Suspended Broward County Florida Deputy Sheriff Brent Wooddell Awaiting Theft And Misconduct Trial Removed Court Ordered GPS Ankle Monitor And Went To Strip Club

June 6, 2012

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA – A suspended Broward Sheriff’s detective under house arrest while facing trial on grand theft, official misconduct and other charges took off his GPS monitor and visited a Pompano Beach strip club, where deputies arrested him Monday night.

Prosecutors had already argued twice to have Brent Wooddell’s $2,000 bond revoked, first after he allegedly sent an intimidating text message to a witness in his case, and again after he was accused of fleeing from the scene of an accident while on his way to a court hearing. Broward Circuit Judge Carlos Rebollo allowed Wooddell to stay out of jail both times.

According to an arrest warrant, Wooddell took off his ankle monitor on Sunday and was told by his pre-trial release officer to turn himself in Monday morning. When he didn’t show, officials demanded his arrest.

Deputies found him Tuesday at 9:20 p.m. at the Cheetah strip club in Pompano Beach. He was in custody at the Broward Main Jail as of Tuesday afternoon.

Wooddell was arrested in September 2011 after a sting operation allegedly caught him in the act of stealing $1,340 from an oxycodone dealer he had just arrested. The dealer was actually an undercover Miami-Dade police officer. According to the Sheriff’s Office, the phony suspect had pills and $7,340 in a blue bag when he was taken into custody, but Wooddell only turned in $6,000 when he got to the Deerfield Beach substation.

Officials said the undercover operation was captured on video and audio recordings.

Wooddell has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of his criminal case.

On his way to a formal arraignment in February, Wooddell’s car crashed into another vehicle on Florida’s Turnpike, according to court records. No one was injured in the crash, but Wooddell didn’t report it for fear of being late to his court date.

Prosecutors didn’t learn about that violation until May, at which point Assistant State Attorney Adriana Alcalde-Padron urged Rebollo to revoke Wooddell’s bond. But Rebollo kept Wooddell under house arrest, ordering the suspended detective to remain at home except when shopping or traveling to and from his job at a Hyundai dealership in Lake Park.

A month earlier, Alcalde-Padron accused Wooddell of sending text messages to a witness in the case. At that time, Rebollo reminded the defendant to avoid contact with witnesses as one of the conditions of his release.

“We have moved to revoke his bond twice,” Alcalde-Padron said Tuesday. “This is his third violation. Hopefully, he will now remain in custody at least until it’s time for his trial.”

In addition to the grand theft and official misconduct charges, Woddell is accused of tampering with evidence, falsifying records and delivery of steroids. If convicted of all charges, he faces more than 30 years in prison.

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Supreme Court Says No Double Jeopardy In Retrial After Arkansas Prosecutors First Threw Laundry List Of Charges At Jury To See What Would Stick

May 24, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC — The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that a criminal defendant may be retried even though the jury in his first trial had unanimously rejected the most serious charges against him. The vote was 6 to 3, with the justices split over whether the constitutional protection against double jeopardy barred such reprosecutions.

The case arose from the death in 2007 of a 1-year-old Arkansas boy, Matthew McFadden Jr., from a head injury while he was at home with his mother’s boyfriend, Alex Blueford. The prosecution said Mr. Blueford had slammed Matthew into a mattress; Mr. Blueford said he had accidentally knocked the boy to the floor.

Mr. Blueford was charged under four theories, in decreasing order of seriousness: capital murder (though the state did not seek the death penalty), first-degree murder, manslaughter and negligent homicide.

The jurors were instructed to consider the most serious charge first and move to the next only if they agreed unanimously that Mr. Blueford was not guilty. In this way, they were to work their way down to the appropriate conviction, or to an acquittal.

After a few hours of deliberation, the jurors announced that they were deadlocked. The forewoman told the judge that the jury had unanimously agreed that Mr. Blueford was not guilty of capital or first-degree murder but was divided, 9 to 3, in favor of guilt on the manslaughter charge.

The jury deliberated for another half-hour but could not reach a verdict. The court declared a mistrial.

