Thursday, December 31, 2009

Charlie Sheen And Brooke Mueller To Face The Wrath Of Child Protective Services?

Should it really surprise us when Hollywood bad boys get in trouble? Why is it even news? Domestic violence is a serious problem. But why is it headline news? Don't we have more news worthy topics to place on page one? Apparently not. So what is Charlie Sheen's defense? It may be just that, "self defense." The old, "yeah I was wrong but so were you" argument. So is it surprising that the old attack the victim routine is being employed? has paraphrased Sheen's wife, Brooke Mueller's criminal history from Florida. If accurate, it's not pretty. Mueller has apparently been arrested twice: once for DUI and damage to property in 1996 and once for possession of cocaine, a 3rd degree felony, in 2001. But why are these relevant to her Christmas Day altercation with Charlie Sheen? Normally, they would not be important. However, since the altercation, Brooke's past is being looked into by the Los Angeles County's Department of Children and Family Services who wants to determine if the couple are fit parents.
Sheen's history of domestic violence and substance abuse along with Mueller's alleged problems with alcohol and drugs may lead a court to determine that the couple are unfit parents. Will their children be temporarily placed with a guardian? Possibly. Nine-month-old twin boys, Max and Bob, would be welcomed by almost any foster parents. In the mean time, expect Charlie and Sheen to be asked to submit to regular drug testing. Sheen is accused of using a weapon in an alleged case of domestic violence against his wife. The couple had allegedly been drinking heavily before the incident. Sheen spent part of Christmas Day in a Colorado jail. He was released on Friday and has yet to be formally charged. Sheen posted $8,500 bond. Prosecutors ultimately will decide if formal charges will be pursued. Possible charges may include second-degree assault, a felony, and criminal mischief, a misdemeanor. Charlie Sheen has denied all allegations.
(Sheen apparently said that the couple exchanged heated yelling and hit each other's arms but there was no other physical contact or threats.)

Charlie Sheen Domestic Abuse Case
Sheen, Mueller Could Lose Boys

Will social services take the couples kids? If this were not a famous couple, what would be the protocol? When this happens to our neighbors, it rarely makes the news. When it happens to celebrities, it is headline news. Should there really be such a disparity in how the news media handles such cases?
Note: Even in Brooke's mug shot and Charlies mug shot, the couple still demonstrates their photogenic ways... As always, all suspects are innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.
Update 1-19-11: Charlie Sheen got into trouble at his hotel: LINK. He broke up with his wife but now it looks like deja vu. Charlie and estranged wife Brooke Mueller are reportedly discussing getting back together. The Palm Beach Post.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab May Illustrate Why One Should Not Jump To Conclusions About The Relationship Between Education And Extremism.

A recent conversation about Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab may illustrate why we can't jump to conclusions as to why terrorism occurs or how we should stop future attacks.

Patron 1: If we could educate third world terrorists as to the American way, terrorism would disappear.
Patron 2: You, my friend, are a naive Christian who wishes for things that are not likely to ever occur.

Patron 1: Why do you say that?
Patron 2: Take the recent example of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. He was born to an upper class Nigerian family. Abdulmutallab received the best schooling, from the elite British International School in West Africa and the University College London. But with the advanced education, his interest in extremist Islam apparently grew to the point that his father tried to warn U.S. authorities.

Patron 1: Is that the guy who tried to blow up a plane in Detroit?
Patron 2: Indeed. He attempted to blow it up on Christmas Day.

Patron 1: What more do you know of his background?
Patron 2: He apparently told U.S. officials that he learned about extremist Islam in Yemen. He apparently is the son of a prominent banker. At some point he became estranged from his family. However, in his youth, he was a well behaved adolescent with no foreshadowing that he would turn radical.

Patron 1: What exactly are the charges?
Patron 2: Abdulmutallab is accused of trying to detonate an explosive device aboard a Northwest Airline jet as it approached Detroit. There were 278 passengers and 11 crew members on board. This could lead to hundreds of attempted murder charges as well as general charges of terrorism.

Patron 1: How was the tragedy avoided?
Patron 2: Well, I have always said that post 911, Americans aren't going to sit down and take terrorism peacefully. When the detonator on his explosive apparently malfunctioned, passengers took matters into their own hands and physically restrained him.

Patron 1: It's good to see folks not passively becoming sacrificial lambs. Where is the so called terrorist now?
Patron 2: He was initially taken to a hospital for treatment of burns. Than he was taken to prison in Milan, Michigan.

