Monday, April 30, 2007

Joey Buttafuco Released

Famous for a love affair that turned violent on Long Island a decade ago, Joey Buttafuco, was recently released from jail after serving three months for illegal possession of ammunition. He was on probation for felony insurance fraud. Buttafuoco was running a body shop in 1992 when his 17-year-old lover, Amy Fisher, shot his wife. Fisher, the "Long Island Lolita," served seven years in prison. Buttafuoco served four months. His wife, Mary Jo, recovered and the couple remained together for several years until their divorce.
Update; 5--23-07 Have Joey and Amy been reunited on Larry King?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Welcome 5th Grade Social Studies Class

Legal Pub welcomes the 5th Grade Social Studies Class!

Here is your opportunity to post under comments your legal questions about our Constitution, Legislature, Executive Branch and Judiciary. Just click on comments below and select anonymous. At the end of your post use your first name or initials. Do not post your full name.

Legal Pub Recognizes 2007
Teaching Excellence

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

So Much for Miss America Being a Hero

Miss America Goes Undercover in Sting


AP OKLAHOMA CITY (April 25) - Miss America can add crime fighter to her resume. Lauren Nelson recently went undercover with police in New York for a sting targeting predators. Officers created an online profile of a 14-year-old girl that included photographs of Nelson as a teenager. "I got to chat online with the predators and made phone calls, too," "The Suffolk County Police Department was there the whole time."
The operation was filmed for a segment of "America's Most Wanted." Nelson, 20, posed as a young teen in chat rooms, where she said men would begin sending her instant messages.

UPDATE: Updated:2007-05-01 11:44:29
The undercover sex sting that used Miss America as bait may be in trouble after the beauty queen told prosecutors that she does not plan to testify against the men she helped arrest.

Lauren Nelson, 20, of Lawton, Okla., posed as a teenager and lured men into chatting online and meeting her at a home, where police and crews were waiting. Eleven men were arrested in the sting. But one or all of the cases could be in jeopardy after Nelson told prosecutors she did not plan on returning to Long Island to testify, said Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota.

Prison is Not a Holiday Inn

Riot Breaks Out at Indiana PrisonBy TOM MURPHY

Indiana officials suspended plans to accept hundreds more inmates from Arizona after rioting broke out in a state prison run by a private company. Authorities were investigating whether Tuesday's two-hour fracas, involving about 500 inmates, started because some newly arrived prisoners from Arizona were upset about their treatment at the medium-security men's prison. Two staff members and seven prisoners suffered minor injuries at New Castle Correctional Facility, officials said. ... "They were wrapped up in masks, with sticks, knives, shanks," Savage said of the inmates. "They were just flexing their muscles and they wanted to show that they could take the prison over at any time, and that's what they did."

Inmates set fire to mattresses and paper in the courtyard and destroyed furniture and windows before the prison was secured, officials said. The disturbance came six weeks after the first of some 600 Arizona inmates began joining 1,050 Indiana prisoners at the facility, about 45 miles east of Indianapolis. Indiana Department of Correction Commissioner J. David Donahue said he has delayed the transfer of 600 more inmates from Arizona until authorities can reassess the condition of the prison. Donahue said the riot began after a group of inmates from Arizona disobeyed orders and took off their shirts in the prison's recreation area to show staff they wouldn't comply with orders. "This system is different than what they are accustomed to," he said. Some of the newly arrived inmates had complained about a lack of recreation and other programs, said Trina Randall, a spokeswoman for GEO Group Inc.

Inmates had complained about being moved, which was prompted by the state's shortage of prison space. The injured staff members suffered cuts and scrapes, while the injuries to inmates involved tear gas exposure and minor cuts. All seven inmates were treated at the prison, Randall said.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Alec Baldwin Now Provides A Public Service

Pig or Public Servant? If a child is acting disrespectful, maybe Alec Baldwin can straighten the child out.

On Monday, Basinger's representative denied that Kim leaked the voice mail in which Baldwin threatened to straighten his daughter out. (Hmm who else would have had access to the voice mail.)
Basinger also called her ex-husband to "finally address his unstable and irrational behavior." (Once again an example of PAS by publically pointing out his flaws.)
"Everybody is always asking why this custody battle has been going on for so many years and now they have the answer," says Basinger. "The issue is ... about his ongoing aggressive behavior. Kim's sincerest wish is for him to finally address his unstable and irrational behavior." "Until then, Kim will continue to protect and safeguard her child's well-being as any parent would." (Kim's spokesperson needs to study PAS. By publically blaming Baldwin, she again provides evidence of her true intent to portray Baldwin as the bad guy.)

