Thursday, February 25, 2010

Channon Christian and Chris Newsom - Sometimes There is a God

~Letalvis Cobbins

I've been feeling sorry for myself as the next 'snowicane' paralyzes the northeast. Even though my long-planned escapade to a weekend in the Big Apple and tickets to a show at Radio City Music Hall have been dashed, I still have a reason to celebrate!

Convicted kidnapper, rapist, and murderer, Letalvis Cobbins - previously convicted to a life-sentence in the Channon Christian-Chris Newsom slayings - got additional just-desserts today!

For the lesser charges in the conviction, Judge Richard Baumgartner merged some of the charges and then proceeded to sentence Cobbins to an additional 100 years in jail!

"This is the worst of the worst," Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner said. "If ever there was a case that deserved maximum sentencing, this case deserves maximum sentencing."

Chris's dad appealed to Cobbins during the hearing saying, "All you have to do is testify in a grand jury hearing stating who participated in grabbing Chris and Channon ... all you have to do is make arrangements before you go back to prison to testify before a grand jury and at Eric Boyd's trial." "All you have to do is tell the truth."

Hugh Newsom then asked Cobbins, "We got a deal?"

Cobbins responded with nothing but silence!

Cobbins' then-girlfriend Vanessa Coleman, is scheduled to go on trial in May.

Not a damn thing will ease the pain and suffering the parents of Channon and Chris have and will continue to endure, but hopefully they feel a sense of peace that justice for their kids is finally being served!

My heart and prayers will always hold a special place for Channon, Chris, their loved ones and friends.


Knox News

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Earl Bradley - More Frightening Details Emerge

Caution, Disturbing Information

I literally was ill when I first heard of this horrific story last December, but never realized the scope of the evil that this monster embodies.

Unfortunately, I think we all know there are likely more victims out there and I believe we can expect to be further sickened and disturbed as additional information is released.

The 160-page indictment sheds some light on the depravity and horror this animal inflicted on defenseless victims - some of who were as young as 3-months 0ld.

The 13 hours of videos removed from Bradley's office
and home capture incidents of abuse from 1998 to 3-days prior to Bradley being arrested. The indictment reveals it appears in the videos that five girls "appeared to lose consciousness" or stopped breathing during sex assaults.
"Our worst fears have been realized," said one stunned woman, whose two girls were Bradley's patients several years ago.
Told that the indictment said some victims appeared to become unconscious or stop breathing during the attacks, the woman was at first speechless.
"Oh my God," she finally said. "He's just pure evil. No one with a conscience could do this."

The indictment accuses Bradley of fondling children and forcing them to engage in oral sex and intercourse. The video reveal at times youngsters are seen screaming and trying to escape.

Prosecutors are still trying to identify many of the children seen in the videos and more victims are being identified through interviews with parents and children.

Twice, Bradley had been investigated by prosecutors - first in 2005 and again in 2008. Neither investigation led to an arrest, nor were reports filed with the state medical board.

Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden said he has never heard of a case with so many victims.

Many are stunned that parents let Bradley take their child to another room without supervision. CNN has a pretty intense video report that may answer some of those questions.

Delaware Online
Cape Gazette

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Earl Bradley Indicted for Preying on Toddlers

~Bradley under arrest

In what may be the most depraved and heinous case of child abuse in this country, a Delaware Grand Jury has handed down a 471 count indictment against pediatrician, Earl Bradley. The indictment charges Bradley in the rapes of one boy and 102 little girls.
When arrested in December 2009, it was believed that Bradley had raped nine children. After an intense investigation the indictment shows a tenfold increase in the number of young victims - and there may well be many more.

The original 2008 Delaware investigation into Bradley's conduct began after a 2-year-old girl told her mother that Bradley had touched her genitals and 'hurt her' during an appointment.

Besides Delaware, Bradley is also licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Florida. No charges have been filed against Bradley in those states, however state authorities were notified by Delaware officials.

Eleven years ago when Bradley opened his solo pediatric practice, several of the various rooms were decorated in Disney themes and they were filled with toys and candy - a perfect way to get the children to trust you.

"If you look at the office, he created a Neverland of pediatrics," forensic psychiatrist Dr. Michael Welner said. "By the time we get to 56-years-old, he worked out the to take advantage of them and keep taking advantage of them."

Apparently, Bradley was only alone with a child for a minute -- and that's all it took, according to investigators. Bradley videotaped many of the assaults and authorities confiscated hundreds of tapes from his home and office.

According to documents, the examination room known as the Pinocchio Room because of its decorations, was seen frequently on the videotapes obtained by authorities that reportedly show Bradley undressing his patients -- one as young as 3-months-old -- and performing sex acts on them.

