Saturday, September 29, 2007
Chester Arthur Stiles Sought in Connection With Kidnapping and Child Mollestation of 3 Year Old Girl (Madison) Update 10-16-07 Arrested!
A missing 7 year old girl has been recovered after a bold move by authorities. After a homemade videotape showed a young girl being sexually assaulted, police decided to release information about the child in hopes that someone would report her whereabouts. The media was given the girls first name (Madison) and a photograph. Someone who saw the media coverage called the girl's mother who then notified police. On Friday, the girl was recovered in Las Vegas. Chester Arthur Stiles, a fugitive who apparently knew the girl's family, has been named a suspect. According to Nye County sheriff's Detective David Boruchowitz, the girl appears to be in good health.
The girl was apparently only 3 years old when the tape was made. Chester Arthur Stiles remains at large according to Nye County Sheriff Tony DeMeo.
The videotape was apparently made at a Las Vegas residence that did not belong to the girl's family. However, the girl's mother recognized furniture in still images of the tape. She also identified Stiles in a photo released by police. "The mother was not aware of anything that went on with this young girl," DeMeo said. (The black and white photo is of the man on the video.) Stiles has not been positively identified as the man in the video yet, but he is a suspect.
Stiles, 37, is apparently wanted on an unrelated Nevada state warrant on a charge of lewdness with a minor younger than 14 and a federal charge of being a fugitive.
The video also included an 11-year-old girl who has now been identified. She is now 13.
Darren Tuck, 26, apparently provided the video tape to Nye County sheriff's investigators Sept. 8. It is unclear how long he had the tape in his possession as he apparently claims that he found it in the desert. Tuck may face charges for a probation violation. Tuck was arrested on suspicion of promoting child pornography and possession of child pornography and released without bail pending an appearance Nov. 26 in Pahrump Justice Court. He faces a possible sentence of up to life in prison. Tuck lawyer Harry Kuehn has declined to say when Tuck actually found the tape. No formal charges against Tuck have been filed at this time concerning the tape.
Thomas Gibson, another lawyer for Tuck, has characterized his client as an innocent middleman who should be credited for giving the tape to authorities. Perhaps prosecutors will agree if Chester Arthur Stiles is apprehended. Stiles is 6'3" and weighs approximately 190 lbs. If you have any leads on Stiles, please contact crime stoppers or Las Vegas P.D. (775-751-7000) Remember, all suspects are innocent until proven guilty.
Update 10-2-07: The girl friend of Stiles was interviewed on CNN. She said Stiles was a hunter and survivalist. The little girl and her mother actually lived in the same household as Stiles and his girlfriend for a period of time. Stiles is considered armed and dangerous.
Update: 10-04-07:Stiles allegedly has the following arrest record courtesy of the the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department:
04/2003 - Conspiracy to Commit Grand Larceny Auto
05/2001 - Leaving the Scene of an Accident
04/2001 - Grand Larceny and Auto Burglary
02/2001 - Contempt of Court
02/2001 - Probation Violation - C.C.W.,Battery-Domestic Violence, False Information to a Police Officer, Resisting a Public Officer, Battery by a Prisoner
06/1999 - Aiming a firearm
06/1999 - Possession of an Unregistered Firearm, Resisting a Police Officer, Obstructing a Police Officer, Assault with a Deadly Weapon and Battery Domestic Violence.
Update 10-16: Stiles was caught in Nevada on a traffic stop. He surrendered without a fight!
Update 3-4-09: Chester Arthur Stiles displayed little emotion as guilty verdicts were entered against him for 22 felonies, including sexual assault. Stiles faces multiple life prison terms. Stiles will be sentenced on May 8.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Mayfield argued that secret searches of his house and office under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act violated the Fourth Amendment's guarantee against unreasonable search and seizure. Judge Aiken agreed, stating: "For over 200 years, this Nation has adhered to the rule of law _ with unparalleled success. A shift to a Nation based on extra-constitutional authority is prohibited, as well as ill-advised... asking this court to, in essence, amend the Bill of Rights, by giving it an interpretation that would deprive it of any real meaning. This court declines to do so."
Elden Rosenthal, represented Mayfield. Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr indicated that the agency was reviewing the decision. The ruling will likely have little affect on law enforcement as the decision will likely be appealed. "But it's an important first step," according to Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU. "This is as clear a violation of the Fourth Amendment as you'll ever find," Jaffer exclaimed after the victory.
The Bush administration has had poor success in defending the Patriot Act in recent times.
In New York this month, the ACLU scored a victory in a challenge to the Patriot Act on behalf of an Internet service provider that was issued a "national security letter" demanding customer phone and computer records. The judge held that the FBI must justify to the court the need for secrecy for more than a brief and reasonable period of time.
The Mayfield case has been embarrassing for the administration. Congress passed the Patriot Act shortly after 911 to help counter terrorist activities. It allowed federal officers the authority to search telephone and e-mail communications. It also expanded the Treasury Department's regulation of financial transactions involving foreign nationals. The law was subsequently renewed in 2005. Many Democrats want to restrict the Act's language because the act gives the government too broad of powers.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Polygamist Warren Jeffs Convicted As Accomplice to Rape By Forcing 14 Year-Old to Marry 19 Year-Old Cousin
Warren Jeffs has been the head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christs of Latter Day Saints since 2002. The evidence in his trial looks like an episode of Big Love on HBO. Jeff's defense attorney's argued that the prosecution of a polygamous sect leader was religious persecution. Nevertheless, the jury convicted him as an accomplice to rape for forcing a 14-year-old to marry her 19-year-old cousin in 2001. Warren Jeffs can now be sentenced from five years to life for each of the two felony charges of accomplice to rape. The victim told reporters,"this trial has not been about religion or a vendetta. It was simply about child abuse and preventing abuse." The woman is now 21. A former member of the community is interviewed in a CNN Headline News report linked here.
