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Video Site: The Attorney Depot™
Posted: 11/09/2013 03:18:41 PM PST - Updated: 11/10/2013 11:03:41 PM PST
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Home Depot issued [a phony] apology for a racist tweet and blamed the agency that sent it from the company account.
The home improvement retailer pulled the tweet and apologized on Twitter on Thursday, saying, "We have zero tolerance for anything so stupid and offensive. Deeply sorry. We terminated agency and individual who posted it."
In a statement provided to media sources, Stephen Holmes, director of corporate communications, said, "We have zero tolerance for anything so stupid and offensive. The outside agency that created the Tweet and The Home Depot associate who posted it have been terminated. We're also closely reviewing our social media procedures to determine how this could have happened, and how to ensure it never happens again.
Customers responded to the apology on various social media sites.
"Deflecting blame and now all is hunky dory? Hmm," one Facebook user wrote. "So even though you hired the firm responsible for the shockingly racist tweet, you bear/accept no responsibility? Here's to hoping your company uses your one 'do over' wisely."
Another Facebook user wrote: "Very respectful way for you to respond to that offensive tweet. I will continue shopping at the Home Depot. Thank you for firing whoever posted that!"
Posted: 11/09/2013 03:18:41 PM PST - Updated: 11/09/2013 11:18:41 PM PST
Dr. of Guilt!
Provo, Utah -- A Utah jury has found Dr. Martin MacNeill Trial guilty of drugging and drowning his wife -- all so he could allegedly pursue an affair with a woman he met online.
MacNeill, 57, has been found guilty of first degree murder and obstruction of justice for the April 11, 2007, death of his wife, Michele MacNeill, 50. The former beauty queen's cause of death has been the main source of contention between the prosecution and defense.
MacNeill will be sentenced Jan. 7 at 1 p.m. His bail will remain at $1 million dollars until sentencing.
Full Coverage: Dr. Martin MacNeill Murder Trial
Prosecutors said MacNeill persuaded his wife to have plastic surgery so he could dope her up during her recovery and then drown her, clearing the way for his purported mistress, Gypsy Willis, to move in to the family's home.
MacNeill's defense lawyers said heart problems were a contributing factor in the mother of eight's death and that the Utah doctor was not guilty.
His defense attorney, Susanne Gustin, acknowledged at the start of the trial that MacNeill "has made poor choices in his life. We've heard he had affairs during his marriage," she said.
"We may think he is a total jerk, that is absolutely disgusting and that's natural. But it's very critical that during this trial you set aside your emotion," Gustin admonished the jury when the trial began a month ago.
During the three week trial, family fireworks flew as four of MacNeill's daughters testified. One of his oldest daughters, Alexis Somers, told the jury that she believes her father was guilty.
"Ever since the day my mom died, I was concerned that my father killed her," Somers said. "I've been fighting to get justice for this case ever since then."
Posted: 11/09/2013 03:18:41 PM PST - Updated: 11/09/2013 03:18:41 PM PST
Macon, Georgia -- A Macon police accused of the statutory rape of a 15-year-old resigned from the force Friday. Precinct 4 Officer Rory Qualls, 23, resigned after being arrested on charges of statutory rape involving a 15 year-old female he met on an Internet dating site in July, according to a police news release. The incident was reported to Macon police Thursday by the mother of the girl, the release stated. Qualls was released from the Bibb County jail late Friday on a $11,200 bond, according to the jail website. Qualls, who moved to Macon for police training in September 2012, was sworn in as an officer in March.
Posted: 11/08/2013 12:42:41 PM PST - Updated: 11/08/2013 7:20:41 PM PST
HOUSTON, TX (WCJB) -- Disturbing allegations are being lodged against John Van Trump, 68, a retired veteran of the Harris County Sheriff's Office. The former sergeant is now in trouble with the law, accused of sexually assaulting a child. Van Trump was arrested Friday morning, accused of sexually assaulting a girl younger than six years old on or before July 2010. Van Trump appeared before a judge in a courtroom where, Ironically, the former Harris County Sheriff's sergeant used to process records. Van Trump retired from the Harris County Sheriff'S Office after serving for about 35 years. The department doesn't believe he committed any crimes while on the force.
His charge is considered a super crime. The details of the alleged attack are too gruesome to publicly share. "This is a new law in Texas that's patterned after Jessica's Law. And if people remember Jessica, she was a young lady that was sexually assaulted years ago in Florida," a legal analyst said. If convicted, Van Trump could face a minimum sentence of 25 years in jail and a max sentence of life in prison. "Unfortunately, we are going to see a lot more of these super charges because there's a lot of sick people, but the statute is in place to keep people like this, that have committed these crimes, in jail for a long time," the legal analyst said. "When you hear a police officer committing a crime as heinous as this, the you wonder how this gentleman ever served under the public for that many years without being noticed for peculiarities," the legal analyst said.
Van Trump will remain in jail without bond.
Posted: 11/08/2013 12:42:41 PM PST - Updated: 11/08/2013 2:42:41 PM PST
PLEASANTON, CA -- A former Hayward police officer accused of sexually abusing four young girls and intimidating a witness pleaded not guilty Friday, moments before a judge increased his bail to $3.6 million.
While Richard Scott McLeod, 38, pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of lewd acts with a child and one count of dissuading a witness from prosecuting a crime, Judge Christine Maruza opted to adjust his bail in accordance with an amended complaint.
"The court has read and considered everything submitted in writing," said Maruza, who acknowledged Wednesday that dozens of letters were sent to her from supporters of the ex-Hayward police officer, who resigned after his arrest.
The judge said she was "troubled" by the alleged witness contact and increased bail from $570,000 to $3.6 million. The amount took into consideration only one of nine victim enhancements to the charges, and could have been higher.
Shortly before, defense attorney Eileen Burke, made one last attempt to lower McLeod's bail so he could return to his family under the condition he be monitored by GPS. Maruza replied to that suggestion Wednesday "Does that monitor his phone activity? Because that's what I'm concerned about."
