Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Can Jennifer Mee Find A Hiccup In The Prosecution's Case?

Try as I might, I couldn't think of a more original defense then the caffeine defense. LINK. Then along comes Jennifer Mee. Afterall, the poor Florida Teen has a compelling story. The teen has been hiccuping nonstop since 2007. That could drive anyone a little crazy, but does that justify robbery or murder?

Recently Jennifer Mee was arrested in connection with the attempted robbery and murder of Shannon Griffin. Mee, 19, is charged with being involved in the first-degree murder of Shannon Griffin (Note Mee did not actually do the shooting.) Authorities claim that Mee invited the Shannon Griffin to a home where two other suspects ( Laron Raiford and Lamont Newton) attempted to rob him. During a struggle, Griffin, 22, was shot with a 38 caliber revolver. Jennifer Mee apparently met the victim at a social networking site. After several phone calls back and forth, a meeting was arranged. When he arrived, Jennifer apparently brought him to the rear of the home where the other two tried to rob him. During a struggle, Shannon Griffin was shot. Investigators do not believe Mee was shot him. While police have had contacts with Mee regarding domestic-related incidents, she apparently had no record.

It is theorized that Mee's attorney may blame her involvement in this incident upon all of the attention she received because of her hiccups. It is true that in 2007, Mee's non-stop hiccups earned her the nickname "Hiccup Girl." She appeared on NBC's "Today" show. She tried "sugar, peanut butter, breathing in a bag, having people scare" her, all in an attempt to rid herself of hiccups. However, it is reported that in recent time, her hiccups had vanished. If so, this may be a blow to any imaginative defense.

Even though police do not believe Mee participated in the actual shooting, Florida law considers her an accessory to the robbery that resulted in a death. If convicted, she could get life in prison. But of course, Jennefer Mee, as well as the other suspects are innocent until otherwise proven guilty. Perhaps a relapse of the hiccups might help...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A State Supreme Court Justice With A Sense of Humor?

Justice Steven David is Indiana's newest state Supreme Court Judge. The former Boone Circuit Court Judge apparently gave one of the better inaugural speeches post robing. According to the President Elect of the State Defense Bar, Justice David mixed humor, humility and emotion in just the right portions while pledging to uphold the constitution and protect justice from partisan politics. LINK. Justice David quoted Abraham Lincoln and lyrics from Kenny Chesney, Lee Brice and Toby Keith to demonstrate his gratitude and appreciation for the opportunity to serve his state.

The 106th Indiana Supreme Court justice, Justice Steven David demonstrates that a rise to the top can be accomplished by following his 12 words of wisdom: “Work hard, do good, be proud, have fun and do what’s right.”

Monday, October 11, 2010

Zahra Clare Baker Did Not Likely Run Off By Herself

Bret Farve faces accusations of "sexting." Had Bret regularly read Legal Pub, he might have known better. LINK. (The NFL is reviewing reports that a person alleged to be Favre sent voice mails and lewd pictures to Jenn Sterger. Deadspin apparently broke the story according to Reuters.) While the allegations may disrupt Farve's preparation for Monday Night Football, Elisa Baker, the step mom of Zahra Clare Baker, faces perhaps more serious allegations which may prevent her from controlling the T.V. remote control for an extended period of time. Zahra Claire Baker is the hearing-impaired North Carolina girl with a prosthetic leg who disappeared over the weekend. Zahra needs a prosthetic leg to walk and hearing aides to hear. Adam Baker, the girl's father, said that it was possible that his wife was involved in the disappearance. The 10-year-old girl's step mom, Elisa Baker, is currently in custody on over ten charges not related to Zahra's disappearance.

Zahra Clare Baker was last seen by Elisa Baker at 2:30 a.m. Saturday. Adam Baker, told ABC's Good Morning America, "I just hope I can get my daughter back. I miss her so much." Elisa Baker claims she last saw her stepdaughter sleeping in her bed about 2:30 a.m. Saturday. A fire was reported in the Bakers' backyard about 5 a.m. Adam admits that he didn't check on his daughter after the fire.The FBI is currently gathering surveillance video from businesses near the home. Dogs have been used to search the neighborhood.

Tom Adkins, Hickory Police Chief, says he can't rule out any suspects. Citing an ongoing investigation, the chief wouldn't elaborate on the evidence to date. Who would harm this innocent little girl? Zahra had bone cancer and uses a prosthetic left leg from the knee down. She doesn't have her hearing aids with her, so she would be in total silence. The step mom, Elisa faces charges which include making threats, writing bad checks, larceny and driving with a revoked license. While not the resume of a model citizen, police have yet to reveal anything in Elisa Baker's background which would lead one to foresee that she might harm her stepdaughter.

