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Friday, October 26, 2012

Bandera Follies; Pervert Michigan Judge

Bandera County attorney to settle misconduct suit Settlement terms have been reached in a suit against County Attorney John Payne, accused of abusing his post to benefit a private practice client whose minor son was accused of raping a young girl. Payne, who denied the misconduct allegations and called the suit politically motivated, will pay $2,500 to the girl and her mother, according to court filings that indicate the settlement may be finalized Nov. 19. The suit continues against three juveniles and the father of one, who was previously represented by Payne in an unrelated civil matter. Bandera County deputies complained to District Attorney Bruce Curry last fall that Payne had used his county post to obtain details about the case and advised the man not let his son be interviewed by investigators. The special prosecutor, Jerry Phillips, said Friday that he expected to file a juvenile petition next week against at least one suspect. Payne was defeated in his bid for a second term by fellow Republican Janna Lindig, who is unopposed Nov. 6. Neither Payne nor his attorney could be reached Friday. The girl's mother filed a complaint with the state bar against Payne, said Steve Schaefer, the woman's lawyer. “They are pursuing it,” he said Friday. Detroit judge who sent photo upsetting to bailiff's husband censured DETROIT -- Third Circuit Court Judge Wade McCree sent a naked picture of himself to a female court bailiff. Apparently she didn't mind, but her husband did, so he gave it to us and we gave it to you and now the Michigan Supreme Court has given it back to Judge McCree, publicly censuring him Wednesday for judicial misconduct. . . . udge McCree wouldn't come out of his chambers for an interview, but here are a few of the court's findings. During an interview with yours truly, McCree "conducted himself in a flippant manner and did not give the interview the seriousness he should have. As a result, he brought shame and obloquy to the judiciary. For example, when discussing the digital image of himself, he said, 'There is no shame in my game.'" Police Prepare ‘Arrest Strategy’ as BBC Sexual Abuse Case Grows LONDON — The number of people who said they were sexually assaulted by Jimmy Savile, one of Britain’s most popular television hosts, expanded to 300 from 200 in just the last week, and other people may have acted with him, the Scotland Yard officer heading the investigation said Thursday.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Boy Scout Perverts; OJ Simpson Wants New Trial

Boy Scout Perversion Files Nevada judge to hear evidence in O.J. Simpson bid for new trial LAS VEGAS — A Nevada judge agreed Friday to reopen the armed robbery and kidnapping case against former football star O.J. Simpson to determine if the former football star was so badly represented by his lawyers that he should be freed from prison and get another trial. Simpson claims Galanter advised him that the plan to confront the two memorabilia dealers was legally permissible as long as no one trespassed on private property and no physical force was used. Simpson wanted to testify at trial, but “Galanter advised Simpson that he should not testify because the state could not prove its case,” Palm’s appeal says, “and Galanter prevented Grasso from fully advising Simpson to the contrary.” Simpson also claims he was never advised that the Clark County district attorney offered a pretrial deal that could have gotten Simpson two to five years in prison for pleading guilty to robbery. Palm says Simpson would have taken the offer.

CPS Scandal in Abilene - Police Investigating Evidence Tampering Allegations

Abilene police investigating Child Protective Services BY BETSY BLANEY The Associated Press Police in Texas say they have executed search warrants at the local office of the state child protection agency and a supervisor's home and car after the death of a 22-month-old girl whose mother claimed her military husband's deployment overseas left her too stressed to care for their three children. Abilene Police Chief Stan Standridge said in an e-mailed statement Tuesday that the department had probable cause to suggest that documents and other evidence existed to support allegations of evidence tampering. . . . Tamryn Klapheke suffered dehydration and malnutrition from a lack of basic care over a period of time, according to the preliminary autopsy report from the Tarrant County medical examiner's office in Fort Worth. After her arrest, her mother claimed she was too stressed by her husband's deployment to care for their three young children. Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/10/16/4340672/abilene-police-investigating-child.html#storylink=cpy