The big loser in this one is the poor innocent daughter!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Alec Baldwin Angry Dad

The news covered Alec Baldwin's anger concerning his daughter's less then regular visitation. While his anger was improperly displaced and directed toward his daughter, Baldwin is the classic victim of Parental Alienation Syndrom courtesy of his ex wife.
PAS is child abuse. When a custodial parent tries to turn her child against a father who wants to be part of his daughters life, it is wrong on so many levels. It is all about controll. The true victim is the child who often does not realize the damage until she is an adult and wonders why she is not close with her natural dad.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Campus Massacre

What has happened to our society?
Gunman Kills 32 People at Virginia Tech- Deadliest in U.S. History
BLACKSBURG, Va. (April 16) - A gunman opened fire in a dorm and classroom at Virginia Tech on Monday, killing 32 people in the deadliest campus shooting rampage in U.S. history. The gunman was killed, bringing to death toll to 33.
4-17 Shooter has been identified as Cho Seung-Hui, a 23-year-old English major from Korea. but a permanent resident of this country.

4-19 In his video Cho attacks Christianity. Some consider the murders as classic "terrorism."
4-24 BOSTON (April 24) - A professor at Emmanuel College was fired after leading a classroom discussion about the Virginia Tech shootings in which he pointed a marker and said "pow." The discussion included topics of gun control, whether to respond to violence with violence, and the public's "celebration of victimhood," said Professor Nicholas Winset. During the demonstration, Winset pretended to shoot some students and one student pretended to shoot Winset to illustrate that the gunman might have been stopped had another student or faculty member been armed. " Administrators who had asked the faculty to engage students on the issue fired him on Friday.

Law and Internet: Free Speech

MySpace Rant "Political Speech," Appeals Court Rules
A judge violated a juvenile's free-speech rights when he placed her on probation for posting an expletive-laden entry on MySpace criticizing a school principal, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. The three-judge panel ordered the Putnam Circuit Court to set aside its penalty against the girl, referred to only as A.B. in court records.

MySpace Bans Photobucket Videos in Ad Flap
Social-networking giant began preventing Photobucket videos and mashups from being uploaded to its pages. MySpace said Photobucket had violated MySpace's terms by encouraging users to post advertisements in their videos.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

More Bad Judgment on Part of Janet Lofton and Leroy Coleman?

Well, at least it is a teacher with an adult. That was the best thing that enter my mind when I read Don Babwin's A.P. article entitled: Principal, Teacher Quit After Alleged Video Tape Article below:
CHICAGO (April 14) - A principal and a teacher at a suburban elementary school quit amid allegations they were caught on video having inappropriate physical contact in the principal 's office, authorities say. In keeping with Cook County's reputation for bare-knuckle politics, the scandal broke after copies of the tape were mailed anonymously to parents this week, just days before a contested school board election. The case has also created something of a mystery: Who planted the camera that recorded the action? Leroy Coleman and Janet Lofton submitted their resignations after meeting with the district superintendent Thursday, said John Izzo, board attorney for the Sandridge Elementary School district, about 20 miles south of Chicago.
We may never know who planted the tape, but it can be viewed on the Internet with a Google search! Perhaps in the future, teachers and principals can come together to set better examples for the student body. At least here, it was an adult body and not a student body involved in the private conference.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Play the Abuse Card! Update: 8-15-07 Mary Winkler Free?

Update 8-15-07: Apparently after serving only less then 7 months in custody, Mary Winkler apparently is out free! Mary Winkler, 33, was freed from a Tennessee mental health facility where she had been treated for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. According to her lawyer Steve Farese, She will fight a legal battle for custody of her three daughters. She also must defend a $2 million civil suit filed by the parents of Matthew Winkler.

Slain Pastor's Wife Was Abused thus Temporary Insanity v.
Prosecution: She Hoped to Hide Money Scheme


SELMER, Tenn. (April 12) -- A preacher's wife was trying to protect her young daughter from her abusive husband when she pointed a shotgun and accidentally shot him, her attorney said in opening statements Thursday.
Mary Winkler only intended to hold her husband at gunpoint to force him to talk about his personal problems after an incident involving their 1-year-old daughter, Breanna, defense attorney Steve Farese said. ...
But after Mary Winkler was arrested she told police her husband was a "fine person." "The state will give you evidence to show that this... was a premeditated act because of things that had been happening of which Mary Winkler was in control."
District Attorney Freeland said bank managers were closing in on a check kiting scheme involving Mary Winkler and that she wanted to conceal it from her husband. He said Mary Winkler was the one who controlled the family's finances...
Update 4-18: Defendant claims it was an accident! Ever hear of a premeditated accident?

Update 4-20 The Defense Works Again! T
he preacher's wife accused of killing her husband took the witness stand this week and dredged up every embarrassing detail, talking about the abuse in front of TV cameras and family members. The risky decision to testify had a powerful effect on the jury and probably explains why Winkler will not spend the rest of her life in prison.

