Justice for All | Justice for All

Justice for All

 

A blog for those interested in crime, criminal law and punishment from the defense perspective.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Florida State Player Arrested

Florida State senior cornerback Greg Reid was arrested late one night and charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession, driving with a suspended license and a seatbelt violation.

 

Reid, who is from Valdosta, was taken to the Lowndes County Jail and was released on bond according to the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office.

 

It's unclear how Greg Reid's arrest will affect his status for the 2012 season.

 

Reid was stopped by the Georgia State Patrol for window tint and seat belt violations. Police later found was believed to be less than one ounce of marijuana.

 

 

 

 

 

David Chipman “Chip” Venie is a New Mexico criminal defense lawyer and Freedom Law Center is his firm. Chip Venie limits his practice to the representation of people accused of DWI, DUI, domestic violence, assaults, batteries, felonies, drug trafficking crimes, drug possession crimes, violent crimes, gun crimes, sex crimes, murder, homicide, grand jury matters, and other crimes and related civil matters. Chip Venie has handled over 1000 felony matters, and thousands of other criminal cases.   Chip Venie has a 49-6 jury trial record, including a 16-1 jury trial record in New Mexico. Call David Chipman “Chip” Venie at 505 766 9000, for the best criminal defense lawyer and law firm in New Mexico. www.anothernotguilty.com.

 

 

 

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Tulane Player Arrested

Tulane linebacker Trent Mackey has been arrested on armed robbery charges and is suspended indefinitely.   Mackey, who finished sixth in the nation last season with 145 tackles, was chosen by the media as the Conference USA preseason defensive player of the year.   According to the police report, it first appeared as though Mackey was the victim because his cell phone and backpack were stolen from the residence of a female friend on July 12.   Police arrested Robert Murray...

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Georgia Player Charged with Marijuana Possession

Georgia cornerback Branden Smith was arrested and charged with marijuana possession, the third starter from last year's team to be arrested in the offseason.   The junior was pulled over for having no tag light and following another vehicle too closely in Abbeville in southeastern Alabama, Henry County Sherriff William Maddox said. The arresting officer smelled marijuana in the car and found it under the back seat after a search, the sheriff said.   Smith could be suspended for at...

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Son Attacks Mother in Violent Outburst

A 14-year-old Santa Fe boy, angered that his mother told him to clean his room, went on a violent rampage, according to police.   The boy stabbed his mother and threatened to kill his baby brother, police said.   The 911 tape captures the mother's dramatic plea for help during those terrorizing moments.   "He stabbed me and is trying to break into my car right now, I need help right now, right now!," the mother is heard saying in the recording.   The mother's...

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Mescalero Man Sentenced in Sex Abuse Case

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- A Mescalero man has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison in New Mexico in a child sex abuse case.   Prosecutors say 59-year-old Manuel Coronado Cervantes was sentenced by a U.S. District judge in Santa Fe.   He was ordered to comply with sex offender registration and notification requirements and also must serve 10 years of supervised release after his prison term.   Cervantes was arrested in December 2010 and has been in federal custody since then.   He...

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Teacher Charged with Sexual Assault

An Artesia middle school teacher is accused of sexually assaulting several foster children.   Police arrested 42-year-old Jodi Kirkpatrick on Friday. Kirkpatrick is charged with five counts of criminal sexual penetration and five counts of kidnapping.   Police said Kirkpatrick and her ex-husband, Richard Glascoe, sexually assaulted several foster children in their care while living in Clovis from 2003 to 2006.   Glascoe was convicted in 2007, but new evidence found last week...

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Oklahoma State Suspends Player After Arrest

Phillip Jurick was arrested for drug possession, weed and paraphernalia. OKSU suspended the basketball center indefinitely after the arrest was made.   He also won’t be able to travel with the team to Spain for the foreign tour.   Before his injury last season, he started in 16 games with 1.6 PPG and 4.9 RPG.           David Chipman “Chip” Venie is a New Mexico criminal defense lawyer and Freedom Law Center is his firm. Chip Venie...

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Ohio State Player Dismissed After Arrest

COLUMBUS, Ohio– Ohio State coach Urban Meyer dismissed senior linebacker Storm Klein from the football team following his arrest on domestic violence and assault charges.   Klein pleaded not guilty to the charges after being arrested by Columbus police on Friday.   Meyer said in a statement that the charges against Klein ”violate the core values of the Ohio State Football Program.”   ”As a result, Storm has been removed from the team. It has been made...

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Southern Illinois Player Arrested

Southern Illinois guard Diamond Taylor was arrested on DUI charges, leading to his indefinite suspension from the Salukis by new coach Barry Hinson.   "I'm extremely disappointed in Diamond," Hinson said in a release from the school. "We're in the business of educating student-athletes and teaching them how to conduct themselves on and off court, and this is a significant setback.   "The question now is how do we react? I met with Diamond this morning and issued...

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Dozens of White Supremacist Gang Members Charged

HOUSTON - Four top leaders of the white supremacist Aryan Brotherhood of Texas are among nearly three dozen alleged gang members charged in a sweeping indictment that accuses them of crimes ranging from capital murder to drug trafficking.   10 defendants are facing charges that carry a death penalty. As examples of the gang’s brutality, the indictment says one leader ordered a subordinate to kill a gang prospect and return his severed finger, and another was told to burn a tattoo...

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State Police Capture Kidnapping Suspect

Police were looking Joseph Rodriguez, 25, in the possible kidnapping of a woman.   Law enforcement officials caught Rodriguez in a duplex near his mother's home in Angel Fire.   They said they have also found the woman he's suspected of kidnapping. Police said they are working to determine her role in the incident.   Rodriguez was also wanted for eluding police and a parole violation in Taos County.   It all started when police tried to pull Rodriguez over in Taos...

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Santa Fe Murder Suspect Found Not Guilty

A Santa Fe man accused in a 2010 murder has been acquitted.   Russell Harris was arrested for the murder of 24-year-old Julian Cordova.   Police said the incident stemmed from a fight between Harris and Cordova's younger brother.   Harris testified he shot Cordova because he threatened him with a gun.   A jury found Harris not guilty, stating the shooting was in self-defense.           David Chipman “Chip” Venie is a New Mexico...

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Arkansas State Player Arrested

JONESBORO, Ark. — Arkansas State receiver Allen Muse is facing a misdemeanor charge following a domestic dispute.   Muse was arrested after his mother-in-law called university police. A report on the incident says Muse broke down a bathroom door after his wife locked herself in with his phone. There is no indication in the report that anyone was struck.   Muse was cited for third-degree assault and was released on $775 bond.       David Chipman “Chip”...

