Saturday, May 31, 2008

Lorenzo Odone Ends His Long Battle With Adrenoleukodystophy (Lorenzo Disease) Update: Dalton's Journey Continues ~by Legal Pub

If you are looking for a funny story this Saturday, please look else where. Today's subject deals with a genetic mutation known as Lorenzo's disease. The disease became better known in a movie called "Lorenzo's Oil" which starred Nick Nolte and Suzan Sarandon. The man who was the subject of the movie died Friday at his home in Virginia. Lorenzo Odone lived more than 20 years longer than doctors predicted. Lorenzo Odone was 30 years old.

Lorenzo's father, Augusto Odone, said that Lorenzo had come down with aspiration pneumonia. He began bleeding heavily, and Lorenzo died before an ambulance arrived. According to his dad, Lorenzo, " could not see or communicate, but he was still with us," Odone said Friday. Lorenzo Odone at age 6 was diagnosed to have adrenoleukodystrophy, or ALD. This is caused by a genetic mutation that causes the neurological system to break down. Lorenzo was originally given two years to live. The disease leads to chain fatty acids in cells damaging the membranes that coat nerve fibers in the brain. Augusto developed an oil that helped his son fight the neurological disease. A 2005 study, showed that a treatment made from olive and rapeseed oils (patented by Augusto Odone) may prevent or delay the disease's symptoms for most boys with ALD.

Augusto plans to author a book about his son's battle with the disease.
Update 6-2-08 For those with this genetic mutation, U.S. researchers believe Lorenzo's Oil can prevent the onset of the devastating neurological disease in young boys. Researchers used validated scientific methods to prove the formula works. Researchers found that subsequently, 74 percent of the boys showed no signs of disease progression.
The most dangerous form is a childhood cerebral form. With this form, brain cells are destroyed. Symptoms are devastating and include a loss of the ability to speak, reduced strength and coordination and, eventually, death. At present there is no cure, but potential treatments include cholesterol lowering drugs such as lovastatin and bone marrow transplants.
Dr. Hugo Moser of the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore was an expert in the field. While Dr. Moser is deceased, his work lives on at the Kennedy Krieger Institute.
Update 3-20-10: Legal Pub was contact on behalf of Dalton, a young boy with this dreaded disease. For anyone interested in reading about Dalton's journey, follow the LINK

Update 11-6-13:  Augusto Odone, the Italian economist who ignored conventional wisdom to invent an experimental medicine that extended the life of his terminally ill son and inspired the film," Lorezo's Oil," died on Friday November 1, 2013 at the age of 80.
Universal Pictures
The 1992 film based on his family story starred Nick Nolte and Susan Sarandon.  While the movie was a hit, Lorenzo’s Oil did not cure Lorenzo Odone, his son, who died in 2008 at age 30.  Adrenoleukodystrophy remains an incurable neurological disease known as ALD. But the moviedid generate financing for research that has confirmed the benefits of Lorenzo’s Oil in some patients.
Mr. Odone wrote an essay in 2011 chronicling his journey with the disease and propounding the need to find a cure. A compound using extract of acids in olive and rapeseed oils, became known as Lorenzo’s Oil. It apparently breaks down long-chain fatty acids that are considered a cause of damage to nerve cells in people with ALD.  A 2005 study suggested that Lorenzo’s Oil helped children with ALD if used before they started showing symptoms.  Unfortunately, it was found to be less effective once the degenerative process had begun. The Food and Drug Administration considers Lorenzo Oil "experimental."

Augusto Daniel Odone was born in Rome on March 6, 1933.  He grew up in Gamalero, Italy and received a law degree from the University of Rome.  The world was a better place because he shared his passion with humanity.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Odds On Favorite Is That Women Will No Longer Fall For Men's Pick Up Tricks ~by Blond Bombshell

"Oh come on, you have a better chance of getting hit by lightning than you do of getting pregnant tonight." So right in the middle of a trendy night club in New York I used my PDA to hook up with the Internet so I could figure out just what the odds are of getting struck by lightning. Well, Blond Bombshell investigation revealed that the odds of getting killed by lightning are 1,603,250 to one. That means that if you have 230 million fans in the U.S., 144 of them are going to be electrocuted. That is pretty bad if you are one of the 144 or if you are a humanitarian.

This got me even more curious. With this Don Juan stalking me as if I were his prey, I then set out to determine my odds of getting killed by a snake or poisonous bite. 1,159,354 to one. So out of 230 million fans, 200 of them will die in such a fashion. Well, how about being murdered I wondered? As a female, the odds are 79,365 to one. Again, assuming 1/2 of the fans are female (115 million), almost 1450 will be killed (and of course the vast majority of the killers will be men.) And the odds of blackmail 52,632 to one. The odds of being imprisoned as a female are 6,757 to one. Getting pregnant on a one night stand with someone you don't know would be the same as being imprisoned. (See the movie Knocked Up.)

Pulling an ace out of a deck of cards happens statistically one in 13 tries. Rolling a 7 or 11 in craps
happens every 4.5 times. The odds of dieing from heart disease is 4 to one. The odds of any marriage ending in divorce is 2.3 to one. Armed with this information and knowledge, I was ready to respond to my potential suitor.

My response to this jerk was simple and to the point: "The odds on me sleeping with you is a billion to one." His reply, " Great, that means that I still have a shot." (He didn't, I left. Stay safe ladies.)


* Statistical Source: Herald Sun 11/5/99:Maquarie University

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Scott McClellan Cashing In On His Ten Minutes of Fame? ~ by Legal Pub

Does everyone enjoy ten minutes of fame? When the person falls from the lime light, how do they react? Some apparently write tattle tail books. Scott McClellan was an insider. He was one of Bush's trusted advisers. One can recall him actively defending President Bush's response to Hurricane Katrina. He even defended President Bush's decision to invade Iraq.

But a great deal has changed since then. Scott McClellan resigned. Now his is an ex-Bush spokesman, who coincidentally has a 341-page book that tattles on the administration. Scott writes about he opposed President Bush's photo flying over New Orleans looking out the window. He also says that the administration fibbed to garner support for the war. While he does not say the President or Vice President lied, he certainly paints them in a negative light. Scott's book has led to predictable reaction from Bush supporters. McClellan has now been labeled as 'left-wing,' 'self-serving' and 'unprofessional.' Harsh? Perhaps. True? Probably. What is certain, is that the book will likely generate a great deal of revenue for McClellan and allow him to cash in on his ten minutes of fame. While President Bush will likely never read the book himself, he may glance over the best seller list and wonder what his own book would generate in revenue should he attempt to cash in on his own ten minutes of fame.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Does the Value of Life Exceed Fifty Thousand Dollars? by Legal Pub

What is the value of life? Ask a personal injury lawyer trying a wrongful death action and he will calculate a figure in excess of several million dollars based on life expectancy. An economist, hired by the defense, will quickly say such figures need to be discounted to the money's present value. Ask a criminal defendant and he may say the victim was worthless and deserved to die because it was self defense. Ask a spouse, lover or child and they may say no amount is ever enough. Ask Anthem and they will likely say without hesitation, $50,000 per year.
Is that cruel? Private and government-run health insurance plans routinely determine whether to cover a new medical procedure. The entity must calculate whether a treatment will guarantee one year of "quality life" for $50,000 or less. Cold, but factual.