Patron 1: What has been the family reaction?
Patron 2: His father issued a statement that they were shocked and appeared genuinely sorry for his son's actions.

Patron 1: How can future terrorism be avoided.
Patron 2: The first thing is that authorities and officials need to keep an open mind as to causes of terrorism and as to possible preventative measures. In other words, time to start thinking outside of the box as to causes, origins and solutions. Give up the stereotype that terrorism and extremist views are as a result of lack of education. Second, airport security measures post 911 are a good start. They probably need to get even stricter. As for the public, they need to stop complaining about the security delays and realize that it is for the greater good. Third, rather than ostracize all who practice Islam, reward those who have nonradical views and allow them to gain favor among their followers.

Patron 1: So what you are saying, I better leave even earlier for my flight next week?

Patron 2: Yup, that is what I am saying...

Keep in mind, all suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Enjoy the Holidays.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Was Santa Assaulted By Tricia Kennely?

In a year where serious crime has statistically resided, the headlines continue to prove that crime on the holidays still exists. A 19 year old woman, allegedly identified as Tricia Kennely by the WRTV website, was arrested on Monday for assaulting an Indianapolis Santa Claus and for public intoxication. Two of her acquaintances were also held on public intoxication charges. All three were also apparently charged with possession of alcohol by a minor.
The alleged assault took place at the Pennsylvania Street plaza outside Conseco Fieldhouse before the Milwaukee Bucks-Indiana Pacers game. Marion County Dispatch.

The woman apparently took a picture of Santa, then ripped the beard off Santa's face.
One can imagine that had to hurt. Santa said the woman appeared inebriated. Apparently police discovered a bottle of vodka hidden under her shirt. Tricia was arrested for misdemeanor battery. Two others, a 19-year-old man from Indianapolis and an 18-year-old woman from Zionsville, were also arrested on alcohol charges. There was no report of any injury to the reindeer. Santa is now safe and under the protection of his body guard pictured above.
Happy Holidays.
Keep in mind, all three of those arrested are to be presumed innocent unless proven otherwise in a court of law.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Young Boy Struggles In His First Encounter With Beaver ~by Jester

Back in my day, young boys dreamed about their first encounter with beaver. Dads had talks with their son about it. (Something about the threshold of becoming a man.) Mothers warned their sons to be careful around beaver. Movies with Sharon Stone teased males with it. But actual encounters were hard to come by. Boy, have times changed. A recent headline revealed that a beaver had attacked a young child.
The Oklahoma State Health Department is is now testing a 60 lb beaver for rabies after an animal bit a young lad in Durant. The boy's leg was apparently gnawed on pretty bad. (A potential role reversal from what I originally thought from the headline.) This actual animal attack was no laughing matter. Fortunately, the boy was treated and released from a local hospital.

Now, even in my day, some boys liked the hunt. But the 60-pound beaver was too big for this 42-pound lad. And real life animal attacks are serious business. The good news is that rabies in beavers is rare. Now, in my day you could catch a lot of other things, but generally we had so little actual encounters, who would have possibly known for sure...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Be Careful Whose Car You Hit With A Snowball ~by Surfer Dude

Hitting cars with snowballs could be hazardous to your health. A massive snowball fight occurred in Washington and at least one cop apparently didn't like it. Now, Washington police are investigating whether an off-duty officer drew his gun in the midst of a snowball fight. It may be hard to make too many conclusions. Apparently, a couple hundred people were involved in the snowball fight. A video from a local media outlet failed to show the officer with his weapon drawn. However, "additional images and statements that would seem to support the allegation that the off-duty member did pull a gun" have apparently surfaced.

About 200 people from a D.C. neighborhood participated in the massive snowball fight. CNN Video The overwhelming sentiment that the fight was a good time for all until the gun came out. Apparently, an off-duty, plainclothes officer was driving in the area of the snowball fight when several snowballs hit his vehicle. Allegedly, the officer exited the vehicle and yelled at the crowd. Some say, the officer than drew his gun. A uniformed police officer subsequently arrived was holding a gun at his hip, but he returned it to his holster apparently after realizing the plainclothes officer was the one who had allegedly drawn a gun. The official police statement is that, "there is no evidence that [officers] pointed any weapons in the direction of the crowd or at any individuals."

