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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Y.O. Ranch Owner Pleads Guilty to Sheep Rustling; Houston Ex-Cop Pleads to Money Laundering for Drug Dealers; False Confessions; Star Struck Prosecutor Causes Mistrial by Teens; Wind Energy Boondoggle Kills Bald Eagles

Y.O. Ranch owner pleads guilty
Walter Schreiner gets probation, no felony conviction for stealing sheep

The Kerrville Daily Times reports "One of the owners of a historic, 29,000-acre game ranch west of Kerrville has admitted to stealing 45 sheep from a Burnet County woman in June 2012. During a hearing Friday in Burnet, Walter Schreiner Jr. pleaded guilty before District Judge Dan Mills to theft of livestock by check.

Houston man gets 12 years for money laundering
Ex-cop indicted too

A Houston man will spend more than 12 years in federal prison for his role in a money laundering scheme linked to drug trafficking that also involved a former Houston police officer.

Willie Whitehurst, 45, was sentenced on Wednesday after pleading guilty earlier in the year to conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money-transmitting business.

In August 2012, a federal grand jury indicted Whitehurst and four others, including his uncle, former Houston police officer Anthony Foster, in the scheme.

False Confessions Dog Teens
In 2011, a 16-year-old confessed to being the getaway driver in a fatal shooting of a Los Angeles man, leading prosecutors to charge the teen and three others with murder.

But defense lawyers found convenience-store video showing the suspects were nearly four miles from the murder scene a minute before the man was shot. The lawyers argued that a detective had coerced the teen, who was drunk, into confessing to a crime he didn't commit. Prosecutors last December dropped the charges—and the possibility the four would spend life in prison.
Juveniles are more likely than adults to confess to crimes they didn't commit, a growing body of evidence suggests. Thirty-eight percent of exonerations for crimes allegedly committed by youth under 18 in the last quarter century involved false confessions, compared with 11% for adults, according to a new database of 1,155 individuals who were wrongly convicted and later cleared of all charges.

Study: Wind farms killed 67 eagles in 5 years

WASHINGTON (AP) - Wind energy facilities have killed at least 67 golden and bald eagles in the last five years, but the figure could be much higher, according to a new scientific study by government biologists.

The research represents one of the first tallies of eagle deaths attributed to the nation's growing wind energy industry, which has been a pillar of President Barack Obama's plans to reduce the pollution blamed for global warming. Wind power releases no air pollution.

But at a minimum, the scientists wrote, wind farms in 10 states have killed at least 85 eagles since 1997, with most deaths occurring between 2008 and 2012, as the industry was greatly expanding. Most deaths — 79 — were golden eagles that struck wind turbines. One of the eagles counted in the study was electrocuted by a power line.

The vice president of the American Bird Conservancy, Mike Parr, said the tally was "an alarming and concerning finding."

(UPI) A trial at which Tom Hanks was a juror collapsed after a "star-struck" prosecutor spoke to the Oscar-winning actor, breaching jury tampering rules, officials said Thursday.
"Forrest Gump" star Hanks was on the panel hearing a domestic violence case in Los Angeles when the female prosecutor approached him outside the courtroom to praise the fact that he was doing his jury duty.

She was not assigned to the case, but court rules impose a strict ban on lawyers talking to jurors at any time, to guard against the possibility of interfering with the jury.

"She made contact with Mr Hanks in the stairwell of the building. She came up to him and thanked him, and (said) how impressed everyone is that such a celebrity would still be here serving jury duty," Andrew Flier, the defense lawyer in the case, told TMZ.

American poverty just ain’t what it used to be. A new report from the Census Bureau found that 80.9% of households considered poverty stricken have cell phones along with their landline phones, and 58.2% have computers. 96.1% of those in “poverty” have televisions, and 83% have some sort of DVR.

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