Saturday, October 20, 2012

San Antonio Lawyers Guilty of Defrauding Client

Fraud suit against lawyers nets $867,000 By Guillermo Contreras A Bexar County jury on Monday awarded a woman more than $867,000 in her lawsuit against two attorneys, including one who once served on a board that takes up complaints against lawyers. Jurors found attorney Oscar C. Gonzalez, his law firm and former lawyer Eric Turton committed malice, fraud and theft by misappropriating $75,000 from the settlement of a client, Isabel Sloan. Part of the verdict hammered Gonzalez and his firm for gross negligence and false, misleading and deceptive acts and practices. Judge Sharon Keller Loses Houston's Judicial Preference Poll to Keith Hampton Sharon Keller, the controversial head of the state's highest criminal court, has been outpolled by her opponent in this year's Houston Bar Association judicial-preference poll released today. So that means the Dallas-area judge, who garnered worldwide scorn for dismissing a death-row appeal because it was filed minutes late, is in danger of losing a seat on the CCA, where she's been for almost two decades?

Judge Ken Anderson Sued by SBOT for Hiding Evidence in Michael Morton Case

State Bar files ethics suit against Morton prosecutor A State Bar of Texas disciplinary commission has filed a lawsuit accusing former Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson of violating his duty as a lawyer by intentionally withholding favorable evidence from Michael Morton, who served almost 25 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. If the allegations are found to be true after an as-yet unscheduled civil trial, Anderson — now a state district judge in Georgetown — faces punishments that could include a public reprimand, disbarment or the loss of his law license for a set amount of time. . . . According to the State Bar lawsuit, Anderson’s actions violated five rules governing the conduct of lawyers, including standards requiring prosecutors to disclose favorable evidence and lawyers not to “engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.” The lawsuit said Anderson failed to disclose two written transcripts of a conversation between police and Christine Morton’s mother, Rita Kirkpatrick, who said the Mortons’ 3-year-old son had indicated he witnessed the attack and said his father was not home at the time. Kirkpatrick also told police that she no longer believed their theory that Morton was the killer, though she later became convinced of his guilt. Other undisclosed evidence, the lawsuit said, included: • Reports of a suspicious man in a green van who was seen parking in the wooded area behind the Morton house on several occasions. • A report that Christine Morton’s credit card might have been used after her death in San Antonio. • A report that a check made out to Christine Morton had been cashed after her death. . . . _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Anderson is now a state district judge in Williamson County. This is a big deal, because it is highly unusual for the Bar to go after prosecutors for ethics violations. The Supreme Court gave prosecutors a pass for institutional abuse in Connick v. Thompson, 563 U.S. ___ (2011) when it overturned a $14 million award by a lower court in a 5-4 decision split along ideological and partisan lines, with all five Republican appointed conservatives in the majority. The minority dissent observes that, as a matter of fact, Thompson was the victim of much more pervasive misconduct by the District Attorney's office than a single Brady violation. The Supreme Court found for the appellant, Harry Connick, Sr., and ruled that the prosecutor's office is not liable. The Innocent Man, Part One This month's Texas Monthly cover story is "An Innocent Man," by Pamela Colloff. It begins: On August 13, 1986, Michael Morton came home from work to discover that his wife had been brutally murdered in their bed. His nightmare had only begun. . . . . Scout abuse files release sparks public interest PORTLAND, Ore. — The online release of files showing the Boy Scouts of America’s cover-up of decades of sexual abuse has created interest among Americans who want to know who the alleged abusers are and whether people who molested them as Scouts are in the files. The 14,500 pages of Scout files, from 1959-1985, were posted Thursday on the website of Kelly Clark, the Portland attorney who used the files as evidence in a 2010 lawsuit he won against the Scouts. The website got more than 200,000 hits within the first few hours of the files’ posting, crashing the site. Read more: Scout abuse files release sparks public interest - Washington Times http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/oct/19/scout-abuse-files-release-sparks-public-interest/#ixzz29qroJUpL