The concern, she said, stemmed from both intimidating phone calls to the witness, a former colleague from the after-school program where the abuse reportedly took place, and recent text messages between McLeod and two of the alleged victims.
Burke came back Friday with details about the suggested GPS, which she said would constantly monitor the man's whereabouts and track all activity on his landline. She said the GPS' lack of cellphone tracking was a nonissue, because various protective orders against the man "addressed that problem."
"It's a location monitor, not an activity monitor," argued prosecutors, who added that emails, letters and social media were all avenues where he could contact victims and intimidate witnesses. "It's a bracelet that can be removed."
Maruza surprised prosecutors by grilling them about their vehement belief that a GPS would not be appropriate, giving momentary hope to McLeod's courtroom supporters that he may be bailed out.
"What are people really afraid of when it comes to the GPS?" Maruza asked the prosecution, who replied with a list of possible threats to public safety. These fears, they said, included contact with the victims, interference with witnesses, and the possibility he may take extreme measures to avoid prosecution.
"So you're afraid he may try to run because he's facing a lengthy sentence?" Maruza asked, prompting a slight nod from prosecutors and closing down the discussion.
Burke deferred discussion on the 17 counts in the amended complaint, up from six in the original filed Oct. 1. She cited issues with a statute of limitations clause, and told the judge she would like to see the victims' date of birth in accordance with when the alleged abuse took place.
Maruza handed down her decision about the bail increase, eliciting surprised gasps from one full side of the courtroom. The large jump, she said, stemmed from only one of the nine enhancements she considered for the bail schedule.
McLeod remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail. His next court date has not been determined.
Posted: 3:52 PM EST, Tue November 5, 2013 - Updated: 8:52 PM PST, Tue November 5, 2013
New Jersey -- Richard Shoop, the gunman who opened fire at a New Jersey mall Monday night, later holed up in a back room and shot himself in the head, authorities say. Several hours after he fired at least six bullets without striking anyone in the massive shopping center, Shoop's body was found in an obscure part of Westfield Garden State Plaza mall. Police made the discovery on Tuesday at 3:20 a.m. He acted alone, authorities say. No one else was injured in the mall shooting.
The melee started about 9:20 p.m. ET Monday night, just as the shopping center was about to close. Thousands of people were still in the mall, Molinelli said. Shoop, dressed all in black and wearing a motorcycle helmet, walked through the mall with a rifle modified to look like an AK-47. The rifle was taken from Shoop's brother, Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said.
"He had more than enough opportunity to be able to shoot other people," including a group adjacent to him, but he didn't, said Molinelli. "Instead, he shot randomly at different locations." Shots hit the ceiling, an escalator, an elevator and a storefront, Molinelli said. "We know that his intent was either suicide or to do something that would cause police to shoot him, which we call 'suicide by cop,'" Molinelli also said. The reasons for the shooting remain unclear. The shooting sent panic through the mall and set off a frenzied hunt for the gunman. In the early hours of the search, officials weren't sure whether the shooter was still inside or outside the 2 million-square-foot building. Officers did not fire any shots, Molinelli said, and there was only slight damage to the mall.
Molinelli said Shoop left behind a note referring to the idea that the "end was coming." "That could mean going to jail, getting arrested, or it could mean suicide." Authorities don't know whether Shoop left the note immediately before going to the mall.
Shoop's brother, Kevin, called authorities after hearing about the shooting and said he thought Shoop might be the gunman, Molinelli said. Police did not confirm the shooter's identity until they found his body. "We're not sure exactly what caused him to do this, and we're all devastated," Kevin Shoop told reporters Tuesday. "My brother intended to harm nobody else but himself. He just, sadly, decided to make ... an act of self-indulgence by taking his own life publicly. And it's a tragedy to us all," he said.
Allie Cozic, who works in the mall, said everyone was "running to wherever they could." "It was almost like when you're watching a horror movie and the killer is walking slowly. That's what it seemed like," she said. "He was wearing all black. It almost looked like body armor of some kind. As soon as I saw the gun, I just turned and ran."
Eddie Kahmann, another mall employee, said he heard six or seven gunshots. "There was just people running like crazy, so I quickly just closed my doors, ran to the back, turned off all the lights, music and everything, just to stay hidden," he said.
Even as Shoop's body lay in a remote room in a construction area, fear permeated the mall. More than 100 shoppers were still hiding inside stores early Tuesday morning, unsure of whether they could safely come out. Officers worked to evacuate each store.
Shoop used narcotic drugs and sold drugs as well, Molinelli said. Shoop, 20, was known by local law enforcement. He had a history of drug use and abuse, Molinelli said. "He at least thought that he was reaching a point where there was no recourse but to take his own life," Molinelli said.
The owner of a pizza shop where Shoop had been working for about a year said he was a good, trustworthy worker. Dod Geges, owner of Victor's Pizza Shop, describes Shoop as a nice, quiet guy. But in the last two weeks, "something was off" about Shoop, Geges said, adding that he "wasn't his usual self." Geges' brother Robert Gega, who manages the restaurant, said Shoop was working 60 hours a week and "sobering up."
"He wasn't drinking or drugging," Gega said, adding that Shoop had good friends and never gave an indication of contemplating suicide. "He would never hurt anyone."
Posted: 10/30/2013 3:40 pm EDT | Updated: 11/6/2013 12:48 pm PST
Skokie, Ill. - Michael Hart, a Skokie, Ill. police officer, has been charged with felony aggravated battery and official misconduct. Hart was captured pushing a female arrestee into a jail cell, resulting in the woman sustaining multiple serious facial injuries. According to Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, officer Hart, 43, of Gurnee, Ill., "became irate" after helping with the fingerprinting and photographing of 47-year-old Cassandra Fuerstein. Fuerstein had been disregarding Hart's commands, prosecutors say. Hart then shoved the 110-pound Chicago woman into a concrete bench during her March 10 arrest on DUI charges. The attack shattered several bones in Fuerstein's face and the woman required reconstructive surgery including a titanium plate in her cheek, according to media sources. She also has had vision and dental problems since the shoving.
