Stevenson Alabama City Attorney Parker Edmiston Pisses Away Tax Dollars And Court Time To Make Man Dig Up And Move His Wife’s Grave

August 21, 2012

STEVENSON, ALABAMA – An Alabama man is fighting city officials to keep his wife buried in his front yard.

James Davis told The Associated Press he only buried his wife in front of their log home in Stevenson, Ala., because she asked him to when she died in 2009.

The city sued to move the body elsewhere, citing a need to avoid setting a precedent, and a county judge has ordered Davis to disinter his wife.

However, that order is on hold as the Alabama Civil Court of Appeals considers his challenge to the ruling.

Davis, 73, told the AP he’s shocked by the fight.

“Good Lord, they’ve raised pigs in their yard, there’s horses out the road here in a corral in the city limits, they’ve got other gravesites here all over the place,” he said. “And there shouldn’t have been a problem.”

City Attorney Parker Edmiston reminded critics that Davis lives in downtown Stevenson, not out in the country.

“We’re not in the 1800s any longer,” he told the AP. “We’re not talking about a homestead, we’re not talking about someone who is out in the country on 40 acres of land.

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Queer Awarded $4.3 Million After Being Stalked, Harassed, And Defamed By Now-Fired And Unemployed Michigan Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell – Lawyer’s Obsession, Bogus First Amendment Claims, And Use Of State Computers Didn’t Do Much For His Career…

August 19, 2012

MICHIGAN – A federal court jury Thursday awarded $4.5million to an openly gay former University of Michigan student body president who accused a former state attorney of stalking and defaming him.

The civil case involved Andrew Shirvell, the former assistant attorney general fired in 2010 after he stirred a national controversy with his campaign against Christopher Armstrong, at the time U-M’s student body president.

Shirvell, a U-M alumnus, created the Chris Armstrong Watch blog, calling him “a radical homosexual activist, racist, elitist and liar.” He had cast the blog as speech protected by the First Amendment.

Standing outside federal courtin downtown Detroit shortly after the verdict, Armstrong said he was “elated.”

“This is not just a victory for myself — it’s a victory for a lot of other people,” Armstrong said. “It sends a message to bullies.”

Armstrong, who graduated in 2011, had said Shirvell contacted his friends, showed up at his public appearances and insulted his family and friends on the blog.

Shirvell, who represented himself, said the jury award was “grossly excessive” and vowed to appeal with help from the Thomas More Society, a Chicago-based nonprofit national public interest law firm.

“It’s just shocking that a jury would trample on my First Amendment rights the way they did,” he told The News. “That’s why the case should’ve been thrown out months ago by the judge. … Juries give First Amendment rights short shrift.”

Shirvell also said he’s unemployed and “there’s no possible way” he could pay the verdict, but he is prepared to fight the case even to the Supreme Court.

Armstrong, who filed the lawsuit in April 2011, had offered to drop the suit if Shirvell apologized and retract his statements.

Attorney Deborah Gordon said the jury’s decision came down to holding someone accountable for unacceptable behavior. “It means the community is not going to stand by and watch this happen to another person,” she said.

The impact also appeared to have swayed jurors, said Larry Dubin, a law professor at the University of Detroit Mercy.

“The First Amendment does not protect language that defames someone’s reputation or conduct that constitutes stalking or intentionally causes significant emotional damage to an intended victim,” he said. “It seems that the jury in this case was highly offended by the conduct … and expressed that outrage by awarding a very large verdict.”

The award caps a scandal that gained national attention.

The suit claimed Shirvell “developed a bizarre personal obsession” with Armstrong in early 2010 after claiming he was a radical homosexual activist.

Shirvell had created a Facebook group under the name of “U of M Alumni and Others Against Chris Armstrong and his Radical MSA (Michigan Student Assembly) Agenda.” Facebook shut down the page, but a blog was created spreading false and defamatory information, the suit said.

Earlier this year, a federal judge declined to dismiss the lawsuit against him. And in March, a Michigan hearing officer upheld Shirvell’s 2010 firing by then-Attorney General Mike Cox for using state computers to wage a campaign against Armstrong.

Shirvell had appealed, saying his conduct was protected by the First Amendment. But William Hutchens of the Michigan Civil Service Commission said the dismissal was just and the attorney engaged in “hate speech” on a blog and “physical and mental harassment.”

Last year, Armstrong announced he and his family were establishing a scholarship for bullied students. Gordon said money from the verdict would go to the fund.

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House Oversight Chair Issa Predicts Disgraced US Attorney General Will Be Held In Contempt (But of course it will be civil, and less than a slap on the wrist…)

June 24, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – The top Republican leading the House investigation into Operation Fast and Furious said Sunday he expects a “bipartisan” floor vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress this coming week.

“I believe they will (vote to hold him in contempt),” House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., told “Fox News Sunday.” “Both Republicans and Democrats will vote that — I believe it will be bipartisan.”

Issa kept his focus on the Justice Department, clarifying that he has no evidence the White House was involved in any Fast and Furious cover-up. But he repeatedly said Congress is trying to get to the bottom of why the Justice Department “lied” about the operation.

The comments underscored the apparent momentum among majority House Republicans behind the contempt push, following a committee contempt vote against Holder along party lines this past week. That vote proceeded after Holder and Republicans were unable to reach an agreement over subpoenaed documents pertaining to the Obama administration’s Fast and Furious discussions.

Issa said Sunday it’s possible the vote could be delayed or even “eliminated” if the administration produces the subpoenaed documents the House is seeking. He noted the entire schedule is at the discretion of House Speaker John Boehner.

“But we have to see the documents first,” he said.

Barring such a resolution, Issa and his allies are teeing up a major election-year clash this coming week between the Executive and Legislative branches, and between Democrats and Republicans.

President Obama intervened this past week, invoking executive privilege to protect the documents in question, but Republicans dismissed the claim and proceeded with the contempt vote. On the sidelines, minority House Democrats are pleading with Republicans take a step back and work out the document dispute without the threat of contempt. At the same time, both sides are antagonizing each other at the dais and in the press over what Democrats claim has become a political “witch hunt.”

Rep. Elijah Cummings, R-Md., ranking Democrat on the oversight committee, told “Fox News Sunday” that the confrontation was entirely avoidable.

“I think it’s extremely unfortunate,” he said. “The attorney general has made it clear that he is willing to work with this Congress.”

Cummings called on Boehner to intervene and try to reach an agreement with Holder that involves turning over some documents while also halting the contempt proceedings.

“I think that we have a duty … at this critical moment to get the documents,” he said. “I know we can get them. It’s just a matter of sitting down and talking to Holder.”

Cummings suggested the course of the committee’s investigation has lost sight of one of the major reasons for the probe — the death of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, whose murder scene included weapons from the Fast and Furious operation.

But Issa defended the escalation, saying the committee is trying to obtain critical documents to help explain why Congress was initially told — incorrectly — in February 2011 that the government did not knowingly let guns “walk” across the U.S.-Mexico border. The department later issued a correction to that statement.

“We, in fact, are simply trying to get to the truth when we were told a lie,” Issa said. “It’s about the cover-up.”

“Ultimately, Justice lied to the American people on February 4 (2011), and they didn’t make it right for 10 months.”

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Lawmakers Look Into 9th Federal Circuit Court Of Appeals Plan For $1 Million Maui Hawaii Getaway At Taxpayer Expense

May 21, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – On the heels of the scandal surrounding one government agency’s lavish Las Vegas conference, federal judges in the western U.S. circuit are catching flak from Congress for a planned Maui getaway that could cost taxpayers more than $1 million.

The Maui meet-up is scheduled for August under the banner of the 2012 Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, and will include judges, attorneys, staff and “special guests” from various federal courts spread across nine western states — including judges on the California-based Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

While in Hawaii, the guests are scheduled to stay in the upscale Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa. And they’ll have the chance to kick back with an array of recreational activities — sport fishing, golf, paddle-board lessons, yoga, Zumba, even a floral design workshop.

The official website for the conference stresses that “government funds are not used for any recreational or sporting activities.”

But Sens. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, in a letter to Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, called the activities “unrelated to the business of the court” and questioned whether the Ninth Circuit really needed to ship everyone out to the islands — a trip that incurs substantial costs in travel and lodging alone.

“The programs read more like a vacation than a business trip to discuss the means of improving the administration of justice,” they wrote. “We are concerned about the overall cost of this conference and do not believe that discussions about the administration of justice would be less successful were they held somewhere other than a spa and resort in Hawaii.”

A statement from the senators estimated the trip could cost more than $1 million — pegging the cost of accommodations alone at more than $500,000. That factors in room rates of between $230 and $250 per night for four nights.

The government also provides a per diem — according to the conference website, this per diem starts at a base level of $289.

The hotel itself is situated on Kaanapali Beach, in the northwestern corner of the island on the outskirts of the island’s lush rainforests. The resort features a full-service spa, a salon, 1,800 feet of beachfront property, two pools with waterfalls, a rope bridge and an outdoor whirlpool.

The GOP senators, in their letter, fired off a slew of questions for the Ninth Circuit about the cost of past conventions and the rationale for the upcoming one. They referenced the scandal over the General Services Administration conference in Las Vegas, which cost taxpayers more than $800,000.

“Technology is so advanced that people are earning college degrees online and soldiers serving halfway across the world use Skype with their families at home,” Grassley said in a statement.

“Likewise, a judicial circuit court should be capable of using technology to share information without requiring a trip to an island paradise. It’s especially tone-deaf to plan a pricey conference after the GSA debacle. The taxpayers can’t sustain this kind of spending, and they shouldn’t have to. The court should re-examine whether this is the best use of tax dollars.”