Monday, October 15, 2012

Money Bail Serves No Purpose in a Fair, Effective Justice System

Money Bail Serves No Purpose in a Fair, Effective Justice System New analysis shows using money to decide release while awaiting trial unfairly impacts low-income communities, should be replaced with practices that better protect public safety and reduce social and taxpayer costs. WASHINGTON, DC – A national report released today by the Justice Policy Institute (JPI) shows that money bail is a failed policy that does not protect public safety, discriminates against those without financial means, and causes huge costs to taxpayers and those who are unnecessarily jailed while awaiting their day in court. According to Bail Fail: Why the U.S. Should End the Practice of Money for Bail, “Current policies and practices around money bail are among the primary drivers of growth in our jail populations. On any given day, 60 percent of the people in U.S. jails are not convicted but are being held as they await the resolution of their charge. This time in detention hinders them from taking care of their families, jobs and communities while overcrowding jails and creating unsustainable budgets.” The report is the first in a three-part series of analysis on bail, for-profit bail bonding and the community impacts slated for release throughout the month of September. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said last year that taxpayers spend over $9 billion in jail costs alone to keep people in pretrial detention. Meanwhile, people who are held in jail while awaiting a court date may lose their job and housing. Their children and families may suffer from not having that person in the home taking care of his or her responsibilities. People who are jailed while awaiting trial are also more likely to be found guilty and go to prison than their counterparts who are free. This is for a variety of reasons, including the impact of enduring harsh jail conditions, reduced access to defense attorneys, inability to maintain the types of social and personal responsibilities, and the reality that showing up in shackles and a jail jumpsuit creates an impression of guilt on judges and juries. “Our constitution and laws are supposed to protect the presumption of innocence,” said Dr. Melissa Neal, author of Bail Fail and senior research associate at JPI. “Yet thousands of people are held in jails before trial because they don’t have access to money for bail. This is a waste of taxpayer money and it causes tremendous collateral consequences to those being unnecessarily incarcerated.” The report shows how the average bail amount for people who are detained has more than doubled from $39,800 in 1992 to $89,900 in 2006. This is despite evidence that higher bail amounts are not related to more public safety and that people who are unable to afford money bail are often a lower risk of dangerousness or failure to appear in court – the two legal justifications to incarcerate someone pretrial – than those who can make bail. “The disproportionality in our country’s incarceration rate starts at the jailhouse door,” noted Tracy Velázquez, executive director of JPI. “African American residents are at least five times as likely to be in jail as white residents. That some are released pretrial because they have money while others who can’t afford bail stay in jail means that economic disparities lead to justice disparities. It’s time we stop this moving walkway to prison.” Bail Fail points to pretrial service (PTS) agencies, in particular, as effective in protecting public safety, ensuring people appear in court, reducing jail populations and their costs, as well as, leveling the playing field so that all people, regardless of income, have their rights protected. By using validated risk assessment instruments, PTS agencies can determine if a person is high, medium or low risk for dangerousness or failing to appear in court. They also can provide appropriate services that increase a person’s likelihood of pretrial success, including supervision and monitoring, referrals to drug treatment, and referrals to social service agencies to address other issues a person may be facing. The report notes that Washington, D.C., through effective use of its Pretrial Services Agency, has successfully moved away from money bail. In D.C., 80 percent of people charged with an offense are released on nonfinancial bail options to await resolution of their charge while 15 percent are kept in pretrial detention. Only 5 percent are released using some form of financial bail, but there is no use of for-profit bail bondsmen services. The Pretrial Services Agency has reported that 88 percent successfully complete the pretrial process by appearing in court and not being rearrested. “As a society, we pay a lot of money and expend many resources to maintain the current pretrial justice system as it is.” added Dr. Neal. “But the most disturbing aspect of this problem is that the people making the policies and procedures can usually afford to pay their way out of jail if they are arrested. Meanwhile, people of low-incomes, who are the majority of people interfacing with the justice system, are forced to face the pretrial justice system and all of its harsh, unfair reality. We should recognize how the pretrial justice system is driving the incarceration problem of America and commit to making meaningful, helpful changes.” Recommendations made in Bail Fail include the following: 1.) Eliminate money bail. While eliminating the use of money bail may be challenging, it is possible to begin taking steps in this direction through the following: Ban the use of for-profit commercial bail bonding companies. Four states have banned the involvement of for-profit, private citizen businesses in the judicial process: Kentucky, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Oregon. Around the U.S., various jurisdictions have chosen to ban bail bondsmen even if their state has not, such as Broward County, Texas, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 2.) Amend the Bail Reform Act and policies to comply with the Equal Protection Clause. Current practices allow for people to be treated differently within the criminal justice system on account of their financial status. Elimination of money bail is an important step toward eliminating disparities in pretrial outcomes due to financial status. 3.) Include the voices of all involved parties to ensure that reforms to the pretrial process are meaningful and effective. As victims and their advocates provide a unique and critical understanding of the harm done and potential harm that could be done, it is important to build them into the pretrial release decision making process. 4.) Expand community education programs, such as the Neighborhood Defendant Rights programs, that inform people in the community about how to navigate the pretrial process. The confusing and inherently coercive pretrial process is challenging even for those with adequate financial resources and educational background. Understanding the process, legal rights, and what to expect could help people navigate this part of the case process more successfully. 5.) Use citations and summons to reduce the number of people being arrested and processed through jails. This is one solution to our jail overcrowding problem as police officers can more easily dispense citations while on the streets without needing to transport individuals to a booking facility. 6.) Use standardized, validated risk assessments to determine who to release and how to release. Validated risk assessments are gaining popularity as judges look for more objective ways to conduct the pretrial process and many states can now provide models for how to implement this practice. 7.) Implement measures of pretrial detention and release services to evaluate current programming and better inform pretrial reform efforts. In order to better understand the impact of pretrial detention and how the U.S. is performing compared to other nations, national data on pretrial detention should be gathered from jails and prisons that hold people who are going through the pretrial process. 8.) For-profit bail bonding businesses should be required to report on pretrial outcome measures such as rates of forfeiture and failures to appear. For-profit bail bonding companies are responsible for the release of millions of defendants each year. At this time, there is little regulation or oversight over this crucial aspect of public safety. Only when for-profit bail bonding companies are required to report on indicators of pretrial performance and outcomes will policymakers be able to make educated decisions around the use of bail and bail bonding as opposed to non-financial release options. 9.) Utilize pretrial supervision agencies. Pretrial services can assist both law enforcement and judicial officers to promote citations and appropriate bail determinations by providing risk assessment and fact-finding services. 10.) Use court notifications. Through personally manned or computerized programs, reminding people about upcoming hearings has proven to reduce failure-to-appear rates. 11.) Better utilize technology to improve pretrial processes. Pretrial reform is a daunting task for cities and counties operating on a stringent budget. Software is now available allowing modeling of communities and interventions so that jurisdictions can test changes to their systems and estimate outcomes before actually instituting changes. In addition to releasing three reports on the bail industry, JPI is will host several events including conference calls and panel discussions for the media and general public. For more information and to read Bail Fail: Why the U.S. Should End the Practice of Money for Bail, CLICK HERE. For additional information, please contact Zerline Hughes at 202.558.7974 x308 / 202.320.1029 or zhughes@justicepolicy.org. For a more JPI reports on the criminal justice systems, please visit our website at www.justicepolicy.org. The Justice Policy Institute, based in Washington, DC, is working to reduce the use of incarceration and the justice system and promote policies that improve the well-being of all people and communities. For more information, please visit www.justicepolicy.org.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Mafia, Chicagoland, Harry Truman and SCOTUS JUSTICE TOM CLARK

