Author Archives: Xena

Louisiana Officer On Trial For Killing 6-Year Old Jeremy Mardis

Derrick Stafford  (Louisiana State Police via AP, File)

A jury of 12 and 2 alternates have heard opening statements and is hearing testimony in the trial of Derrick Stafford.  The trial is taking place in Marksville, Louisiana.  Stafford, along with his partner Norris Greenhouse, Jr. are charged with second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder in the November 2, 2015 shooting death of 6-year old Jeremy Mardis.  Jeremy was the in the vehicle with his dad, Christopher Few, who was wounded when Stafford and his Greenhouse, Jr. opened fire.

Greenhouse, Jr. is scheduled for a separate trial later this year.

The L.A. Times reports:

“Video from a police officer’s body camera shows the father had his hands raised inside his vehicle when the officers fired their semiautomatic pistols. At least four of their 18 shots ripped into the child’s body while he was strapped into the front seat.

Relatives of the victims wept as jurors watched the graphic video from the shooting. Several jurors were also seen wiping away tears.”

Jeremy Mardis

Stafford and Greenhouse stated that they opened fire on Few because he tried ramming his car into them.  A state police detective has testified there isn’t any physical evidence that Few’s car collided with Greenhouse’s vehicle.

Ballistics evidence shows none of the 18 shots fired by the two deputies hit the front or back of Few’s car.  The prosecution is using that as evident that neither deputy was in danger.  “Cars don’t move sideways,” the prosecutor said.

Read the rest of this entry

Open Discussion – March 20, 2017

Dear friends, visitors, caterpillars, butterflies, crusty moths and a certain roach,

I had out-patient surgery this morning, so am not feeling 100 percent.   There is lots going on, so feel free to post whatever you want to discuss or express in the comment section.

 

Laptop with info on Trump Tower Stolen from Secret Service agent

Can’t help but wonder if the First Lady was residing in the White House, if the Secret Service would have been in New York?

The Fifth Column

Laptop with info on Trump Tower, Clinton stolen from Secret Service agentImage Credit: Getty Images

NEWS.MIC

Police are scrambling to retrieve a laptop that was stolen from a Secret Service agent in Brooklyn, New York, Thursday morning.

The computer contained information about Trump Tower and the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, authorities told the New York Daily News

The Daily News and other outlets first reported that the computer’s contents were classified, but a Secret Service statement later indicated otherwise.

“Secret Service issued laptops contain multiple layers of security including full disk encryption and are not permitted to contain classified information,” the statement reads. The Secret Service, however, will of course continue investigating the theft.

The laptop was reportedly swiped from the agent’s vehicle…

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A Hawaii judge has just blocked President Trump’s revised travel ban

The Fifth Column

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

VOX 

Shockingly, Trump is displeased.

A federal judge on Wednesday stopped President Trump’s second attempt to temporarily ban visa holders from several majority-Muslim countries — and nearly all refugees — from entering the United States, hours before it was supposed to take effect. The ruling found that the order likely violates a constitutional prohibition against religious discrimination.

It was a scathing rebuke for an order that administration officials spent weeks reworking, in hopes of avoiding the judicial blockade that the first attempt sailed into in January.

Trump immediately panned it, in a speech in Tennessee. “This is, in the opinion of many, an unprecedented judicial overreach,” he said.

The temporary restraining order came from federal judge Derrick K. Watson, of the District of Hawaii. It prevents the Trump administration from going forward with its plan to stop issuing visas to residents of Iran, Libya, Somalia…

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Have You Heard of Former Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Conrad Hafen?

Conrad Hafen

Conrad Hafen was raised in Roy, Utah.  He served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, then attended Weber State University where he graduated in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science.  He was accepted into Brigham Young University’s Public Administration Masters Program.  In 1985, he enrolled in the University of Idaho School of Law, graduating in 1988.