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Stanford Player Reinstated Following D.U.I. Arrest

Stanford senior linebacker Shayne Skov, arrested in January for driving under the influence, has been reinstated by the team but will miss the first game of the season.   Skov led the Cardinal with 84 tackles and had 7½ sacks two years ago. He tore a ligament in his left knee in the third game of the 2011 season, sidelining him for the year.   Moving in to make a tackle in the second quarter, Skov had his left knee buckle when Wildcats receiver Juron Criner barreled into him....

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Auburn Player Suspended After Arrest

AUBURN, Ala.- Auburn coach Gene Chizik has suspended center Reese Dismukes following the sophomore's arrest on a public intoxication charge.   Chizik says he is "very disappointed in Reese Dismukes for his irresponsible behavior.”  The suspension comes eight days before Tigers open against Clemson in Atlanta's Georgia Dome.   Chizik did not say how long Dismukes' suspension would last. The Lee County's sheriff's office said that the starter was released on a $300...

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NM-599 Crash Kills One, Drunk Driving Suspected

A man is dead and another was taken to the hospital following a suspected drunk driving crash.   Santa Fe police are trying to determine who was responsible.   The crash occurred Thursday night as the SUV the two were driving was exiting US-84/285 onto NM-599.   Police said the driver lost control at the exit and flipped over.   66-year-old Manuel Vigil died in the crash.   The other man in the SUV was taken to the hospital.   Police are not sure if that...

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Two ABQ Men Behind Bars in Overnight Stabbing

An Albuquerque man is recovering after being stabbed several times, and two men are in jail.   Clayton Hust and Brandon Torres both faced a judge on aggravated battery with a deadly weapon charges.   They're accused of attacking a man in his home over some property that he had.   The criminal complaint states Hust and Torres confronted the man about the goods, and an argument ensued.   Police said that's when Hust stabbed the victim.           David...

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Woman Pleads Guilty to Breaking into a Home to Clean

WESTLAKE, Ohio - A woman accused of breaking into a home west of Cleveland, cleaning it and leaving a bill for $75 has pleaded guilty to attempted burglary.   The 53-year-old Warren told authorities that she was driving by the house and "wanted something to do." She broke in, washed some coffee cups, took out the trash, vacuumed and dusted inside the house. Then she left a bill written on a napkin that included her phone number.   Warren says that she owns a cleaning business...

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Friday, November 09, 2012

Purdue Dismisses Player After Arrest

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Purdue has dismissed cornerback Sean Collins after he was arrested over the outside a bar on preliminary charges of public intoxication, resisting arrest and battery.   Coach Danny Hope had suspended Collins. He said that the serious allegations prompted his decision to dismiss the junior. He said the school would re-evaluate the situation if the charges change.   Collins is an Indianapolis native who joined the team as a walk-on in 2009. He has not played...

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UK Player Arrested

Kentucky basketball administrator Rod Strickland had a long, strange day, having spent hours in a Lexington, Ky., jail because of a clerical error.   On his way to the UK basketball offices on the northern edge of campus, Strickland was pulled over by Lexington Police for failing to use a turn signal. Once pulled over, he was arrested on a charge of driving on a suspended license.       David Chipman “Chip” Venie is a New Mexico criminal defense lawyer and...

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Murray St. Suspends Player After Arrest

MURRAY, Ky.- Murray State point guard Zaveral "Zay'' Jackson was suspended by the team after being accused of hitting two people with his car in a Walmart parking lot in southwestern Kentucky. Police say the 20-year-old sophomore was charged with two counts of first-degree assault and spent the night at the Calloway County jail. Police arrested Jackson following an altercation in which he allegedly hit two people with his white Monte Carlo, causing minor injuries.   Murray State coach...

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Principal Guilty of Failing to Report Abuse

SAN JOSE, Calif. - The conviction of a former California principal for failing to report suspected sexual abuse of a child by a teacher marked just the second time in two decades that Santa Clara County prosecutors had pursued the misdemeanor charge _ and it was the first time they won, officials said.   After deliberating for two days, a jury on found Lyn Vijayendran, 36, guilty of the crime.   A judge sentenced the former principal of O.B. Whaley Elementary School in San Jose to...

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Farmington Drunk Driver Connected to Another Case

Farmington police say a driver accused of killing a pedestrian this week was also responsible for the 2004 drunk driving death of an Albuquerque Public Schools superintendent.   Police said Joe Raymond Gallegos was on drugs when he hit and killed 32-year-old Delandra Pioche in Farmington.   They said he fled the scene and went to a nearby mobile home to get rid of heroin and cocaine.   Gallegos was convicted of driving drunk and crashing his car in 2004.   Then APS...

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Person Arrested in Connection to Convent Fire

Another person has been arrested in connection with an arson-turned-murder case in Taos.   The old Holy Cross Convent burned down in August.   Police ended up finding 39-year-old Christian Payton's body in the basement.   Police said they think Deborah Jaramillo and William Smith murdered Payton then set the building on fire to hide the body.   The U.S. Marshals Service arrested Jaramillo Oct. 19 in Durango. They arrested Smith in Santa Fe.               David...

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Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Temple Player Arrested

Temple guard Khalif Wyatt, who was arrested in June during a prostitution sting, has been fined $1,000 and sentenced to community service as part of a plea deal.       While celebrating his 21st birthday in Atlantic City, N.J., Wyatt was arrested after soliciting a police officer posing as a prostitute. He then attempted to flee the scene before being detained.       David Chipman “Chip” Venie is a New Mexico criminal defense lawyer and Freedom...

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Ball State Suspends LB

MUNCIE, Ind. -- Ball State linebacker Jonathan Newsome has been suspended for the first two games of the season for violating team rules.   Coach Pete Lembo announced the suspension.   Newsome was arrested after a bag containing marijuana was allegedly found in his wallet He is facing a preliminary charge of possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor.  David Chipman “Chip” Venie is a New Mexico criminal defense lawyer and Freedom Law Center is his firm. Chip Venie...

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Texas Tech Dismisses Player Following Arrest

LUBBOCK, Texas -- Texas Tech has dismissed linebacker Daniel Cobb from the team after he was arrested and charged with felony burglary.   According to a Lubbock police report, an officer responding to the Sunday burglary call found evidence of forced entry into an apartment and Cobb assaulting the occupant.       David Chipman “Chip” Venie is a New Mexico criminal defense lawyer and Freedom Law Center is his firm. Chip Venie limits his practice to the...

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Shoplifter Fled Police in High Speed Chase

A woman led Santa Fe police on a high-speed chase after she allegedly shoplifted at a Walmart and decided to run.   Kimberly Calabaza, 21, took off from the Walmart off Cerrillos Road, hitting another vehicle in the process.   While heading down Cerrillos, an officer noticed a truck that matched the description of Calabaza's and signaled for her to stop. Instead, police said, she picked up the speed, cutting in and out of parking lots and going about 80 miles per hour down St. Francis...

