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Monday, February 25, 2013

Crooked cops, DA uses badge for free lap dances

A federal prosecutor in San Antonio got a public scolding from two SCOTUS justices. From the SA Express:

Supreme Court justices rip S.A. prosecutor

In a rare move, two U.S. Supreme Court justices today called out a federal prosecutor in San Antonio for what they called a racially charged comment he made while cross-examining a black defendant in a drug trial in 2011. The prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sam Ponder, told the San Antonio Express-News that the question came as part of establishing the totality of the scenario surrounding a drug deal, and wasn't meant to be construed as racially charged or reflective of who he is as a person.

Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer released the statement as part of the court's decision not to hear the defendant's appeal, making clear that despite the ruling, they didn't tolerate the remark.
Ponder was questioning defendant Bongani Charles Calhoun about his claim that he did not realize a friend was engaging in a drug deal when they were arrested in 2008.

Calhoun has maintained his innocence, and argued that he thought he was simply on a road trip when federal agents caught his friend trying to buy cocaine at a San Antonio hotel room.

“You've got African Americans, you've got Hispanics, you've got a bag full of money. Does that tell you — a light bulb doesn't go off in your head and say, 'This is a drug deal?'” Ponder asked.

His trial lawyer “inexplicably” never objected, the justices wrote.

Sotomayor, joined by Breyer, wrote that Ponder “tapped a deep and sorry vein of racial prejudice that has run through the history of criminal justice in our Nation.”
Here's my opinion, for what it's worth. I know Mr. Ponder and have had several cases where he was on the other side, and found him to be civil and professional. I imagine that he got a little carried away in the heat of the moment. I've had a few occasions where I regretted asking a question or how I worded it as soon as it was out of my mouth. Over 33 years, a couple have bee cringeworthy. This is one of those "there but for the grace of God go I" deals.

SE Texas police chief charged with drug possession
WEST COLUMBIA, Texas — The top cop in West Columbia is behind bars and accused of stealing drugs that were supposed to be used as evidence in cases.

The accusations against Police Chief Michael Palmer have rocked the tiny Brazoria County town.

He was indicted this week on charges of tampering with evidence and possession of controlled substances.

The drugs came from arrests and hospice death investigations.

Palmer's own officers turned in him.

Florida Prosecutor Who Used Badge For Strip Club Perks Is Stripped Of His Job
Ari Pregen picked the wrong strip club to throw his weight around. On January 26, the Miami-Dade assistant state attorney gained free admission for himself and two pals into downtown Miami’s Goldrush by flashing his work badge at the titty bar’s executive manager Jeff Levy. A few hours later, Pregen again whipped out his law enforcement credentials so he wouldn’t have to pay a 15 percent credit card surcharge on lap dances he purchased. Levy, the strip club’s manager, filed an official complaint against Pregen. Of course, Pregen said that he hadn’t done anything wrong when he was confronted by his superiors on February 7, but the head honchos at his office were one step ahead of him. Apparently the powers that be at the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office belong to the school of “pics or it didn’t happen” — and obtained from Levy a still shot of Pregen flashing his badge while inside the club.

Kelso: Mysterious case of snake in DA’s drawer
It’s a snake pit up in Williamson County when you’re talking politics.
When new District Attorney Jana Duty moved into her office in the Williamson County Justice Center in Georgetown on Jan. 2, she found a dead coral snake with the head cut off in her desk drawer.
Now, that’s an unusual kind of welcome wagon, right? The day after she is sworn into office, she opens a drawer and finds a decapitated formerly poisonous snake. I say formerly because with the head and fangs removed, the snake is harmless. Still, it’s not quite a valentine or a dozen roses.

Did a Cross-Dressing Priest Sex Ring Bring Down Benedict XVI?
Of all the rumors floating around about just why Pope Benedict XVI is hanging up his camauro, one has taken on a life of its own. According to several well-placed vaticanisti—or Vatican experts—in Rome, Benedict is resigning after being handed a secret red-covered dossier that included details about a network of gay priests who work inside the Vatican, but who play in secular Rome. The priests, it seems, are allegedly being blackmailed by a network of male prostitutes who worked at a sauna in Rome’s Quarto Miglio district, a health spa in the city center, and a private residence once entrusted to a prominent archbishop. The evidence reportedly includes compromising photos and videos of the prelates—sometimes caught on film in drag, and, in some cases, caught “in the act.”

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