A representative with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has not returned a request for comment.

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Manchester UK Police And Prosecutors Didn’t Investigate Gang Of Asians Raping White Children For Fear Of Being Racist – 50 Victims Passed Around While Police Did Nothing

May 9, 2012

MANCHESTER, UK – The nine men from Rochdale were yesterday convicted of abusing five vulnerable teenagers after plying them with alcohol, food and small sums of money in return for sex.

However, the true number of victims, who were “passed around” by the gang, is likely to be nearer to 50, police have admitted.

Greater Manchester Police and the Crown Prosecution Service have now apologised after they failed to bring the case of the first victim – Girl A – to trial following her cry for help in August 2008.

One 13 year-old victim became pregnant and had the child aborted while another was forced to have sex with 20 men in one night, Liverpool Crown Court heard.

Complaints to social workers and the police were ignored because they were “petrified of being called racist”, former Labour MP for Keighley Ann Cryer said.

Mrs Cryer, who has campaigned to bring the issue of Asian sex gangs to light, said the girls had been “betrayed” and condemned to “untold misery” by the police and social services.

“This is an absolute scandal. They were petrified of being called racist and so reverted to the default of political correctness,” she said.

“They had a greater fear of being perceived in that light than in dealing with the issues in front of them.”

Girl A told police that she had been raped and provided DNA evidence from her attacker, however the CPS twice decided not to prosecute him.

The 15 year-old’s abuse continued and at its height she was being driven to flats and houses to be raped by up to five men a night, four or five days a week. She was singled out because she was white, vulnerable and under-age.

Her ordeal only ended when her teachers forced social workers to intervene after she fell pregnant and they became concerned by the number of Asian men picking her up from school.

Girl A said that in a six-hour interview she gave police details about her abusers and where the attacks took place. Crucially, too, she handed officers underwear that proved she had been raped by two men in a single attack.

“I hoped they were going to do something and it would stop,” she said.

“But it just carried on. It just started again with different men and more men this time, and that’s when it started becoming up to five men a day”.

Kabeer Hassan, Abdul Aziz, Abdul Rauf, Mohammed Sajid, Adil Khan, Abdul Qayyum, Mohammed Amin, Hamid Safi and a 59-year-old man who cannot be named for legal reasons were yesterday found guilty of running a child exploitation ring at Liverpool Crown Court.

Greater Manchester Police is now being investigated by the IPCC over the failings of its first investigation in 2008.

When GMP did finally pass a file on Girls A’s rape to the CPS the following year, a Crown lawyer decided not to charge anyone because he said she would not be a sufficiently credible witness to put before a jury. A second CPS lawyer backed that opinion.

It was only after social workers notice an upsurge in cases of child grooming that police reinvestigated and made a series of arrests which led to yesterday’s convictions.

It can be reported that the trial was delayed by two weeks when two Asian barristers quit the case due to intimidation by far right groups outside Liverpool Crown Court.

And a tweet from BNP leader Nick Griffin almost caused the trial to collapse when it led to allegations of the jury having a “far-right bias”.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Heywood acknowledged that officers could have dealt with the case “better than we did”.

But he denied that the girl’s complaints had been “brushed under the carpet” because officers were reluctant to confront the issue of race.

“At the time we did what we thought was best,” he said. “We have learned a lot of lessons.

“The issue here is genuinely about vulnerability. It just happens that they are Asian men. In no way did we sweep it under the carpet.”

Steve Garner, head of children’s services at Rochdale Council, denied the teenager had been let down by his department.

“No,” he said. “I think it’s really important to remember that what we know now and what we knew in 2008 is very, very different and what we have done is put the lessons in place”.

Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk said: “What’s become clear is that if police had acted seriously on these concerns in 2008 many of the victims of this appalling case would not have had to go through such horrific trauma.

“It is simply unacceptable that these young women were let down in this way by people they should have been able to trust.”

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“Justice For Sale” Under Obama And Disgraced US Attorney General Eric Holder – Department Of Justice Not Prosecuting Wall Street Execs Represented By Law Firms Where Holder And His Top Aides Worked

May 8, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – In an explosive Newsweek article set to rock official Washington, reporter Peter Boyer and Breitbart contributing editor and Government Accountability Institute President Peter Schweizer reveal how Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice are operating under a “justice for sale” strategy by forgoing criminal prosecution of Wall Street executives at big financial institutions who just so happen to be clients of the white-shoe law firms where Holder and his top DOJ lieutenants worked.

There’s more.

Even as President Barack Obama and Holder co-opt the Occupy Wall Street rhetoric of getting “tough” on the Big Banks and Big Finance, the Newsweek investigative report reveals that Eric Holder has not criminally charged or prosecuted a single top executive from any of the elite financial institutions thought responsible for the financial crash. And why would they? As Boyer and Schweizer report, “through last fall, Obama had collected more donations from Wall Street than any of the Republican candidates; employees of Bain Capital donated more than twice as much to Obama as they did to Romney, who founded the firm.”

Collecting millions from Wall Street was hardly the plan Obama and Holder telegraphed upon entering office. In 2009, the new Attorney General said boldly:

We face unprecedented challenges in responding to the financial crisis that has gripped our economy for the past year. Mortgage, securities, and corporate fraud schemes have eroded the public’s confidence in the nation’s financial markets and have led to a growing sentiment that Wall Street does not play by the same rules as Main Street. Unscrupulous executives, Ponzi scheme operators, and common criminals alike have targeted the pocketbooks and retirement accounts of middle class Americans, and in many cases, devastated entire families’ futures. We will not allow these actions to go unpunished….This Task Force’s mission is not just to hold accountable those who helped bring about the last financial meltdown, but to prevent another meltdown from happening.

Obama unloaded on Wall Street too. In 2009, Obama created the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force and announced that its purpose was to hold “accountable those who helped bring about the last financial crisis as well as those who would attempt to take advantage of the efforts at economic recovery.”

But Holder and Obama’s anti-Wall Street “law and order” rhetoric has turned out to be a smokescreen that allows the Obama campaign to talk the talk of the 99% while taking money from Wall Street’s 1%. The result is extortion by proxy. As President Obama put it to the Big Finance executives who met with him at the White House just two months into his presidency, “My Administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.”

Not surprisingly, of the elite bundlers who made up Obama’s 2008 campaign, the second most represented industry after law was the securities and investment industry. It’s a level of hypocrisy that has outraged even committed leftists. Industrial Areas Foundation activist Mike Gecan put it squarely: “I’m from Chicago, I’ve seen this game played my whole life.”

So what have the securities and banking industries received for their political contributions?

As Boyer and Schweizer report, Department of Justice criminal prosecutions are at 20-year lows for corporate securities and bank fraud. And while large financial institutions have faced civil prosecution, those typically end in settlement fees with the major banks that represent a fraction of their profits, often paid through special taxes on mortgage-backed securities.

It’s the most crass and cynical brand of politics imaginable, the Chicago Way writ large: pay to play justice from the nation’s highest law enforcement official.

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Social Security Administration Tells Disability Judges To Stay Off Websites And Social Media While Deciding Cases

May 4, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – The Social Security Administration last month told its disability-claims judges they are no longer to seek out information from websites when deciding cases — taking away a tool some of those judges say would help in uncovering fraud.

Agency officials said reviewers can’t trust information posted online, and also said the mere act of typing in queries could compromise protected private information, so they shouldn’t try to access anything.

Social Security’s ban covers all Internet sites, including social media such as Facebook.

But Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican and a top taxpayer watchdog, said avoiding the Internet means giving up a valuable anti-fraud weapon — one that he said even federal courts have relied upon in some disability cases.

“If an individual claims to be disabled, and then publicly posts a picture participating in a sport or physical activity on a social media website, such information should be used by [adjudicators] to determine if the claimant was truly disabled,” Mr. Coburn wrote in a letter last week to Social Security Commissioner Michael J. Astrue.

The dispute raises Internet-age questions about the information people make available about themselves online, and how proactive government agencies should be in seeking out that information when it comes to granting taxpayer-funded benefits.

Social Security officials said they don’t object to using information gleaned from the Internet, but they don’t want the front-line deciders going out looking for it. They said that’s a job for fraud investigators to follow up on later in the process.

“Adjudicators should do what they are trained to do — review voluminous files to determine eligibility for disability benefits. Office of Inspector General fraud investigators should do what they are trained to do — vigorously follow up on any evidence of fraud,” said Kia S. Green, a spokeswoman for the agency.

Disability claims make up two parts of the Social Security system, and an entire legal industry has sprung up to help applicants win their claims.

But Mr. Coburn said without unshackling the judges who review the claims, there’s nobody looking out for taxpayers’ interests in the process.

Administrative Law Judge Thomas W. Snook, who is based in Miami, agreed, saying the public has entrusted adjudicators with the responsibility to make good decisions on behalf of the applicants and the public, and the more tools they have, the better.

“After being a judge for over 20 years, I think I can decide on what weight to give the tools available to me,” Judge Snook said.

The Social Security spokeswoman did not say why the policy was implemented just last month, but some judges had already been using information they found on the Internet to deny claims.

The agency’s move to exclude online information comes a year after Mr. Coburn used material he found online to challenge the disability finding of Stanley Thornton Jr., a man who lives part time as an adult baby.

In addition to appearing on a television show building things such as an adult high chair — which Mr. Coburn said showed carpentry skills — Mr. Thornton ran a website for others who want to live the “adult baby” lifestyle. The senator said that showed he had web development skills that could land him a job, too.

