Blog Archives

DOJ Investigation Of Ferguson Police Department

On August 29, 2014, I wrote that when searching for a copy of the $40 million lawsuit filed against the Ferguson, MO police department, that I discovered other lawsuits that name various Ferguson police officers as defendants. In that post, I also wrote that the U.S. Department of Justice has a division to receive and investigate complaints against law enforcement who violate civil rights under color and claim of official right. Considering that some citizens of Ferguson stated that no private attorney was willing to go against Ferguson, it was my opinion that their only option was to file complaints with the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division.

Eric HolderToday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder held a press conference announcing that the Department of Justice has opened an investigation into the Ferguson police department. The video is below. Please note that he says the investigation includes if the Ferguson police department has violated the constitution and/or federal law.   Those are two different things under the DOJ. Read the rest of this entry

Frank Taaffe To Talk With The FBI?

120323-Frank_TaaffeTwitter is buzzed with news allegedly from Frank Taaffe that he is scheduled to meet with the FBI and DOJ. When going into Taaffe’s history of his advocating for George Zimmerman, we should keep in mind that such an interview with federal investigators might not be limited to Zimmerman’s state of mind when he stalked, followed, and killed 17-year old, unarmed Trayvon Martin.

During jury deliberations, Taaffe did not keep it secret that he knew what was happening in the jury room. That might be something in which the FBI wants more information.

The nation awaits and while waiting, if Frank Taaffe is sincere about his change of heart, the least he could do is post retractions for his racist ideologies on his Facebook page and website. Otherwise, Frank’s “come to God” moment appears to be something personal between himself and George Zimmerman, rather than repentance for his disparaging of minorities.  How about it, Frank?

 

 

 

 

Zimmerman v. NBC – Motion to Dismiss

WARNING: This article contains images and words that some might find offensive.

Reading NBC’s motion to dismiss was fairly easy. Trying to make sense out of Zimmerman’s reply was not so easy.

NBC Universal has petitioned the court to dismiss Zimmerman’s lawsuit for four reasons;

(1) he has failed to comply with Florida’s retraction statute, which precludes his claims with respect to one of the five broadcasts he challenges;

(2) he is a public figure who cannot carry his burden of demonstrating, by the clear and convincing evidence required by the First Amendment, that any of NBC’s reports were broadcast with a high degree of awareness of their probable falsity, or, indeed, that they are false in any material respect;

(3) he cannot demonstrate that the NBC broadcasts caused the debilitating damages to his reputation and well-being that he claims are attributable to NBC; and

(4) he has, for these and other reasons, failed to state a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Just a few thoughts …

If the person claiming defamation names a party as defendant who was not notified to retract, that party cannot be sued. In their motion to dismiss, NBC raises a good argument on that issue. Zimmerman’s attorneys will need to petition the court for leave to file an amended complaint if they want to cure that deficiency.

It is Florida, and I am unfamiliar with most of Florida’s Rules of Civil Procedure. However, when it concerns motions to dismiss or motions for summary judgment that are filed before discovery, there is a general understanding that I’ve learned. That is, if the party who did not file to dismiss the case wants to conduct discovery, it has to request the court to stay the motion to dismiss before filing a reply to the motion to dismiss.

There is also a general understanding that when responding to a motion to dismiss or motion for summary judgment, that the party cannot rely on allegations in their complaint as evidence that a genuine issue of material fact exists. When a genuine issue of material fact is disputed, courts deny motions to dismiss and for summary judgment so a jury can decide the issue. Beginning around page 68, Zimmerman’s lawyers rely on his complaint as evidence that a genuine issue of material fact exists. That’s a no-no that can have that entire portion of their pleading stricken or that issue denied by the court. Yes – the court can grant in part, and deny in part.

Based on the reply filed by Zimmerman’s attorneys, they argued that they needed to conduct discovery and amend his complaint, but did not ask the court for that relief. Read the rest of this entry

Zimmerman’s State of Mind

In a previous post, U.S. Attorney Wagner was quoted;

 “Because establishing motive is a key aspect to proving the crime, investigations often must range far beyond the criminal act itself to locate evidence relevant to the defendant’s state of mind before and during the crime.”

The video below compiles George Zimmerman’s calls to the police after he organized Neighborhood Watch.   According to Frank Taaffe, on February 2, 2012, Zimmerman was walking his dog.  He was also carrying his gun.  Zimmerman observed a suspicious person standing outside of Frank Taaffe’s house and called the police.  Read the rest of this entry

Prosecuting Hate Crimes

(This article quotes George Zimmerman’s profanity that he stated in his call to police on the evening of February 26, 2012.)