Stanford Graduate School of Business has argued that the average value of a year of quality human life is actually closer to about $129,000. Kidney dialysis can be used as an example. Dialysis saves hundreds of thousands of Americans from renal failure while waiting for an organ transplant. Medicare has covered dialysis since 1972.
Should Medicare and/or the U.S. government use cost-effectiveness analysis in determining coverage of procedures? Canada, Britain and the Netherlands allocate health care based on cost-effectiveness and the $50,000 threshold. Our Medicare system decides whether a new technology is "medically necessary and appropriate." But at least one part of Medicare may be bankrupt by 2019. So should the medicare approach be reconsidered with cost as a factor? If the cost of a new technology is more than the monetary threshold, should Medicare not cover that new technology?
Assigning a dollar figure to Medicare patients' lives should not be taken for granted. However, while it seems very cold, a $500,000 death benefit is paid by our government to families when a soldier is killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. $500,000 seems like an arbitrary figure. Private health insurers make similar determinations as to what they will cover for customers, so why should medicare be different?
Researchers speculate that such a system for Medicare could result in the denial of life-saving treatment for many. Sounds awful. But what if they are terminally ill with another condition or suffering from severe dementia? Does that suddenly make a subjective decision or a decision based on objective criteria more appropriate? Readers, this is your cue to add comments where appropriate.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Did Parent Brenda Sullivan Go Too Far In Controlling Her 17 Year Old Teenager? - by Vern edit by Legal Pub

Parents face all types of problems in raising children. Discipline, including the use of "time out," has always been a controversial issue. Some times, parents appear to cross the line. Brenda Sullivan has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty last January to three counts of aggravated child abuse. Prosecutors accused her of keeping her 17 year old child in a cage. Prosecutors dropped a lesser child neglect charge. The 17 year old weighed 49 pounds when child welfare workers found him in 2005. He was in a cage like structure. Sullivan told an Ohio judge that authorities told her to keep the severely emotionally disturbed boy in a crib.
Prosecutor Julie Schlax opined that she was starving the child to death.
Two adopted13-year-old twins apparently testified they too were kept in similar cages. (Sullivan's husband died in January 2007 while awaiting trial.) Brenda Sullivan's lawyer, Charles Fletcher, will apparently appeal the sentence as he feels 20 years in prison is too harsh for someone who does not pose a threat to society. Legal Pub did a similar story back in July of 2007 concerning another couple who were potentially facing charges for keeping kids at night in what was described as cage like restraints. LINK

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Malpractice Case Reports Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Massachusetts ~ by Legal Pub

In Lake County, Illinois a two million plus dollar verdict was entered in favor of a four year old because his doctor allegedly pulled too hard on the baby's neck during delivery. As a result the boy suffered severe nerve damage. So far, the young boy has had two surgeries to try to treat his condition and may need another. Both Dr. Thakar and Greenleaf Obstetrics and Gynecology Associates in Gurnee were named defendants. The plaintiff was represented by Attorney Joe Kolar.

North west Indiana has been the site of a $4.45 million medical malpractice suit. The jury found Dr. Rajeev Sareen, a St. Catherine's Hospital emergency doctor, was responsible for medical malpractice. The decedent's family was represented by attorney Holly Wojcik. The family sued Dr. Rajeev Sareen after 45 year old Roger Vuckovich died on Dec. 22, 2001 of an abdominal aortic aneurysm. About 12 hours earlier, he had been discharged from St. Catherine's Hospital where the aneurysm had not been diagnosed. Attorney Barry Rooth argued Vuckovich's death could have been prevented if a CT scan had been performed prior to discharge. Plaintiffs alleged that Vuckovich was misdiagnosed as having a kidney stone. After a five day trial, Lake Superior Court jury found Sareen responsible after about an hour of deliberation. Vuckovich's wife, Cynthia, and three daughters were plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

Also in Indiana, a medical malpractice trial was tried against two physicians at the same time. Angela Hines sued Dr Stan Drake and Dr. Ron Rourke for failing to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy. The patient supposedly did not mesh with Dr. Drake's nurses and was discharged from his care after an ultrasound and a few serial HCG's. Dr. Rourke accepted transfer of the patient about nine days later from a rural emergency room. Dr. Rourke diagnosed the plaintiff with having fetal demise with an incomplete abortion. He performed a D&C within 24 hours of making his diagnosis. The plaintiff was to follow up with Dr. Rourke in two weeks. She did not. Instead, she returned to the ER about 20 days post D&C with what was then diagnosed as an ectopic pregnancy. Dr. Rourke surgically removed the ectopic. Plaintiff subsequently complained about infertility. A medical review panel concluded by a 2 to 1 vote that both doctors were negligent. Dr. Fred Duboe was an expert witness for the Plaintiff. After four days of evidence, the jury deliberated for about 2 hours and returned a defendants verdict in favor of each doctor. Scott Kyrouac represented both defendants.
In Ohio, still another medical malpractice case was tried. A civil jury awarded Heather Grow $22.6 million dollars because her baby suffered permanent brain injuries after it was stuck in her birth canal for more than 13 hours. Jurors found that Dr. Lisa Yang and Group Health Associates were negligent. Approximately, $16 million of the award is allocated to future medical bills and future loss of ability to perform usual functions.

In the summer of 1997, doctors apparently told Heather Grow that she had a narrow pelvic arch. Her unborn child was about nine pounds and thus was likely too big for vaginal delivery. Plaintiff's also alleged that the baby's injuries were caused because medical workers, who were supervised by Yang, continued to give Heather drugs to make the uterus contract, hoping to expel the baby. Apparently, when the uterus contracted on the baby's head it caused brain damage. Plaintiff was represented by attorney Mark Mueller and Patrick P.J. Beirne.
The mother was in labor from 9 a.m. until 10:30 p.m. before the baby was delivered by Cesarean section. The child, Cassie, is now 11. She is unfortunately a spastic quadriplegic who has only limited use of her limbs.

A Massachusetts Jury in December of 2007, awarded Audrey Serrano $2.5 million in her lawsuit against Dr. Kwan Lai, who allegedly misdiagnosed her with HIV. Serrano was treated for almost nine years before learning that she never had the virus. Her treatments caused her to experience depression and a number of health problems. Dr. Kwan Lai allegedly never ordered definitive tests to confirm Serrano's diagnosis.

Are Serial Evil Smiley Face Killers Destroying Young College Student's Lives and Dreams? ~ Tommy G.

Are serial killer smiley face killers on the loose? Christopher Jenkins, 21, was a University of Minnesota senior with a bright future in business. On Halloween in 2002, Christopher vanished after last being seen in a bar. Four months later, his body turned up in the Mississippi River still wearing his Halloween costume. Four years later, police changed the cause of his death from accidental to probable homicide. His parents, Steve and Jan Jenkins, have always suspected foul play.

Patrick McNeill was a Fordham University Student whose body washed up in the East River two months after he left a bar in New York. His death, too, was initially ruled an accidental drowning.