In the wake of Mr. Coburn’s complaint, Mr. Thornton said he was visited by federal investigators, but he told The Washington Times last year that he had been cleared of fraud.

Some administrative law judges have come under scrutiny in recent years for appearing to be too lenient.

The Wall Street Journal reported last year on one judge in West Virginia who approved 99.7 percent of his disability claims cases, while the national average is about 60 percent. That judge, David B. Daugherty, resigned soon after the article appeared.

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Effort By House Oversight Committee To Hold Disgraced US Attorney General Eric Holder In Contempt Making Progress – His Department’s Efforts Armed Mexican Drug Cartels, Then Hid Documents Amid Investigation

May 3, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Republicans on the House Oversight Committee were to take the first formal step Thursday toward contempt proceedings against Attorney General Eric Holder over the Fast and Furious “gunwalking” operation, CBS News has learned.

The case for a citation declaring Holder in contempt will be laid out in a briefing paper and 48-page draft citation distributed to Democrats and Republicans on the committee. CBS News has obtained copies of both documents. In them, Republican members use strong language to accuse Holder of obstructing the committee’s investigation, which is now in its second year.

The documents allege that the Justice Department has issued, “false denials, given answers intended to misdirect investigators, sought to intimidate witnesses, unlawfully withheld subpoenaed documents, and waited to be confronted with indisputable evidence before acknowledging uncomfortable facts.”

“The Justice Department’s demonstrable contempt for the congressional investigation has inflicted harm on the people of two nations seeking the truth – and very pointedly on the family of fallen Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and ATF whistleblowers who now face retaliation in the wake of their own heroic efforts to expose wrongdoing,” says the brief to be distributed Thursday.

For its part, the Justice Department says it has complied with the congressional investigations, led by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa).

“We’ve done twice-a-month (document) productions since last year, and the Attorney General has testified about this matter no less than seven times,” a Justice official tells CBS News.

There have been at least three House contempt actions against the Executive Branch in the past 30 years.

In 1983, Congress found EPA administrator Anne Gorsuch Burford in contempt for failing to produce subpoenaed documents.

In 1998, the GOP-controlled House Oversight committee found Attorney General Janet Reno in contempt for failing to comply with a subpoena on campaign finance law violations.

In 2008, the Democrat-controlled House found former White House counsel Harriet Miers and Chief of Staff John Bolton in contempt for failing to cooperate with an inquiry into whether a purge of federal prosecutors was politically motivated.

In 2008, the Democratic-led Oversight Committee found two White House officials in contempt in the probe of Bush Administration firings of U.S. Attorneys. Congress went to federal court to seek enforcement of that contempt action, but a compromise was reached with the Executive Branch before any court decision was final.

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Contempt Citation Against Digraced US Attorney General Eric Holder In The Works In Wake Of His Department Supplying Mexican Drug Cartels With Thousands Of Firearms – Holder Still Hiding Documents

April 27, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – House Republicans investigating the Fast and Furious scandal have gotten the go-ahead by their party leaders to pursue a contempt citation against Attorney General Eric Holder, senior congressional aides told CBS News. The resolution will accuse Holder and his Justice Department of obstructing the congressional probe into the allegations that the government let thousands of weapons fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels.

The citation would attempt to force Holder to turn over tens of thousands of pages documents related to the probe, which has entered its second year.

For months, congressional Republicans probing ATF’s Fast and Furious “Gunwalker” scandal – led by California Republican Darrell Issa, have been investigating a contempt citation. They’ve worked quietly behind the scenes to build support among fellow Republicans, since it could ultimately face a full House vote. CBS News has confirmed that House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, has given Rep. Issa, who heads the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the go-ahead to proceed. A 48-page long draft contempt resolution is being prepared.

How does a contempt proceeding against the executive branch work?

Both Democrats and Republicans have used it, but rarely. After former White House Counsel Harriet Miers and White House chief of staff Joshua Bolten refused to comply with congressional subpoenas on the George W. Bush administration firing of U.S. attorneys in 2008, the Democrat-led House voted to hold them in contempt.

The House then went to a federal district court seeking a declaratory judgment and injunction ordering Miers and Bolten to comply with the subpoenas. The district court ruled in favor of the House, the ruling was subsequently stayed, and a compromise was reached.

Under President Clinton, the Republican-led House Oversight Committee voted to hold Attorney General Janet Reno in contempt over documents regarding campaign finance law violations.

In the case of Holder and Fast and Furious, the Oversight Committee’s contempt resolution would eventually have a full House vote and, if passed, Congress could seek enforcement through federal courts. Passage of the resolution itself could, however, encourage the Justice Department to comply even without a court order.

The Justice Department has maintained it is cooperating with the investigation and has made more than 6,400 pages of documents available for congressional review. However, congressional investigators say the Justice Department has supplied the documents piecemeal and highly redacted, and that tens of thousands of pages of internal documents are responsive to congressional subpoenas.

A contempt citing by Congress against the executive branch, a strong sanction, is considered by some to be politically risky; especially if it doesn’t succeed. Sources say that’s why Republican staffers have taken a great deal of time trying to build support among colleagues in advance of the citation’s formal release, which could come in the next few weeks if not sooner.

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Obama Lawyer Worried That Inforcing AZ State Laws, That Parallel Federal Laws, Will Result In “Mass Incarceration” Of Illegal Immigrants And Will Cause “Significant Foreign Relations Problems”

April 25, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – The lawyer arguing for the Obama administration against provisions in Arizona’s controversial immigration law said Wednesday that if the U.S. Supreme Court upholds S.B. 1070 “mass incarceration” of Latinos would cause “significant foreign relations problems.”

During oral arguments before the high court on the law – which allows state police to check the immigration status of individuals stopped, detained or arrested for other reasons – Solicitor General Donald Verrilli responded to Justice Antonin Scalia’s remarks that Arizona seems to be merely enacting laws that are already federal statutes.

“Well, what I think they are going to do in Arizona is something quite extraordinary, that has significant real and practical foreign relations effects,” Verrilli said. “And that’s the problem, and it’s the reason why this power needs to be vested exclusively in the federal government.”

Verrilli said Arizona’s “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act” takes that power away from the government and gives it to the state.

“And so – so, you’re going to have a situation of mass incarceration of people who are unlawfully present,” he argued. “That is going to raise – poses a very serious risk of raising significant foreign relations problems.

“And these problems are real,” Verrilli continued. “It is the problem of reciprocal treatment of the United States’ citizens in other countries.”

Justice Anthony Kennedy responded: “So you’re saying the government has a legitimate interest in not enforcing its laws?”

“No,” Verrilli replied. “We have a legitimate interest in enforcing the law, of course, but it needs to be – but these – this court has said over and over again, has recognized that the balance of interest that has to be achieved in enforcing the immigration laws is exceedingly delicate and complex, and it involves consideration of foreign relations, it involves humanitarian concerns, and it also involves public order …”

Of two million Latinos in Arizona, Verrilli told the court, “only 400,000 at most are there illegally.”

Scalia suggested that the government could take action to prevent the incarceration of illegal aliens.

“Well, can’t we avoid that particular foreign relations problem by simply deporting these people?” Scalia asked. “Look, free them from the jails.”

During the one-hour session both conservative and liberal justices seemed skeptical of the government’s case. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who was nominated by President Obama and is the first Hispanic to serve, told Verrilli at one point that she was “terribly confused” by his remarks.

“It seems to me that the federal government just doesn’t want to know who’s here illegally,” commented Chief Justice John Roberts.

Attorney Paul Clement, arguing on behalf of Arizona, said the Ninth Circuit federal court decision that set in motion the case coming before the Supreme Court was “inverting fundamental principles of federalism.”

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 into law two years ago. Several groups, including the Department of Justice, challenged the law in court.

Only eight justices will decide the case since Justice Elena Kagan recused herself because of her work on immigration during her tenure as Solicitor General.

The court is expected to rule on the case by the end of its current term this summer. Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Indiana and Utah have proposed or enacted similar legislation.

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Brooklyn New York District Attorney’s Office Hid Rape Recantation From Defense Lawyers For A Year While Two Men Sat In Jail

April 19, 2012

The Brooklyn DA’s office sat on a rape recantation for nearly a year while two men accused of the crime sat behind bars, documents reveal.

Last June, Damien Crooks and Jamali Brockett were arrested for forcing a 13-year-old Jewish Orthodox girl into prostitution in 2003, and then raping, assaulting and sexually trafficking her for the next 8 years.

Two other men, Jawara Brockett and Darrell Dula, were also arrested and charged with raping the girl.

A day after accusing Jawara Brockett and Dula, however, the girl, then 22-years-old, went back to the police, and told detectives she was simply a prostitute for 5 years and made up the allegations against Brockett and Dula.

“I once again asked [her] if she was raped,” a detective wrote in a police report after the interview. “She told me ‘no’ and stated to me, ‘Can’t a ho change her ways?’ ”

The woman also signed a recantation, but the case proceeded and in spring 2011, a grand jury voted to indict Dula, Crooks and two others who were allegedly part of the crew.

Defense attorneys for the men didn’t receive the woman’s recantation until April 2012, when prosecutor Rebecca Gingold, who replaced Assistant District Attorney Abbie Greenberger, discovered the documents and turned them over.

“[The girl] indicated the night of the alleged rape that she had made up the story,” Crooks’ lawyer, Elliot Kay, told The New York Post. “She indicated that she was in a consensual relationship, as opposed to being the victim of sex trafficking.”

The Brooklyn DA’s office–who publicized the big bust last year–has yet to comment on the newly-discovered documents.