Video of the shoving was released earlier this month by Feuerstein's attorney after Feuerstein filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the officer. The video prompted an outcry and over 1,000 people signed a petition calling for Hart's arrest. Hart was ordered held on $75,000 bond and faces up to five years in prison if convicted. Hart's attorney told media sources his client "cannot believe after 19 years of serving Skokie that his career has come to an arrest. … I don't think pushing her into a cell is a crime."
As a result of the charges, Skokie officials have put Hart on administrative leave while they complete an internal investigation that could lead to disciplinary action. Hart filed a complaint against Feuerstein after the incident for resisting a peace officer. Those charges were later dismissed after Cook County prosecutors reviewed the evidence. Feuerstein pleaded guilty to drunk driving.
Posted: Monday, October 7, 2013, 6:31 pm PDT - Updated: 10/31/2013 03:35:32 AM PDT
$500 Ma'am, or ...!
Hayward, CA -- A Hayward police officer solicited a $500 bribe from a suspect in exchange for letting the woman slide in a prescription forgery case, authorities said.
Romeo Aberin, 30, was arrested Monday after Alameda County prosecutors charged him with extortion under color of authority and receiving a bribe by an executive officer, both felonies. Aberin, a patrol officer since joining the department in 2007, posted $50,000 bail and turned in a letter of resignation, officials said.
Michael Rains, Aberin's attorney, said his client is an Army veteran and married father of two who has served on the SWAT team and has "an outstanding reputation for being diligent and very ethical. The conduct charged is really antithetical to the sort of reputation he has enjoyed in the department."
Aberin chose to resign because it was the "more honorable thing to do," Rains said, adding he would not permit his client to be interviewed by internal affairs given the pending criminal case.
The case stems from an investigation last month in which Aberin interviewed Tammy Spencer, an employee of a clinic, and determined that she had stolen blank prescription pads and forged prescriptions for friends, police said.
Instead of arresting Spencer, Aberin tried to use her as a confidential informant, telling her that she had two weeks to come up with information relating to drug trafficking and money laundering, police officials said.
However, Aberin "never notified the department of his actions or intent" and failed to follow policies mandating how officers deal with informants, said Hayward police Sgt. Mark Ormsby.
Two weeks later, on Sept. 13, Aberin allegedly arranged to meet Spencer at her workplace. The two met while Aberin was off duty, and he reminded her of what he wanted from her, officials said.
"When the victim advised Aberin there was no useful information to give him, he proceeded to ask for cash in exchange to dismiss reporting any criminal activity against the victim," Ormsby said. "Out of fear and duress, the victim complied."
Authorities said Spencer gave Aberin $500 that she withdrew from an ATM, police said, while secretly recording the interaction on her cell phone.
The next day, she reported Aberin to the San Leandro Police Department. Aberin admitted to taking the $500 but "contended she provided the money willingly," investigators said in an affidavit. Spencer was not arrested.
Aberin's arrest comes nine days after Livermore police arrested another Hayward officer, Richard McLeod, 38, on charges that he abused numerous girls when he previously worked as a teacher at an after-school program in Livermore. McLeod is being held without bail.
Hayward Police Chief Diane Urban said Monday that the response to the bribery allegation "reflects our enduring commitment to ensure criminal behavior is not tolerated."
Posted: 10/22/2013 06:12:45 AM PDT - Updated: 10/23/2013 01:30:32 AM PDT
OAKLAND, CA -- Paul David Seeman, 58, a former Alameda County Superior Court judge, was sentenced to five years probation Monday for stealing money from an elderly widowed neighbor who trusted him with her life savings. Seeman was accused of stealing from his now-deceased widowed neighbor, Anne Nutting, who was 97 when she noticed irregularities in her finances. Investigators originally believed Seeman stole more than $1 million from Nutting, a figure that also included the estimated value of possessions Seeman sold on behalf of Nutting when he controlled her estate. As a result, he was charged with 32 felonies, including financial elder abuse for stealing from Nutting and numerous counts of perjury for lying on state financial disclosure forms that all judges are required to complete.
A $250,000 "loan" Seeman claimed he took from Nutting was paid back just after police called Seeman asking questions about Nutting's finances. Investigators could not prove that Seeman took the money earned from the sale of Nutting's valuable possessions, court documents show. Court documents also revealed in the end that investigators could only prove that Seeman stole more than $5,000 from his neighbor. "Given the entirety of the case, this was the appropriate resolution," said deputy district attorney Jason Sjoberg. "He did commit a criminal act, and he has been held accountable for it."
Seeman, of Berkeley, was sentenced as part of a plea deal in which he was found guilty of one count of financial elder abuse and one count of perjury. Seeman also was forced to pay Nutting's estate the $5,600 that he stole.
While Seeman avoids jail time under the deal, his career in law, at least in California, is over. As part of the plea deal, Seeman loses his bar license and his right to practice law in the state. Earlier this year, Seeman agreed never to be a judge again. The former judge also cannot live with, care for, or act as a financial aide to any elderly person who is not a direct relative. In addition, he is not allowed to possess any "financial instrument" in any person's name but his own.
Seeman's criminal defense attorney, said in a prepared statement that her client has paid the price and agreed to a deal to end the case. "He appreciates that the sentence took into account the many good works he has accomplished in his life," the attorney said. Seeman, who appeared in court, turned down a request to make a comment.
Posted: 06/28/2012 03:22:54 PM PDT - Updated: 06/28/2012 04:11:14 PM PDT
It reads like an outline for a B-grade detective novel: A reclusive elderly couple with no close relatives lives in a house crammed with jewelry, stamp collections, stock certificates and dozens of pieces of art worth, conservatively, $3 million. Throw in a huge model train collection, too. And rats. Don't forget the rats.
