Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Today (Friday, September 26th) on my way to the Knox County courthouse in Galesburg, Illinois I noticed that even though it feels like a warm summer day you can see the changes of Autumn starting to take place. IMO there is no place more beautiful during the Fall than the Midwest. Driving the short distance (4miles) from my house to Galesburg there are fields of corn standing tall ready to be harvested and soy bean crops that look like a carpet of lemon-colored coins rolling across the land. Yes folks, this is serious "amber waves of grain" stuff. I'll admit it, I feel a little patriotic about now. LOL
This is my second trip this week to a hearing for Nicholas T. Sheley, a 29 year old Sterling, Il man accused in the deaths of eight people in a two-state killing spree in late June.
In Galesburg, he is charged in the death of Ronald Randall, age 65 of Galesburg. It is alleged that Sheley kidnapped Randall from a car wash, robbed him, bludgeoned him to death and dumped his body behind a grocery-store near a dumpster before stealing his 2007 Chevy pick-up.
There are 7 more victims whose story will be told in a court of law and this blog later on, but for now I want to focus on this case. Sometimes it seems as if victims get lost in the legal shuffle.
I can tell you that "shots of light" of who Ronald Randall was are already starting to "shine" through. His family is in court every hearing and they are usually the first ones there. You can tell he was a good brother and Dad and they are in court for him.
After today's hearing WQAD reporter Chris Minor interviewed 2 men who said they were long time friends of Ronald. They had all worked at the Maytag factory in Galesburg for many years. The men said that Randall had worked well over 30 years at Maytag and had worked until the last day the plant operated (factory moved to Mexico #%*#). You could really sense the pride and love that they felt for Ronald as they spoke.
One last patriotic word before I go into the details of the hearing. As Americans we all have the same constitutional right to a fair trial. Whether he deserves it or not (depends who you ask) Nicholas Sheley will have a fair trial. At hearings on September 11, 19 and 24 and in recent interviews Sheley has requested a speedy trial and expressed his unhappiness with his defense counsel. The judge has heard him loud and clear but until Sheley has been proven fit to stand trial and wave his right to counsel, he will just have to wait like the rest of us. Part of this hearing today is to determine which side will be charged with the delay. Continue reading at katfish ponders. . .
Sunday, September 28, 2008
A little birdy called to let me know that a hearing had been scheduled for accused spree killer, Nicholas Sheley at 2:30 today (Wednesday). [September 24th] Thank you little birdy, I really appreciate the call.
When I arrived at the courthouse, I was informed that the hearing had been moved up to 3:00, then 3:15. I go over some of my notes while waiting....during the arraignment on August 6, Ninth Circuit Judge James Stewart admonished the attorneys for both sides regarding the rules of judicial conduct forbidding counsel from making statements about the case.....he didn't address Sheley that day so that will probably happen today. Everyone is here from both sides but they are in a room off of the courtroom. Must be one of those "secret" meetings that Sheley complained about in his interview. Whatever.
Everyone took their places and Nicholas Sheley was brought in. He looked pretty much the same as he had last hearing, his hair was a little longer and whatever he put on it to make it spike up makes it look darker. Do they allow gel in jail? It was actually 3:45 before the hearing got started.
Judge James Stewart calls court to order and Public Defender James Harrell addresses the court. He says there are some housekeeping that needs done. First, Harrell would like the court to make an official finding that He and Jeremy Karlin are the counsel of record, the issue had been raised but not put on record at the last hearing. Judge Stewart says something like Oh,... you actually want me to say it? Then he says they are counsel of record until a fitness hearing is completed. LOL This judge has a wry sense of humor it appears, at times it's just the way he says something, not what he says. Nothing inappropriate so far...LOL I like that in a judge. Continue reading at katfish ponders. . .
Friday, September 26, 2008
Van Sicklen granted the motion to quash on the first degree murder charge on double jeopardy grounds, but denied the motion on the conspiracy charge. In his ruling, Van Sicklen wrote, “Although the murder charge is barred by double jeopardy, the State may proceed on the charge of conspiracy to commit murder because there is no evidence that Miura was previously acquitted or convicted of the same offense in Japan."
The prosecution on the conspiracy charge will go forward. All that needs to happen now is to get Miura to the US.
It's taken quite a bit of time to get to a resolution on this matter. Back in February of this year, Miura traveled from his native Japan to Siapan where he was arrested on that old, 1988 outstanding warrant. Ever since, the Los Angeles DA's office has been trying to get him extradited to Los Angeles, and high profile attorney Mark Geragos has been trying to squash the arrest warrant. Authorities were alerted to Miura's travel plans to the US territory because they had been monitoring Miura's Internet blog, where he talked about taking the trip. Note to the criminally stupid: If there's still a murder warrant out on you in another country, it's probably not a good idea to detail your travel plans on your publicly viewed Internet blog.
During the July hearing, Judge Van Sicklen stated that before it could be determined if the alleged crimes were the same crimes that Miura was convicted of in Japan, he would need to see translations of the Japanese court rulings. From what I've overheard in court, these translations run over five hundred pages and were probably very costly. During this hearing, Van Sicklen also ordered a live video feed hookup with Saipan, so that Miura could "appear" at the next hearing.
The live video connection was accomplished with a translator in Saipan for Mr. Miura and a translator in the court to record anything he might say.
Alan Jackson, Ric Ocampo and Phyllis Asayama were arguing for the people. Mark Geragos and his associate, Nareg Gourjian, are representing Miura in Los Angeles. Miura also has three high profile attorneys in Saipan, as well as legal representation in Japan. A huge video screen was set up in the court. Once Miura's face appeared on the screen and sound checks were made, court was called into session. On the record, Miura formally waived his right to appear.
The prosecution presented Mark D. West, a law professor at the University of Michigan. He founded the Japanese Law Studies, Law Program in 1998 at the university. After direct exam and cross, Professor West was accepted as a legal expert in Japanese law. Professor West is fluent in written and spoken Japanese, has been invited to teach at many schools in Japan, and read the Japan court rulings in their original Japanese.
The main issue of disagreement between the parties is the conspiracy issue and the expo facto issue. The question that needs to be answered by the court: Is our (Californial Criminal Code) conspiracy statute the same as the one in existence in Japan? Professor West testifies and educates everyone on the nuanced differences between US Law and Japanese Law.
In Japan you can not be charged with just conspiracy. There is no such statute of law on their books. However, under their murder statute, there is a theory of colusion, but you can not be convicted of a "theory" in Japan. West testifies that Japan is in violation of international treaties because it does not have a conspiracy statute. There is a big movement in Japan to try to enact a conspiracy law. They have tried three times and each time it has failed. After reading the Japanese court documents, Professor West testified that Miura was convicted of attempted murder, fraud and murder. The murder conviction was later overturned by a higher court and Miura released from prison.
Professor West held his own under relentless cross examination by Mark Geragos. Professor West disagreed with the prosecution's translation of the Japanese court proceedings, where the English word "conspiracy" is used several times. One of the Japanese words that can have several meanings, especially when used in the context of law is "kyobo." West states that it was translated as "conspiracy, collusion, colludes." In his reading of the court documents, it was not always translated properly. Koybo does not have the same concept in the US, West said. In translation, it can mean collusion or plotting. But the word plotting is not a easy word to translate from Japanese to English. Translating koybo as "complicity" would be a stretch.
Professor West was clear that in Japan, you can not be convicted for conspiracy as a stand alone charge. As Geragos gets snippy with West, the video feed with Saipan is lost, but not the sound connection. Several times Geragos raises his voice and appears to be badgering the witness.
