Monday, February 28, 2011

Was Steven B. Williams A Victim Of Murder On The High Seas Or Are Prosecutors Singing The Wrong Tune?

Murder on the high seas? That may be a decision facing a jury concerning the May of 2006 death of Steven B. Williams, a former radio disc jockey in Denver and Honolulu. On May 18, 2006, a cargo ship captain found Steven B. William's body floating in the water. The cause of death appeared to be a bullet wound to the head. .

Harvey Morrow, 60, will now be tried for murder for financial gain. Morrow has pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors apparently contend that Morrow swindled over a million dollars from Williams, by having him invest in an offshore account. Morrow denies any financial wrong doing.

Sgt. Ken Clark of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office took over when the missing person investigation turned into a homicide investigation.

Williams inherited a couple million dollars from his father. (Apparently, Williams was trustee of a trust for the benefit of himself and his sister.) Williams apparently met Morrow and the two planned to sail around the world. At some point, Williams ran out of money after allegedly getting involved with some investments through Morrow.

A week after Williams' body was found, Morrow's yacht was searched. William's cell phone records apparently show that Williams' cell phone was last used on May 4, 2006. He apparently received a call from Morrow's phone at 11:48 a.m. Williams phone was then used to call Morrow's phone at 1 p.m. Both cell phones were also used in the late afternoon. The calls apparently originated near the Catalina Island area.

A portable GPS discovered in 2007 is consistent with a trip originating at Los Angeles Harbor at 1:17 p.m. on May 4, 2006, and ending up at Catalina later that afternoon. No "murder weapon" was ever found. In 2006, Morrow was arrested. At the time, he was working as a used car salesman in Montana. His next role will be that of a defendant in a California murder trial.

Update 6-23-11: In May, trial began. On the second day of trial a mistrial was declared in order to allow the defense to examine newly discovered evidence.

Morrow, like any one, is to be presumed innocent of all allegations and charges unless otherwise proven in a court of law.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Were Childhoods Ruined By Mark Ciavarella While He Played A Game of Monopoly?

When a judge falls over to the dark side of the law, the system is truly harmed. If the perception of fairness is tarnished by a few bad actors, the whole system can break down and loose its validity. Furhtermore, when it affects our youth, the future ramifications are further magnified. In an attempt to purge the system of such unacceptable behavior, a federal jury has found former Pennsylvania judge, Mark Ciavarella Jr. guilty in a so-called "kids-for-cash scheme." (Judge Ciavarella Jr. was on the bench for 14 years. During the latter years, he was accused of taking money in exchange for sending juvenile offenders to for-profit detention centers. At trial the prosecution contended that Ciavarella threatened to send juveniles somewhere else if the owners of the private facilities did not pay him cash. Whereas, Ciavarella denied taking any money but did admit hiding money from the Internal Revenue Service.)

The jury in Scranton, Pennsylvania, found Ciavarella Jr., 60, guilty of racketeering, money-laundering conspiracy, fraud and filing false income tax returns. Furthermore, a special jury verdict found that $997,600 of Ciavarella's property is subject to forfeiture on two counts of racketeering. On the other hand, the jury found him not guilty of seven counts of extortion and 10 counts of bribery. For more details see: U.S. v. Ciavarella, U.S. District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania, No. 3:09-cr-272. The United States was represented by Gordon Zubrod, Ass William Houser and Michael Consiglio. The defendant was represented by Albert Flora and William Ruzzo.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Riding In The Back Of A Pickup Is LIke Riding A Bronco Without A Saddle

The incredible stupidity of riding in the back of a pickup truck remains a major cause of fatalities and serious injuries. Anyone who knowingly rides in the back of a pickup assumes the risk that he may be ejected. Federal standards require that occupant compartments of vehicles be designed to protect occupants during a crash. The beds of pickup trucks are designed to carry cargo, not people. Consequently, the bed of a pickup is not designed to provide protection from an accidental crash. Furthermore, because there are no seat belts or restraints in the bed of a pickup, children and adults can be easily thrown from the vehicle even at low speeds as a result of a sharp turn to avoid an obstacle or because of a bump in the road.

Each state treats the hazards of riding in cargo areas differently. Thirty states and the District of Columbia have passed specific laws designed to protect children from accidental ejection. Other states have seat belt and child restraint laws which may be used to ticket passengers riding in cargo areas such as the bed of a pickup. Even if there is not a specific law prohibiting passengers riding in the back of a pickup, the seat belt laws should be used to prohibit such conduct in order to prevent devastating accidents.