Elisa Baker, as is any other suspect, is to be presumed innocent unless otherwise proven in a court of law. Meanwhile, the AMBER ALERT continues.
Update 1-3-11: Zahra Baker was found dismembered in Caldwell County. The step mom, Elisa Baker, was charged in October with Obstruction of Justice and remains in custody with a $90,000 bond. The charge arises from a fake ransom note discovered the day Zahra Baker was reported missing. Tuesday's hearing is expected to include an indictment on the Obstruction of Justice charge and a possible bond reduction motion. Elisa Baker's attorneys believe she deserves a bond reduction for leading authorities to Zahra's body. WBTV. The grand jury met Monday to discuss new charges against Elisa Baker. WRAL-TV reports a grand jury met Monday to discuss new charges against Elisa Baker.
Update 1-4-11: Farve should have retired last year and faded into the sunset without all of the drama. His playboy image may have played a role in his most recent legal troubles. For those who live in a cave, Farve is now being sued for sexual harassment by Christina Scavo and Shannon O'Toole, two massage therapists, who worked for the Jets in 2008. The Jets are also named defendants. Favre allegedly propositioned them and requested a threesome. Scavo says she turned Favre down and had her husband call him to demand an apology. Subsequently, she was allegedly fired. Favre allegedly sent an unidentified woman a text reading, "Brett here, you and Crissy want to get together, I'm all alone," and sent another message that said, "Kinda lonely tonight, I guess I have bad intentions." O'Toole also claims that she lost her position as a Jets massage therapist after Farve's advances.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Senior U.S. District Judge Jack Camp Jr. Caught Thinking With The Wrong Head? ~by Legal Pub

Judges aren't perfect. They can be accused of improper conduct and even impeached. Judge Thomas Porteous. Of course allegations are not limited to domestic officers of the court as allegations of misconduct can occur anywhere. LINK . Judges can even be accused of falling in love. Judge Verla Sue Holland. However, this next story has all the hooks, guns, drugs, prostitution, undercover agents and sex. Get an extra shot of java and prepare for factual allegations that are better than any drama seen on public television.

Senior U.S. District Judge Jack Camp Jr., a federal judge in Georgia, has been arrested on drug and weapons charges. Federal agents say the suspender wearing judge has more than love stains on his chin. The judge is accused of buying drugs for a stripper from the Goldrush Showbar in Atlanta with whom he was having an affair. And during the alleged transaction, the judge was apparently packing heat.

The official charges are possession of cocaine, marijuana and Roxicodone (pain pill). In addition, the judge is charged with possessing a firearm as an unlawful user of controlled substances and with aiding and abetting the possession of drugs by the stripper. (The woman has a prior drug conviction.) So just how did this presumably intelligent judge get caught falling to the lowest common denominator? Federal agents said he fell for one of the oldest tricks in the book. He bought drugs from an undercover agent. (Not to be confused with being a client of the oldest profession in the books which also apparently played a major role in his arrest.)

Judge Camp appeared Monday in a federal court in Atlanta. He posted $50,000 bond and was accordingly released. As a result of Camp's arrest, the district's federal judges all recused themselves. Magistrate Judge Charles S. Coody of Alabama was brought in to hear the case. Federal prosecutors from Washington will handle the government's case. Camp has retained four defense attorneys. Putting aside the procedural issues and anticipated legal wrangling, a lingering question is whether it was an affair or whether it was strictly business. According to the charges, it is alleged that Judge Camp had been paying the stripper for sex since the past spring. It is also alleged that Judge Camp was fronting the woman money to buy drugs. Why?
The 67 year-old Camp's background is not helpful in determining a motive. (The former chief judge for the northern district of Georgia was appointed to the bench by President Ronald Reagan in 1987. Camp took senior status in 2008. Camp has handled many high profile cases. In 2004, he sentenced two men convicted of killing DeKalb County Sheriff Derwin Brown to life in prison without parole. He has presided over litigation concerning Georgia's request that new voters to prove their identities and citizenship before voting. In May 2009, Camp sentenced the personal doctor of a professional wrestler who killed himself, his wife and their 7-year-old son concerning prescription related charges.) So what might motivate Camp to buy drugs for a stripper?

Keeping in mind these are only allegations against the judge, one must dig deeper for a possible motive and or a defense. Camp is ably represented by lead attorney Bill Morrison and one can only presume he knows his case better than us. But the Judge's actions appear to go beyond an abuse of his position. Clearly, he got into trouble when he committed the inconsiderate offense of cheating on his spouse. After all, Judge Camp is a married man. While perhaps immoral, that was not a crime. Perhaps after the fact he considered the effect of his behavior on his family.Was he trying to protect his family from the publicity his conduct would generate? So far his spouse has remained silent but Camps lawyers claim she is supporting him.
What of the other woman? While the dancer's name does not appear in court papers, she has not been at a loss for words. She had a prior federal felony conviction on her record so her identity is not all that secret. Since she is cooperating with the FBI, they might not like the public knowing her identity. And for the sentimental romantics who think this is a remake of Pretty Woman, think again before you blame the FBI for turning the Judge's alleged lover against him. Little miss professional was apparently recording the judge even before she officially became an informant. If true, a juror might question what she originally had in mind with regard to the recordings. Would the judge have paid money or even bought drugs for this woman in order to avoid the tapes from becoming public?

The woman allegedly has been promised immunity from prosecution. That in and of itself does not make her bias. But the early recordings might make a juror scratch her head wondering whether this weak pitiful excuse for a man was "set up." When Camp bought drugs from an undercover agent, he was allegedly in possession of two pistols because he was in fear of the participants in the transaction. Apparently three transactions took place where Camp was apparently armed. The deal apparently went down in the parking lot of a suburban Atlanta nightclub, an appropriate place for terminating not only a judiciary career but perhaps also a marriage.
Update 12-3-10: Judge Jack Camp pled guilty last month to buying drugs for a stripper. U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yate's office is investigating whether any of the cases Judge Camp handled were influenced by the use of drugs or racial bias. Any defendant may request resentencing in any case handled by Judge Camp from May of 2010 to the present.