Horrifically, Bradley has been charged with holding toddlers upside down and yelling at them while committing sex acts. In one tape he is seen penetrating a girl's vagina with his hand -- the girl had been in for a sore throat.

In another room decked out with "The Little Mermaid" paraphernalia, equally horrific abuse allegedly occurred at the hands of Bradley, who investigators said was seen on the tapes muzzling screaming children as they tried to flee the abuse.

Described as a large 6-foot, 225-pound man, Bradley allegedly had a "violently enraged expression on his face" as he yelled to a 2-year-old to perform sexual acts on him.

That particular video was made on December 13, three days prior to his arrest and is described by an investigator as, "one of the most violent and brutal attacks on a child of any age" that he had ever seen.

Gene Maurer, Bradley's attorney, said he expected the sweeping indictment and anticipates more victims will come forward.

"I'm not surprised by the volume," Maurer said, "but 103 victims seems a little like overkill. One conviction carries life in prison. You don't need 103 of them."

I have to say my jaw dropped at that statement and it really ticked me off. Mr. Maurer, do you get it there are a minimum of 103 innocent toddlers and babies that are victims of this monster? Its not overkill - all the children and their families deserve to see justice done!!!Maurer has let it be known that he will attempt to have the trial moved out of Sussex due to publicity and the defense will be concentrating on Bradley's mental state.

"We are working on getting someone in to see him who is most knowledgeable about this type of thing, "Maurer said. "I don't know of anybody locally, so we are taking our time to find the right person to see him. This is unprecedented."

Complaints and rumors have been swirling around Bradley's inappropriate behavior for over a decade. Many of his medical colleagues were aware of allegations Bradley was kissing and touching his patients, but they never reported it. In 2005, Bradley closed an office after police investigated him.

Bradley's own sister, who worked for him, heard parents' concerns!!!

How were parents so trusting they allowed their child to be removed to another room by Bradley?

What happened to 'duty to report'?

How did the Delaware medical board issue a license to Bradley?

There were so many opportunities, people, and facilities that could have stopped Bradley before he inflicted so much trauma and damage to so many innocent, defenseless children.

Regardless of his 'mental state', this person should never walk free amongst civilized people.

Delaware Online
ABC News
NY Daily News

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Plea for the California Department of Corrections to do the Right Thing

Cindy Ramos’ family might be needing your help. 

The confessed and convicted murders of their mother are still asking for special treatment by the California Department of Corrections. The duo, Jorge Morgan and Robert Plunkett-Morgan, who have a domestic partnership which was filed in San Joaquin County, are asking for something heterosexual couples don’t even have the right to ask for. They have verbalized their desire to be assigned to the same prison and to be housed together.
By California law, and for security reasons, county jails and the Department of Corrections do not announce when an inmate is being transferred from a county facility to the state facility, or from state facility to state facility. As of this writing, it is assumed the two remain somewhere near Stockton. 

The Ramos family does have a little something called Marsy’s law on their side. But will it be enough?

Marsy’s law is named after a 21-year old UC Santa Barbara senior who was murdered by a former boyfriend on November 30, 1983. He lured her from her parent’s home by threatening to kill himself. Marsy went to his aid, and was met by the man and a loader shotgun, which he discharged into the young woman. Marsy’s killer was arrested, but sometime after his arrest, Marsy’s mother ran into him at a local supermarket—he’d been released on bail without notice to Marsy’s family.

Several years following a trial, conviction and sentence to “life in prison,” Marsy’s killer began his efforts at parole. Marsy’s mother suffered a heart attack during that first parole hearing. While it is his right to ask for parole, one must remember he is a convicted murderer, and if one thinks about it, this could have been a special circumstances case for “lying in wait” for Marsy to respond to his cries for help. Today this would have been a life without the possibility of parole or a death penalty case. 

Section 3 of Marsy’s Law, California Proposition 9, which was passed by voters in November 2008, reads:
It is the purpose of the People of the State of California in enacting this initiative measure to:
1. Provide victims with rights to justice and due process.
2. Invoke the rights of families of homicide victims to be spared the ordeal of prolonged and unnecessary suffering, and to stop the waste of millions of taxpayer dollars, by eliminating parole hearings in which there is no likelihood a murderer will be paroled, and to provide that a convicted murderer can receive a parole hearing no more frequently than every three years, and can be denied a follow-up parole hearing for as long as 15 years.

The law also includes a victims’ Bill of Rights. The full text can be read here.