In 2006, a tip from a man in jail, caused police to change Jenkins' cause of death from "unexplained drowning" to homicide. Retired NYPD detective Kevin Gannon and NYPD officer, Anthony Duarte, are helping to investigate these deaths. They hypothesizes that there has been many student drowning deaths, many of them involving young men who attended colleges along the Interstate 94 in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. Nine of the students attended the University of LaCrosse, in Wisconsin. Three attended colleges in New York state.
Potentially, as many as 40 college age men have died in bizarre drowning deaths across the country. The two detectives opine that in each case, the men may have been drugged and then thrown into the water to make it appear as if they'd drowned.

Water often washes away key pieces of evidence such as fingerprints, fibers, and DNA. Some of the deaths may also be connected in a bizarre fashion. Near the water's edge, a smiley face has been painted on trees and other surfaces. The smiley faces may have been left by the killers. They varied in size, shape and design. In Iowa, one had devils horns and a caption which read, "Evil Happy Smiley Face Man." Some of the other sites contained symbols similar to gang graffiti. Minneapolis police are not convinced that Jenkins' death was the work of a serial killer or killers. The FBI has not jumped on the bandwagon either. The FBI believes that the vast majority of these instances are "alcohol-related drowning."

Gannon and Duarte are none the less pressing onward. Scott Javin and Brad Henley were two college age students who apparently drowned in their vehicles. Wonder if there were ever any smiley faces left behind? Did any one think to check? In the interim, be on the lookout for any Evil Avatar Killers (some in the comments hypothesize it may be part of a gang or illegal organization's initiation.) Others speculate that it is just an isolated occurrence or two...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Yisryl Hawkins (formerly Buffalo Bill Hawkins) Appears On Nancy Grace To Clear Up Misconceptions ~by Legal Pub

Yisryl Hawkins is the leader of a polygamist sect. Yisrayl Hawkins (born Buffalo Bill Hawkins) is credited with being the founder of the second House of Yahweh (Abilene). In the past, this organization unsuccessfully predicted that nuclear war would start in September of 2006. The House of Yahweh (HoY) is a non-profit religious organization. Hawkins apparently claims to be a decendent of Jewish immigrants who fled persecution in Europe.

Like many recent high profile suspects, Hawkins and his attorney have turned to the media. Last night he appeared on Nancy Grace. Video Yisryl claims that the bible supports polygomy since Abraham had more than one wife. He also blames all of the world problems including STDs and global warming on sin. It would be nice to inform you that Hawkin's appearance helped clear up many misconceptions about this religious leader; however, one suspects that the appearance was likely counterproductive.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Jon Lester No Hits Cancer While Tumor Cluster Hits Cameron, Missouri? ~ by Legal Pub Update 6-28-08

Cancer takes a baseball theme. Jon Lester has inspired many by returning to the majors after battling cancer. Yesterday, Lester no hit the disease by pitching a no hitter for the Boston Red Sox in a 7-0 defeat of Kansas City. The 24-year-old lefty's no hitter was the first one since Clay Buchholz pitched one last September. Lester allowed only two base runners, a walk and an error. Catcher Jason Varitek has now caught a record four no hitters in his career. You might say the catcher's success is a pattern or a statistical cluster. At the same time, apparently a potential cluster consisting of 12 brain tumors may have "hit" Cameron, Missouri.
KMBC reporter, Kelly Eckerman broke a story that more than a dozen brain tumors have been diagnosed in seven months in Cameron, Missouri. By most statisticians, this is considered a cluster. (12 people out of a town with a population of 6,500 is thought to be statistically significant.) Steve Helms is one of the individuals recently diagnosed with a brain tumor. "... how many other people are walking around and have it and don't even know it," Helms wonders. Helms developed headaches and could not sleep. A CAT scan revealed two brain tumors. A large one the size of a half dollar was surgically removed. The other tumor is inoperable because it is too close to the brain stem. Helms and his family have apparently decided to stop drinking city water until they get some answers.

Jessica Hammer's eight year old son Austin also fell ill with a tumor. He is now being treated at St. Jude's Hospital in Memphis. Pharmacist Steve Erickson shared his concerns,
"You take the first victim, you take the second victim and you look at each other and you say, 'Whoa! What do we have in common? Then you add the third one and the fourth one. I'm sure if I was one of the diagnosed, I would not think it was coincidence. Thank God."

Not surprisingly, many in the town don't want the cancer cluster theory to be publicized. Others hope someone can intervene and tell town residents why the recent increase in brain tumors. Doctors report "cancerous" tumors to the Health Department by law. Fortunately, most of the tumors in Cameron are benign. As a result, there are no official agency statistics. So what do all of the victims appear to have in common? It is believed that all of the diagnosed victims regularly drank city water. However, they also all ate food and breathed air so that in itself does not establish causation. Nevertheless, a local reservoir which serves as a source of drinking water, may be a good place to begin an investigation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may choose to look at any possible runoff near the reservoir and any possible contamination from nearby livestock.

An insulation manufacturer used to be located on the edge of town. That is a possible source worth investigating as is investigation into local use of pesticide use and other chemicals. The city is not jumping to any conclusions and neither should readers of Legal Pub. It may be just an anomaly or an unexplained cluster. But the city will look into it. Apparently, the city clerk is one of those recently diagnosed with some sort of brain tumor. The Department of Natural Resources has collected air, water and soil samples.

Perhaps it is time fro Cameron to bring in Jon Lester as a reliever. Based on his past performance, one can expect that he can set cancer down swinging once again.

Update 6-28-08: Apparently, State regulators will examine Rockwool Industries former manufacturing plant as a possible source of environmental contaminants. Whether that caused the tumors is not known, but it is felt to be a good starting point for the investigation. The plant apparently produced fiber insulation at one time but closed down over twenty years ago. The city bought the building and leased it from 1992 to 2003 to Midwest Hanger. Midwest made coat hangers. The plan to investigate this site was discussed recently at a community meeting. Apparently, 11 area residents have been afflicted with tumors since 2002. Stay tuned. Nothing is for certain yet!

Update 7-4-08: Fundraiser for Cameron Victims? Legal Pub received an email from a St. Joseph reporter, Nancy Hull which is worth sharing:
Hi, I write for the regional newspaper that covers Cameron, Missouri - the St. Joseph News-Press in St. Joseph, Missouri.
I saw your comment here ... and am wondering what kind of response you've received about the idea for a fundraiser for the people of Cameron. Is anything in the works? Just curious.

