Courtroom Antics

Mighty_Emperor

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 18, 2002
Messages
19,440
Reaction score
156
Points
129
M'lud my client is a stinking thief jail bird!!

Following along of things going wrong in the courts:

Court: Lawyer No Darrow, but Good Enough

Mon Oct 20,11:59 AM ET

By ANNE GEARAN, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - A defense lawyer who told jurors his client might be a "stinking thief jail bird" did not fall down on the job, the Supreme Court ruled Monday.



The high court reinstated a conviction in the case of Lionel Gentry, a California man convicted of stabbing his pregnant, drug-addicted girlfriend during an argument.

"To be sure, Gentry's lawyer was no Aristotle, or even Clarence Darrow," the court wrote in a short, unsigned opinion.

Still, the lawyer's choice of words or strategy did not rise to the level of harming his client, the court said. The lawyer may have had good tactical reasons for presenting the case the way he did, the high court added.

"By candidly acknowledging his client's shortcomings, counsel might have built credibility with the jury and persuaded it to focus on the relevant issue in the case," the court said.

The court reversed a ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (news - web sites) that had erased Gentry's conviction on grounds that he had been denied his constitutional right to an effective lawyer.

The lawyer, whose name is not part of the court record, gave a short closing statement asking the jury to remember that Gentry said the stabbing was an accident. That assertion was really all that mattered, the lawyer said.

"'The question is, did he intend to stab her? He said he did it by accident. If he's lying and you think he's lying then you have to convict him," the lawyer said.

"If you don't think he's lying, bad person, lousy drug addict, stinking thief jail bird, all that to the contrary, he's not guilty. It's as simple as that."

The jury deliberated about six hours before convicting Gentry. A state court upheld the sentence and Gentry turned to federal court for a second round of appeals.

The San Francisco-based federal appeals court then found that Gentry's lawyer failed him by not raising other potentially exculpatory evidence and by highlighting unsavory details of Gentry's character or background.

Wrong, said the Supreme Court. The appeals judges should have given more weight to the findings of the California state appeals court that had upheld the sentence, the high court said.

The Constitution, the court wrote, "guarantees reasonable competence, not perfect advocacy judged with the benefit of hindsight."

The case is Yarborough v. Gentry, 02-1597.
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tm...20031020/ap_on_go_su_co/scotus_defense_lawyer
 

Mighty_Emperor

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 18, 2002
Messages
19,440
Reaction score
156
Points
129
For an legal oddities:

Ingrowing toe nails halts trial again

A New Zealand man has had his trial for supplying drugs delayed again because of ingrowing toe nails.

Jonathan Adolph from Hamilton has already had his trial delayed on one previous occasion.

Judge Denise Clark, sitting in Hamilton District Court, delayed the original trial on September 18.

She ruled his medical condition affected his right to a fair trial.

Adolph is charged with supplying methamphetamine in 2001. The 28-year-old bar owner underwent surgery last month and is due to have more surgery this month.

He is now due to stand trial on November 7, reports the Stuff website.


Story filed: 12:41 Tuesday 21st October 2003
http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_830888.html?menu=news.quirkies
 

rynner2

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,237
Reaction score
9,071
Points
284
Legal laughs merged.
 

Mighty_Emperor

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 18, 2002
Messages
19,440
Reaction score
156
Points
129
I'm too sexy for this court

Judge is right, appeals court says: Lauderdale detective's too attractive

By Paula McMahon
Staff Writer
Posted January 22 2004


He's so good-looking it ought not to be a crime.

Fort Lauderdale Detective Mike Nahum's handsome appearance lost him a criminal case, but there is a consolation prize. He may be the only guy in the world with a court order declaring he is a "very attractive man."


Nahum is so cute that a Broward Circuit Court judge threw out a criminal charge against a West Palm Beach man charged with selling drugs to Nahum during an undercover sting at a gay nightclub in Fort Lauderdale. Judge Susan Lebow ruled the defendant, Julio Blanco, was lured by the police officer into committing a crime in hopes he would be rewarded with sex.

On Wednesday, an appeals court backed the trial judge's decision and ruled the police officer's actions were so "outrageous" that it was entrapment. Blanco had never been arrested before and was not under any suspicion of criminal activity until he was talked into it by police, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled.

In the frequently dry and dusty world of law, the case gave the courtroom staff a rare opportunity to pause and appreciate the finer things in life.

Dismissing the case, Judge Lebow certified Nahum as cute.

"I make that a finding. He's a very attractive man," she said, according to a transcript.

Blanco's attorney, Kevin Kulik, spoke up to ensure the transcript would accurately reflect Nahum's macho, muscular appearance. "For the record, I would submit he was about 6-2. He was in good shape, you know, a fit individual, young detective, looked to be maybe 30."

The judge was not the only one to notice Nahum's charms.

"Let's just say that all of the women in court that day were paying a lot of attention to him," Kulik said on Wednesday. "After he left the courtroom, they were all like, `Wow.'"

Diligent efforts to get a photograph of Nahum so that readers could judge for themselves proved fruitless. Fort Lauderdale Detective Andy Pallen said Nahum could not be photographed because he is still working undercover.

Fort Lauderdale police and Nahum declined to comment on the case. Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman Joe Kilmer said agency lawyers would have to review the ruling before he could comment.

It all started in early 2002 when Nahum, who was on loan to an undercover DEA task force, was sent to the club to investigate allegations of drug activity. According to court records, he approached Blanco, 37, who described himself as a lonely gay man who was hoping to meet someone.

The detective arrived with a few friends but soon gave Blanco his undivided attention. They had a few drinks and chatted and Blanco testified that the officer said he wanted to have a "good time" and to "party."

It's now clear that Nahum and Blanco had a very different understanding of the word "party."

Nahum, who is straight, said the term is street talk for doing drugs. Blanco said that to him, it means having a good time or being sexually involved.

As they talked, Nahum asked Blanco for cocaine at least three times.

Blanco said that he refused and on the third occasion got so annoyed that he started to leave.

The officer asked Blanco to stay and, according to court records, said, "Come on, can you get me some?" Blanco testified that he was still very interested in Nahum because he was a very handsome guy.

Blanco finally relented and went to the restroom where he found someone who had no cocaine but did have some crystal meth to sell. He went back to the officer, who gave him to buy the drug.

After he turned it over, the officer bought him a beer and soon said he had to leave. The two men exchanged numbers and Blanco said the officer called him in the following days. Blanco was arrested two weeks later.

While there was almost unanimous agreement that Nahum is hot, one of the appellate judges, former Broward Circuit Judge Melanie May, was not convinced.

"Absent evidence that the officer engaged in behavior to [imply] the promise of a sexual encounter, I cannot agree that the conduct was outrageous," May wrote in her dissent. "The mere fact that the defendant [and the trial court for that matter] found the officer attractive does not make it so."

Paula McMahon can be reached [email protected] or 954-356-4533.
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/lo...an22,0,5908919.story?coll=sfla-home-headlines
 

Mighty_Emperor

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 18, 2002
Messages
19,440
Reaction score
156
Points
129
Man Comes to Court in Bumblebee Costume

Mon Jan 26, 8:51 AM ET


OLATHE, Kan. - A man who came to a court hearing wearing a bumblebee costume — to protest what he called a "sting" operation by prosecutors — left a judge buzzing.



Conrad J. Braun, 54, was in Johnson County District Court on Friday to hear a judge rule whether a blackmail case filed against him last summer should go to trial.

District Judge John Anderson III was not amused by Braun's getup, which included yellow stripes, cloth wings and a foot-long stinger.

Anderson told Braun that although there is no rule prohibiting the wearing of such a suit in court, the judge has a duty to uphold court decorum.

Braun assured the judge that he meant no contempt to the court and promised he would not do it again.

Anderson bound the case over for trial, which he scheduled for May 3.

