Archive for the ‘Law’ Category

Art (Acevedo), damn it! watch. (#V of a series)

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

The question of the day is: will we get to “Z” in the series?

Austin police Chief Art Acevedo is a finalist for the police chief of San Antonio Police Department.

(As a side note, I’ve always wondered what Sue Grafton’s going to do with Kinsey Millhone after she gets to “Z”. Two books to go.)

Quickies: August 13, 2015.

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

Hugo Pinell died yesterday.

On August 21, 1971, Pinell, George Jackson, and several other inmates attempted to escape from San Quentin. Three inmates and three guards were killed in the attempt.

Pinell received a third life sentence for attacking two officers, slitting their throats, in that escape attempt, and had spent the majority of his time since then in solitary confinement and had participated in a 2013 statewide hunger strike protesting those conditions.

Pinell was killed by another prisoner during a riot.

Noted: Warren G. Harding apparently did father a child with his mistress, Nan Britton.

Also noted: VonTrey Clark was allegedly offering $5,000 for the murder of Samantha Dean. (Previously.)

My great and good friend Joe D. and I have had past discussions about death at the Grand Canyon and at Yosemite (although I can’t find them now). In that light, this is interesting: “Forget bears: Here’s what really kills people at national parks”.

Short version: if you do die at a national park, it will probably be a drowning or a car crash. But statistically, the odds are low that you will die at a national park.

You’re going down in flames, you tax-fattened hyena! (#23 in a series)

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

In great haste, because I’m near the end of my lunch hour and wanted to get this up:

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, the state’s top prosecutor, was criminally charged Thursday in a scheme to leak grand jury material and later cover it up – a stunning blow to a political career that was once on a steep ascent.

By my count, the first mention of her party affiliation occurs 15 paragraphs into the story.

Also charged was Patrick Reese, a member of Kane’s security detail and her driver, who stands accused of aiding the attorney general in the alleged cover-up by sneaking into grand jury files.

(Hattip on this to Mike the Musicologist, who has been doing a better job of watching the Kane mutiny than I have.)

Your Samantha Dean update: August 5, 2015.

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

Our old friend, ex-APD officer VonTrey Clark (previously) is in custody in Indonesia.

Yes, I know: I quoted the news reports as stating that Indonesia does not have an extradition treaty with the US. But, according to the reports I’ve seen, Clark is currently being held by Indonesian authorities because his visa isn’t in order.

And in spite of the fact that there is no formal extradition treaty, Indonesia apparently is planning to return Clark to the United States.

“He was arrested last Friday by investigators in Bali,” the secretary of Interpol’s national central bureau for Indonesia, Brigadier-General Amhar Azeth, told AFP.
“He is wanted for murder.”

Flames, hyenas, chow: August 5, 2015.

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

I got dragged into something literally the moment I hit the door at work this morning. Not that I’m bitter or anything. But it did mean that my blogging time was cut short.

This, in turn, meant that Lawrence beat me to the latest developments in the Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow case. Really, I was going to blog that. But, to summarize:

…federal authorities shielded San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee from prosecution despite evidence from the FBI that he had taken bribes, funneled through two members of the city’s Human Rights Commission.

More:

Lee “took over $20,000 from federal agents in his first four months in office,” Briggs said. He said the government “successfully engaged both (state Sen. Leland) Yee and Mayor Ed Lee in bribery scandals, yet only indicted Yee,” who had run unsuccessfully against Lee for mayor in 2011.

I suppose it could be selective prosecution. Then again, it could be: if you have a choice between indicting the guy who took bribes, and the guy who took bribes and engaged in gun running, who are you going to pick?

Also possibly of interest:

…state Assemblyman David Chiu wore a wire for the FBI as part of a years-long investigation of the alleged Chinatown gang leader.

Chiu and Chow were involved in a dispute: Chiu pulled funding for the Night Market after finding out Chow was involved with it.

As we reported at the time, Chow wasn’t happy and took out an ad in the Chinese press likening Chiu to “a corpse eating a vegetarian dinner.” Chow’s attorney wrote a letter to the supervisor threatening legal action for having disparaged his client.

“a corpse eating a vegetarian dinner”? Perhaps that makes more sense in the original Klingon.

You’re going down in flames, you tax-fattened hyena! (#22 in a series)

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

For those who were wondering when I was going to put up Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, here you go. Not even paywalled, as of this writing.

(I probably should have put this up yesterday, but the workday was frantically busy, and I came home and collapsed after dinner. Sorry.)

According to the indictments, Paxton failed to tell stock buyers — including state Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, and Florida businessman Joel Hochberg, who each purchased more than $100,000 in Servergy stock and were listed as complainants on the fraud charges — that he had been compensated with 100,000 shares of Servergy. Paxton also said he was an investor in Servergy when he had not invested his own money in the company, the charges indicated.

Of course, these are just charges, he’s entitled to the presumption of innocence, yadda yadda yadda.

Smoke, smoke…

Friday, July 31st, 2015

I thought the barbecue wars were over. Or, at least, we were at the point where the Treaty of Franklin’s was being negotiated.

Nope.

A group of 15 Austin residents have filed a lawsuit against Terry Black’s Barbecue for negligence and nuisance stemming from the smoke the barbecue restaurant emits to cook its meats.

(I think this link will bypass the paywall. If not, Austin Eater’s story is here.)

Obit watch: July 28, 2015.

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

Noted true crime writer Ann Rule passed away on Sunday. LAT.

(Hattip: Mom.)