“How do they go on TV talking about this huge sex-trafficking bust when they had written documentation from police officers in which she admitted lying?” Kay asked.

Dula was released from prison Tuesday and spent time with his family in Crown Heights.

“I’m glad to be home with my family,” he told The Daily News. “I’m still in shock. I’m traumatized. It wasn’t a good experience. They took me away on my son’s birthday. It was heartbreaking.”

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9 Month Jail Sentenced Delayed Again – Former Las Vegas Nevada Drug Prosecutor David Schubert Pled Guilty After Buying Cocaine

April 8, 2012

A nine-month jail sentence for a former drug prosecutor who pleaded guilty to buying $40 worth of cocaine again has been delayed, this time by Nevada’s high court.

The Supreme Court on Friday said that because the case is under appeal, David Schubert does not have to report to the county jail Monday to start serving his sentence, which was handed down by a district judge in February.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has asked the state attorney general’s office to respond to the sentencing appeal made by Bill Terry, Schubert’s lawyer.

Terry has said Judge Carolyn Ellsworth showed bias against his client at a Feb. 27 sentencing hearing.

At the hearing, Terry said, Ellsworth violated procedure by adjudicating Schubert guilty before arguments by the defense and the prosecution. And Ellsworth’s court marshal handcuffed him before the judge announced she was sentencing him to nine months in jail for his buying $40 of rock cocaine last year.

Last week Chief Judge Jennifer Togliatti denied Schubert’s motion to have the sentence tossed and the case moved to another judge.

The Supreme Court has asked for a response to Terry’s appeal from the state attorney general’s office, which prosecuted the case. As part of a deal with prosecutors, Schubert pleaded guilty to a felony charge of cocaine possession, which under state law results in mandatory probation.

At the sentencing hearing, Ellsworth called the deal “offensive” and sentenced Schubert to three years of probation, which included nine months in the county jail. State law allows a judge to order a defendant to serve a year of probation in jail.

In contrast, two high-profile cocaine prosecutions handled by Schubert resulted in probation and no jail time. At the time of their arrests, celebrity Paris Hilton and singer Bruno Mars both had more cocaine in their possession than the former prosecutor.

Las Vegas police arrested the 10-year veteran prosecutor in March 2011 after they watched a man get out of Schubert’s car, go into an apartment complex and return. Officers found Schubert with a minute amount of rock cocaine and confiscated a 9 mm handgun from his car.

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A-Hole South Carolina State Trooper D.P. Boulware Targets Motorist With Intimidating Letter To Lawyer Demanding He Plead Guilty Or Go To Jail

April 1, 2012

YORK COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA — A harshly worded letter written by a South Carolina state trooper is raising concerns with the state Highway Patrol.

Eyewitness News obtained a copy of the letter after a man was stopped for reckless driving in York County. That driver did not want to talk about the incident, or have his name used in this story.

The letter is from South Carolina Trooper D.P. Boulware of York County to the offender’s lawyer. The lawyer’s name has also been marked out on the letter, so Eyewitness News was not able to contact the attorney for comment.

Here’s what the letter says:

“Please advise your client that he has until the 16th of March to enter a guilty plea to the pending charge. If there is no plea entered by this date, I will request jail time in lieu of a fine. Even if a guilty plea is entered after this date I will still request from Judge Grayson that your client spend time in jail as opposed to a fine. This is a case of your client wasting the time of both myself and the court presiding. I would never oppose anyone who questions their guilt requesting the verdict of a jury. However, this is an obvious attempt by your client to avoid responsibility for an offense of which he knows he is guilty. A copy of this letter will be on file with the presiding court.”

Eyewitness News brought that letter to the attention of commanders at the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

“I can tell you that’s not what we expect from our troopers,” said spokesman Bryan McDougald. “That letter was worded harshly, and strongly.”

In South Carolina, state troopers don’t just write tickets and stop drunk and reckless drivers. They also act as lawyers, and must prosecute their own cases in court.

Cases are often delayed or repeatedly continued for many reasons. McDougald said sometimes that’s frustrating to keep showing up for court and not being able to present a case. Still, he said that doesn’t mean a trooper’s attitude can change.

“If we’ve been to court 25 times this year, it should be no different than if it’s the first time. Even it’s the same person because that’s their day in court. They have a right to a fair trial.”

McDougald said the letter is being sent up the chain of command for a review. It’s not clear if any action will be taken, but Channel 9 learned that Trooper Boulware remains on active duty while the Highway Patrol investigates.

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Harris County Texas Court Sentenced Man To Life In Prison For Of Robbery That Occured While He Was In Jail

December 13, 2011

HOUSTON, TX – LaDondrell Montgomery had his conviction for armed robbery and a life sentence overturned thanks to his attorney discovering he was in jail at the time of the crime.

But he’s still not a free man. The Houston, Texas, felon remains in jail faced with five more robbery charges.

“He learned from his trouble. But he did have a record and I believe that is what kind of got him into trouble now, ” Larry Montgomery, 58, told ABCNews.com. “Some of the people involved [in the cases] knew him from the past, from the neighborhood, and I believe had personal vendettas against him.”

LaDondrell Montgomery, 36, has had several stints behind bars, starting in his twenties, which made it difficult for him to remember whether he was in jail or out on a particular date.

His life sentence for armed robbery, which he received in November, was overturned last Thursday after his attorney realized he had an air tight alibi. He was in jail at the time of the crime.

“My son had previously been in and out of incarceration before and had trouble remembering the dates,” the elder Montgomery said.

LaDondrell Montgomery might not have known where he was on Dec. 13, 2009, but he knew one place where he was not- the check cashing store that was held up by an armed robber.

He insisted throughout the trial that he was not the man in the surveillance footage that was used to convict him and sentence him to life in prison.

Montgomery’s life sentence was thrown out after his attorney, Ronald Ray, scoured his rap sheet and realized he had been in jail at the time on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge and hadn’t been released until nine hours after the crime.

State District Judge Mark Kent Ellis chided Ray and Assistant Harris County District Attorney Alison Baimbridge for being “spectacularly incompetent,” according to the Houston Chronicle.

Baimbridge was unavailable for comment, but told the newspaper that prosecutors are typically barred from questioning suspects.

“That information, everyone would assume, would come from the person in custody,” she said.

Ray told the newspaper the barb didn’t bother him.

“I have freed a man from a life sentence, so if you want to say I’m incompetent for doing that, I’ll accept that with a smile,” he said.

For now, Larry Montgomery, who is a bishop with the Nation of God Ministries, said he hopes his son will be exonerated of the other counts and will return to being a productive member of society, something his father said he trying to do.

“He got married and he had a child,” Montgomery said. “He went to work for the Harris County Flood Control. Every day, all the time. He was trying to turn his life around as a family man.”

It’s unclear whether Montgomery has discovered five more iron-clad alibis to get him out of trouble this time.

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Obama Administration Hides Facts On Murdered Border Patrol Agent Amid Disgraced US Attorney General Eric Holder’s Testimony About His Department Supplying Mexican Drug Cartels With Firearms

November 30, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC – And to think that Attorney General Eric Holder is getting testy about congressional calls for his resignation. After all, the Justice Department has nothing to hide, right?

The Obama Administration has abruptly sealed court records containing alarming details of how Mexican drug smugglers murdered a U.S. Border patrol agent with a gun connected to a failed federal experiment that allowed firearms to be smuggled into Mexico.

This means information will now be kept from the public as well as the media. Could this be a cover-up on the part of the “most transparent” administration in history? After all, the rifle used to kill the federal agent (Brian Terry) last December in Arizona’s Peck Canyon was part of the now infamous Operation Fast and Furious. Conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the disastrous scheme allowed guns to be smuggled into Mexico so they could eventually be traced to drug cartels.

The murder of a U.S. Border Patrol agent is related to a Justice Department willingly turning over thousands of guns to Mexican criminal gangs, and Obama administration is hiding information about his death from the public. Amazing.

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Not Guilty: Queens New York Prosecutors Targeted Battered Woman – Former Police Officer Husband Abused Her For Many Years

October 7, 2011

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – She had always admitted to killing her husband, using two guns to fire 11 bullets inside the couple’s home in Queens. But she insisted she had no choice: if she had not shot him, he would have surely killed her first.

On Thursday, a jury in State Supreme Court in Queens agreed, clearing the woman, Barbara Sheehan, of second-degree murder charges in a case that had been viewed as a strenuous test of a battered-woman defense. Her son and daughter, the children of her slain husband, wept with joy.

During the trial, the jury heard how Ms. Sheehan had been relentlessly abused by her husband, Raymond Sheehan, a former police sergeant, during their 24 years of marriage. But the critical question at trial was whether Ms. Sheehan was in imminent danger when she killed her husband; New York State’s self-defense law justifies the use of lethal force when a threat to a person’s life is deemed immediate.

The trial offered two narratives so diametrically opposed that jurors said it had often been difficult to decipher who the real Barbara Sheehan was.

In one version, Ms. Sheehan and her children testified that Mr. Sheehan smashed her head against a cinder-block wall during a family vacation in Jamaica in 2007, threw boiling pasta sauce at her and punched her in the face the evening before the killing took place in their Howard Beach home in February 2008.

But prosecutors characterized Ms. Sheehan as a pathological liar who executed her husband because she despised him after years of a sexless, dysfunctional marriage, and then cloaked herself in a false story of chronic abuse to escape justice.

The physical evidence appeared unpersuasive: Mr. Sheehan had been shaving before he was killed; his body was found on the bathroom floor, the faucet still running.