A jury found Winkler guilty of voluntary manslaughter Thursday after eight hours of deliberation. The prosecution had sought a conviction for first-degree murder, a far more serious offense.

In powerful testimony Wednesday, Winkler testified that her husband abused her physically and sexually. But she still claimed that the shotgun went off accidentally as she pointed it at him.

Because Winkler has no prior convictions, she faces a sentence of three to six years in prison. She would be eligible for parole after serving a third of the sentence and will receive credit for the five months she already spent in jail. If Winkler, 33, had been convicted of first- or second-degree murder, she would have gone to prison for 12 years to life.

Update 8-5-08: Mary Winkler was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the 2006 shooting death of her minister husband. She is not only out of jail, but now has taken custody of her three daughters. She picked the girls up Friday from the slain man's parents, Dan and Diane Winkler.

Update 11-5-10: Mary Winkler's husband is dead but she has moved on with her life! Women are sometimes "hesitant to speak out and ask for help," Mary Winkler said on the "Today" show. Winkler, who was convicted of voluntary manslaughter for the March 2006 killing of her preacher husband served less than a year behind bars. In 2008, Mary regained full custody of her three daughters.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Lisa Nowak Learns Crime Does Not Pay As An Astronaut Falling From Grace Updated:8-29

The noose gets tighter! Look at the toll it has taken on this woman. The fall from grace can be ugly! When the police searched former astronaut Lisa Nowak 's car, they found bondage photos on a computer disk, British currency and pills.

The judge unsealed some of the documents in the Nowak's case which revealed that she is accused of trying to kidnap a rival in order to gain another space shuttle pilot's affections. Images on the disk depicted bondage scenes, according to the Orlando Police Department. (Images of a nude woman while others were drawings) Nearly $600, 410 British pounds and four brown paper towels with 69 orange pills were also discovered. ... Needless to say the Prosecution has a good case...
5-27-07 Update: Commander Bill Oefelein, the space shuttle pilot involved in the love triangle will leave NASA on June 1. The Navy expects to assign Oefelein to the Naval Network Warfare Command in Norfolk, Va., where he will work with satellite communications.
7-10-07 Update: Nowak told police that the purpose of her meeting Shipman was to tell her of her involvement with Commander Bill Oefelein. The Commander allegedly had a two-year relationship with Nowak which apparently ended some time after he started a relationship with Shipman. Shipman apparently did not know Nowak had been romantically involved with Oefelein. Nowak claimed she "wouldn't go beyond a certain point" while in the process of separating from her husband. Nowak had aspirations for a possible future with Oefelein. Nowak explained the basis for her belief: "He picked me up from the airport two weeks ago. I mean, I mean, you just don't do that for anybody." (Was Nowak planning to plead an insanity defense? Picking up someone at the airport does not necessarily imply plans for a long term relationship!)
8-29-07 update:
Former astronaut Lisa Nowak is pursuing a temporary insanity defense on charges that she assaulted and tried to kidnap a romantic rival, according to a court document released Tuesday.

Still looking bad...

Courtesy of AP

Lisa Nowak, looking older than her44 years, testified in an Orlando, Fla., court Friday. She plans to pursue an insanity defense to the assault charges. Nowak allegedly suffers from major depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, insomnia and "brief psychotic disorder with marked stressors," according to her defense attorney Donald Lykkebak .

Nowak allegedly assaulted Colleen Shipman, the girlfriend of a former space shuttle pilot. Nowak had been seeing. Nowak was charged with attempted kidnapping, battery and burglary with assault and has pleaded not guilty. Friday, Nowak apologized to Shipman.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Some Folks Just Can't Keep Their Mouth Shut! Don Imus Update 8-14-07 Kia Vaughn to Sue?

Updated last: 08-15-07
Critics Demand Imus Be Fired Over Remarks and He is... But Could He Come Back? Kia Vaughn to Sue?

"I Said a Bad Thing"

On his show Wednesday, Imus was talking to producer Bernard McGuirk about the NCAA women's championship game when he said of the Rutgers team, "That's some nappy-headed hos there, I'm going to tell you that."

Radio talk show host Don Imus said this morning that he wanted to meet with members of the Rutgers women's basketball team to apologize in person for comments he made on air last week.
"These women don't know who I am," Imus said today on his radio show. "They don't know if I'm on a right-wing diatribe or I was drunk." Maybe true Imus, but without even meeting you I will bet most folks think you are a "dumb***."

Update 8-14-07: Don Imus apparently reached a settlement with CBS involving the wrongful termination of his multimillion-dollar contract. Imus is now possibly negotiating with WABC radio to resume his broadcasting career. The Imus-CBS settlement will resolve Imus' threatened $120 million breach-of-contract lawsuit according to Dana McClintock of CBS. No terms of settlement were disclosed.