At about this same time, a buzzer goes off in the courtroom. There is a jury deliberating in the jury room and they want to go home. The court takes a few minutes break while the Judge deals with the jury working on another case. If I'm remembering correctly, Allan Parachini, who is sitting in the jury box along with the Japanese film crew and still photographers, gets up and forcefully moves the film camera so that it is aiming away from possibly photographing any jurors that might be exiting the courtroom.
It's near 4:30 pm and Judge Van Sicklen will not continue the hearing past that time. Geragos has not had the opportunity to put on his own witness. His expert who wrote an opinion submitted with his motion, a Mr. Cleary (sp?) is currently in Mongolia. He wants to try to get him here to testify.
Judge Van Sicklen wants to continue the hearing and counsel try to work out another day and time. As court is ending, Van Sicklen comments that, ". . . the written work on both sides is outstanding." The next hearing date is scheduled for September 5th, at 1:30 pm.
On this day, Mr. Sprocket drives down with me to the Torrance courthouse. I want him to take a short video of the prosecution arriving at court so I can put it up on the blog. However, we arrived too late to film their arrival. Mr. Sprocket left me at the courthouse and went off shopping at Home Depot. I was only able to get a photo of Mr. Pat Dixon arriving by himself.
When I'm finally in the courtroom, all the same players are seated and ready to go. Geragos for the defense, and Jackson, Ocampo, and Asayama for the prosecution. Pat Dixon is sitting in the row in front of me. I notice he has a large, absolutely striking watch on his left wrist and I have a hard time pulling my eyes away from it. There is a waiver by both parties for the Saipan hookup today. Geragos filed a number of exhibits but will not be putting on any witnesses today. I'm guessing he couldn't get his expert to leave Mongolia and come to the US to testify.
Geragos argues his exhibits first. Van Sicklen removes his glasses and rocks a bit in his chair, his expression a study in concentration as he listens to Geragos's argument. Late arrival reporters enter the room and I have a hard time hearing Geragos from the back row. Consequently, I don't have any notes on his arguments. Then Jackson is up at bat and he makes an interesting argument. "The real issue is, which law applies? We know there is a 793 law that provides no protection [. . .] which of the two citations of the law applies [here]? The law as it stands clearly dictates that the only penal code that applies is 793. Any statute can be appealed at any time [. . .] 656 is not a substantial defense; it's a procedural [statute]. 793 only vests when he [the defendant] enters a plea of once in jeopardy. The laws methods have to be pursued by the defendant. Double jeopardy is not applied unless the defense has asked for the application of those rights. [. . .] As I indicated, a change in a statute can be amend a procedure down the road."
More arguments are made, and then Judge Van Sicklen does something interesting. He interrupts Jackson and asks this question of him, "When does jeopardy attach?" And with this question, I get a gut feeling that Van Sicklen has made up his mind on the murder charge, and he believes that jeopardy has attached in the '88 murder warrant. I keep thinking he's going to rule on that right then and there. Jackson and Van Sicklen go back and forth on this issue. Asayama steps up and states, "He [Miura] never made that claim of double jeopardy. In order for it to legally vest, the defendant has to assert." Jackson is back on point. "[The] defendant never entered the once in jeopardy plea. [. . .] He has no double jeopardy claim because California doesn't recognize the Japan conviction." With this argument, Jackson is relying on the new statute that was ammended in 2004.
It's now Ric Ocampo's turn, and he addresses the "aiding and abetting" theory verses the "conspiracy" theory. There are several ways the prosecution can go, since the ". . . crime of conspiracy doesn't exist in Japan. There is no 'enhanced' punishment in Japan for a 'theory' of conspiracy."
Geragos gets in the last word today. "It's not true that it's necessary a defendant has to come to court to declare to be vested. The act that triggers the protection is the jury conviction." Geragos's tone shows he's quite irritated with the prosecution's arguments. "Jeopardy attaches once the conviction occurs. The comparison of this case to a juvenile case example is ludacrous!"
Judge Van Sicklen responds, "I think I've heard enough. there's still a lot of analysis I have to do, but by the end of next week, it's impossible. I'm going to try to provide some analysis." With a smile on his face Van Sicklen adds, "No more briefs!" And with that comment several of the attorney's laugh and court is adjourned for the day.
I call Mr. Sprocket to come pick me up and we decide to spend the rest of the day shopping in the Torrance area. We stop by the huge Marukai market and some other Asian stores before we head back to the valley.
On the drive down donchais and I talk about several hot cases we're covering and the various comments we've received on the blog: Judge Halverson, Casey Anthony and of course, Phil Spector. I don't believe there will be much coverage of Spector. The economy is about ready to tank, most new organizations are hurting and besides, it's old news. I predict if there is coverage, it will only be the important points of the trial. There will not be anything new at round deux. We both think that there is a strong possibility that Halverson could have injured herself because the tape of her 911 call sounds completely scripted. We're also hoping that the Orange County Sheriff's Office in Orlando, Florida is getting their final T's crossed and I's dotted for an arrest of Casey Anthony on the death of her child, Caylee. We are both overly saturated with Casey Anthony drama and wish the entire crazy family would just go away.
When I finally get to the parking lot, I realize that my cell phone battery is just about dead and I won't be able to take the photographs of the building and all the reporters waiting outside like I had hoped. I sit in my car a bit, trying to charge up my phone.
On the fifth floor, the crowd of Japanese reporters appears smaller than the last time, but it's just an illusion. The Public Information Office (PIO) has more than half their staff here to keep the process moving smoothly and orderly. There is a demand for individuals to turn over their recording devices, and many of the reporters hand them to the PIO staff for safekeeping. Today, Allan Parachini announces to the crowd that no email, PDA's or laptops will be allowed in the courtroom today. I notice there are two young deputy explorers standing by the front door to the courtroom and they will be inside to assist in keeping order.
I see the City News desk reporter, and I over hear her talking to the newest member of the PIO staff. I step closer and ask her if she will be covering Spector. She doesn't know yet. Her superiors still have not made the decision whether or not they will put a reporter on that trial every day. And then I see a face that I thought had left the PIO office and moved out of state. It's Miriam! I over hear her tell someone that she's just here for a wedding, and she is helping out for a few days. I reach over and touch her shoulder and tell her it's nice to see her.
I'm finally inside the courtroom in the back row, but I don't see any counsel up at the tables. Sandi Gibbons is a late arrival with Rick Ocampo. Phyllis I saw in the hallway earlier. I see Claudia from KFWB grab the last seat in the front row on the right. I haven't seen her since a month or so after the end of Spector 1. I now see Mark Geragos alone at the defense table. The courtroom is packed. Almost every seat is filled. It's 1:32 pm and Alan Jackson isn't here yet.
A few minutes later and I see Jackson at the prosecution's table. He appears to be reading a document, his posture in a familiar position. His right elbow is resting on the table, and his right forefinger is resting on his right temple. He appears completely absorbed in the document he's reading. At 1:36 pm Judge Van Sicklen takes the bench.
Van Sicklen states that both counsels have the written ruling with his analysis he's prepared. He is granting the defense motion to quash the arrest warrant on the murder, but denying it as to the conspiracy count. His reasons for his decisions are in the written ruling.
Geragos requests that the Judge stay the ruling until they can get an appellate ruling. Van Sicklen responds, "I don't have any jurisdiction over Saipan." Geragos goes on to ask again to stay to seek an appellate ruling. Ocampo stands and defends the people's position.