The blackmail charge alleges that Braun made a threat against his former wife's husband.
http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&cid=817&u=/ap/20040126/ap_on_fe_st/court_bee_2&printer=1

Also at:

http://www.ljworld.com/section/stateregional/story/159225

http://abcnews.go.com/wire/US/ap20040126_550.html

no picture though :(

Emps
 

Mighty_Emperor

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 18, 2002
Messages
19,440
Reaction score
156
Points
129
I am just gobsmacked by this - everytime you think perhaps the judiciary aren't a bunch of reactionary old farts..........:

Judge: Rape Victim Is 'No Day At Beach'

Prosecutors May Ask For Judge To Be Removed

POSTED: 11:26 AM EST January 29, 2004
UPDATED: 3:54 PM EST January 29, 2004

Prosecutors in Seminole County say they might ask a veteran judge to be removed from a rape case because of comments the judge made about the victim.

Court records indicate Circuit Judge Gene Stephenson made the comment earlier this week while looking at a photograph of the victim. The record quotes the judge as saying, "Why would he want to rape her? She doesn't look like a day at the beach."

Stephenson says he doesn't remember making the comment. But it's in the record.

Suspect Brian Joseph Huffman is charged with beating and raping the woman on New Year's Eve of 2002. He faces life in prison if convicted.

The victim was a 57-year-old woman, who says the judge's comments are "appalling." She says she intends to file a complaint with the Judicial Qualifications Commission, which has the power to recommend that Stephenson be removed from the bench.
http://www.local6.com/news/2802787/detail.html
 

Mighty_Emperor

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 18, 2002
Messages
19,440
Reaction score
156
Points
129
In Trial Work, Edwards Left a Trademark

By ADAM LIPTAKand MICHAEL MOSS

Published: January 31, 2004



In 1985, a 31-year-old North Carolina lawyer named John Edwards stood before a jury and channeled the words of an unborn baby girl.

Referring to an hour-by-hour record of a fetal heartbeat monitor, Mr. Edwards told the jury: "She said at 3, `I'm fine.' She said at 4, `I'm having a little trouble, but I'm doing O.K.' Five, she said, `I'm having problems.' At 5:30, she said, `I need out.' "

But the obstetrician, he argued in an artful blend of science and passion, failed to heed the call. By waiting 90 more minutes to perform a breech delivery, rather than immediately performing a Caesarean section, Mr. Edwards said, the doctor permanently damaged the girl's brain.

"She speaks to you through me," the lawyer went on in his closing argument. "And I have to tell you right now — I didn't plan to talk about this — right now I feel her. I feel her presence. She's inside me, and she's talking to you."

The jury came back with a .5 million verdict in the cerebral palsy case, and Mr. Edwards established his reputation as the state's most feared plaintiff's lawyer.

In the decade that followed, Mr. Edwards filed at least 20 similar lawsuits against doctors and hospitals in deliveries gone wrong, winning verdicts and settlements of more than million, typically keeping about a third. As a politician he has spoken of these lawsuits with pride.

"I was more than just their lawyer," Mr. Edwards said of his clients in a recent essay in Newsweek. "I cared about them. Their cause was my cause."

The effect of his work has reached beyond those cases, and beyond his own income. Other lawyers have filed countless similar cases; just this week, a jury on Long Island returned a 2 million award. And doctors have responded by changing the way they deliver babies, often seeing a relatively minor anomaly on a fetal heart monitor as justification for an immediate Caesarean.

On the other side, insurance companies, business groups that support what they call tort reform and conservative commentators have accused Mr. Edwards of relying on questionable science in his trial work. Indeed, there is a growing medical debate over whether the changes have done more harm than good. Studies have found that the electronic fetal monitors now widely used during delivery often incorrectly signal distress, prompting many needless Caesarean deliveries, which carry the risks of major surgery.

The rise in such deliveries, to about 26 percent today from 6 percent in 1970, has failed to decrease the rate of cerebral palsy, scientists say. Studies indicate that in most cases, the disorder is caused by fetal brain injury long before labor begins.

An examination of Mr. Edwards's legal career also opens a window onto the world of personal injury litigation. In building his career, Mr. Edwards underbid other lawyers to win promising clients, sifted through several dozen expert witnesses to find one who would attest to his claims, and opposed state legislation that would have helped all families with brain-damaged children and not just those few who win big malpractice awards.

In an interview on yesterday, Mr. Edwards did not dispute the contention that the use of fetal heart rate monitors leads to many unneeded Caesarean deliveries or that few cases of cerebral palsy are caused by mishandled deliveries. But he said his cases, selected from hundreds of potential clients with the disorder, were exceptions.

"I took very seriously our responsibility to determine if our cases were merited," Mr. Edwards said. "Before I ever accepted a brain-injured child case, we would spend months investigating it."

As for the unneeded Caesareans, he said, "The question is, would you rather have cases where that happens instead of having cases where you don't intervene and a child either becomes disabled for life or dies in utero?"

A Talent for Trials

Lawyers in North Carolina agree that Mr. Edwards was an exceptionally talented lawyer, endowed with a prodigious work ethic, native self-confidence, good looks, charisma and an ability to talk about complicated subjects in accessible language.
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/01/31/p...d=1&ei=5062&en=f41158ecde918d17&ex=1076130000

There are anther 3 pages after that but that seemed the relevant one ;)

Emps
 

Mighty_Emperor

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 18, 2002
Messages
19,440
Reaction score
156
Points
129
Man accused of cop shooting says judge worships Satan

February 5, 2004

BY DAVE NEWBART Staff Reporter



Three weeks after he was declared mentally fit to stand trial on charges he shot a cop, Daniel Salley went off on a bizarre diatribe Wednesday in federal court, calling the judge in his case a "devil worshipper" and predicting the fall of the U.S. government.

Dressed in an orange prison jump suit, Salley, at a hearing to determine a trial date, went into a rant as U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow was saying good morning to the lawyers in the case.

"[The] United States government shall fall and be destroyed this month and this year,'' he said. He added: "George Bush Jr. shall be exposed."

As the judge asked U.S. marshals to escort Salley out, he added: "You can run but you can't hide. You reap what you have sown, you ungodly ... lying b-------."

In her ruling declaring him fit for trial, Lefkow said she personally doubted Salley could aid in his defense, but deferred to mental health experts. Salley, she wrote, "understands the nature and consequences of the proceedings'' and can consult with his attorneys with a "reasonable degree of rational understanding.''

After the ruling, Salley filed a motion requesting he represent himself.

An attorney for Salley, Kent Carlson, told the judge Wednesday he still had "serious concerns'' over Salley's fitness to stand trial.

Salley has appealed the judge's ruling that he is fit -- as he also appealed a ruling a year ago that he was not fit. Those appeals must be heard before his trial can be held.

The judge Wednesday scheduled another status hearing for April in his case.

Salley has been charged with the 2001 shooting of Chicago Police Detective Joseph Airhart after officers attempted to arrest Salley on bank robbery charges. He allegedly shot Airhart in the head and then held him hostage in his South Loop apartment for two hours.
http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-salley05.html
 

Mighty_Emperor

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 18, 2002
Messages
19,440
Reaction score
156
Points
129
Tax Protester Tells Federal Court That He Is Delusional

By DAVID CAY JOHNSTON

Published: February 7, 2004



LOS ANGELES, Feb. 6 - Irwin Schiff, the nation's best-known promoter of claims that no law requires the payment of income taxes, suffers from delusions including a fantasy that he alone can properly interpret the tax laws, according to papers that he had his lawyers file in Federal District Court in Las Vegas.



The filing, made on Jan. 23, is highly unusual, especially in a civil lawsuit. The document asks a judge to deny a summary judgment in favor of the Justice Department that Mr. Schiff owes .5 million in income taxes, fraud penalties and interest.

The mental health claim is also a ruse, according to an e-mail message sent on Tuesday to Mr. Schiff's thousands of supporters by his girlfriend, Cindy Nuen.

"We are sick about having to use this defense," Ms. Nuen wrote in her e-mail message. "It is ridiculous."

She wrote that this defense is the only way for Mr. Schiff to escape fraud penalties because, she wrote, his lawyers are "scared" to tell judges that "the income tax law is meritless and frivolous."

Mr. Schiff's personal psychiatrist, Dr. Luis Carlos Ortega of Las Vegas, wrote last year, in notes placed in the court file, that Mr. Schiff has suffered from paranoid delusions about the tax system for decades.

Dr. Ortega attributes the mental illness, after a normal upbringing, to Mr. Schiff's loss of his own money and that of clients of his Connecticut insurance brokerage firm in an oil industry tax shelter decades ago. That shelter turned out to be a Ponzi scheme.