Okay. Moral of the story: hit other folks with the snowballs, not cars. Folks tend to be over protective of their vehicles. Imagine... we don't have these problems at the beach.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Linda Kaiser Uses Cheyenne's Death To Advocate For Product Recall

Product reform is often fueled by product liability litigation. Yet, at other times, the moving force is the tireless effort of a parent. Linda Kaiser is such a parent. Her 1-year-old daughter, Cheyenne, pulled the cord off a window shade and strangled herself seven years ago. After seven years of lobbying, on December 15, 2009, there was a national recall of millions of shades and blinds similar to the one involved with Cheyenne's death. Mother's Crusade

Cheyenne apparently died when she caught her neck in the cord of a window shade. Since her daughters death, Linda has fought to eliminate exposed blind cords. Linda Kaiser, of Elgin, Ill., was a typical mom. She worked as a dental assistant who stayed home to care for her three children. Seven years after Cheyenne's unexpected death, Linda runs the national grassroots organization, Parents for Window Blind Safety." Her efforts culminated in the national recall by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The recall was supported by Window Covering Safety Council, includes products from some of the largest retailers in the country. The Wall Street Journal.

About 5 Million Roman shades and about 3 million roll-up blinds are sold each year. Many parents know to tie up the pull cords. But cords that run along the back of the shades are easy to pull away from the fabric. Apparently, since 1991, the federal agency has received reports of more than 200 children dying from window shade pull cords, many of which may have involved death from exposed back cords.

Child-proof outlet covers, safely stored medications, and tied up the shade cords are all good safety precautions when it comes to kids. But sometimes, it simply is not enough. The world needs more safety advocates like Linda Kaiser. Legal Pub salutes, Linda Kaiser, a true advocate for consumer safety.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Susan Powell Is Missing And Josh Powell Hires An Attorney. Unusual In A Post O.J. World? Update 2-6-12

Susan Powell is missing. So what does her husband do? He hires an attorney. Now, don't get me wrong, some of my best friends are attorneys. And the legal profession has felt the recession just like any other industry; however, does every spouse of a missing person really need an attorney? Apparently so. Josh Powell, husband of a 28-year-old Susan Powell, has hired defense attorney Scott Williams to represent him. Susan went missing a week ago while Josh and his boys were on a "boys outing." Apparently, Susan left the house without taking her purse or cell phone. It can happen, right?

Salt Lake City defense attorney Scott Williams is well respected in his field. Williams has represented high-profile defendants in criminal cases. His clients have included Wanda Eileen Barzee, who has pleaded guilty to federal charges in the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping, and Christopher Jeppson, one of two men charged in the 1995 murder of Kiplyn Davis. Consequently, Josh is probably getting some real good advice.

Susan Powell's father, Charles Cox, sounded like a voice of reason on "The Early Show" when he told the audience that he didn't think his son-in-law would do anything to hurt his daughter. Yet, the public suspicion lingers. Josh Powell apparently told police that he left his wife and took his boys, ages 2 and 4, on a camping trip around 12:30 a.m. Dec. 7. Not only is that a peculiar departure time for a boys night out, but it was also subfreezing weather. (Now before you jump to conclusions, I know of an attorney who takes his boyscout sons camping in subfreezing weather. So that in and of itself may not be completely bizarre. Yet timing is everything in this world.) Cox correctly cautioned against focusing too much on Josh Powell so early in the investigation. "I just don't want to focus on him exclusively when actually there might be another explanation."
Without jumping to any conclusion, it is difficult to discount the possibility of foul play. Susan did not reported to work on Dec. 7. The absence from work coupled with her failure to take her cell phone or purse, seems to be consistent with foul play. When asked about his whereabouts, Josh Powell apparently told police that he and his children slept in a van. He apparently said that he returned home about 5 p.m. and his wife was missing. Susan Powell?

Mean while, investigators in Utah are searching for Susan. Authorities have labeled the case as "highly suspicious." Police broke into the Powell home because it was locked. (It's unclear what time they entered the home.) Police allegedly found no signs of forced entry. However, police apparently found a wet spot in the house being dried by two fans. Top Stories (Perhaps the couple had a dog? If not, we all know how clumsy children can be. Let's not assume the worst when there is so little evidence to consider.) Ever since the days of O.J., the husband or ex husband is always an early target of investigators. But let's hope they wait for the facts to develop before lives are forever ruined.

Keep in mind all suspects are innocent until proven otherwise in a court of law.



Update 2-6-12: The saga ends in tragedy, which is too often the case. Josh Powell apparently took his own life and the lives of his two sons,
"I'm sorry. Goodbye." A few minutes later, a social worker came by with his children fro a visit. Powell grabbed the kids and pushed the social worker out of the house. Several seconds later, the house went up in flames.