While the murder of Cindy Ramos was like so many other murders, cold, calculating, cruel and carried out for no good reason, the bigger picture is this—and we, the people and voters of not only California but of other states, must ensure that convicted felons like the Morgans are afforded their rights and no more! There is no question that heterosexual perpetrators are ever housed together. It does not happen, period! The accused kidnappers of Jaycee Duggard, Phillip and Nancy Garrido, a married couple, are not sharing a cell. 

The Department of Corrections does have a rule requiring inmates who are likely to be having sex be separated. The rule was designed to protect inmates from rape. Even though the Morgans claim that sex is the last thing on their minds, what other trouble do you think those two could cook up? Jorge has exhibited disruptive behaviors throughout the court proceedings in Stockton, yelling, spitting and taunting Cindy’s family in common areas. Robert could well be considered a “lawyer inmate,” well versed in reaching out to media and filing petty paperwork in the court system. I would hate to have to be a corrections officer or a counselor having to deal with the pair together! 

What can you do? Talk about this case to your friends and family. Write to your elected representatives—first, to prevent this pair from ending up in the same prison in the first place. There are plenty of options for housing gay, bisexual or transgendered inmates in the California corrections system. Twenty years ago, choices were limited, but today most maximum-custody institutions have protective housing units. 

Next, push your legislators to write laws prohibiting requests such as the Morgans from being possible in the first place. Logically they should not be housed together, but as we are learning in today’s complex times, expecting logic from laws frequently leaves things open to interpretation.

Please don't think this can only happen in California. Yep, crazy things do seem to happen here first, but craziness does have a way of spreading to other, perhaps more "sensible" states. 

I have no problem with gay rights and marriage between two loving consenting adults. I have a problem with gay rights asking for more rights than a heterosexual married couple might have. That is what is happening in this case.

Let’s see if we can prevent another family from having to take up the fight that the Ramos family has had to. It’s bad enough they will be facing the first anniversary of Cindy’s death in August—this family needs and deserves healing time and this will not happen until they are certain that the Morgans are placed as far away from each other as the law allows. 

Monday, February 15, 2010

Casey Anthony: Macaluso Off The Dream Team

Todd Macaluso is now officially off the Casey Anthony "Dream Team" of high powered attorneys brought in by Jose Baez over the past year or so to help defend his client, Casey Anthony, who is accused of capital murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee.

When Macaluso first came on Team Anthony in March, 2009, he was already facing charges with the California Bar Association. The Notice of Disciplinary Charges against him were filed on January 13, 2009. At that time, Macaluso was charged with eight counts. They consisted of one count of Moral Turpitude-Issuing NSF Checks, two counts of Failure to Maintain Client Funds in Trust Account, three counts of Moral Turpitude-Misappropriation, on count of Failure to Maintain Client Funds in Trust Account, and one count of Misuse of Client Trust Account.

Apparently, Macaluso had used about $170,00 from clients trust accounts for expenses in his business, including the leasing of a jet. While he is not accused of stealing any money and states the money was returned to the accounts, this definitely fits into the category of misappropriation of funds.

He filed a response on February 13, 2009. This document is interesting to read because it is chock full of various defenses in the case. I copied some of them from the document, but have not included the affirmative defenses at the end. Please go read them!

Firstly, Macaluso indicates that none of his clients ever complained about the situation. The banks involved, however, were required to report the problem to the Bar.

His major defense concerned his brother, who died in early December, 2005. In his reply, Macaluso stated the following, over and over:

3. Any errors that were committed by Respondent were a direct result of mistakes by his office staff in administering and supervising the trust account, because of his inability to attend to those duties at that time.

My friend who is an attorney pointed out to me that it is not allowed for anyone but the attorney himself to be responsible for the accounts. He said a lawyer may not delegate this crucial responsibility to anyone. He also told me that this is a very serious allegation. It also bugs me that he blames his staff. There's nothing worse than passing the buck and refusing to take responsibility for his actions as Casey stated (whether she meant it or not) at her check fraud trial.

5. Respondent specifically denies any wilful (sic)violation of Business and Professions Code, section 6106. Respondent’s actions in failing to know that his trust account contained insufficient funds at those particular times were not a result of gross negligence, moral turpitude, dishonesty or corruption, but the result of insufficient training and supervision of his office staff, due to a personal tragedy in Respondent’s family, the sudden and unexpected death of his only brother, which caused him severe emotional and psychological trauma.

Out of respect to Mr. Macaluso and his family, I won't post everything he wrote in his defense here, but you can read it in the original document.

As I was watching Jane Velez-Mitchell tonight, Judge David Young made an interesting comment about Macaluso's reasoning. He said that the excuse that he was grieving the loss of his brother in the mismanagement of the funds was , "a bunch of malarkey".

