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 91 
 on: February 07, 2009, 01:32:35 PM 
Started by Sydney Carton - Last post by Sydney Carton
  Just off the wire:
   The Jeffs girl is free and the despicable court appointed attorney,Natallie Mallonis, who was trying to extort a
confession from her is ,finally,thrown off the case.She should be disbarred,but, of course, is unlikely to be even censured.

   Jeffs daughter dismissed from FLDS case
By Paul A. Anthony (Contact)
Originally published 11:06 a.m., February 6, 2009
Updated 11:20 a.m., February 6, 2009
  Warren Jeffs' daughter is done. So is Natalie Malonis.

51st District Judge Barbara Walther dismissed all petitions and attorneys involved with the case of the now-17-year-old girl alleged to have been married to a 34-year-old man just after her 15th birthday - closing for good one of the highest profile and most contentious aspects of the long-running litigation surrounding the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

"I just couldn't believe what she was saying," said the girl's beaming mother, Annette Jeffs, after the hearing. "It's too good to be true."

Walther rejected Malonis' contention that she should remain on the case to ensure Annette Jeffs was given full custody of the girl, instead citing a decision by the state's Child Protective Services agency last week to dismiss the teen from the case as the overriding factor in whether any further proceedings should take place.

Malonis had argued that a series of prospective witness statements from CPS in December stating that the girl had been in a "harmful, abusive environment" should be considered before Walther dismissed the case.

"The court can take notice of many things," Walther replied, "but the court must follow the law. The court cannot make the law. ... This is an unusual case, but I don't see any authority for you to continue."

With that, Walther dismissed a raft of motions filed in the moments leading up to the hearing - including a motion filed by the Standard-Times to quash a subpoena filed against one of its reporters, as well as an ongoing fight over whether to seal the deposition transcript from YFZ Ranch leader Merril Jessop.

"I was prepared to continue doing what I thought I needed to do," Malonis said, "but I'm relieved to have relief."

Walther also accepted the withdrawal of Carmen Symes Dusek as the attorney for a 14-year-old girl alleged to have been married to Warren Jeffs, the sect's leader, and signed an agreed order to seal a guardian's report filed in the case.

The quick resolution - Walther left the bench about 30 minutes after taking it - was a surprise to many in the courtroom, which housed 15 attorneys and another dozen or so potential witnesses and onlookers at the hearing's start.

"We didn't expect that to happen today," said Mindy Montford, Annette Jeffs' attorney. "This case has been dismissed. (The girl) is free to go about her life."




         

 92 
 on: February 03, 2009, 03:42:30 PM 
Started by Sydney Carton - Last post by Sydney Carton
   Feb 2, 9:39 PM EST


Boulder police take back JonBenet investigation

By ALYSIA PATTERSON
Associated Press Writer

   BOULDER, Colo. (AP) -- The slaying of JonBenet Ramsey will be investigated as a cold case with all evidence and actions taken 12 years ago reviewed anew, the police chief said Monday as the department resumed a probe for which it had long been criticized.

Chief Mark Beckner said new technology gives investigators tools they didn't have a decade ago; the 6-year-old beauty pageant contestant was found bludgeoned and strangled in the basement of her Boulder home in 1996.

Police had transferred the probe to the district attorney's office six years ago amid criticism of how the case was handled.

"We'd love to solve this case for JonBenet so she can rest in peace," Beckner said at a news conference announcing the shift.

Police will handle the investigation as a cold case, "reviewing everything that's been done, the evidence that's been collected, trying to determine where do we go from here," he said.

As a cold case, the investigation won't have a full team of detectives working around-the-clock, the chief said.

"It's going to be an as-we-can type of thing, or as needed," he said.

L. Lin Wood, an attorney for JonBenet's father, John Ramsey, called the announcement a "positive sign in terms of my hope that the Boulder Police Department will take not only a new review in terms of a cold case review, but that it will go in this time with an objective review."

Wood and Ramsey have been critical of previous police efforts, saying they unfairly focused on the family and ignored other evidence.

Patsy Ramsey, JonBenet's mother and John Ramsey's wife, died in 2006 after a long battle with cancer.

Beckner said he and newly elected District Attorney Stan Garnett agreed that police should lead the investigation again.

Beckner said he has invited veteran investigators from state and federal agencies to form an advisory task force on the case.