Because it's the discovery of the rats by city health inspectors that eventually forces the couple to go live in a hotel, leaving their fortunes behind in their Berkeley home, intermingled with mounds of trash. But they assume they are taken care of -- their neighbor is a lawyer, soon to become an Alameda County Superior Court judge. The couple places him in charge of their belongings and money, trusting him to manage their estate while they are away.
It is not, however, a novel. According to new details revealed this week in an 71-page affidavit written by a veteran District Attorney inspector, it is how Superior Court Judge Paul Seeman, 57, came to be arrested June 14 and charged with elder theft and perjury. He is free on $525,000 bail after pleading not guilty. The case is scheduled for a court hearing next month; Seeman won a motion at his arraignment to not attend minor legal proceedings.
He "does not intend to return to the bench until this matter is resolved," his lawyer, Laurel Headley, said in a prepared statement issued Thursday. Headley declined to take questions, but the statement said the judge is looking forward to "all the facts in this case coming to light in a fair and complete" trial.
Seeman could also be impeached by the state Assembly, and the State Commission on Judicial Power is mulling suspending him as the criminal charges unfold. If convicted, Seeman, who then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed to the bench in 2009, would immediately be forced from office.
Seeman told police that he was just trying to help the couple, Lee and Anne Nutting. Lee Nutting, a chemist who worked for Hills Brother's Coffee, died in 1999. Anne Nutting, who headed the Berkeley Public Library's Art and Music Department, was still struggling with Seeman to regain control of her assets when she died in 2010 at 97, the affidavit states.
The case dates back to 1999, when police were called to the Nutting's home on Santa Barbara Road in Berkeley, where Lee Nutting had fallen and needed help. Rats were everywhere in the trash-strewn house, which was declared unfit for habitation. The Nuttings went to live at a hotel in the Berkeley Marina, according to the affidavit written by Inspector Kathleen Boyovitch, and gave Seeman, then a private lawyer who lived next door, control of their finances.
Lee Nutting died a few months later at the age of 90. But Anne Nutting stayed at the hotel for more than five years, the affidavit said, forming a close relationship with a waiter there, Ali Mehrizi, who years later would become her second husband.
In 2005 or 2006, Anne Nutting asked Mehrizi to help her move back to the home, which he found was still a ramshackle mess. Eventually, thanks to Mehrizi cleaning and repairing the house, Anne Nutting was able to return home in 2007. Upon returning, she found a lot of things missing.
While Anne Nutting was living in the hotel, Seeman did more than oversee her belongings, according to court records. He kept her from returning home for years by refusing to allocate money for repairs, the affidavit said, while pocketing the cash from selling off her belongings: The art. The jewelry. The coins. The trains. Seeman had taken $250,000 from the sale of art work, claiming it was a loan -- on which he stopped making payments, court documents said.
The last years of Anne Nutting's life seem defined by two things -- her marriage to Mehrizi on her 97th birthday and what the affidavit said was a long struggle with Seeman to gain control of her assets, which included checking accounts, rental properties in Santa Cruz and her own home.
Nutting no longer had "control" or "free will" over her finances and belongings, the affidavit said.
When police raided Seeman's home and court chambers earlier this month, they found Lionel collectible trains, coins, Asian art work and myriad financial and tax records believed to belong to the Nuttings, according to court records. The search warrant sought dozens of pieces of jewelry, stamp and coin collections and dozens of missing art prints among other items.
But Anne Nutting did not die without leaving police clues about what had allegedly happened. Prosecutors recovered phone messages she had left Mehrizi that pointed toward Seeman, the affidavit said. Those messages are now central to the case, which is being prosecuted with cooperation from the 53-year-old Mehrizi. Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan, whose department assisted in the investigation, said Mehrizi is not a suspect in the case.
"This is Anne," one message said. "I just wanted to tell you that, aah, Paul (Seeman) was down to bring me some mail and for a little visit, and I think we are going to have problems because, aah, I couldn't stave him off from going through the house when he wants. ... I don't know how to discourage him any more than I tried."
Posted: Oct 17, 2013 3:32 PM PDT - Updated: 4:16 PM PDT, Sat. October 19, 2013
MEMPHIS, TN - (WCJB) - Terry Butler, a Memphis police officer, is accused of wrongfully arresting two men after fabricating evidence against them. According to investigators, Officer Butler was off duty when he tried to frame two innocent men for a break-in that happened at his girlfriend's house. The woman's home was robbed several days before the arrests, but a DVD player the two men were "caught" with in their car that was not actually stolen from her home. The affidavit of complaint says that Butler called his girlfriend and gave her the serial number of the DVD player the two men had in their possession. He reportedly told her to claim it as property that was stolen during the break-in.
Officials confirmed that the woman told investigators she followed his directions because Butler had threatened her before. "Once we investigated, we found the facts that he coerced her," said Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong. Armstrong added that MPD is better off since Butler's arrest because framing people is not an MPD practice. "I know when these things come up you might think I'm embarrassed but I'm not, it's been my contention since I've been here to weed out those that don't deserve to be here," said Armstrong.
The two men arrested in the burglary were released without being charged. Meanwhile, Butler was indicted for official misconduct, official oppression, and tampering with evidence.
Butler is on "non-enforcement status" after posting $10,000 bond. He has been employed with MPD for 13 years.