Ms. Sheehan testified that the couple had a fierce argument the day before, and she had decided to leave, carrying one of her husband’s guns for protection. When her husband saw her, she said, he reached for a gun on the bathroom vanity and aimed it at her.

Ms. Sheehan and her children burst into tears when the verdict was announced, and her lawyer, Michael G. Dowd, put his arms around her. Her supporters, adorned in purple in solidarity with victims of domestic violence, began cheering.

The killing had divided the Sheehan family. Mr. Sheehan’s twin brother sat alone on one side of the courtroom, while Ms. Sheehan’s children and various supporters sat on the other side. The case had also divided the jury: a day before the verdict was reached, the jurors said they were hopelessly deadlocked.

Nonetheless, the jury of nine women and three men unexpectedly reached a consensus on Thursday, in their third day of deliberations. Ms. Sheehan was acquitted of murder and of a gun possession charge, but was found guilty of a second gun possession charge, which carries a sentence of 3 1/2 to 15 years. The judge ordered her to return to court on Wednesday, when she will be remanded into custody. Her sentencing will follow.

Outside the courtroom, Ms. Sheehan, a school secretary, could not contain her tears, clasping the hands of her children. Mr. Dowd said she would not be speaking and wanted to spend time with her family.

“There is no joy today,” he said. “The only thing that can bring joy to this family would be to bring them back 17 years before the first blow was struck.”

In an interview, the jury forewoman, Barbara Fleisher, said jurors ultimately decided to exonerate Ms. Sheehan of murder because the family’s accounts of chronic and vicious abuse had rung true. She said they had believed that Ms. Sheehan reasonably feared she faced an imminent threat of bodily harm when she shot her husband the first time.

“We believed she was justified with all the things she went through over the years,” she said. “We didn’t believe that Raymond Sheehan was the perfect family man or the photographs that were supposed to make him look like a pillar.”

She said that the jury had decided, however, to find Ms. Sheehan guilty of possessing the second weapon, since she had shot her husband even after he no longer posed a danger. The verdict, she indicated, was something of a compromise.

Ms. Sheehan’s son, Raymond Sheehan, said he was happy that his mother had been exonerated of murder, but added, “We don’t want her to go back to jail.”

Mr. Sheehan’s twin brother, Vincent Sheehan, said it was a “bad verdict.”

Asked if his brother would be able to rest in peace, he said: “I think the truth is what makes you rest in peace — not what 12 citizens say about it. But this is the system and you’ve got to live with it.”

“People make decisions based on emotion,” he added.

Ms. Fleisher said the jury’s impasse had been overcome once jurors agreed that they had several doubts about the prosecution’s case. In particular, she said the jury doubted the attempt to show that Mr. Sheehan’s bizarre sexual behavior, which included forcing his wife to watch while he masturbated dressed in an adult diaper, had been a motive for a murderous rage.

Legal experts said the verdict was a vindication for the so-called battered-woman defense. Under this strategy the battered woman chronicles her abuse in intimate and graphic detail with the aim of convincing the jury that she reasonably feared for her life based on her abuser’s past behavior.

“The case is a good marker of the willingness of jurors to realize that a history of abuse can inform a woman’s sense of the need to act in self-defense,” said Holly Maguigan, a law professor at New York University.

Richard A. Brown, the Queens district attorney, said the case was a cautionary tale that those claiming domestic abuse should not take the law into their own hands. “This is a terribly sad and tragic case,” Mr. Brown said. “A family has been torn apart. Their two children will have to pick up the pieces.”

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U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Changes His Story With Respect To His Department Supplying Guns To Medican Drug Cartels

October 5, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC – New documents obtained by CBS News show Attorney General Eric Holder was sent briefings on the controversial Fast and Furious operation as far back as July 2010. That directly contradicts his statement to Congress.

On May 3, 2011, Holder told a Judiciary Committee hearing, “I’m not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.”

Yet internal Justice Department documents show that at least ten months before that hearing, Holder began receiving frequent memos discussing Fast and Furious.

The documents came from the head of the National Drug Intelligence Center and Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer.

In Fast and Furious, ATF agents allegedly allowed thousands of weapons to cross the border and fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels.

It’s called letting guns “walk,” and it remained secret to the public until Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered last December. Two guns from Fast and Furious were found at the scene, and ATF agent John Dodson blew the whistle on the operation.

Agent: I was ordered to let guns “walk” into Mexico

Ever since, the Justice Department has publicly tried to distance itself. But the new documents leave no doubt that high level Justice officials knew guns were being “walked.”

Two Justice Department officials mulled it over in an email exchange Oct. 18, 2010. “It’s a tricky case given the number of guns that have walked but is a significant set of prosecutions,” says Jason Weinstein, Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division. Deputy Chief of the National Gang Unit James Trusty replies “I’m not sure how much grief we get for ‘guns walking.’ It may be more like, “Finally they’re going after people who sent guns down there.”

The Justice Department told CBS News that the officials in those emails were talking about a different case started before Eric Holder became Attorney General. And tonight they tell CBS News, Holder misunderstood that question from the committee – he did know about Fast and Furious – just not the details.

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New York Prosecutor Alisha Smith Suspended For Moonlighting As A S&M Dominatrix

September 19, 2011

NEW YORK – A lawyer for the New York State Attorney General’s Office has been suspended after the New York Post inquired about word that she was leading a double life as an S&M dominatrix.

Alisha Smith, 36, had been working as a prosecutor by day and as a paid performer for fetish events in her free time, the Post reports it learned from a source active in New York’s fetish world. The office suspended Smith after the Post inquired about her extracurricular activities.

Smith has been suspended without pay, effective immediately, pending an internal investigation, the Post quoted an unnamed spokesman for state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman as saying.

The spokesman would not elaborate on the reason for the suspension.

An executive order in the attorney general’s office stipulates that employees must “obtain prior approval … before engaging in any outside pursuit … from which more than $1,000 will be received or is anticipated to be received,” the Post reports.

Smith has been working in securities fraud, and three years ago, then-Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (now the governor) praised her for her role in obtaining a $5 million settlement from Bank of America and other firms in a securities fraud case, the Post reports.

The Post approached Smith outside of her Manhattan home and she declined to comment. Her lawyer, Marshall Mintz, also would not comment.

On Aug. 5, Smith sent out a post via Twitter in which she shared her experience trying to find the best price for a fetish product, the Post reports.

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Crazed Feds Charge Man With Shooting Grizzly Bear, On His Own Property, That Was Threatening Children And Pets

August 24, 2011

COEUR d’ALENE, IDAHO – A man charged with unlawfully shooting and killing a grizzly bear had so many supporters at his arraignment Tuesday in federal court that the judge had to move the hearing to a larger courtroom.

Even there, every seat was taken as his family, friends and neighbors, young and old, squeezed in.

Jeremy M. Hill, 33, pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court to killing the animal with a rifle on his 20-acre property near Porthill, Idaho, at the Canadian border. He lives five miles from the closest grizzly bear recovery zone.

The grizzly bear is classified as a threatened species in the lower 48 states, according to the Endangered Species Act, and protected by federal law. Hill’s charge is a misdemeanor.

Magistrate Judge Candy Dale set trial, at least for now, for Oct. 4.

Hill has declined comment. His lawyer, Marc Lyons of Coeur d’Alene, said he plans to defend Hill on the basis of self-defense and protection of family.

Following the hearing, his father, Mike Hill, of Athol, said, “This whole thing is a waste of taxpayer money.”

He said his son was concerned for the safety of his children playing outside when a mother grizzly and two cubs wandered onto his property on May 8.

Jeremy Hill has six kids, ranging in age from 14 years old to 10 months old. At least five were home when the grizzly was killed, Mike Hill said.

The bears had gone after some pigs in a pen that the kids had been raising, Mike Hill said.

He said his son shot one of the bears, then called authorities to notify them of the kill. The other two bears ran off.

He said his son could have just buried the animal and not said anything to law enforcement. He said his son is being penalized for coming forward.

State Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, attended the hearing in full support of Jeremy Hill.

“The charges are simply unjust,” she said following the hearing. “Hopefully common sense will prevail. It’s clearly an issue of protecting the family.”

She predicted that punishing someone who reported killing a grizzly will damage government efforts to protect the animals.

She said nearly $20,000 was raised by community members for Hill’s defense.

Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, was asked about the case while appearing in Sandpoint on Tuesday.

While Labrador said he needed to be careful in dealing with the prosecutorial side of things, he did have this to say:

“Clearly, we have a problem with the ESA when situations like this happen.” He later added, “We’re doing everything we can to make sure this man is treated fairly.”

The Boundary County commissioners on Monday said they are standing beside Hill on the charge, saying in a statement that Hill had “not only the right, but the obligation to protect his children and his family.”

The commissioners said they’ll be seeking help from Idaho Gov. Butch Otter and Idaho’s congressional delegation to get the charge dismissed.

The charge of killing a threatened species is punishable by up to a year in prison, a maximum fine of $50,000, and up to one year of supervised release.

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Murder Conviction Tossed After King County Washington Prosecutor James Konat’s Racist Comments Attacking Defense Witnesses

June 10, 2011

KING COUNTY, WASHINGTON – The state Supreme Court has thrown out a man’s murder conviction in a 2006 gang-related shooting in Pioneer Square, ruling that the prosecutor who tried the case resorted to “racist arguments” to attack defense witnesses.

The court, in an 8-1 ruling, found that James Konat, a veteran King County deputy prosecutor now trying a high-profile murder case, engaged in “prosecutorial misconduct” in questioning witnesses during the trial of Kevin L. Monday Jr., who was convicted in 2007 of first-degree murder and first-degree assault, and sentenced to 64 years in prison.