"We're bringing in people on this task force that are going to have a fresh perspective," he said. "(They're going to) look at this case, tell us what they think, challenge us, give us ideas."

The group will meet in the next few weeks to review the evidence and identify additional testing that might be done.

At the news conference, Beckner said more than 140 people had already been investigated as potential suspects, but none could be definitively linked to the crime.

Garnett's predecessor, Mary Lacy, last year cleared Jonbenet's family in the slaying, saying male DNA found on the girl's clothing almost certainly came from her killer, and that it didn't match anyone in the family.

Beckner informed John Ramsey of the change in the investigation in a letter. Wood said the letter gave no hint that police would back away from Lacy's decision to clear the family.

Lacy did not run for re-election because of term limits. She told The Associated Press that returning the investigation to police was "a great idea."

"I think that time has resolved any issues that might have lingered, but also I think that Mark Beckner has done a very good job," she said.

Lacy said the reason her office took over the case in 2002 was that the Ramsey family had no confidence in the police. "It wasn't that they were incompetent," she said of the officers.

Lacy said she is "absolutely" hopeful the case will one day be resolved.

"I believe the DNA (that cleared the Ramsey family) is the most significant piece of evidence, and hopefully, as with some cold cases, there will eventually be a hit on it," she said.

Beckner said "that unknown DNA" will be a big part of the investigation.


 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 

 
 

 
 
 
 

 93 
 on: January 31, 2009, 01:38:25 PM 
Started by TalkLeft - Last post by Sydney Carton
  Players respond to Nifong immunity plea here:
     http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/north-carolina/ncmdce/1:2007cv00739/46882/92/0.pdf

 94 
 on: January 31, 2009, 01:35:39 PM 
Started by Sydney Carton - Last post by Sydney Carton
  Here is the players' reply to Nifong.
    IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA

PLAINTIFFS’ MEMORANDUM OF LAW IN OPPOSITION TO
DEFENDANT MICHAEL B. NIFONG’S MOTION TO DISMISS



Defendant Michael B. Nifong’s Motion To Dismiss (“Motion”) asserts three grounds for dismissal, incorporating by reference the arguments made by Defendant Linwood Wilson and by Defendants DNA Security, Inc. (“DSI”) and Richard Clark in support of their previously-filed motions to dismiss. Plaintiffs have already responded to the arguments advanced by Wilson and the DSI Defendants in the Consolidated Opposition to the previously-filed motions to dismiss, and in the interests of economy Plaintiffs incorporate those responses herein. Plaintiffs submit this brief memorandum to summarize their response to these arguments as they relate to Nifong, and to discuss a new Supreme Court decision that reconfirms that Nifong is not entitled to absolute immunity.

First, Nifong asserts that the Amended Complaint fails to state a claim against him upon which relief can be granted. See Motion, ¶ A. However, the Consolidated Opposition summarizes the detailed allegations against Nifong and the other Defendants—including Nifong’s involvement in the fabrication of false inculpatory evidence, the concealment of evidence of Plaintiffs’ actual innocence and the lack of probable cause against them, the intimidation of witnesses, and the making of false and inflammatory public statements regarding Plaintiffs’ supposed guilt—all of which resulted in the wrongful seizures of the three innocent Duke students and caused them to suffer substantial economic, emotional and physical harm, irreparable reputational harm, and millions of dollars in legal fees. See Consol. Opp. to Defs.’ Mots. To Dismiss the First Am. Compl. (Docket No. 51) (“Consol. Opp.”), at 2-17 (summarizing allegations against Nifong and other Defendants). As the Consolidated Opposition explains, these allegations satisfy the elements of the federal civil rights violations and state-law torts alleged against each of the Defendants, including Nifong. 1

Second, Nifong argues that he has absolute immunity from these claims because, he contends, all of the actions alleged in the Amended Complaint “were done in his role as District Attorney.” Motion, ¶ C. However, Plaintiffs’ Consolidated Opposition explains the relevant standards relating to absolute prosecutorial immunity and makes clear that, contrary to Nifong’s argument, the mere fact that a defendant holds a prosecutorial title or position at the time of his alleged misconduct does not mean that he is entitled to absolute immunity. See Consol. Opp. at 23-26. Rather, courts apply a “‘functional approach,’ which looks to ‘the nature of the function performed, not the identity of the actor who performed it.’” Buckley v. Fitzsimmons, 509 U.S. 259, 269 (1993) (internal citations omitted); Suarez Corp. Indus. v. McGraw, 125 F.3d 222, 230 (4th Cir. 1997) (“[T]he scope of absolute prosecutorial immunity has been narrowly drawn.”).