Followers of The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints consider Jeffs as a prophet. He allegedly performed the ceremony and forced the girl into marriage despite her objections. Jurors also agreed that Jeffs rejected the girl's pleas to be released from the marriage when she complained about relations with her husband.
The jury deliberated for 16 hours over three days. On Tuesday a juror was replaced with an alternate for undisclosed reasons. The victim is now 21 years old. Her former husband, Allen Steed is 26 years old. He testified that his bride was the one to first initiate sex. The alleged victim disagreed, claiming that they were married at least a month before they had intercourse and then it was because her husband told her, it was "time for you to be a wife and do your duty." Afterward, she claimed that she went into the bathroom and took two bottles of over-the-counter pain reliever. "The only thing I wanted to do was die," she said.
Under Utah law, a 14-year-old can consent to sex in some circumstances. But sex is not considered consensual if a person under 18 is enticed by someone at least three years older. Steed was not charged with a crime.
The couple was granted an FLDS divorce (a release) in 2004 when the victim became pregnant with another man's child. (She has since left the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints faith. ) Members of the FLDS practice polygamy in marriages arranged by the church prophet. Polygamy was not on trial here! Polygamy was abandoned by mainstream Mormons as condition of statehood in 1890. The Mormon church excommunicates known polygamists. The Mormon church disavows any connection with the estimated 30,000 self-described Mormon fundamentalist who continue to practice polygamy.
In Arizona, Jeffs is charged with eight felonies for being an accomplice to incest and sexual misconduct with minors in connection with marriages involving two underage girls. Jeffs is also under federal indictment in Utah for fleeing to avoid prosecution.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Regular poster Ron and his California entourage have requested a Legal Pub story on an old law suit out of Panama City. As I dusted off the moth balls, I wondered why they have so much interest in this "stale" litigation?
Panama City breeds a lot of interest, especially during the warm spring weather. But Jodee Berry, who was age 26 at the time, figured out a way to turn up the heat on a Hooters restaurant without changing the recipe of their hot wings. Jodee claimed that back in 2001, she was promised a new Toyota for winning a beer sales contest. But when her boss led her to the parking lot blindfolded, her prize was revealed to be a new toy Yoda ( little green Jedi master from Star Wars). Berry was hot! (No, upset. She claimed the promotion was a fraud. Berry's sad photo is courtesy of the A.P.)
Manager Jared Blair allegedly told the waitresses that this was a regional promotion contest and that the winner would be drawn from the names of the top 10 waitresses. (Jodee was nice looking, but was she really top ten? Ron and his entourage say yes, but Shell, Secret L.A. Reader and Ms. Calabaza blow her away!) In early May of 2001, Jared Blair allegedly informed Berry that she had won. Berry was blindfolded (no need for a bag to be placed over her head) and led to the parking lot where she was presented with the toy Yoda doll ($40.00 retail value.)
"A corporation can't lead their employees on like that...It's not good business ethics. They can't do that to people," Berry explained way back when. Berry quit a week later and we know little of her subsequent career path. However, Jodee apparently sued Gulf Coast Wings, owners of the restaurant, alleging breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation seeking specific performance of a new Toyota car or the equivalent in money. Jodee was represented by Stephen West of Pensacola.
Jodee Berry dispelled rumors that she really had blond roots by explaining how she was tricked. Specifically, she apparently claimed that Blair misled the employees through the course of the contest by telling them that he didn't know what kind of Toyota it would be ... a car, truck or van. Blair also allegedly told her that the winner would be responsible for the taxes on the prize.
This 2001 incident, like most incidents which spawn lawsuits had two sides. Jared Blair apparently maintained that the whole thing was a big April Fools joke. Apparently, Berry and her attorney were not laughing as they settled the matter out of court in 2002. While the terms of the settlement were not publicized, it was believed to have allowed Berry to pick out the Toyota of her choice. David Noll apparently was one of the attorneys involved in negotiating the settlement. Apparently the settlement did not require complete confidentiality most likely because it generated so much attention in 2002 and still continues to generate interest as evidenced by Ron and his entourage's recent inquiry.
Update 11-25-11: Here is an interesting ethical question about the sale of "a Lincoln."
Connie: "How would you like a shiny new 2011 Lincoln for a quarter?"
Mark: "OK, here's my quarter."
Connie: [Gives Mark a shiny new 2011 Lincoln penny] "Ha ha, never said it was a car." LINK.
Operation Raw Deal Allows DEA To Bust Manufacturers and Distributors of Steroids and Growth Hormone According to Garrison Courtney. Marion Jones 3/08
"We were a little bit stunned at the amount of labs we found as a result of this investigation," said DEA spokesman Garrison Courtney.The probe was focused on distributors, not users. No professional athletes were directly involved in the investigation.
Nine other countries, including China, participated in the raid. One Chinese manufacturer is accused of smuggling human growth hormone into the U.S. (Of course given China's track record, one would not be surprised if the growth hormone is fake!)
Operation Raw Deal, also targeted internet discussion boards frequented by bodybuilders. "Even though their storefront is the Internet, rather than the street corner, the people who engage in the smuggling and distribution of these substances are drug dealers, plain and simple, and we will treat them accordingly," said Robert Clark Corrente, U.S. attorney for Rhode Island. The labs' customers may include athletes, bodybuilders and ordinary adults who simply want to look better, officials said. (Vanity alone may be a reason to target those folks.)
In New York, five people accused of operating illicit steroid labs known as and "Bodiez by Design" and "Strong Island Underground" were indicted on charges of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. In Connecticut, four men were charged with purchasing raw steroid powder from China and distributing them to customers through a MySpace.com profile and a Web site. Genescience Pharmaceutical Co. and its CEO, Lei Jin, are accused of money laundering and conspiracy to facilitate the sale of smuggled goods. Jin allegedly marketed the drugs under the brand name Jintropin primarily as an anti aging supplement.