Thank you. Nancy

For those interested in helping the unfortunate folks in Cameron (including Jon Lester) it would be great if you would contact the web site: or email Nancy at

Monday, May 19, 2008

Malpass Corner Elementary School Mandates Students to Urinate Together Or Eat In Silence- by Surfer Dude

The Supreme Court apparently has said lethal injections are not cruel and unusul punishment. What would they say about a school rule in Burgaw, North Carolina? At a Burgaw elementary school, going to the bathroom without a partner can lead to punishment. However, parents are not just going to have their kids bend over to follow this rule. Students at Malpass Corner Elementary School are not suppose to go to the bathroom alone because the administration wants to prevent bathroom graffiti. A letter from the principal mandates that students must go to the bathroom as a class or in pairs. Students who break the rule are punished by having to sit at lunch alone and eat in silence. Some parents, like Jaime Whitmore, claim it is "cruel and unusual punishment." More can be found at The Star-News,
Now I remember why I hated school so much as a kid... Even still, back then graffiti was a form of art, a smoke was a smoke (especially in the bathroom), and urinating was still something a person could count on doing alone!
Surfer Dude

Friday, May 16, 2008

Were Lori Drew and Ashley Grills "So Much Crueler On MySpace?" -scoop by Ms. Calabaza Update 7-13-09

A federal grand jury in Los Angeles has indicted Lori Drew, a Missouri woman, for allegedly perpetrating an online hoax on MySpace which was allegedly targeted against a 13-year-old. Megan Meier, the 13 year old, subsequently committed suicide.Megan Meier apparently thought she was chatting with a 16-year-old boy named Josh Evans. But Josh didn't exist. A mythical identity known as Josh sent cruel messages to Megan.Megan hanged herself in October 2006 after receiving several cruel messages, including one stating the world would be better off without her.

Salvador Hernandez, assistant agent in charge of the Los Angeles FBI office, claims that "Whether the defendant could have foreseen the results, she's responsible for her actions."Drew was charged with one count of conspiracy and three counts of accessing protected computers without authorization to get information used to inflict emotional distress on the girl.Drew has denied creating the account or sending messages to Megan.Both MySpace and Megan are named as victims.Each count carries a maximum possible penalty of five years in prison. Drew will be arraigned in St. Louis but the trial will be in Los Angeles.

Last month Ashley Grills, an employee of Drew, told ABC's "Good Morning America" she created the false MySpace profile but Drew wrote some of the messages to Megan. Drew allegedly suggested talking to Megan via the Internet to fdetermine what Megan was saying about Drew's daughter. Grills apparently wrote the message to Megan about the world being a better place without her with the intent of ending the online relationship with "Josh" because Grills felt the joke had gone far enough. Megan's death was investigated by Missouri authorities, but no state charges were filed.

Drew denies that she has done anything wrong. Legal Pub warns that all suspects are presumed innocent until otherwise proven in a court of law.

Update 3-17-09: Drew was aquitted of all felony charges. Her attorneys will seek a re-trial on the three misdemeanor counts if U.S. District Judge George Wu does not overturn the juries decision on the midemeanors. If the verdict stands, Drew's lawyers will appeal to the 9th Circuit Court arguing that prosecutors misused the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to criminally charge for breach of contract, which typically is a civil matter.

Update 7-13-09: A federal judge has overturned guilty verdicts against Lori Drew, issuing a directed acquittal on three misdemeanor charges. As Ms. Calabaza pointed out, Drew, 50, was accused of cyberbullying a 13-year-old Megan Meier who later committed suicide. The government argued that violating MySpace’s terms of service was the legal equivalent of computer hacking. But U.S. District Judge George Wu said no. “It basically leaves it up to a website owner to determine what is a crime.. And therefore it criminalizes what would be a breach of contract,” explained Judge Wu.

Tina Meier, the mother of Megan Meier, said that the family is still considering whether to bring a civil case against Drew. Ron Meier, Megan Meier’s father, said that “a jury of her peers did convict her, so that itself is a victory.”

Drew was represented by attorney H. Dean Steward.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Judge Joe Trout Revokes John Lovett's Bail Previously Set In Double Homicide Case Involving Tonya Pickett and Ricky Mustard - by Legal Pub

A Clay Circuit Court judge did something really rare; he admitted that he made a mistake. Judge Trout rescinded bond for John Lovett who is charged with a double homicide committed in 1988. Lovett Judge Joe Trout voluntarily turned himself in to authorities at Clay County Sheriff's Department Monday after his previous bond was rescinded. Lovett was originally arrested in March. He was released in April after posting 10 percent of a $200,000 bond. John Lovett, 37, is now back in jail pending an evidentiary hearing.

Lovett is charged with the 1988 double homicide of Tonya Pickett, 16, and her stepfather, Ricky Mustard, 32. Judge Joe Trout told The Brazil Times Monday that after extensive research, he concluded that an evidentiary hearing needs to take place before bail is set. An evidentiary hearing allows a defendant the opportunity to present evidence and challenge the prosecution's evidence. Since no such hearing took place, the previous bond was inappropriate. Consequently, the bond was revoked and Lovett was ordered back in jail. Lovett turned himself in to Indiana State Police Det. Troy Stanton Monday afternoon. Trout said Lovett turned himself in and cooperated. The new warrant ordered Lovett be held without bail pending the evidentiary hearing. Special prosecutors on this case are David Powell and Delbert Brewer. Lovett is currently represented by James Organ, a public defender. However, Lovett will soon be represented by private counsel.

Lovett is to be presumed innocent until proven otherwise in a court of law. Folks, this is a real cold case and the prosecution's 20 year in bringing this case may be evidence of just how weak their case against Lovett may be...
Update 4-30-10: What has happened? Currently there is a bit of a delay in the preliminaries as we await a double murder trial. Currently the matter is up to a Hendricks County court to make evidentiary rulings as to what evidence will be admissible. By history, on March 19, 2008, John Lovett, was formally indicted on two counts of murder by a grand jury. At issue is the 1988 gun-shot deaths of Tonya Pickett, 16, and her stepfather Ricky Mustard, 32. In June 2008, special prosecutors Delbert Brewer and David Powell together with defense attorneys Richard Kammen and Dorie Hertzel, filed for change of venue and jury selection in Hendricks County. This was to avoid "... great controversy, rumor, gossip and innuendo" in the community.

In October 2008, Clay Circuit Court Judge Joseph Trout set bail for $200,000 as the state's circumstantially based evidence was not sufficient enough to prevent bail. (Bail was officially declared in April.) On Dec. 17, 2008, Lovett posted bond. A trial date that was scheduled for Feb. 23, 2009. In August 2009, defense counsel filed a motion to appeal certain evidentiary rulings in Hendrix County Superior Court Division 1. Superior Court Judge Robert Freese has stayed the trial until the evidentiary issues are resolved. In the mean time, Lovett remains free on bond and is presumed innocent unless otherwise proven in a court of law!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Attorney Joe Egan Never Gives Up, Not Even After Death ~ by Legal Pub

Some lawyers never give up the fight. Joe Egan was such a fighter. (This is Joe Egan the nuclear engineer - lawyer, not the Irish boxer) Joe Egan has been fighting a proposed nuclear dump at Yucca Mountain which is 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas for the last seven years. After Joe's death, he continued the fight. In his obituary, the anti-nuclear lawyer wrote a request that his ashes be scattered at the site of the proposed federal nuclear waste dump. His proposed eulogy: "Radwaste buried here only over my dead body." Egan, at age 53, died May 7 of gastro-esophageal cancer.
A Catholic Mass and memorial service will be held on May 22 in Naples, Florida. Egan fought radioactive waste for seven years while under contract with the state of Nevada. His Washington, D.C.-based firm, Egan, Fitzpatrick & Malsch PLLC, seems uncertain how Egan's wishes will be carried out. The Energy Department, which controls Yucca Mountain, has yet to comment. For more information contact: Egan, Fitzpatrick & Malsch PLLC:

Our condolences as well as our appreciation for Joe's dedication are extended to his friends and family.