Indeed, in Buckley, the Supreme Court refused to extend absolute immunity to prosecutors who were alleged to have engaged in similar misconduct, including the fabrication of inculpatory evidence during an investigation and the making of false and defamatory statements at a press conference. See 509 U.S. at 273-78. Here, as in Buckley, Nifong is not being sued because of prosecutorial functions “‘intimately associated with the judicial phase of the criminal process.’” Id. at 270 (quoting Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 430 (1976)). Rather, like Wilson, the allegations concerning Nifong relate to investigative functions and other non-prosecutorial acts that are not entitled to absolute immunity. These non-prosecutorial acts include the manufacturing of the phony “identification” of Plaintiffs during the April Photo Array (AC ¶¶ 175-97); the fabrication of the false May 12 DSI forensic report and concealment of DNA evidence showing Plaintiffs’ actual innocence and the lack of probable cause against them (AC ¶¶ 198-242); the efforts to intimidate witnesses into providing false inculpatory statements and disavowing prior exculpatory statements (AC ¶¶ 245-54; AC ¶ 264); and the publication of false and inflammatory public statements regarding Plaintiffs’ supposed guilt (AC ¶¶ 144-55). Nifong is liable even for the wrongful investigative acts that occurred after Plaintiffs were indicted: as the Supreme Court held in Buckley, “a determination of probable cause does not guarantee a prosecutor absolute immunity from liability for all actions taken afterwards.” 509 U.S. at 274 n.5. In short, Nifong is liable for his investigative misconduct and false public statements in the same manner as any other law enforcement officer. 2

The Supreme Court’s decision earlier this week in Van de Kamp v. Goldstein, ___ S. Ct. ___, No. 07-854, 2009 WL 160430 (Jan. 26, 2009), reaffirms this functional immunity analysis and reconfirms that Nifong is not entitled to absolute immunity for his investigative misconduct and public statements. Van de Kamp involved claims that supervisory-level prosecutors had failed to properly train and supervise lower-level prosecutors to disclose impeachment material in their criminal trials, and to create a database of information relating to trial informants. As the Court explained, the allegations in Van de Kamp addressed an entirely different situation from a prosecutor’s “investigative . . . tasks,” “advice to police during a criminal investigation,” or “statements to the press,” to which “absolute immunity does not apply”:



The Court made clear [in Imbler] that absolute
immunity may not apply when a prosecutor is not acting as
“an officer of the court,” but is instead engaged in other tasks,
say, investigative or administrative tasks. To decide whether
absolute immunity attaches to a particular kind of
prosecutorial activity, one must take account of the
“functional” considerations discussed above. . . .

…..

In the years since Imbler, we have held that absolute
immunity applies when a prosecutor prepares to initiate a
judicial proceeding, or appears in court to present evidence in
support of a search warrant application. We have held that
absolute immunity does not apply when a prosecutor gives
advice to police during a criminal investigation, when the
prosecutor makes statements to the press, or when a
prosecutor acts as a complaining witness in support of a
warrant application. This case, unlike these earlier cases,
requires us to consider how immunity applies where a
prosecutor is engaged in certain administrative activities.



Id. at *6 (quoting Imbler, 424 U.S. at 431 n.33; citing Burns v. Reed, 500 U.S. 478, 492, 496 (1991); Buckley, 509 U.S. at 277; Kalina v. Fletcher, 522 U.S. 118, 126 (1997); id. At 132 (Scalia, J., concurring)). Ultimately, the Court held that the tasks at issue in Van de Kamp were “directly connected with the prosecutor’s basic trial advocacy duties” and, therefore, entitled to absolute immunity: “The management tasks at issue, insofar as they are relevant, concern how and when to make impeachment information available at a trial. They are thereby directly connected with the prosecutor’s basic trial advocacy duties.” Id. at *8. As previously noted, however, Nifong’s liability arises not from a failure of “trial advocacy duties,” but from misconduct during the investigation of Plaintiffs and false public statements that “have no functional tie to the judicial process.” Buckley, 509 U.S. at 277. As Van de Kamp reconfirms, Nifong is not entitled to absolute immunity for such acts.

