Category Archives: Cases
On April 19, 2017, The Innocence Project reports:
“This morning, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court announced that it will vacate 21,587 drug conviction cases. This is the largest dismissal of wrongful convictions in U.S. history. The decision was made in response to a massive drug-testing scandal involving Annie Dookhan—a former chemist for the Hinton State laboratory in Massachusetts—who, in 2013, was convicted of tampering with and fabricating drug tests in criminal cases.
During her more than eight-year tenure at the lab, Dookhan handled approximately 40,000 cases. She admitted to tampering with at least two dozen cases and also fabricating test results, prompting widespread concern amongst many in the defense community that any of the tens of thousands of drug tests used as evidence in approximately 20,000 conviction cases were potentially inaccurate or falsified.”
The Massachusetts judiciary system does not have capacity to hear and rule on appeals to each individual case that Dookhan handled. The Massachusetts Supreme Court therefore, ordered prosecutors to dismiss the cases in bulk.
According to Aljazeera, an investigation in 2013 found that Dookhan falsified test results as far back as 2004. Prosecutors said Dookhan admitted “dry labbing,” or testing only a fraction of a batch of samples, then listing them all as positive for illegal drugs. Dookhan was sentenced to three years in prison and was paroled last year. Read the rest of this entry
Miami-Dade State’s Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle has changed her 24 year reputation for not charging law enforcement officers for on-duty shootings. On April 12, 2017, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office announced it has charged North Miami SWAT Officer Jonathan Aledda with felony attempted manslaughter and misdemeanor culpable negligence. Aledda shot Charles Kinsey, an unarmed Black man, on July 8, 2016. Kinsey is a therapist for a group home and was trying to help an autistic man, Arnaldo Rios-Soto, to get out of the street and return to the group home.
A bystander called 911 and said Rios-Soto might have been holding a gun. That caller also repeated several times that the person holding something to his head appeared to be mentally ill. Factually, Rios-Soto was holding a toy truck.
A cell-phone video captured Kinsey lying on his back with his arms in the air, stating who he is, his job, that Arnaldo Rios-Soto is his patient, that he did not have a gun, and begging officers not to shoot.
Investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) included taking statements of police witnesses. The Miami New Times obtained audio from North Miami Police Chief Gary Eugene’s testimony to Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigators. That testimony revealed that Eugene said his officers announced over police radio that Rios-Soto was holding a toy before Aledda shot Kinsey. Read the rest of this entry
Kameron Teel is a substitute teacher. He is also a former high school soccer star. Kameron set a record for goals scored at Gloucester Catholic High School in Gloucester City and he also played at Immaculata University. Kameron was a scholarship soccer player for La Salle University, as well as a judo and soccer coach/trainer.
On June 24, 2016 in Glassboro, New Jersey, 26-year old Kameron was riding his bike through a borough park. Glassboro Police Sargent Dan Eliason yelled for Kameron to get on the ground. What happened next led to a lawsuit filed by Kameron.
“The suit claims that Kameron was laying on the ground, complying to police orders, when Eliason put his knee on Teel’s back, making it difficult for Teel to breathe and causing extreme pain.
Teel allegedly yelled “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe. They are trying to kill me and I don’t want to die.”
Teel alleges he was pepper-sprayed and handcuffed. After leading him to a police vehicle, an unidentified police officer allegedly “slammed” Teel’s head into the hood. After seeing the damage to the vehicle, the officer allegedly told Teel he would be charged with destruction of governmental property.
Teel was also injured when he was bitten numerous times on his legs and hands by the police K-9, he claims in the lawsuit.”
At the time of his arrest, police were seeking a suspect in the park for drug activity. The suspect was described as a Black male, approximately 13 years old.
The police say that they mistook the 26-year old with a full facial beard for the 13-year old suspect.
Kameron’s lawsuit alleges malicious prosecution, false arrest, false imprisonment, excessive force and assault, and failure to supervise, train, adopt needed policy, and violation of Kameron’s civil rights. According to Courier Post, the suit seeks damages of more than $150,000.
Kameron had no prior arrests and the charge of destruction of government property was dismissed.
Kameron is represented by lawyer D. Wesley Cornish of Philadelphia, who says that the borough has not provided police video of the incident.
Just a quick note to update. The introduction to the video says:
Dylann Storm Roof who shot and killed nine black parishioners at a historic Charleston church in 2015, pleaded guilty Monday to state charges stemming from the massacre as part of a deal with prosecutors to spend the rest of his life in prison to avoid a second death-penalty trial.
Roof already had been sentenced to die earlier this year for his convictions in federal court on hate crimes charges, though the state could have pursued a second such penalty in its murder case against the young man.
