Category Archives: Cases
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.”
This is a report on what happened to three Florida Department of Corrections staff members after they testified under oath before a Florida State Senate committee about murdering, brutal, dishonest guards in Florida’s prisons.
Florida is the nation’s third largest prison system. The Miami Herald began an investigative project into reports of alleged brutality and corruption in the prison system. Only then did prison officials begin to acknowledge the complaints. In September 2014, I reported on the firing of 32 guards from the Florida Department of Corrections.
One of the correction officers that was terminated is Rollin Austin. Records show that Austin ordered the gassing of Randall Jordan-Aparo, a 27-year-old check forger who died at Franklin Correctional in September 2010.
Randall Jordan-Aparo begged to be taken to the hospital for a blood disorder that had flared up. Instead, Austin ordered the gassing in close quarters cell. Three years after Randall Jordan-Aparo’s death, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement visited the Franklin prison to look into an unrelated wrongdoing and stumbled onto the circumstances behind Jordan-Aparo’s death. Florida Department of Law Enforcement inspectors now call what happened a case of “sadistic retaliatory” behavior by guards.
The cover-ups, corruption and other wrong-doing did not end in 2014. On November 29, 2016, Tampa Bay news reported that Florida agreed to settle a case for $800,000. That case was filed by whistle blowers who alleged retaliation.
I have a bit more confidence of the federal trial because they are going to argue the charge of lying to investigators. Once Slager’s lie is proven, the verdict of guilty should come easy. But, we know that all jurors don’t “see” the same. The month of May cannot come soon enough.
On August 18, 2015, East Point, Georgia police officers Cpl. Howard Weems and Sgt. Marcus Eberhart were indicted on charges related to the April 11, 2014 death of 24-year old Gregory Towns. Eberhart resigned and Weems was terminated after the incident. Their trial began on December 5, 2016.
On April 11, 2014, Weems and Eberhart responded to a domestic violence call in the Atlanta suburb. Another officer was also present. Gregory Towns ran and was apprehended. According to Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, after apprehending Gregory,the officers handcuffed him. They demanded him to stand and walk to a waiting patrol car. Gregory indicated that he was out of breath and could not stand. Both officers used their tasers on Gregory, and even after attempting to walk but collapsing, the officers continued to tase him.
Gregory was tased 13-14 times. Read the rest of this entry
The jury in Dylann Roof’s federal trial deliberated less than 2 hours, and convicted him on all counts of hate crimes, obstruction of religion and weapons charges.
The panel of nine Whites people and three Blacks will reconvene on January 3, 2017 to decide whether Roof is sentenced to death or life in prison without parole.
Minutes after the verdict was read, Roof told U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel he wanted to represent himself during the penalty phase.
On June 17, 2015, Dylann Roof went to the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina where they were holding Bible Study. He shot and killed 9 people. A manhunt resulted, and Roof was found and arrested in North Carolina. He confessed to the killings.
Roof is an avowed White supremacist who perceived that he had to save the White race from Blacks. He wanted to start a race war. Roof waited until parishioners closed their eyes to pray before firing his Glock .45-caliber pistol. When it was over, Roof had fired more than 70 shots, striking his victims 60 times.
The 22-year old is charged with 12 federal counts of hate crimes, 12 counts of obstructing the exercise of religion, and 9 counts of firearm violations. Federal prosecutors seek the death penalty.
Discarding empty magazines and reloading his weapon, Roof found survivor Polly Sheppard hiding as she prayed. Roof told her to shut up, before asking if she had been shot. Sheppard was then told that she would be left alive so that she could tell others what had occurred. She will likely serve as the final witness for the prosecution in the guilt phase of the trial.
Since he was arrested, there have been numerous pleadings and hearings in the case. To report on each one would be tedious. The most recent included a motion to find Roof mentally incompetent to stand trial. The court denied that motion. The LA Times reports that Judge Gergel found Roof capable of standing trial on the basis that he completed the 9th grade and had an “extremely high IQ” and was able to understand courtroom proceedings. A legal expert however, stated that there is a clear difference between intellectual ability and judgment.
It is not known what type of mental illness or emotional disturbance Roof may or may not have because the hearings were closed to the public.
Roof’s attorneys offered to change Roof’s plea to guilty in exchange for a sentence of life in prison without parole. Federal prosecutors turned down the offer.
Just before jury selection, Roof motioned the judge to release his attorneys. He wanted to represent himself. The judge granted Roof’s motion. After jury selection, Roof asked the judge to rehire his attorneys, but he wants to represent himself during the penalty phase. The judge granted his motion. Read the rest of this entry