Finally, Nifong argues that Plaintiffs lack standing to seek the Injunction requested in the Amended Complaint. See Motion, ¶ B. However, Plaintiffs do not seek injunctive relief against Nifong. Therefore, Nifong himself lacks standing to make this argument. 3



CONCLUSION



For the aforementioned reasons, the Court should deny the Motion.

Dated: January 29, 2009

Respectfully submitted,
WILLIAMS & CONNOLLY LLP

Footnotes:

1. See Consol. Opp. at 30-46 (42 U.S.C. § 1983 claims); id. at 82-98 (42 U.S.C. §§ 1985 & 1986 claims); id. at 98-114 (state-law tort claims).

2. Nor can Nifong rely upon the DSI Defendants’ absolute immunity claim. As the Consolidated Opposition explains, an expert is not entitled to absolute immunity for his or her forensic analysis and reporting in support of a police investigation. See Consol. Opp. at 27-29; Gregory v. City of Louisville, 444 F.3d 725 (6th Cir. 2006).

3. See also Consol. Opp. at 116-18 (discussing Plaintiffs’ standing to seek Injunction and explaining why the City of Durham’s and DSI Defendants’ requests to dismiss prayer for Injunction are premature).

http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/north-carolina/ncmdce/1:2007cv00739/46882/92/0.pdf

   Thanks ssdgo.
 

 95 
 on: January 30, 2009, 07:26:27 PM 
Started by Sydney Carton - Last post by vegas
Sydney, I watched the entire trial of Ms Sommers and was shocked she was found quilty.  I did not see or hear any evidence to charge her, let alone convict her. Her attorney put on quite a show and I felt more intersted in "performing" than lawyering and he admitted his poor defense of this woman.  As a Certified Emergency Nurse with forty five years experience working in the ED, I was surprised that Todd did not receive  extensive testing after three visits for the same complaint.  Ms Sommers deserves a full declaration of innocence.

 96 
 on: January 30, 2009, 03:05:26 PM 
Started by Sydney Carton - Last post by Sydney Carton
   Hello,Mark,
    Get my blood boiling! Anyone worried about a bit of boiling blood should stay out of debating
potentially lethal innocence cases on blog sites.
   I admit that I am relying on xeroxed selections  from Crystal's book but that is not because
I fear a stoke or cardio-vascular attack from the experience.Rather I object  that Crystal should receive  one further cent as a reward for her past perfidies.
   In fact is there any way to get a federal income tax audit on that woman?

 97 
 on: January 30, 2009, 02:50:32 PM 
Started by Sydney Carton - Last post by Sydney Carton
   Troy Joseph Busta matches what may be turning into a classic pattern on this board.The killer not content with his first crime enlists the State's aid to kill another couple of guys and the State falls for it.
   See "The Strange Case of Daviid Camm ",a victim of Charles Boney, in the Current section.Two simillar and  by no means improbable cases involve Troy Davis and Tommy Arthur,both facing death sentences.We have not yet posted on the Rodney Reid case(Texas)-which seems to be pretty certainly a frame by the actual killer  nor the Paul Cortez  case (New York City) as there is simply insufficent documentary evidence available,at present, to reach a
considered opinion.
   Busta ,at least ,is doing further time and is not ,unlike Judy Wicker(Arthur case) and Red Coles
(Davis case),being actually rewarded for his misdeeds.

                 Board denies killer parole
Hiram man who sent two Portage County men to prison will serve at least five more years

By Ed Meyer
Akron Beacon Journal staff writer


Published on Friday, Jan 16, 2009

The Ohio Parole Board has denied the release of a convicted murderer whose trial testimony sent two Portage County men to prison for nearly 17 years.

Troy Joseph Busta of Hiram — the only man still in prison for the 1988 murder and attempted rape of Connie Nardi of Randolph Township — was ordered to spend at least five more years behind bars.

Busta, 41, will not be eligible for his next parole hearing until August 2013, state prison spokeswoman JoEllen Culp confirmed Thursday. He is serving his sentence at Chillicothe Correctional Institution.

