Archive for November 1st, 2017


Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

Alex Wubbels, aka “the nurse who got arrested by a rogue cop for refusing to allow him to draw blood from a patient without a warrant”, settled out of court.

Attorney Karra Porter said at a news conference that the agreement with Salt Lake City and the University of Utah covers all parties and takes the possibility of legal action off the table. “There will be no lawsuit,” she said.

The settlement was for $500,000. What’s she going to do with that money?

Wubbels will use a portion of the money to help people get body camera footage, at no cost, of incidents involving themselves, she said at the news conference. In addition, Porter’s law firm, Christensen & Jensen, will provide for free any legal services necessary to obtain the video.

Good for her, and for Christensen and Jensen.

Wubbels said she also will make a donation to the Utah Nurses Association and will help spearhead the #EndNurseAbuse campaign by the American Nurses Association.

Double good for her.

Porter said she hopes the discussion about the need for police body cameras continues and noted that the footage also protects law enforcement officers.

I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before, but: this is what we hear from officers in the CPA classes, too. Good officers love body cams because they know, if they act right and it comes down to their word against someone else’s, the body cams will back them up.

(Oh, by the way: Lt. James Tracy and Detective Jeff Payne are apparently appealing their discipline.)

Obit watch: regular edition, November 1, 2017.

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

Jack Bannon passed away last week.

He was one of those knock-around actors: he had credits on “Love Boat”, “Kojak”, “Mannix”, “Petticoat Junction”, “Beverly Hillbillies”, and lots of other television shows.

But he was best known to me as “Art Donovan” on “Lou Grant”.

Nostalgia is a moron, but I loved that show when I was in high school, and the DVDs are on my Amazon wish list. Memory tells me that there was less eyeball bleeding liberalism in the series than you’d expect from a show starring Ed Asner, but it was a long time ago…

Obit watch: special crime and law edition, November 1, 2017.

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

June Robles Birt, better known under her maiden name, passed away September 2nd. Her death was not widely reported until a few days ago, after a writer working on a book contacted the NYT.

In the afternoon on April 25, 1934, Ms. Robles, who was six years old, was returning from her school in Tuscon, Arizona.

A man approached her. He said her father had asked him to give her a lift to his store. After some cajoling, she got into his car, a black Ford sedan.
Later that day, a local boy handed her father a ransom note. The boy said an unidentified man had given him 25 cents to deliver it. The note demanded $15,000 (about $300,000 in today’s money). Mr. Robles scribbled a reply — its text was not reported — and gave it to the boy to carry back to the kidnapper. According to the testimony, however, when the boy looked for the man, he was gone.

To make a longish story somewhat shorter, the Robles family went around with the kidnappers for 19 days. Finally, the kidnappers sent a map and directions to the governor, prompting a search. Clarence Houston, the county attorney, found “…a mound of dirt covered with sagebrush, mesquite and cholla cactus. Beneath it, he discovered a perforated sheet of metal, which proved to be the top of a narrow, coffinlike underground cage.”

June Robles was still alive.

The girl was filthy, blistered by prickly heat and bitten by ants, her ankles chafed by chains attached to an iron stake. She said she had subsisted on fruit, bread and jam, potato chips and graham crackers that the kidnappers had left. She had made do with a ceramic pot for a toilet.
Immediately after her rescue, as she was escorted away, all she seemed concerned about was her report card, which she had left behind in her underground cell. “I went back and got it,” she told The Tucson Daily Citizen. “I wanted my mama to see it.”

Nobody was ever convicted of the kidnapping. One person was suspected, but the authorities were unable to make a case against him. There are hints in the NYT that some people (possibly including Hoover’s FBI) thought the whole thing was some sort of setup.

Ms. Robles lived the rest of her life quietly.

The last time Little June was interviewed, in 1936, she said that all she had wanted was “to be a mother like my mother.” And that was what she became.
Her marriage in 1950 was to Dancey Birt, an aircraft factory supervisor at the time. He survives her. Besides her son James, she is also survived by three other children, Thomas, Bruce and Barbara; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Jon Lester passed away in England on August 14th. According to his family, he committed suicide. He was 48 years old.

Mr. Lester was 17 years old and living with family in the Howard Beach section of Queens on December 20, 1986. Early that morning, he ran into three men whose car had broken down in the neighborhood. Mr. Lester went back to a birthday party nearby.

“There’s niggers on the boulevard,”…[Lester] was quoted as telling the beered-up partygoers, adding (and inserting an expletive), “Let’s go kill them.”
According to later courtroom testimony, the 5-foot-4 Mr. Lester was a ringleader of a dozen white teenagers who jumped into three cars and ambushed the black men at a nearby pizza parlor.

The gang beat the crap out of Cedric Sandiford “with a baseball bat, a tire iron and a tree limb”. Another man, Timothy Grimes, escaped. A third man, Michael Griffith, fled onto a “busy highway”, where he was struck by a car and killed.

Mr. Lester was convicted of second-degree manslaughter and first-degree assault in 1988 and received a prison term of 10 to 30 years. He was paroled in 2001 and immediately deported back to England.

“He suffered from depression due to the fact that he was wrongly convicted,” his sister Jayne Lester said in a telephone interview from Florida, where she lives. “He was just tormented. He was never the same person.” Her brother was haunted by “guilt dreams,” she said, but was not a coldblooded killer.
“He really wasn’t a bad person the way they made him out to be,” she said. “He wouldn’t tell on anybody, and they had to blame someone.”

“In my heart I’m sorry to hear of his death,” Mr. Griffith’s mother, now Jean Griffith Sandiford, said of Mr. Lester in a telephone interview on Monday. “Regardless of what happened, I always forgave them.”

He added, however: “I accept responsibility for Michael Griffith’s death. If we hadn’t chased him, he wouldn’t have died.”
Charles J. Hynes, the special prosecutor in the case, rejected Mr. Lester’s version of events and expressed dismay at his release from prison after he had been rejected four times for parole.
“Jon Lester can try and rewrite history all he wants,” Mr. Hynes wrote in an email on Monday. “Some would say 15 years’ imprisonment is significant punishment, but after 15 years he was alive, and Michael Griffith is dead.”

“I was just a typical cocky teenager who got involved in a situation which I couldn’t control,” he told the British newspaper The Sunday Mirror in 2001.
“I’m not that baby-faced thug anymore,” he told The Daily News.
“I’m responsible for someone being dead,” he said in an interview with The Times Herald-Record of Middletown, N.Y. “I can never undo that, and I will live with it every day forever.”

“In his last days he was a successful and caring businessman with a high degree of integrity who tried to live his life and give back to society,” his sister Jayne Lester said. “He always regarded the Howard Beach case as a huge tragedy to everyone involved.”
She added, “The fact that he couldn’t come back to America is basically what killed him, because he couldn’t be with his family.”