Van Sicklen states, "He [Miura] will be arraigned in downtown, Department 30." The case is now out of his hands.
And that's it. Court is over and the press files out to get a copy of the Judge's written ruling. Only those news organizations on the list will receive a single free copy. All others will have to pay for a copy in the clerk's office. I debate on whether or not to wait the reported half hour it will take to get the extra copies ready for sale. I decide to leave the courthouse and head home.
Outside the courthouse, I'm standing on the steps trying to decide whether or not I'm going to listen to Geragos talk to the press or head directly home. Jackson and Ric Ocampo are on the sidewalk along with, IIRC, Pat Dixon. This is my opportunity to ask the prosecution a question. I approach the group and ask, "Has it been decided who will be assigned to this case?" Ocampo responds that at this time, nothing has changed. Ocampo and Dixon are now trying to convince Jackson to at least listen in on the presser. Jackson's not interested, and I don't blame him. Ocampo asks Jackson something to the effect of, "What are you going to go do?" And Jackson jokingly responds "I'm going to go hang out with her," reaching his arm out towards me. At a loss for words, I smile as everyone slowly walks over to listen in on what Geragos is saying to the press.
Afterwards, Sandi Gibbons addresses the group of reporters. When I get bored with the press questions, I walk towards the group of PIO staff. Nervous, I try to make some small talk with the ladies. "Is it a short day today?" I ask. They smile and say it's already a long day. And then I ask them a faux pas question, "Did anyone have any predictions?" And that makes them all freeze and Allan Parachini quickly comes over to answer, stating something to the effect of, "It's not their position to have an opinion." Oops. Wrong thing to ask. All during the drive home I'm driving behind a huge white truck that says, 'Document Shredmobile,' and all I can think about is I'm worrying that I've unintentionally pissed of Allan Parachini. From now on, I'll just smile and ask if anyone has any pets.
The Associated Press
~arriving to testify
Ed Halverson is accused of attacking his wife with a cast iron skillet earlier this month. He has been charged with battery and attempted murder
Elizabeth Halverson testified for two hours before a grand jury, Tuesday.
Elizabeth Halverson spent more than two weeks at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center. Surgeons used more than 100 staples to repair the lacerations to her head.
She also underwent additional tests after doctors thought she was suffering from internal bleeding.
"I have headaches all the time," said Halverson.
Ironically, Halverson appeared in the same courthouse she left in July 2007 after she was suspended from the bench.
Halverson is awaiting a decision from the discipline commission, which heard allegations of mistreating her staff, falling asleep on the bench and improperly communicating with jurors.
The judge placed a bizarre call to 911 after the alleged attacked.
"Please, help. Please, help me now," she whispered in a panic. "He's beating me with a frying pan."
Rumors have been swirling since the incident that Elizabeth herself, inflicted the damage.
While asking 911 for help, she quite calmly talks to her husband. She tells him to clean up the blood on the floor and asks him to get ice for her battered, bloodied eye.
Ed Halverson sounds pretty solicitous of his wife on the 911 recording.
I don’t know what went on in that house – Ed may be dumb as dirt, but in the call, he seems confused and concerned - not on a murdering rampage. Sounds scripted to me!
kathlb says: At first I thought it sounded like she was on a cell phone for help and didn't want him to know hence the whispering when he left the area each time. But then when I heard him sounding surprised at her injuries and seeming to say "Who did this to you?" I was flabbergasted. It's a puzzle for sure. It'll be interesting to watch and see where this goes.
Listen to the 911 call and you decide.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
CNN Find Caylee Blog
During the last pre-trial hearing, Judge Fidler announced that not a single media organization had filed the appropriate paperwork to have cameras in the courtroom. In the interim, donchais put out some feelers to media groups to see if there was anyone who would be willing to cover it. When they came back to us with the monthly production costs, we were in shock. Just covering the basic expenses would run $30,000 a month. The media group asked us, "Would people be willing to pay to view this trial?" To find out, donchais and I made inquiries on quite a few Internet crime forums and message boards. We also asked people to sign a petition that someone else had started the day before. Unfortunately, the responses we got back were not what we had hoped to see.
On a whim, yesterday I called the Los Angeles County Court's Public Information Office, asking if any media groups had submitted requests to cover the trial. Surprisingly, I was told that The Associated Press had requested to put a still photographer in the courtroom, and that local TV station KTLA (Channel 5) had filed for "TV coverage." KTLA's application requested to cover the following: "opening statements, portions of testimony, closing arguments, verdict, and sentencing."
Today I found out that both applications had been approved by Judge Fidler. Interestingly, the public information officer informed me that as of today, TruTV/CNN has NOT submitted an application to cover the trial.
Everyone should note that KTLA's application did not indicate that they were requesting "gavel to gavel" filming. I think the answer to this is two fold. First, even Judge Fidler said at the last hearing that the media interest had wained for the retrial. And I can attest to that. There have been very few reporters who have shown up to cover the last several months of pretrial hearings. There is usually a still photographer set up in the jury box, but gone are the days that a film camera would be there or a local radio station such as KFWB would have taped the hearing. I also think that with waning media interest, there isn't a news organization that is willing to invest in a trial that may drag out for five months again.
For those who don't know, KTLA is owned by The Tribune, the same company that owns The Los Angeles Times. Just this past July, The LA Times (as well as a sister paper, the Chicago Tribune) went through a major restructuring and massive layoffs. Approximately 150 Times reporters were given pink slips. Fewer reporters means less staff available to sit in a courtroom all day to cover a trial with little media interest. My friends in the media have told me that covering Spector 1 was not that profitable for The LA Times, and that The Tribune is heavily in debt. With that information, I'm not surprised that there will not be "gavel to gavel" coverage of the retrial.
For those of you who have been wanting to see Spector 2, some coverage is better than nothing.
WFLA: Orlando's ABC network, WFTV Channel 9, reported that sources close to them confirmed to them that the Anthony's recently claimed that Casey's attorney is purposely trying to create drama in the case.
However, Lifetime Movie Network's Director of Corporate Communications, Gary Morganstein, said there was never a deal on the table.
"That report is not true. We are not developing a movie based on Caylee Anthony. I can't comment on an anonymous source that I know nothing about," Morganstein said. "All I can tell you is that it is not true."
Morganstein also added that the deal had never even been discussed with Channel 9.
Interesting that Lifetime felt it important enough to come out and make a statement. Greta Van Susteren reported the alleged movie deal on her blog last night but now it appears that Marke NeJame and Lifetime are in agreement. No movie deal.
Meanwhile in other news, Zenaida Gonzalez, the woman OCSO tracked down as the possible "nanny" Casey Anthony said took her daughter Caylee, is suing Casey Anthony for defamation. Her attorney, John Morgan says Gonzalez has been threatened and the accusations by Casey and Cindy Anthony have ruined her reputation. John Morgan, of the well respected Morgan & Morgan, believes that he might be able to go after the Anthony family home since Casey lives there and Cindy Anthony has made various statements to the press, mentioning Gonzales's name.
Meanwhile, audio recordings of several interviews were released today by OCSO and WFTV has some of them up on their site already.
July 29th Lee Anthony Interview Audio Recording
July 23 Jesse Grund Interview Audio Recording
July 31 Jesse Grund Interview Audio Recording
Let us know what you think! Special thanks to ritanita for all the updated story news and recording links!
CNN Find Caylee Blog
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Sources extremely close to the family told Eyewitness News that the Anthonys have signed a $2 million movie deal with the Lifetime Movie Network. (WTF? Is George and Cindy's retirement account a little low since Casey raided it?)
