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Friday, April 29, 2011

World's Dumbest Judges and Cops

Judges and Lawyers - The FBI May Be Listening When You Fix Cases
Some lawyers in South Texas looking over their shoulders for the FBI. The Associated Press reports today that "an ex-state lawmaker pleaded guilty Friday to extortion after admitting paying a disgraced South Texas judge for favorable rulings.
Former Democratic Rep. Jose Santiago "Jim" Solis served seven terms representing the Rio Grande Valley in the Texas House before retiring in 2007. He is a longtime personal injury lawyer in Harlingen, but calls to his office seeking comment were not immediately returned.
The 47-year-old plead guilty to a one-count criminal information which charged him with aiding and abetting extortion by former state District Judge Abel C. Limas, the U.S. attorney's office in Brownsville said in a statement.
Prosecutors say Solis was one of many attorneys who paid for favorable pretrial rulings from Limas in civil matters pending in his court, including $8,000 Solis paid in a case involving a helicopter crash on South Padre Island. The U.S. attorney's office said the pair described that payment as eight golf balls."

Cops - Don't Moonlight for Drug Dealers
A former Harris County sheriff's deputy, George Wesley Ellington, 38, pleaded guilty April 14 to one count of extortion. The Houston Chronicle reports that he admitted providing law enforcement information and security protection for $500 to someone he believed to transporting Ecstasy.

Police Chiefs - Don't Email Pictures of Naked Women to Other Officers - Especially the Women
 Poteet Police Chief John Overstreet resigned Thursday effective immediately, city attorney Frank Garza said Friday, reported the San Antonio Express-News.
Overstreet had become involved in a controversy Wednesday when he texted what he termed a “funny message” that included topless photos of women to several friends. Garza said it helped trigger the resignation.
The chief inadvertently sent the text to Alice Bhirdo, the only full-time female police officer on his 12-person staff.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Grits for Breakfast reports:

Bribe-taking cops, judges

Here's yet another South Texas police chief convicted of conspiring with drug traffickers:
Former Sullivan City Police Chief Hernan Guerra has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison without parole for drug trafficking, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced yesterday. ...

Guerra was convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana in January of this year after pleading guilty to the federal drug trafficking offense. At that time, Guerra admitted that as police chief of Sullivan City, he assisted the drug traffickers cross their loads of marijuana by alerting members of the illicit organization to the location of U.S. Border Patrol units and by directing his officers to other locations to avoid their interfering with or intercepting the traffickers as they ran the loads of marijuana from the river into Sullivan City. Guerra was paid for the assistance he provided the traffickers.
And there was a similar recent incident out of Laredo, reports Channel 6 News in Webb County:
A Laredo police officer ... was sentenced to over 24 years in prison after being convicted for drug trafficking firearms offenses, prosecutors informed.
Orlando Jesus Hale, 28, a member of Laredo Police Department (LPD), was found guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime and possessing the firearm in furtherance of the drug trafficking crime.
The law agent was sentenced to 235 months in prison for the drug trafficking offense and to a consecutive 60-month prison term for the firearms charges. Overall, Hale received a sentenced of 295 months in prison (24 years and a half).

Hale and LPD officer Pedro Martinez III conspired to escort vehicles loaded with cocaine through Laredo, Texas. The two defendants used their police radios to monitor LPD dispatch traffic during the escort.
Meanwhile, since we're on the subject of corruption, I should mention former Judge Abel Limas in Brownsville who pleaded guilty earlier this month to taking bribes in exchange for favorable rulings in criminal cases.Reported the McAllen Monitor:
Limas pleaded guilty ... to racketeering by soliciting, extorting and accepting bribes totaling at least $257,300 in exchange for giving favorable rulings. His plea, which came in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, resulted from a federal indictment....

His alleged activities make up the most explosive corruption case here since the federal conviction in 2005 of former Cameron County Sheriff Conrado Cantu, who is now serving a term of nearly 25 years for racketeering.