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Police Arrest Farmington Man for Murder

Farmington police have arrested a man in connection with the city's latest homicide.   Police say that Jacob Beach, 19, of Farmington is being held for the murder of Sharolyn Keown, 18, also of Farmington.   Keown was found dead after Farmington Police were dispatched to the Hummingbird Mobile Home Court at 4715 Gila in reference to shots fired and a woman screaming.   When they arrived, they found Keown dead with a gunshot wound to the chest.   The suspect had fled...

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ABQ Web Designer Sentenced to Prison for PayPal Scam

A federal judge sentenced an Albuquerque web designer to a year and a day of imprisonment for his conviction for accessing a protected computer without authorization and with the intention of committing fraud and obtaining money.   Andrew West will be on supervised release for three years after completing his prison sentence. West also was ordered to pay over $5,000 in restitution to the victims of his crime.   Officials said West entered a guilty plea, charging him with accessing...

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FSU Player Arrested

The Tallahassee Police Department received a report of a stolen green motorcycle off Chapel Dr. around 2 p.m. on Sunday. Later, the victim returned to the scene and noticed skid marks that led from where the motorcycle was last seen to a location nearby, totaling about 1/10 of a mile. The report states that when officers asked Jenkins if he knew why they were there, Jenkins conceded that it was about the motorcycle. Jenkins told the officers that he found the motorcycle lying on the ground and...

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Iowa State Player Arrested

Fred Hoiberg wants to be planning his practices for the early portion of the 2012 – 2013 college basketball season. The Iowa State University head basketball coach has other things to deal with following an arrest of one of his players. Babu Palo and another man from Ames, Iowa were arrested on charges of second degree sexual abuse. Since then, Palo has been suspended from the team indefinitely.   The latest police report from Ames Iowa says that Palo offered a ride home to a women...

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Iowa RB Arrested

Johnson was pulled over for speeding on a motorcycle in Iowa City one night — doing 60 in a 25 mph zone, apparently — but did not immediately pull over for officers. Then, after being pulled over, he put the motorcycle in grass behind another vehicle, and told officers it belonged to a fictional "Jake," according to the complaint.   Eluding is a serious misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail.       David Chipman “Chip” Venie...

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Man Convicted of Murder in Death of Las Cruces Man

LAS CRUCES, N.M.— A jury convicted a man of first-degree murder in the 2006 shooting death of a 19-year-old from Las Cruces.   The jury also convicted 28-year-old Victor Paiz of other charges in Jesus Bustillos' death.   Prosecutors say Bustillos wasn't the intended target of the attack, but happened to be driving a vehicle belonging to the intended target.   Authorities say the intended target had an earlier dispute with Paiz.   This is the second time Paiz has...

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Alamo Man Sentenced 10 Years in Infant’s Death

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - An Alamo man convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the death of an infant has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.   Federal prosecutors say 31-year-old Kalvest Ganadonegro will be on supervised released once he completes the prison sentence.   According to a criminal complaint, Ganadonegro shook a 10-month-old infant that he had been babysitting in 2008, killing her.   Prosecutors say the shaking happened on two occasions, leading to brain injuries.   Ganadonegro's...

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Dulce Man Sentenced in 2008 Death of His Young Son

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- A New Mexico man has been sentenced to nearly 22 years in federal prison for the death of his 3-year-old son. Prosecutors say a federal judge in Santa Fe sentenced 31-year-old Jay Rutherford Paiz, of Dulce, to a 262-month prison term for his second-degree murder conviction. Paiz will be on supervised release for three years after he completes his prison sentence. He also was ordered to pay more than $18,000 restitution to the Dulce Health Center to cover the boy's medical...

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Ark. Players Arrested

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Three Arkansas football players, including receivers Marquel Wade and Maudrecus Humphrey, have been arrested and charged with burglarizing dorm rooms.   University of Arkansas police arrested Wade, Humphrey and tight end Andrew Peterson after looking at security video in which the players allegedly were walking into rooms where items, such as computers and textbooks, had been taken.   An arrest report says witnesses also identified the players. Some of...

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Nebraska Basketball Player Faked Hate Crime Attack

LINCOLN, Neb. - A former University of Nebraska women's basketball star faked an attack in which she allegedly carved anti-gay slurs into her skin because she felt it would spark change, police said. Furthermore, genetic testing on evidence gathered at the crime scene undermines Rogers' account of what happened, Peschong said. Charlie Rogers, 33, pleaded not guilty to making a false police report and was released on her own recognizance.  David Chipman “Chip” Venie is a New...

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Ohio State Players Suspended After Arrests

Jake Stoneburner and Jack Mewhort were arrested on misdemeanor charges of obstructing official business.   Columbus attorney Mark Collins said that both players will not be allowed in the football facilities until the case is settled.   The players and a third person not on the football team were urinating outside a restaurant when Shawnee Hills police saw them. Collins said that the players ran when they saw a spotlight, but stopped near the restaurant they were first seen next...

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NM Sexual Assault Prison Lawsuit Trial Begins

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M - A trial of a sexual assault lawsuit filed by two New Mexico female inmates against the nation's largest private, for-profit prison operator has begun.   A woman who is serving a 13-year forgery sentence at the Grants Women's Correctional Facility told jurors about a sexual assault by a male nurse.   Two inmates are suing Corrections Corporation of America over allegations of sexual assaults and retaliation after reporting the assaults.   Daniel Struck, the...

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Farmington Woman Sentenced for Stealing $220K from Ex

AZTEC, N.M - A New Mexico woman has been sentenced to probation for stealing and spending $220,000 from her ex-husband.   52-year-old Rhonda Osborn was sentenced after District Judge William Birdsall suspended her two nine-year prison sentences.   Osborne was convicted by a jury of two second-degree felonies for larceny and receiving stolen property.   According to court documents, in 2010 Osborne withdrew $220,000 from her ex-husband's bank account that still had her name...

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Lovington Man Arrested for 2011 Kidnappings, Murders

The Lea County Sheriff has arrested a Lovington man for the murders of two men found dead in a field one year ago near Lovington.   Deputies tell us they have arrested Pedro R. Dominguez, 27, of Lovington in the deaths of Leon Sanchez, 49, and Frank McClain, 44, both of Lovington.   The two men were found dead in a pasture near US 82 ,4 miles east of Lovington on November 10, 2011.   Dominguez has been charged with two counts of murder and two counts of first-degree kidnapping...

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Zay Jackson Suspended After Arrest

Murray State sophomore guard Zaveral “Zay” Jackson, expected to start alongside All-American Isaiah Canaan this season, has been suspended indefinitely by coach Steve Prohm in the wake of his arrest.   Jackson, 20, stands accused of hitting two people with his car in a Walmart parking lot, causing minor injuries. He was charged with two counts of first-degree assault and spent the night at the Calloway County jail.       David Chipman “Chip” Venie...