Posted: Oct 16, 2013 3:18 PM PDT - Updated: 2:16 AM PDT, Fri. October 18, 2013
MPD! Shots Fired
MEMPHIS, TN - (WCJB) - Memphis Police Officers were serving a warrant at the South Memphis home where they believed Aaron Dumas (pictured above, center) who was wanted on attempted murder charges, was located. A neighbor recording video on a cell phone during the warrant execution on Worthington Street Tuesday captured the moment when TACT officer Paul Hutchison was shot in the leg by the suspect. The video shows Hutchison being shot from inside the house. He is then pulled behind a vehicle to safety by a fellow officer. Before Hutchison was shot, another officer, Timothy Jackson, was also shot in the leg. Immediately after the first shooting, Dumas ran back into the house and barricaded himself inside for several hours. According to police, Dumas then set the house ablaze. He was later found dead in a bathtub.
Jackson and Hutchison are both on leave as they recover from their injuries. Two other MPD officers were relieved of duty with pay after firing shots during the standoff. An administrative investigation is underway into their actions.
Posted: Oct 16, 2013 8:26 PM PDT - Updated: 10:17 PM PDT, Mon. October 21, 2013
Memphis, TN - A Mid-South teacher was arrested Wednesday for reportedly having sex with boys under the age of 18, according to officials. Beth Scearce, 37 (pictured above, center) teaches at Christ Classical Academy in Dyersburg. According to police, Scearce is charged with aggravated statutory rape. She is accused of having sex with two students. Her charges are out of Lauderdale County, where she lives. Scearce has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of the investigation.
Below is a statement sent from the school:
Christ Classical Academy is both surprised and shocked at the recent arrest of an employee of the Academy. Per School Board policy, the employee has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of the investigation and any subsequent criminal charges.
Initially, it should be noted that there is no indication that any students or other employees of Christ Classical Academy were either in any way involved or even aware of the underlying conduct leading to the criminal charges made public yesterday. Obviously, the Academy is not in a position to be aware of all conduct or communications between its employees and third parties or other persons not associated with the Academy in any way.
In the meantime, any further information regarding this matter, insomuch as it affects or relates to the Academy, shall be limited to that provided by counsel for Christ Classical with regard to this matter.
Posted: 2:01 AM EDT, October 15, 2013 - Updated: 1:16 AM PDT, Tues. October 15, 2013
San Diego, CA -- Former San Diego mayor Bob Filner (Dem. (pictured above, center)) pleaded guilty Tuesday to false imprisonment and battery charges involving three women, according to an official with the San Diego Superior Court.
Court spokeswoman Karen Dalton said that Filner will be sentenced Dec. 9. She said the state attorney general's office had charged Filner "with one felony count for false imprisonment by violence, fraud, menace and deceit ... and two misdemeanor counts of battery." The victims are three unnamed women.
Filner resigned from office in August as part of a settlement of a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment. At least 18 women have accused Filner of sexual harassing them.
Under his plea agreement, Filner will avoid jail time. But he will have to serve three months of home confinement and three years of probation, give up part of his mayoral pension, and agree not to run for office again, the attorney general's office said.
"This conduct was not only criminal, it was also an extreme abuse of power,” said California Attorney General Kamala Harris. "This prosecution is about consequence and accountability. No one is above the law."
The embattled ex-mayor, 71, served in the U.S. House for nearly 20 years before opting to run for San Diego's top job in 2012. He won a competitive contest, defeating Republican Carl DeMaio on the second ballot en route to becoming San Diego's first elected Democratic mayor in more than two decades.
This summer, he faced a flurry of accusations that he sexually harassed numerous women. For weeks, Filner refused to leave office even as members of his own party called on him to step aside. In late-July, he announced plans to enter a "behavior counseling clinic" for two weeks of therapy, and said he was committed to returning to office.
But the pressure for him to leave didn't subside, and weeks later, Filner announced that he would vacate the mayor's office, apologizing to "all the women I offended."
A special election for mayor will be held Nov. 19.
Posted: 2:01 AM EDT, Saturday, October 12, 2013 - Updated: 12:16 AM PDT, Tues. October 15, 2013
Montgomery County, PA -- A recently retired music professor at Penn State Abington was arrested this week and charged with various crimes from allegedly exchanging naked photos and lewd e-mails with a 16-year-old girl in Spain.
Stephen Stace, 65 (pictured above, center) who retired as an associate professor of music and integrative arts in June, sent at least three nude photos of himself to the girl over about nine months, according to Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Jordan Friter.
Using his Penn State e-mail address, according to a district attorney's news release, Stace also asked for and received nude photos from the girl. The two continually exchanged sexually explicit e-mails, the release said, and Stace often said he wanted to meet.
A message left for Stace's attorney Friday was not immediately returned. Stace was arraigned Thursday and released on bail, Friter said. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 21.
Posted: 1:44 AM EDT, Sun October 13, 2013 - Updated: 2:16 AM PDT, Sun October 13, 2013
the New Year!
the New Year!
Tulsa, Oklahoma (WCJB) -- A man walked in and opened fire at a Hmong New Year's celebration in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday night, injuring five people, police said. Two attendees were hit in the upper body, while the other three were struck in the arm and leg, said Tulsa Police Capt. Mike Williams. "One of the individuals will probably lose his lower leg," Williams said. They were between the ages of 30 and 60. Authorities don't know what caused the man to begin shooting inside the Green Country Event Center.
A police helicopter that happened to be flying by saw a vehicle leaving the area. When officers tried to stop the car, they saw a passenger changing clothes, then throwing his hoodie and a gun from the car, Williams said. Police believe the passenger, 19-year-old Ming Mee, was the shooter. Both he and the driver, 21-year-old Boon Mee, were arrested.
The Hmongs are an Asian ethnic group. There are an estimated 210,000 Hmongs scattered across the united States. They were an important U.S. ally during the Vietnam War. Many fled the Communist government when combat ended.
Posted: 1:44 AM EDT, Sun October 11, 2013 - Updated: 2:16 AM PDT, Sun October 13, 2013
Washington, D.C. -- The Air Force’s two star general in charge of the units responsible for its 450 nuclear missiles has been fired “due to a loss of trust and confidence in his leadership and judgment.”