The indictment against Limas, an attorney and former police officer, is the result of a years-long investigation that has brought his 35 years in law enforcement and judicial work to a screeching halt.
Scott Hensen, the author/editor of Grits for Breakfast, comment "Most police officers and judges would never engage in such behavior, but nor do most aggressively seek out those among their colleagues who do - these cases all stemmed from investigations by outside agencies, they weren't caught by the locals' checks and balances. Anyone who thinks law-enforcement corruption is only a problem south of the river is kidding themselves, and it's not just along the border, either."

Bill Conroy in NarcoSphere reports about a high-level player with one of the most notorious narco-trafficking organizations in Mexico, the Sinaloa “cartel,” claims that he has been working with the U.S. government for years, according to pleadings filed recently in federal court in Chicago. The story reads like a screenplay for a Hollywood thriller, with crooked CIA and ICE agents.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Darwin in Action: DumbAss Criminals

Some people just can't seem to adapt to modern technology. Maybe they can use it, but are too dumb to see that bragging about criminal acts on Facebook is not a bright idea. This week's Darwin Awards go to three of them. 

Alleged Texas Gator Killer Boasted (and Busted) on Facebook If you're going to shoot a protected animal, don't take pictures and post them on Facebook. A redneck in Bastrop (near Austin) shot an 11 foot (500-800 lb) alligator just for fun. Game wardens tracked him down, which didn't really require bloodhounds.

Don't Get Your Chest Tattooed With a Murder Scene
NORWALK, Calif. - When Los Angeles County Sheriff's homicide investigator Kevin Lloyd was routinely looking through snapshots of tattooed gang members, he saw something that caught his eye - a crime scene he was familiar with.

Anthony Garcia, a member of the Rivera-13 gang, had a tattoo that resembled the scene of the liquor store killing of 23-year-old John Juarez in Pico Rivera on Jan. 23, 2004.
There were numerous details the murder inked on the gang member. The paper reports that the tattoo included the Christmas lights that lined the roof of the liquor store where Juarez was shot and killed, the direction his body fell, the bowed street lamp across the way and the street sign. Above everything read the title, "RIVERA KILLS", a reference to the gang. A helicopter was also placed above the scene raining down bullets,  a nod to Garcia's alias "Chopper."
When police discovered the evidence on Garcia's chest in 2008, they launched an investigation, which was followed by the arrest of Garcia.

Facebook bragging nabs 4 in Houston bank robbery

Res ipsa loquitur, or as my old law professor used to say, these guys are dumber than a box of rocks. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bumbling Texas Ranger, Lawyer Screwed by Client, Police Chief Busted

Drug Trafficker sold out Laredo Lawyer
From San Antonio Express-News

A Laredo lawyer who pleaded guilty last week to a racketeering charge was sold out by a Houston-based drug trafficker with connections in Mexico and across the U. S., according to court documents.  
Alonzo Ramos, a 40-year-old attorney from a politically connected Laredo family, pleaded guilty in a Dallas federal court to one count of interstate travel in aid of racketeering.
According to his plea agreement, Ramos acted as an intermediary between the Houston trafficker, who was facing charges in Louisiana, and other traffickers who wanted him to keep quiet. Ramos gave the trafficker $48,500 in drug proceeds not to snitch, according to the plea agreement.

A former San Antonio police officer who had been sentenced to a five-year prison term for stealing from fellow officers was ordered released on Thursday.
Clifford Morgan served about six months behind bars. State District Judge Ron Rangel had suggested during his sentencing in October that he might consider shock probation.
Morgan had been with the police department 11 years when he was accused in 2006 of embezzling $104,000 from the San Antonio Police Officers' Association while serving as the union's treasurer

A former Bexar County Jail guard was sentenced Thursday to 27 months in federal prison after he was found guilty at a trial last year of beating one of two inmates.
Daniel Melgoza Jr., 54, told U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia that he believed in the judicial system and knew the judge would be “fair in your decision.”

Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/default/article/Ex-Bexar-jailer-gets-27-months-in-prison-for-1347026.php#ixzz1KD9PBWth

Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/default/article/Cop-who-ripped-off-police-union-released-1347681.php#ixzz1KD8qBFnc


Rangers Lose Body

es probe

Investigators believe Lupita Cantu was interred, but where?
Updated 12:01 a.m., Sunday, April 17, 2011

The mysterious disappearance of Lupita Cantu was supposed to be over — with a long-suspected tragedy confirmed, her body recovered at long last.
Instead, the uncertainty has only deepened. Cantu's remains have been identified. But in an irony decades in the making, she still can't be found.
Cantu, 42, a West Side mother of four, drove off in April 1990 with a bearded man nobody knew or had seen before or since. In early March, a Texas Ranger announced a breakthrough: DNA technology and old-fashioned police work had determined Cantu was buried in Frio County as an unidentified Jane Doe not long after she disappeared. The case was an active homicide investigation.
But in the weeks that followed, authorities acknowledged a startling fact. They can't locate the pauper's grave in the Pearsall cemetery where the then-unidentified woman was supposed to be buried — or even confirm that she was interred.
“We thought this finally (was) a conclusion for the family,” said Frio County Judge Carlos A. Garcia. “Then the Rangers tell me that neither the coroner nor the funeral home or the county knows where the body is ... It is a very sad and unfortunate situation and I feel for the family.”

Officials are still trying to track what happened to that body, but misplaced county records and the passage of time have left only the bare outline of a series of possible blunders.
By coincidence, Ranger Lt. Rocky Millican, who had investigated the body found a few miles outside Pearsall, was the one who told Frio County officials and the family about the identification breakthrough. But when he tried to find the grave, he got nowhere.
The body had been taken to then-Bexar County Medical Examiner Vincent deMaio for an autopsy but the owner of the mortician's delivery service is deceased and the business no longer exists.
The discovery of the body apparently never generated a death certificate, as the law requires. Authorities can't say why.

Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/default/article/Missing-body-impedes-probe-1340570.php#ixzz1JmVKT2br

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Cocaine and Police

Disclaimer: I am not anti-cop, or anti-authority. I respect most of them and am grateful that they risk their lives every day to protect us. The same goes for lawyers and judges. Most are decent people. I have good friends who are police officers. With that out of the way -- here are two stories about Houston cops who got themselves killed messing around with cocaine.

Details shed light on slain officer

He allegedly visited drug house and had sex with prostitute on the night he was killed


April 16, 2011, 12:05AM

On the night he was shot to death, an off-duty Harris County Precinct 4 deputy constable allegedly visited a drug house and a prostitute, according to court records.

Court documents state that shortly before Brewer died, he visited a "dope house" with Hambrick and Sonier, who is accused of robbing and shooting the deputy after he engaged in sex with Hambrick.
In a prepared statement Friday, Precinct 4 Constable Ron Hickman's office said, "This single incident (or set of circumstances) in which Deputy Brewer is believed to have placed himself which led to this tragic outcome should not overshadow his many years of service and dedication."
One of the many (over 120) comments is spot on. "The story says the cop visited a drug house with the two other criminals and later engaged in paid for sex with the woman, whose pimp then shot him in a robbery. It's what everybody thought to begin with, but the badge kept tongues idle for the unwarranted respect that many hold for a piece of metal."

..........and another Houston cop messing round with cocaine.....

April 15, 2011, 6:38AM

Handout photo
Ann O’Donnell, 24, was the first University of Houston police officer to die in the line of duty.

The first University of Houston police officer to die in the line of duty had narcotics in her system when she wrecked her patrol car on a Christmas Eve call, university officials said.
In a statement released Thursday, UH Police Chief Malcolm Davis said Harris County medical examiners found cocaine in officer Ann O'Donnell's system.
O'Donnell, 24, struck a tree about 1 a.m. on Dec. 24 while responding to reports of a possible assault or kidnapping at a fast-food restaurant across the street from Robertson Stadium.
UH police dispatchers lost contact with O'Donnell after the crash. Houston police soon notified them that one of their patrol cars had been involved in a single-car crash along the 4300 block of North 'MacGregor Way.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Red River County - As Bad as It Gets

There may be a county in Texas worse than Kimble. In Red River County (east Texas) the DA and district judge have a view of blacks and how they should keep their place straight out of 1925 Mississippi. They frame blacks, kick in doors, without search warrants, and try to send entire families off to the pen. The DA leads the raids, wearing a bullet proof vest and carrying an assault rifle.