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2 UTSA Players Arrested for Robbery

SAN ANTONIO- Two Texas-San Antonio football players have been dismissed from the team after their arrests on aggravated robbery charges.   UTSA spokeswoman Christi Fish said the university was notified of the arrests of safety Adefemi Adekeye (add-eh-FEEM-ee ADD-eh-key) and cornerback Toyin Dada by San Antonio police. Both players were walk-ons.   A police report says the victim went into an apartment to buy marijuana and was talking to one suspect when another man came out of a...

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Georgia RB Arrested

ATHENS, Ga. – Georgia tailback Isaiah Crowell was dismissed from the team by coach Mark Richt after the sophomore was arrested on felony weapons charges.   Police found a gun in Crowell’s vehicle early one morning. Georgia announced the dismissal that afternoon. Richt’s short statement in the announcement did not mention Crowell.   ”We have a dedicated and committed group of men who are working hard to prepare for the coming season,” Richt said. ”Our...

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ABQ Man who left Child During a Traffic Stop Indicted

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M - A man police says abandoned his 2-year-old daughter during a traffic stop, then held another family hostage to avoid an arrest, has been indicted by a Bernalillo County grand jury.   The 2nd Judicial District Attorney's Office said that Manuel Romero was indicted on a number of charges, including child abuse, extortion, and aggravated burglary.   According to Albuquerque police, officers tried to pull over Romero in Albuquerque last month but he took off from his...

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Colorado Man Pleads Guilty to Rapes, Gets 156 Years in Prison

A Colorado man responsible for a series of rapes in New Mexico in the 1990's pleaded guilty in Albuquerque and was sentenced to 156 years in prison.   After pleading guilt to eight counts of rape, and no contest to an additional rape charge, Robert Bruce was sentenced to 156 years in prison plus 5 to 10 years probation.   Bruce will serve his time in Pueblo, Colo.   Bruce, nicknamed "Ether Man" for his habit of using chemicals to subdue dozens of rape victims in...

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Man who Allegedly Threatened Gov. to be Released from Jail

A Valencia County man accused of harassing Gov. Susana Martinez is set to be released from jail this week.   Assistant District Attorney Kent Wahlquist said that James Sanchez is being released because a judge changed the conditions of his release, removing the $100,000 cash only bond and changing it to $5,000 cash surety.   Sanchez has been in jail since September 28.           David Chipman “Chip” Venie is a New Mexico criminal defense...

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Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Oklahoma State Suspends Basketball Center After Arrest

Phillip Jurick was arrested for drug possession, weed and paraphernalia. OKSU suspended the basketball center indefinitely after the arrest was made.   He also won’t be able to travel with the team to Spain for the foreign tour.   Before his injury last season, he started in 16 games with 1.6 PPG and 4.9 RPG.           David Chipman “Chip” Venie is a New Mexico criminal defense lawyer and Freedom Law Center is his firm. Chip Venie...

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Long Island Stars Arrested

Four LIU players were arrested last week for their role in an on-campus fight. Among those listed included Julian Boyd, Jamal Olasewere, C.J. Garner, and Troy Joseph.   Each of the players involved have been suspended from the school for the near future, although there is no set date or other details in relation.   David Chipman “Chip” Venie is a New Mexico criminal defense lawyer and Freedom Law Center is his firm. Chip Venie limits his practice to the representation...

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TCU QB Suspended After Arrest

DALLAS — TCU quarterback Casey Pachall was suspended indefinitely, hours after he was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated in his second brush with trouble this year and one that clouds the 15th-ranked Horned Frogs’ push for a Big 12 title.   Coach Gary Patterson announced the suspension, saying his quarterback “obviously needs help.”   Pachall was arrested just after midnight when he was pulled over after running a stop sign near TCU’s...

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Las Cruces Man Gets Life for Killing Ex-Wife

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - A Las Cruces man who barged into his ex-wife's home last year and stabbed her to death in front of two children has been sentenced to life in prison plus 40 years.   A jury convicted Solomon last week of eight charges in the killing of 35-year-old Jenny Bates.   Court records show the 40-year-old Solomon barged into Bates' home in August 2011, threw her to the floor and stabbed her 32 times in front of two children.   He prevented the children from calling...

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Pharmacist Tech Arrested During Drug Investigation

A local pharmacy tech who agreed to work with Albuquerque Police Department narcotics detectives was instead busted for cocaine.   Alexandria Patterson was arrested at Lovelace Pharmacy downtown where she worked. But detectives said Patterson may be just one in a larger investigation.   "We're working with the Board of Pharmacy into the allegations of taking pills, and we're looking at several different, not only pharmacists but pharmacy techs," said one narcotics detective,...

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Boy Says He Was Mad at His Dog so He Killed it

SALINAS, Calif. - A 12-year-old California boy says he killed his dog because he wanted to see the terrier mix die.   police officers found the 12-pound dog hanging by its collar on a bedroom door handle.   Investigators say the boy told officers he was mad at the dog and he wanted to see it die.   Dispatchers got a 911 emergency call Friday afternoon from a female caller saying the boy was hurting the dog. People in the boy’s apartment refused to open the door when...

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Sunday, November 04, 2012

Ohio State’s Brionte Dunn Charged with Marijuana Possession

Ohio State freshman running back Bri’onte Dunn was charged with possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.   In the police report, Dunn was seen driving on East Broadway Street and almost ran a blinking red light, went across the crosswalk and almost hit a police car.   When he was stopped by police, he and a passenger had a wooden pipe and less than 200 grams of marijuana. Dunn was also given misdemeanor charges of not wearing a seat belt and a tail-light...

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Alabama Recruit Deon Johnson Arrested Again

Deon “D.J.” Johnson, a high school receiver committed to Alabama, has been arrested and charged with first-degree rape—his second arrest in less than a month.   On Sept. 6, Johnson was arrested and charged with second-degree rape and sodomy. The two arrests were unrelated, according to police.       David Chipman “Chip” Venie is a New Mexico criminal defense lawyer and Freedom Law Center is his firm. Chip Venie limits his practice to...

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New Mexico QB David Vega Arrested

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—New Mexico junior quarterback David Vega has been suspended from the team indefinitely.   The suspension was announced  by Lobos coach Bob Davie, who says Vega was arrested by Albuquerque police.   Davie says that until he's satisfied that he has all the facts, he won't make a decision on Vega's return to the program.   Vega is the second Lobos player suspended in two days.   David Chipman “Chip” Venie is a New Mexico criminal...

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2 Arrested in Farmington for Defacing Obama Sign

Farmington police arrested two people for vandalizing a campaign sign in the city.   Someone flagged down officers in the area of Villa View and Main Street and told them that a man and woman were damaging campaign signs.   Police found a man and woman in the area of Pinon Hills and Main who were driving a side-by-side ATV and who matched the description of the suspects.   Police questioned the two, who denied defacing any signs. Eventually, police were able to determine that...