Roof was charged both federally and at the state level after the June 2015 massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, when nine black parishioners were shot and killed down during an evening Bible study.
The federal death sentence still stands!
After impact statements and Roof’s grandad speaking on Roof’s behalf, the Judge sentenced Roof to 9 life sentences on state charges.
Former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager was charged with murder or voluntary manslaughter in the killing of Walter Scott, an unarmed black man. Walter Scott was shot in the back 5 times. Slager’s state trial began on November 3, 2016, with closing arguments on November 30, 2016. It ended with a hung jury. Slager is scheduled to be retried by the State of South Carolina, and also by the federal government. His trial was reported on this blog.
Meanwhile, three men had filed lawsuits against North Charleston for being wrongfully or excessively tased by Michael Slager. Two have reached settlement. Mario Givens was awarded $27,500 and Jerome Stanley $50,000 for their 2013 run-ins with Slager.
The Post Courier reports:
“They were among three people who filed actions in 2015 amid intense scrutiny of the city’s police force. An eyewitness video of patrolman Michael Slager shooting the fleeing black man sparked the frenzy.
The men alleged excessive use of the stun gun, though Slager’s lawyers have defended his record as exemplary.”
Mario Givens is quoted as saying,
“If they’d listened to me Walter Scott might not be dead’: Man who filed excessive force complaint after being tasered by ‘killer cop’ in 2013 speaks out – and announces he’s suing.”
Givens was initially charged with resisting arrest, but was later released without charge. He filed a police complaint but Slager was exonerated. Read the rest of this entry
An unnamed, high-ranking Walker Police officer, who was employed by the department for about a decade, has resigned after he was suspended for placing a noose inside the squad room of the department. He was originally suspended for 3 days without pay. A meeting to review the officer’s conduct and consider disciplinary action was scheduled, but was cancelled after the officer announced his resignation.
Louisiana law RS 14:40.5 prohibits a noose in a public place. Anyone convicted faces up to a $5,000 fine and one year in prison or both. The Walker police Investigative Unit has asked Attorney General Jeff Landry’s Office to investigate for criminal charges. The case has been handed over to the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office for criminal investigation.
Police Chief David Addison is new to the job. The assistant chief is an African American. A lieutenant, who is also Black, found the noose. Security camera footage recorded the officer leaving the noose hanging in the department’s squad room.
Paperwork says that it was reported,
“You informed me that you fashioned the noose, or as you called it, the ‘slip knot,’ to pick with an arrestee that you had in custody…It was revealed to me via our department’s video cameras, that there was no arrestee present when you fashioned and displayed the cookie and noose in the squad room.”
Chief Addison is reported saying:
“Whether they’re white, black or oriental, we have a mixture here in Walker. Everyone, I don’t care if you’re white, black, oriental, you will be treated fairly by my officers. This will not be tolerated period. This was poor judgment, bad character. It will not be tolerated with the Walker Police Department.”
WBRZ has a video and more on this story.
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.
“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.”
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.
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 …
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
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
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.”
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
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.
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
ABC 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.
What I’m writing about clearly shows that we are in a system motivated by racism/white supremacy. This also shows that the true and greatest threat to Law enforcement are white males,, contrary to the false War on Cops propaganda, and contrary to the false narrative that ONLY black males are targeting cops.
On February 5,2017. Two white males, James V Baker 24 yrs old of Leonard Michigan, and Brandon Vreeland 40 yrs old of Jackson Michigan, were arrested after walking into a Dearborn, Michigan police station carrying firearms, and wearing ski masks and body armor. This began when shoppers at the Fort Road shopping district called police about two suspicious men wearing ski masks and body armor. When police arrived, the men were gone.
Later a police sergeant spotted the vehicle and conducted and pulled them over for a traffic stop.They matched the description. However, Baker while in his ski mask, refused to talk to police. The sergeant let them go because he didn’t see any guns in the car. This is on video. Read the rest of this entry
If anyone is interested in reading the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Order, I’ve uploaded it here.
Image Credit: AP
A nationwide stay of President Donald Trump‘s travel ban was upheld Thursday by a panel of three federal judges, effectively blocking the enforcement of Trump’s ban on immigrants from seven majority-Muslim countries as well as refugees from all over the world.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ US appeals court refuses to reinstate Trump’s ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority nations
— Mark Sherman (@shermancourt) February 9, 2017
The stay does not mean Trump’s travel ban is unconstitutional. Instead, it simply prohibits the ban’s enforcement until the courts determine the legality of Trump’s executive order.
Still, it’s a win for opponents of the travel ban, who claim that the order, in essence, places a religious test on immigrants — which is unconstitutional thanks to the First Amendment.