Prosecutors sought to retry Mr. Blueford on all four charges. His lawyers agreed that he could be retried on the less serious ones but said double jeopardy principles should preclude his retrial for capital murder and first-degree murder.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the majority, said Mr. Blueford could be retried on all of the charges because “the foreperson’s report was not a final resolution of anything.” When the jurors returned to their deliberations after the forewoman spoke, he said, they could have changed their minds about the two more serious charges.

“The fact that deliberations continued after the report deprives that report of the finality necessary to constitute an acquittal on the murder offenses,” the chief justice wrote. Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Stephen G. Breyer and Samuel A. Alito Jr. joined the majority opinion.

Mr. Blueford’s lawyers also argued that the trial judge should not have declared a mistrial without first asking the jury whether, in the end, the defendant had been found not guilty of some charges. Chief Justice Roberts said the judge had acted appropriately, as “the jury’s options in this case were limited to two: eitiher convict on one of the offenses, or aqcuit on all.”

In dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that the majority had improperly given prosecutors “the proverbial second bite at the apple.”

“The forewoman’s announcement in open court that the jury was ‘unanimous against’ conviction on capital and first-degree murder,” she wrote, “was an acquittal for double jeopardy purposes.”

Justice Sotomayor said the trial judge should have asked for a partial verdict from the jury before declaring a mistrial. She added that the protections of the Constitution’s double jeopardy clause were needed in light of “the threat to individual freedom from reprosecutions that favor states and unfairly rescue them from weak cases.”

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan joined the dissent in the case, Blueford v. Arkansas, No. 10-1320.

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Bored London UK Court Clerk Busted Surfing Porn Sites During Rape Trial Pleads Guilty

February 8, 2012

LONDON, UK – A veteran London court clerk caught surfing porn sites during a rape trial said he did so “because he was bored.”

Debasish Majumder, 54, pleaded guilty to a charge of misconduct in public office and five counts of possession of indecent images, the U.K. Daily Mail newspaper reported.

The prosecution alleged Majumder viewed about 30 images between Dec. 9 and 10 during a rape trial. The judge sitting behind him said he noticed the filthy photos as the victim in the case was testifying.

“He said that he watched a lot of internet porn, he said that at work there were moments in his day that were boring and he would surf the net not to get access to sites but to get the titles of sites to use on his home computer and normally sites were blocked,” the paper quoted prosecutor Annabel Darlow as saying.

Police later found evidence of child porn at Majumder’s home, the Mail reported.

He will be sentenced later this month once his medical reports are in.

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Portsmouth New Hampshire Judge Stops Criminal Trial And Blasts City Prosecutor For Defective Complaint Again Man

August 24, 2010

PORTSMOUTH, NEW HAMPSHIRE – An hour-long trial when Justin Hunt, 24, was accused of stealing a $10.99 bottle of vodka ended Tuesday with Judge Sawako Gardner scolding the city’s police prosecutor for filing “defective” legal complaints with the court.

Hunt, of Portsmouth, was on trial for a charge alleging he went into the state liquor store on Islington Street, slipped a bottle of vodka into his sleeve and walked past the cash registers before being stopped by employees. Store manager Robert Coleman testified that Hunt stole the liquor on May 19, “ran off and we grabbed him.”

“He never left the store?” Hunt’s attorney Joe Malfitani asked.

“No, we wouldn’t let him,” said Coleman.

A second liquor store employee, Daniel Wiseman, said Hunt pushed him and was restrained after he pulled the vodka bottle from his sleeve “right in front of me.”

After the witnesses testified, Malfitani told the court the charge alleging Hunt committed the crime of wilful concealment should be dismissed because police filed the complaint with language alleging he committed a theft. Prosecutor Karl Durand told the court that the complaint had been filed properly, while the judge disagreed.

“Why doesn’t the state look at the complaints before you go to trial,” she said. “It’s so simple. The complaint is obviously defective, witnesses took time out of their day to be here and this is not the first time a complaint has been defective.”

The judge said Hunt’s charge was “so defective” she believed she would have to dismiss it in spite of evidence that Hunt was guilty of a crime. Instead, the judge gave both sides 10 days to file further motions.

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