There are also claims that Casey's attorney is purposely trying to create drama in the case. (Say it isn't so, lol! Who's surprised about that?)
A movie director wouldn't have to make up the drama of Casey Anthony's first release from jail. When faced with Eyewitness News' tough questions, Casey turned away and nuzzled her face into her attorney's neck as he hugged her and shielded her from the rain and reporters.
It's the stuff that movies are made of.
The California bounty hunter who sprung her says that's what attorney Jose Baez is counting on, which is why his hired security force stood back and let the drama unfold. After that, Baez hired bodyguards for Casey at what Eyewitness News was told was $1,500 a week.
Bounty hunter Leonard Padilla told Eyewitness News on Wednesday that Baez made him sign away any rights on movie or book deals, that Baez is banking on the entertainment industry and so is his mysterious public relations man.
Just when you think the Anthony family can't stoop any lower, they do something to lower themselves farther down into the sewer. Other reports out today allege that Casey told her mother Cindy that she sold the child to someone in Puerto Rico. I'm wondering was that the fifth or tenth version of events that was spewing out of Casey's mouth?
Have y'all been reading though that massive document dump the OSCO did a few days ago? kathlb pointed out something in Lee Anthony's interview that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand out, as well as ritanita and Kitty Malone:
kathlb: And I found one part that intrigued me. When Lee was talking to Casey in her bedroom and Cindy was finally on the phone to LE that last time before they showed up, Casey said she was a spiteful bitch and when Lee told her that LE were coming she said if her mother had called them a long time ago maybe it wouldn't have gotten to this point. She seemed resigned and calm and almost glad. Now I don't know if it was a sympathy ploy or if she was glad it was all over and out of her hands now. It could explain her cold, calm attitude now. Also Jesse said he felt she had one foot in reality and when something happened to Caylee, she is now completely in her make believe world. He felt she should have gotten mental help long ago too.
Kitty Malone: That "....because I'm a spiteful biotch" comment really JUMPED out at me too, Kath! It's almost like she was on the tip of telling the truth about what REALLY happened, but then Cindy barged in and said "What have you done?! WHO TOOK CAYLEE?" It's was like Casey was about to tell Lee the truth, but when Cindy said this Casey went with it and blurted out that the nanny took her. It was as if she thought of that scenario right then and there - and she went with it - made that her "out". I read through all the interviews last night and am just amazed. All the partying she was doing, and boy hopping she was doing just makes me ill. When William commented that when he cut his face that Casey "Was right there with a cold wash rag to clean him up" and take care of him, I almost retched. She couldn't even take care of her little girl, yet she's wiping blood off of a complete strangers face! She is a piece of work.
ritanita: What was saddest to me was that he (Lee) mentioned that he was functioning as a mediator between Cindy and Casey before the police came. When there are two people at war in a family, it often falls to someone who cares about both to serve that difficult role. I'm sure Lee spent much of his life when he was still at home acting as the mediator. George seemed to be the sort who essentially kept away from it and let Lee take care of it. So, a lot of his youth was taken up with trying to keep the peace. He probably had to grow up long before his time. I'm also betting that the moment he could afford a place of his own he got out of that pressure cooker for his own well-being.
The interviews are revealing that the Anthony family made far different statements to LE than they did to the public and media, such as how the stolen gas cans were really recovered by George Anthony. The released documents also appear to be tightening up the timeline as to when Caylee possibly died. ritanita and I both agree that the date is somewhere on the 16th or 17th of June.
There's been a lot of speculation about what Casey needed the gasoline in the gas cans for, but I think cher_fl nailed it:
cher_fl: She had 2 cans from her Dad, tried borrowing one from Jessie and bought one at target, either she was taking a long trip OR she was going to burn the car, saying someone must have stole it after she left it at Amscot only the tow company got to it first.
I agree. I think she planned to burn the car to destroy any remaining evidence.
The interviews also reveal that early on, Casey tried to explain to Amy Huizenga the smell in her car to "squirrels" that got up in her car and "died." Lee Anthony's interview shows us that couldn't be the case. The car smelled so bad the family was afraid that Casey or Caylee was in the trunk before they finally opened it. In my opinion, the latest documents reveal this family knew early on that something happened to that child. The documents I'm now waiting to see are the interview transcripts of Cindy and George Anthony. How about you, readers? What are your thoughts?
CNN Finde Caylee Blog
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
The Orlando Sentinel has put up 317 pages so far.
Here's a key that ritanita has made:
Tony Lazzaro: Pp. 1-34
Amy Huizenga: Pp. 35-79
Text messages: P. 80
Brittany Schieber: Pp. 81-98
Ricardo Morales: Pp. 99-127
Troy Brown: Pp. 129-146
Lauren Gibbs: Pp. 147-158
Brian Bruner: Pp. 159-179
William Waters: Pp. 179-197
Lee Anthony: Pp. 99-266
Jesse Grund: Pp. 267-310 (two interviews)
Calendar pages: Pp. 311-317
WFTV's Lee Anthony Transcript
WFTV's Tony Lazzaro Transcript
CNN Find Caylee Blog
Thank you ritanita for outlining where to find the various interviews in all those pages!
Monday, September 22, 2008
"I'm okay," Dunne told a CNN staff member about an hour later, ""But this probably means that I will have to go back to New York in the next few days."
Dunne has been battling the reemergence of his cancer since 2007 while attending the Spector trial. His career as a crime writer didn't begin until he was 50, after the death of his daughter Dominique at the hands of her boyfriend, John Sweeney. He became an advocate for crime victims by writing.
Send Dominick a get well greeting at his diary page.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
What we need to do is get our voices heard and very quickly!
There are two things we can do immediately:
One, go sign the petition for coverage of the trial – Petition
Secondly, it’s not as crazy as it sounds, but in speaking to some industry people, it is possible a production company will provide coverage on a pay-per-view basis. It ain’t cheap! The number of folks who would be willing to pay monthly for the coverage would determine the cost – could be $30 per month or with a larger group, could be as little as $15 per month – kinda like CourtTV, way back when.
This is strictly limited to the Spector trial. Leave a message here so we can gauge what kind of interest there is! We very well may be able to get this done, but your quick response will dictate what happens. We may have a source!
We have verification the TruTV will not cover the Spector trial!
Are you willing? It is imperative to leave a message here so we can gauge what kind of interest there is and get it put in motion!! The media folks are monitoring the responses here.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
The Associated Press is reporting that Federal authorities have confirmed the engineer operating the doomed train, Robert Sanchez, 46, was texting two teens within a minute of the crash. When the allegations surfaced that Sanchez might have been texting while operating the train, The National Transportation Safety Board requested his cell phone records. As of today, the NTSB has not revealed how many messages were found.
Twenty-five fatalities, including Sanchez occurred in the wreck and over 130 passengers were injured.
In May 2002, a cell phone contributed to the crash of two freight trains near Clarendon, Texas. One engineer was killed and operators on the other train sustained critical injuries.
As a result of the federal findings, in an emergency meeting today the California Public Utilities Commission placed a ban on texting on the job.
Just when you think things can't get worse at the Anthony house, they do. There was another altercation involving Cindy and George Anthony and the protesters outside their house early Thursday morning. George Anthony is demanding justice! How forkin' funny is that? During the rukus, a protester attempted to drag George off his property and Cindy came to his rescue wielding a baseball bat. You might think you were watching an episode of The Twilight Zone, or even bad reality TV, but you're not. It's on the morning news. All you have to do is tune in first thing for the latest antics at the Anthony home the night before.
