Category: Criminal law

Bronx Postal Worker Charged With Murder After Chasing Down Burglar And Killing Him With Pipe

One of the areas that I teach in torts is the use and limits of the privilege of self-defense and defense of property. We recently discussed in Illinois case involving the use of a spring gun in a case of defending property. Now in New York, postal worker Troy George has been charged with murder, manslaughter and weapons possession after he chased down an alleged burglar and killed him with a pipe.

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Family Of Whitey Bulger Files Wrongful Death Action

The family of Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger have filed a wrongful death action against the federal Bureau of Prisons, alleging that he was “deliberately placed in harm’s way.” As I have written previously, Bulger’s murder would seem the result of either gross negligence or an intentional act by prison officials in allowing the attack on Bulger, 89. Perhaps a lawsuit will produce the full accounting that has yet to emerge from the prison.

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Trump: I Cannot Be Criminally Investigated While In Office

In another extreme and dubious argument in court, President Donald Trump has gone to court against to block Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance from gaining access to his tax returns. The President’s resistance to disclosing his taxes is now legendary, including differing excuses. However, this 20-page filing contains a particularly disconcerting argument that Trump cannot be criminally investigated while he is in office. It is an argument that has little support in either the text of the Constitution or cases dealing with Article II.

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Giuliani Denies Then Admits To Asking Ukraine To Investigate Joe Biden

This morning on NPR, I discussed the latest controversy triggered by President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. We have previously discussed the often conflicting statements made by Rudy Giuliani in this representation of President Donald Trump and the failure to follow a type of legal Hippocratic oath to first do no harm to one’s client. Last night Giuliani triggered another firestorm of criticism on CNN after he first denied speaking to Ukraine about investigating Joe Biden and then immediately contradicted himself and said that he did.

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Three Teens Killed In Possible Stand Your Ground Case in Georgia

There is another case involving a possible “Stand Your Ground” defense in the headlines this week. The latest case comes out of Georgia where three teens were shot and killed by a home owner. Stand Your Ground laws have been part of the national consciousness since George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin, even though Zimmerman did not ultimately rely on the Florida SYG law. The initial account seems to be a classic case for the common law rule that you are not required to retreat in exercising the privilege of self-defense.

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Florida Man Who Dragged A Shark To Its Death Given 10 Days In Jail

Robert Lee "Bo" Benac III was sentenced to 10 days in jail last Thursday for dragging a shark in the back of his boat and recording the encounter in July of 2017.

We have previously discussed cruel abuse of wild animals by people who then post their twisted achievements on the Internet. One such idiot is Robert Lee “Bo” Benac III who recorded the dragging of a shark to its death behind a high-speed boat. Benac was given a generous a plea deal and sentenced to only 10 days in jail. He is the third person to face charges for the disgusting videotape shoot near Egmont Key, Florida. Benac pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges of aggravated cruelty to animals and violation of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission rules. This is what you get for an open and brutal case of torturing a wild animal to its death.

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Illinois Man Convicted Of First Degree Murder In Use Of Spring Gun in Shed

There is a new spring gun or man trap case in torts. I teach such cases as part of intentional torts starting with the famous case of Bird v. Holbrook in 1825. William Wasmund, 48, was convicted of rigging a shotgun (a favorite choice of spring gunners) and killed a neighbor. He was convicted of first-degree murder and aggravated battery in the death of Jeff Spicer, according to The Southern Illinoisian.

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Police Seek To Identify Attackers Of Man Outside Of The Minnesota Twins Stadium

Minnesota police are looking for a group of men who brutally attacked a man who was sitting outside of the Minnesota Twins stadium. The two minute videotape below shows the man savagely attacked by at least six young males who strip him, stomp on him, and rob him. It is the utter glee of the attackers that is so chilling in the film as they laugh at his suffering.

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Depravity: Breaking Oaths of Office and Child Molestation

Scales of Justice

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

According to Court records via the local news, a former middle-school para-educator pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of Communicating with a Minor for Immoral Purposes after she allegedly facilitated the statutory rape of a thirteen year old girl by her husband.

The former Kennewick, WA educator acted as an intermediary in the exchange of “love letters”, providing a cellphone,  and arranging for sexual relations between the child victim and her husband, a former Umatilla County Oregon Corrections officer.

I have often lamented in the past that virtue has its limits but depravity knows no bounds. And with these two having positions of both authority and responsibility to the public, especially children, there simply is no redemption they may qualify.

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Less Than Earnest? Heroic Account Celebrated By Trump From El Paso Shooting Declared False

CNN screenshot

Earnest Christopher Grant, 50, was celebrated by President Donald Trump at the White House for what Trump described as a heroic attempt to stop the shooter in the El Paso Walmart shooting. He was not present however because the Secret Service stopped him due to an outstanding warrant. Yet, Trump went ahead with his story and gave a commendation to his mother. It turns out, according to law enforcement officials, to be a false account. I have previously written about the steady flow of self-inflicted wounds and embarrassing missteps in this White House. This is one. Why would the President hold a national recognition ceremony featuring a heroic tale that was based solely on one person’s own account, particularly after he was just prevented from entering by the Secret Service?

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Saudi Princess Found Guilty Of Attack On French Worker . . . In Absentia

We previously discussed how Princess Hassa bint Salman Al Saud, the sister of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is the latest Saudi royal accused of brutal violence against individuals outside of their country. The Princess was found guilty of the beating of  a local craftsman who was renovating her luxury Paris apartment three years ago. However, once again, she will escape any real punishment just as her brother has escaped any repercussions for the savage murder of a journalist in Turkey.

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Florida “Healer” Sentenced To Three Years Of Jail For Fraud

Sherry Tina Uwanawich, 29, has been sentenced to more than three years in jail in a novel case in Florida. Uwanawich was convicted of swindling a woman out of $1.6 million to lift a curse. A Gypsy healer, Uwanawich claimed to have a direct line to God. The case rekindles questions over the line between legitimate faith (and gifts to religious organizations) and faith-based fraud. Most of the major religions claim miracles as well as communications with God. Most receive large donations, including from people hoping to be healed or helped. The question is when such claims amount to fraud or just faith. We have previously discussed this issue over the liability of fortune telling and super-natural services (here and here).

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Terror Nation: How Millions Are Being Declared Terrorists For Their Political Views

Below is my column in The Hill on a growing tendency to label opposing views as terrorism in our age of rage. Democratic activists have labeled ICE as a “terrorist organization” while Republicans use that term for Antifa. It is also a way to dismiss opposing views as extremism with no need to listen, let alone respond. With the escalation of such rhetoric, millions of Americans are being portrayed as terrorists – a trend that robs the term of any real meaning. Yet, numerous officials, including the Board of Supervisors, in San Francisco supported the ridiculous resolution declaring the NRA to be a “domestic terrorist organization” and, by extension, its five million members domestic terrorists. It is not enough to disagree over the meaning of an individual right, the other side must now be little better than ISIS for disagreeing with you.

Here is the column:

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