"Mr. Schiff's distorted beliefs" that the tax system is a hoax "appear to have grown out of his business failures," Dr. Ortega wrote.

Mr. Schiff's assertion that he is delusional comes as the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco is scheduled to hear oral arguments on Tuesday on whether Mr. Schiff can be barred from selling his book "The Federal Mafia: How the Federal Government Illegally Imposes and Unlawfully Collects Federal Income Taxes."

His appeal has drawn support from the Nevada chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Booksellers Association, the American Publishers Association, the American Library Association and the writers' group PEN.

Mr. Schiff contends that Judge Lloyd D. George of Federal District Court in Las Vegas banned his book, although the order allows anyone to sell the book except Mr. Schiff, Ms. Nuen and an associate.

The order also requires Mr. Schiff to turn over the names of all those who bought the book from him so the Internal Revenue Service can audit them. The I.R.S. says in recent years it has identified more than 5,000 returns reporting zero income, the technique taught in the book, forcing it to spend taxpayer money pursuing these individuals.

Last week a promoter of a competing theory that Americans are tricked into taxes, Thurston P. Bell of Hanover, Pa., complied with a court order to give the I.R.S. a list of his clients, striking a serious blow at the so-called tax honesty movement.

Mr. Schiff, a convicted tax evader, has a large core of dedicated followers, especially in Las Vegas, where he has lived since his second release from prison a decade ago. He has prospered in recent years from sales of his books and lecture fees, but he has also engaged in increasingly rancorous disputes with proponents of competing theories, like the one Mr. Bell marketed, that Americans are tricked into paying income taxes. None of these theories have had any success in court.
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/07/b...&en=edc91383306ff982&ei=5007&partner=USERLAND
 

Mighty_Emperor

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 18, 2002
Messages
19,440
Reaction score
156
Points
129
Killer offers Smurf defense

BY JOE DUGGAN

MADISON - A cloud of gun smoke hangs over the U.S. Bank teller counter and three people lie dead on the floor.

Their killer jumps and lands with one foot on the counter before momentum carries him to the other side.

Jose Sandoval, making his first sworn statement since he was convicted of the Sept. 26, 2002, Norfolk bank shootings, is asked why he jumped the counter.

"Because somebody was talking s--," Sandoval replies.

Madison County Attorney Joe Smith asks who.

"A Smurf."

"A smirk?"

"A Smurf," Sandoval repeats, as in the blue TV cartoon character.

"I take it from your answer you don't want to answer that question," Smith says. "Or is it really your testimony that a blue Smurf was in the bank?"

"That's what I said."

The prosecutor tries once more: "Did you jump the counter because you wanted to make sure everybody was dead?"

"No, I jumped the counter because the Smurf was talking s--," Sandoval says.

Sandoval gave a two-hour deposition late Monday in the murder trial of his half-brother, Gabriel Rodriguez. A 79-page transcript of that deposition was read aloud to the jury on Tuesday.

Rodriguez, 27, faces five counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Evonne Tuttle, Lisa Bryant, Samuel Sun, Lola Elwood and Jo Mausbach. Although he never fired a shot in the bank, the prosecution considers him equally culpable, alleging he assisted the gunmen by driving them to the bank and casing the interior before they entered.

Rodriguez knew nothing about the robbery beforehand and played no role in it, his attorney has argued. His presence in the bank before the shootings was coincidence - he was there to inquire about a savings account.

The defense rested its case Tuesday after calling seven witnesses, including Sandoval. The prosecution called an equal number of rebuttal witnesses before resting its case. Madison County District Court Judge Robert Ensz scheduled closing arguments for this morning.

The prosecution requested Sandoval give a sworn statement outside the presence of the jury to avoid the risk of a mistrial, Smith explained.

The attorneys and the judge reviewed the transcript Tuesday morning, removing some portions that he found did not apply to the trial. Then Kelly Murph, a certified court interpreter, read the transcript aloud.

Sandoval, the self-described leader of the bank robbery, gave yet another account of what happened on the morning of Sept. 26, one in which Rodriguez, his half-brother, had nothing to do with it. This was his version:

Sandoval awoke about 4:30 a.m. and about an hour later woke Erick Vela, who was staying with him. Sandoval dropped two hits of LSD before driving his car across town to pick up Jorge Galindo. They then drove back to Sandoval's east Norfolk rental house, where they met up with Vela.

The trio walked from the house to the bank. As they drew within a few blocks of their destination, Sandoval was surprised to see Rodriguez in the bank parking lot.

"We was talking about how it was a bad omen," he said. "Not me, but Erick Vela. He said it was a bad sign."

Sandoval repeatedly asked Vela whether he was "down" with the robbery - did he still have the courage to through with it. To urge Vela on, Sandoval said, he lifted his shirt to display his "strap," a slang term for a handgun.

With his two friends still on board, Sandoval changed the plan. He told the others to stay together while taking a different route to the bank before meeting him in the parking lot several minutes later.

Sandoval walked to the front of the bank and looked in the windows to note the locations of employees and to make sure his brother had left. Galindo and Vela then arrived and the three entered the bank.

Sandoval's version differed from earlier testimony offered by Galindo, who said Rodriguez drove the gunmen to the bank and reported locations of the employees inside via walkie-talkie. Galindo's girlfriend, Cortney Barritt, said she saw Rodriguez pick up Galindo at her apartment shortly before the killings.

The county attorney conducted a pointed cross-examination that elicited vague and puzzling answers from Sandoval. The 24-year-old Norfolk man also seemed reluctant to accept responsibility for the shootings.

"Mr. Sandoval, did you yourself shoot three people?" Smith asked.

"I don't know."

One by one, Smith asked whether Sandoval shot Mausbach, Sun and Tuttle, the victims he is recorded gunning down on the bank surveillance video. Each time, Sandoval replied, "I don't know."

"I didn't see nothing," he said. "I didn't see nobody fall."

The prosecutor also wanted to know whether Sandoval later derided Galindo for leaving two witnesses alive in the office of slain bank manager Lola Elwood. Sandoval denied it.

Because Sandoval was a witness for the defense, the prosecutor offered no immunity for his statements. Harry Moore, who represents Sandoval, said he did not believe the testimony would hurt his client at sentencing because he would have to discuss his role at that time anyway.

During rebuttal, Smith called Norfolk Police Sgt. Michael Bauer to the stand. Bauer brought photographs taken from where Sandoval said he was standing when he saw his brother in the bank parking lot.

The photos cast serious doubts on Sandoval's statement. They showed that an office building would have blocked any view of the bank parking lot from where Sandoval said he stood.
http://www.journalstar.com/articles/2004/02/25/local/10045829.txt
 

Mighty_Emperor

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 18, 2002
Messages
19,440
Reaction score
156
Points
129
Another pretty unsual (if even crappier) defence:

Robber jailed


February 26, 2004 12:49

A PETTY criminal who graduated to bank robbery was today starting a seven year stretch in jail.

Wearing a balaclava, Adam Cuthbert had stormed into the HSBC Bank in Dereham Road and forced staff to hand over £3,700 at gunpoint.

But the raid was captured with striking clarity on security film, which eventually helped to convict Cuthbert at Norwich Crown Court yesterday.

It gave police vital clues in their hunt for the gunman and led them to connect 30-year-old petty crook Cuthbert to the audacious crime, which happened on June 11 last year.

He was arrested by firearms officers on the side of a slip road off the A47 on June 19 last year as he walked to a garage after his car ran out of petrol.

He was wanted by police on other matters, but when they looked in his car they found a balaclava, plastic gloves and a copy of the Evening News from June 12 which featured an article on the robbery.

On the day Cuthbert was arrested, the Evening News ran two pictures taken during the robbery on the security camera.

A friend of Cuthbert's recognised his clothes, his distinctive swagger and his eye and got in touch with officers.

The shoes worn by the offender were also the same as some owned by Cuthbert and tattoos on the robber's hands were also similar.

During a search of Cuthbert's home, police found an imitation gun in a toy box although tests confirmed it was not the firearm used in the robbery.

Through these crucial bits of circumstantial evidence, the police built their case.