Update 9-16-08: Joe Egan the boxer stopped by to give his regards to the family and friends of Joe Egan the attorney. For those interested in reading the Irish Boxer who Mike Tyson called "the Toughest White Man Alive" you can buy it here: LINK

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Cheri Webb Auditioning For A New Walking Tall Movie? ~ by Star Girl

Cheri Webb is a Jacksonville mother who is accused of using really poor judgment. She was recently accused of giving her daughter a stick and encouraging her to fight another girl at a bus stop. According to police, more than one person may have broken the law on the occasion in question. Johneishia Ervin, 13, told local T.V. station Channel 4 that she was walking to her bus stop on Thursday morning when another girl attacked her with a stick. According to Johneishia, she was hit several times by the girl with the stick and then Cheri Webb allegedly joined in the attack.

"Her momma grabbed me and put my hands behind my back and started beating me and let her daughter hit me," accused Ervin. A photo of Ms. Ervin shows a scratch on the forehead and possibly some bruising. Johneishia's mother, Felecia Ervin, is upset because, "... they could've beaten her and left her there for death."

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office police report said that Webb's daughter told her mom the evening before the fight that she was going to tangle with Ervin. Apparently, after the fight, Webb took her daughter to school. Later, Cheri Webb was as if nothing had happened. Cheri Webb was subsequently arrested and charged with aggravated battery.

Cheri Webb claims she is innocent. She told police she stepped in to break up the fight after it got out of hand. Webb denied giving her daughter the stick and denied any criminal intent. Webb is presumed innocent until proven otherwise.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Contrasting Sunset Weddings ~ by Jill

A story of two contrasting weddings. One in Crawford, Texas with a beautiful Texas sunset in the background. Another at Rose Medical Center in a sterile hospital setting. Jenna Bush and Henry Hager said "I do" this past weekend and so did Roxanne Velasquez and David Lowery.
Jenna, 26, married Henry Hager, the son of a Virginia Republican. Jenna Bush wore a white silk organza Oscar de la Renta gown. Roxanne Velasquez wore a black and white dress from Target.

Jenna stood with Henry before a beige-colored cross and altar made of Texas limestone with a sunset in the background. Roxanne stood by her man's hospital bed at a time that he is in the sunset of his life. David removed his oxygen mask for the celebratory kiss. Bush family friend Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell of Houston officiated the vows in front of 200 family members and friends. A last minute minister conducted the Lowery wedding ceremony in front of nurses, orderlies and a handful of friends.

Jenna Welch Bush and Henry Chase Hager have what seems a long bright future. Roxanne Velasquez and David Lowery have only so long as the terminally ill Lowery shall live.
Update 5-13-08: Friday, David Lowery and Roxanne Velasquez said I do in the ICU at Rose Medical Center. At the time, Lowery was near death. Lowery battled rheumatoid arthritis for many years. Recently, his lungs started to fail. Saturday, which should have been his honeymoon, was instead the day Lowery passed with the setting sun. David Lowery, may you R.I.P.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Stress From Medical Malpractice Case Causes Doctor To Develop Angina; Doctor Face Elevated Stress and Suicide Rates?

A strange reminder awakened interest late Thursday afternoon during this week's jury trial. An 83 year old defendant had severe angina while walking down from the witness stand following his cross examination. This particular defendant was a doctor being tried for medical malpractice. His co-defendant, another doctor, came to his aid and instructed him to take an aspirin. ( A good tip for most experiencing angina. Aspirin is thought to prevent platelets from clumping together and causing heart damage.) Thankfully, the doctor recovered well enough to attend the last day of trial and see his name (and of the co-defendant) cleared by a favorable jury verdict. While this particular physician has a strong will to live: I could not help to be reminded how stressful the medical profession can be for those involved.

A rarely talked-about paradox exists: doctors are trained to save lives; however, that same training can make physicians efficient at ending their own lives. Approximately 300 to 400 U.S. doctors kill themselves each year. That is thought to be a higher suicide rate than the general population (except perhaps for Washington D. C. prostitutes who threaten to publish names of their famous clients.) One hypothesis is that mental illness is magnified in a profession that elevates and glorifies physicians up to hero status. In such a system, admitting psychiatric problems could be tantamount to exposing Superman to kryptonite and thus constitute a career ending flaw. Consequently, the physicians often go untreated for depression or other mental illness.

What happens when depression becomes too much? Unlike the normal population, doctors have access to prescription drugs. They also know the correct dosage to stop pulmonary and cardiological function. The American Medical Association labeled physician suicide as "an endemic catastrophe." The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has initiated an educational program to help troubled doctors. Unfortunately the AMA does not officially publish suicide statistics. However, men in the U.S. are thought to be four times more likely to commit suicide then women. It is estimated that 23 per 100,000 men will commit suicide. However, when it comes to physicians, male and female suicide rates appear to be equal.

Is there a solution to stress reduction for physicians? From a legal perch trying to peer into the tight nit medical profession, one suggestion would be to avoid medical malpractice trials. Of course, if that happened, some lawyers would need to look for another job.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Scrutinizing The Microscopic View of Drew Peterson. Update Time Line & Gun Arrest Update 7-16-09 Update 11-4-2011: Detention

Drew Peterson lives under a microscope, perhaps unlike any one else. Whenever Peterson opens his mouth, it hits the media. Now, the former Bolingbrook police sergeant who is a suspect in the disappearance of his wife makes the news for a traffic stop. Peterson was apparently stopped in Naperville, Illinois for speeding early Saturday morning. Drew was apparently on the way to meet a young woman (she apparently works at a tanning salon and may have needed a ride.) Peterson apparently was stopped at 2:30 a.m. on his way to help the 22-year-old damsel in distress according to the Sun-Times. Peterson did not get a ticket. He did; however, get a warning.

While Peterson remains a suspected in the October 2007 disappearance of his wife, Stacy, he has not been officially charged. Why? Perhaps one reason is that the prosecution's case may rest in large part on the testimony of Tom Morphy, Peterson's step brother. Apparently, Illinois State Police hypothesize that Tom Morphey may have helped Peterson load a blue barrel into a vehicle on October 28th. (This is believed to be a day after Stacy is last seen. The very next day, apparently Thomas Morphy overdoses on three anti-depressants and alcohol. The drugs are believed to be Zoloft and Xanax. (Others, in the comments, speculate it is because Stacy Peterson is not dead. They opine that she may be in protective custody or well hidden away from Drew. Again, this is pure speculation and assumes she is a key witness in Kathleen Savio's death.)
As the story goes, Tom Morphy is taken by paramedics to Edwards Hospital. Rumors continue to fly as to whether or not Tom Morphy is a credible witness for the prosecution. Joel Brodsky, in an exclusive interview with Legal Pub, apparently denies that a blue barrel was ever in Peterson's possession. Apparently, there are no receipts documenting the acquisition of the "blue barrel." Joel Brodsky goes on to add that "Morphy" may have a drug problem and may be in rehab. Attorney Brodsky has supplied some photos to Legal Pub which could be Tom Morphy. One of the photos is displayed above. (There does not appear to be anything particularly unusual about the photo in and of itself.)