On March 2, 2009, Macaluso was brought in to the case. At the time, he told reporters that he was joining the team because he excels at cross-examining technical experts.

March 12, 2009, Macaluso submitted an AMENDED VERIFIED MOTION FOR ADMISSION TO APPEAR PRO HAC VICE. I've never located his original motion, but I would assume that he had to present and amended motion to include his situation with the California Bar. He included a list of informational items which I've copied here:


COMES NOW the undersigned foreign attorney, TODD E. MACALUSO, In support of the Verified Motion for Admission to Appear Pro Hac Vice, and states the following:

1. That it has come to the attention of the undersigned counsel that there is a pending disciplinary action
that was filed January 23, 2009.

2. The pending investigation case number is 6-0-14552.
3. That a response was filed February 13, 2009. See attached Response to Disciplinary Action.
4. In December of 2005, Attorney's brother, Glenn Macaluso passed away unexpected (sic) of an
undiagnosed heart condition.

5. As a result thereof, the Attorney was away from the office for approximately one year and three months
consoling his family due to the tragic loss.

6. During that time, two checks were drafted that were returned by the bank due to an accounting error by
the office staff.

7. The accounting error was immediately and swiftly corrected.
8. No client complaint was ever filed to the State Bar.
9. The only reason the matter was reported to the Bar was because the bank reports automatically by
State Law.

10. The Attorney is a member of the California State Bar and is in good standing. A certificate of good
standing will be provided forthwith.

In his motion, Macaluso included a copy of his response to the charges.

On March 17, Judge Stan Strickland admitted Macaluso to practice law for the Casey Anthony case. By August 21, Macaluso had taken the lead in the fight for TES records with his now-famous statement to the Court:

As Your Honor knows, the body of Caylee Marie Anthony was found very close to the Anthony home, and the body was found in a wooded area that if one were to search for a missing child, this is the first place you would go search. There is substantial evidence that we’ve discovered, and that’s been set forth in our brief, Your Honor, that the body or the remains of Caylee Anthony were placed there after Casey Anthony was locked up in the Orange County Correctional Facility. There is substantial evidence, and that proves, Your Honor, her innocence. That’s exculpatory evidence, it proves that somebody else placed the remains in the area where it was ultimately found.

Apparently, Macaluso's case didn't turn out to be "a simple mistake that is still being worked out". Instead, he is facing an Alternative Discipline Program and will be ineligible to practice law since he will be placed on the inactive list during this time. Darren Kavinoky, another attorney on JVM indicated that the reasons Macaluso gave were probably what got him the alternative program rather than a stronger discipline.

Whatever the future may hold for Todd Macaluso, his role in the case is over.


Casey Anthony: August 21 Hearing Report

Video: March 13, 2009
Casey's New Attorney In Trouble With California Bar
Attorney Steps Away From Casey Anthony Defense

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Cesar Laurean Wants Wrongful Death Suit Postponed

~Cesar Laurean

In a not so surprising move, Cesar Laurean has filed a motion asking for a postponement of the wrongful death suit filed by Maria Lauterbach's family.

If the civil trial occurred before the criminal trial, Laurean's right to remain silent would be jeopardized and he potentially would be forced to expose defense witnesses to depositions, reveal defense theories which could result in “substantial pre-trial publicity that would taint the jury in the criminal case and deprive me of a fair trial and due process.”

Laurean has been indicted for the December 14, 2007 bludgeoning death of Maria Lauterbach. Onslow County authorities claim Laurean killed Lauterbach with a crowbar and Maria and her near full-term child were then buried under a firepit in Laurean's backyard. Laurean fled to Mexico and eluded authorities for 3 months.

Lauterbach had accused Laurean of rape, however DNA tests have since shown that he was not the father of her child.

The suit is also filed against Laurean's wife, Christina. According to the suit, Christina found Lauterbach's wallet in her house and, "knew or should have known the wallet contained Lauterbach's driver's license." The suit claims Christina not only knew about the crime, but also helped build the firepit and aided Laurean while he was on the run.

Laurean's motion for postponement states that he had no knowledge that Christina ever had Maria Lauterbach's wallet and he states that Christina never helped him after he fled.

Authorities have always stated that Christina was cooperating in hunt for Laurean and was not considered a suspect.

Laurean filed an answer to the December wrongful death suit saying, “Defendant is not liable to the Plaintiff in this action because he did not cause, directly or indirectly, the death of Maria Frances Lauterbach, and did not conceal, or conspire to conceal, evidence concerning her death.”