Why? Powell was involved in a bitter custody battle with Susan's parents. Last week, a Washington judge denied Powell custody of his two sons and ordered him to undergo a psycho-sexual evaluation. Powell's fitness as a father has been questioned since the disappearance of his wife, Susan Cox Powell,in December, 2009. Powell denied any involvement in her disappearance. CBS News

Monday, December 14, 2009

Did Soange Magnano Die As A Result Of Complications From A Cosmetic Surgery?

When does the price for beauty become too high? No, the use of steroids for narcistic purposes has been discussed ad nausea. Rather, this concerns cosmetic surgery. By all accounts, Solange Magnano was an Argentine beauty. If fact she was an Argentine beauty queen. But something happened along the way. Solange Magnano began to grow old. She allegedly approached Dr. Guillermo Blugerman in 2004 about liposuction. He performed the procedure; however, when she returned five years later requesting silicone injections for a butt lift, he said no. (This procedure is not legal in Argentina or the U.S.)

It is likely that Magnano shopped around until she found someone who could give her the injections. Unfortunately, the former Miss Argentina died November 29, 2009 from an apparent pulmonary embolism. (Blood clot to the lungs.) Embolisms can occur as a complications of silicone injections or after any surgery. While we don't know if Magnano ever received any silicone injections, speculation runs rampant. Solange Magnano's Death

Seek out unapproved medical procedures at your own peril warns one patron. Another says, let the individual decide what risks are worth taking. Still another says, how else are you going to catch the eye of a politician or a golfer unless you take risks. For medical advice, try American Society of Plastic Surgeons or Food and Drug Administration.

Statistics reveal that for every 100,000 liposuction procedures in the United States, there are between three and 100 deaths. Food and Drug Administration. In the big scheme of things, that is not a very big risk. The key is to have a good and frank discussion with your physician. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. You can check a facilities credentials by consulting
the Joint Commission or the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care. But the biggest criteria is "look yourself in the mirror and ask, do I really need this?"

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Elizabeth Espinal Wants To Hit Spammers Where It Counts, In The Pocketbook!

Can you blame her? After all, unless you have an unlimited plan, text messages cost money. They can also be disruptive and annoying. So why the outrage when Elizbeth Espinal sues Burger King? Espinal filed a lawsuit against Burger King in April alleging that Burger King flooded her cell phone with annoying spam text messages. Miami New Times.

Elizabeth Espinal claims that she started receiving the annoying texts in April 2008. The plaintiff alleges "actual harm" and requests $5 million in compensation. Therein lies the rub. While most of us support stopping spam of any nature, the amount of money sought seems a bit high. One of the texts allegedly read: "Kick it up a notch with a loaded steakhouse burger. Try one today at BK." Another said, "Stop by BK for a refreshing Mocha BK Joe Iced Coffee. A perfect mix of rich coffee and chocolate syrup." Granted, not real offensive messages. However, spam flooding e-mail inboxes, text messages and blogs is getting out of hand. Something needs to be done to ground the spammers.

Rather than filing a million lawsuits, Legal Pub suggests that the consumer begin by signing up for a do-not-call list. You can also call your cell phone service provider and ask to block any number which provides spam. And perhaps most of all, don't provide fast-food chains or other advertisers your cell number. For more, read The Miami New Times.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Chilling Warning About the Possible Danger From Old Tires ~by Doc

Warning! Check the age of your tires. Old tires may be hazardous to your health. When you buy a tire, ask the retailer for the date of manufacture. The tire is coded so as to reveal it's date of manufacture. Several accidents may have occurred because of the tread separating on old tires. While you may think your tires are new, the actual date of manufacture may be shocking! The British consumer is entitled to strict disclosure of the manufacture date. Not so here in the U.S.

Watch ABC for a chilling reality check: LINK

Monday, December 7, 2009

Do Kenneth Biros and Romell Broom Deserve Better?

One could say Kenneth Biros (pictured on the left) is on the cutting edge. After all, his execution may make history. Biros could become the first person in the United States to be executed with a single dose of an intravenous anesthetic if his execution proceeds on Tuesday. Proponents argue that such an injection eliminates unnecessary suffering. California and Tennessee previously rejected the one-drug approach; however, this is Ohio which is known for being progressive. Still, those planning to block the injection argue that this has never been used on an inmate in the United States.