After law clerking and working as an associate attorney with a private law firm concentrating in insurance defense and products liability, Conrad Hafen accepted a position with the Humboldt County Nevada District Attorney’s Office.  Within several months, he was promoted to Chief Deputy District Attorney and served in that capacity for 10 years.

Hafen lost a race for district judge in 2006, and when the Las Vegas Justice Court Department was looking for a judge for one of its specialty courts, Hafen threw his hat in the ring.  During his campaign, Hafen said, “When people come before me … they’ll know my decision is based on the law and is a fair and just resolution.”

Saying what citizens want to hear, in 2010, Hafen was elected as a Justice of the peace in Nevada.  Those judges hear misdemeanor cases and hold preliminary hearings to determine if there is enough evidence to move felony cases to state courts for trial.

Hafen’s career in the Nevada judicial system has now involuntarily ended and he is back in Utah.  This is how it happened …

Deputy Public Defender Zohra Bakhtary

Zohra Bakhtary is a deputy public defender, and while advocating for one of her clients, Judge Hafen did not want her to speak.  He had Bakhtary handcuffed and seated with inmates who were awaiting their hearings.  After Hafen sentenced Bakhtary’s client, Daniel Fernandez, to six months in jail, he had court security remove her handcuffs and said, “I think she’s learned a lesson.”

District Judge Rob Bare released Fernandez and the petty theft conviction was later thrown out after a ruling that Fernandez was deprived of assistance of a lawyer when he was sentenced. Read the rest of this entry

The Way of Peace

This is the way of peace:

Overcome evil with good,

falsehood with truth,

and hatred with love.

Be Peace.

 

 

 

Curtis Reeves Denied Stand Your Ground Immunity

We followed the hearing, and now the judge has entered her decision.    Today, March 10, 2017, Pasco-Pinellas Circuit Judge Susan Barthle denied Curtis Reeves’ motion to apply Florida’s “Stand your Ground” law to the case.  Reeves now faces trial on second degree murder charges for killing Chad Oulson to death in a movie theater over text messaging.   A trial date has not yet been set.

 

 

Here’s the ruling: Read the rest of this entry

Ben Carson, Your Descendants From Africa Were Not Involuntary Immigrants. They Were Slaves.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is attempting to water-down the history of a people who were kidnapped from their family, culture, possessions and country, and in chains, sold as property and forced into labor.

Quotation source, the Washington Post.

In 2016, Ben Carson did not say that Obamacare was the worst thing since “involuntary immigrants” — he said “slavery.”

I could go into all of the comparisons between immigrants and what Secretary Carson calls “involuntary immigrants,” but I think that everyone already knows the comparisons, including Ben Carson.  I want to address his statement from another perspective — that of this nation’ rule of law.

A definition of “rule of law” is:

“The principle that all people and institutions are subject to and accountable to law that is fairly applied and enforced; the principle of government by law.”

The principal foundation of America’s rule of law is our constitution. Read the rest of this entry

Papa John Driver Killed in Accident Not His Fault. Papa John’s Insurance Pays Zilch

When I began watching this video and attorney David Allen said that the court decided for the family of the deceased Papa John’s driver, I felt that was right.   The United States Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit however,  overturned the lower court’s decision.

The 8th Circuit’s decision introduces the case as follows:

“This case arises out of the untimely death of Adam Fetzer, a delivery driver for the Papa John’s restaurant chain who was killed in a car accident on April 28, 2012. Fetzer was driving during the course of his employment in Bismarck, North Dakota, when another driver ran a red light and struck his vehicle.”

adam-fetzer-facebook-memorial-page

Adam Fetzer

Papa John’s policy that covers accidents is written out of Kentucky.  Kentucky law does not require under insured coverage.  Adam Fetzer delivered pizzas for Papa John’s in North Dakota.  Adam was 26-years old.  Robert Harrington, the man who struck Adam’s vehicle, had a policy that covered liability up to the amount of $25K.   Adam died as a result of the accident. Adam’s family filed a claim with Papa John’s insurance company for $100K.

David Allen explains the case.