We should all feel safer on the streets now that the body builders and the anti aging groups are no longer able to purchase growth hormone from China over the internet. Perhaps now agents can turn to less significant problems such as Methamphetamines, cocaine, crack, and heroin.
Update 10-6-07 Are athletes and other steroid users starting to feel the heat?
After years of angry denials, Marion Jones is apparently ready to admit she used steroids.
Jones is a three-time Olympic gold medalist who will appear in U.S. District Court in White Plains, N.Y., on Friday to plead guilty to charges in connection with steroid use, a federal law enforcement source told the A.P. "The clear" is a performance-enhancing drug linked to BALCO, the lab accused of supplying steroids in professional sports. Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants, New York Yankees Jason Giambi and Detroit Tigers outfielder Gary Sheffield all have been linked to BALCO. More than two dozen athletes testified before a federal grand jury in 2003. Bonds denied ever knowingly taking performance-enhancing drugs, saying he believed a clear substance was flaxseed oil and a cream was an arthritis balm.
Update 11-27-07: Bonds was indicted for lieing under oath concerning steroid use. The claim may be defensible if he was taking growth hormone or some other nonsterioid because of the way the question was asked. For Raw Deal statistics and update, see comments legal pub 11-27!
Monday, September 24, 2007
DREAM ( Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act May Allow Illegal Immigrants to Exchange Iraq Duty For Citizenship
This story idea comes courtesy of Officer L. S. a regular contributor. The idea is some what similar to the Braddy Solution to the Iraq war (See 7-26-07 Braddy Solution to Iraq War on Legal Pub where we suggested sending hardened criminals to fight in Iraq.)
The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act would allow citizenship for illegal immigrants who volunteer for military service in Iraq. "If they'll serve in the military for two years, or they'll complete two years of college, we can put them on a path to legal status," said Sen. Richard Durbin D-Ill.
The DREAM Act has bipartisan support. On the Republican side, even Sens. John McCain and Chuck Hagel agree. Even Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama support the Bill. The bill is being debated as part of the Defense Reauthorization Bill. Perhaps as many as 360,000 illegal immigrants with high school diplomas and clean criminal records would be eligible for DREAM. This could be a boost to military recruitment, but some argue it takes advantage of the people with few options in life. "I characterize it as a defector draft," said Jose Lara, an advocate for immigrants.
The move is not all that radical for some. Currently over 40,000 "green card soldiers" are serving in Iraq. They are permanent legal resident of the U.S. who have yet to obtain citizenship. So readers, what do you think? As I recall the Roman Empire used mercenaries (hired foreign soldiers) to protect the empire shortly before the crumbling of the empire.
Teacher Erin McLean Who Allegedly Had Sex With Teen Sean Powell Has Apparently Fled With Her Two Sons Update 10-28-08
The Erin McLean story just gets worse each day. Erin was a teacher accused of having an affair with a high school student (Sean Powell). Her husband, Eric McLean, apparently found out and is accused of killing the young student. Erin McLean has checked out of a mental hospital and has disappeared with her two sons. Erin and her two sons, ages 11 and 8, have been missing since Sept. 15. (Photo courtesy of A.P.)
Attorney Gary Blackburn said his client, Erin McLean is emotionally distraught but not dangerous. "Erin's undergoing enormous pressure... She's unable to get or keep jobs. Anything she does is interpreted in a certain way. I fear for her. Anyone in that state, you don't know what might happen," said Blackburn.
Eric McLean is represented by Bruce Poston. Eric McLean has been charged with second-degree murder after he apparently shot Sean Powell on March 10 as he sat in his car in front of the McLeans' home. Powell had been an English student of Erin McLean. Eric McLean filed for divorce and contends that the shooting was an accident. He is free on bail. Trial is set for Jan. 14. Speculation is that Erin McLean may be heading to California to meet someone she met on the Internet. (Hope it is no one from Legal Pub!)
Poston said, "These boys are in danger. For now, this is the first time both families agree she is too unstable to have these boys."
Erin apparently was recently fired from a Nashville school amid new allegations of improper conduct with a student. Her attorney speculates that she is frustrated trying to find a new job and that "...there's two ways to deal with it - fight and flight. She chose the latter."
Update 11-29-07 Apparently, Nashville attorney, Gary Blackburn has shared with the A.P. that Erin McLean is in another state with friends and has enrolled her eight- and 11-year-old sons in school.
Update: 7-4-08: Keep in mind, no matter what actually happened that day, Sean Powell did not deserve to die!
Update 9-11-08: The jury found Eric McLean guilty of the lesser charge of reckless homicide! They deliberated 11-and-a-half hours. Eric McLean, 33, was charged with first degree murder. Fortunately for him, Eric was found not guilty of first or second degree murder or voluntary manslaughter. While he faces between two to four years in prison, he's eligible for probation and no prison time since he doesn't have a prior record. He'll be free on bond until his sentencing.
Update 10-28-08: "The boys are headed back to Tennessee," according to defense attorney Bruce Poston confirmed Wednesday. Erin had been accused of fleeing with the boys after she was accused of faking her way into a teaching job at a private Christian school last year. 4th Circuit Court Judge Bill Swann has approved visitation between the boys and their father. Allegedly divorce attorney Steve Sharp helped find Erin McLean in Austin. She apparently has a new 18-year-old friend. At a recent hearing Erin McLean apparently denied most of the allegations that have been made against her. She said she was on the run to avoid the media. at Erin McLean apparently fled with the boys when she wound up in trouble in Nashville and not because of Eric's legal problems. Erin McLean apparently insisted that the teenager who had been staying with her and the boys was just a "temporary helpmate." The boys have been ordered into the temporary custody of Eric McLean's mother, Tanya McLean. custody arrangement. Eric McLean faces sentencing next month before Judge Mary Beth Leibowitz.