Maj. Gen. Michael Carey (pictured above, center) has been removed from command of the 20th Air Force, according to an Air Force statement. That command is responsible for the three wings that maintain control of the 450 intercontinental ballistic missiles scattered in missile silos across the northern plains.
Lt. Gen. James Kowalski, the commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, made the decision because of what the statement said was a ”loss of trust and confidence.
The statement added that Kowalski made the decision to relieve Carey based on information from an Inspector General investigation into Carey’s behavior during a temporary duty assignment which is the military’s term for business travel. “The allegations are not related to operational readiness or the inspection results of any 20th AF unit, nor do they involve sexual misconduct,” said the statement. Carey has been reassigned to an undetermined job within the Air Force pending the results of the investigation.
“20th AF continues to execute its mission of around-the-clock nuclear deterrence in a safe, secure and effective manner,” Kowalski is quoted as saying in the statement. “It’s unfortunate that I’ve had to relieve an officer who’s had an otherwise distinctive career spanning 35 years of commendable service.”
Brigadier General Les Kodlick, the Air Force’s chief spokesman, said the ongoing Inspector General’s investigation had been triggered by “reports of personal misbehavior” during that temporary duty assignment.
Kodlick would not specifically reveal where the personal misbehavior may have occurred or may have consisted of though he said it did not involve criminal behavior.
Kowalski’s command is responsible for two-thirds of the nation’s nuclear triad, including Air Force nuclear missiles and long-range bombers.
Kodlick explained that personal behavior is important in nuclear commands because “it’s a position of great trust and responsibility.” He added that “the nuclear deterrence mission is one of great focus and discipline. Personal behavior is vital to that, especially from a commander.
Earlier this week President Obama relieved of command the number two officer at U.S. Strategic Command, which among other things oversees the military’s nuclear forces. Vice Admiral James Giardina had earlier been suspended from that command following a criminal probe into his potential use of counterfeit poker chips at an Iowa casino.
Obama became involved because only the president can relieve a three- and four-star officer from his post. Giardina has been reassigned to an undetermined position within the Navy.
The Air Force statement indicated that the move was unrelated to the inspection results of the 20th Air Force.
Earlier this year, two of the three missile wings under Carey’s command received unsatisfactory ratings in regular annual inspections.
In August, the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, failed its third inspection in five years.
In May ,the 91st Missile wing at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota suspended 19 missile officers for retraining after that unit received an unsatisfactory rating for one aspect of its inspection.
Posted: 7:27 PM EDT, Wed October 9, 2013 - Updated: 5:24 PM EDT, Sat. October 12, 2013
Wheeling, West Virginia (WCJB) -- 55-year-old Thomas J. Piccard (pictured above, center) a retired city police officer fired more than 20 rounds into the federal courthouse building in Wheeling, W.Va., before being shot dead Wednesday afternoon. U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld, who works in the federal building, identified the dead officer as Thomas Piccard, media sources reported. Another media source also said multiple sources had identified Piccard as the gunman. Piccard was a trained shooter who knew how to kill, yet federal officials said Thursday that he waved people away moments before he started spraying bullets into the glass facade and was later shot dead by law enforcement. City resident Carla Webb Daniels said she saw the gunman fire from the Chase Bank parking lot across from the building, then reload and fire at a nearby YWCA. She said he fired between 25 and 30 rounds. U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld said Piccard did not appear to target either individuals or a particular office in the federal building just a few blocks from the Wheeling Police Department where he once worked. Nor was Piccard the target of any active federal investigation.
A Wheeling police officer and a U.S. court security officer killed the gunman after he opened fire with an assault rifle at 2:45 p.m., Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger said at an evening news conference. Two federal court security guards were treated for cuts from shattered glass when the gunman opened fire. Schwertfeger said the motive was still unknown. He would not confirm the shooter's identity, saying only that he had retired from the department in 2000. Wheeling Mayor Andy McKenzie said police officials told him Piccard had worked on the force for more than 20 years.
Police Chief Schwertfeger said Piccard was armed Wednesday with a rifle and a handgun, but authorities refused to identify the weapons by model or caliber. Hambrick said only that the rifle "easily could be characterized as an assault rifle." Nor would they say how much ammunition Piccard carried as he stood in a parking lot across Chapline Street and fired as many as two dozen shots, reloading at least once. Schwertfeger did not say whether Piccard used both weapons during the assault or identify which law enforcement officer at the scene returned fatal fire. But he said that officer is being closely looked after, and that all of those involved in the shooting will get counseling.
Neither the FBI nor federal prosecutors would discuss the motive for Piccard's assault. But two possible theories emerged as investigators gathered evidence and neighbors revealed that Piccard had recently told them he was dying of cancer. McKenzie said police told him that Piccard had left the force in 2000 after serving more than 10 years. McKenzie said he didn't know the circumstances behind Piccard's departure, but that he didn't have enough service to qualify for retirement. Ihlenfeld said he knew Piccard from 1997 until the officer left the force. He said he had no reason to believe his office was targeted. About 40 percent of his staff has been furloughed under the partial government shutdown, so many weren't working when the glass began to shatter.
Posted: Oct. 11, 2013 - Updated: Oct. 11, 2013 - 3:42 pm PDT
Minnetonka, Minn. -- Montia Parker (pictured above, center) a former cheerleading captain from a suburban Minneapolis high school, was sentenced to three years in prison today for prostituting a younger squad member.
Parker, 18, will spend at least two of the three years behind bars before she’s eligible for release, said Chuck Laszewski, spokesman for the Hennepin County prosecutor. If she has good behavior, she will serve the remaining third of her sentence on probation, he said.
“After a fairly lengthy hearing, the judge sentenced her to 36 months in prison,” Laszewski said.
When Parker was interviewed by police on April 4, she admitted she knew the victim from cheerleading, created a adult ad for her, and drove her to perform sex acts on two separate occasions, for which she pocketed the payment, according to the charging affidavit.