Laurean's criminal trial is scheduled to begin June 28. He will not face the death penalty due to an extradition treaty with Mexico.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Casey Anthony Case Motions: NeJame strikes back at Baez

The Orlando Sentinel and WFTV have reported that TES attorney Mark NeJame has filed a Motion To Defendant's Motion For Leave To File Supplemental Authority.

In the motion, dated, February 10, NeJame uses some very strong language in terms of this motion.

I've excerpted portions of the motion and have bold-faced the words and phrases for your reading pleasure.

1. The Defendant's motion is inaccurate and lacking in demonstrating any proper investigation or due diligence prior to its filing.

2. If counsel for the Defendant had conducted a proper inquiry he would have ascertained that noe of the previously approximately 4,000 undisclosed names of the searchers were shown, reviewed, or looked at by Adam Longo, reporter for Central Florida News 13....

In the same section, NeJame explains that

The review was purely limited to review the forms and the type of information contained in the reports so that Mr. Longo would be accurate in reporting his story. He never retained any of the names or personal information but was purely interested in the type of information contained and not the specifics of their content.

NeJame then discusses the fact that he had confirmed the facts given above with Mr. Longo. Then, Longo contacted Jose Baez and communicated this information to him. Apparently, NeJame thought that this would be enough information for Baez to withdraw his motion. When he didn't, NeJame filed this response. The motion then asks the judge to strike the Baez motion or deny it.

The final section of this motion is probably my favorite because Mark NeJame gets to the heart of the issue. Many of us who have followed the motions filed by the defense have wondered when this sort of request would be made:

7. In addition, Texas Equusearch, a nonprofit charitable organization that is the subject of this inappropriate motion and request, respectfully asks this Honorable Court to assess attorney's fees against the counsel for the Defendant, especially since he has been advised of the inaccuracy of his motion and has failed to take any remedial actions. He has caused unnecessary attorney time and Court time to be wasted, especially since he has been fully advised of its misrepresentations and inaccuracies and nevertheless continues to proceed.

Apparently, Mr. Baez filed his motion based on a media report. Rather than calling Mr. Longo to verify the information prior to filing the motion, he just interpreted the article to his advantage. Baez continued with his motion even learning that what he'd filed was based on his misinterpretation rather than withdrawing it when he found out the facts.

If the defense is put on notice that they will have to pay for faulty motions which cost other attorneys and Judge Strickland and his staff time and money, that he will pay, perhaps he will begin to think through his motions and do his homework before popping them off willy-nilly.

Finally, as a person who loves the proper use of language, I must give some praise to Mr. NeJame for a succinct, well-worded, easy to read motion.

Baez has also filed a motion in reply to the State's motion for a private meeting with the judge. When it becomes available, I'll check it out and share it with you.

Baez Motion

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Casey Anthony's Attorneys Want It All From TES, AGAIN! State Files Intriguing Motion

Between shoveling snow and repeated power outages, I've been looking at two new motions filed recently.

The first motion is a very interesting one. It has sparked quite a bit of discussion among those who are following the case closely. In the motion, entitled MOTION FOR INCAMERA EX PARTE HEARING.

Filed on February 3, Assistant State's Attorney Jeff Ashton states the following:

1. Certain materials and information have come into the possession of Law Enforcement.

2. Those materials and information are discoverable under F.R.C.P. 3.220.

3. There is good cause to delay disclosure of these materials and information pursuant to F.R.C.P. 3.220 (k).

The State wants to speak to the judge without the defense being present. They have new information and materials and are asking the judge to delay discovery for what they must consider to be a good reason.

We can speculate all we want, but we'll all have to wait on this one.

Once again, the defense is going after Texas EquuSearch for all their records.

Yesterday, the defense filed a new motion. Entitled MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE SUPPLEMENTAL AUTHORITY, Baez & Co. again wants every piece of paper that TES has on the search for the remains of Caylee Anthony.

This is not a new topic, to put it mildly. The defense originally asked for this information January, 2009, just after Caylee's remains were found.

If you would like to review the history of the quest for the names of all the searchers and their pertinent information, re-read the following articles I posted about them.

August 16, 2009 Motions and history from January, 2009

August 23, 2009
Review of the August 21 hearing.

Here is the full video of the August 21 hearing.

The latest motion filed is in response to a statement TES attorney Mark NeJame made to WESH on February 4.

In the article, NeJame is reacting to the previous motion filed by the defense on November 23, 2009. He told WESH that

“The motion is wrong, and they're wrong,” ...

He said his door was open for the defense to examine anything they wanted.

“Come by. Take a look. If you see anything, let us know and we'll bring it to the court,” NeJame said.

NeJame allowed News 13 to examine reports and notes taken by EquuSearch volunteers. They list team leaders, cell phone numbers of volunteers, details about items found and locations searched.

