Category: Criminal law

Suspect Who Dragged NYPD Officer Was Previously Released Pending Trial For Attempted Murder

The recently released video of a NYPD officer being dragged by a fleeing suspect took an even more controversial turn when it was disclosed that the suspect was out on bond despite being charged with attempted murder. Takim Newson’s earlier release by a judge is baffling given the alleged crime and Newson’s prior criminal record. Continue reading “Suspect Who Dragged NYPD Officer Was Previously Released Pending Trial For Attempted Murder”

Columbus Shooting Sparks Protests Despite Videotape Showing Knife Attack

The shooting of Ma’Khia Bryant, 16, in Columbus, Ohio has sparked protests despite the police releasing a videotape that appeared to show Bryant moving to stab another girl.  The incident has strikingly similar legal issues to the shooting of Adam Toledo in Chicago.  The parents of Bryant insist that she dropped the knife just before being shot, the same situation raised in the Toledo shooting.  The videotape does appear to satisfy the standard for the use of lethal force under Tennessee v. Garner and other case law. Continue reading “Columbus Shooting Sparks Protests Despite Videotape Showing Knife Attack”

The Chauvin Appeal: How The Comments Of The Court and The Prosecutors Could Raise Challenges Going Forward

Below is my column in The Hill on two issues that arose on the final day of the trial of Derek Chauvin that could now feature prominently in any appeal. There will likely be an array of conventional appellate issues from the elements of the murder counts to the sufficiency of the evidence. Obviously, any appeal will wait until after sentencing, which will take many weeks. However, two issues were highlighted on the final day which could play a role in the appeal even if the odds are against Chauvin. The first on the denial of a venue change and the sequestering of the jury is very difficult make work on appeal. However, there are strong arguments to be made in this case.  I believe Judge Cahill should have granted the venue change and also sequestered this jury. It is not clear if the court polled the jury on trial coverage, particularly after the inflammatory remarks of Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Cal.). However, there are credible grounds for challenging how this jury may have been influenced by the saturation of coverage of the trial as well as rioting in the area.

Here is the column:

Continue reading “The Chauvin Appeal: How The Comments Of The Court and The Prosecutors Could Raise Challenges Going Forward”

Pelosi Refuses To Criticize Waters Despite Court Denouncing Her Remarks For Undermining The Chauvin Trial

The fallout over the comments of Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Cal.)  continued as Democrats were asked to condemn her call for protesters to stay in the streets and get more confrontational. I recently wrote a column on how Waters had become the best possible witness for Donald Trump in her own lawsuit against him. Waters was denounced by Judge Peter Cahill for undermining not just any conviction in the trial of Derek Chauvin but the court itself in seeking to carry out its constitutional function. It would seem a simple matter for responsible people to condemn Waters’ inflammatory remarks but Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Cal.) defended her and refused to criticize the comments.  Earlier this year, Pelosi condemned Trump for criminal incitement and pushed through his impeachment for using similar words on Jan. 6th.  Waters was also defended on CNN where media figures supported her call for protesters to stay in the streets and get “more confrontational.” Continue reading “Pelosi Refuses To Criticize Waters Despite Court Denouncing Her Remarks For Undermining The Chauvin Trial”

“Believe Your Eyes, Chauvin’s Knee Killed Floyd”: How The Line Between The Press and The Prosecution Disappeared In The Chauvin Trial

I previously wrote a column warning that media coverage of the George Floyd trial of Derek Chauvin was dangerously incomplete and slanted. The concern was that the public was not being informed of strong defense arguments that would be used at the trial. The danger is that any acquittal or hung jury would then come as an even greater surprise — contributing to more rioting and violence. The coverage of the final day of the trial only magnified those concerns as legal experts and journalists seemed more set on advocating than reporting on the underlying issues. Continue reading ““Believe Your Eyes, Chauvin’s Knee Killed Floyd”: How The Line Between The Press and The Prosecution Disappeared In The Chauvin Trial”

Protesters Deface The Former Home Of Defense Witness In Chauvin Trial

We recently discussed the reckless rhetoric of Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Cal., in Minnesota, including declaring that she and protesters would not accept an acquittal in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin.  The comments came after days of rioting, looting, and other violence. The concern is that such rhetoric would inflame those already inclined toward violence, particularly given the gunfire directed at National Guardsman after her comments. Now it appears that protesters targeted one of the witnesses for the defense — an act that is clearly intimidating and retaliatory. It turns out the home defaced was the former home of Barry Brodd, the retired police officer. Continue reading “Protesters Deface The Former Home Of Defense Witness In Chauvin Trial”