“She really didn’t deny any of the allegations,” Raquet said.
Parker, of Maple Grove, Minn., allegedly contacted the fellow cheerleader after she overheard her talking with girls on the team about trying to make money, the complaint stated.
Parker, who attended Hopkins High School in Minnetonka, Minn., sent texts to her sophomore teammate asking if she would be willing to have sex for money. The victim told Parker that she’d be willing to give men oral sex for money, according to the complaint.
Parker allegedly advised the teen to take photos of herself that were “not too nasty but kinda cute” and to send them to her. Parker told the girl to wear “different outfits” and “show a little skin,” the complaint stated.
Using the photos the victim sent her, Parker created an ad for the 16-year-old on an adult sex website, according to the complaint.
On March 5, Parker took the victim out of school and drove her, along with two other passengers, to an apartment building in Crystal, Minn., where she told the sophomore she was to go to an apartment and give oral sex to the man who was waiting inside, the court document stated.
“You’re up!” Parker allegedly said to the teen.
When the girl returned to the car, she handed Parker the $60 she had made, the complaint stated. Parker then took the cash and drove to a bank where she deposited the money. She did not give any of the money to the victim, according to the allegation.
Parker also took the victim out of school on March 6, calling into the school and pretending to be her mother, the complaint stated. She then drove her to an apartment in Brooklyn Park, Minn., and told her that the customer wanted to have vaginal sex with her, but the girl told Parker she did not want to, the complaint stated.
“You’ll be fine,” Parker allegedly said. “I didn’t drive up here for nothing, and eventually you will need to have sex.”
While the victim went into the apartment and allegedly offered oral sex instead of vaginal sex, the client declined, the complaint stated. The girl then left the apartment and Parker drove her back to school.
When the girl’s mother found out that she had an unexcused absence from school on March 5, she checked the teen’s cell phone, the complaint stated. When she saw text messages between Parker and her daughter revealing that Parker convinced the teen to prostitute herself, she contacted the police.
Authorities uncovered the adult ad featuring the teen in the pictures she had sent to Parker, as well as Parker’s contact information on the page, the complaint stated.
Posted: Oct. 9, 2013 - Updated: Oct. 11, 2013 - 1:11 am PDT
WINTHROP, Mass. — An auxiliary police officer with Winthrop Police Department is accused of distributing drugs while in uniform from a police cruiser. Bledar Naco, 34 (pictured above, center) was arrested by the FBI Thursday.
According to authorities, Nado is charged with distributing drugs in uniform and from an auxiliary police cruiser on several occasions.
Winthrop Police Chief Terence Delehanty said the department became aware of Naco's alleged activity when other law enforcement sources told him. Naco was arraigned in Federal District Court on Friday and held pending a detention hearing at federal court.
Posted: Oct. 9, 2013 - Updated: Oct. 10, 2013 - 9:11 pm PDT
Sunrise, Fla. -- Police in a Southern Florida community outside of Fort Lauderdale have been using a controversial tactic to conduct cocaine sting operations and have been raking in millions of dollars in the process.
For years, the Sunrise, Fla., police have been conducting what are called "reverse stings." Undercover police detectives play the role of cocaine dealers and try to lure in potential buyers who drive or fly in from all over the country with wads of cash. If the stings are successful, informants can receive large payouts and police can seize cash, cars and other non-monetary assets. The busts have pumped millions of dollars into local coffers.
The Sun Sentinel was the first to report the Sunrise Police's lucrative sting operations after the newspaper conducted a six-month investigation into the department's drug seizures.
"The police are not actually finding these drug dealers on their own but they rely on paid and unpaid informants to tell them about people that might be looking for cocaine, and it became obvious to us that the reason they are doing this is because of the money," said Megan O'Matz, one of the reporters who broke the story.
Sunrise, Fla., is a bedroom community, home to one of the country's biggest shopping centers and mile after mile of identical, coral-colored condos. But millions of dollars' worth of undercover drug commerce has occurred in this unlikely setting.
Gus Borjas, a nurse by profession and a father of four from Homestead, Fla., got caught up in one of the Sunrise Police's cocaine stings. Lured by a paid informant he had known for years who promised to repay an old debt, Borjas agreed to bring a satchel filled with $23,000 in cash to a parking lot and, when he got there, he walked straight into a trap, Borjas said.
Undercover video from the case shows a second paid informant aggressively drawing him into the action.
"In order for them to keep the money they have to make ... it look like I'm buying the drugs, obviously, you know," Borjas said.
Eventually, the female informant placed a kilo of cocaine in Borjas' bag to establish possession.
Suddenly, Borjas was now a drug offender and facing a possible mandatory 15-year minimum sentence for narcotics trafficking.
"As soon as I got arrested, as soon as they-- Just, everything clicked in my head," he said. "'Why this? Why that?' They set me up."
According to Miami attorney Alan Ross, who defended Borjas in court, the scale of the Sunrise Police cocaine stings seemed almost industrial.
"It's a huge business," Ross said. "It's a multimillion dollar business. It's been going on for years. It's been a daily event in the city of Sunrise."
Over the past two years, the police department has netted $5.8 million in seized money, according to the Sun-Sentinel. The money was used to purchase new equipment and to pay officers involved for overtime. Some officers even doubled their salary in overtime pay alone, and in Florida, the laws also permit police to seize non-monetary assets from suspects, the paper reported.
"They can take their cars, jewelry," O'Matz said. "One fella told us a cop said, 'Hey, I like the sunglasses you're wearing,' and snatched them, so there is a real profit motive for the police."
Informants in these stings can also make a lot of money. According to Sunrise police reports, one informant not connected to Borjas' case was paid a total of $800,000 over five years for bringing drug buyers into sting operations.
Sunrise Mayor Michael Ryan defended the practice and the police's tactics, denying that the stings were about the money.