If Casey was still in jail and her parents would stifle themselves, this level of crazy probably would not be happening. I think for the public safety, Casey's bond should be revoked.
Before this latest debacle, OCSO have been to the Anthony home over 40 times. The amount of time officers are spending on missing Caylee is affecting other cases before the court. What is sad is that the Anthony family has lost their focus. It's no longer on Caylee.
The 911 Call
A surreal moment in time. Casey Anthony calls 911. Who would have thought? donchias says, "She finally figured out how to dial 911."
Partial transcript of her second call:
Casey: "There are protesters still outside of our home. We already called about an hour and a half ago and it took officers 30 minutes to get here,"
"The protesters are now banging on our garage door and they've still been throwing things at our windows and our garage and now the media is here. My father is going outside and there is going to be a fight. So, please can you send people down here? There is now a physical altercation. You need to send vehicles immediately."
911: "It is getting physical?"
Casey: "Yes, it's getting physical right now."
911: "You see them physically fighting?"
Casey: "Yes, I see them physically fighting. We have surveillance."
911: "OK, do you know if there are any weapons?"
Casey: "I don't know if there are any weapons. I know that my father is outside and so is my mother. So, send as many people as you possible can." (Casey conveniently doesn’t mention that her mother is carrying a baseball bat.)
911: "And, who is this?"
Casey: "They need to be arrested because this can't keep happening. We already had six or seven officers out here for almost 45 minutes and they did not do anything. And they are the same punks that were out here all night throwing stuff at our house." (Notice how Casey avoided telling the 911 operator who she was. I think Casey would fall into that “punk” category herself.)
911: "OK, stay on the line with me.”
Casey: "I absolutely will, but they need to hurry up. They were…they just left not that long ago." (Gee Casey, you want LE to cooperate with you, but you won’t cooperate with them. Hummmm.)
911: "The police officers left?"
Casey: "The police officers just left at about 1 a.m. A media van just pulled up and that is when all of this started happening," Anthony said.
911: "About how many people are out there?"
Casey: "There are at least a dozen people and now two media vans. And there is actually more people walking in from across the street." (I watched the video and I can see where Casey does tend to embellish the facts. The six individuals on the video became over a dozen. donchais says, “Well, it is Casey’s version of the truth.”)
911: "How many people are actually involved in the altercation?"
Casey: "Channel 2 news has everything on tape already.
911: "How many people are involved in the altercation?"
Casey: "There are at least a dozen people. My mom is out there now spraying people with the hose. My father is…they are trying to get them off the property. They are also trespassing on our property." (In the video, it’s George, not Cindy.)
911: "Is it still happening?"
Casey: “They are still standing on the property. Yes, they are out there recording it."
911: "So, what about the physical altercation? Is it over?"
Casey: "It's already over, yes.”
911: "So, it is no longer physical?"
Casey: "It is no longer physical. But it was already physical. It's the protesters."
911: "Who are you?"
Casey: "I'm the resident. We have everything on tape, thanks to channel 2 and also our home surveillance." (Resident lunatic. Notice how she still avoided telling the 911 operator who she was.)
911: "Was there any weapons involved?"
Casey: "Not that I can see, no.” (Again, she avoids telling 911 her mother is carrying a baseball bat. I did not see a single protester with a weapon on the video.)
Case: "This needs to be taken care of immediately. Both of my parents were hit by the protesters." (A woman did grab George’s shirt. Cindy might have been pushed.)
Officers finally arrive at the Anthony home.
Watch WFTV video here and WESH video here, and tell us what you think of this latest episode of “Growing Up Anthony.”
Kitty Malone says, "Crazy...just crazy!!!" But it's ritanita who expresses what we all feel: "Wish we would get some real news! All this protester stuff is a waste."
CNN Find Caylee Blog
In an incredibly jaw-dropping BBC interview, Lenny Harper discusses the obstruction of the child abuse chargings and prosecutions. He states that interests of the victims had been sacrificed.
Senator Syvret has published the BBC transcript of the interview:
Harper: I personally believe that there is a marked reluctance to wholeheartedly get behind the enquiry and to prosecute rigorously and vigorously the suspects to the extent where the victims are given their day in court. I think that the public face of some of the politicians who have called the victims "people with criminal records" and "disturbed people" underlines a more fundamental attitude that these people should not have been allowed to make complaints against people who are involved in the establishment. Yes I do believe that, I think that's the case.
Obstruction by prosecutors is apparently endemic on the island. Prior to the abuse investigation, Harper started cleaning house by dealing with some corrupt police officers and other employees that were working for the organization. Harper goes on record regarding the obstruction he faced in that investigation.
More from the BBC transcript of the interview:
Lenny Harper: It really came to a head when we started dealing with a small number of corrupt Police officers, and other employees that were working within the organization. We were investigating them internally and I had young officers doing superb jobs investigating wrongdoing - and again, I emphasize it was only a small number of bad cops and employees. But we began to have some success in dealing with these people, and we started submitting files. We had a couple of detectives who we caught passing over sensitive intelligence files on criminals in return for sex with informants, and even admissions from them, and prosecutions were not being mounted.
What I found particularly distasteful was the involvement of some of the local politicians, who sided with corrupt Police officers and their associates, even to the extent of interfering in the charging process.
I think it's fairly well documented that we were due to charge this businessman, and we were due to charge him with an offence which he admitted under oath in court, in which he admitted inciting a Police Officer to carry out illegal checks on computer systems. We eventually got the authority from the legal advisors to charge him with the offence of inciting this Police Officer to commit the illegal computer transactions. We were due to charge him at six o'clock one evening. At five thirty, two local politicians who were friends of his went to see the Attorney General. As a result of that we received a phone call from the Attorney General instructing us not to charge.
BBC: Do you know that it was a result of that, or is that just your belief?
Lenny Harper: Yes I've had conversations with the Attorney General about it. The consequence was that we received instruction not to charge. These two politicians had been involved throughout this series of enquiries and in fact were two of the politicians who criticized us for wasting public money.
BBC: Are they still in government? Are they still active politicians?
Lenny Harper: They're still active politicians, yes.
Well, so much for the 'Jersey' way!
Senator Stuart Syvret Blog
Harper on Jersey abuse inquiry video
Full BBC radio interview
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Recently, George Anthony accused the media of hiring the protesters. My friend Kitty Malone said it perfectly:
ALL I have to say about George and his little out burst is - WOW! Boy, is he living in a different world than we are! Um....Hello....GEORGE! It's your DAUGHTER who has made your life a living NIGHTMARE - not the media or the protesters! There is absolutely NO HOPE for these people. They will never believe the truth about the monster they raised! Makes my head spin! I wish they would just go away and STFU.
I so agree Kitty! The level of denial this family is in as astronomical.
WFTV has now taken credit for what we bloggers and posters to message boards have figured out since the beginning:
There appear to be more lies and more deception in the Caylee Anthony case and only Channel 9 Eyewitness News is blowing the lid off the nanny mystery.
Eyewitness News has learned Casey Anthony might have made up the name of Caylee's so-called nanny, Zenaida Gonzalez, from former classmates' names and the street name for a drug. Investigators are now looking into it because of Eyewitness News' questions.
Casey Anthony said she used to call Zenaida Gonzalez "Zanny," which Eyewitness News found out is also the street name for the anti-anxiety drug Xanax. Eyewitness News has also learned that investigators have asked at least one of her friends questions about Casey and Xanax during a lie detector test.