Cuthbert of Orchard Close, Lingwood, near Norwich, denied the robbery and possession of an imitation firearm, but was found guilty of both charges following a trial.

Cuthbert had claimed the balaclava found in his car was because of a girlfriend's sexual fantasy and that he had the Evening News report because he was an avid reader of the paper.

Jailing him, Judge Paul Downes told him that he accepted he was not a professional robber, but said the evidence against him was "overwhelming".

"This was a robbery of a relatively small branch of the bank and more particularly you were carrying what I assume was an imitation firearm.

"The most terrifying thing for people in that bank was being pointed at by an imitation gun.

"They were not to know it was imitation. They thought it was a very real gun."

He said one member of staff was so frightened she collapsed.

"It must have been a terrifying experience for them. You may not be a professional robber, but the people were not to know whether you were or were not."

Karen Drane, 40, was the only customer in the bank at the time and found the gun aimed at her head.

John Farmer, in mitigation, said: "Although it was quite obviously a very scary experience for the bank staff they were never actually physically at risk.

"You are not looking at a professional bank robber who winters in the south of Spain."

During the trial, the jury heard how a friend of Cuthbert, Sean Bianchi, recognised Cuthbert from the pictures that appeared in the paper.

He claimed Cuthbert was wearing a shirt he had given him when he carried out the raid.

High Vass, prosecuting, said forensic examination of the security film showed the trainers worn by the robber were identical to a pair owned by Cuthbert, and the robber had distinctive tattoos on his hand similar to Cuthbert's.

Afterwards, Detective Sergeant Arthur O'Neill said: "I am extremely pleased that we were able to paint the picture of circumstantial evidence which the jury saw as a whole. The quality of the pictures helped immensely."

Det Sgt O'Neill said Cuthbert was a petty offender but had not committed a bank robbery before.

The gun used in the raid has never been recovered.

The bank staff had all returned to work since the robbery and attended Cuthbert's trial.

"They wanted to see the legal process to help them get over the trauma they had lived through. They feel as if justice has been done," Det Sgt O'Neill said.
http://www.eveningnews24.co.uk/cont...=ENOnline&itemid=NOED26+Feb+2004+13:03:25:297

I quite like the Sun's headline:

Robber jailed for bonk job

A MAN nicked for a bank job told cops he only had a balaclava to fulfil his girlfriend’s sex fantasy.

Adam Cuthbert, 30, claimed he borrowed it for a romp on his car bonnet.

Cuthbert, of Lingwood, Norfolk, told a jury: “It sounded all right to me.”

They found him guilty of robbery and having a fake gun. He got seven years at Norwich Crown Court.
http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2-2004091727,00.html

Emps
 

Mighty_Emperor

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 18, 2002
Messages
19,440
Reaction score
156
Points
129
Thief Steals Property From Jury Room

Mon Mar 22, 7:21 AM ET


BALTIMORE - After listening to testimony in a murder case, jurors returned to their jury room to find that they had become victims of a crime — a thief had stolen their money, cell phones and car keys.

"They were angry, hot, livid," lawyer Warren A. Brown, who was in the courtroom on another matter. "Here they are, jurors in a murder case, and we can't even trust the court to protect their belongings from thieves. It's mind-boggling."

Police think it was an inside job.

"We believe it was an employee of the courthouse," said Detective Donny Moses, a Baltimore police spokesman.

The crime occurred about 2:30 p.m. Friday when a thief used a set of keys to slip into Circuit Court Judge John N. Prevas' locked jury room, said Maj. Henry Martin, a spokesman for the Baltimore Sheriff's Department.

Defense lawyer Maureen O'Leary made a motion to have the case declared a mistrial, but the motion was denied.

"If the crime that occurred to the jurors was the same as the crime they were deliberating on that would be one thing," the judge said. "But this incident is too remote."
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tm...=2&u=/ap/20040322/ap_on_re_us/jury_room_thief
 

Mighty_Emperor

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 18, 2002
Messages
19,440
Reaction score
156
Points
129
You'd think he'd need all the 'friends' he could get:

Punch halts murder trial


The Associated Press
3/22/2004, 6:00 p.m. ET


PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A man accused of raping and murdering a young girl punched his defense attorney in the face Monday, bringing his jury trial to a halt.

Court officers tackled the defendant, Malik El-Shabazz, 20, then led him quickly from the courtroom at Philadelphia's Criminal Justice Center. The attorney, public defender Fred Goodman, was not seriously hurt, officials said.

Judge Jane Cutler Greenspan immediately declared a recess and sent jurors home. It was unclear whether the attack, which was unprovoked and came without warning, would result in a mistrial.

Prosecutors planned to argue Tuesday that the trial should continue as planned.

"It's our opinion that he was trying to obtain a mistrial," Cathie Abookire, a spokeswoman for Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham, said of El-Shabazz. "I'm sure it will be the first order of business when the court reconvenes on Tuesday."

It was unclear whether the defense team would ask the judge to restart the trial with a new jury. Goodman and his co-counsel, Andrea Konow, did not immediately return phone messages Monday.

El-Shabazz is accused of murdering 6-year-old Destiny Wright during a girls slumber party at his sister's Philadelphia home in 2002.

During the trial, jurors were shown a police videotape in which El-Shabazz described in great detail how he smothered the girl and then lugged her body more than a mile to a vacant lot. Jurors on Monday also saw gruesome autopsy photographs of the girl's body.

Prosecutor Jodi Lobel had just rested her case, and both teams of lawyers were returning to their seats after a brief, private conference with the judge when El-Shabazz swung at Goodman, authorities said.

It was El-Shabazz's second outburst of the trial. On the day of opening arguments, El-Shabazz began yelling when Goodman told jurors that his client had, in fact, committed the assault.

"There is no question who did this," Goodman said. "The only thing that is at issue is the difference between first-degree murder and second-degree murder."

"And my innocence! I'm innocent!" El-Shabazz said. "That's what the D.A. and my lawyers won't tell you."

A finding of second-degree murder would spare El-Shabazz from the death penalty.
http://pennlive.com/newsflash/pa/index.ssf?/base/news-14/1079993657179600.xml
 

Mighty_Emperor

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 18, 2002
Messages
19,440
Reaction score
156
Points
129
You have to lvoe the directness of the lawyers employed by rap record labels:

Ja Rule Caught Up In Bizarre Lawsuit

March 23, 2004 - World Entertainment News Network

Rapper Ja Rule has been hit with a lawsuit by a man who claims one of the hip-hop star's videos left him "threatened, shot at and stabbed" after its release.

Ja Rule's I Cry, from his 2000 album Rule 3:36 depicts the New York native as a man coping with the murder of his friend - a murder he and his crew later avenge on a street corner.

But now, Baltimore, Maryland, resident Tony Veanie claims the video affected him, and has filed a lawsuit against Ja Rule's record label claiming trouble started when portions of the promo were shot in his neighborhood.

In the handwritten suit, Veanie says, "The nature of this video was about violence and killing. I was threatened, shot at and stabbed." Now Veanie wants ,000 in damages.

In the lawsuit, Veanie refers to Ja Rule's record label as Murder Inc. now known simply as The Inc., with Murder being dropped last year to shed the label's violent image.

However, Veanie says the name change means little - he's convinced that the violent images in the video have already cost him dearly.

A representative at The Inc claims to have not yet heard about the lawsuit but believes the man who filed it must be "sick in the head".
http://www.teenmusic.com/d.asp?r=63488&cat=1020

Hes right too ;)

EMps
 

Mighty_Emperor

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 18, 2002
Messages
19,440
Reaction score
156
Points
129
Judge calls himself idiot

April 1, 2004


A JUDGE who demanded to know the name of "the idiot" who granted bail to a serial burglar discovered yesterday he was talking about himself.

Northern Territory Supreme Court Justice Dean Mildren yesterday conceded privately that he was the judge to grant bail to the thief in November.

It is believed Justice Mildren had forgot he was responsible.

Tristan Ellis, 18, was granted bail by Justice Mildren on November 25 after breaching a curfew imposed by the judge last April. He had been facing 28 break-and-enter charges.

Justice Mildren told him: "Don't muck up – these chances come only once."