People who sincerely want to work and take jobs as delivery drivers don’t often look at the fine print, or think that the worst will ever happen to them.  Then the worst happens, and their families are faced with costs along with their grief of losing a loved one.

Adam’s obituary says that he attended Bismarck State College and Dickinson State University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in computer science. He was working at Sykes and Papa John’s Pizza in Bismarck.  He loved his grandma’s soup. Read the rest of this entry

Desmond Doss and Hacksaw Ridge – Evidence of Faith

I love movies.  When it comes to war movies, I’m seen many and some I really liked, but never want to watch again.  Saving Private Ryan is one such movie.

When I heard of the Academy Award nominations for 2017, there were movies that caught my attention. Hacksaw Ridge was one such movie.  It is categorized as a war movie, directed by Mel Gibson.  In other movies he directed, Gibson likes to show the horror of reality.  In The Passion, he showed spurting blood from the hands of Jesus as the nails were driven in.  In Braveheart, Gibson did not shy away from showing the use of swords to cut off the legs of horses ridden by the English army.  It brought their soldiers to the ground, making combat more equal.

A war movie directed by Gibson would have to be brutally bloody.  However, the war itself is not the main theme in Hacksaw Ridge.  The main theme is a man – a real man, a Pacifist, and his struggle to serve in the Army as a combat medic while staying committed to his faith.

I rented Hacksaw Ridge through On Demand and I watched.  I watched again, and again.  Desmond Doss captivated me.  As a Pacifist, he was misunderstood.  I can relate to that.

they-believeOn April 1, 1942, Desmond Doss joined the United States Army.  It was just after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and Desmond wanted to serve his country – the United States, saving lives.  He was 23-years old; a skinny native of Virginia with a southern drawl. In Desmond’s mind, God said, “If you love me, you won’t kill.”

When he voluntarily enlisted, he was assured that he would be assigned to a medic company and because of his Seventh Day Adventist belief in Saturday being the Sabbath, he was told that belief would be honored.

Instead, Desmond was assigned to an infantry rifle company.  His commanding officers wanted to get rid of him.  They intimidated him, and assigned him to extra duties.  They even tried to court martial him for refusing a direct order to carry a rifle.  But, they failed to toss him out, and he refused to leave.

His fellow soldiers ostracized and bullied him.  Because he refused to touch a gun, they called him a coward.  Desmond believed in the Golden Rule and never held a grudge.  When the men got blisters on their feet, Desmond had a way of healing them.  When they fainted from heat stroke, he was at their side with his own canteen.  Read the rest of this entry

Attorney General Sessions Also Spoke With Russian Ambassador Without Disclosure

This is the same Jeff Sessions who recently announced that he is going to back-off from filing law suits against police departments for violating the civil rights of citizens.

Gronda Morin

Image result for photo of jeff sessionsThere is breaking news by the Washington Post. It seems that the former Alabama Senator  Jeff Sessions had conducted at least two discussions with the same U.S. Russian Ambassador that the former National Security Advisor was forced to resign over; and Mr. Sessions never disclosed this information prior to his becoming the new U.S. attorney general.

This discovery makes it virtually impossible for the Attorney General Jeff Sessions to not recuse himself from any investigations into ties between the president’s administration and Russia.

According to CNN’s reporter Evan Perez, the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak is considered by the Intelligence Community to be Russia’s number one spy on U.S. soil.

As per a 3/1/17 WSJ report, “U.S. investigators have examined contacts Attorney General Jeff Sessions had with Russian officials during the time he was advising Donald Trump’s presidential campaign but the outcome of the inquiry, and whether it is ongoing, wasn’t clear.”

As per…

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Pennsylvania State Trooper Found Guilty of Assault and Official Oppression

pa-trooper

Trooper Ryan Luckenbaugh (left) Christopher Siennick (right)

A jury convicted suspended state Trooper Ryan Luckenbaugh for simple assault and official oppression.  It began when Luckenbaugh kicked a handcuffed Harrisburg man in the face.