The other photo is less clear and is not published at this time. It looks to be a man similar in appearance to Morphy with what appears to be a pipe. There is no way to tell what is in the pipe. The authenticity and dates of the photos are not verified by Legal Pub. The photos in and of themselves appear to offer little evidential value without corroborating testimony. Nevertheless, if in fact Morphy is to be the star witness of the prosecution, it may be understandable why they have yet to file formal charges against Peterson.
Update 5-13-08: Is it possible that Stacy Peterson is in protective custody as some posters have suggested? Will she be a surprise witness in a trial involving the murder of Kathleen Savio whose death has been ruled a homicide?
Comment 168 has a Drew Peterson Timeline!
Update 5-20-08: Is grand jury testimony nearing its end? Some expect a decision soon. Others say, no body no indictment as to Stacy. See comments 200-230.
Update 5-21-08: Peterson is arrested for having an illegal weapon. The barrel was too short. D.P. claims is was a gun he owned when he was a police officer. His son posts $7,500 and Peterson is bonded out of jail.
Update 5-22-08: Joel Brodsky shared his press release concerning the gun charge. "The allegation is that Drew Peterson had in his possession an AR-15 assault rifle that had too short of a barrel. According to Illinois law, the barrel of a rifle may not be shorter than 16 inches. State police say this particular weapon had a barrel that was 3/8 of an inch too short. This weapon in question was used by Drew while he was a Bolingbrook, Ill. police officer. Under Illinois state law, police officers are exempt from barrel length requirements for duty weapons. And this particular gun was registered as one of Drew's SWAT duty weapons.
Authorities seized the weapon in question while Drew was a sergeant and a member of the SWAT team in the Bolingbrook Police Dept. He did not resign until after the weapons were seized by authorities. This is nothing more than an attempt by state police to avoid returning guns to Drew that had been seized as evidence."
Update 3-6-09: Drew Peterson best be careful. Christina Raines is his 24-year-old " fiance." She reportedly has moved back in with Peterson. Previously, Christina Raines told CBS’ “The Early Show” that her engagement to the 55-year-old former Bolingbrook police sergeant had been a publicity stunt. But now that they are back together, she has retracted her statement and said that she was engaged to Peterson. But what assurance does Peterson or his attorney, Joel Brodsky have that Raines is not working with the authorities as an informant?
It makes sense that this could at least be a possibility. Afterall, what beautiful 24 year old lady is going to agree to be Peterson's 6th fiancee? No offense to Drew as he has not been convicted of any crime at this point, but he is 55 and has been married four times. That alone would put most women on guard. Perhaps love is the sole motivation for Christina Raines. But if you were a suspect under police scrutiny, wouldn't you at least consider some other possibilities?
Update 4-24-09: Attorneys for the family of Kathleen Savio have filed a wrongful-death lawsuit Tuesday against Drew Peterson. A grand jury has been investigating the death of Peterson's third wife, Kathleen Savio, and the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, since November 2007. Savio's family apparently grew impatient and filed the civil case despite the fact that Peterson has not been charged in either case. For some, this may be seen as an example of greed and interference with our criminal court system of justice. For others, it may be seen as a quest to take control or to gain notoriety. Peterson's kids were on the Today Show. And guess what, they apparently do not approve of the civil suit!
Update 5-7-09: Drew Peterson a suspect in the 2007 disappearance of his fourth wife, was charged Thursday with murdering his third wife. Kathleen Savio , died in 2004. Originally her death was ruled an accident. His second wife, Stacy Peterson, has subsequently vanished. According to Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow , Peterson, 55, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the death of Kathleen Savio. The gauntlet has been thrown down!
Update 5-22-09: A preliminary autopsy was unable to identity whether the partial skeletal remains found on the bank of the Des Plaines River, less than 30 miles from the homes of two missing Illinois women, was in fact the body of a woman. Will County Coroner Patrick O'Neil will undoubtedly have to await DNA testing results before the remains will be identified. In the interim, forensic examination was inconclusive as to identity, race or sex. The remains consisted of a rib cage, spinal column and partial left and right femur. Shreds of blue jeans and a small amount of money were also found. DNA results should be available within 15 days. Illinois State Police Sgt. Tom Burek indicated that Michelle Williams previously discovered a blue barrel in Channahon, Illinois, along the river. Conflicting reports have surfaced as to whether the barrel matches the description of the "blue barrel" Tom Morphy claims he helped moved. Peterson is not alone in the hot spot: Peterson pleads not guilty ; Woman evicting husband also disappeared.

Stacy Peterson disappeared in October 2007 and Peterson claims that he is totally innocent. Drew Peterson has also plead not guilty in the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. Channahon (where the remains were found) is 15 miles from Plainfield, Illinois, where Lisa Stebic was last seen in April 2007. On the day she went missing, she petitioned to have her husband, Craig, evicted from their home. Craig Stebic is a suspect in his wife's disappearance. Keep in mind all suspects are to be considered innocent unless otherwise proven in court!
Update 5-29-09: The remains found last week near a blue barrel are not those of Stacy Peterson or Lisa Stebic. Testing done on the remains showed they belonged to a male.
Update 7-16-09: A comment of this date addresses the waiver of a "speedy jury trial" by both sides and the defendant and his attorney's relationship with author Derek Armstrong.
Update 9-9-09: Peterson remains in jail with an astronomical bail. State's Attorney James Glasgow apparently said during the May bail reduction hearing that Peterson tried to solicit a hit man for $25,000 to kill Kathleen Savio. 12th Circuit Judge Carla J. Alessio-Policandriotes denied Peterson's request to reduce his $20 million dollar bail. Joel Brodsky dismissed the prosecutor's allegation saying it was one of many claims to come out of the hearing that he would disprove.
Update January 19, 2010: Is Kathleen Savio finally getting her day in court? Due to a change in the law, the judge in essence will allow Savio to testify from the grave through witnesses who will be allowed to give hearsay testimony. A witness will apparently be allowed to testify how Savio discussed and wrote about her fears that her ex-husband, Sgt. Drew Peterson, would kill her. The judge can admit such hearsay evidence in a first-degree murder cases if prosecutors can prove a defendant killed a witness to prevent her from testifying. The Illinois Legislature passed the law after Peterson was named a suspect in the 2007 disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy. Subsequently, Savio was exhumed and an investigation into her death reopened. The new law has been referred to as "Drew's Law."
The hearing is expected to last three weeks with Will County Judge Stephen White presiding. 60 witnesses may testify as to 15 alleged hearsay statements. Judge White will then decide if the jury will hear any or all of those statements when Peterson stands trial for murder. Peterson has pleaded not guilty to murdering Savio and must be presumed innocent of all charges. A trial date has yet to be set.