Ellis was ordered to attend drug rehabilitation programs in Darwin.

But the self-confessed "lowlife crim" promptly went back to his old ways and committed 17 more break and enters and assault.

The judge said on Monday that he was "absolutely staggered" that Ellis had been given bail three times last year.

"Who is the idiot who did that?" he asked.

Ellis will be sentenced in the Supreme Court today. He faces up to life in prison.

The Courier-Mail
http://news.com.au/common/story_page/0,4057,9150827%5E13762,00.html
 

Mighty_Emperor

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 18, 2002
Messages
19,440
Reaction score
156
Points
129
You can't beat judges who hand out eccentric punishments:

Teen To Wear Blindfold For Stealing Adult Videos

Boy Caught Stealing Video

POSTED: 12:42 pm EDT April 22, 2004

PAINESVILLE, Ohio -- A teen caught stealing adult videos from Popular and Adult Videos in Painesville will have to stand in front of the store wearing a blindfold for four hours, NewsChannel5 reported.

Jeremy Sherwood was found guilty today on a misdemeanor theft charge.

Judge Michael Cicconetti, known for dishing out unusual sentences, sentenced him to 60 days in jail, suspending 30 of those days. He also was sentenced to 12 months of probation and 15 hours of community service.

Sherwood was given the choice of serving 30 days in jail or graduating high school and standing in front of the video store.

He will serve his sentence from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
http://www.newsnet5.com/news/3031293/detail.html

Emps
 

Mighty_Emperor

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 18, 2002
Messages
19,440
Reaction score
156
Points
129
LOL - that story links to this one from the same judge (he sounds like one to watch):

Man Sentenced To Ring Bell For False Alarm

Man Must Apologize To Firefighters

POSTED: 3:23 pm EST January 23, 2004
UPDATED: 5:12 pm EST January 23, 2004

PAINESVILLE, Ohio -- A man convicted of making a false 911 call was given an unusual sentence Friday by a Painesville judge.

NewsChannel5 reported that 21-year-old Kevin Yeckel of Madison was sentenced to ring a bell at several fire stations, and apologize in person to firefighters for wasting their time.

Judge Michael Cicconetti, known for dishing out unusual sentences, is requiring Yeckel go to all nine fire stations in the Painesville court district this weekend.

Yeckel will serve some jail time in addition to this punishment. His 30-day sentence will begin Monday.

In his 911 call, Yeckel claimed he was injured. As Perry fire and police responded, Yeckel walked away.

Firefighters believe Cicconetti's sentence fits the crime. He is using embarrassment and humiliation to drive home the message that false alarms can put others at risk.

"What if someone else had a call at the same time while they're pursuing this false alarm," said Cicconetti during the sentencing. "Sure, it's a crime that has to be punished."
http://www.newsnet5.com/news/2789200/detail.html

Emps
 

Mighty_Emperor

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 18, 2002
Messages
19,440
Reaction score
156
Points
129
Tuesday April 27, 10:59 AM

German woman in court for laughing

BERLIN (Reuters) - A German took his female neighbour to court for laughing too loudly. But she had the last laugh -- the judge threw out the case, saying Germany could not ban laughter, newspapers report.

Unemployed Bernd F., 52, complained to magistrates that 47-year-old Barbara M. kept him awake with over four hours of loud laughter one evening as she enjoyed a meal with eight friends in her Berlin flat above his, Bild daily said.

The judge dismissed the complaint of disturbing the peace, saying the woman had not broken any noise restrictions. "Laughter is a general sound of life. It will not be banned," he said.
http://uk.news.yahoo.com/040427/80/es47c.html
 

Mighty_Emperor

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 18, 2002
Messages
19,440
Reaction score
156
Points
129
Defendant cuts his neck with razor during rape trial


By Chip Guy
Gannett News Service

GEORGETOWN -- A man on trial for rape slit his neck with a razor blade as he listened to the testimony of the 91-year-old victim in a Sussex County courtroom Monday.

Testimony had just begun in Superior Court in the county Courthouse about 3:30 p.m. in the trial of Willis T. Matthews Jr., 42, when a juror noticed blood on the defendant's white prison jumpsuit and notified a bailiff, said Lori Sitler, a spokeswoman for the state Attorney General's Office.

Matthew was treated by paramedics, who took him to Beebe Medical Center in Lewes, where he was in stable condition. The injury did not appear to be life-threatening, said Glenn Marshall, spokesman for Sussex County Emergency Medical Services.

Correction officials said they recovered a razor blade and were interviewing officers involved to try to determine how Matthews smuggled it past corrections officers and security. Prisoners headed for court are searched before leaving prison.

"There's always a concern when an inmate is in possession of something he shouldn't be in possession of," said Beth Welch, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Correction. "Whenever something like this happens, there's always a review of procedure and policy."

Most prison inmates are issued disposable razors for shaving, which they keep until they need a new one. Corrections officers use a check-off list during the exchange to keep track of the razors, she said.

Superior Court Judge E. Scott Bradley declared a mistrial Monday and jurors were dismissed. A carpet crew was called in to clean blood from the courtroom.

Bradley would not comment on the incident, nor would Terry Hearn, the chief of security for Superior Court.

Matthews' public defender, Merritt S. "Sam" Burke III, could not be reached Monday night. Deputy Attorney General Adam Gelof, who was prosecuting the case, would not comment.

Matthews has been incarcerated at the Delaware Correctional Center near Smyrna since his arrest in March 2003. Monday was the first day of his trial in Georgetown.

Matthews is charged with rape, attempted robbery, burglary and other offenses. He is accused of raping a woman he knew in Laurel last year.

According to court records, Matthews had just been released from drug rehabilitation on March 31, 2003, when he allegedly broke into the woman's home at night.

He is accused of entering her bedroom as she slept, tying her with an electrical cord and assaulting her. The woman managed to escape and jumped 8 feet from a bathroom window to the ground. She went to a neighbor's house and called 911, according to court records.
http://www.delmarvanow.com/news/stories/20040428/localnews/308263.html
 

MrRING

Antediluvian
Joined
Aug 7, 2002
Messages
5,244
Reaction score
1,558
Points
234
Man Ordered To Keep Coffin In House

Judge orders man to keep coffin in home
May 10, 2004

(Conyers-AP) -- A judge has ordered a man who has been struggling with a drug problem to buy a coffin and keep it in his home.

Rockdale County Chief Superior Court Judge Sidney Nation sentenced 24-year-old Brenton Jay Raffensperger to serve only the first six months of a seven-year sentence on a cocaine possession charge.

But he must keep the coffin in his home during the duration of the sentence. As the judge put it, "I want you to be reminded every day that if you don't change your ways, you are a dead man."

Raffensperger also received a concurrent sentence on charge of driving under the influence. Nation added the coffin requirement as a condition after attorneys worked out a plea bargain.

Nation has used unusual measures in the past in an effort to emphasize to offenders the need to get off drugs.

He told one man to bury his crack pipe in a grave size hole. The judge ordered another man to keep a car he destroyed while driving under the influence in his front yard.


story
 

lopaka

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Sep 17, 2001
Messages
2,016
Reaction score
55
Points
79
Barking Mad, literally

http://cnn.netscape.cnn.com/ns/news...LS&idq=/ff/story/0001/20040521/0727470679.htm

N.Y. Lawyer Fined for Barking at Witness
By SAMUEL MAULL

NEW YORK (AP) - A lawyer who barked like a dog at a witness during a deposition has been fined $8,500 for misconduct and harassment of opponents.

The lawyer, David Fink, made false statements, failed to comply with court orders and engaged in frivolous conduct during a breach of contract suit over home furnishing designs, Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Charles Ramos said.

Fink's client Carl Levine represents designers of home furnishings to manufacturers and other licensees. He sued a married couple, Laurette Angsten and Kit Kittle, alleging they did not pay him money they owed for marketing their products.

During a deposition in which Kittle was giving sworn statements on Jan. 16, 2002, he referred to letters he had received from Fink. He called them threatening, ``mad dog lawyer'' letters, according to Kittle's lawyer, Samuel Friedman.

At the continuation of the deposition the next day, Friedman said, Fink started barking like a dog when Kittle was asked about the letters by Donald Creadore, the lawyer who had taken over Levine's case from Fink.