In March 1989, seven months after Geauga and Portage county authorities began to build their case, Busta pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of murder, escaping the death penalty, then implicated Bob Gondor and Randy Resh in the crime.

Resh and Gondor, lifelong friends, were at the same bar as Busta on the night Nardi last was seen alive. They were convicted and sent to prison after separate tri
als in 1990.

Both men maintained their innocence from the start.

After more than 10 years of appeals by Resh and Gondor, the Ohio Supreme Court vacated their convictions and ordered new trials in a unanimous decision announced Dec. 26, 2006.

A Portage County jury found Resh not guilty of murder and attempted rape after a three-week trial in April 2007. Nine days later, as Gondor and his lawyers were preparing for his new trial, Portage County Prosecutor Victor V. Vigluicci declined to prosecute. The charges — involuntary manslaughter, kidnapping and obstruction of justice — against Gondor were dismissed.

Wrongful-conviction suit

Resh and Gondor have a wrongful-conviction lawsuit pending in Portage County Common Pleas Court, the first legal step in their attempt to win monetary damages from the state.

''He committed this act, he implicated two innocent men and he has held onto that lie now for nearly 21 years,'' Gondor said in a phone interview Thursday.

''Randy and I were both victims of an opportunity presented to a 21-year-old kid,'' he added. ''Troy Busta was told by the authorities: 'Look, you say this and you'll be OK.' Luckily, in our case, the truth won out.''

Busta, who has been in prison since March 3, 1989, was interviewed at length by former Geauga County Sheriff's Lt. David Easthon before he gave a detailed account about the alleged roles of Resh and Gondor.

Originally facing the death penalty on a charge of aggravated murder, Busta's plea bargain resulted in the reduced charge of murder with a sentence of life in prison. Busta had a parole hearing in September, at which time authorities referred him to what is known in the state system as a Central Office Board Review hearing, which was held last Friday, prison officials said.

Parole-board officials noted in their decision blocking Busta's release that the victim in this case ''was an adult female who inmate strangled and sexually assaulted. Inmate has not taken full responsibility for his role in this heinous crime and is not suitable for release at this time.''

The decision went on to say that releasing Busta ''at this juncture would not further the interest of justice or promote the safety and security of society.''

There was no further comment.

Rebuilding lives

Busta was Portage County's star witness at Resh's 2007 retrial. Just as he did in 1989 when he implicated Resh and Gondor, Busta stuck to his story and told the jury that the three had conspired to kill Nardi after hatching a plan over cocaine in the restroom of a Mantua Corners bar on a Sunday night, Aug. 14, 1988.

''We went through all of the court proceedings,'' Resh said, ''and the charges against Bob and myself were dismissed. A jury didn't believe Troy Busta's lies, and now apparently neither does the parole board.''

At Resh's retrial, prosecutors never presented any forensic evidence directly linking him to the scene of the murder, or linking him to Nardi.


The body of Nardi, a 31-year-old mother of two, was found in a pond off Rapids Road in Geauga County on the night after she disappeared. Prosecution of Resh and Gondor later was transferred to Portage County, where investigators believe the slaying occurred.

Prison officials said Busta was not immediately available for comment. In December 2007, he declined a written request by the Beacon Journal for comment.

Resh and Gondor have begun to rebuild their lives.

Gondor, who runs his own home remodeling business, was married to Patricia Vechery in August at the Cape Hatteras lighthouse in North Carolina. They live in Geauga County.

Resh, who has reunited with his ex-wife, Traci Grimm, works at a commercial printing shop in Solon. They live in Cuyahoga County.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ed Meyer can be reached at 330-996-3784 or emeyer@thebeaconjournal.com.

The Ohio Parole Board has denied the release of a convicted murderer whose trial testimony sent two Portage County men to prison for nearly 17 years.

Troy Joseph Busta of Hiram — the only man still in prison for the 1988 murder and attempted rape of Connie Nardi of Randolph Township — was ordered to spend at least five more years behind bars.

Busta, 41, will not be eligible for his next parole hearing until August 2013, state prison spokeswoman JoEllen Culp confirmed Thursday. He is serving his sentence at Chillicothe Correctional Institution.

In March 1989, seven months after Geauga and Portage county authorities began to build their case, Busta pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of murder, escaping the death penalty, then implicated Bob Gondor and Randy Resh in the crime.

Resh and Gondor, lifelong friends, were at the same bar as Busta on the night Nardi last was seen alive. They were convicted and sent to prison after separate tri
als in 1990.

Both men maintained their innocence from the start.

After more than 10 years of appeals by Resh and Gondor, the Ohio Supreme Court vacated their convictions and ordered new trials in a unanimous decision announced Dec. 26, 2006.

A Portage County jury found Resh not guilty of murder and attempted rape after a three-week trial in April 2007. Nine days later, as Gondor and his lawyers were preparing for his new trial, Portage County Prosecutor Victor V. Vigluicci declined to prosecute. The charges — involuntary manslaughter, kidnapping and obstruction of justice — against Gondor were dismissed.

Wrongful-conviction suit

Resh and Gondor have a wrongful-conviction lawsuit pending in Portage County Common Pleas Court, the first legal step in their attempt to win monetary damages from the state.

''He committed this act, he implicated two innocent men and he has held onto that lie now for nearly 21 years,'' Gondor said in a phone interview Thursday.

''Randy and I were both victims of an opportunity presented to a 21-year-old kid,'' he added. ''Troy Busta was told by the authorities: 'Look, you say this and you'll be OK.' Luckily, in our case, the truth won out.''

Busta, who has been in prison since March 3, 1989, was interviewed at length by former Geauga County Sheriff's Lt. David Easthon before he gave a detailed account about the alleged roles of Resh and Gondor.

Originally facing the death penalty on a charge of aggravated murder, Busta's plea bargain resulted in the reduced charge of murder with a sentence of life in prison. Busta had a parole hearing in September, at which time authorities referred him to what is known in the state system as a Central Office Board Review hearing, which was held last Friday, prison officials said.

Parole-board officials noted in their decision blocking Busta's release that the victim in this case ''was an adult female who inmate strangled and sexually assaulted. Inmate has not taken full responsibility for his role in this heinous crime and is not suitable for release at this time.''

The decision went on to say that releasing Busta ''at this juncture would not further the interest of justice or promote the safety and security of society.''

There was no further comment.

Rebuilding lives

Busta was Portage County's star witness at Resh's 2007 retrial. Just as he did in 1989 when he implicated Resh and Gondor, Busta stuck to his story and told the jury that the three had conspired to kill Nardi after hatching a plan over cocaine in the restroom of a Mantua Corners bar on a Sunday night, Aug. 14, 1988.

''We went through all of the court proceedings,'' Resh said, ''and the charges against Bob and myself were dismissed. A jury didn't believe Troy Busta's lies, and now apparently neither does the parole board.''

At Resh's retrial, prosecutors never presented any forensic evidence directly linking him to the scene of the murder, or linking him to Nardi.

The body of Nardi, a 31-year-old mother of two, was found in a pond off Rapids Road in Geauga County on the night after she disappeared. Prosecution of Resh and Gondor later was transferred to Portage County, where investigators believe the slaying occurred.

Prison officials said Busta was not immediately available for comment. In December 2007, he declined a written request by the Beacon Journal for comment.

Resh and Gondor have begun to rebuild their lives.

Gondor, who runs his own home remodeling business, was married to Patricia Vechery in August at the Cape Hatteras lighthouse in North Carolina. They live in Geauga County.

Resh, who has reunited with his ex-wife, Traci Grimm, works at a commercial printing shop in Solon. They live in Cuyahoga County.

 98 
 on: January 30, 2009, 06:51:57 AM 
Started by Sydney Carton - Last post by MarkRougemont
  Interesting review, SC.  It appears he only takes major exception to one chapter (he refers to them as essays).  As far as the book as a whole he makes only one complaint, that it doesn't seem to contain an essay attacking his pet subject, the academic left.  The review itself seems to be favorable.
  It should be recommended reading, just skip that one chapter that might get your blood boiling.

 99 
 on: January 29, 2009, 03:08:14 PM 
Started by Sydney Carton - Last post by Sydney Carton
   http://www.newsobserver.com/news/story/1386539.html


Published: Jan 29, 2009 01:05 PM
Modified: Jan 29, 2009 02:37 PM

Charge dismissed in sexual assault case
By Anne Blythe, Staff Writer Comment on this story
DURHAM - A District Court judge dismissed a charge today against Diana Palmer, the former Durham County Democratic Party official accused this summer of being an accessory in a sexual assault case.

But the case could be revived if the state Attorney General’s Office chooses to seek an indictment, a Durham prosecutor says.

“This case should end here,” said Bill Thomas, the Durham lawyer who represented Palmer.

An assistant district attorney had asked District Court Judge Nancy Gordon to continue the case this morning, But Thomas objected.

Because the charge was a felony, state prosecutors could go to a grand jury and ask for an indictment.

Palmer, a former first vice chairwoman of the Durham County Democratic Party, was jailed in July on on a charge of being an accessory after the fact of an assault with a deadly weapon.

Investigators claimed she removed possible evidence from the home of Joy Suzanne Johnson, who had been the party's third vice chairwoman, and Johnson’s husband, Joseph Scott Craig.

Police have accused Craig of beating and caging a man and sexually assaulting a woman in his and Johnson's Durham home. He is charged with second-degree rape, second-degree forcible sexual offense, three counts of second-degree kidnapping and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon.Johnson is accused of standing by during the assaults.

Tracey Cline, Durham’s new district attorney, said earlier this month that she would ask the state Attorney General’s Office to take over the Johnson and Palmer cases to avoid the possibility of a conflict of interest.

As a Democrat who ran for office this past spring, Cline was in contact with Johnson.

There have been discussions among the Durham prosecutors and the state’s special prosecution team about a transfer of the cases, but no formal request had been received in the Attorney General’s Office as of this morning, according to Noelle Talley, spokeswoman for the office

Defense lawyers have described the case as “consensual sadomasochism gone awry.”

James Frederick Bethard, 19, of Maryland, accused Craig of forcing him into a dog cage with his arms and legs shackled, and beating him repeatedly with a cane.

The woman who has accused Craig of raping her testified this summer that she also engaged in consensual oral sex with the accused more than once. The News & Observer is not identifying the woman in keeping with its general policy of not naming people who allege sex crimes.

Thanks abb

 100 
 on: January 29, 2009, 03:03:27 PM 
Started by Tortmaster - Last post by Sydney Carton
   Polygamist leader's attorney seeks hearing to suppress raid evidence


By JIM SECKLER/The Mojave Daily News

Monday, January 19, 2009 9:34 PM CST

 
 
KINGMAN - The attorney for Warren Steed Jeffs, the convicted leader of a Colorado City polygamist church, is asking a Mohave County Superior Court judge to hold a hearing to suppress evidence found at a Texas raid.

In a motion filed last week, Jeffs' defense attorney, Mike Piccarreta said his client is entitled to a hearing in Mohave County to suppress evidence found by Texas law enforcement officers at the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints compound in Eldorado, Texas. Jeffs is the leader of the FLDS church in Colorado City.

The Texas officers were involved in the April raid at the compound in which they collected tainted evidence that was allegedly seized illegally during the raid.

A phone call that triggered the Texas raid was a hoax and officers used the hoax to obtain a warrant to search each house at the compound, Piccarreta said.

 
The Tucson attorney said that Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith is denying his client his right to a hearing, calling it a “Texas two step.”

He also spoke of Smith's attempt to obstruct the “truth-finding process” about the “illegal” raid.

Texas authorities were also aware that the two phones calls to a crisis hotline in Texas were from phone numbers outside of Texas and that the Colorado woman made numerous false reports of sexual abuse to police agencies, Piccarreta said.

Smith previously said he does not plan to use any of the evidence seized in the Texas raid at Jeffs' upcoming trial in Mohave County. The prosecutor opposes a hearing to suppress evidence saying he would be afraid if the Texas officers testified at the trial in Mohave County, it could jeopardize the Texas case.

At a prior hearing, Superior Court Judge Steven Conn said he preferred not to rule on the search warrant that triggered the Texas raid calling it the most highly publicized search warrant in the country in recent years.

Jeffs, 52, is charged in Mohave County with four counts of sexual conduct with a minor in two 2007 cases involving two underage girls. The crimes allegedly took place in the summers of 2002 and 2003.

Jeffs is also charged with felony sexual assault of a child under 17 and aggravated sexual assault in Schleicher County, Texas.

    snip

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