Update 4-23-09: Back in the later part of 2008, A Knox County judge sentenced Eric McLean to 4 years in jail which was reduced to 47 days of additional jail time. The reduction in actual time served occurred because of sentencing guidelines concerning his conviction of reckless homicide involving Sean Powell's death. The guideline less the 43 days already served reduced the jail time to 47 more days. Eric began serving his time immediately and should now be out of jail serving the rest of his time "on probation." Judge Mary Beth Leibowitz actually did extend McLean's probation to 12 years at the request of prosecutors. If McLean violates any of the terms of probation, he may be required to serve the full four years in jail. Good luck to Eric and a sincere wish for closure for loved one's of Sean Powell who continue to mourn his death.
Update 4-24-09: And for those of you interested in the ongoing custody and visitation saga, Erin McLean's was sentenced her to 95 days in jail as part of her conviction on 17 contempt charges involving visitation and no contact orders. (For those keeping score, that's about five days more than Eric served for reckless homicide.) By most accounts, Judge Bill Swann was not impressed with Erin's failure to obey orders. Eric McLean was represented by Steve Sharp. Erin was represented by Brandy Slaybaugh. More judges ought to enforce visitation like Judge Swann and perhaps there would be a lot more joint parenting as a result.
Erin pleaded the fifth in court. She apparently contacted the children two times when the court issued a no contact order. There are possibly other violations by Erin of family law orders and therefor one or more additional contempt motions could be heard by the judge in the future.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Update 11-12 Courtesy of Tom: You didn't report this part of the story mentioned in the AP article: "The action also claims Permut violated an agreement he had with Joan Dangerfield giving her joint control of the material." The suit is about control. Maybe Permut was including portions of the footage when Rodney was ill that his wife thought wasn't appropriate. Sounds to me like she is trying to protect his legacy. She must have a good point because she was able to get an injunction to halt the project which isn't easy to do. Tom
Friday, September 21, 2007
Police Tasers Are A Jolting Experience Just Ask: Malaika Brooks, Leslie Donaldson, Emily Delafield's relatives or the Handcuffed Ohio Woman 2-21-08
Update. Police tasers are a jolting experience or a revolting experience depending upon who you ask. Malaika Brooks (eight months pregnant) was speeding while taking her son to school. She was stopped for a speeding ticket she didn't think she deserved. (Officer Juan Ornelas, testified he clocked Brooks' Dodge Intrepid doing 32 mph in a 20-mph school zone.) So when Seattle police officer (Juan Ornelas) presented the ticket to Malaika Brooks, she refused to sign it.This was apparently construed as resisting arrest. After Officer Donald Jones concluded this woman with the protruding stomach was resisting arrest, he tasered her delivering 50,000 volts to her thigh and then to her neck. "Probably the worst thing that ever happened to me," Brooks said.
Brooks was found guilty of not signing the ticket, but the Seattle Municipal Court jury could not determine whether she resisted arrest. A Public Defender, Lisa Daugaard argues that police use of Tasers is an example of "police overreaction." She elaborated, "It's pretty extraordinary that they should have used a Taser in this case." King County Sheriff's Sgt. Donald Davis counters that the use of force (taser) is a balancing act for law enforcement.
Brooks may file a civil lawsuit.
But King County sheriff's Sgt. Donald Davis, who works on the county's Taser policy, said the use of force is a balancing act for law enforcement.
Seattle has now adopted a new policy on Taser use that guides officers on how to deal with pregnant women, the very young, and the very old. The policy states, "the need to stop the behavior should clearly justify the potential for additional risks."Brooks, testified that she believed she could accept a ticket without signing for it.
Officer Donald Jones also tried to persuade Brooks to sign the ticket. Supervisor, Sgt. Steve Daman authorized them to arrest Brooks. The officers struggled to get Brooks out of her car so Jones let her experience 50,000 volts.Jones pressed the prongs of the taser against Brooks' thigh to no effect so he applied it twice to her neck. (Wonder if at this point she became a red neck girl?) She was then taken to the ground, handcuffed and brought into the station.
Brooks told jurors the officer also used the taser on her arm, and showed them a dark, brown burn to her thigh and a lump on her neck. Seattle fire medics confirmed that Brooks was pregnant and recommended evaluation at Harborview Medical Center. (Fortunately her daughter was born January 31st in good health.)
The Alachua County Sheriff's Office Lieutenant ( David Clark) apparently didn't know Leslie Donaldson was pregnant when he tasered her stomach. Leslie Donaldson was apparently trying to help break up a fight between neighborhood kids when the sheriff's deputy showed up. The deputy tasered one of the boys fighting then he tasered Donaldson because it appeared that "She raised her arm to the deputy. The deputy felt threatened like she was going to hit him potentially," said Alachua County Sheriff's Lieutenant David Clark.
Donaldson was arrested for battery. She says she still has the marks on her belly.
By now everyone has probably seen the disturbing video of the handcuffed woman being tasered numerous times by Warren police officer Rich Kovach outside the "Up The Creek" bar on September 2nd. After being handcuffed, the woman was trys to kick out the window of the Kozch's squad car and Kovach tasers her again. The video shows the woman distraught and begging for him to stop. Kovach removes the woman from his car and tasers her again.
Kovach is now on paid administrative leave. The suspect seen getting tasered pleaded not guilty to several charges, including assault, resisting arrest and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
Emily Delafield died shortly after being shocked 10 times with Taser guns during a confrontation with police. 56-year-old Emily Delafield's April 2006 death has apparently sparked a lawsuit against Green Cove Springs Police Department to court, according to a WJXT-TV . Apparently back in April 2006, a 911 call made to the Green Cove Springs, Delafield can apparently be heard telling a dispatcher that she believed she was in danger because her sister was going to harm her.
Officers found Delafield in a wheelchair, armed with two knives and a hammer. Delafield was not only wheelchair-bound, she apparently was know to be mentally ill (schizophrenic.) Family attorney Rick Alexander believes Delafield's death was preventable. She was apparently tasered ten times. According to a police report, it was only nine times for a total of 160 seconds by one officer and only one time by another officer for not more than five seconds!