Christopher Siennick was riding his skate board on May 16, 2015 when Luckenbaugh and his partner, Trooper Michael Trotta drove past Christopher, who gave them the finger.

Penn Live reports that Luckenbaugh and Trotta chased Christopher, tased, pepper sprayed, and handcuffed him.  Christopher’s mouth was running with saliva in reaction to the pepper spray.  When spittal fell on Luckenbaugh’s shoes, he responded by saying, “Spit on this” and he kicked Christopher in the face.   At Luckenbaugh’s trial, Senior Deputy District Attorney Stephen Zawisky said, “Certainly, Trooper Luckenbaugh knew he couldn’t kick a handcuffed man in the head.”

The incident was caught on dash cam.

It didn’t stop with the kick to Christopher’s head.  Luckenbaugh filed an arrest warrant that alleged that Christopher ignored his verbal commands to get off the street, and threw something that hit his cruiser.  Christopher spent two weeks in jail in lieu of $250,000 bail.

Harrisburg police officers intervened to stop the abuse and contacted the District Attorney’s office that prompted the investigation into Luckenbaugh’s actions.  The dash cam recording shows that both of Luckenbaugh’s claims are not true.

Christopher is known in the area as a local activist.  At trial, defense attorney Edward Spreha Jr. called Christopher  “the local leftist”. countered.

It took the jury 45 minutes to decide the verdict.   Christopher Siennick had a one-word reaction to the verdict. “Cowabunga!” he said.

Luckenbaugh’s sentencing is scheduled for April.  Senior Deputy District Attorney Stephen Zawisky said he’ll probably seek jail time.

Luckenbaug’s partner, Trooper Michael Trotta, was terminated for misconduct.

 

Black History Month–William Carney

In Saner Thought

During Black History Month I like to spotlight some people that most Americans have never heard of or the contribution they made to our society….

Who was the first African-American to win the Congressional Medal of Honor?

You guessed it…….William Carney.

William Carney was the first African-American recipient.

He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions on July 18, 1863 at Fort Wagner, S.C. while a member of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment in the Civil War — the state’s first all-black regiment. During the disastrous battle at Ft. Wagner, Carney noticed that the man who carried the flag had been wounded.

So Carney bravely rescued the flag and carried it for him. He delivered it safely to his regiment and reportedly shouted “Boys, the old flag never touched the ground.” Carney was wounded during the battle but was not killed.

After the war he spent 31 years…

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Begin The Week With Encouragement

 

the-struggle

Trump Lays The Groundwork For Feds Invading Chicago With Latest Tweet

Yet, Chicago is 8th in the highest murder rate per capita. St. Louis comes in first, followed by Baltimore, Detroit, New Orleans, Cleveland, Newark, NJ, and Memphis, TN. Trump’s focus on Chicago is — well — out of focus.

The Fifth Column

Trump Lays The Groundwork For Feds Invading Chicago With Latest Tweet

attribution: None

POLITICUS USA

If Trump is serious about reducing violence, he should consider tightening the nation’s gun laws.

Just a month after Donald Trump proposed sending the feds to fix Chicago’s “horrible carnage,” he took to Twitter again to slam the Windy City, saying they “need help.”

“Seven people shot and killed yesterday in Chicago,” Trump said in his tweet. “Chicago needs help!”

Tweet:

Once again, it seems that Trump is making a knee-jerk response to media reporting and capitalizing on violence that has plagued Chicago in recent years. His tweet comes on the same day that The Chicago Tribune reported that homicides in the city are already outpacing last year’s numbers.

Trump’s post is only the latest sign that…

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Off Duty LA Cop Fires Gun Into Group of Unarmed Teens Walking Home From School

These were kids. The physical restraint questions if what the off duty officer did was a violation of law.