Friedman said Fink ``behaved in a very mocking manner, making the witness feel intimidated, speaking over other people and making it difficult for the court reporter to record much of anything.''

Friedman complained to Ramos about Fink's behavior.

``Mr. Fink was barking up the wrong tree,'' the lawyer quipped as he recalled the deposition. ``I don't know what motivated him to bark.''

After having a special referee review Fink's behavior, Ramos followed the recommendations and fined Fink, according to the judge's 54-page decision, which was published Thursday. The lawyer had already been assessed another $1,400 for previous misconduct in the case.

The special referee also recommended that Ramos report Fink to the disciplinary committee that monitors lawyers' conduct. Ramos' decision did not reveal whether he reported Fink, and Friedman said he did not know whether the judge had done so.

Fink did not return calls for comment. Creadore said he had no comment.

Meanwhile, the judge ruled against Levine in the underlying case, saying he was not entitled to royalties or commissions from Kittle and Angsten.


05/21/04 07:27

© Copyright The Associated Press.
 

Mighty_Emperor

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 18, 2002
Messages
19,440
Reaction score
156
Points
129
Post traumatic slave syndrome?

Judge rejects slave trauma as defense for killing

A Washington County judge threw out a PSU professor's novel theory at pretrial but said she may consider it at trial

Monday, May 31, 2004
HOLLY DANKS

HILLSBORO -- A Portland lawyer says suffering by African Americans at the hands of slave owners is to blame in the death of a 2-year-old Beaverton boy.


Randall Vogt is offering the untested theory, called post traumatic slave syndrome, in his defense of Isaac Cortez Bynum, who is charged with murder by abuse in the June 30 death of his son, Ryshawn Lamar Bynum. Vogt says he will argue -- "in a general way" -- that masters beat slaves, so Bynum was justified in beating his son.

The slave theory is the work of Joy DeGruy-Leary, an assistant professor in the Portland State University Graduate School of Social Work. It is not listed by psychiatrists or the courts as an accepted disorder, and some experts said they had never heard of it.

DeGruy-Leary testified this month in Washington County Circuit Court that African Americans today are affected by past centuries of U.S. slavery because the original slaves were never treated for the trauma of losing their homes; seeing relatives whipped, raped and killed; and being subjugated by whites.

Because African Americans as a class never got a chance to heal and today still face racism, oppression and societal inequality, they suffer from multigenerational trauma, says DeGruy-Leary, who is African American. Self-destructive, violent or aggressive behavior often results, she says.

Noting the theory has not been proven or ever offered in court, Washington County Circuit Judge Nancy W. Campbell recently threw out DeGruy-Leary's pretrial testimony.

But the judge said she would reconsider the defense for Bynum's September trial if his lawyer can show the slave theory is an accepted mental disorder with a valid scientific basis and specifically applies to this case.

"I think it can be proven," the court-appointed Vogt said after Campbell's ruling. "The problem is it's brand new. It's not as easy to present in court as something that's been established over years."

Murder-by-abuse, punishable by life in prison with 25 years before possible parole, means the victim suffered from a pattern of assaults. An autopsy found Ryshawn Bynum died of a brain injury and had a broken neck, broken ribs and as many as 70 whip marks on his legs, buttocks, back and chest that were of various ages.

Bynum told police he hit his son with a watch strap during potty-training. He said the day before the boy died, he was playing "helicopter," swinging his son around the room, when the boy hit his head on a table.

"He had a traditional, Southern, small-town, working-class upbringing where 'whuppin' was accepted," Vogt said. "Whether that was abusive or not, that is in the eye of the beholder. He was raised differently than your typical kid in Beaverton."

Experts disagree on whether post traumatic slave syndrome can be proven, much less accepted in legal arenas. It took 50 years for society and the courts to accept post traumatic stress syndrome, a diagnosis for someone who has experienced or witnessed an extraordinary event that involves actual or threatened death or serious injury. It is only diagnosed when functioning is severely impaired.

The judge also said the defense would have to show Bynum, who grew up in Mississippi, has slave syndrome. At the time of her testimony, DeGruy-Leary had not interviewed him.

Besides a doctorate in social work research, DeGruy-Leary has a master's degree in clinical psychology. She said she can offer counseling but is not licensed to diagnose anyone.

"Post traumatic slave syndrome is rather unique; it's not that everybody has it," DeGruy-Leary testified. "If you are African American and you are living in America, you have been impacted."

Under cross-examination by Robert Hull, Washington County senior deputy district attorney, DeGruy-Leary viewed Ryshawn Bynum's autopsy photos.

Calling the boy's injuries excessive, DeGruy-Leary said she would have reported them. But in the African American culture, such discipline "is extremely common," she said. "It falls in the rubric of what they think is normal."

A Los Angeles native, DeGruy-Leary has been working on the theory for two decades and said she is still a year from publishing a book on it. She coined the name in her 2001 dissertation on African American male youth violence.

She said she thinks post traumatic slave syndrome can be proven scientifically once the politics of race are set aside and the white research establishment takes time to study it.

"It's not a conversation that America wants to have," DeGruy-Leary said. "It's so ugly; it's so blatant."

Questioning the science

William E. Narrow, a psychiatrist who serves as associate director of research on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, said he had never heard of post traumatic slave syndrome and no one has proposed that it be included in the book's next edition.

Published by the American Psychiatric Association, the "DSM" is a courtroom bible. Judge Campbell said that if post traumatic slave disorder were in the DSM, she would consider it more favorably.

Narrow said the fifth edition of the diagnostic manual probably won't be published until 2012. In the meantime, researchers are testing new disorders for possible inclusion.

"To say that everybody in a particular racial or ethnic group has a diagnosis, I don't think it falls under what we do," Narrow said. "We have enough trouble as it is with people saying we are trying to make everybody mentally ill without trying to include something like that."

Alberto M. Goldwaser, a clinical and forensic psychiatrist, has testified as an expert in about 20 court cases across the country involving post traumatic stress, including murders.

"Maybe it's a social phenomenon and not a clinical phenomenon," he said in an interview from his Paramus, N.J., office, noting that he had never heard of post traumatic slave syndrome.

Because no African American today has been a slave, Goldwaser called the theory "such a stretch." He said he didn't think it would ever be accepted in court.

Alvin F. Poussaint, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and an expert on race relations in the United States, outlined his version of post traumatic slave syndrome in the 2000 book "Lay My Burden Down."

"It is a legacy where blacks were beaten a lot and lived in terror that they could be killed at will," Poussaint said from his Boston office.

"That type of trauma gets passed on for generations" in an entire group, he said. "But in a one-on-one case, these things are hard to prove."

Although DeGruy-Leary's theory could be "viable to educate the public, I don't know about in a court of law," Poussaint said.

"Lawyers try everything; they might as well put it out."
http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/1086004710123410.xml
 

Mighty_Emperor

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 18, 2002
Messages
19,440
Reaction score
156
Points
129
June 9, 2004, 9:45AM

Unusual sentences bring humiliation into legal process

By ANDREW TILGHMAN
Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle


A Harris County woman convicted this week of neglecting her horses was to be given only bread and water for part of her jail sentence, while a man convicted of illegally dumping hazardous waste was to drink a concoction of the toxic sludge.

Sex offenders in Corpus Christi were ordered three years ago to put up signs in their yards and bumper stickers on their cars indicating their crimes. And a Michigan teenage rap fan was ordered in 2000 to listen to Wayne Newton for violating a loud-radio ordinance.

The use of unorthodox and attention-grabbing sentences has become more popular in recent years, as experts say judges around the country have begun seeking alternatives to simple incarceration, turning to humiliation, rehabilitation or punishments tailored to have an impact on a defendant.

"People are saying, `Look, we are spending a lot of money in incarceration. Maybe now we need to get more creative and bring humiliation into the punishment process," said Mark Osler, a criminal law professor at the Baylor Law School in Waco.

One political science professor says the action can be viewed another way -- as smart politics.

In Texas, all state and county judges are elected, said Adolfo Santos, who teaches at the University of Houston-Downtown.

"Hardly anyone knows who is running for judgeships, but these guys are running real campaigns and they need whatever publicity they can get," Santos said. "Something like this gets some notoriety for the judge, and that kind of helps when the election comes around for that particular judge."