One such accident involved Jason Tripp, age 28. Tripp fell from the bed of a pick up truck in Jacksonville, Florida. The driver of the truck apparently did not realize that Mr. Tripp had fallen out of the truck until 1 mile later. Jason Tripp died from his injuries. In another Jacksonville case, Miranda Zant, 16, died when she was ejected from a pickup truck. Another person also thrown from the pickup was critically injured. Under Florida law, it's illegal for anyone under 18 to ride in the back of pickup trucks unless they are wearing seat belts according to the state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

But a word of caution even in states without specific rules directed toward adult passengers riding in pickup trucks. Even if the passenger is an adult, few pickup trucks have seat belts in the back. Consequently, riders in the bed of the pickup may be in violation of seat belt laws depending upon the state. Kevin Bakewell, a spokesperson for AAA Auto Club South has opined that state laws need to be universally changed to prohibit unsafe practices of carrying people in the back of pickups. Too many people have been hurt by a lack of common sense. For example, in 2008, eight people were killed and 141 injured while riding in the back of pickup trucks in Florida.

Nine states, including California and New York, have specific restrictions on riding in truck beds regardless of age. Most states limit laws prohibit minors from riding in the bed of a truck. Louisiana, Massachusetts and Tennessee apply restrictions to children under the age of 12. Regulations in Maine only apply to occupants 18 and younger. Laws . Other states with no specific law prohibiting riders in the bed of a vehicle, such as Indiana present an interesting analysis. In Indiana, passengers are obligated to wear seat belts in all most all motor vehicles including pickup trucks. Rules for children are even more stringent. (Child passengers also require child seats and/or booster seats since 2005. The Indiana Child Restraint Law requires children to be restrained with a shoulder belt inside the truck and for those under eight years of age, a belted booster seat. The car seat must be appropriate to the child's height and weight. Infants must ride rear-facing in a pickup truck until they are at least 1 year old and weigh 20 pounds. )

The analysis for adults riding in the back of pickups in states like Indiana revolve around the seat belt laws. In general, since there are no seat belts in the bed of a pickup truck, Indiana law is technically violated whenever someone rides in the back of a pickup truck unless they are properly restrained. The following statutory analysis supports the finding of a violation of Indiana law. IC 9-19-10-1 states a violation occurs unless one of the following exceptions apply:

"This chapter does not apply to an occupant of a motor vehicle who meets any of the following conditions: (1) For medical reasons should not wear safety belts, provided the occupant has written documentation of the medical reasons from a physician. (2) Is a child required to be restrained by a child restraint system under IC 9-19-11. (3) Is traveling in a commercial or a United States Postal Service vehicle that makes frequent stops for the purpose of pickup or delivery of goods or services. (4) Is a rural carrier of the United States Postal Service and is operating a vehicle while serving a rural postal route. (5) Is a newspaper motor route carrier or newspaper bundle hauler who stops to make deliveries from a vehicle. (6) Is a driver examiner designated and appointed under IC 9-14-2-3 and is conducting an examination of an applicant for a permit or license under IC 9-24-10. (7) Is an occupant of a farm truck being used on a farm in connection with agricultural pursuits that are usual and normal to the farming operation, as set forth in IC 9-29-5-13(b)(2). (8) Is an occupant of a motor vehicle participating in a parade. (9) Is an occupant of the living quarters area of a recreational vehicle. (10) Is an occupant of the treatment area of an ambulance (as defined in IC 16-18-2-13). (11) Is an occupant of the sleeping area of a tractor. (12) Is an occupant other than the operator of a vehicle described in IC 9-20-11-1(1). (13) Is an occupant other than the operator of a truck on a construction site. (14) Is a passenger other than the operator in a cab of a Class A recovery vehicle or a Class B recovery vehicle who is being transported in the cab because the motor vehicle of the passenger is being towed by the recovery vehicle. (15) Is an occupant other than the operator of a motor vehicle being used by a public utility in an emergency as set forth in IC 9-20-6-5."

Consequently, while some may argue that riding in the back of a pick up is a "Country Tradition," it is a dangerous activity that may lead to a ticket. The beds of pick up trucks are meant for carrying equipment, trash, and other objects that are properly secured. The beds of pick up trucks are simply not designed for the transportation of humans. A sharp curve or a sudden stop may result in the passenger leaving the bed of the truck. Even if the driver is very careful, unnecessarily riding in the back of an open pickup truck increases the risk of injury. No one should knowingly choose to increase their risk of injury by riding in the back of a pickup if it is not necessary. (Obviously there are times that it may be necessary to transport farm workers from one field to another. But in such cases, all such passengers should be securely seated on the floor of the bed and immediately behind the cab to minimize the possibility of falling out of the pickup.) If one knowingly chooses to ride in the back of a pickup, will they go to jail? No, but they may wind up with a ticket for failing to wear or a seat belt or even worse, they may wind up in the hospital. So even in the absence of specific statutory guidance, common sense must prevail in favor of caution and reasonableness in order to prevent our roads from becoming dangerous rodeos.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Florida Has A Pervert, Sexual, Assaulting Man Who Needs A Home In Jail!