The Ann Rule origin story is well known to true crime buffs, but since I’m not sure how many of those read this blog, I’ll recap it here: in the 1970’s, she was working at a suicide hotline and writing under pseudonyms. She became interested in some Seattle area murders and started investigating them; ultimately, it turned out those murders were committed by a close friend who worked with her on the hotline…

…one Mr. Ted Bundy. The Stranger Beside Me made Rule’s reputation and career.

“I really care about the people I’m writing about,” said Rule, whose accounts focused as much on the anguish of the victims and their families as on the depravity of the killers. “I finally came to the knowledge I’m doing what I probably was meant to do in life.”

Edited to add: WP article which goes into more detail about Bundy and Rule.

Art (Acevedo), damn it! watch. (#U of a series)

Friday, July 24th, 2015

The latest APD firing: Officer VonTrey Clark.

It seems unlikely that former officer Clark will be appealing his firing for two reasons:

1. He is allegedly in Indonesia. Thing I did not know: Indonesia does not have an extradition treaty with the US. Good to keep in mind…

2. Former officer Clark has bigger problems.

I haven’t written much about this for various reasons, including the lack of non-paywalled links and the fact that the story is just sad and awful. But I might as well try to summarize here.

A woman named Samantha Dean was killed in February. She worked in victim services for the Kyle PD and was seven months pregnant.

The police have been investigating her murder for months now. Apparently, they now believe her baby was the product of an affair with former officer Clark. Clark has not, to the best of my knowledge, been charged with any crime. What I’ve picked up so far is that investigators think Clark arranged for other associates of his to commit the murder, and I suspect that they’re trying to get at least one of those associates to roll.

In the meantime, APD fired Clark for “withholding information during an internal investigation and associating with known felons”.

Here are a couple of half-decent stories from local TV stations KEYE and KVUE. The KEYE story contains a lengthy response from Clark’s attorney: in case you were wondering, Chief Acevedo’s allegations are “slanderous” and consorting with known felons is a “trifling policy violation”.

Art (Acevedo), damn it! watch. (#T of a series)

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

You may recall Blayne Williams, the APD officer who was suing the department for not promoting him, even though he’d been suspended twice and fired once.

Officer Williams has been fired again. I apologize that I can’t find a non-paywalled Statesman link, but the first two paragraphs of the story and the “story highlights” I think convey the gist of the story.

Random notes: July 16, 2015.

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

The Birdman of Altiplano.

“There is already a significant problem every single weekend with widespread, out-of-control peeing,” Mr. Johnson, who represents much of Manhattan’s West Side, said.

(I love the “Citations for public urination” graphic that goes along with this article.)

I’m a little surprised this one hasn’t made FARK yet: local police find an unresponsive man in a car. He had bite marks on his wrist, and there was a non-venomous snake (and other animals) in the car. Man dies.

And it seems like his venomous cobra snake may be on the loose. (Hattip: Lawrence.)

(Huh. I didn’t realize that Frederick Forsyth won an Edgar for “There Are No Snakes in Ireland”. That’s not a bad story, but I like “The Emperor” from the same collection a little better.)

Edited to add:

Austin Animal Services is not actively searching for a missing monocle cobra that may have killed an 18-year-old Temple man on Tuesday.

You know what this means, folks. If Animal Services isn’t actively searching for it, it’s up to the rest of us to be on the lookout. Get that Taurus Judge out of the gun safe and load it up with snake shot! Fun for the whole family! At least, until someone gets bitten…

The monocled cobra causes the highest fatality due to snake venom poisoning in Thailand. Envenomation usually presents predominantly with extensive local necrosis and systemic manifestations to a lesser degree. Drowsiness, neurological and neuromuscular symptoms will usually manifest earliest; hypotension, flushing of the face, warm skin, and pain around bite site typically manifest within one to four hours following the bite; paralysis, ventilatory failure or death could ensue rapidly, possibly as early as 60 minutes in very severe cases of envenomation. However, the presence of fang marks does not always imply that envenomation actually occurred.

Edited to add 2:

Oh, thank God. They’re going to start an organized search. I was afraid they’d be engaging in a disorganized search.

(Hattp: the Austin Cobra Twitter. Hattip on the Austin Cobra Twitter to the great and good Joe D. in the comments.)

Art, damn it, art! watch (#48 in a series)

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

Apparently, the Detroit PD doesn’t want Shepard Fairey extradited from California to face vandalism charges there. (Previously.)

This comes by way of a LAT think piece:

Fairey’s arrest, and his release, provides a window into the evolution of street art, its growing acceptance in American culture and the extent to which an old question, “Is it art or is it vandalism?” now gets answered through new eyes. The social media and press attention that the Detroit incident received speaks to the artist’s fame, which is itself a marker of how street art has become part of the zeitgeist, public art expert Ed Fuentes said.

Perhaps I am naive. Perhaps I shouldn’t try to be an art critic. But it seems to me that there’s a very simple answer to the “art or vandalism” question: if you have permission from the property owner, it is art. If you don’t, it is vandalism.

Speaking of art being above the law, Joe Gibbons was sentenced yesterday.

Mr. Gibbons, a former lecturer in art at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was sentenced on Monday to one year in prison after he pleaded guilty in State Supreme Court in Manhattan to third-degree felony robbery for entering a Capital One Bank in Chinatown this past New Year’s Eve, stealing $1,002 and filming it all on a pocket-size pink and silver video camera. He claimed it was an act of performance art coupled with dire financial straits.

While acknowledging that Mr. Gibbons had dubious legal standing, Ann Pellegrini, a professor of performance studies at New York University, called the case a classic example of “performance becoming performative,” an act that questions “the relationship between actor, audience and enactment.”