Eyewitness News has learned that Casey Anthony had apparently asked her ex-fiancé Jesse Grund about Xanax while they were instant-messaging during the time they were engaged. Grund was asked the questions when he was hooked up to a polygraph by the FBI.
Xanax goes by the name "Zanny" on the street, which has some wondering if "Zanny the nanny" was a reference to the drug and not the nickname Casey says she used for the mysterious nanny, Zenaida Gonzalez.
Eyewitness News has discovered that a girl named Zenaida was in Casey's homeroom at Colonial High School before Casey dropped out. She had a different last name, not Gonzalez, but there were seven students in her class whose last name is Gonzalez.
The names Casey has made up as her friends who introduced her to Zenaida also show up in her Colonial High School classmates roster. She named a Raquel Ferrell, who investigators say does not exist, but there was a Raquel Rosa in her class. Casey also named Jennifer Rosa as a friend whom investigators can't find. She had a classmate named James Ferrell and the name Jennifer shows up close by.
Investigators are now checking into it to find out whether it's more than just a series of coincidences.
Doesn't matter really, Casey will still lie out of both sides of her mouth.
I almost forgot to mention. Here is a blog that has links or archived a ton of the Casey/Caylee Anthony case material.
CNN Find Caylee Blog
Casey Makes Bail . . . AGAIN!
Monday, September 15, 2008
Bizarre, Bizarrer, Bizarrest!
Today marks the three-month anniversary of this case. Sunday, June 15th, her grandmother videotaped her visit to her great-grandfather at the assisted living facility where he lived. After that, nobody outside the family saw the little girl.
July 15th, Cindy Anthony called 911 and reported the that Caylee Anthony was missing.
July 16th, Casey Anthony was interviewed by OCSD detectives in an empty room at Universal Studios. The transcript of the interview was released along with hundreds of pages of information gathered. Last Friday, the audiotape of the interview has been released to the public.
It has been a sickening experience to read and listen to that interview. You can hear the lack of care and concern in her voice as she calmly admits all her lies. She refuses to say one word that would help bring her missing daughter home.
Fast forward to today, and the whereabouts of Caylee are still unknown and we are well aware of evidence of her demise from the decomposition evidence in the car.
However, the news keeps coming in, and it’s not at all about Caylee. As she probably prefers, all the news is about her mother, Casey.
Sunday night, after another vigil in front of the garage of her home, Cindy Anthony took the time and trouble to come out at around midnight to "tidy up" her No Trespassing signs and yellow tape she uses to decorate her property and the public property in front of her house. While out there, one of the late-night protesters began yelling obscenities at her and she reciprocated with a few of her own. As the lady got into her car, Cindy took the opportunity to go over and continue the argument, and both she and the protester had to be physically restrained from getting into an all-out cat fight right there in the middle of the street. Oh, and let’s not forget the protester’s little boy who got his arm slammed in the door of the car and was left in the street crying. Oh, and the little boy was no angel himself, shouting to Cindy, "I hope you die!"
Today, somebody did call DCF and report the lady, at least.
Meanwhile, the judge who is deciding about the injunction filed by the Chickasaw Oaks Phase 3 homeowners' association has yet to make a decision. One can certainly feel for the neighbors. They have had a nightmare existence ever since this case began.
Yes, today has certainly been a busy one for the legions of Casey Anthony Case followers.
Casey turned herself in today for more charges dealing with checks stolen from her "friend" Amy Huizenga. She’ll spend a night in jail and appear before a judge tomorrow.
Casey’s attorney, Jose Baez’s PR firm issued a statement today stating:
"It is like addicts going through withdrawal," spokesman Todd Black said in a statement. "When things start calming down a little, the authorities inject another media fix, instead of conducting themselves professionally and taking care of whatever charges they have at the same time."
The police promptly replied by saying:
"We make the arrests as it benefits the cases we are investigating and when it benefits law enforcement," Padilla said.
Finally, an added bit of news. WFTV reported that sources inside the Orlando Police Department have learned that two more officers have stepped forward to say they’ve had sex with Casey.
(Sprockey says, "Holy Carp!!! LOL!")
You can’t make this stuff up and you can be sure that for a long time, we are going to be subjected to more and more of the same.
What we are not seeing right now, is news of Caylee. The Anthony family antics have only gone to protect their daughter and attack, attack, attack anyone who thinks their precious daughter harmed her child. Instead of bringing the focus to Caylee, we are subjected to some of the most bizarre behavior by the "grieving" family of a missing and probably dead child.
Thank you ritanita! Sprocket here. I just have to add that I think the behavior of the protesters is just as deplorable as the "mother of the year" Casey herself.
And, the behavior of Casey's family has continued to put fuel to the fire of the negative public opinion about them. You have to ask yourself, why in the world would Cindy Anthony go outside to confront the protesters, again, "after" her security had left? Seems like Cindy just can't help herself.
To me, Casey the sociopath is very evident in the audio interview tapes with LE.
Some new photos of Casey at what appears to be a costume party have recently surfaced. Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3, Photo 4, Photo 5. Unfortunately for Casey, they're not very flattering.
Comments, anyone? A belated thank you to MISSWASABI for alerting T&T to the five photos.
CNN Find Caylee Blog
The defense is working with a “suicideologist”, Richard Seiden(sp?), but hasn’t given any discovery to the prosecution. The defense is tap dancing around saying they don’t know if they will put him on the stand or just use him as a consultant.
Pena can testify and objections will be taken on a question-by-question basis.
Spector was there, wearing his Obama button and the diamond dragonfly pin.
Defense want the names of the jurors as well as what internet sites and Facebook sign-in id’s they use. Doesn’t look like that will happen.
The biggest bombshell – no organization has approached Fidler to televise Spector Part Deux! Fidler doesn’t allow a big television camera sitting in open court. They must be fairly well hidden and boxed-in so as not to be a distraction. Looks like nobody want to go to the expense.
Sprocket to update later.
For those of you who haven't been able to access the site it was due to the fact that what you were seeing was just a place holder.
Michel and crew have worked very hard to do this for all of us trial junkies out here and it will be terrific to have trials the way we want them!
So, thank you Michel and you know where I'll be for OJ!
Sunday, September 14, 2008
From katfish's September 3rd entry:
Today Knox County States Attorney, John Pepmeyer, filed the paper work necessary to seek the death penalty in the case against accused spree-killer Nicholas Sheley. Sheley, 29, is facing 17 counts in connection with the June 28 death of Ronald Randall,65.
I wasn't able to attend today's hearing, but after reading the report in the Galesburg Register-Mail, it sounds as though it was a productive day in court. Because this is now a capital case, Sheley is entitled to two attorneys. Attorney Jeremy Karlin was appointed to assist Public Defender James Harrel in Sheley's defense. It's reported the state turned over it's discovery, consisting of 2,330 documents and 99 CDs, to the defense last Friday.
After Harrel argued for a one week delay to allow Karlin to read all the discovery, Sheley asked to address the court. Sheley told the court he doesn't want a continuance of any kind. He went so far as to say if it is necessary to fire his attorney's then so be it. Read more...
Yesterday, she followed up that story with another entry, here. katfish will be the "go to" blog when it comes to following this story because she plans on attending as much of the trial as possible.
A day before Sheley appeared before a judge, another spree killer went on a rampage in Skagit County, WA. The shooter killed six and wounded two others in various locations of Alger and a state highway before he was apprehended in Mount Vernon.