Update 8-15-07: Rutgers basketball player Kia Vaughn is apparently suing Imus and CBS for defamation of character. She claims that unless they changed the definition of "Hoe" it does not apply to her. ( I was taught the word referred to a garden tool.)

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Stars Just Can't Stay Out of Legal News

Ms. Hilton was in an MTV comedy sketch about getting pulled over for a DUI. (T.V. imitates real life.) However, last week her lawyers threatened to sue if MTV shows it in tomorrow's episode of "ShortCircuitz."
In the sketch, the action shifts from salesgirl Paris to "real-life" situations where people look to their bracelets for advice. A blonde in a short skirt is busted for drunken driving. After checking her Hilton bracelet, she grinds on an officer who replies: "I can't arrest you, you're too fabulous." Hilton had previously agreed to poke fun at herself and appear in the sketch which was filmed on Jan. 4.
This may be used as ammunition for the Anti DWI crowd or as just another example of famous folks whose word can not be trusted.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Legal Blogger Served Time in Jail

Does the first amendment protect bloggers? It sure should! The first amendment should protect all citizens. However, sometimes the interests of Justice override individual rights.
Courtesy of the A.P.:

Video Blogger Free After 226 Days in Prison
DUBLIN, Calif. (April 4) - Video blogger Joshua Wolf, who spent a record-setting stint behind bars for refusing to turn over his footage of a chaotic 2005 street protest, walked out of prison after cutting a deal with prosecutors.

Wolf, 24, said Tuesday he was looking forward to "pizza and a beer" after having spent 226 days in prison - more than any journalist who's refused to testify. Under the deal, Wolf agreed to turn over the uncut video, which he also posted on his Web site Tuesday. But he refused to testify before the grand jury about the events at the protest or the identities of participants. "I will not under any circumstances testify before a grand jury," Wolf said. His prison time surpassed the previous record set by Vanessa Leggett, a Houston-based freelancer who served 168 days in 2001 and 2002 for declining to reveal unpublished material about a murder case. Wolf had been found in contempt for refusing to obey a subpoena to turn over his video from a July 2005 protest during the G-8 economic summit where anarchists were suspected of vandalizing a San Francisco police car. One city officer was struck during the rally and his skull was fractured.

Wolf, a freelancer, sold some footage to San Francisco television stations and posted it on his Web site, but refused to turn over unpublished material. The footage Wolf posted online Tuesday does not capture the alleged crimes authorities are investigating. Wolf's lawyers had argued that the First Amendment gave him the right to refuse the subpoena to turn over the rest of his tape. "Now that the fences of the law and the tradition that has protected the press are broken down, the people are the victims. The First Amendment, as I read it, was designed precisely to prevent that tragedy," Wolf said in prepared statement he read Tuesday on the steps of San Francisco City Hall. California's shield law allows reporters to keep sources and unpublished material secret. But there is no federal shield law protecting reporters from federal investigations. The National Writer's Union said in a statement that Wolf should never have been jailed. "The abuses visited on Josh and other journalists are part of an effort by governments at all levels to control the volume, flow and content of the information that reaches the public," the union said.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

More Teacher Trouble

Updated:2007-04-03 01:24:38
Teacher Convicted of Making Bomb Threats

APSixth grade teacher Michelle J. Dohm has been convicted of making false bomb threats targeting five male students.
FREDERICK, Md. (April 3) - A sixth-grade teacher was convicted Monday of making false bomb threats that targeted five students attending the middle school where she taught. Michelle J. Dohm, 41, had pleaded not guilty but agreed to a written statement of facts, on which Frederick County Circuit Judge Julie Stevenson Solt based her verdict. In return, prosecutors dropped seven felony threat counts and four misdemeanor stalking counts. Dohm, a married mother, made the threats from September 2005 to April 2006.
The threats were in notes found in the boys' lockers, a Thurmont Middle School bathroom and envelopes mailed to two of the victims' homes. Some of the notes began, "Tick Tock Tick Tock. Is it a bomb or is it a clock?" Solt ordered a pre-sentencing investigation that will include a psychiatric examination. Sentencing is set for June. The five felonies carry a combined maximum penalty of 50 years in prison. A prosecutor said he will seek 18 months in jail for her. State's Attorney J. Charles Smith declined to comment until after sentencing.
Defense attorney Thomas C. Morrow said Dohm continues to maintain her innocence. "She just wanted to avoid the pain and anguish of a two-week trial on her family and the community," he said.

UPDATE 6-27-07: . This sixth-grade teacher in Fredrick, Md. was sentenced Tuesday to nine months in jail plus nine months of home detention. As indicated above, Dohm had written threatening notes to five students with messages such as, "Tick Tock Tick Tock. Is it a bomb or is it a clock?"