There has been only one Supreme Court justice from Texas. Thomas Campbell "Tom C." Clark (September 23, 1899 – June 13, 1977) was United States Attorney General from 1945 to 1949 and an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (1949–1967). He did some good things. For example, he wrote the majority opinion in Mapp v. Ohio where the Court held that evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment should be excluded. However, there is considerable evidence that he was as crooked as they come. He was corrupted by the Chicago "Outfit," the successors to the Al Capone gang. I'm reading Gus Russo's book "The Outfit: the Role of Chicago's Underworld in the Shaping of Modern America." I recommend it to anyone interested in organized crime, law and politics. I knew a little about Joseph Kennedy being a bootlegger and the role the Mafia played in winning (or stealing) the election for JFK, but I had no idea how close the Kennedy's were to the Mafia. Even more interesting is the story of how the mob sponsored Harry Truman from being a ward boss/county judge in Missouri all the way to getting him appointed VP and winning the presidential election. Truman was a product of the Kansas City Pendergast political machine, which was a subsidiary of the Outfit. According to Russo, the Chicago mob also helped Tom C. Clark get appointed as the AG, in exchange for cash payoffs, swinging elections for Truman, and promising Clark a seat on the Supreme Court. In exchange, Clark shut down the FBI's task force investigating the mafia, and got several top hoods early parole. .................................... Speaking of Chicago, I'm halfway through the second season of Boss, starring Kelsey Grammeras the ruthless mayor of Chicago. His character Tom Caincould have stepped out of MacBeth or King Lear. Someone should do a similar series about LBJ. .................................... To my great chagrin, I voted for Obama in the last election. I, like millions of others, discounted the facts - his total lack of experience, his radicalism (terrorist Bill Ayers, socialist Saul Alinsky, racist radical preacher Jeremiah Wright, his wife "for the first time in my life I'm proud of America," growing up in a Moslem country and having a Moslem name). "Before he set out to deceive others, he went to great pains to deceive himself." To refer to another television show, I really wonder if he is a sleeper like Sgt. Brady in Homeland. I think a lot of us subconsciously believed we could atone for the supposed collective guilt of slavery and racism. Obama is a product of the Chicagoland political machine and the worst elements of the Democratic Party. He demeans our country when he bows to dictators and America haters, and does his world apology tours. The debacle in Libya is a taste of worse to come if he's reelected. I'm also concerned that he will shut down the oil and gas industry for spurious environmental reasons, which would devastate Texas. .................................................... In response to a comment a reader posted on this blog, I haven't written anything about local politics in a while because there's been nothing (that I know of) newsworthy to write about. I'm not going to write negative things about people just for the fun of it. If someone has something to say, it's easy to start a blog on Google's Blogger.com.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Ashlyn Treadway Memorial Fund