Update 10-26: Everyone with a t.v. or a computer knows that Andrew Meyer was tazered by University of Florida police during a question and answer session with John Kerry. "Don't taser me bro," U-tube was played all over the networks. Some had questioned the use of force in using the stun gun against student Andrew Meyer. An investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has now concluded that the use of the taser in this case was appropriate. Surprise! Surprise!
Update 2-21-08 A new L.E.D. bright light which temporarily disables would be criminals may make tasers obsolete!
Can Your Hear Me Now? No? Perhaps My Lawyer Can Speak Up to Account For Your Cell Phone Hearing Loss!
Plaintiff's counsel take note, the next wave of mass litigation is literally at your finger tips. A new report from the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh, India, concludes that regular cell phone users ( those that talk for more than an hour a day) were found to have suffered high-frequency hearing loss. Such hearing loss results in an inability to hear consonants like F and T.
The Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research indicates that "[their] intention is not to scare the public" and "there is as yet no cause for alarm." But in Legal Pub's opinion, you have some ready made experts on your product liability claims as cell phones currently do not have adequate warning labels. Now on a personal note, if you have children addicted to cell phone use (Are you listening kids?) and if you value the ability to hear (most kids use "huh' as a built in excuse), you might want to reduce cell phone usage.
As for Trial Lawyers, let the litigation commence. After all, is not the company line that "manufactures only create safer products when their bottom line profit margin is at risk?" I have to think the potential hearing loss cases could dwarf asbestos litigation.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Is Jessie Jackson Slinging Racial Guilt At Obama Concerning Jena's Hangman Noose While Spector Worries About A Hung Jury? Update 4-14-09
While the Phil Spector murder trial may be headed to a "hung jury," Rev. Jesse Jackson has made news by accusing Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama of "acting like he's white" for not speaking out more forcefully about a racially charged schoolyard beating in Louisiana," according to Steve Brock managing editor. Obama's mother was white and his father was from Kenya.
What is this all about? Jena is a mostly Caucasian town where racial relations became strained about a year ago when a black student sat under a tree that was a traditional a gathering place for whites. Three nooses ( a symbol of the lynchings carried out in the Old South) were hung from the tree the next day. Racial fights followed at the school. In the December a larger altercation occurred between black and white students. Last Friday, a state appellate court over turned the only conviction against one of the black teenagers accused of attacking a white school mate. Obama hopes the decision would encourage the prosecutor to "reconsider the excessive charges brought against all the teenagers in this case..."
On Wednesday, Jackson said he was "taken out of context."
Jena 6 Update 9-29-07 A stranger, Dr. Stephen Ayers, who lives about 135 miles away, posted bond for Mychal Bell allowing him to go home for the first time in 10 months. Bell will be retried as a juvenile.
Update 12-4-07 Mychal Bell, the 17-year-old black teenager whose arrest and detention led to the "Jena 6" protests, enter a plea which will likely get him released by June of 2008.
Meanwhile, Phil Spector "hangs in the balance" on his murder trial. The judge, Larry Paul Fidler, tried to help the 7-5 split deadlocked jurors reach a verdict by removing an instruction.
The instruction states that they must find that Spector held a gun to actress Lana Clarkson's mouth, and that the weapon discharged, causing her death in order to convict Spector of second-degree murder.
Update 9-27-07 On Wednesday, the judge presiding over the "Wall of Sound" producer's murder trial declared a mistrial after jurors deadlocked, 10-2, in favor of convicting Spector on charges that he killed actress Lana Clarkson. Expect a new trial in 2008.
Update 4-14-09: After 30 hours of deliberation after a retrial, a jury on Monday convicted music producer Phil Spector of second-degree murder in the death of actress Lana Clarkson. Clarkson was shot more than six years ago. Unless the conviction is overturned, Spector will face a minimum of 16 years in prison. As a practical matter, Spector will likely serve the rest of his life behind bars.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
A news story that caught my eye this week concerns one of my favorite Pubs, Hooters and their San Diego-based waitress named Kyla Ebbert, who boarded a flight on Southwest to fly from San Diego to Tucson to see her physician. Ms. Ebbert was told by Southwest that she was "dressed inappropriately for the flight", since it is a family-oriented airline. Ms. Ebbert claims she was "humiliated", and was able to take the flight by adjusting her outfit and covering herself with a blanket for the flight. Kyla is so dismayed about the incident that she has appeared on the Today Show, Fox News and other news outlets to model her controversial outfit and smile for the camera. Legal Pub readers, does she really have a case against the airline? And what does this publicity do for her modeling career? Paris Hilton, watch out, Kyla Ebbert is wanting to compete with you! Video can be seen here:
Another video link:
Legal Pub editor note: The brown haired woman in the green (Setara Qassin) also claims SW Airlines nearly kicked her off a flight because of her wardrobe.
9-20-07 Update by Legal Pub: Southwest has turned this whole controversy into a huge marketing campaign. Chief Executive Gary Kelly explains that the company is trying to be "lighthearted about this." Southwest not only appologized to Ebbert after she went on The Today Show and "Dr. Phil," but they have also given her two free round-trip tickets. In addition, SW announced a 10-day fare sale in honor of miniskirts. Now that is marketing.
Since Ron's story has helped launch Kyla and Setara, how about they share the tickets with Legal Pub?
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Oops Britney Spears Does It Again, In Fact, Does it Multiple Times According to Tony Barretto Update: 10-2-07
Tony Barretto, a former bodyguard of Spears was prepared to testify at the Federline- Spears custody hearing about nudity and drug use at Britney's home. However, Barretto's lawyer, Gloria Allred, said that her client was not questioned by the attorneys. Instead, Barretto's comments were filed with the court.
Barretto, worked for Spears from the time she left a rehabilitation clinic in March until May 17, 2007. "Our client was prepared to testify on issues of nudity by Ms. Spears, drug use, and safety issues involving the children post-rehab," Allred said. Federline is represented by Mark V. Kaplan. Spears was represented by Laura Wasser and now is being represented by Mel Goldman.