Why the controversy? If this injection is used, Biros will likely die more slowly than inmates put to death with the traditional three-drug method. In essence, a lethal injection of thiopental sodium kills by putting people so deeply asleep that they stop breathing. (Sound like Michael Jackson? LINK.) The down side is that it takes longer for the injected person to die. How much longer? In theory about 7 to 15 minutes longer. Currently, Ohio inmates take about seven minutes to die after the three-drug IV injection, which combines thiopental sodium with the drugs pancuronium bromide (paralyzes muscles) and potassium chloride (causes cardiac arrest).

Why the switch in technique? The switch from three drugs to one was ordered last month because Ohio's failed attempt on Sept. 15 to execute convicted rapist and killer Romell Broom (pictured above on the right.) Executioners unsuccessfully tried to find a usable vein for injection for two hours. They hit bone and tried 18 needle sticks. Gov. Ted Strickland subsequently halted the execution. Broom, 53, is appealing any attempt by Ohio to execute him again. Ohio has executed 32 men by injection since 1999. Three of the cases involved complications. In 2006, executioners needed over sixty minutes to end Joseph Clark's life. Similarly, in 2007, executioners struggled for several minutes to find a suitable vein for Chistopher Newton's execution. Then it took Newton 15 minutes to die.

Why should Biros be executed? Biros, 51, killed 22-year-old Tami Engstrom near Warren, Ohio in 1991. He had driven her home from a bar. After killing her, he scattered her body parts in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
What are other states doing? Thirty six states have the death penalty. All use some form of lethal injection. Thirty five states use the three-drug method. Nebraska hasn't finalized their injection procedure. Euorpean euthanasia typically utilizes thiopental sodium and pancuronium bromide. Do those sentenced to death deserve the same humanity? The State of Ohio apparently says yes.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Maurice Clemmons Demonstrates Reform Just Does Not Work?

There is at least one American golfer that has to be relieved that someone else is hogging the headlines. That some one is Maurice Clemmons. Nine years ago, Clemmons proclaimed that he could change. He wrote in his clemency application, "I come from a very good Christian family and I was raised much better than my actions speak... I'm still ashamed to this day for the shame my stupid involvement in these crimes brought upon my family's name." Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee believed in the 27 year-old Clemmons back in 2000. After all, Clemmons had spent 11 years in an Arkansas prison, convicted of offenses including robbery, burglary, theft and taking a gun to school. Potentially spending 95-years in prison just seemed to harsh for someone demonstrating such remorse.

Who would have thought that nearly a decade later Clemmons would be the subject of an intense manhunt? Was it foreseeable that he would become the prime suspect for the deaths of four Lakewood, Washington, police officers? The officers were gunned down in a coffee shop. Investigators tracked Clemmons to a Seattle home, but he some how eluded police.

Huckabee is now the center of blame for commuting Clemmons' sentence in 2000. Monday night quarterbacks always come out of the woodwork. "It was not something I was pleased with at the time," said Larry Jegley, who prosecuted Clemmons for aggravated robbery and other charges in Pulaski County, Arkansas. But was the commuting the wrong thing to do?

In 1989, Clemmons demonstrated violent behavior. Clemmons apparently hid a piece of metal in his sock at a pretrial hearing. In another instance, before the start of a hearing he grabbed a padlock off his holding cell and threw it at a court bailiff. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that Clemmons was arrested for aggravated robbery and theft and taken back to prison on a parole violation in 2001. Clemmons was not served with the new arrest warrants for the robbery and theft charges until he was paroled three years later in 2004. Consequently, the charges were dismissed because too much time had passed. Huckabee claims that Clemmons' commutation was based on the recommendation of the parole board that determined that he met the conditions for early release. Clemency documents

Clemmons was shot and killed when the police finally caught up to him. Now, only his maker can grant a pardon.
12-03-09 Update: Darcus Allen, 38, the convicted murderer who allegedly drove Maurice Clemmons away from the coffee shop waited in the getaway truck while Clemmons committed the crimes. Allen did time with Clemmons in an Arkansas prison. Allen has pleaded not guilty and is held without bail. Possible additional charges may include criminal assistance charges.
Keep in mind that all suspects are to be presumed innocent!
12-04-09 Update: Seattle police officer Benjamin L. Kelly is considered a hero by most. Like Sherrif Pat Garrett (he killed Billy The Kid) Kelly single-handedly shot and killed Clemmons. The man who allegedly killed four Pierce County officers was stopped in his tracks.
Update 12-10-09: Latanya Clemmons was the seventh person charged in connection with the November 29 police killings and manhunt for Maurice Clemmons. Latanya Clemmons, Maurice's sister, was charged Wednesday with rendering criminal assistance, according to Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist.