal, charges of tampering with evidence – which carried a potential penalty of 10 years in prison – were dropped. Is this sufficient punishment for willfully and wrongly sending a man to prison for 24 years? Does this kind of plea further erode public faith in the accountability of those responsible for running the criminal justice system? While this case is being trumpeted as “precedent shattering”, is it really? What can we do about this kind of systemic error?
Tags: Attempted Rape, Curtescine Lloyd, Dwight Coverson, Hinds County, Mississippi, Self Defense, Sex Offender
Submitted by Charlton Stanley (aka Otteray Scribe), Guest Blogger
“If you’ve got ‘em by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.”
- Lyndon Baines Johnson, 36th President of the United States.
I should have known something was up. I came home from work one day and my wife met me at the door. “Somebody broke into Curtescine’s house and tried to rape her.” Curtescine Lloyd was one of the nurses on the oncology floor at the hospital. Curtescine lived in Edwards MS, a small bedroom community just a few miles west of where we lived.
Shocked, I asked if there was any word on whether she was hurt, and did we need to go to the hospital. My wife responded, “Not exactly.”
Submitted By: Mike Spindell, Guest Blogger
I have written some guest blogs in the past dealing with aspects of the issue of America becoming a Police State and will link to them at the end of this piece. There are so many issues that call for our concern and attention in this country today, that dealing with the entire dysfunctional state of our country becomes daunting due to the wealth of material. Finally, the stories on a given issue multiply in such a way that their effect is a realization across all political lines that enough is enough. The issue of our country’s continuing descent into a”Police State” equaling all we know of the vile systems in the USSR and the former East Germany is an issue that concerns me.. The situation is dire and the consequences have produced not only horrible injustices, but also the many unneeded maiming and deaths of innocent individuals. Our country imprisons more people per capita than any other country in the world by far. Part of the reason for that is the “War on Drugs” an abject failure that falls most heavily upon people with low incomes and people of color. One such incident caused Professor Turley to pen two blogs this week. They were about a man falsely suspected of drug possession who had all his bodily orifices and cavities checked in the local Arizona police’s vain attempt to find evidence of guilt. None was found and the procedures were not only traumatic, but invasive. Thus the “War on Drugs” is one major contributing force to turning our country into a Police State.
Another contributing Police State factor has been the Federal Government militarizing our local police forces. I’ve written about this as well and will link at those blogs at the end as well. Somewhere along the line, certainly hastened by 9/11 it appeared a necessity to some that are police should be turned from officers of the law into a paramilitary occupying army. There is a great distinction between an officer of the law and a paramilitary trooper. An officer of the law the way I see it, is empowered to enforce the criminal law in ways of lawful conduct that are deemed permissible via our Constitution and Statutes. Thus an officer of the law should be a citizen like the rest of us and in the performance of their jobs should respect the rights of the citizenry. A paramilitary trooper by definition perceives themselves operating in a hostile environment and so everyone in that environment that is not of their army is a potential “hostile”. This unerringly begets a certain level of brutality when dealing with the populace, because from a paramilitary perspective people are presumed guilty, until they are proven innocent. We have seen and I have documented in guest blogs that vast sums of money have come in from the Federal Government to help create paramilitary SWAT teams. Once created, the uses for these teams multiply far beyond their original purpose, because having a tool inevitably causes its usage. After the split I will discuss yet a third factor that adds to this police state mentality, but first I’d like to express the following. The issue of our country becoming a Police State should not be and is not a partisan issue. Just from the opinions of people who follow this blog and comment, we see general agreement that these police tactics violate our Constitution and our innate sense of propriety. We may not all agree on most aspects of government policy, but I would hope we can agree on the proper manner in which our law officers should enforce the peace. Continue reading ‘Police State America’