A web site for "Entertainment Tonight" claims that the FBI is looking into death threats against Federline. The FBI apparently relayed the information to the LAPD which was unable to confirm the allegations and closed the case.
Sounds like just another bitter long drawn out custody battle to us here at Legal Pub!
Update 9-19-07: Both parties were ordered to refrain from alcohol use in front of children. Britney must undergo weekly alcohol and drug testing.
Monday, September 17, 2007
Kevin Collins of Orland, Indiana Punishes His PIt Bull By Dragging it Behind His SUV. Unjust Punishment?
Was Kevin Collins "pissed off?" His pit bull had apparently just killed his Chihuahua. While not all the facts are known, Kevin may have borrowed an old chapter out of the wild west and punished his pit bull by dragging it to death behind his SUV. ( Guess Kevin did not have a horse to go with his rope.) Kevin Collins was arrested and charged with felony animal cruelty. The 20 year old remained at the Steuben County Jail on $10,000 bail as of Saturday night. Kevin was turned in by a woman who supposedly witnessed the dragging and called police. Collins allegedly dumped the dead dog along the road. If convicted, Collins could be sentenced to six months to three years in jail. Animal cruelty is looked upon with great disfavor in Indiana. The pit bull should have been given a fair trial and then execution carried out in a humane fashion.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Update 9-17-07: Simpson was arrested and booked on charges including armed robbery. Audio tape clearly reveals Simpson's voice threatening the other men to give him back "his possessions." (At this point Simpson must have forgotten that Ron Goldman and his family apparently have the rights to all his valuable memorabilia.)
Update 9-19: Official charges include kidnapping, suspicion of assault, and robbery with a deadly weapon.
Update 9-20: Message to main stream media, yes Legal Pub has very early on called into question the prosecution's case against Simpson. Over charging and bias have no place in the law. No it appears our hunch is gaining popularity and support. Four other men have been arrested on similar charges and one is still being sought. Charles Howard Cashmore, 40, surrendered to police Wednesday. Cashmore brought in items that are believed to have been involved in the alleged crime. The alleged victims are Alfred Beardsley and Bruce Fromong. Memorabilia dealer Tom Riccio set up the meeting. Items included football game balls signed by Simpson, Joe Montana lithographs, baseballs autographed by Pete Rose and Duke Snider.
Beardsley (paroled 6/06 after serving 2 months for stalking) told police the collection would earn $35,000. One of the men with Simpson (not Simpson) had a pistol and impersonated a police officer. Another pointed a gun at Fromong. He has been arrested for parole violation and is being held without bail.
Riccio (who audiotaped the incident) has a past record, including grand larceny in 1984 and a felony arson in 1995. Beardsley told NBC's "Today" show that he didn't think the audiotape was accurate. Riccio allegedly was promised some form of immunity by prosecutors.
Other defendants include, Walter Alexander and Clarence Stewart. were arrested and released pending court appearances. Stewart turned in some of the missing goods. Alexander has also agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. Michael McClinton, 49, of Las Vegas, also has surrendered to police. The name of the remaining suspect has not been released.
As a prosecutor would you want to build your case around this cast of characters?
1-12-08: O.J. was taken into custody in Miami, Florida, on allegations that he violated terms of his bail by trying to talk a co-defendant in the Las Vegas armed robbery case.
Friday, September 14, 2007
Brett Darrow, a 20 year old St Louis college student, pulled into a parking lot at 2 a.m. on Sept. 7. Sgt. James Kuehnlein angrily approached him.
Brett Darrow documented the exchange with Sgt. James Kuehnlein with a dashboard videocamera. He posted the video online Saturday. "I wanted everybody to see that this kind of stuff does happen," Darrow told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. When Darrow asks whether he did anything wrong, the officer orders him out of the car and begins shouting. "You want to try me? You want to try me tonight? You think you have a bad night? I will ruin your night. Do you want to try me tonight, young boy... Do you want to go to jail for some (expletive) reason I come up with?" the police officer said.
Update 9-19-07: While Brett Darrow's scary video may capture an award, Andrew Meyer's video is just plain horrifying. Andrew, 21, was at a John Kerry speech. Apparently because he was refused to leave the microphone after his allotted time was up. Apparently four officers struggled with him and he is heard to say, "Don't Tase me, bro." He was not only arrested by University of Florida police, he was also tasered by one of the officers! On top of the tasering, he spent a night in jail. His attorney, Robert Griscti, has not officially commented but Meyer's video of the event most likely speaks for itself! Meyers is charged with disturbing the peace and resisting law enforcement officers.
Update 9-20-07: Glenn Beck apparently takes issue with Legal Pub majority opinion that Andrew Meyer did not deserve to be tasered. Glenn, come and please elaborate on Legal Pub.
UPDATE 10-10 Officer James Kuehnlein has apparently been terminated from employment!
Update 7-13-11: Brett Darrow filed a federal lawsuit against James Kuehnlein and the City. COMPLAINT. Here is a link to Kuehnlein's answer to the complaint. LINK. Here is a web blog that purports to have Brett Darrow's comments about the original incident. LINK. Apparently the law suit was settled pursuant to some confidential agreement prior to March of 2009.
"I have agreed to settle my civil rights lawsuit. Of course, as part of the agreement they said I can’t say anything about it other than what they say in public. Lets just say I’m satisfied... " LINK.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Talk show host Oprah Winfrey asked Mary Winkler whether she felt she had served enough time for the crime.
"There's no amount of time I think you can put on something like this.... I just was ready for them to lock the door and throw away the key," Winkler explained on Opra.
Mary Winkler, despite killing her preacher husband, Matthew Winkler in the parsonage of Fourth Street Church of Christ in Selmer, Tenn., on March 22, 2006, is a free woman. Even though she was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, she only served five months in jail, followed by two months in a mental institution.