Update 1-20-10: Was the relationship between Drew Peterson and Savio violent?According to the A.P. Eighteen times in two years, police were called to the couple's Bolingbrook home. Savio allegedly told officers that her husband had beaten her and threatened to kill her; however, Peterson was never charged. However, Savio was charged with domestic battery. (She was acquitted.) There was a 2002 order of protection in which Savio alleges that Peterson knocked her down, ripped off her necklace and left marks on her body."He wants me dead, and if he has to, he will burn the house down just to shut me up," she apparently wrote. Can a member of the clergy at a Bolingbrook church attended by Stacy Peterson testify? In the days after her disappearance, some members of the media allged that a clergyman allegedly said that Drew Peterson had confessed to her that he killed Savio. Peterson's attorneys will attack the credibility of some if not all of the witnesses offered by the prosecution. "All it is, is rumor, innuendo and gossip," says defense attorney Joel Brodsky.
Do witnesses have an ulterior motive for their testimony? Are they unreliable people as the defense suggests? Stay tuned for the results of the hearing and the eventual trial. Again, keep in mind, Peterson is innocent until proven otherwise.
Update 2-26-10: Steve Maniaci, the boyfriend, and sisters of Savio all testified at the pretrial hearing how she feared for her life and predicted Peterson would kill her. The testimony was mostly cumulative of the 42 witnesses, saying Kathleen Savio, correctly guessed she would die under suspicious circumstances.
A pathologist called by Peterson's attorneys testified Wednesday that in his opinion evidence surrounding Savio's death points to an accident
. Drew Peterson Case. State police originally thought her death was an accident. They apparently changed their minds three and a half years later when Peterson's next wife, Stacy Peterson vanished. (Peterson faces no criminal charges in connection with Stacy's disappearance.) Maniaci told of battery and how Peterson allegedly cut his way through a garage wall into Savio's living room, disabled a deadbolt and broke into her house to pin her to the floor.
Maniaci said he originally told all of this to state police during his interviews with their investigators. But state police investigators didn't include any of it in their reports on Savio's death.

Savio's sisters, Susan and Anna Doman, told how Savio expected Peterson to kill her and disguise her death as an accident. One of Peterson's lawyers, George Lenard, revealed that Susan Doman had signed a contract for a book and movie project with media consultant Larry Garrison and writer Stephanie Good. Lenard said the contract called for Susan Doman, Garrison and Good to split the profits equally, and for Susan Doman to be paid at least $30,000 if the book was made into a movie.
Assistant State's Attorney John Connor pointed out that Susan Doman gave similar statements during a May 2004 coroner's inquest before any book deals.
Update 4-30-10: Lawyering up. Drew Peterson has added Chicago defense attorneys Steven Greenberg, Ralph Meczyk and Darryl Goldberg to his defense team. The three join Joel Brodsky, his partner Reem Odeh and attorney Joseph Lopez. Peterson will be tried in June for the alleged murder of his third wife Kathleen Savio in 2004.
Update 9-30-10: Reem Odeh, one of eight lawyers on the Peterson defense team, filed a motion to withdraw her appearance citing "irreconcilable differences with defense counsel Joel Brodsky." Brodsky told the media: "I guess it's a case of, 'You're fired,' 'No, I quit.' " This is not all that unexpected when you realize that Odeh and Brodsky were law partners for years but ended their partnership in May. Peterson has been in jail since May 2009 while he awaits trial on murder charges concerning his third wife, Kathleen Savio.
Update 2-18-11:
Attorneys argued the controversial hearsay law that may allow Peterson's deceased wives to testify from their grave. The Illinois appellate court allowed the oral arguments to be broadcast live for the first time in state history. The Third District Appellate Court allowed WGN-TV to film the arguments of counsel.
Update 11-4-11: The court's most recent rulings should trouble any citizen who believes that our system of justice presumes innocence. Recently the Illinois Supreme Court denied Peterson's request to be released from jail
while prosecutors appeal a critical evidential ruling.
No one can deny that the proprietorial appeals have delayed Peterson's trial for more than a year while he sits in jail subject to 20 million dollar bond.

The trial was suppose to start 14 months ago but Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow decided to appeal a judge's ruling barring several hearsay statements allegedly made by Peterson's third wife, Kathleen Savio. Peterson is charged with killing Savio, who was found dead in a dry bathtub in 2004. The death was initially ruled an accidental drowning, but authorities reopened the case after Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy, disappeared in October 2007. Drew Peterson has not been charged in Stacy's disappearance and he denies wrongdoing in both cases.

"A defendant shall not be held in jail or to bail during the pendency of an appeal by the state ... unless there are compelling reasons for his continued detention or being held to bail." Despite this law, Peterson is held in Jail all this time because he is allegedly a "threat to society." The Supreme court has yet to rule on the hearsay statements; however, an appellate court ruled that Glasgow missed the 30-day appeal deadline to try to overturn a trial court's decision barring 8 of 14 hearsay statements. In the mean time, Peterson has been in jail since his May 2009 arrest. Does there still exist a presumption of innocence until proven guilty in Illinois? I submit even those most staunch in their beliefs that Peterson should be held accountable recognize the need for a presumption of innocence. Keep in mind, another convicted man was recently freed on DNA testing. Michael Morton; Raymond Towler ; James Bain

Mistakes need to be made in favor of liberty and not detention.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

When is an Animal Unreasonably Dangerous? Sometimes It is More Clear...

A Legal Pub reader Nikki B. reports that her two dogs have been unjustly accused of being dangerous and having attacked a person. The reader claims her dogs did not attack anyone and have been taken into custody without due process. According to Nikki, Fred Forbes, the Interim Division Chief in Jacksonville, Florida will make the final judgement regarding "Ginger and Nyla." Legal Pub responded to Nikki B. that she consult a lawyer in her local community (Jacksonville) as Legal Pub can not represent her in Florida. Perhaps a follow up story can be written after Nikki gets competent legal representation for her dogs in her local jurisdiction. In the interim, Nikki's problem reminds readers that some times animals are dangerous. For example, in Racine, Wisconsin, a dog was believed to be playing with a toy gun. But the toy turned out to be a loaded semiautomatic handgun!

Police speculate that the gun may have been tossed there by 22 year old Sergio M. Pegues who was fleeing police on Thursday night. Sergio was apparently wanted on a felony probation hold. An individual took the gun from the the dog. While the man was entering the house, he apparently dropped the gun and it discharged when it hit the floor. Police were called to the house and they took custody of the gun. There were no injuries. Pegues was later arrested and charged with possession of marijuana, disorderly conduct and obstructing an officer. Charges carry a maximum penalty of 4 1/2 years in prison and a $21,000 fine. Sergio, like all suspects, including Nikki B's two dogs, are innocent until proven guilty. See The Journal Times, for more information.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Susan Mandel, Allergic Mom, Grabs Attention of the New York Law Journal ~ by Ms. Calabaza Editor update 6-26-08

While the Chief editor of Legal Pub is out being a real lawyer (trying a jury trial), Ms. Calabaza once again steps up to the plate and knocks one out of the park with a great story idea from the New York Law Journal.

Susan Mandel, Allergic Mom, Grabs Attention of New York Law Journal `by Ms. Calabaza

Domestic disputes can take many forms. Susan Mandel has claimed that she is allergic to her ex-husband's cat and as a result the couples two children should not visit their father's home. A Long Island, N.Y., judge (Acting Supreme Court Justice Hope S. Zimmerman ) has denied her request. Justice Zimmerman stated in Mandel v. Mandel, 203448/06, that there was no "legal or factual basis to exclude the children" from their father's apartment. The cat is an 18-month-old orange and white male tabby named Indie. The couple is in the process of divorcing.

