Archive for the ‘Clippings’ Category
Last June, I wrote about the Samuel Kellner case. Summarizing briefly, Mr. Kellner believed his son had been molested by a Hasidic cantor. He collected evidence and managed to get the cantor charged with and convicted of sexual abuse: however, the cantor’s conviction was later overturned, and Mr. Kellner was charged with extortion and bribery.
The two key witnesses against him “lack credibility to such a degree that their testimony cannot be trusted,” an assistant district attorney, Kevin O’Donnell, told the court, adding, “The people do not have a credible case.”
Obviously, I wasn’t there, and only know what I’ve read in the NYT. But this smells a lot like a failed attempt at revenge by the cantor’s supporters, possibly with help from the Brooklyn DA’s office.
Last summer, another key piece of evidence against Mr. Kellner fell away. Prosecutors learned that the young man who said Mr. Kellner had paid him to lie had been getting financial assistance from Mr. Lebovits’s supporters.
Not much going on, but I wanted to drop this in.
The head of the U.S. Border Patrol announced new rules Friday to limit agents from shooting at moving vehicles or people throwing rocks or other objects at agents, reversing a controversial policy that has led to at least 19 deaths.
I have written several times in the past about the case of Robert Middleton, who was set on fire by a neighbor boy when he was eight years old and died of cancer (possibly related to skin grafts) when he was 20.
Latest update: a judge has ruled that Donald Collins, who set Middleton on fire (and who was 13 at the time) can be tried as an adult for murdering Middleton.
Montgomery County Attorney J.D. Lambright called the ruling a “tremendous victory” for the Middleton family. He said the prosecution will now be turned over to the county District Attorney’s Office, which will try to indict Collins for murder. Lambright’s office is responsible for matters involving juveniles.
It is worth pointing out here that Collins has not actually been charged yet, as Lambright notes. The DA has some hurdles to overcome, since Middleton is dead, and there were no other witnesses to the attack. And if Collins is convicted, his attorney can appeal both the conviction and the ruling allowing Collins to be tried as an adult.
That would be Charles D. Moreau, the former mayor of the bankrupt city of Central Falls, RI.
What’s interesting about this is how his release went down. Mayor Moreau originally pled guilty to a charge of taking “illegal gratuities” from a “friend and political supporter” who was given a contract to board up abandoned buildings.
However, a federal appeals court apparently ruled sometime last year that “accepting gratuities” was not a crime. No, really, I’m not making this up:
…in 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit found in an unrelated case that it is not a crime for a government official to accept gratuities. A gratuity is a reward for a future or past act, as opposed to a bribe, which is a quid pro quo meant to influence an official.
So Moreau’s people moved to have his conviction thrown out, the prosecution said “Let’s make a deal”…and Moreau got the “accepting gratuities” conviction thrown out, and then pled gulity to a bribery charge.
Yep. You read that right. Why would he do that? Because the sentence on the bribery charge was basically “time served” (see below) so he got to walk away a more-or-less free man, and the prosecution got to chalk up a felony win.
Other penalties from his previous conviction stand, as a result of Moreau agreeing to plead guilty to bribery. That includes the $25,000 fine, which has been paid, three years’ probation and 300 hours of community service that must “redress the harm caused by the defendant’s criminal conduct in Central Falls.”
I think the key takeaways here are: try the veal at Joe Marzilli’s Old Canteen, and remember to tip your government official.
You may be wondering why this boxcar is so important to preservationists. After all, aren’t there plenty of boxcars in the world?
Yes. But this isn’t just any boxcar: this is Merle Haggard’s childhood home.
Though the house was intended to be temporary, the remodeling was a family effort: James Haggard added a pop-out dining area, a wash house and a hand-poured concrete bathtub and front steps; his wife, Flossie, planted fruit trees, climbing roses and a backyard grape arbor, drying raisins for pies on the roof.
I wanted to drop some Haggard into this post, but I had a lot of trouble finding a performance of “Rainbow Stew” or “Fighting Side of Me” on YouTube that allowed embedding. So how about this: Merle Haggard in 1978 on “Austin City Limits”.
Somebody has been looking very closely at California police departments.
Five San Francisco police officers and a former officer have been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges including extortion, dealing drugs, stealing computers and other property from suspects and searching residential hotels without legal justification.