Winkler regrets not speaking up for herself about her abusive marriage before she killed her husband.
Winkler had a great lawyer! Read Legal Pub "Play the Abuse Card 4-12-07" and What do Mary Winkler, Roy Pearson and Jose Offerman Have in Common? 8-15-07" for more details.
Then read about MARRIAGE STRIKE 7-28-07 and ask yourself, "Is it still a man's world?"
Update 9-19-07 The family court judge who is deciding who shall have custody of the Winkler children has ordered Mary Winkler to not appear on Opra. (Part of the interview was previously taped.) Criminals should not be allowed to profit from their crimes says the majority of emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update 8-5-08: Mary Winkler was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the 2006 shooting death of her minister husband. She is not only out of jail, but now has taken custody of her three daughters. She picked the girls up Friday from the slain man's parents, Dan and Diane Winkler.
Update 11-5-10: Mary Winkler's husband is dead but she has moved on with her life! Women are sometimes "hesitant to speak out and ask for help," Mary Winkler said on the "Today" show. Winkler, who was convicted of voluntary manslaughter for the March 2006 killing of her preacher husband served less than a year behind bars. In 2008, Mary regained full custody of her three daughters.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Cruel Punishment Inflicted on Brian Christopher Thomas With Near Castration or With Electrocution of Daryl Holton? Update Death Penalty 10-3-07
Talk about cruel and unusual punishment. Brian Christopher Thomas walked into Henry Hudson's Pub wearing a Texas Longhorns T-shirt. Unfortunately, he was in Oklahoma Sooner territory and soon was bombarded with "trash talk" from 53-year-old Oklahoma fan Allen Michael Beckett. According to Thomas, when he went to the bar to pay his tab, Beckett grabbed him in the crotch. Thomas was pulled to the ground. Patrons tried to break it up. When the two men were separated, Thomas "...could see both of his testicles hanging on the outside of his body," according to Thomas' attorney, Carl Hughes.
Thomas received over 60 stitches to repair the wound. Beckett's attorney, Billy Bock, admits Beckett commented about Thomas' shirt, but said it was just good-natured ribbing. Later, Bock claims that Thomas approached his client at the bar and threatened him.
"My client is a little man, and this guy (Thomas) is 30 to 40 pounds bigger than him...He's bigger, stronger, younger and probably faster, and he aggressively leaned in and touched my client and threatened to beat him up. ... My guy was defending himself and just took control of the situation," said Bock. Carl Hughes, disagrees with Bock's client's alleged defense.
Thomas' attorney disputes Beckett's version. Beckett is a 53-year-old church deacon, federal auditor and former Army combat veteran. Beckett pleaded not guilty. Beckett will be back in court Oct. 4, two days before the Sooners play the Texas their annual football game. Whether deserving or not, the punishment seems much more cruel then Daryl Holton's Execution.
Daryl Holton, 45, was electrocuted to death at 1:25 a.m. CDT Wednesday at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution. Holton on 11-30-97, had murdered Steven 12, Brent 10, Eric 6, and their half sister Kayla 4 in Shelbyville, Tennessee. His ex wife had allegedly restricted his visitation with the children and this was apparently a revenge type murder. Tennessee Prison officials used a wet sponge and metal plate on Holton's head to administer the voltage. Holton chose the electric chair over lethal injection. (Under Tennessee law, death row inmates can choose their method of death if their crimes were committed before 1999. He should have chose death of natural causes... old age!)
Holton was a Gulf War veteran. He confessed to 1977 murders in which he lined up the children at his uncle's auto repair garage and shot them, two at a time. Holton said he killed the children because his ex-wife hadn't let him see them for several months. He intended to also kill his ex-wife and himself but turned himself in without further killing.
Crystal Holton, mother of the children, issued a statement: "Today all the anger, hatred and a long time of nightmares can finally leave me. It will be replaced by all the sweet innocent wondrous love that only a child can give. And I am blessed that I have and will always have that love times four."
Holton was represented by David Raybin. Holton came within a day of execution a year ago before a federal appeals court issued a stay. (Gov. Phil Bredesen put in effect a 90-day death penalty moratorium at the time. )
80 attorneys petitioned the Tennessee Supreme Court to stop the electrocution, saying it was cruel and unusual punishment. But the Court disagreed.
Holton suffered from severe depression when he committed the murders. He may have been suffering from post traumatic stress disorder from his military service in the 1991 Gulf War. A Department of Correction spokeswoman Dorinda Carter said a decision on an autopsy will be left up to Tennessee's medical examiner.
Amy Staples, a member of the Tennessee Coalition to Abolish State Killing, said the group opposes the death penalty no matter how gruesome the crime.
So regardless of the alleged offense, which was worse? Electrocution or Near Castration?
Update on Death Penalty 10-3-07: Texas highest criminal appeals court late Tuesday stayed the lethal injection of a 28-year-old Honduran man who was scheduled to be put to death Wednesday.The reprieve by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals was granted a week after the United States Supreme Court agreed to consider whether a form of lethal injection constituted cruel and unusual punishment barred under the Eighth Amendment. On Thursday, the Supreme Court stepped in to halt a planned execution in Texas at the last minute. This is a signal for all states to wait for a final ruling on lethal injection before any further executions.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Hardees has apparently figured out something teenage boys have known for some time, there are some attractive, sometimes sexy teachers in the class room. But has Hardees gone to far in their TV ad that features a beautiful young teacher dancing in front of her class? Keep in mind, the students during the dance rap about the woman's "flat buns."
Is this fair, humorous marketing of Hardee's new "flat buns" -- on their burgers? Some teacher's in Tennessee think not. Dr. Earl Wiman, president of the Tennessee Education Association, claims the ad is "demeaning."
Is this art imitating reality? Compare the actress in the commercial to attractive real life teachers above who have been accused of inappropriate behavior. Teachers allegedly involved in inappropriate relationships have apparently become part of our children's reality. So, is this clever marketing or a bad attempt to offer some levity on a serious concern in our schools? Or is this really something more?