Wagner_full

Benjamin B. Wagner, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California

“Crimes motivated by hatred, whether directed at the victim because of that person’s actual or perceived race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation, can have a disproportionate impact on communities and pose unique challenges for investigators and prosecutors. Understanding those challenges is critical to effectively preventing and prosecuting hate crimes.” From: Unique Approaches for a Unique Type of Crime: Prosecuting Hate Crimes, Benjamin B. Wagner, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California

One night in June of this year, I was up late and decided to see if there were any good movies on television.  There weren’t, so I went to On Demand for premium channels and found a movie titled “Blind Faith” on Showtime.   Turns out that there are several movies with that title, but the one I watched stars Charles S. Dutton, Courtney B. Vance, and Lonette McKee.   The plot advertised for the movie does not give it due justice.   Some might mistake the word “faith” for “religion.”  This movie is not about religion.  It’s a film about prejudices – prejudices between Irish and Italians, Blacks and Whites, straights and homosexuals, artists and traditional careers.  And, it all plays out in circumstances BlindFaith-PosterArtsurrounding a death penalty murder trial.

Courtney B. Vance plays the character of an attorney, and the movie begins with him waiting on the verdict in a murder trial, in present day.  He then takes us back to 1957 and forward again.  The message that biased juries convict innocent Black defendants, and acquit guilty White defendants, caught my attention.  The movie ended with people marching while chanting “No justice.  No peace.” I could have sworn that it was released in 2012.  I did not know it was released in 1998.  Here we are in 2013, and the struggles for equality brought out in “Blind Faith” are still with us.

I saw this movie right around the time when jury selection began in the George Zimmerman case.  It was prophetic.   Two days after the verdict, Juror B37 confirmed that the George Zimmerman jury was biased and conniving. Read the rest of this entry

Five Years, But Couple Pleaded Guilty To Violating Civil Rights

On August 28, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice for the Western District of Missouri announced that an Independence, MO man and woman pleaded guilty in federal court to violating the civil rights of an African-American family by setting fire to their residence.

Missouri Couple

Logan J. Smith, and Victoria A. Cheek-Herrera

Logan J. Smith, 25, and Victoria A. Cheek-Herrera, 34, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes to one court of conspiring to threaten and intimidate a family from exercising their constitutional right to reside in their home because of their race or color, and one count of civil rights violation for committing a racially motivated arson.

Smith waived his right to a grand jury indictment and pleaded guilty to a two-count information.   Cheek-Herrera pleaded guilty to two of three counts charged in an indictment returned by the grand jury on May 23, 2013. Read the rest of this entry

Let’s Talk About The Mixture of DNA On Zimmerman’s Jacket

Watching George Zimmerman’s trial, I remembered the testimony of Anthony Gorgone of FDLE crime lab.  After the verdict and Juror B37 and her literary agent revealing that Zimmerman was found not guilty due to the manner in which he was charged, my attention was drawn to her AC360 interview.  Then there was the good news about Rachel Jeantel receiving a full-scholarship from Tom Joyner, and numerous interviews of others including Sybrina and Tracy.   However, the testimony of Anthony Gorgone stayed with me.

Anthony Gorgone

Anthony Gorgone with ASA John Guy at Zimmerman’s trial.

Mr. Gorgone testified that he took cuttings from George Zimmerman’s jacket and tested for the presence of blood.   The cuttings were labeled A through EE.  Some tested positive for the presence of blood with the sole contributor being Zimmerman. Some did not test positive for the presence of blood, and still others tested positive for the presence of blood that resulted in a mixture.  In some of the mixtures, Trayvon was included or excluded.  In some of the mixtures, the contributor could not be identified. Read the rest of this entry

Sybrina, Tracy, and Attorney Crump Met With Federal Investigators

 

Tracy Martin

Tracy Martin, father of Trayvon Martin

August 1, 2013

The Miami Herald reports that the parents of Trayvon Martin and lawyer Benjamin Crump met with Justice Department prosecutors and FBI agents at the U.S. attorney’s office in Miami Wednesday to discuss the status of a criminal civil-rights investigation into the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin last year.  Prosecutors with the Justice Department’s criminal civil-rights section and FBI agents met with Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin to bring the family up to speed.

“The federal investigation, which was opened while George Zimmerman faced prosecution for the death of the 17-year-old, gained renewed interest last month after Zimmerman was acquitted in state court of Martin’s killing in a Sanford gated community.”

Racial profiling was not an issue in the charging affidavit, nor was it an issue in George Zimmerman’s trial.

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