The Houston Press reports this heartbreaking story: Child Abuse and Forensic Services, a Beaumont-based non-profit, has created the Ashlyn Tilea Treadway Educational Fund, in honor of a sexual abuse survivor who was killed in a car accident last August. Treadway was just 23. "We first wrote about the abuse Ashlyn, her younger sister Brea, and two other girls suffered at the hands of Treadway's uncle, Beaumont cardiologist Jeff Klem, in 2007. . . . Klem was the pride and joy of Treadway's grandfather, Lonnie Charles "Buck" Treadway, Pentecostal pastor of New Life Tabernacle Church. After the girls accused Klem of molesting them, Buck Treadway sided with his son-in-law, calling Ashlyn and the others whores and liars . . . . Klem pleaded guilty in Jefferson and Harris counties to injury to a child, which spared him from having to register as a sex offender. Prosecutors in both counties seemed to take a soft approach to their cases; maybe because Klem had the funds to hire Dick DeGuerin for his Jefferson County case. In Beaumont, Klem was allowed to serve his jail time on the weekends." If the perp had been a welder or a 17 year old kid from a family without wealth or connections he would have gone to prison for 20 years and register as a sex offender. Deputy, detention officers fired in sex probe at county jail A widening sexual misconduct investigation at the Harris County Jail has led to five additional firings, including a supervising deputy, Sheriff Adrian Garcia said Friday. The firings include four civilian detention officers and take to six the number of employees who have been fired in the investigation that began in August 2011, Garcia said. Earlier this year, another deputy was indicted in the case, then fired. The allegations involve sexual misconduct between jail staff and other employees as well as between jailers and inmates. The supervisor was fired for overlooking what was happening at the jail, Garcia said. Garcia said another deputy resigned during the internal affairs investigation while another supervisor chose to retire. Twice-arrested firefighter told he's getting boot A San Antonio firefighter who recently was arrested for the second time has been issued a termination notice. Brian Jones, 30, was arrested Sept. 25 on suspicion of burglarizing an ex-girlfriend's home. Jones' latest arrest came when he was found hiding in the attic at his wife's home in the 21000 block of Andrews Garden.