In the summer of 2007, Ms. Mandel testified that she was hospitalized with a "severe attack brought on by exposure to the cat through the children." Since then, the children have not visited their father at his apartment. Mr. Mandel testified that his ex wife did not object to the children visiting him at the home until he stopped paying the mortgage on the marital residence.

Justice Zimmerman instructed that Ms. Mandel should "make a change of clothes available in the garage for the children." In turn, the children will take "the reasonable precaution" of changing their clothes before re-entering their home after visits with their father.

Jeffrey S. Schecter represented Mr. Mandel.
Mark O. Wasserman represented Ms. Mandel.

Ms. Mandel apparently had no further comment. Perhaps the cat has her tongue?

Update 6-26-08: Susan Mandel has apparently stopped by and given us an exclusive insight into her side of the story. Readers are encouraged to read comment number 9!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Legal Pub Exclusive Interview With Attorney Joel A. Brodsky, Drew Peterson's Lawyer With 5-3-08 Follow Up ~ by Legal Pub

Legal Pub is a firm believer in our Constitution and our system of justice's fundamental principle that all suspects are innocent until proven guilty. Legal Pub has been granted an exclusive interview with Attorney, Joel A. Brodsky, a creative criminal defense attorney. Joel is a partner with Brodsky & Odeh located at 8 S. Michigan Ave., Ste. 3200 in Chicago, Illinois. Joel's recent publicity has come as being the lead defense attorney for Drew Peterson. Joel has, in our observation, been treated unfairly by the Nancy Grace Show by interrupting him without allowing him to fully answer questions. Joel took the time on 4-30-08 to answer the following exclusive Legal Pub Questions:
Legal Pub: Joel, we welcome your contribution to a balanced presentation of the facts. I think this forum provides an opportunity for the balance our system of justice contemplates. How about answering a few questions for our readers. First, How is Drew holding up under all the intense scrutiny?
Joel: It’s getting better over time. Initially the stress caused him to loose 30 pounds. Now that he knows that his children are safe and secure and are doing well, and the media trucks are no longer in front of his house from 4am to 10pm, he is pretty much back to a tolerable state of mind. Of course he is still concerned about possible charges and the threat of a civil suit adds to that stress, but the knowledge that he didn’t do anything wrong is comforting.

Legal Pub: Does the prosecution have any record that Drew ever purchased one or more containers?

Joel: No. The whole blue barrel / blue container is a fiction. It never existed.

Legal Pub: Has their been any communication from Stacy, telephone calls, post cards etc? Joel: None.

Legal Pub: Have their been any claimed sightings of Stacy?
Joel: Many. I am attaching the Thailand sighting which has pictures. Your readers can make up their own mind on that sighting. (Editor's notes photos are above.)

Legal Pub: How are the children doing?
Joel: Great. The high school freshman is 1st in his class of 2000, he is in senior level band and also is involved in sport. His 8th grader brother is also #1 in his class. They are bright and well adjusted. The younger kids, 2 and 4, and very happy and well adjusted. Drew is a great dad. Nobody can legitimately say he is not.

Legal Pub: What was the basis for the judge not returning Drew's guns?
Joel: The judge did order the guns returned to Drew, but the State Police then revoked his Illinois gun permit, so the return was put on hold.

Legal Pub: John Darwin was missing for several years and presumed dead. He turned up alive having assumed another identity. Is Drew still confident that she ran off with another man?Joel: Yes he is. That’s what Stacy told him.

Legal Pub: Did Drew know the man whom she thinks Stacy ran off with?
Joel: He doesn’t know who she ran off with, so he doesn’t know if he ever met the person or not.

Legal Pub: What made Drew suspect that Stacy was seeing someone else?
Joel: After she ran off we discovered racy (very sexual) text messages on Stacy’s old cell phone. Also, the State Police also disclosed that they discovered a sexual e-mail on another cell phone which Stacy had from yet another man. However, prior to Stacy leaving Drew did not suspect that there was another man. The text messages discovered after she left came as a shock to him.

Legal Pub: Is there any background of Stacy having a head injury, amnesia or stroke? Anything like that run in the family.

Joel: No. But Stacy’s mother also ran off and disappeared while Stacy was a child. She has never been found.

Legal Pub: While many of us assume that Kathy S. died accidentally as the original coroner concluded, what physical evidence does the prosecution think is contrary to the opinion of an accidental death.

Joel: We know of no new or additional physical evidence. We believe the coroner changes his finding based on the same evidence that earlier warranted an accidental finding because of politics. The coroner is an elected county position and there is an election coming up in a few months.

Legal Pub: Has Drew received death threats? How many?

Joel: Yes. Dozens.

Legal Pub: Did the grand jury finally reach a conclusion as to whether to indict? If not, when might they make a final decision?

Joel: The grand jury lasts 18 months and then a new one can be convened for another 18 months. The investigation can go on for years. So far there has not been a vote by the grand jury either way.

Legal Pub: Has Drew received unfair publicity?

Joel: Yes. Just watch Nancy Grace as an example.

Legal Pub: Thanks for your time.

Joel: Thanks again for a balanced coverage.

5-3-08 In response to readers questioning Joel Brodsky's handling of the case, Joel provides an exclusive Legal Pub Update.

Joel: I wish to address the person who says my peers are questioning my handling of the case. So far, in court, I have been successful, getting my client the property taken by the state back (police had to resort to illegally revoking the gun permit to keep Drew from getting the guns). The only criticism I get, and the criminal defense bar is split on this issue, is that I let my client give a total of four (4) controlled interviews, and make a number of sound bite comments on certain issues. The “rule book” in criminal cases is for the client to say nothing. This is what I call the “standard model”. I have given this a great deal of thought, and talked to many other lawyers about this, (including my excellent co-counsel, Andrew Abood of the Abood Law Firm of East Lansing Michigan, and my partner the very sharp Reem Odeh). My conclusion is (and its my decision), that the standard model does not apply in extremely high profile cases in the post O.J. world. The O.J. Simpson trial changed everything. It made and broke big time media careers, and consequentially made the media, and by extension public perception, an additional party in extreme high profile cases. Now, in these rare cases, the media and its influence is in the courtroom and jury room. Therefore, the media must be addressed and engaged in these extreme cases. Examples: (1) Scott Peterson did 3 short tv appearances (I wouldn’t call them interviews) before he was named a suspect and then he remained totally silent. He was convicted. (2) Robert Blake and Michael Jackson both did media interviews. Michael Jackson even produced a TV special on his case to counter some bad publicity, and Blake did an interview from his jail cell without his lawyer present as well as other interviews. Both these men were acquitted. I could go on for a long time on this issue, as well as spell out the problems that my clients media appearances before I came into the case created, and how our media strategy addressed these issues, (one for example which I call the white noise effect), but suffice it to say nothing we do is hap hazzard, or done for publicity or to satisfy some psychological need of my client. A good lawyer thinks like a chess player, looking 5 to 10 moves into the future for each move he does now. I am a good lawyer.