Florida residents need to keep an eye out for a man who attempted to assault a 12-year-old girl. The girl jumped a fence to take a short cut through a church parking lot while walking home from school. The man also jumped the fence and ran after the girl. The man grabbed the 12 year old girl. He attempted to carry her away but stopped after she told him there were others in the area who were watching. The man was seen on surveillance video running away. LINK. This man is also suspected of trying to sexually assault two other girls. The video was posted on YouTube by the Manatee County Sheriff's Office in the hopes that someone will identify the man. The man was wearing a dark hoodie and walked with an unusual gait.

The sheriff's department said the man actually carried the girl to a low-hanging oak tree and attempted to sexually assault her before he ran away. The girl then ran to the church to report the attack. Two other incidents appear to be related. On Jan. 31, a 15-year-old girl was walking home when she was grabbed from behind and then sexually assaulted, according to Bradenton Police. On November 29, 2010, another 15-year-old girl was grabbed while walking home from school. The man forced her to the ground but she escaped and ran away. Manatee County Sheriff believe a predator is on the loose. ABC News.

Anyone with information on this predator should contact law enforcement. In the mean time, children should walk in groups. Victor Taylor is the neighbor who produced the video. Let's hope it leads to a quick arrest. Bradenton Herald. Heres the video:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Abuse Defense Fails To Shield Muzzammil "Mo" Hassan From Second Degree Murder Charges!

Let's face it, the legal system favors women over men. Just ask Helen when it comes to alimony. LINK. Or review the case of Mary Winkler who shoots her husband while he lays in bed but is out of jail in just a few months. WINKLER LINK. Perhaps the disparity in treatment is most effectively illustrated by the case of Muzzmmil "Mo" Hassan, a former television network executive. Mo claimed he was the victim of spousal abuse which led to him killing his spouse. But unlike Mary Winkler, Mo will likely face many years in jail after being convicted of second-degree murder for stabbing and beheading his spouse.

Despite a two-week trial, the Erie County, N.Y., jury deliberated for less than an hour before returning the guilty verdict against Muzzammil "Mo" Hassan. Like Winkler, Hassan, 46, admitted that he killed his spouse because she was abusive. Unlike Winkler, Hassan is likely to serve a lengthy sentence behind bars. Hassan continues to claim that he retaliated against his wife because he was suffering from battered spouse syndrome. (Who was Hassan's brilliant attorney? Hassan represented himself after firing his attorney.) Despite the lack of professional representation, Hassan kept the trial entertaining as crowds lined up outside the courthouse for seats. Buffalo News. Hassan actually told the jury that he was the victim of "psychological rape." Hassan also told jurors that abusers often come across in public as charming, when only the victim knows the truth."A victim often feels like a hostage to a terrorist, a slave to an overbearing master," according to Hassan. WGRZ-TV. But prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable shredded Hassan with the facts of a brutal murder of a spouse who was only guilty of wanting a divorce. Gruesome photos of the victim was worth more than a thousand words.

Hassan's children, Michael and Sonia, testified that "good old dad" had a history of domestic violence whereas their stepmother, Aasiya, did not. WIVB-TV. Sentencing for Hassan is set for March 9, 2011. Hassan will be sentenced from 15 years to a possibility of life in prison.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Love Should Not Be Possessive

Love should be gentle and kind. It should not be jealous or possessive. For when it violates these rules, the results can be fatal. Just ask those who were close to Thomas Watson, 43, and his former girlfriend Tara Shermerhorn, 31. Tara is the Arizona woman who was apparently kidnapped from her home by her former boy friend, Thomas Watson. The couple were recently found in what is believed to be a murder- suicide in Watson's truck. Goodyear police spokesman Ralph McLaughlin told the press that Watson left a suicide note behind. According to McLaughlin, "We're 99 percent sure that it's them based on our descriptions and what not."

Watson and Shermerhorn broke up in December, but were still involved in some sort of business venture together. A missing-person report for Watson was sent out at 5 a.m. Thursday. Police apparently found a suicide note authored by Watson at the scene. Shermerhorn's car was still in her own driveway. Family had previously notified police that they were unable to locate her.

Police hinted that Watson may have had a history of violence toward women or some type of domestic violence but no details were provided. Watson has an ex-wife in South Dakota who ironically was also named Tara. She may be a wealth of knowledge concerning Watson's past conduct with women.

Legal Pubs thoughts and sympathy is extended to the families of both of the victims. And as always, all allegations are just speculation unless proven in a court of law.