During the trial, Konat questioned witnesses, many of them black, about a purported street “code” that he claimed prevented some from talking to the police, according to the Supreme Court’s majority opinion written by Justice Tom Chambers. In questioning some witnesses, Konat made references to the “PO-leese,” the justices found.

During his closing argument to jurors, Konat also said that while witnesses denied the presence of such a code, “the code is black folk don’t testify against black folk. You don’t snitch to the police,” according to the Supreme Court decision.

Monday, 25, is black; Konat is white.

Monday appealed the conviction on a number of grounds, claiming that Konat “made a blatant and inappropriate appeal to racial prejudice and undermined the credibility of African-American witnesses based on their race,” according to the Supreme Court.

The state Court of Appeals agreed that Konat had appealed to racial prejudice during the trial, but upheld Monday’s conviction.

But the Supreme Court, in Thursday’s ruling, cited Konat’s comments as grounds for the conviction to be overturned, saying that they cast doubt on the credibility of the witnesses based on their race. One justice called the deputy prosecutor’s comments “repugnant.”

“Defendants are among the people the prosecutor represents. The prosecutor owes a duty to defendants to see that their rights to a constitutionally fair trial are not violated,” Chambers wrote.

“The State repeatedly invoked an alleged African American, anti-snitch code to discount the credibility of his own witnesses … it is deeply troubling that an experienced prosecutor who, by his own account, had been a prosecutor for 18 years would resort to such tactics,” the ruling said.

The justices contend that the only reason that Konat used the pronunciation “PO-leese” was to “subtly, and likely deliberately, call to the jury’s attention that the witness was African American.”

Justice James M. Johnson, the lone dissenter, said that even if Konat’s comments “arguably tainted the jury’s impressions,” the murder case still was proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

Seattle police said that Monday fired at least 10 shots at Francisco Roche Green near the corner of Yesler Way and Occidental Avenue South in the early hours of April 22, 2006. Monday was also accused of firing gunshots at a vehicle and wounding the driver and a passenger. The incident was caught on video by a street musician who was in the area when shots were fired.

King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg said he spoke with Konat after the trial and told him his comments were unacceptable. In response, all deputy prosecutors have been through retraining about potential prosecutorial misconduct, Satterberg said on Thursday.

Konat, 53, could not be reached Thursday to comment.

He is lead prosecutor in the trial of Isaiah Kalebu, who is charged with aggravated murder in the slaying of Teresa Butz and the rape of her partner in their South Park home in July 2009.

A spokesman for Satterberg’s office said Konat was not formally disciplined.

Konat’s words “do not represent the view of this office. It was regrettable,” Satterberg said. He called Konat’s method of explaining the so-called “code” in which witnesses don’t talk to prosecutors or police “inartful and offensive.”

But in response to Monday’s appeal in 2008, the Prosecutor’s Office maintained that Konat hadn’t done anything wrong.

“The prosecutor’s comment in final argument that ‘Black folk don’t testify against black folk’ was nothing more than a summary of evidence in the case, consistent with the realities of the lack of cooperation and hostility by most of the transactional witnesses who testified. This was not prosecutorial misconduct,” according to the filing written by now-retired Senior Deputy Prosecutor Lee Yates.

Satterberg said Monday will be retried, but a different deputy prosecutor will be assigned to the case.

Sarah Dunne, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Western Washington, which filed a brief in support of Monday’s appeal, said Konat’s “behavior undermined the right to a fair trial.”

Defense attorney Nancy Collins, who represented Monday in his appeals, said in an email Thursday that it’s “unfortunate that any prosecutor needed to be reminded of these basic principles in our justice system.”

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Chicago State’s Attorney Lets Bad Cops Slide, Prosecutes Citizens/Victims Who Record Them

June 9, 2011

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – When Chicago police answered a domestic disturbance call at the home of Tiawanda Moore and her boyfriend in July 2010, the officers separated the couple to question them individually. Moore was interviewed privately in her bedroom. According to Moore, the officer who questioned her then came on to her, groped her breast and slipped her his home phone number.

Robert Johnson, Moore’s attorney, says that when Moore and her boyfriend attempted to report the incident to internal affairs officials at the Chicago Police Department, the couple wasn’t greeted warmly. “They discouraged her from filing a report,” Johnson says. “They gave her the runaround, scared her, and tried to intimidate her from reporting this officer — from making sure he couldn’t go on to do this to other women.”

Ten months later, Chicago PD is still investigating the incident. Moore, on the other hand, was arrested the very same afternoon.

Her crime? At some point in her conversations with internal affairs investigators, Moore grew frustrated with their attempts to intimidate her. So she began to surreptitiously record the interactions on her Blackberry. In Illinois, it is illegal to record people without their consent, even (and as it turns out, especially) on-duty police officers.

“This is someone who is already scared from being harassed by an officer in uniform,” said Johnson. “If the police won’t even take her complaint, how else is a victim of police abuse supposed to protect herself?”

Moore’s case has inspired outrage from anti-domestic abuse groups. “We just had two Chicago police officers indicted for sexual assault, there have been several other cases of misconduct against women,” says Melissa Spatz of the Chicago Task Force on Violence Against Girls & Young Women. “And now you have Moore, who was trying to report this guy, and she gets arrested. The message here is that victims of unwanted sexual advances by police officers have no recourse — that the police can act with impunity.”

If the Chicago cops recently indicted for sexual assault are convicted, they’ll face four to 15 years in prison. That’s the same sentence Tiawanda Moore is facing for trying to document her frustrations while reporting her own alleged sexual assault: Recording an on-duty police officer in Illinois is a Class 1 felony, the same class of crimes as rape.

ILLINOIS’ PROBLEM WITH PRIVACY

Last summer the U.S. media took note of several stories about citizens arrested for photographing or recording on-duty police officers. National coverage of these incidents has since died down, but the arrests haven’t stopped.

Some of these arrests have come under decades-old wiretapping laws that never anticipated the use of cellphones equipped with cameras and audio recording applications. Others have come under vaguer catch-all charges like refusing to obey a lawful order, disorderly conduct, or interfering with a police officer. In both cases, the charges rarely stick, and in most cases, it’s the cops themselves who are violating the law.

The media have largely done a poor job reporting on what the law actually is in these states. Technically, so long as a person isn’t physically interfering with an on-duty police officer, it’s legal to record the officer in every state but Massachusetts and Illinois. Arrests still happen in other states, but there’s little legal justification for them, and the charges are usually dropped, or never filed at all.

But Illinois is the one state where the law clearly forbids citizens from recording of on-duty cops. And so it seems likely that if the Supreme Court or a federal appeals court does eventually decide if pointing a camera at a cop is protected by the First Amendment (so far, they haven’t), the case will come from Illinois. (Courts in Massachusetts have generally held that secretly recording police is illegal, but recording them openly isn’t.)

Illinois’ wiretapping law wasn’t always this bad. Originally, the statute included a provision found in most other state wiretapping laws stating that, in order for someone to be prosecuted for recording a conversation, the offended party must have had a reasonable expectation that the conversation was private.

Watch: The Government’s War On Cameras

So far, every court in the country to have considered the issue has found that on-duty cops have no such expectation of privacy. This makes sense. Police not only work for the public, they’re also entrusted with enormous power: They can arrest citizens and detain them or kill them.

In 1986, the Illinois Supreme Court threw out the eavesdropping conviction of a man who had recorded two police officers from the back of a patrol car for just that reason. The court ruled that the officers had no expectation of privacy.

So in 1994 the Illinois state legislature removed the wiretap law’s privacy provision. It was an explicit effort to override the decision eight years earlier. Technically the amended law covers everyone — anyone whose voice is recorded without their permission, for any reason, could file a complaint and ask to press charges — but it’s used almost exclusively to protect police.

So far, HuffPost has yet to find anyone who has actually been convicted under the law. Instead, police arrest and charge someone they catch recording them, but the charges are dropped or reduced to misdemeanors before trial.

In 2004, for example, documentary filmmaker Patrick Johnson was arrested under the law while recording footage for a movie about relations between blacks and police in the Illinois cities of Champaign and Urbana. Johnson fought the charges with help from the state affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). But after the district attorney who was prosecuting him lost in the next election, the new prosecutor dismissed the charges.

THE STATE v. CITIZENS

An actual conviction under the eavesdropping law would likely bring a constitutional challenge, which could well lead to the law being overturned in court. It could also lead to the U.S. Supreme Court or the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit more broadly affirming a First Amendment right to record police, which of course would have ramifications outside of Illinois.

As long as no one is convicted, the law is unlikely to be challenged. That means police can continue to rely on it to harass and intimidate citizens who try to hold them accountable, or who want an independent record of what they believe to be police harassment.

Moore’s case may prove to be just the opportunity free speech advocates are looking for. But her case was continued again this week, despite the fact that she’s been asking for months to go to trial.

The person pursuing the charges against Moore is Anita Alvarez, the state’s attorney for Cook County, home to Chicago. (Alvarez’s office declined to comment for this report.)

It’s difficult to think of another big city in America where citizens would be more justified in wanting an objective account of an interaction with a police officer. At about the time Moore’s story hit the pages of The New York Times earlier this year, for example, former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison for lying under oath about his role in the routine torture of hundreds of suspects in police interrogation rooms for more than a decade. Nearly everyone else involved in the tortures, including the police commanders and prosecutors who helped cover them up, couldn’t be prosecuted due to statutes of limitations.