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Santa Fe Man Robbed by Man with Gun Replica

A Santa Fe man had his car stolen early Nov. 1 by a robber he thought was pointing a machine gun at him.   He later found out it was just a BB gun replica.   According to a criminal complaint with Santa Fe police, the victim had parked his light blue Oldsmobile Ciera in the 2200 block of Calle Lorca at 1:24 a.m. when he said he saw a man later identified as Arturo Lujan approach his vehicle.   According to the complaint the victim thought that Lujan, 32, was intending to ask...

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Rio Rancho Murder

Rio Rancho police arrested Leonard Tidwell, 20, in connection to the murder of Gregory Stender ( a 51-year-old man) who lived with him.   According to the criminal complaint, Tidwell got into an argument around 12:30 a.m. Thursday with Stender's girlfriend, Carolina Bell, and the mother of Tidwell's girlfriend, over overdue repair work on a Ford Mustang.   All four people, including an infant, lived at 1651 Greenview Way NE.   In Tidwell's testimony, he said when Stender walked...

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Thursday, November 01, 2012

Maryland’s Howard Arrested

Maryland sophomore point guard Pe'Shon Howard was arrested by university police and charged with disorderly conduct outside a restaurant.   Police issued a citation to Howard, who was released from custody.   Pe'Shon Howard was limited to 14 games for the Terps in 2011-12.   University police spokesman Capt. Marc Limansky said officers responded to a fight outside the restaurant when Howard was seen in a crowd of about 30 people "taunting" the aggressor of the fight....

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Notre Dame QB Faces Charges

Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees faces four misdemeanor charges following an arrest and altercation with a police officer.   Rees initially faced a preliminary felony charge. According to police, Rees, 19, attempted to flee a police officer who was on scene at a house where numerous open containers of alcohol were found on the ground.   Tommy Rees' initial felony battery charge is now just a misdemeanor—one of four misdemeanor charges he faces.   When told to stop,...

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Minnesota F Trevor Mbakwe Sentenced to Probation

MINNEAPOLIS -- A Florida judge has given two more years of probation to Minnesota forward Trevor Mbakwe for a drunken-driving arrest over the summer. Mbakwe was on probation for a 2009 felony battery charge in Florida at the time of his July 1 arrest in Minnesota and could have faced jail time for the violation. But Miami-Dade judge Jose Fernandez warned Mbakwe at a hearing: "You're not a cat; you don't have nine lives. You're going to do something and it's going to be the end of any chances...

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NM Corrections Officer Behind Bars

A New Mexico corrections officer is behind bars after being charged with battery on a household member.   Roswell Correctional Center Officer Justin Hellums was arrested and has been booked into the Chaves County Detention Center.   The New Mexico Corrections Department is investigating the charges.   Hellums has been employed with the Department for seven months.   According to an online courts database the battery charge is the first for Hellums.       David...

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45,000 Spice Packets Confiscated in Recent Drug Sweep

Federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents confiscated more than 45,000 packets of synthetic cannabis, or so-called "spice" from Albuquerque sellers as part of a drug sweep.   The agents said everything from the way spice is made to the way it is tested is illegal, calling it drug dealing in stores.   But Independent Small Retail Business Association President Jerry Sedillo, who spoke on behalf of a smoke shop raided, took issue with the raid.   "We have...

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Police Arrest 2nd Smuggling Employee within 6 Weeks

Two employees of food vendor Aramark have been arrested over the last six weeks for smuggling contraband into prisons. Candace Holmes was arrested for smuggling drugs into a correctional facility in Las Cruces in June. Then Mel Baca admitted to smuggling food into the Central New Mexico Correctional Facility in Los Lunas.   A fellow food vendor suspected Baca of the smuggling and reported it. Baca admitted to the crime during an interview with the prison officers, but that just started...

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ohio State’s Jake Stoneburner Arrested

Ohio State senior tight end Jake Stoneburner was arrested and charged with obstructing official business in Shawnee Hills, Ohio, multiple reports indicated.   Jack Mewhort, expected to start at left tackle this upcoming season, was arrested in the same incident. A third man, who has no affiliation with the program, was taken into custody as well.   The 6-5, 245-pound Stoneburner caught 14 passes for 193 yards and seven touchdowns last season.       David Chipman...

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Arkansas State Player Arrested

JONESBORO, Ark.— Arkansas State receiver Allen Muse is facing a misdemeanor charge following a domestic dispute.   Muse was arrested after his mother-in-law called university police. A report on the incident says Muse broke down a bathroom door after his wife locked herself in with his phone. There is no indication in the report that anyone was struck.   Muse was cited for third-degree assault and was released on $775 bond.       David Chipman “Chip”...

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Michigan State Center Pleads Guilty

Michigan State center Derrick Nix pleaded guilty to a charge of impaired driving, a significantly reduced charge from the charge of operating a vehicle with the presence of drugs.   Nix will have sentencing on May 11, and the charge of impaired driving carries a maximum punishment of 93 days in jail and a $300 fine, on top of a driver's license suspension of 180 days. When Nix was arrested, Tom Izzo said that his future with the program was in serious jeopardy.           David...

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San Juan Co. Jail Guard Faces Sexual Assault Charges

A former San Juan County Jail guard has been charged with sexual assault, and having child pornography.   Farmington detectives arrested 43-year-old Darin Weeks after a two-month-long investigation.   Officers said they found thousands of images of child pornography on his personal computer. They said weeks also confessed to having sexual contact with his teenage niece.   Weeks was a detention officer when the investigation began, but was no longer employed when he was arrested.       David...

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Man Linked to City Government Drug Ring Arrested

At least one Albuquerque Housing Authority worker has been arrested who is linked to a possible a drug ring within city government.   Patrick Vargas was arrested under bribery and intimidation of a witness charges and booked into jail.   Even though Vargas wasn't arrested for drug offenses but the arrest is linked to a drug investigation.   And according to a criminal complaint, Albuquerque Police detectives suspect Patrick Vargas of selling oxycodone, steroids, heroin and...

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Couple Charged with Murder Plead Not Guilty

Two people accused in a deadly Albuquerque double-shooting pleaded not guilty in court.   Shalaka Booker pleaded not guilty to murder charges.   A judge set her bond at $750,000 - cash only.   Her boyfriend, Alfonso Thompson, also entered a not guilty plea to his murder charges.   His bond was set at a cash only $1 million..   Police said back in April, booker lost a tooth in a fight with the victims - 26-year-old Naomi Trujillo and 25-year-old May Valerio.   Police...

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Texas Tech Receiver Arrested

Texas Tech has suspended wide receiver Darrin Scott Moore from the football team after his April arrest on a drunken-driving charge.   Police reports show Moore was arrested April 13 after a Lubbock police officer observed him driving erratically. He remains free on $1,000 bond.           David Chipman “Chip” Venie is a New Mexico criminal defense lawyer and Freedom Law Center is his firm. Chip Venie limits his practice to the representation...