"I do dispute that was going on here was trying to do anything other than fighting crime," he said. "They're doing the best they can do, and it happens throughout all of law enforcement."
When asked if the Sunrise Police seemed overzealous in trying to bring in potential drug dealers, Ryan called it an "unfair" allegation.
"There are occasions when errors are made. There are occasions when somebody goes too far and it doesn't go perfect," he said. "The reality is, hundreds of arrests were made, hundreds who pled. There were cases that were made, there were additional informants built up in further cooperation with the DEA and others. This was part of the operation to stop cocaine. It was an effort to stop cocaine and heroin from getting back to other communities and it worked."
Ultimately, Borjas got his $23,000 back and the prosecutor gave him a plea deal on a solicitation to purchase cocaine charge, because the female informant may have gone too far.
"These people only get paid if the deal goes down," Ross said. "Gus isn't the one who pulled off his backpack and opened it up. The informant did. She takes his backpack off, she unzips it, she's reaching in for the money. Gus isn't the one who took the cocaine, she took a kilo of cocaine stuffed it in his backpack. 'Here's the backpack, go get arrested.'"
"It's very unfair," he said. "Why should you go to jail if you're not a criminal? Why do they have to make up cases? Only criminals are supposed to go to jail, you know."
Ryan said that since reporters have revealed informants' identities and undercover locations, the reserve stings have stopped. He said the Sunrise Police Department will go back to what it always did -- fighting crime in Sunrise.
Posted: 11:38 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013 - Updated: October 11, 2013 - 4:56 pm PDT
Fugitive Task Force
Georgia -- A Clayton County Police officer is facing federal charges for allegedly scheming with a drug dealer to sell stolen cocaine, court officials said.
Nine-year officer Dwayne A. Penn is accused of working with a drug dealer to plan and conduct a fake narcotics arrest, and then sell the seized the drugs later , according to court records.
Penn was arrested Wednesday after an FBI investigation and sting. On Thursday, during Penn’s first appearance in federal court, Judge Alan J. Baverman said he is being held on charges of drug possession with intent to distribute, attempting to possess drugs for distribution, attempting to obstruct and affect commerce by unlawfully obtaining a controlled substance, and using a firearm in the furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Federal authorities said that a confidential FBI informant who was wearing a secret wire, helped record phone conversations and face-to-face meetings between Penn and Adrian Demetric Austin, who is accused of being a drug dealer. The authorities said the informant told Austin and Penn that he would meet a cocaine source Wednesday morning to buy 6 kilograms of cocaine.
The plan called for the three men to divide six bricks of cocaine evenly amongst themselves, prosecutors said.
Penn would lie in wait in his Clayton County Police squad car, then pull up to make the arrest within sight of the supplier, the informant said.
“I can put the lights on,” Penn told the informant, according to a federal arrest warrant affidavit. “I can put you in handcuffs.”
Austin was to be at the scene as well, although his role in the plan was unclear.
With FBI and DEA agents watching, according to the federal affidavit, Penn arrived around 10:40 a.m. on Wednesday at 4500 Memorial Drive in DeKalb County and began checking license plates against a national crime information database.
Around 11:30 a.m., the informant and the supplier arrived, and the pair made their deal, the affidavit said.
Penn rushed up, exited his car wearing a bulletproof vest labeled “Police,” and pointed his handgun at the informant, ordering the informant to the ground, prosecutors said.
The supplier fled, prosecutors said.
Penn put the informant in the back of the police car and retrieved four of the six bricks he believed to be cocaine from the informant’s car, the affidavit said.
Then Penn put the four bricks into the trunk of the police car and let the informant go, shouting, “get out of here” as the informant fled, the affidavit said.
Penn drove away, and federal agents arrested him and Austin separately, prosecutors said Thursday.
Penn, who has been with the Clayton County Police since 2004, was assigned to the U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force at the time of his arrest. Penn has been placed on unpaid leave, pending an internal investigation, according to Gary Syblis, Clayton police public information officer.
He survived a gunshot wound to the face during his first year as a policeman, according to Channel 2 Action News.
Penn will remain in federal custody pending a probable cause hearing scheduled for Wednesday at 11:30 a.m.
Posted: August 22, 2013 at 11:16 PM - Updated: October 11, 2013 - 4:46 pm PDT
Cop Coke Deals!
MOBILE, Alabama – A federal judge Thursday agreed to let a former Prichard police officer out of jail while a grand jury considers allegations that he helped deal drugs while he was on the force.
Edmond Kennies Burke, 33, of Mobile, has been in federal custody since Homeland Security Investigations agents picked up the local drug charges earlier this month.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Sonja Bivins, who earlier this week found probable cause to send the case to a federal grand jury, approved the recommendation of the Office of Pretrial Services that Burke be released from jail. She granted a request by the U.S. Attorney’s Office that Burke be required to wear an electronic monitoring device.
“The conditions here appear to address the government’s concerns,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Gloria Bedwell said.
Defense attorney Jeff Deen expressed concerns that his client would not be able to afford the cost of electronic monitoring.
“He’s not going to have a job if he gets out,” he said, suggesting that it is unlikely that the Prichard Police Department would rehire him.
Bivins said Burke will be under house arrest. She said she would leave it up to a pretrial services officer to allow exceptions if Burke finds a job.
Law enforcement authorities allege that Burke used his badge to deflect police attention while he transported cocaine in his squad car.
Authorities said Mobile County sheriff’s deputies arrested Burke and Raymond “Roc” Williams during a sting in which they went to Grand Bay thinking they would pick up 5 kilograms of cocaine from a drug supplier.
Reader Pageviews by Country Movie Intermission! Génération kill
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épisode 2 saison 1
Description: HBO -- Generation Kill est une mini série télévisée américano-britannique produite pour HBO, basé sur le livre du même nom par Evan Wright au sujet de son expérience en tant que journaliste embarqué avec l'US Marine Corps'.