There are more boxes of notes and reports, and the defense wants them all.

The motion was supposed to be heard at a hearing last week, but was taken off the schedule.

NeJame said he's submitted a list of available dates and thinks the motion may be heard before the end of the month.

The new motion cites this article and that NeJame had negated the privacy issue by his actions.

The disclosure by Mr. NeJame of these records, including volunteer names and phone numbers, seriously undercuts the argument made by TES against giving them to Miss Anthony. If disclosure of search records in the media is the source of this "chilling effect" it is not entirely clear why Mr. NeJame allowed Orlando News 13 access to such records. What is clear, however, is that disclosure of records to Miss Anthony and her defense team would have significantly less of an effect. Being that TES is no longer concerned about the "chilling effect on volunteerism" and has taken to allow media access to its records, there is no reason to prevent disclosure to Miss Anthony as well.

Fact is, NeJame did NOT disclose the information to the media. He allowed the media to look at the information. There were no names published, no phone numbers, and probably no notes were allowed. NeJame invited the defense to do the same and IF they found something of interest, they could bring it to court as was settled in the previous hearing.

There is a good reason the defense hasn't gone down and examined the information for themselves. They want to have all the information in their hands so that they can have someone call every single searcher and ask if they went off on their own and searched the Suburban Drive area. That is very clear from the get-go. At the August 21 hearing, Andra Lyon even stated that the searchers had gone off on their own after working with TES. In their November 23 motion, the defense mentioned two searchers who had gone off on their own. Joseph Jordan illegally taped his conversation and it was sealed. Laura Buchanan also is mentioned and gives a brief, vague statement that she didn't see buzzards or smell decomposition when she and a few others searched that area on their own.

What is notable in that motion is the fact that NONE of the others who searched with Jordan and Buchanan are mentioned. I would bet the farm that if even one of them had backed up their stories, they would have been mentioned as well.

So, it's still a big fishing expedition for the defense.

What's disturbing to me is that the defense has spent more time on getting all the TES records than they have on deposing witnesses in this case. Someone from the State mentioned that it would take from now to the fall for the defense to depose all the State's witnesses. The defense still hasn't submitted a witness list longer than three names. It seems to me that the defense is still counting on finding a needle in the haystack of TES volunteers on which to base their defense. Well, there's the Roy Kronk stuff as well! If I were Ms. Anthony, I would be very worried about the state of my case!

Christian-Newsom Judge Says No

In early December 2009, jurors in the George Thomas double-murder trial found Thomas guilty of first degree felony murder and sentenced him to life in prison.

During the trial his defense attorneys submitted a 24-page motion asking Judge Richard Baumgartner to acquit Thomas claiming the state's evidence presented during Thomas' trial didn't meet its burden of proof.

Baumgartner indicated that the motion was well written and compelling, but delayed ruling on the motion until the state could respond in writing. The Judge wanted written record for any appellate courts that may review the Thomas case in the future.

Yesterday, Judge Baumgartner ruled against the motion saying the state's evidence was legally sufficient.

In January, the defense also submitted a motion for a new trial for Thomas. It is doubtful a new trial will be granted.

Motion for Acquittal

State's Response to Motion for Acquittal

Motion for a New Trial



Friday, February 5, 2010

This one takes the cake ...