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Florida DT Arrested

Florida defensive tackle Leon Orr has to appear in court to face two marijuana-related charges.   Orr is the eighth player arrested since Will Muschamp replaced Urban Meyer as coach at Florida. Five of those arrests were for marijuana-related incidents.   According to the arrest report, police searched Orr’s dormitory room on Jan. 10 and found a “baggy of a green leafy substance, a glass pipe and rolling papers” on the player’s desk and bedside table.   Orr...

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TCU QB Suspended After Arrest

Texas Christian University quarterback Casey Pachall was indefinitely suspended following his arrest for a DWI. This is his second time getting into trouble this year causing issues for the 15th place ranked Horn Frogs chances of a Big 12 title.   Coach of the Horn Frogs, Gary Patterson announced his suspension, saying his quarterback “obviously needs help.”   Pachell is 21 years old. He was pulled over after midnight when he blew a stop sign and had a blood alcohol level...

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Two Charged in Pick-Axe, Knife Attack

47-year-old Santiago Anaya and 40-year-old Josephine Benavidez were in court this morning.   According to the criminal complaint, Anaya swung a pick axe at a man who was holding a knife.   Police said Anaya hit the man in the head with the axe and at some point, they said Benavidez joined in, swinging a shovel at the man.   Anaya and the victim were taken to the hospital.   Both Anaya and Benavidez face charges.       David Chipman “Chip”...

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Trial Date Set for Levi Chavez

A date has been set for the trial of a former Albuquerque Police officer accused of killing his wife.   Levi Chavez was in court for a pre-trial conference. He's accused of killing his wife Tera Chavez at their Los Lunas home in 2007.   The judge in the case set Chavez's murder trial for June of next year.       David Chipman “Chip” Venie is a New Mexico criminal defense lawyer and Freedom Law Center is his firm. Chip Venie limits his practice...

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Raton Man Pleads Guilty to Possession of Child Porn

A retired teacher from Raton pled guilty in federal court to possession of child pornography under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.   Under the terms of the plea agreement, Joseph F. Zinkiewicz will be sentenced to ten years of imprisonment to be followed by a supervised release term to be determined by the court.   He also will be required to register as a sex offender after he completes his prison sentence.   Zinkiewicz has been in federal custody...

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Friday, October 26, 2012

UConn Player Arrested

Jamal Coombs-McDaniel, a member of Connecticut’s national-title winning basketball team, was arrest by campus police for marijuana possession.   Coombs-McDaniel was in a dorm with two other people and were found to be in possession of 5.6 grams of marijuana, a marijuana grinder and a package of cigars used to smoke marijuana.       David Chipman “Chip” Venie is a New Mexico criminal defense lawyer and Freedom Law Center is his firm. Chip Venie...

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Ohio Offensive Lineman Arrested on Assault Charge

ATHENS, Ohio -- A football player for No. 25 Ohio University has been arrested after police say he and four other men attacked a freshman who had been sitting on a bench. Nineteen-year-old Mike Lucas was charged with felonious assault following the incident. The redshirt freshman offensive lineman from Chicago has a hearing set in Athens County Municipal Court. A judge will decide whether there's probable cause to refer the case for prosecution in common pleas court.   Team spokesman...

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South Florida’s Rudd Arrested

TEMPLE TERRACE, Fla. -- South Florida basketball player Victor Rudd Jr. has been arrested on a charge of driving without a valid license.   Rudd, 21, was released on $250 bond early Saturday. No attorney was listed for Rudd in the jail records, and a USF athletic department spokeswoman declined to comment.           David Chipman “Chip” Venie is a New Mexico criminal defense lawyer and Freedom Law Center is his firm. Chip Venie limits his...

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Police Detain 1 in LA Family Shooting

DOWNEY, Calif. - Authorities say a man held for questioning matches the description of a gunman who killed three people and critically wounded two others at a family-owned fire extinguisher business and a relative’s nearby home in suburban Los Angeles.   The man was one of four people detained and questioned, Downey Police Lt. Dean Milligan said. The other three, two men and a woman, were released after detectives determined they had no connection to the shootings, which left friends...

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In 2 Murder Cases, Mothers Turn in Their Own Sons

GOLDEN, Colo. - Mindy Sigg sat sobbing, listening to prosecutors tell a court that her 17-year-old son had confessed to the abduction and killing of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway.   While any mother would be devastated, there was an even more heartbreaking wrinkle for Sigg: She was the one who called police.   It was not the only high-profile case in which a mother made that painful choice. In New Jersey, Anita Saunders saw something on a Facebook page that led her to call police.   Her...

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Arrest Made in Roatcap Fire

A person is behind bars in connection to the Roatcap fire near Dolores, Colorado.   Shortly after the fire began, a person of interest was identified by the Montezuma County Sheriff's office and an investigation lead to the person's arrest.   The person faces a 4th degree arson charge which is a Class 4 felony. The arrested person is in custody with a $3,000.00 bond at the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Detention Center.   The Roatcap fire has burned 396 acres near Cortez...

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

MSU’s Nix Reinstated After Drug Arrest

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State has reinstated junior center Derrick Nix following a brush with the law. Coach Tom Izzo made the announcement and said he will remain on the team as long as he meets certain conditions. Nix was suspended since shortly after his arrest stemming from an April 3 incident in East Lansing. Nix has pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of impaired driving, according to court officials. A marijuana possession charge has been dropped.   David...

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Temple Player Arrested

PHILADELPHIA - Temple defensive tackle Kamal Johnson has been arrested on charges stemming from an alleged assault on his girlfriend, also a student at the university in Philadelphia. The 20-year-old junior was arraigned on felony kidnapping and misdemeanor charges. Bail was set at $25,000. Temple spokesman Raymond Betzner said the girlfriend told campus police she was assaulted at her apartment in a building where the university leases several floors. David Chipman “Chip” Venie...

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Ohio State Suspends Two Starters

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Two expected starters for Urban Meyer’s first Ohio State team have been suspended from the team.   Ohio State issued a statement saying that Meyer had suspended senior tight end Jake Stoneburner and junior offensive tackle Jack Mewhort after they were arrested by police on a misdemeanor charge of obstructing official business.   Stoneburner and Mewhort were arrested by police in Shawnee Hills, northwest of Columbus, near Muirfield Village Golf Club,...

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Man Accused in Ruidoso Murder Deemed Competent

ALAMOGORDO, N.M.- A man charged with the murder of a Ruidoso woman nearly five years ago has been found competent to stand trial.   Guillermo Ruiz also faces false imprisonment and tampering with evidence charges in the death of 20-year-old Anabel Calzaba Alvarado.   Authorities say Alvarado had been stabbed in a secluded area near a travel center on U.S. 70 outside Ruidoso in 2007.   They further allege that Ruiz took her body and her son across the border to Texas and into...

