23rd Nov 2013
George Zimmerman may have once again felt the cold click of handcuffs this week, but the negative impact of the “Zimmerman Effect” has been felt by more than George and the women in his life. Remember when Spike Lee casually retweeted what he thought was George’s address, but it happened to be the address of an elderly Florida couple instead? Upon discovering the error of his ways, Lee immediately removed the tweet, but it was too little too late for Elaine and David McClain, who soon found themselves incessantly harassed by the anti-Zimmerman faction. In March, Lee apologized and settled for $10,000.00, but according to the McClains, the harassment, including death threats, have continued, in particular in the aftermath of Zimmerman’s controversial acquittal. Now, in their latest lawsuit against Lee, the couple claims the settlement only covered damages through the March 2012 settlement date and did not include suffering which occurred afterwards. While the court filings are silent as to the amount of damages the couple seeks, they are allegedly over the one million dollar mark. Lee has filed a motion to dismiss, arguing the lawsuit violates the terms of the settlement agreement by filing in Florida, but more importantly, the settlement brought an end to all issues between the McClains and the filmmaker. The McClains had one bite of the apple and it netted them $10,000.00.
20th May 2013
The Juice is loose! And, he’s talking! For the first time since OJ Simpson ran afoul of the legal system back in the 90s, OJ Simpson took the stand in his own defense this week as he fights for a new trial in his sports memorabilia robbery conviction. At issue is whether attorney Yale Galanter gave OJ the best possible defense or whether he fumbled in the end zone, resulting in OJ’s stiff 9-33 year prison sentence. OJ’s new legal team filed a habeas petition, in which they outlined numerous claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and conflict of interest, 19 of which the Judge agreed to hear. These petitions are filed regularly by inmates and the majority are given short shrift by the Court, but something about OJ’s petition clearly caught the Judge’s attention enough to grant a hearing. OJ will not only have to prove his lawyers botched his trial, but also that the outcome would have been different, but it is going to be a case of he said/he said with conflicting testimony from OJ himself and Galanter. While his former attorney is scheduled to take the stand today, OJ testified he went to a Palace Station hotel room in Vegas only AFTER speaking with Galanter and getting the go ahead. (Please NOTE, the Attoreny Client Privilige is now TERMINATED). He also claims Yale never shared a plea offer with him, which would have had him cooling his heels in a Vegas cell for only one year and Galanter did not allow him to testify in general, but specifically about his drunkenness on the day his sting went down. Of all of his arguments, the never shared plea offer is probably the strongest as all defense attorneys have an obligation to share every plea offer with his or her client, no matter if they are for or against it. It is up to the client, with guidance from the attorney, to make the decision whether to accept or reject a plea. While these ineffective assistance claims generally go nowhere, even after a hearing, if OJ is able to convince the Judge Galanter kept that plea to himself, he may just have a shot. Interestingly, Galanter’s local counsel, Malcolm LaVergne was firmly on OJ’s side as he testified about Galanter’s handling of the case, including his “my way or the highway” attitude. LaVergne claimed Galanter was not open to suggestions, did not share legal information with Simpson and was more concerned with the media than the legal implications of the charges on Simpson. I am sure after OJ testified he felt very, very good and that lasted until his former Attorney Galanter took the stand and blew OJ up. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, and aint no way Vegas is letting the Juice to leave.
21st Dec 2012
The Obama regime did nothing with respect to gun control since his inauguration. Now, after Aurora and finally Newtown, everyone is all of a sudden focused and concerned and seeking ways to stem the 10,000 per year deaths in the US associated with gun violence. The Constitution has been interpreted and affirmed by the US Supreme Court in holding the 2nd Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm for traditionally lawful purposes and for self-defense – (see Texas and Florida especially). Most States require a criminal check before issuing a handgun or a rifle. Most States require a license to carry a handgun in a concealed holster or carry-bag. Here, in order to obtain a license, the applicant must complete a course of study, take a written test and pass a shooting test – (all of which is accomplished in ONE day). There are questions about one’s mental health and propensity for violence leading to any restraining orders all of which can easily be fudged. There are usually 3 issues in any shooting like Newtown, 1. The shooter, 2. The gun and 3 The environment in which the gun was obtained. For gun purposes, the clip is usually the single factor which can transform a hunting gun like a bushmaster (Newtown) to an assault rifle. Limits on the capacity of clips for rifles and handguns and the banning of assault type rifles I predict, will be impacted and restricted by the new laws to come. Even today, stores like Bass Pro Shops and various shooting ranges are virtually unable to order any new clips until the smoke settles with respect to the Newtown aftermath. As in Newtown, access to the guns was not a deterrent and new laws may require all rifles and handguns to be locked in a safe with trigger locks. However, if that is the case and a person has the gun for home self defense, the time it would take to access the gun with the ability to fire will make this process meaningless. Lastly, our nation’s ignorance with respect to mental health and treating our citizens who are suffering from it, will need to be addressed if we are serious about avoiding another Newtown massacre. As other nations like the UK, Scotland, Australia, Spain and Japan have virtually banned handgun ownership, the number of gun related deaths is miniscule – has the time come for our great nation to distinguish the right to form a militia to protect our State by assuring citizen firearm ownership? This will be determined by the power of the NRA and the power of the rural States v. the big City Slickers. If nothing is done soon, you know this will all fade away.
30th Oct 2012
Shades of Rutgers University and Tyler Clementi. Here, 16 year old Anders Hemdal was caught on a school trip abroad, actually on board, having sex with his girlfriend. The act was video-taped by another student who then released the tape around the school. When Anders asked the school for help, he was suspended for 4 days without a hearing (required under PA law) along with his girlfriend and the videographer. The videographer has been charged in juvenile court and those proceedings are sealed. Anders is now suing the Schuylkill Valley School District for violation of his due process rights, to have his record expunged and for legal fees plus. When more intelligent minds address this issue, I guarantee there will be a sealed, secret settlement. The school district acted horribly. Is this not bullying?