Harris County Criminal Court at Law Judge Michael Peters attempted two unusual orders this week, but officials said Tuesday that neither will be carried out.

On Monday, Peters ordered Melissa Dawn Sweeney, 28, who was convicted of severely neglecting two horses she kept in a muddy lot outside her trailer home in Baytown, to spend 30 days in jail and to have a diet restricted to bread and water for the first three days.

The horses were found to be underfed, ill and injured, and one had to be euthanized.

On Tuesday, he ordered Bernard Oczkowski to drink a concoction of toxic sludge.

"If you had to taste the by-product of your own conduct ... maybe you'd have second thoughts about ever, ever throwing something in a ditch, putting something down a drain or contributing in any way to polluting our waters," Peters told Oczkowski, who was convicted of dumping cancer-causing waste from his metal-plating business.

Peters said his order was contingent upon officials making sure such a chromium-and-water cocktail could be mixed at levels that would not seriously threaten Oczkowski's health.

"See if it can be done," he told a prosecutor. "I suspect it probably can't."

Assistant District Attorney Roger Haseman said it is unlikely that anyone would carry out the order.

"I don't see anybody who is going to be willing to do such a thing. That would open them up to liability," he said, suggesting that Oczkowski might be able to sue anyone who made him drink hazardous chemicals.

"I think he just wanted to make a point," Haseman said of the judge. "I think a lot of that was for show."

In Sweeney's case, the order will not be carried out because it violates state laws protecting prisoners' rights, sheriff's officials said.

"It's very rare that we are unable to follow a judge's order," said Capt. Robert Van Pelt, a Sheriff's Department spokesman. "But in this case, the judge's order was in direct conflict with the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, which mandates that an inmate receive a balanced diet in compliance with nationally recognized allowances for basic nutrition."

Peters said he may fight the Sheriff's Department's unwillingness to impose the bread-and-water diet.

"I'll have our staff attorney look into it," he said. "We may have to have a hearing on that."

Despite state laws barring such a punishment, many area residents applauded Peters for his effort to use a nontraditional sentence.

"The judge is speaking for us, for our community, for our people when he says, `I sentence you to bread and water,' " said Dianne Clements, president of the victims' advocacy group Justice for All. "Many of us are looking for some kind of new method or breakthrough that will make a difference in the lives and behavior of these individuals."

Osler, the criminal law professor, said such punishments are not isolated.

"This is a case where the judge is saying `I'm not going to give her six years in prison; I'm going to do something that she will remember.' That is what retribution and deterrence is about," Osler said.

Creative sentencing may be most famously associated with former state District Judge Ted Poe, who stepped down last year to run for Congress.

Poe made national headlines in May 1994 when he ordered a convicted child molester to post a sign on his home warning of his conviction and reading: "No children under the age of 18 allowed on these premises by court order."

Poe often ordered violent criminals to post photographs of their victims in their prison cells. He also was known to make shoplifters parade outside the stores where they had stolen, carrying signs disclosing their crimes.

"A judge should try to get the attention of the offenders by making the sentence mean something to the offenders," Poe said this week." I found that it did work. It took more effort on the part of the judge, but it does work as far as keeping people from coming back through the system."
http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/metropolitan/2617566
 

MrRING

Antediluvian
Joined
Aug 7, 2002
Messages
5,244
Reaction score
1,558
Points
234
Judge Suspected of Masturbating in Court

OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - An Oklahoma state judge frequently masturbated and used a device for enhancing erections while his court was in session, charges a petition by the state's attorney general seeking his removal.

Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson filed the petition on Wednesday with state judicial authorities seeking the ouster of Sapulpa District Judge Donald Thompson, 57, for "conduct constituting an offense involving moral turpitude in violation of the Oklahoma Constitution," Edmondson's spokesman said on Thursday.

The judge flatly denies the charges made in the petition, his lawyer, Clark Brewster, said on Thursday. He said the judge received a penis pump for his 50th birthday as a gag gift, which became a source of a running joke in the courthouse. "The allegations are bizarre and preposterous," Brewster said. "Recently, some members of local law enforcement that are upset with a number of his rulings, used this situation to embarrass and attack him."

The judge, who was first elected to the bench more than 20 years ago in the state's nonpartisan judicial elections, is based about 80 miles northeast of Oklahoma City. In the petition, the attorney general charged Thompson used a penis pump, a device billed as providing sexual pleasure and promising better erections and larger penis size, during trials and exposed himself to a court reporter several times while masturbating on the bench.

"On one occasion, Ms. (Lisa) Foster (Thompson's court reporter for 15 years), saw Judge Thompson holding his penis up and shaving underneath it with a disposable razor while on the bench," the petition reads. Several witnesses, including jurors in Thompson's court and police officers called to testify in trials, said in the petition they heard the "swooshing" sound of a penis pump during trials and saw the judge slumped in his chair, with his elbows on his knees, working the device. The witnesses said the pump sounded like a blood pressure cuff being pumped up.

According to the petition, Thompson admitted he had a penis pump under the bench during a murder trial but he told investigators it was a gag gift from a friend. The petition also charges Thompson with firing his former court reporter after she cooperated with investigators.


Story

Austin Powers: I don't even know what this is! This sort of thing ain't my bag, baby.
Quartermaster Clerk: One book, "Swedish-made Penis Enlargers And Me: This Sort of Thing Is My Bag Baby", by Austin Powers.
 

Mighty_Emperor

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 18, 2002
Messages
19,440
Reaction score
156
Points
129
All rise for the judge

Oooooooooo just beat me to this - a couple of other reports:

Posted 6/24/2004 4:50 PM




Oklahoma moves to oust accused judge

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson is seeking the ouster of a Creek County judge who allegedly engaged in improper sexual conduct during court proceedings.

Edmondson filed a petition Wednesday with the state Court on the Judiciary against District Judge Donald D. Thompson of Sapulpa.

Thompson, 57, placed himself in a position where his female court reporter viewed him using a penis pump multiple times, Edmondson alleged in the petition. The document also alleges that a court reporter saw other improper sexual conduct on a number of occasions.

The trial division of the state Court on the Judiciary presides over complaints against state judges and has the authority to remove them from the bench.

Thompson couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday, but did deny the allegations during an investigation, Edmondson's petition stated.

Edmondson said he didn't think information alleged in the ouster petition against Thompson would result in overturning any trials where Thompson presided.

Among witnesses listed in Edmondson's petition are court personnel, the Sapulpa police chief and police officers who were present at a criminal trial in Thompson's court.

Edmondson accused the judge of violating the code of judicial ethics that requires high standards of conduct, among other things. He also alleged that Thompson committed an offense involving moral turpitude.

"The actions of Judge Thompson's in using a penis pump during trial where court personnel, witnesses and juries could either see or hear his actions at the least, constitutes conduct against good morals," Edmondson's petition stated.

In September 2000, Lisa K. Foster, court reporter for Thompson for 15 years, first started hearing a noise that "sounded like a blood pressure cuff being pumped up," the petition by Edmondson stated. Foster told investigators she witnessed the judge's sexual behavior "fifteen to twenty times."

Edmondson alleges that Thomspon fired Foster after hearing she had cooperated with the investigation against him.

Thompson admitted the penis pump was under the bench during a criminal trial on Aug. 22, 2003, and at other times but denied using the pump, Edmondson's petition stated.

"He testified the pump was a gag gift from a friend," the petition stated.