Update 9-24-07 Hardees has pulled their commercial due to consumer disgust!
Monday, September 10, 2007
Did Kate and Gerry McCann Learn That Parents Are Always a Suspect in Every Child Disappearance Case Now? Update: 5-26-10
Kate and Gerry McCann deny any involvement in the disappearance of their daughter Madeleine. After being named by Portuguese police as suspects in their daughters disappearance, the couple flew home from Faro in southern Portugal with their 2-year-old twins. The couple wanted "to consider the events of the last few days, which have been so deeply disturbing."
Portuguese police named the McCanns as suspects in Madeleine's May 3 disappearance, but did not confiscate their passports. Allegedly, forensic testing revealed traces of the child's blood in the McCann vehicle. The traces of blood were missed in previous testing! The McCanns returned home with the consent of the police.
"We have played no part in the disappearance of our lovely daughter Madeleine," Gerry McCann before the family left for their home. The McCanns have not been charged.
The McCanns say Madeleine vanished from a hotel room in southern Portugal while she and her siblings were sleeping. The McCanns at the time were eating at a nearby restaurant. A previous suspect was Robert Murat, a British man who lived near the hotel. Murat was never charged and insists that he was innocent.
"We thought we were in our worst nightmare but now it just keeps getting worse and worse," McCann was quoted as saying in an interview with the Sunday newspaper, The News of the World. (The McCanns are innocent!)
Update: 9-11-07 The story on DNA
Attorney-General, Pinto Monteiro, has met with Carlos Pinto de Abreu, attorney for the McCanns. New searches were to be conducted south of the Ocean Club where Madeleine disappeared. (There is an area of wasteland and a place where roadwork was being performed. The reliability of DNA evidences is directly proportionate to sample size. What is the DNA evidence that has supposedly been found by the Portuguese investigators?
Portugal newspapers have that “biological fluids” with an 80 per cent match to Madeleine’s DNA were found underneath upholstery in the McCanns’ rented Renault Scenic. Sky News claimed an even more reliable DNA sample was found in the car.
So what does the presence of Madeleine's DNA in the car mean? If it was from a hair follicle or skin cells, probably nothing since it could have stuck to the clothes or personal affects of a family member. The most important issue is the size of the sample. A substantial amount of material is less likely to be from accidental contamination.
Can a DNA sample tell if the donor was alive or dead?
A DNA profile generally does not change just because of death. If DNA has degraded, that can be consistent with death but it may also be due to exposure to the elements.
What is the significance of an 80% match?
That means only 16 of the 20 markers usually used for such analysis matched. Also, twins Sean and Amelie could share a high percentage of the same DNA characteristics. (All three children were apparently born through IVF and it is unknown whether the couple’s sperm and eggs were used.) An 80% match does not mean much in the scientific world. Stay tuned...
9-17-07 Update: Richard Branson, chairman of Virgin Group, pledged $200,000 on Sunday to help the British couple attempt to clear their name. Charges have never been filed!
9-26-07 Update: Does the photo taken in Morocco show Madeleine McCann? The photo was taken in a place about 210 miles from where Madeleine was last seen.
10-8-07 Update: The McCanns have apparently hired their own DNA expert to review the DNA evidence found in the vehicle. The Government is apparently claiming a DNA match as high as 97% but it is not clear what sample size was used. An innocent hair sample might account for a 99.9% match but mean little since it could have been transported on the clothing of the defendants. In the meantime, British and Spanish reporters claim to have found the girl suspected of being Madeleine McCann. London's Evening Standard claims the girl is actually a 5-year-old from the village of Zinat in Morocco.
Update 11-8-07 Apparently beautiful, Kate McCann, 39, was named an official suspect by the Portuguse police so that they could question her according to family spokeswoman, Justine McGuinness. (She is beautiful, who would not want to question her?) Police allege that blood found in a car used by the McCann's 25 days after Madeleine was taken is grounds for their suspicion. McCann was apparently questioned for 11 hours. Gerry McCann, who, like his wife, is a doctor, was also to be questioned. Gerry McCann's sister, Philomena, told ITV news that Kate McCann has been offered a plea of two years or less in jail if she admits to accidentally poisoning the child according to ABC News . Don't look for a confession she is innocent!
Update 11-29-07 Preliminary results of U.K. DNA analysis apparently remains inconclusive. No complete DNA profiles implicate the McCanns.... Tests are still underway and if they are also inconclusive, the case against the McCanns should disappear. In related news, ex-cop Danie Krugel tracked a "forensic route" he believed her kidnapper took from the family's Portuguese apartment through alleyways, roads and paths down to a nearby beach. He used dna and G.P.S. positioning to attempt to plot the abductors route. His findings may support the theory that Madeleine was taken out to sea by boat.
Update 2-21-08: Reports of spotting Madeleine alive in France turned out to not be accurate!
Update 8-6-08: The McCanns are no longer suspects according to the Portuguese police. (They should have listened to Legal Pub along time ago!) Britain's Daily Telegraph and The Sun newspapers both reported that an email obtained by the Portuguese investigators revealed a possible connection between Madeleine's disappearance and a pedophile ring. The email was from a London-based Metropolitan Police intelligence officer to Leicestershire police and states: "intelligence suggests that a pedophile ring in Belgium made an order for a young girl three days before Madeleine McCann was taken."
Update 2-26-10: Carlos Moreira, 65, claims that on the morning of May 4, 2007, he witnessed a blond girl sitting in the back of a truck, wearing pajamas similar to what Madeleine wore. Madeleine vanished from her family's holiday suite in southern Portugal. Kate and Gerry McCann both told police they left their three children sleeping in the hotel while they dined at a nearby restaurant. They returned to find their twins, Sean and Amelie, asleep, but Madeleine, almost 4 years old was gone. Will this develop into a lead?