The victims of this outrage were able to hire well-known East Texas trial attorney Mark Lesher, whose first order of business was to get District Attorney Val Varley off the case. Varley was with the police when they broke down the door.
"Not only is he dressed up — he's got a flak jacket on and an assault rifle. He's part of the raid," Lesher says.
NPR.org has an excellent report (click Red River County above).
The sheriff and DA are defendants in a $2 million civil rights suit. I hope they get popped. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Not all Lawyers are Crooks; Not all Military are Heroes

San Antonio Personal injury lawyer admits stealing settlement

A San Antonio-based personal injury attorney pleaded guilty Tuesday to a felony charge of ripping off a client's insurance settlement.
Sean F. O'Neill, 55, agreed with prosecutors to surrender his law license at his sentencing hearing, which will take place in August, and to pay $65,500 in restitution. In exchange, prosecutors will remain silent on his application for probation for the third-degree felony misapplication by a fiduciary charge.

. . . .. .

It's funny how certain professions are loathed (used car salesmen, lawyers) and some are put on a pedestal so that they are all called 'heroes.' (police, firemen, especially the military). With the military, it's assumed that any member is a patriot and hero. We overlook the bad ones - Lee Harvey Oswald and Charles Wittman (Texas Tower sniper0 learned to shoot in the Marines. 

The Austin American Statesman reports that a U.S. Army recruiter was charged with sexual assault Tuesday after a woman came forward about a 2009 incident, according to an arrest affidavit.
Newsweek has a disturbing article about male on male rape in the U.S. military. 
Like in prisons and other predominantly male environments, male-on-male assault in the military, experts say, is motivated not by homosexuality, but power, intimidation, and domination. Assault victims, both male and female, are typically young and low-ranking; they are targeted for their vulnerability. Often, in male-on-male cases, assailants go after those they assume are gay, even if they are not. "One of the reasons people commit sexual assault is to put people in their place, to drive them out," says Mic Hunter, author of Honor Betrayed: Sexual Abuse in America's Military. "Sexual assault isn't about sex, it's about violence."

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Duke Lacrosse Accuser Busted for Attempted Murder

District attorneys are politicians. They are elected officials. Most are probably honest public servants. A few are not. Take the case of Mike Nifong, the North Carolina DA who prosecuted the Duke lacrosse team for raping a black 'exotic dancer.' Trouble was, it didn't happen. That didn't stop Nifong from trying to destroy the boys' lives so he could curry favor with the black voters.

The dancer, Crystal Mangum, has recently been arrested for attempted murder - her second arrest on that charge. She's a lowlife, and belongs in prison. The young men she and Nifong tried to destroy were fortunate to come from families with the resources to fight back. Their lawyers caught Nifong hiding evidence and fabricating a case. All charges were dismissed, and Nifong was disbarred.

Some DA's will do anything to win. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

South Texas Judge Busted by Feds for RICO, Head of US Bureau of Prisons Busted for DWI

Former state district judge Abel C. Limas of Brownsville pled guilty in a RICO case to taking bribes to fix cases, hours after his arrest by federal agents. The indictment charges Lima with using his court to "generate income ... through bribery, extortion, favoritism, improper influence, personal self-enrichment, self-dealing, concealment and conflict of interest." It goes on to list eight separate alleged episodes of racketeering.
The sentence for racketeering ranges from 10 years to life.  I bet there are some Brownsville lawyers looking over their shoulders. 

Head of Bureau of Federal Prisons Busted for DWI
Another public servant, Harley Lappin, the Director of the Bureau of Federal Prisons, got busted for DWI this week.

ATF Needs to Clean the Manure Off Its Boots

Meanwhile, ATF is in hot water for a fiasco operation (remember Waco and Ruby Ridge) where they let thousands of guns go to Mexican Cartels in what they called "Operation Fast and Furious ", a program out of Arizona in which ATF let “straw purchasers” buy guns and transport them to Mexico, all with the hopes of tracing them to the Mexican cartels.
Austin: State Trooper Indicted Over Bus Encounter
This guy has a chip on his shoulder. He took offense at a bus driver's performance and came onto the bus to complain. Some wiseacre in the back made a remark the trooper didn't like, so he came on and threated to arrest him and shoved him.

If you want to see what is really going on in the drug war south of the border, check out blogdelnarco.com   Be forewarned some  of it is pretty graphic.