Over the last few years, surveillance video has also exposed a number of police abuses in Chicago, including one episode in which an off-duty cop savagely beat a female bartender who had refused to continue serving him. He was sentenced to probation.

In 2008, the city made national headlines with another major scandal in which officers in the department’s Special Operations Unit — alleged to be made up of the most elite and trusted cops in Chicago — were convicted of a variety of crimes, including physical abuse and intimidation, home robberies, theft and planning a murder.

In a study published the same year, University of Chicago Law Professor Craig B. Futterman found 10,000 complaints filed against Chicago police officers between 2002 and 2004, more than any city in the country. When adjusted for population, that’s still about 40 percent above the national average. Even more troubling, of those 10,000 complaints, just 19 resulted in any significant disciplinary action. In 85 percent of complaints, the police department cleared the accused officer without even bothering to interview him.

Yet Alvarez feels it necessary to devote time and resources to prosecuting Chicagoans who, given the figures and anecdotes above, feel compelled to hit the record button when confronted by a city cop.

In addition to Moore’s, there are two other cases that may present an opportunity to challenge the Illinois law. One is that of Michael Allison.

This Robinson, Ill., man is facing four counts of violating the eavesdropping law for the recordings he made of police officers and a judge. Allison was suing the city to challenge a local zoning ordinance that prevented him from enjoying his hobby fixing up old cars: The municipal government was seizing his cars from his property and forcing him to pay to have them returned. Allison believed the local police were harassing him in retaliation for his lawsuit, so he began to record his conversations with them.

When Allison was eventually charged with violating the zoning ordinance, he asked for a court reporter to ensure there would be a record of his trial. He was told that misdemeanor charges didn’t entitle him to a court reporter. So Allison told court officials he’d be recording his trial with a digital recorder.

When Allison walked into the courtroom the day of his trial, the judge had him arrested for allegedly violating her right to privacy. Police then confiscated Allison’s digital recorder, where they also found the recordings he’d made of his conversations with cops.

Allison has no prior criminal record. If convicted, he faces up to 75 years in prison.

In a hearing last week, Allison argued that the Illinois eavesdropping case was a violation of the First Amendment. The judge ordered a continuance so that the office of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan can prepare a response. (Madigan’s office did not respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.)

The other case to challenge the wiretap law is that of Christopher Drew, an artist who was arrested in December 2009 for selling art without a permit on the streets of Chicago. Drew recorded his arrest, and now faces four to 15 years for documenting the incident.

In a hearing last December, Cook County Assistant State Attorney Jeff Allen invoked homeland security, arguing that Drew’s recording could have picked up police discussing anti-terrorism tactics. Drew’s case was suspended after he was diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year.

Both Allison and Drew say they won’t accept the sort of plea bargain Illinois prosecutors have offered in the past. Both say they’re willing to risk prison time to get the law overturned.

THE IMPORTANCE OF TRANSPARENCY

The ACLU of Illinois is also challenging the law. But in January, U.S. District Court Judge Suzanne B. Conlon ruled against the organization. Conlon wrote that the First Amendment does not protect citizens who record the police. The ACLU has appealed and expects to participate in oral arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit sometime in the fall.

In a report released just this month, the United Nations noted the importance of Internet access and personal technology in facilitating the recent Arab Spring uprisings in the Middle East. Technology has given citizens all over the world a remarkable and historic tool to bring transparency to the most brutal and oppressive governments.

But even as Americans have criticized those countries for attempting to prevent protesters from uploading photo, video, blog posts and Twitter accounts of government crackdowns, government officials in the U.S. are still arresting, threatening, intimidating and harassing Americans who attempt to document police abuse in America. (See this example over Memorial Day in Miami.)

No, America isn’t Egypt or Yemen or Iran. But while the scale of the suppression is different, the premise is the same: When a citizen and a police officer have a confrontation, the police officer’s narrative has always given deference by prosecutors, judges and juries — in the same way governments in more oppressive parts of the world have the power to project their own version of events as truth.

Citizens in America and across the globe now have the ability to preserve and present a more objective narrative. This is a positive thing — for democracy, for good government and for a fairer criminal justice system. U.S. courts and legislatures need to make it abundantly, unambiguously clear that not only do citizens have the right to record on-duty police officers, but that cops and prosecutors who violate that right will be held accountable.

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Henderson Nevada City Attorney Elizabeth Quillin Arrested After Drunken Wreck And Leaving The Scene – “I Am F*cked Up”

May 26, 2011

HENDERSON, NEVADA – The city attorney of Henderson told police she had been drinking “bottles” of wine and acknowledged she was intoxicated after crashing her sport utility vehicle into landscaping and a fire hydrant in the middle of the afternoon, according to a police report made public Tuesday.

Elizabeth Quillin, 51, was arrested after witnesses told police that she crashed a second time trying to drive her damaged Lexus RX400 away and then trying to walk away from the 2:50 p.m. Monday crash across Paseo Verde from the Green Valley Ranch Resort, Spa & Casino.

Henderson police said no one was hurt in the crashes, and bystanders stayed with an “unsteady” Quillin until police arrived.

“Quillin admitted to drinking ‘bottles’ of wine, and when I asked if she felt the effects, she stated, ‘Yes, I am (expletive) up,’” Henderson Police Officer Robert Honea wrote.

Quillin was arrested on driving under the influence of alcohol, leaving the scene of an accident and open container of alcohol in a vehicle charges.

She spent almost 12 hours in the Henderson city jail before being released pending a June 20 appearance in Henderson Justice Court. It wasn’t immediately clear if Quillin had a lawyer.

Because of her job, her case is expected to be handled by an outside judge and prosecutor.

Henderson spokesman Bud Cranor told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that Quillin has been placed on paid leave from the city attorney job she held since June 2009, and officials were investigating whether she was on city business, on vacation or had been scheduled to work Monday.

Witnesses told police that Quillin was making a left turn onto Carnegie Street when the SUV went off the road. A witness told police the vehicle backed up and then nearly struck her as it lurched forward and sideswiped her parked car, ran up on a curb and hit a tree.

Quillin allegedly got out and started to walk away before police arrived.

Honea reported that a 1.5-liter bottle of chardonnay, open and nearly empty, was found in Quillin’s vehicle.

Quillin’s job entails providing legal representation to the mayor and the City Council of Nevada’s second-largest city, and supervising city criminal prosecutors and civil attorneys. Her base salary is $190,000 a year.

She previously worked as chief deputy attorney general for southern Nevada under then-state Attorney General Brian Sandoval and as assistant county Clark County manager. Sandoval is now governor.

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Clark County Nevada Deputy District Attorney David Schubert Quits After Being Caught Buying Cocaine – Prosecuted Paris Hilton And Bruno Mars

April 1, 2011

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – David Schubert, a Clark County deputy district attorney who prosecuted a pair of high-profile celebrity drug cases, has resigned following his arrest last month on charges of cocaine possession, according to a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office.

Schubert was arrested March 19 in the neighborhood of Lisbon Avenue and Cambridge Street.

Police said the 47-year-old was dropping off and picking up a man who later admitted he was buying drugs for Schubert. Cocaine was found in Schubert’s BMW, according to police.

Recently, Schubert was a prosecutor in drug cases against celebrities Paris Hilton and Bruno Mars. Both took plea deals to avoid jail time.

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Former Calumet County Wisconsin Prosecutor Ken Kratz Not Charged After Racy Text Messages To Domestic Assault Victim – More Than A Dozen Woman Reported Sexual Assault And Misconduct

March 28, 2011

MADISON, WISCONSIN –  A former prosecutor accused of sending racy text messages to a domestic abuse victim is not going to face criminal charges, the Wisconsin Justice Department announced Monday.

State investigators looked into allegations from more than a dozen women that former Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz committed sexual assault and misconduct in office, the department said.

“His conduct appears to fit the connotation of ‘misconduct’ and demonstrates inappropriate behavior but does not satisfy the elements required to prosecute,” wrote Assistant Attorney General Tom Storm, who led the investigation.

Kratz’s attorney, Robert Bellin, said he was pleased with the decision. He said his office is investigating whether people lied to hurt Kratz.

“I think it’s obviously the right decision,” Bellin said of the decision not to file charges. “I don’t think we were that worried about it. We think that there were statements from individuals who came forward who were not completely truthful.”

Kratz resigned from his $105,000 per year position in October after The Associated Press reported he had sent 30 text messages to a domestic abuse victim trying to strike up an affair while he prosecuted her ex-boyfriend on a strangulation charge. Kratz, who was 50 at the time, called 26-year-old Stephanie Van Groll “a hot nymph” and asked if she was “the kind of girl that likes secret contact with an older married DA.”

Van Groll complained to police and Kratz was removed from the case. The Justice Department investigated at the time but decided not to file charges. Kratz was instead ordered to self-report the messages to the Office of Lawyer Regulation, a separate state entity that reviews attorneys’ conduct. The office declined to discipline Kratz, saying he hadn’t violated any rules.

Pressure mounted on Kratz to resign after Van Groll’s allegations became public. Then-Gov. Jim Doyle began removal procedures against him and other people began coming forward with accusations. The Justice Department and the lawyer regulation office both reopened investigations.

The Justice Department on Monday released its case summary, which said 15 women, including Van Groll, filed complaints against Kratz.