The News Tribune reports:
Chad Lewis, a Department of Corrections spokesman, identified the man as Isaac Zamora, 28, of Alger. He was under the department’s supervision after convictions for theft and drug possession. [...] He was known to authorities “as someone with a mental illness,” Leary added, and was booked into the Skagit County Jail.
One of the victims, Skagit County deputy, Anne Jackson, 40, was a first responder to the incident in Alger. Jackson was familiar with the family and had tried to help them in the past, according to Zamora's mother, Denise.
Isaac Zamora's mother begged him to get help when he was released from jail a month ago.
State and federal laws prevented her from doing much more for the man who was arrested after a shooting spree Tuesday in rural northwest Washington that left six people dead and four wounded.
Steve Huff of True Crime Report has two excellent entries on this story here and here.
Serial Killer in South Los Angeles
I was first alerted to this story by Steve Huff's entry, that referenced the explosive piece in the local LA Weekly by Christine Pelisek.
Like The Green River Killer, Gary Ridgway, the elusive killer is targeting prostitutes and leaving their bodies near Western Avenue in South Los Angeles. Pelisek dubbed him the "Grim Sleeper" because, similar to BTK, Dennis Rader, there was a 13 year lull between linked victims.
Investigators are looking into at least 30 other cold case murders for possible links the the "grim sleeper" murderer.
What is most disturbing about this story is not the fact that the killings have spanned over 20 years, but that detectives have known there was a serial killer who had resurfaced in the area for over four years, but LE chose not to inform the public. Even when the killer took a new victim in 2002 after 13 years, department brass did not feel a task force was needed. You have to wonder were our public officials asleep at the wheel, or did they just not care because most of the victims were black prostitutes and that the murders were not occurring in the "better" neighborhoods? One comment by Terri Lloyd on the LA Weekly site summed it up perfectly:
"The silence of the city toward the black and poor communities never ceases to amaze me. This is a serial killer actively operating; THAT alone should have everyone, no matter what race, class or neighborhood, let alone city office, up in arms. It does make this Angeleno wonder what would happen if the killings were occurring on the Westside or in hipster Silver Lake."
Posted by Terri Lloyd, Aug. 29
But once the story broke in the LA Weekly, city officials finally took notice. Less than a week later the Los Angeles City Counsel approved a 500,000 reward to help catch the grim sleeper.
DNA has been recovered from the victims, but so far it has not matched anything in prison data bases. for some unknown reason, California Attorney General Jerry Brown is waffling on running that DNA against wider data bases to see if it could match family members. Steve Huff in his latest entry on the Grim Sleeper asks AG Brown, "Why the hell not?"
I'm sure many Angelenos are asking the same question.
The Homicide Report
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Approximately 4:30 pm Friday afternoon a northbound Metrolink 111 commuter train failed to stop at a red light right before the 500 ft. tunnel underneath Stoney Point Park, colliding head on into a Union Pacific freight train. Both trains were traveling at approximately 40 mph. In Los Angeles County, it's common for freight and passenger trains to utilize the same tracks. The triple decked train originated in downtown Los Angeles. Reports differ as to the number of passengers, somewhere between 220 and 225. According to LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, of the 135 injured passengers, 81 were taken to local hospitals, many in critical condition.
LA County Coroner's Assistant Chief, Ed Winter stated that the death count does not include bodies than can be seen in the lower levels that have not been recovered yet. The total number of fatalities is still unknown at this time. This could end up being the worst rail disaster in California history. Chatsworth is just a few miles up the road from me.
Metrolink spokeswoman, Denise Tyrell states the preliminary cause of the crash is the engineer of the commuter train failed to stop at a red light to let the southbound freight train pass.
I will try to bring you updates as I learn more about this terrible accident.
I left the house earlier today to see if I could get close to the crash site, and maybe have a far away photo for the blog. I drove up Sepulveda Blvd. to Sherman Way where I crossed the San Fernando Valley. When I reached Canoga Ave, I turned north. Where Canoga passes Chatsworth St., I saw my first road closure.
You had to show ID to prove you lived in the area. A few yard to the left of Canoga Ave., even the tracks were roped off.
With my meager lens, I zoomed in as far as I could down the tracks. You can't see anything of the crash in this photo because it occurred after the bend. You can barely see more crime scene tape across the tracks.
I decided to try to get closer on the west side of the tracks. I traveled down Chatsworth St. to Owensmouth and turned right. A few blocks in, police were blocking access at the Andora intersection.
I then thought that maybe I could try to get to the area through the park. I got back on Chatsworth St. and headed towards Topanga Canyon. At Topanga, the road was closed to all north bound traffic. Dejected, I headed home. Authorities have stated that the recovery phase of the operation has ended. The investigation into the cause of the crash may not release a report until next year. There are some excellent photos at MyFoxLA.
The LA Times is reporting:
Friday's disastrous collision that took the lives of at least 25 people could have been prevented if Metrolink and the region's freight railroads had installed sophisticated warning and control devices, according to safety experts who have been calling for such improvements for decades.
The National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates crashes and recommends ways to avoid them, began calling for the technology 30 years ago, after a train wreck in Louisiana. The safety board has repeatedly advocated the technology for high-risk corridors where freight and passenger trains operate side by side.
Update 3! September 14th
Thanks to our reader katprint, T&T for directing us to the latest article in the OC Register.
From the article:
A teenage train enthusiast said he got a cell phone text message from the engineer of a Metrolink train about a minute before the train collided head-on with a freight train near Chatsworth, killing at least 25 people, CBS2 reported Saturday.
A Metrolink official said it was "unbelievable" that anyone would text while driving a train.
But Nick Williams, who lives near the crash site, said he exchanged three text messages with the engineer Friday afternoon, the last one at 4:22 p.m., about a minute before the trains collided.If Williams's allegations turn out to be true, this will be a terrible turn of events. How many stories have we heard of teenagers texting while driving, the end result causing a deadly accident. Doing it while in charge of a passenger train makes it an activity that is a hundred times more deadly.
LA Times Map of Crash Site
The Associated Press
Friday, September 12, 2008
Accused suspect in the murder of Maria Lauterbach and her unborn child is expected to be in Onslow County Sheriff’s Department custody in a week or so, according to Sheriff Ed Brown. Lauterbach was eight months pregnant when she was killed last December.
DA Dewey Hudson said the earliest Laurean could return to face charges in Onslow County is mid-October, as Laurean could appeal the court decision.
Laurean's court-appointed lawyer, Dick McNeil said he doesn’t know if Laurean will appeal and we are at least a month or more away from his return.
A Mexican court has approved returning the Marine corporal to the United States with the agreement that he will not face the death penalty in North Carolina.
Laurean fled to Mexico, as the search was under way for Lauterbach. He was found and arrested there in April.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Well folks, it's a go! Just a few minutes ago KFI 640 just reported that a jury has been selected in the OJ Simpson case. Two black individuals have been seated as alternates. The twelve jurors appear to be white and possibly some mixed race individuals. Judge Glass ordered all jurors back to court tomorrow. Looks like Monday morning we will have opening statements.
Be sure to check out Michel Bryant's The Legal Edge for gavel to gavel coverage of the OJ Simpson robbery case.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Another anniversary - I weep tonight as I do each year.
My husband worked in the second tower, 95th floor. I worked for Reuters International a few blocks away. My brother in law - a few blocks away for an international bank and my husband’s nephew and new bride had an apartment a few blocks away from there. We all shared the horror of 9-11.
In the Tri-States area, we have bazillion military facilities. Each day, each year, we have amazing activity around 9/11.