The video on the original post has been removed by Youtube.  Here is another video of the same.

https://youtu.be/du3fGqaj_Rs

 

Btx3's Blog

An off duty LA Cop fired his service pistol into a group of teens after escalating an argument over a kid walking over his lawn. There were a lot of opportunities to deescalate this one, and the Cop chose none of them, manhandling an unarmed 13 year old teen as the crowd around him grew. This is one of those neighborhood spats that should have been taken up with the boy’s parents in a neighbor-neighbor discussion.

Protests Erupt After Video Shows Off-Duty LAPD Cop Firing A Gun In Dispute With Teen

Police have arrested two teenagers in connection with Tuesday afternoon’s confrontation, but Gaby Hernandez, a spokesperson for a group that organized the protest, told The Huffington Post that activists want the “immediate arrest” of the officer for “child abuse” for the incident.

In the video, the off-duty officer can be heard saying that the boy threatened to shoot him…

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Curtis Reeves- Stand Your Ground Hearing

Hat tip to Yahtzeebutterfly for keeping up with this case.

Florida’s controversial stand your ground law came upfront when 17-year old, unarmed Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in Sanford, Florida on February 26, 2012.   The law allows people to use deadly force when they fear death or great bodily harm.  Stand your ground, if granted, gives the defendant immunity from being placed on trial for the results of using deadly force.   If the person who used deadly force was the initiator, they might not qualify for immunity under stand your ground.

That is part of the controversy with stand your ground law.  It depends on perception, and when the person is dead, they cannot testify of their perception.

You might have heard of the “popcorn murder.”  It is the Reeves’ case.  In January 2014, 71-year old Curtis Reeves shot Chad Oulson (43) to death in a movie theater over texting.  Reeves also wounded Oulson’s wife. Reeves is charged with second degree murder and he claims self-defense, alleging that Chad hit him with something so hard that it knocked his glasses off his face. Read the rest of this entry

There WAS A Terror Attack In Sweden Recently, But They Were Neo-Nazis.

It is interesting that Trump won’t recognize such groups as terrorists in the U.S., but does call them by that name when they’re in Sweden.

The Fifth Column

Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images Olivier Douliery via Getty Images

ADDICTING INFO

This makes Trump look CLOWNISHLY bad.

Trump drew international attention—again—by claiming there was a terror attack in Sweden on the night of Feb. 17. To cover his gross lie, he tweeted today that his remarks were in reference to something Fox News reported, which is either just another lie, or a gross misunderstanding of a documentary Fox News aired. But it seems that there really was a terror attack in Sweden recently, in a city called Gothenburg.

The suspected terrorists in this attack were Neo-Nazis, and they attacked a refugee center in Gothenburg with a homemade bomb last month. One person was seriously injured in the attack.

Swedish intelligence said that the attack was linked to two others in Gothenburg, and appeared to be politically motivated, which isn’t shocking if the terrorists were white Neo-Nazis, and members of a white supremacist group…

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Wake Up Everybody

The song “Wake Up Everybody” song by Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, was released in 1975.   The video below was recorded in 2008 for a PBS Special.  The lyrics still apply today.

“The world won’t get no better if we just let it be.”

 

Dylann Roof Wants a New Federal Trial – Argues Lack of Jurisdiction

Victims at AME ChurchABC reports that Dylann Roof, who was convicted for murdering 9 people in Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church in June 2015, has asked for a new federal trial.  Roof was sentenced to death.  Roof’s argument is that federal prosecutors lacked jurisdiction to bring their case against him.

Represented by attorneys, they claim that the federal government failed to prove that Roof’s use of the internet, the highways, and a gun manufactured out of state, were sufficient links to allow religious obstruction charges.  A similar argument was made in July 2016 as a part of Roof’s plea bargain that if the government took the death penalty off the table, that he would plea guilty as charged.  The court denied Roof’s motion.

A federal grand jury found that Roof violated subsections of federal law 18 U.S.C. 247 in that he intentionally obstructed, by force, the enjoyment of free exercise of religious beliefs.  That section requires that the circumstances takes place in or affects interstate or foreign commerce.

Roof is currently in custody in the Charleston County jail awaiting trial in state court.

 

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