Cindy Ramos, from her memorial page

She was a lively 58-year old woman with a large loving family and lots to live for.
Robert Plunkett-Morgan, age 39, and his “life partner” Jorge Morgan, age 24, thought otherwise.
Today Tracy, California is unfortunately better known as the city where Sandra Cantu was murdered in the spring of 2009. But there was another horrific murder at the end of last summer, on August 6, that of a vibrant mother of six who was proud of her Cherokee heritage, who wrote poetry and loved spending time with her kids and grandkids.
She knew one of the killers, Plunkett-Morgan, an acquaintance of one of her sons. Plunkett-Morgan actually phoned Cindy asking if he and Morgan could come to her home and leave her an early birthday present.
In thanks for Cindy’s hospitality, they strangled, stabbed 55 times and bludgeoned 13 times with a small safe, leaving her dead on the floor. According to information offered in the preliminary hearing by Detective Knight of the Tracy police department, in Morgan’s confession/statement, Plunkett-Morgan asked Cindy to take a seat and close her eyes—he was going to give her a necklace for her birthday. Instead, he put a rope around her neck and started pulling. She fought like a tiger. They’d also brought a knife—sounds pretty premeditated to me. That bloody knife was later found in the Morgan trailer, hidden under a makeshift toilet, along with some of Cindy’s belongings.
T & T readers, you know there is usually a twist in the cases we cover. This one quite possibly takes the cake.
Morgan and Morgan were no doubt the two most inept murderers/robbers ever. They were spotted by Cindy’s roommate leaving her pink mobile home after the crime with a small safe in hand, one known to contain Cindy’s jewelry. And, the pair, registered as domestic partners in San Joaquin County, also lived in the mobile home park. The pair was arrested later that day.
Jorge Morgan confessed to the crime. He said he and Plunkett-Morgan had been planning it for some time. Nice neighbors
Seriously, you’d think Plunkett-Morgan and Morgan would have been a bit sneakier about the whole thing. After all, the pair had met in prison, at Mule Creek. Each had been out of prison for less than a year; Plunkett-Morgan having been incarcerated for grand theft auto and Morgan for possession of stolen property. Both had served time for other serious felonies. Quite the pair.
They sealed their “marriage” by filing domestic partner paperwork in San Joaquin County in November 2008.
But that’s not the twist.
Here is the twist: for a short time after their arrest, they were housed together, in the same cell while cooling their jets at the Deuel Vocational Institution.
Do heterosexual married couples have the same privileges after they kill someone in broad daylight? Anyone?
If ever a case called for the death penalty, this one is it. There were three special circumstances attached to the crime—robbery, burglary, lying in wait and for two prior felony convictions—and being found of any of the three special circumstances would have kicked in death penalty eligibility. California’s “Three Strikes” law also applied to Plunkett-Morgan and Morgan. But what was one of the things that they asked for in court during preliminary hearings.

Sit down, please.

The pair wanted to be housed together (share a cell), and to have the right to sit next to each other on the bus to and from court, and to be able to sit together in the courtroom.
Because they could not sit next to each other in court, Plunkett-Morgan claimed they could not get a proper defense. San Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney Valli Israels and Cindy’s family properly argued that letting the two spend time together would encourage more plotting and planning. Recall there was an attack on a judge in her own courtroom in that very same courthouse in Stockton, California earlier that year, and the attacker was killed by a bailiff to protect the judge.

There is a law on the California books requiring inmates who are likely to be having sex to be housed apart. It is intended to prevent consensual sex as well as rape. At the time the couple plead not guilty on August 31, the younger Morgan was housed in solitary confinement (the pair had been moved from the San Joaquin County jail to DVI, where they were housed together for a short time), and the pair were made to sit a couple of chairs apart from each other whenever they made a court appearance. 

Cindy’s family was outraged to learn that the couple had been housed together for a short time after their arrest. A court order had mandated the two not be allowed any contact; no shacking up, no sitting next to each other in the prison van on the way to court, no sharing a holding cell while at the courthouse. As former gang members, the two were to be kept separate on that basis as well.

The couple continued to fight their separation, and the defense asked for county council to intervene in September. Honestly, you’ve just murdered someone in cold blood, you are a “three strikes” felon and you are facing the death penalty, but the most pressing problem you have is wanting to be with and near your “life partner.”

The suspects also acted out in court. Inmates making appearances in court share hallways with the general public. During a November court appearance, Jorge Morgan, ever the badass, taunted Cindy’s son and wife while in the hallways, holding his shackled hands high and yelling, “This don’t mean shit. I’ll do life. I did it … and I’d do it again.”

During that same court appearance, he was made to wear a facemask as he was spitting, kicking, and hollering obscenities at people.

Finally in October 2009, Judge Bernard Garber ruled the pair could not sit next to each other in court or meet with their attorneys (together) for four hours at a time.
Plunkett-Morgan and Morgan claimed other inmates were hassling them. Plunkett-Morgan also claimed that he’d learned in a criminal justice class that he’d taken while in prison (yeah say it out loud, WTF???) that inmates who were gang drop-outs are allowed to mingle in jail, ride buses together and share cells at the courthouse. He was being housed in AdSeg custody. Plunkett-Morgan also took his “case” to the media, claiming he suffered from grand mal seizures and that there would be a delay in his treatment if he had a seizure while in the courtroom, and how Jorge would know how to take care of him while he was seizing.
I am serious. Read that here
Claiming to have a seizure disorder brings privileges to inmates. There is a disproportionate number of inmates with seizure disorders when compared with the general population, and this is due to the lifestyles they may lead: violence, drug abuse. Self-reporting a seizure disorder moves an inmate to the head of the line for medical care. I should know. My nursing career was ended by an inmate faking seizures … so I have no sympathy for this creep, none whatsoever. The punk who did me in did 90 extra days, I’ve done 20 years and three back surgeries. But I digress …

I encourage you to visit the website set up by Cindy’s family. There are links to stories and so much of what went on in this case is simply beyond belief.