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Child Accused of Killing Dad will be Tried in 2013

A child accused of murdering his father is set to go to trial for the alleged crime in May 2013.   Ben Hilburn was 10 years old at the time when his father, Byron Hilburn, was found dead in his home in 2009 with a gunshot wound to his head.   Authorities in Valencia County have said Hilburn confessed to using a rifle to shoot his father because he was physically abusing him.   The trial has been delayed several times, chiefly because there is a dispute whether Hilburn's sister...

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Santa Fe County Man Arrested for Dozens of Pot Plants

SANTA FE, N.M. - Santa Fe County sheriff's deputies say they discovered dozens of marijuana plants inside a man's home, along with gardening equipment and lighting sources.   John Floyd Higgins III appeared on video before a judge  on a charge of distributing marijuana, but he did not enter a plea.   A deputy had been trying to serve a subpoena at another residence when someone inside Higgins' home threw a kitchen table at a front window, shattering it.   Deputy Tracy...

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LIU Brooklyn Players Arrested

First-year LIU Brooklyn head coach Jack Perri inherited a very good roster when he took over for Jim Ferry, who is now the head coach at Duquesne, back in April.   With four starters returning from last season’s 25-win team, Perri has enough talent to lead the Blackbirds back to the NCAA tournament for the third consecutive season.   But thanks to an on-campus altercation LIU Brooklyn’s chances of winning the Northeast Conference for a third straight season could take...

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2 MSU Basketball Players Suspended After Arrests

Montana State men's basketball coach Brad Huse has suspended two players who were arrested over the weekend and charged with stealing from parked vehicles in Bozeman.       David Chipman “Chip” Venie is a New Mexico criminal defense lawyer and Freedom Law Center is his firm. Chip Venie limits his practice to the representation of people accused of DWI, DUI, domestic violence, assaults, batteries, felonies, drug trafficking crimes, drug possession crimes, violent...

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Texas Tech Football Players Arrested on Felony Credit Card Abuse Charges

A Depot Entertainment District bar owner said two Texas Tech football players were arrested on second-degree felony charges of credit card abuse: used a card without their name on it to buy about $100 in drinks and tried to use their status as Red Raiders to avoid arrest.   Texas Tech sophomores Jace Amaro and Kenny Williams were arrested at the Firehouse Grill and Bar, 1719 Buddy Holly Ave., after employees of the bar became suspicious when the men were accused of offering a “big...

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Former Velarde Fire Chief Out on Bail

Former Velarde Fire Chief Darwin Yazzie who was arrested for threatening his fire department with a gun was released from jail.   Yazzie was released from jail on a $5,000 bond.   Yazzie was arrested after witnesses said he showed up to a fire department meeting drunk, armed and wearing body armor. Yazzie reportedly had two weapons at the time.   He has since been fired.           David Chipman “Chip” Venie is a New Mexico criminal...

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Suspect says He Shot Oregon Barista

OREGON CITY, Ore. - An affidavit says a man accused of killing an Oregon barista told investigators he shot her after hitching a ride, pulling a gun and forcing her to perform a sex act.   The statement from the Clackamas County sheriff’s office was filed in court after 24-year-old Jonathan Holt pleaded not guilty to killing his neighbor, 21-year-old Whitney Heichel.   The document says Holt recounted the crime to a State Police investigator.   Holt lived in the same...

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11 Year Old Accused in Maine Baby Death Arraigned

SKOWHEGAN, Maine - The youngest person to be charged with homicide in Maine in at least 30 years _ and possibly ever _ twiddled her fingers, bit her nails and looked down during her first court appearance. Afterward, her attorney said the manslaughter charge was "too harsh" for someone so young.   The girl was charged over the summer at age 10 with juvenile manslaughter in the death of 3-month-old Brooklyn Foss-Greenaway, who was staying overnight in the girl’s home in Fairfield...

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Auburn Tigers Backup Arrested

Auburn freshman quarterback Zeke Pike, who arrived on campus in January, was arrested for public intoxication.   Pike was arrested on South College Street in Auburn and  was released on a $300 bond.                                                                                                                                                                                       David...

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Stanford LB Shayne Skov Arrested for D.U.I.

Star linebacker Shayne Skov was arrested and jailed for driving under the influence.   A Stanford University Department of Public Safety spokesman said Skov was arrested for driving under the influence on campus.   Skov was pulled over in the parking lot of his dormitory after his vehicle swerved several times. Skov was booked at the Santa Clara County jail, he said, and the case is being turned over to the Palo Alto District Attorney's office.           David...

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Minnesota Assistant Saul Smith Arrested

Minnesota basketball assistant Saul Smith has been placed on indefinite unpaid administrative leave after a weekend arrest on suspicion of DUI, the school announced. Smith is the son of Minnesota coach Tubby Smith.   This is the second time in three days that Minnesota's basketball program has made headlines for negative reasons. Star player Trevor Mbakwe was in court on Friday because of a parole violation stemming from his offseason DUI. The senior forward faced the possibility of 30...

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Sect. Leader has Sexual Misconduct Conviction Upheld

The New Mexico Supreme Court has reinstated the sexual misconduct convictions of a religious sect leader.   Wayne Bent was sentenced to ten years in prison in 2008 for sexual misconduct with two teenage followers.   The appeals court threw the conviction out and said the grand jury's term expired before it indicted Bent.   His son said the justices will be asked to reconsider their ruling.           David Chipman “Chip” Venie is a...

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Ex-Navajo Nation Officer Sentenced in Abuse Case

FARMINGTON, N.M. - A former detention officer with the Navajo Nation's Shiprock Detention Center was sentenced to one year in federal prison for his conviction for sexually assaulting an inmate.   Bruce had pleaded guilty in July to sexually assaulting the female inmate in the summer and fall of 2010.   Federal authorities say Bruce fondled the inmate in areas of the jail that didn't have surveillance cameras, took pictures of two female inmates while they slept and lied to FBI investigators...

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Navajo Man Pleads Guilty in Hawk Tail Case

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- A Navajo man has pleaded guilty to selling and bartering parts of a Swainson's hawk tail without getting permission from the U.S. Department of Interior.   Walley was arrested in September on accusations that he sold and traded parts of the hawk tail in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.   The act makes it unlawful to possess or sell any migratory bird or part of such a bird. Prosecutors say the offense happened in western New Mexico's McKinley County...

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

2 UTSA Players Dismissed After Robbery Arrests

SAN ANTONIO--Two Texas-San Antonio football players have been dismissed from the team after their arrests on aggravated robbery charges.   UTSA spokeswoman Christi Fish said  the university was notified of the arrests of safety Adefemi Adekeye (add-eh-FEEM-ee ADD-eh-key) and cornerback Toyin Dada by San Antonio police. Both players were walk-ons.   A police report says the victim went into an apartment to buy marijuana and was talking to one suspect when another man came out...

