Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Well, All We Can Say Is That's Kentucky ~ by Legal Pub

 Coots have been accused of being Kooks before the latest incident! The responses has always been, "well this is Kentucky." The recent death of Jamie Coots, the "snake-handling" pastor, in Kentucky has raised the constitutional issue of separation of church and state.  Jamie Coots was a pastor at the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name in Middlesboro, Kentucky. Coots died after being bitten by a rattlesnake during a weekend church service.  Coots was handling rattlesnakes as part of the celebration.  It is expected that the late pastor's son Cody Coots plans to carry on the tradition.

"And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."

If Mark's portion of the Bible tells folks to handle serpants, should it be legal to do so? Members of the Pentecostal Church of God apparently think so. Is dancing with poisonous snakes during church services. and worse than Kevin Costner in Dancing With Wolves?  If bit, do the faithful have a right to rely on God to heal them?  The Commonwealth of Kentucky seems to say snake handling is illegal.  KRS §437.060 state that any person who displays, handles or uses a snake in connection with any religious gathering shall be fined $50 to 100. So the Kentucky legislature says poisonous snake-handling is illegal but we won't slap you with a penalty as severe as the bite.  Sounds like a speeding ticket or an overdue library book fine, if  you ask us here at Legal Pub. To us the real question is whether a state has authority to regulate a practice that is primarily faith-based. Our Constitution's First Amendment states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." The 14th

Does Kentucky have the power to regulate religious activity under the police power of a state? Some conduct can be regulated for the protection of society. In Lawson v. Commonwealth, Kentucky's Supreme Court considered the snake-handling statute and held that the state could properly regulate the time, place and manner of religious exercise where the regulation is necessary for the safeguarding of the health, good order and comfort of the community. In other words, if Kentucky folks are dumb enough to be around snakes, then we may just fine them one handful grab into the Sunday collection plate.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Woody Allen... Funny or a Total Joke? ~by Legal Pub

Woody Allen is no stranger to laughter.  After all, Allen was once considered a rising actor whose movies almost guaranteed delivery of levity to the audience.  Now it seems, that Allen himself is the but of jokes.  Although any statute of limitations has run on possible criminal prosecution, Allen apparently remains convicted in the court of public opinion.
How shocked were you when Dylan Farrow alleged that Woody Allen sexually abused her in 1992?  No criminal charges were ever brought against the appropriately named "Woody;" however, the gossip never subsided.   Allen recently attended a matinee of the Broadway show “After Midnight.” Despite Allen's wife Soon-Yi Previn and their two daughters being present, old "Woody" was the butt of an audience member joking,  "I think he did it!”
Woody Allen apparently ignored the comment and went about his business. Perhaps memory of the allegations would have faded but for Dylan writing an open letter in the New York Times just 13 days before Valentines Day. The letter alleged that Allen had molested her when she was seven years old. Allen wrote his own rebuttal for the Times the following week in which he stated that this would be his "final word" on the subject.  Despite the rebuttal, Dylan subsequently published an essay in The Hollywood Reporter which in essence called Allen's rebuttal "outright lies." 
So what remains of Woody Allen's legacy?  Time will only tell... or the next person to publish another story.

Monday, February 10, 2014

A Time To Kill? More Than A Movie... ~by Legal Pub

The issue of flying unmanned drones to kill enemies is controversial but flying manned air planes to kill is not? Sometimes the whole rhetorical debates lack the insight of commons sense.  Killing is killing.  It is either justified or it is not! Fast forward to the latest dilemma. An American is overseas.  He is an active card carrying member of al-Qaida. This individual is openly planning attacks against Americans overseas.  Yet the Obama administration is wrestling with whether to kill him with a drone or with armed soldiers.  (Photo Courtesy of AP)

Drones seem more efficient; however, under its new stricter targeting policy issued last year, is it legal?
The CIA drones can monitor him but as he laughs at the cameras they can do nothing because he is a U.S. citizen.   The Justice Department is trying to build a case against him while he plans to kill others. The American citizen turned terrorist is allegedly in a country that refuses U.S. military action on its soil.  That particular country has made no effort to go after the suspect. President Barack Obama's new policy mandates that suspected terrorists overseas can only be killed by the military. That means no CIA intervention.  It also probably means no punishing the terrorist.

The suspect is an al-Qaida facilitator.  He has been associated with deadly attacks against U.S. citizens overseas.  He continues to openly plan attacks against citizens overseas using explosive devices as a means of terror.  Yet the Defense Department debates whether the man is dangerous enough to merit the bad publicity of  killing an American without due process of law and the potential international fallout.  At least one member of the Pentagon recommend lethal action; however, one is not enough. The suspected terrorist is well-guarded and in a fairly remote location.  Any half ass attempt by our military would b dangerous and not likely successful. Consequently, the suspect smiles at the unarmed CIA drones as they fly by and defiantly communicates non-verbally with the middle digit of his left hand. The suspect is a little bit too comfortable under the current policy against drone strikes.  Perhaps it's time to use an unbanned technique of law enforcement like the smart bullet that travels around obstacles. Perhaps the bullet could be rhetrofitted with a powerful sedative that could induce a Rip Van Winkle sleep instead of death. Then in 20 years when he awakes he can plead the statute of limitations defense in court.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Raul Ochoa Apparently Needs To Learn That Incest Is Not Best! `by Legal Pub

Raul Ochoa is a 52 year-old California man with a major problem.  Ochoa admitted last week to enslaving a close relative as a "sex slave."  Apparently Ochoa has been satisfying his desires by sexually taking liberties with a developmentally disabled relative for 14 years. The victim is now reported to be around 28 years old.  The abuse started at age 13.  Ouch Ochoa, ouch! This one is going to leave a mark... a permanent mark on your criminal record.

Ochoa entered a plea deal last week which will require him to serve up to 22 years in jail.  The advantages of the plea is that his victim won't have to go through the trauma of testifying at trial. The victim was 13 when she was first abused by Ochoa. The abuse apparently came to the attention of authorities when the victim escaped in 2012.  Only recently has the media publicized this tragic case.  Mercury News .

Ochoa and the girl apparently built a plywood shed in the backyard. The shed was subsequently used as a place to sexually abuse the young lady.  Ochoa also had the victim working for his landscaping firm.  She was home schooled and generally kept away from socializing. Reportedly, Ochoa raped the girl in the shed tow or three times a week.  He prevented her from leaving the house without his supervision and he monitored her cellphone and texts.  Both Ochoa's wife and the girl apparently were physically abused.  It is not known if Ochoa's wife or any of the other children in the household knew of the sexual abuse.

Ochoa allegedly telephoned the victim from jail to persuade her not to cooperate with police. Ochoa's mother may also have been asked to speak with the victim.  "(Ochoa's mother) is trying to track me down and intimidate me into saying that I lied... (Ochoa) has convinced her that I lied about the abuse. Both (Ochoa) and (Ochoa's mother) believe that if I do not cooperate, the criminal case will be dismissed," the victim wrote in a restraining order petition.

A new restraining order prevents Ochoa from contacting the victim or three of her relatives.  The victim was allegedly subjected to repeated sexual and physical abuse from 1999 until 2012.  Allegedly, "...through the use of emotional and psychological pressure as well as sexual abuse, forced to participate in horrific acts for an extended period of time," according to Deputy District Attorney Ryan Wagner.  For more information see: KTRK reports