Thursday, December 31, 2015

Bill Cosby 2016 Trial of Decade? ~by Legal Pub

Image source: Cheltenham Township Police Department                                                                                       
Consensual drugs and sex vs. rape?  While the issues can be defined, resolution can be as clear as the  mixture of Quaaludes and expensive wine.  Furthermore, you can bet your collectors edition of the Bill Cosby Show that Cosby won't take this criminal prosecution lying down.  Cosby, who is out on bail is ready to fight. The 78-year old comedian is charged with sexual assault that allegedly occurred more than ten years ago.  Cosby admitted that he had sexual contact with Andrea Costand in 2004; however, he claims it was all consensual. But Constand continues to alleged that Cosby invited him into his Philadelphia home, drugged her and forced himself on her.  The former Temple women's basketball team director of operations, reported the alleged assault in 2005.   Probable-cause affidavit.

Cosby allegedly offered her career advice and introduced her to influential people in order to help her advance her career.  At some point, Cosby allegedly invited Costand to his home for dinner.  She claims that "without warning" Cosby reached out and touched her pants, waist and inner thigh. At first blush it is hard to envision the now 78-year old Cosby moving quickly or having to force anyone to have sex with him. The allegations go on to claim that Cosby provided pills and wine and that Costand became dizzy and later frozen (suggesting partial paralysis.)

Cosby plead not guilty to second-degree aggravated indecent assault and posted 10% on his one million dollar bond.  Cosby also surrendered his passport and was photographed and fingerprinted by the Cheltenham Police. Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Kevin R. Steele claims there was "penetration" without consent. If convicted, Cosby could be sentenced from five to ten years in prison and receive a $25,000 fine. 

District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman campaigned with the promise to prosecute Cosby.  But keep in mind, all defendants, especially Bill Cosby, are to be presumed innocent.  Look for the trial of the Decade to take place in 2016. In the meantime, comics weigh in on their thoughts in the comment section!

Update 2-3-2016:  One of Bill Cosby's lawyers, Jack Schmitt, would not have let the comedian testify in a 2005 lawsuit if he thought Cosby could still face criminal sexual assault charges. Schmitt apparently testified that Cosby's legal team considered the criminal case "irrevocably concluded" after a suburban Philadelphia district attorney (Bruce Castor) told them he was closing the investigation into charges Cosby drugged and violated Andrea Constand in 2004.  Cosby was later deposed in Constand's civil suit and never once invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination "knowing the criminal matter had been concluded and could not be reopened." according to Schmitt.
Cosby former lawyer, Walter Phillips, apparently relied upon Castor's oral statement to the press instead of obtaining a formal writing from the prosecution.  Former prosecutor, Castor, was called by the defense at the hearing. He testified that he found serous flaws in the 2005 case and declined to file charges. he also testified that he felt that his decision was binding.  Castor further defended his decision not to bring charges because Constand's waited a year to report the allegations and had  continued contact with Cosby.   Castor even considered that extortion of the TV star might be a possible motive for the complaint.

Castor's successor (DA Kevin Steele) has nevertheless reopened the investigation into allegations concerning dozens of women who claim that he violated them. In the civil deposition, Cosby acknowledged giving Quaaludes to women he wanted to seduce. He even admitted reaching into Constand's pants but Cosby said it was consensual. The statute of limitations for prosecuting Cosby has run out in nearly every allegation. The pending case is the only one in which Cosby has been formally charged.

Judge Steven T. O'Neill may rule on Cosby's request to throw out the charges within the next seven days.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Affluenza Teen, Ethan Couch, Maybe In Deep Trouble ~by Legal Pub

Do recent headlines prove that rich coddled children are incapable of making rational choices?  Ethan Couch's recent behavior seems to suggest such a conclusion.  The wealthy Texas teen recently became a fugitive after breaking his probation sentence for killing four people while driving drunk.  Ethan turned up in Mexico and was taken into custody by Mexican authorities. 
Ethan Couch, 18, became known as the "affluenza" teen, because of trial testimony that suggested that Ethan was too rich and coddled to appreciate the danger of drinking and driving.  Ethan received 10 years probation for intoxication manslaughter after the 2013 incident.  
Ethan may not be the only one that is the subject of scrutiny.  His 48 year-old mom, Tonya Couch, is also front and center in the recent legal drama.  Tonya had disappeared with her son. Is she also "so wealthy and spoiled" that she could not tell the difference between right and wrong? Perhaps we will find out after Ethan is turned over to U.S. Marshals Service and Tonya is queried as to her role in Ethan's decision to violate probation.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve Asteroid Rumor is False ~by Legal Pub

Here at Legal Pub, we almost didn't buy Christmas presents.  After all, rumor had it that on Christmas Eve an asteroid was going to destroy earth or at least cause massive earth quakes.  However, after doing our due diligence we went shopping anyway based on NASA's report that there is no substance to multiple media reports that an asteroid passing by Earth on Christmas Eve will cause earthquakes on the planet.  Those darn asteroid experts at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have caused Legal Pub once again to become over extended on the credit card debt.
Asteroid 2003 SD220 will be about 6.6 million miles (10.6 million kilometers) from Earth on Christmas Eve.  To put it in perspective, that is about 27 times farther than the moon is from Earth. Like Santa's slay, the asteroid  will not even be visible to the human eye.  Complaints for our consumer debt can be addressed to NASA at their twitter account, @AsteroidWatch.

Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Just Call It What It Is! Murdering Lunatics ~by Legal Pub

assault rifle [Credit: National War College]

It would have been nice to have had a guest post by Donald Trump.  Not for the entertainment value, but for direct blunt thoughts about the stupidity occurring at a holiday banquet for the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health in California.

Does a label need to be put on Syed Rizwan Farook or his wife Tashfeen Malik other than murdering lunatics?  The couple conducted what appears to be a well thought out murder of 14 people with approximately 17 others being wounded. Whether it's labeled as workplace violence or terrorism is pure crap!  It is murder.  Let's declare war on murders and make sure of the following:
One:   No more glorification of the murders with so much media coverage.
Two:   Punish each murderer to the full extent of the law.
Questions?  Repeat step one and two!

Farook was apparently born in Chicago but raised in California.  His internet bride apparently is from Pakistan but lived in the Middle East.  The two were both apparently in Saudi Arabia within the last two years. They attended the banquet, then they suddenly left.  They then returned with a plan to murder at a facility designed to help the developmentally disabled. Farook had been a public employee for about five years.  Since returning to the U.S., he was reported as being "reserved."

Both Farook and his bride were killed in a gun fight less than four hours after the mass murder. The couple had fled in a rented SUV. Given the rental vehicle, amount of ammunition and explosives, this was a planned massacre.  Unfortunately, there was a great deal of media coverage of the shootout and unfortunately, publicity is the last thing lunatics deserve.  Furthermore, extensive media coverage appears to spawn further attacks.

Farook's brother in law, Farhan Khan, spoke to the media and condemned the violence. Farook and Malik had assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons in their SUV at the time of their death.  The motive of the shooting is debatable.  Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Los Angeles, said not to jump to conclusions.  Muzammil Siddiqi, chairman of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, publicized his “sadness and sorrow” for the victims.  “We are in solidarity with them," Siddiqi said, while condemning the “horrible violence," and urged people not to condemn Islam.

Legal Pub takes the position that there is indeed no need to condemn any religion.  What needs to be condemned is anyone who promotes acts of violence and that condemnation needs to consist of punishing crimes to the maximum extent of the law.

Farook and Malik are survived by a six month child who was staying with relatives at the time of the shooting.

The couple apparently met in 2014 on a dating site.  Malik came to the U.S. on a "Fiance Visa." Random dating site and social media photos below

Embedded image permalink

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Does Marijuana Increase the Risk of Automobile Accidents? ~by Legal Pub

Clearly drunk driving is a major risk factor for traffic accidents; however, the data on marijuana impairment is less persuasive.

Click image for expanded view.

Two National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) studies seem to come to different conclusions.  Studies  Twenty three states have legalized marijuana (four states and the District of Columbia for recreational use). Perhaps as many as ten other  states will follow their lead within the next three hundred and sixty five days.

A 2013-2014 NHTSA report based on 9,000 drivers indicated that 12.6% tested positive for THC.  Data from  2007 reported only and 8.6% positive.  Interestingly enough the same survey suggested that the number of drivers testing positive for alcohol was 8.3% a significant reduction from a  1973 NHTSA survey.

A second NHTSA report based on more than 3,000 crash-involved drivers and 6,000 drivers not involved in crashes revealed that drivers who tested positive for THC were 25 percent more likely to be involved in a crash.  However, other factors like age, gender, ethnicity and blood alcohol concentration were considered statistically more likely to increase the risk of an accident. NHTSA researchers concluded, “Caution should be exercised in assuming that drug presence implies driver impairment.”

Measuring impairment in a person using marijuana isn’t proved by THC levels. “Most psychoactive drugs are chemically complex molecules, whose absorption, action and elimination from the body are difficult to predict,” NHTSA writes, "and considerable differences exist between individuals with regard to the rates at which these processes occur. Alcohol, in comparison, is more predictable.”  More importantly, marijuana users can have THC in their bodies days or even weeks after using the drug, long after any psychoactive effects. For example, a U.S. district court in New Jersey, excluded evidence that a driver had used marijuana the night before an accident “because its probative value is weak, and a jury is likely to be inflamed by evidence of use of intoxicating substances.” The defense presented evidence that the driver was "significantly impaired... since a significant amount of time passed between the marijuana use and the accident, and there is no standard for measuring marijuana impairment.”


More study is needed before the legal system reaches it's conclusions.  No one would suggest that a driver should smoke marijuana before he or she gets behind the wheel. However, testing positive for THC after an accident does not necessarily mean that the driver was impaired.