In the unanimous decision, the court said lawyers for the Trump administration failed to prove that a…
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Trump’s Executive Order – 9th Circuit Court of Appeals To Hear Argument On Temporary Injunction – Live Streamed
Because of public interest, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals plans to live stream oral argument on the temporary injunction order entered by the Washington federal court. It can be accessed at this link.
Oral argument begins at 3 p.m. P.T. That’s 5 p.m. CST and 6 p.m. on the East Coast. Some sources are reporting that the live stream will be audio only because the attorneys are appearing by phone.
The 9th Circuit has also opened a website for documents filed in and proceedings held in the State of Washington and State of Minnesota v. Trump.
It began on January 27, 2017 when Trump signed an Executive Order barring citizens from 7 predominately Muslim countries from entering the United States for 90 days; refugees for 120 days, and indefinitely halts refugees from Syria.
The ACLU filed a petition that resulted in a temporary injunction of Trump’s Executive Order that the court granted. Petitions were filed in other federal circuits as well.
U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton in Boston granted a temporary injunction, but refused to extend it. It was filed by the ACLU on behalf of 2 University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth professors who returned from an academic conference and were retained at Logan Airport. The professors are Iranian Muslims and lawful permanent U.S. residents. They were eventually allowed to re-enter.
It is the order entered by U.S. District Judge James Robart of the US District Court for the Western District of Washington that sprung the Trump administration into action. That order places a temporary injunction on Trump’s Executive Order nationwide. Attorneys for the DOJ filed a notice of appeal and motion to stay the temporary injunction. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the stay. It’s the appeal to the temporary order that is scheduled for hearing today.
Follow-up reports will be posted in the comment section.
In December 2016, we followed the trials of Michael Slager and Dylann Roof. There was also another trial.
In August 2012, Officer Patrick Tuter of Garland, Texas led a vehicle chase of unarmed 25 year old Michael Allen. Tuter fired at Michael 41 times, reloading several times and hitting Michael 3 times. The Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Officer performed the autopsy and determined that Michael suffered gunshot wounds to his upper back, side, and left elbow.
Tuter’s official report was that he opened fired after Michael rammed a patrol car. The dashboard video however, showed that it was Tuter’s patrol car that rammed into Michael’s truck. Tuter fired his gun from the back, left-side of Michael’s truck.
Michael Allen’s body was pulled out of the cab of his truck by a K9 who chewed his face.
In March 2013, Tuter was fired for violating department policies on pursuits and use of force. He had been on the force 7 years.
As I understand it, each state has rights to legislate their own laws, and each of the states give municipalities the right to pass their own ordinances. This is going to be a most interesting case. May our constitution prevail.
By:Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare
On Tuesday, the city of San Francisco became the first so-called “Sanctuary City”, to sue the Trump Administration, after his executive order to defund cities that he claims protects illegal immigrants.
Ed Lee, the mayor of San Francisco, said : ” the misguided executive order makes our cities less safe, and we believe is unconstitutional.”
Mayors from other major cities like New York and Chicago, promised to defy the president’s executive order, the ACLU, also plans to file a lawsuit against Trump’s administration.
For additional information use link below:
A cheer and toast to the ACLU! When it comes to the constitution, they know their stuff. I read the petition and among their arguments is that Trump is in violation of the Immigration and Naturalization Act which does not allow for discrimination based on country of origin. If Trump is going to ban the entry of non-citizens, he has to ban all and not just citizens of 7 countries.
On Friday, Mr. Trump issued an executive order banning immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries from being able to enter the USA (including even green card holders) under the auspices of national security. On Saturday, Mr. Trump was hit with a class-action lawsuit by the ACLU, which argued that this executive order was unconstitutional.
About an hour ago, Judge Ann Donnelly from the Eastern District of New York (federal court in Brooklyn) agreed with the ACLU, and issued a national injunction staying enforcement of Trump’s unconstitutional order anywhere in the country. Under this injunction, no one can be removed from the United States solely by virtue of President Trump’s Executive Order, and the Government must even provide the ACLU with a list of names of people who have been affected.
President Trump’s unconstitutional move was meant to please his followers despite the fact that there have been no refugees from any of…
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The jury began their deliberations early this afternoon. It did not take them long to decide that Dylann Roof, the murderer of nine people, receive the death penalty.
At closing argument, Roof reminded the jury that its decision must be unanimous. Apparently, he was looking to impress upon just one juror not to sentence him to death.
Also during his closing argument, Roof told the jury, “I still feel like I had to do it.”
It is reported that every member of the jury looked directly at Roof as he spoke for about 5 minutes.
The prosecutor’s closing argument included;
“They welcomed a 13th person that night … with a kind word, a Bible, a handout and a chair,” Richardson said during his closing argument. “He had come with a hateful heart and a Glock .45.”