The criminal indictments appear to be a result of this series of events:
Officers Arshad Razzak, 41, Richard Yick, 36, and Raul Eric Elias, 44, all formerly assigned to the Southern police station at the city’s Hall of Justice, are accused of conspiring to threaten and intimidate residents of single-room occupancy hotel rooms by entering them without legal justification by using a master key.
Razzak and Yick are also accused of falsifying incident reports.
Sgt. Ian Furminger, 47, Officer Edmond Robles, 46, and former Officer Reynaldo Vargas, 45, of Palm Desert, engaged in “multiple criminal conspiracies,” including dealing marijuana, stealing money, a $500 Apple gift card, and other items from suspects, and stealing money, drugs and other valuable items that were seized on behalf of the city, the indictment said.
Other high points:
- Razzak, Elias and Yick were sued by “two men and a woman” for violating their civil rights after a 2012 arrest. “The suit was settled earlier this year for an undisclosed sum.”
- “Furminger was one of three police officers named in a 2005 lawsuit in which a man said officers caught him urinating in the street, then forced him to kneel down and use his hair to mop up after himself. The city settled the suit for $83,000.”
- Furminger also received the Gold Medal for Valor as a result of a 1998 shooting.
- Former officer Vargas was fired by the SFPD “for putting in for overtime while testifying in court cases during regular hours”, and has a lawsuit pending against the department.
- “In 2002, Vargas was suspended for six months after being accused of gouging a man’s face with a broken crack pipe after he took him off a cable car for fare evasion. He admitted in 2005 to using excessive force, and the city paid the victim $60,000 to settle a lawsuit.”
- The San Francisco Public Defender has a YouTube channel. You can watch excerpts of their surveillance videos at the above link.
“He was always such an a—— to people working for him,” one insider says of the bombastic Brit. Morgan’s last show is likely to be this week, but no specific date has been set. We hear it was low ratings and a bad attitude that killed it, and the decision was made by network boss Jeff Zucker. “The makeup girls suffered the worst — he was rude and belligerent,” says our source. “The general feeling is Morgan didn’t show any respect to anyone working under him — the people who were trying to make him look good.”
Yes, this is a gossip column in a NYC paper. As much as I dislike Piers Morgan (and hope he spends time in prison for phone hacking), I would recommend taking the report itself with a grain of salt.
It does, however, give me an opportunity to make a point.
I don’t remember who originated this quote: I want to say it is a Dave Barry-ism, but I could very well be wrong.
Anyway: “If someone is nice to you, but rude to the waitress, they are not a nice person.”
There are several interesting new aspects to the story:
- The charge against Officer Jaime Andrade is “possession of an assault weapon and illegal storage of a firearm“. Specifically, “Criminal complaints accuse Andrade of possessing a semiautomatic Colt AR-15 and storing it in a manner in which ‘a child was likely to gain access to it.’” The possession charge is interesting; I’m no expert on the gun laws of California and other places outside of the United States, but I would have expected there to be an “only ones” exemption. I’m not sure how to feel about this; happy that a California cop got hoisted on his own petard? Or should I be upset over this in the same way that I would be if it was someone who wasn’t a cop?
- Sergeant Mark Allen Baker, who is apparently the sixth man from yesterday, is charged with making criminal threats.
- The charges appear, at least in part, to have spun out of an ongoing investigation. Allegedly, members of the King City PD were confiscating cars from residents and profiting from the impounds:
According to the complaint, Carrillo sent 87% of 200 vehicles impounded from March 2010 to November 2013 to Miller Tow, even though the city had towing arrangements with four companies, and received cars in return. The complaint says Bruce Miller [the acting chief of police - DB] received a vehicle as a bribe from Carrillo in an influence-buying arrangement.
Miller Tow is owned by Brian Miller, who was also arrested. Brian Miller is not a King City PD officer; he is, however, acting chief Bruce Miller’s brother.
- This has “stupid” written all over it:
[Former chief Dominic] Baldiviez and [Officer Mario] Mottu were charged with embezzlement by a public officer for an incident in which Baldiviez transferred ownership of a marked patrol car — complete with Department of Motor Vehicles documents — to Mottu, said Chief Assistant Dist. Atty. Terry Spitz.
- King City is, according to the LAT, “more than 80% Latino”. Not explicitly stated in the LAT article, but my guess (and I think it is probably a good one): members of the King City PD thought they could prey on illegal immigrants and get away with it.
- Still no coverage that I see in the San Francisco area papers.