What I remember most is the falling of the towers and the absolute silence for the next few days. No aircraft, no singing birds…dead silence. Smoke…so much smoke from the smoldering remains of the towers.
Seeing video so untenable that it was etched in the psyche.
My friends were there…they saw the bodies jumping from the towers and a few are so damaged from what they witnessed, they have no hope of recovery.
It happens every anniversary- weeks of military air and sea craft build up. Weeks of knowing, thankfully, we keep watch.
Please, never forget what happened and please honor those brave folks and families that suffered so much for freedom and democracy!
You Tube 2
Retired, lead investigator in the Jersey abuse scandal, Lenny Harper, and Jersey’s chief minister, Frank Walker have been sparring in the paper of another Channel Island!
Interestingly, the JEP occasionally prints its usual drivel – which they don’t allow readers to comment on. The Guernsey Press has stepped up to the plate and is doing an admirable job in providing information that the spineless JEP isn’t willing to tell the residents of Jersey.
No doubt, the Island of Guernsey does not want to be lumped in with the shady doings of the government of Jersey. They have almost identical systems of governing, yet Guernsey it appears, is far more open and honest with its citizens.
On September 1, The Guernsey Press (GP) ran an Op-Ed piece, “Protecting the Integrity of Justice”: A number of readers have contacted this newspaper following last week’s Comment item suggesting that Jersey should announce an independent inquiry into what has now become a most unsatisfactory investigation into allegations of child abuse at Haut de la Garenne.
They wanted to make substantially the same point: how could things have gone so badly wrong?
If Jersey’s system - a virtual mirror image of our own - can falter over something so serious and so important to the victims, what does it say about the integrity of justice here?
The first point to make is that there is no evidence locally to suggest that police inquiries are hampered by the prosecution service, although HM Procureur has - and will no doubt continue to do so - declined to prosecute on the grounds of insufficient evidence or where it is deemed not to be in the public interest.
The second is that the island’s police force is independent and chief officers have over the years robustly asserted that independence.
That began a flurry of accusations and responses.
Walker: I must correct a number of the assertions in your inaccurate and ill-informed editorial comment on Jersey’s historic child abuse enquiry.
As Guernsey’s only newspaper, you have a responsibility to ensure your readers are accurately informed on major issues. In this instance at least you have sadly let them down.
In the first instance you said: ‘Before any harm is done to both islands, Jersey’s chief minister should urgently announce an independent enquiry into the abuse investigation – or risk having it forced upon him.’
Had you undertaken even a modicum of research, you would have known that I announced to the States of Jersey on 31 March – more than five months ago – a full independent enquiry into all aspects of the child abuse investigation to be chaired by an eminent UK lawyer.
GP: We are happy to run the comments from Jersey’s chief minister and regret that the sense and urgency of the inquiry we were calling for – in the light of Justice for Families’ legal moves to force UK intervention in the abuse investigation – was not sufficiently clear.
The concerns about the impartiality and progress of the Haut de la Garenne inquiry need addressing now – not at the end of the process, whenever that may be.
The inquiry announced by the chief minister will be at some unspecified time in the future, possibly not until 2010, and the States of Jersey does not know what its terms of reference will be.
Walker: From the beginning of this investigation, everyone involved had had three priorities.
The first is to ensure the most thorough police investigation possible and that the police have all the resources they need both from within the Island and from further afield.
The second is to ensure that the judicial process is robust and impartial, and that all guilty parties are brought to justice.
The third is to do all in our power to protect and to support all identified victims. Those priorities have not, and will not change.
I feel saddened to have to make this response but your ill-informed and misleading comment has given me no alternative.
Harper: Firstly, I would challenge his view on the priorities of all those involved.
Although the two Home Affairs ministers in Jersey were unstinting in their support for the enquiry, the minister and his assistant who had responsibility for child welfare spent all of their time sniping at the enquiry from the sidelines and engaging in petty insults to officers involved by sending childish emails to States colleagues.
According to the journalist, David Rose, one of them leaked an official States email to him and one of them or the small band of politicians sympathetic to them, called the victims ‘people with criminal records and disturbed minds’.
This is also in an environment where, in the presence of the Home Affairs minister, a senior politician tried to instruct me to remove the word, ‘victims’, from a press release as ‘nothing has been proved yet’.
The chief minister made whatever resources were needed available and stated so publicly early on. A number of politicians approached me privately and expressed support and thanks but for whatever reason did not feel they could do so publicly.
A small number could not disguise their hatred of what was being uncovered and did all they could to discredit us, even joining forces with a number of corrupt ex-cops and their associates.
Walker: Prosecution lawyers, including experts in such cases from the UK, are continuing to examine the evidence and arrange a charge in those cases where there is, on assessment of all of the available evidence, a realistic prospect of conviction.
It is not unusual for lawyers to join police investigating teams. On the contrary, it has been done frequently in Jersey in the past and is accepted practice throughout the UK in major investigations.
Harper: Lawyers and police work together as investigators in serious fraud cases in both jurisdictions, such as the Serious Fraud Office. Police investigators work closely with CPS lawyers in the UK, but the lawyers are not investigators and only have a role in police stations in charge rooms.
However, that is not what was being asked by the Attorney General in Jersey. What he wanted was a blurring of the role between investigator and prosecutor. He wanted a lawyer sitting in the incident room where raw data in the form of intelligence and information was coming in.
This was nowhere near the stage where a file was being drawn up for submission for possible prosecution. This was a live police investigation where sensitive intelligence was being provided by victims highly suspicious of the legal establishment in Jersey.
Some of the intelligence provided contained allegations against members of the legal establishment. To have allowed one of the AG’s lawyers in the incident room would have totally destroyed the hard-earned confidence that the police had gained from the victims. If you are in any doubt about this ask some of the victims or their representatives.
Furthermore, as much of the material did not relate to pending prosecutions, it is debatable whether or not the AG and his staff had a right to even see it.
If the chief minister thinks that state of affairs shows a relationship based on trust and mutual aims to help victims, then he is looking at it from a different perspective from me and, I suspect, many others.
GP: Perhaps more revealing, when the rift between police and prosecution became evident in an earlier memo leaked to The Times, Jersey Police responded by releasing a statement that said:
‘The States of Jersey Police would emphasise that they have total confidence in the professionalism, independence and integrity of the current police investigation.’
What provoked the subsequent memo that we highlighted was the blocking of a prosecution that officers considered an open-and-shut case against a couple who had allegedly disciplined children with a baseball bat.
In Jersey, charges have to be brought by the honorary police, who come under the umbrella of the Attorney General. According to the memo, the centenier involved took the file of evidence to consider. As the memo states: ‘He did so for well over an hour and then declared that, although there was [our emphasis] enough evidence to charge, he was not going to.’
Walker: I would remind you that speculation or unwise comment by anyone could jeopardise the judicial process, seriously let down the alleged victims or prejudice the fair trial of those against whom complaint has been made.
The truth will eventually emerge and it will be very different from the picture you have sought to present to your readers.
I believe you owe the States and the people of Jersey an apology.
GP: If, as Jersey’s chief minister suggests, an apology is required, perhaps it should, to paraphrase Mr. Harper, be extended to the 160 individuals who came forward to assist the historic abuse investigation, many of whom are now wondering why they bothered to relive the horror and trauma in their past.
Kudos to Lenny and The Guernsey Press!
Frank Walker just needs to shut-up.
Frank Walker's response to the editorial.
Lenny Harper's rebuttal of Frank Walker's response.
The GP's editor's response to Frank Walker's criticism.
Senator Stuart Syvret Blog