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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rogue Military Recruiter, Bandera Sheriff Race, Another Wrongful Conviction?

It fascinates me the way people automatically trust and admire someone based on a label. Call it the halo effect. When we hear "ex-Marine"we think of the recruiting posters of Marines in their dress blues, or the tough men who fought the Japanese in WWII.I have the highest respect for the USMC and its service to our country. My wife's late father is one of my heroes - he was in the first wave of Marines to land on Guadacanal and fought in other hellholes. The Marines and Navy turned the tide against the Japanese and gave the US its first victory in WWII.

But being a member or former member of an elite organization doesn't automatically mean a given individual is a good person. Lee Harvey Oswald and Charles Whitman, the Texas Tower sniper, were both ex-Marines.

Which leads us to the following stories, one about an Air Force recruiter alleged to have raped at least ten recruits, and the election to replace disgraced Bandera County sheriff Weldon Tucker.

Former Lackland instructor accused
AF charges include sexual contact with recruits and rape.

By Sig Christenson, EXPRESS-NEWS STAFF
Updated 11:50 p.m., Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Air Force said Tuesday that a former training instructor at Lackland AFB could face life in prison after being charged with “inappropriate sexual conduct,” including consensual sex and rape, with 10 recruits.
The Air Force said Staff Sgt. Luis A. Walker had sexual contact with the recruits through much of his time as an instructor.
Walker, whose age and hometown were not released, faced an evidentiary hearing, called an Article 32, on Monday on charges of rape, aggravated sexual assault, sodomy, obstruction of justice and violating a general regulation — being alone with a female recruit.

7 vying for sheriff in Bandera County
Six Republicans, one Democrat on primary ballot.
By Zeke MacCormack, zeke@express-news.net
Updated 11:39 p.m., Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/7-vying-for-sheriff-in-Bandera-County-2415558.php#ixzz1hAvBDsvX

Restoring departmental integrity is a recurring pledge among six Republicans vying to become Bandera County sheriff, a post that Weldon Tucker vacated under a plea deal that resolved a charge of abuse of official capacity.
The winner of the April 3 primary will face the lone declared Democrat, James “Bubba” Popham, next November.
The GOP field includes Scott Sharp, a former deputy who blew the whistle on Tucker's misuse of a county boat, and Richard Smith, the chief deputy who has led the agency since Tucker's May 5 ouster.
Another current deputy, investigator David McGilvray, is also seeking the Republican nomination.Law enforcement retirees James Newton, Dan Butts and Frances Kaiser round out the GOP field.

Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/7-vying-for-sheriff-in-Bandera-County-2415558.php#ixzz1hAvPjHj4

CNN Explores Warren Horinek Case
Anderson Cooper brings fresh scrutiny to alleged wrongful conviction

Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/7-vying-for-sheriff-in-Bandera-County-2415558.php#ixzz1hAvK2ULQ
CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 will air a report tonight on the controversial case of Warren Horinek—a former Fort Worth police officer convicted in 1996 of murdering his wife. Horinek is serving a 30-year sentence in state prison. There is compelling evidence that he’s innocent.

The Observer first reported on the serious flaws in the case against Horinek in August 2010. Our exposé—titled “A Bloody Injustice”—detailed the unusual circumstances that led to o Horinek’s conviction.

The people normally responsible for prosecuting a murder came to believe that Warren was telling the truth. The crime scene investigator, the homicide sergeant, the medical examiner and the assistant DA assigned to prosecute the case all became convinced that the evidence pointed to suicide.

“I always thought that it was suicide,” Mike Parrish, the prosecutor handling the case, told the Observer last year. “Still do.”

Bonnie’s parents chose to hire a private attorney, who, through a quirk in the law, obtained a grand jury indictment of Horinek. That led to a bizarre trial. Everyone trying to convict Warren was in private practice, and the agents of the state—crime scene investigator, homicide sergeant and assistant DA—all testified for the defense.

Local Cops Ready for War With Homeland Security-Funded Military Weapons

Dec 21, 2011 4:45 AM EST

miles, Fargo treasures its placid lifestyle, seldom pierced by the mayhem and violence common in other urban communities. North Dakota’s largest city has averaged fewer than two homicides a year since 2005, and there’s not been a single international terrorism prosecution in the last decade.

Like Fargo, thousands of other local police departments nationwide have been amassing stockpiles of military-style equipment in the name of homeland security, aided by more than $34 billion in federal grants since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a Daily Beast investigation conducted by the Center for Investigative Reporting has found.

In Montgomery County, Texas, the sheriff’s department owns a $300,000 pilotless surveillance drone, like those used to hunt down al Qaeda terrorists in the remote tribal regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. In Augusta, Maine, with fewer than 20,000 people and where an officer hasn’t died from gunfire in the line of duty in more than 125 years, police bought eight $1,500 tactical vests. Police in Des Moines, Iowa, bought two $180,000 bomb-disarming robots, while an Arizona sheriff is now the proud owner of a surplus Army tank.

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