Thompson served six years in the state House of Representatives starting in 1975.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2004-06-24-okla-judge-misconduct_x.htm

And the actual documents:

Here Comes The Judge

State: Bounce Oklahoma jurist for "pumping it up" on bench

JUNE 24--While seated on the bench, an Oklahoma judge used a male enhancement pump, shaved and oiled his nether region, and pleasured himself, state officials charged yesterday in a petition to remove the jurist. According to the below complaint filed by the Oklahoma Attorney General, Donald D. Thompson, 57, was caught in the act by a clerk, trial witnesses, and his longtime court reporter (these unsettling first-hand accounts will make you wonder what's going on under other black robes). Visitors to Thompson's Creek County courtroom reported hearing a "swooshing" sound coming from the bench, a noise the court reporter said "sounded like a blood pressure cuff being pumped up." Thompson, the complaint charges, even pumped himself up during an August 2003 murder trial. The AG's petition quotes Thompson (pictured above) as admitting that the pump was "under the bench" during the murder case (and at other times), but he denied using the item, which was supposedly a "gag gift from a friend." (9 pages)
http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/0624041pump1.html
 

Mighty_Emperor

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 18, 2002
Messages
19,440
Reaction score
156
Points
129
Mother sends finger to court as protest in sex assault case



A 42-year-old woman cut off her finger and sent it to the Seoul High Court to protest its decision allowing bail for her estranged husband after he was convicted at his first trial of sexually assaulting her daughter for more than seven years.

The Korean-Japanese woman flew into Seoul with her 13-year-old daughter yesterday, a day after the court received an envelope mailed earlier from Tokyo containing the finger and a letter written in blood threatening to burn herself alive if her husband does not get a harsh sentence.

She cut off the index finger on her right hand after hearing that her husband, who had been sentenced to seven years in prison, was released on bail pending his second trial, the law firm Cheongji said.

But presiding judge Lee Ho-won reportedly said the bail was decided before the woman, identified as Kim and now a Buddhist nun, cut off the finger and that the decision could not be nullified.

He suggested the letter written in blood could be used as a petition or appeal and sent the finger to Cheongji, which is acting for Kim.

Her husband, only identified as Roh, 50, was sentenced in the lower court in February. His second trial will be July 14.

Roh and Kim married in 1994 when her daughter was six years old. The first trial was told that Roh sexually assaulted his stepdaughter from 1995 to June 2002 in his house in Hong Kong, where he was working as a professor while Kim was living in Japan. He assaulted the girl after giving her sleeping pills and also beat her with a paddle.

Kim and Roh, who received his doctorate at MIT in Boston, are not legally divorced yet. Their divorce case is pending in Seoul Family Court.
http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/site/d...230036.asp?kpage=7&kppage=0&scode=FA&art_id"=
 

TheQuixote

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Sep 25, 2003
Messages
3,294
Reaction score
35
Points
69
SCOTLAND:
A Dyson vacuum cleaner appeared in court accused of attacking a 59-year-old man.

Norman Grant claimed the machine suddenly lashed out, sending him tumbling down stairs at his home knocking him unconscious.

He is suing the makers for £50,000, alleging the machine 'came at him' while he was doing his housework in Aberdeen.

Sheriff Douglas Cusine tried to discourage Mr Grant from demonstrating in court how the accident happened, saying "I would not like to be assaulted by the machine if it's got a life of its own."
Sunday Mercury JUNE 27, 2004

and this less sensational related article:


Man knocked down stairs sues vacuum cleaner firm
By Auslan Cramb
(Filed: 26/06/2004)

A man was trying to clear cobwebs with his new Dyson vacuum cleaner when the machine knocked him down the stairs, a court was told yesterday.

Norman Grant, 59, who is suing Dyson for £50,000, said he suffered painful head and wrist injuries as a result.

The company has admitted liability, and a hearing at Aberdeen sheriff court will decide the amount of damages to be paid.

Mr Grant, from Aberdeen, used the purple Dyson cleaner in court yesterday to demonstrate how a hose extension had broken and knocked him over.

He said: "I needed the hose extension with the brush at the end to suck up the cobwebs. I was at the top step, going as near as I could to the cobwebs. I stretched out and got to the nearest one.

Then the extension just broke apart and came back at me. Suddenly there was just this flash and something struck me on the arm and the next minute I found myself at the bottom of the stairs."

He said he had to have a cup of tea after the accident and then tried to put the extension back together to see if he had made a mistake.

"I stretched the cable again and it came apart again. It came off immediately and I said there's a fault with the machine. Dyson said it was the highest technology in the world, and so on."

Mr Grant, a semi-retired oil worker, said he had fallen about 15 steps and still suffered from pain in his wrist which affected his golf, gardening and household chores. "There are nagging pains, I can feel it throbbing," he added.

The case was adjourned until a later date when further evidence will be heard.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/mai...vac26.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/06/26/ixhome.html
 

Mighty_Emperor

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 18, 2002
Messages
19,440
Reaction score
156
Points
129
A jury of one's peers?

Man Judged Insane Is Called for Jury Duty


July 2, 2004, 9:35 AM EDT


HOUSTON -- A legally insane Houston man who gouged his girlfriend's eyes with a steak knife has received a jury summons and might be able to serve, but lawyers say it's doubtful he'll be picked for a panel.

Nathan Dale Campbell was first summoned to report for Harris County jury service Monday, but the date was then rescheduled to Aug. 30, said a staffer in the district clerk's office.

Campbell, 30, was acquitted in 1997 after a jury found he was legally insane when he attacked girlfriend Kristen West the previous year, blinding her in one eye and permanently damaging her sight in the other. Campbell received treatment as an inpatient at the Kerrville State Hospital.

The attack followed West's refusal of Campbell's marriage proposal. He said he thought her eyes were demons.

State District Judge Debbie Mantooth Stricklin in June 2003 ordered Campbell released from the state hospital in Kerrville after doctors said he was ready to live in the community under supervision. Campbell was treated as an outpatient in San Antonio for a time after his release, but court personnel have not revealed his whereabouts since then, citing federal privacy law.

Driver's license and voter records list him at his mother's address in northwest Houston.

Although the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure lists insanity as an "absolute disqualification" for jury service, it also adds the statement that "both parties may consent."

A 1952 court ruling holds that an insane person may not serve on a jury even if the state and defendant agree otherwise, attorney Susan Crump, a professor at South Texas College of Law, told the Houston Chronicle in Friday's editions.

Jim Leitner, Campbell's lawyer, said his client is legally qualified to serve if he wants to, but that his selection was unlikely. Leitner said Stricklin's finding of insanity applies only to the time when the offense occurred, and doctors have since determined Campbell is well enough to live outside an institution.
http://www.newsday.com/news/nationw...56778.story?coll=sns-ap-nationworld-headlines
 

Mighty_Emperor

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 18, 2002
Messages
19,440
Reaction score
156
Points
129
'Merlin' Tried for Shopping With Sword

Tue Jul 13,11:37 AM ET

Add Strange News - AP to My Yahoo!

PORTSTMOUTH, England - "Merlin" appeared in court Tuesday, resplendent in his druid robes and defended by King Arthur Pendragon, but without the 3-foot sword which caused alarm in a local shop.

Merlin Michael Williams, 26, of Westbourne, England, was arrested last week after carrying his spell-casting weapon while shopping at a store in Portsmouth. The sword was confiscated as evidence.

Williams presented himself at Portsmouth Magistrates draped in a green robe and blue cloak.

Pendragon, who addressed the court in a white robe with a red lion print, was joined by a dozen other members of the Insular Order of the Druids, who filled the public gallery.

Williams argued precedent, explaining previous cases heard by the court had allowed druids the right to carry ceremonial swords, which are used to cast spells and create circles of safety.

The case was adjourned for a month to give prosecutor Colin Shackel time to examine precedents.

"It is accepted by the crown this was sheathed and there was no offensive action by the defendant," Shackel said. "The issue is whether this is an offensive weapon per se."

Williams remained free on bail.

The Insular Order of the Druids was founded in 1993 at Stonehenge and is one of at least eight self-styled druid groups in the Britain.
http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20040713/ap_on_fe_st/britain_druid_s_trial_1
 

Mighty_Emperor

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 18, 2002
Messages
19,440
Reaction score
156
Points
129
RUNNING MAN

Friday, July 16, 2004


A Seguin, Texas man receives a bizarre sentence following his conviction on burglary charges. 22-year-old Soccora Avilas was ordered to run around the Seguin police station for 10 minutes. Police say he ran from them when they tried to arrest him, so when it came time for sentencing, the judge decided Avilas hadn`t quite run enough. A probation officer calls the punishment innovative and hopes it will make Avilas and others think twice before committing a crime. His running laps kept Avilas from going to prison, but he still has to perform community service and pay his court fees.
http://www.kfdx.com/news/default.asp?mode=shownews&id=5818
 
Top