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Monroe County Tennessee Sheriff’s Detectives Doug Brannon And Pat Henry Posed As Attorneys Trying To Get Incriminating Information From A Defendant

March 9, 2011

MONROE COUNTY, TENNESSEE – It seems that in 2008, Monroe County Sheriff’s Detectives Doug Brannon and Pat Henry actually posed as a federal defense attorney in an attempt to get incriminating information out of suspect John Edward Dawson, who was in jail on a host of charges, including theft and drug distribution. Not only that, but in doing so, they also talked Dawson into refusing to cooperate with his public defender and to plead guilty to the charges against him. They communicated with Dawson via a jailhouse informant.

Dawson’s public defender was so taken aback by his assurances to her that he had a “federal lawyer” who had worked out all of his charges, that she actually asked for a psychiatric evaluation. When all this came to light, Dawson’s (real) attorney asked for a continuance in his case so she could assess the damage. Remarkably, Tennessee Tenth Judicial Judge Amy Reedy refused the request, ruling that Dawson made “a real dumb decision” and that he had “picked his poison.”

The appeals court disagreed.

[T]he conduct of the law enforcement officers in this case, and in particular Detective Henry, is so egregious that it simply cannot go unchecked. That Detective Henry would illegally pose as an attorney and arrange the circumstances of the defendant’s case to make it appear as though he had successfully undertaken legal representation of the defendant is abhorrent. That the detective would specifically instruct the defendant not to communicate the relationship to his appointed counsel, in what we can only assume was an effort to enlarge the time for the detective to gain incriminating information from the defendant, renders completely reprehensible the state action in this case. Given the unconscionable behavior of the state actors in this case and the fact that the defendant was essentially prevented from proving prejudice through no fault of his own, we have no trouble concluding that the only appropriate remedy in this case is the dismissal of all the indictments.

According to KnoxNews.com, Monroe County Sheriff Bill Bivens and DA Steven Bebb had some knowledge of the ruse, but did nothing to stop it.

During a hearing on the issue, Sheriff Bivens testified that he was vaguely aware of Henry’s plot and did not see “a problem with it,” adding, however that “if it’s illegal, of course, I don’t want to do it.” Bivens did not order a probe of Henry’s actions or take any disciplinary action; nor did Bebb initiate charges of impersonating a lawyer.

Instead, Bebb successfully persuaded Judge Reedy to overlook it all.

Accountability tally: Henry apparently now works as a securities investigator for Regions Bank. From what I can tell, Brannon still works for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department. Reedy, Bivens, and Bebb are all still on the job.

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$750,000 Lawsuit Charges FBI And Justice Department With Hiding Public Documents After Destruction Of Ferrari F50 – FBI Agent Frederick C Kingston And Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Hamilton Thompson Crashed During Joyride

February 24, 2011

ROSEMONT, PENNSYLVANIA – The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Justice have landed themselves in hot water over the destruction of a Ferrari F50. According to The Detroit News, the vehicle was reported stolen from a dealership in Rosemont, Pennsylvania in 2003, and the dealer made and insurance claim for the sum of $750,000 at that time. Michigan-based Motors Insurance Corp. shelled out the cash, and in August 2008, the FBI recovered the vehicle in Kentucky. At that time, the FBI stored the vehicle while waiting to prosecute the thief, at least until someone at the bureau decided to use it for a little local arbor work.

The Ferrari F50 lost control and struck a tree with an FBI special agent behind the wheel in May of 2009, and Motors Insurance Corp. subsequently filed a claim to both the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice for the full $750,000. Both parties rejected the claim under the pretense that the Ferrari was being detained by the FBI at the time of the incident.

The insurance company then set about submitting Freedom of Information Act requests for documents pertaining to the storage, transportation and handling of the Italian exotic, most of which were denied under federal exemptions or outright ignored. The company did manage to get a hold of one email that said that U.S. Assistant Attorney J. Hamilton Thompson rode with Special Agent Frederick C. Kingston on the day of the accident and that the vehicle fishtailed and slid sideways shortly after leaving the FBI storage warehouse.

Motors Insurance Corp. is now suing both the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI to release the rest of the documents pertaining to the vehicle.

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Seattle Washington Firefighter Mark Jones Awarded $13 Million Despite Video Of Him Chopping Wood, Playing Horseshoes, And Dancing – City Lawyers Took Too Long To Investigate Mans Injury Claims

October 19, 2010

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – A King County Superior Court judge refused Monday to vacate a nearly $13 million award to a Seattle firefighter who was injured at a fire station in 2003.

The city of Seattle appealed the award after an investigator it hired captured Mark Jones on surveillance video dancing, chopping wood, playing horseshoes and bocce ball this past spring.

But in Monday’s ruling, Judge Susan Craighead said the city had ample time and means to have pursued evidence of Jones’ condition since the case was brought forward in 2006, but failed to do so.

“The city devoted little effort to investigating this case until its third set of lawyers was retained in early 2009,” Craighead wrote in her ruling. She wrote that the city never asked to have Jones examined independently by any medical doctors to verify any of his physical complaints, instead relying only on evaluations from Labor and Industries physicians.

“The city cannot now take a second bite of the apple because it failed to make the most of the first,” Craighead said.

The city had also claimed the video proved Jones was fraudulently portraying the effects of his injuries to the jury, but Craighead said proving fraud requires a very high level of proof, and the video could not conclusively prove Jones was not suffering from mental effects that were a large part of the documented injuries relevant to his claim.

In 2009, a jury agreed Jones was permanently disabled at a fire station when he fell 15 feet through an opening near the fire pole in the middle of the night. He was awarded nearly $12.8 million, which included almost $2.5 million for lifetime medical care and assistance. Jones claimed he was permanently disabled and in constant pain.

“That’s what my day consists of. It’s just such a struggle from the point when I get up, I’m trying to get going through it,” Jones said during testimony.

But Jones’ attorney, Dick Kilpatrick, claims it has always been accepted that his client could perform daily tasks; it was his brain injury that called for such a large award, he said.

“We never claimed at trial, like the defense is trying to show, that he somehow is unable to do most things of daily life. The jury was told he was able to do most things of daily life,” Kilpatrick said after the city’s appeal was filed. “There was bleeding in two parts of his brain that were documented at Harborview (Medical Center). So that’s what the case was primarily about. It wasn’t about a person who’s practically an invalid, or whatever.”

The attorneys representing the city said Monday they had no comment on the substance of the court’s decision.

“We stand by the materials we filed on behalf of the City in superior court. We expect this ruling will become part of the City’s appeal from the judgment, which is already pending in the court of appeals.”

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Nutcase Veteran Miami-Dade Florida Prosecutor David Ranck Arrested, Suspended, Charged After Attacking Pizza Delivery Woman

June 2, 2009

MIAMI, FLORIDA – Veteran Miami-Dade prosecutor David Ranck faces battery charges after an alleged scuffle with a pizza delivery woman on Saturday during a delivery that went horribly wrong.

It’s the second report of prosecutors gone wild in the past week. A Broward County prosecutor was arrested late last week for punching a cop in the back of the head during a barroom fight.

At least he picked on a man.

According to police reports, Ranck and the unidentified woman got into a shouting match when the delivery person couldn’t get into the attorney’s gated community. After a bit of shouting that woke the neighbors, the woman told Ranck to come downstairs if he wanted his pizza.

Ranck did and punched the woman in the arm, Miami-Dade police said. He also knocked off her snazzy pizza delivery visor.

It’s unclear what Ranck was so mad about or if his pizza order was correct. Maybe the pizza was cold and didn’t come in the 30-minutes-or-less guarantee.

Ranck said the woman tapped him with her car, which sparked the altercation. Police sided with the pizza woman on Saturday, but did not take Ranck to lock up. He was released on his own recognizance.

The Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office has suspended Ranck without pay. We expect Ranck will also end up on the “do not deliver” list for local pizza places.

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Dumbass Broward County Florida Prosecutor David Braun Arrested, Suspended, Charged After Assaulting A Deputy Sheriff In Weston Barroom Brawl

May 29, 2009

WESTON, FLORIDA – A Broward County prosecutor found himself on the wrong side of the criminal justice system Friday after he was accused of punching a Broward Sheriff’s deputy during a early-morning barroom fracas and carted off to jail.

David Braun, 29, faces a felony count of battery on a law enforcement officer after authorities say he attacked a deputy who was attempting to handcuff his younger brother at the Carolina Ale House in Weston.

The incident happened at about 1:45 a.m., shortly before closing time, according to a Broward Sheriff’s Office arrest report.

Braun was scheduled to work Friday, but spent part of the morning in the Broward County Jail before posting a $1,000 bond and leaving. He did not return a phone message left at his office.

The prosecutor’s 26-year-old brother, who also was arrested, faces three criminal charges– battery on a law enforcement officer, disorderly intoxication and resisting arrest with violence.

According to Michael Diciascio, general manager at the Carolina Ale House, the fight started after Derek Braun, the younger brother, became upset when a bartender refused to serve him multiple alcoholic drinks without seeing identification for everybody getting one.

A sheriff’s deputy on a special detail attempted to escort the irate patron outside, but Derek Braun pushed him, according to the arrest report. That’s when the deputy forced Derek Braun to the ground and attempted to handcuff him, the report states.

Derek Braun fought the deputy, cursing at him and yanking off the deputy’s necklace, according to the arrest report. As the men struggled, a third man began punching the deputy in his back, according to the report.

Witnesses later identified that man as David Braun, an assistant state attorney.

Both brothers were then arrested.

David Braun has been with the Broward State Attorney’s Office since March 2006 and handles felony cases. As of Friday, he was put on leave, said Ron Ishoy, the office’s spokesman.

State Attorney Michael Satz will be requesting that Gov. Charlie Crist assign another prosecutor’s office to handle the case.

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