Meanwhile, Cindy Ramos is still dead, while this “couple” fight for their right to be together, ‘cause they are married and all.

Somewhat mercifully, this whole ugly crime has come to a quick resolution. Not a satisfying resolution, but a quick one.

On January 25, the San Joaquin County DA announced the death penalty would be taken off the table if the Morgans were found guilty. And on February 2, Robert Plunkett-Morgan and Jorge Morgan pled guilty to the murder of Cindy Ramos and accepted the penalty of life in prison. At least Cindy’s kids got to face her murderers and tell them what they thought … a small victory.
But of course the biggest issue for this pair of fumble bums is they want to be together. That’s why I’ve chosen to post this story and links.

What I am about to write may piss some of you off.

I believe with all of my heart that these two were given a break because the San Joaquin County DA’s office did not want to risk seeking the death penalty on a pair of openly gay men who have filed a domestic partnership. The gay, lesbian, bisexual and trangendered lobby is small but vocal and well organized, and I believe that county simply didn’t want to deal with it. But there is still an issue at hand: heterosexual couples convicted of a crime are not housed together—what makes this different?

In the links below I have included letters written by Plunkett-Morgan to a local newspaper reporter. Have your emesis basis ready. Your tax dollars are at work giving this lowlife two hot meals a day, free housing, free medical care. I am sure he does not thank you.
Please take the time to write your local elected reps. Even if you are not in California, it’s simply a matter of time that this happens in your state. Criminals like the Morgans already have entirely too many rights, while victims and their families have none.
After all, it isn’t called the “criminal” justice system for no reason… 

Letter urges probe of violations of court order

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Manson Family Member Gets Parole

Bruce Davis today

Bruce Davis at the time of his arrest

While researching another story for T & T, I tripped over some Manson family news. The Department of Corrections news release says it all:

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Board of Parole Hearings today issued a grant of parole for convicted killer and former Charles Manson associate Bruce Davis during a parole consideration hearing at California Men’s Colony. Davis was sent to state prison on April 21, 1972 with a life sentence from Los Angeles County for two counts of first-degree murder. Today’s decision was the result of Davis' 26th parole suitability hearing.

Davis, 67, appeared before the panel today. The suitability finding is subject to a 120-day decision review period. If the grant is finalized at the conclusion of decision review, the Governor may conduct an independent review of the decision. Under California law, the Governor may reverse, modify, affirm or decline to review the Board’s decision.

Davis was convicted for the July 25, 1969 murder of Gary Hinman and the murder of Donald Shea sometime between August 16 and September 1, 1969.

He is currently incarcerated at California Men's Colony in San Luis Obispo. Davis has remained disciplinary-free since 1980 and has participated in all available education, vocation and self-help programs.

Remember how Gary Hinman died: Multiple stab wounds to the head and chest. Perforation of heart. Massive thoracic hemorrhage.

Remember how Shorty Shea died: Hit on the head by a pipe by Steve (aka Clem) Grogan (Grogan has been out for years). Stabbed by Tex Watson. Tortured by Grogan and Watson; Davis admits he was present. Davis’ palm print was found on a footlocker belonging to Shea. Shorty was buried so well his body was not found until Clem gave up the location in exchange for his release from prison in the late 1970s.

Maybe someone higher up will intervene … Governor Schwarzenegger I’m looking at you.

Parole Granted for Former Manson Family Member Bruce Davis

Gary Hinman autopsy (gruesome, read with care)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Casey Anthony: Strickland sets new trial date

It's going to be a long time before there is any resolution to the Casey Anthony murder trial. Fox35 has reported that Judge Stan Strickland has set a trial date of May 2, 2011.

In addition, they are reporting that the prosecution has filed a motion to meet with the judge in camera. According to Fox35,

Prosecutors say they have new material and information from investigators regarding the case that they don't want to go be disclosed to the public.

WESH has an article out which states that:

In the motion, the assistant state attorney said the team wants more time to go over new materials and information that has come into the hands of law enforcement. Prosecutors said they want to meet with the judge and ask to delay turning that information over to the defense.

Attorney Richard Hornsby said the state needs to determine how the materials affect the murder case against Anthony. If the information is coming from a new witness, he said the state needs more time to prevent the defense from discrediting or scaring away that person from testifying.


So, we will have to all be patient and watch the motions fly for over a year. Let's hope that the defense can get its act together by then.

Let's also hope that the information that the prosecution wants to keep away from the public is true "Bombshell" material at trial time.

I do have to wonder what Casey Anthony thinks about this timeline. I'm certain of one thing, she's not a happy camper in the Orange County Jail!