Trump’s Surprise Witness: Rep. Waters Becomes A Possible Witness Against Her Own Lawsuit

With rioting continuing in Brooklyn Center, Minn. and around the country, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-CA, went to Minnesota and told the protesters that they “gotta stay on the street” and “get more confrontational.”  The statement is ironic since Waters is one of the House members currently suing former President Donald Trump and others for inciting violence on January 6th with his words on the Mall.  Waters insists that Trump telling his supporters to go to the Capitol to make their voice heard and “fight” for their votes was actual criminal incitement. Conversely, Waters was speaking after multiple nights of rioting and looting and telling protesters to stay on the streets and get even more confrontational. There was violence after the remarks, including a shooting incident where two National Guard members were injured. Waters has now guaranteed that she could be called as a witness by Trump in his own defense against her own lawsuit. Continue reading “Trump’s Surprise Witness: Rep. Waters Becomes A Possible Witness Against Her Own Lawsuit”

Chicago Prosecutor Suspended For Stating Adam Toledo Was Armed Before The Shooting

Chicago prosecutor, James Murphy, has been placed on leave Saturday after he noted in court hearing this month that Adam Toledo, 13, had a gun in his possession. The statement was made at the bond hearing for Ruben Roman, 21, who was with Toledo on the night that he died.  The action was taken despite the position of the Chicago police that Toledo was armed until a fraction of a second before the shooting — a view also echoed by local media after reviewing the videotape. However, various politicians like Andrew Yang have insisted that this was the shooting of “an unarmed child” by police. The error may prove be the use of the word “has” in a court statement. The question is whether this type of action was warranted for a prosecutor who was trying to keep a dangerous individual in jail.

Continue reading “Chicago Prosecutor Suspended For Stating Adam Toledo Was Armed Before The Shooting”

What Is The Difference Between The Wright And Babbitt Shootings?

Photo: Brooklyn Center Police Department

Below is my column in USA Today on charging decisions in the Wright and Babbitt shootings. The sharp contrast in the two decisions raises serious questions over the legal and political issues that rage around such cases.

Here is the column:

Continue reading “What Is The Difference Between The Wright And Babbitt Shootings?”

Politicians Again Choose Politics Over Process In The Wright Shooting

Photo: Brooklyn Center Police Department

Below is my column in The Hill on the Wright shooting and the continuing prejudicial statements made by political figures. The shooting appears to be an accidental case of “weapon confusion,” which we have previously discussed on this blog.  Yet, politicians are declaring the shooting to be an intentional racist act as rioting continues to rage in various cities.

Here is the column:
Continue reading “Politicians Again Choose Politics Over Process In The Wright Shooting”

“Intentionally Racist”: Rep. Tlaib Declares Wright Shooting “Wasn’t An Accident”

Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib wasted no time in declaring that the shooting of Daunte Wright was a racist shooting and no accident. The long advocate for defunding police has declared that she is done with “government funded murder.” I have a column this morning in The Hill discussing how such comments can prejudice not only the case against any officer in the Wright case but the ongoing trial of former officer Derek Chauvin. While a long advocate to defund the police, Rep. Tlaib seems to go even further to call for an end of all policing in her most recent comments.

Continue reading ““Intentionally Racist”: Rep. Tlaib Declares Wright Shooting “Wasn’t An Accident””

The Hunter Biden Reclamation Project: Jimmy Kimmel Is The Latest To Embrace Hunter’s Scandal Spin

President Biden Announces New “Red Flag” Rule Fit For Hunter Biden

NYT: Gaetz Sought Preemptive Pardon From Trump

The New York Times is reporting that Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz asked President Donald Trump for a preemptive pardon at the end of his term. Gaetz is reportedly facing sex trafficking charges and the report would indicate that he was sufficiently concerned back at the end of 2020 to seek the extraordinary protection. Gaetz has not responded to the report. Continue reading “NYT: Gaetz Sought Preemptive Pardon From Trump”

Res ipsa loquitur – The thing itself speaks