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Alabama Recruit Deon Johnson Charged with Rape

Deon "D.J." Johnson, an Alabama commitment rated as highly as a four-star prospect by one recruiting service, was arrested on charges of second-degree rape and sodomy.    The age of the victim was not released. Johnson is now out on $20,000 bond.   Johnson is 18 years old and was arrested in Daphne. He is a senior at Spanish Fort High School and committed to Alabama in the spring.           David Chipman “Chip” Venie is a...

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Babu Palo Arrested and Suspended from Iowa State Basketball Team

Babu Palo and another man from Ames, Iowa were arrested on charges of second degree sexual abuse. Since then, Palo has been suspended from the team indefinitely.   The latest police report from Ames Iowa says that Palo offered a ride home to a women in the early morning hours back in May of 2012. Palo allegedly did not take the women home; and drove her to his friend Spencer Cruise’s home and asked her to come inside. Once the women entered the home, she claims to have been sexually...

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2 Busted in Sting Operation

Two men are behind bar after deputies caught them selling $30,000 worth of cocaine.   Jose Garcia and Lazaro Quintero-Rojos are charged with conspiracy and trafficking a controlled substance.   The two were busted after a confidential informant worked with drug agents.   Criminal complaints state that Quintero-Rojos brought the cocaine to a Mitchell St. business in Albuquerque. Agents said Garcia is the business owner and was seen in the same room during the transaction. David...

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1 of 2 Md. Officers Found Guilty in Beating

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. - A jury found one of two police officers charged in the alleged beating of a University of Maryland student in 2010 guilty of second-degree assault, but cleared the second officer in the incident.   Prince George’s County police Cpl. James Harrison was found guilty of the assault charge, according to county police. But jurors cleared Harrison of misconduct, and found Cpl. Reginald Baker not guilty of assault and misconduct, police said.   The two officers...

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NM Man on Meth Stole Mom’s Furniture

SILVER CITY, N.M. - A Silver City man is faces charges after police say he stole his mother's furniture while high on meth, then sold it in Phoenix.   20-year-old Daniel Salas, who is in jail on other charges, recently was charged with burglarizing his mother's home in June.   The Grant County Sheriff's Office says the man's mother reported that her home has been burglarized after finding all of her living room furniture gone.   She told deputies that the rims and the spare...

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Two More Binghamton Players Arrested

Two members of the Binghamton University men’s basketball have been suspended from the team following their arrests early outside Flashbacks on State Street. Senior Javon Ralling and freshman Jordan Reed were both charged with disorderly conduct, and Ralling was additionally charged with resisting arrest.   The athletic department released a statement announcing the suspensions, which were enacted immediately in accordance to the department’s policy. The suspensions prohibit...

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Clemson’s Sammy Watkin’s Arrested and Charged with Marijuana Possession

Watkins was arrested for possession of marijuana and possession of a controlled substance determined to be two non-narcotic pills for Adderall and Vyvnase for which he did not have a prescription. Both drugs are used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder   Watkins was with Clemson freshman soccer player Amadou-Tidiane Daniel Dia when Watkins' car brushed against a curb on campus. The temporary license plate on the vehicle was not illuminated, either. When police pulled...

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Auburn Tigers Suspends WR Bray After Arrest

AUBURN, Ala. -- Auburn wide receiver Quan Bray has been suspended following his arrest in Georgia, Tigers coach Gene Chizik said. Bray won't play Saturday against Arkansas, and Chizik hasn't determined how long the suspension will last. Bray was arrested during a traffic stop on the University of West Georgia campus. He was stopped for playing loud music, police said, and officers realized he was driving on a limited permit. They found an open bottle of alcohol in the car. Bray faces charges...

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Accused New Mexican Murderer Pleads Not Guilty

A man accused of strangling two Albuquerque men and then burning their bodies at Pajarito Mesa went before a judge.   Jessie Young pleaded not guilty to the murder of Alejandro and Alfonso Garcia.   The judge kept Young's bond at $1 million - cash only.   Deputies found the men's bodies in a burned car on the Pajarito Mesa in April.   Investigators said Young and Vincente Gutierrez killed the men over a 150 dollar drug debt.           David...

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Albuquerque Man Accused of Attempted Sexual Assault

A 12-year-old boy survived an attempted sexual assault after a good Samaritan jumped in to help.   It happened in the South Valley in the area of Bridge and Goff, where the boy was walking to the store, deputies said.   Ruben Valdiviez, 56, attempted to force the boy into sexual acts, according to Sgt. Sam White with the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department.   According to the criminal complaint, a man who has not been identified, saw Valdiviez on top of the 12-year-old....

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3 Arrested for Denver Bar Killing

Three people have been arrested in connection with the killing of five people at a bar that was then set on fire, apparently to hide the crime, and the motive was robbery, Denver police said.   Police Commander Ronald Saunier said the suspects went to Fero’s Bar & Grill bar to rob it before closing time, but he didn’t go into details about how it turned into a murder case.   An officer on patrol noticed a fire at the bar, where a regular poker game was held Tuesday...

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Auburn Center Dismukes Suspended After Arrest

AUBURN, Ala. - Auburn coach Gene Chizik has suspended center Reese Dismukes following the sophomore's arrest on a public intoxication charge.   Chizik says he is "very disappointed in Reese Dismukes for his irresponsible behavior.”   Chizik did not say how long Dismukes' suspension would last. The Lee County's sheriff's office said that the starter was released on a $300 bond.       David Chipman “Chip” Venie is a New Mexico criminal defense...

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Ohio U Football Player Arrested on Assault Charge

ATHENS, Ohio -- An Ohio University football player has been arrested after police say he and four other men attacked a freshman who had been sitting on a bench.   Nineteen-year-old Mike Lucas was arrested on a felonious assault charge following the incident.   The freshman offensive lineman from Chicago has a hearing set for Oct. 25 in Athens County Municipal Court. A judge will decide whether there's probable cause to refer the case for prosecution in common pleas court.   Team...

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Pair of Ball State Football Players Arrested

Two Ball State University football players were arrested earl for their alleged roles in a bar fight in The Village in Muncie, IN.   Travis Dartanion Freeman, 21, and Kenneth Spencer Lee Jr., 21, are each preliminarily charged with battery, a Class B misdemeanor carrying a standard 180-day jail term.   According to probable cause affidavits, the alleged incident occurred at Dill Street Bar and Grill, 421 N. Dill St.   Officers said Lee struck alleged victim Zechariah Paul...

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New Mexico Man Pleads Not Guilty in Woman’s Death

TUCUMCARI, N.M.- A Tucumcari man charged with killing a woman whose remains were found in rural Quay County has pleaded not guilty in the case.   Prosecutors say 45-year-old Frank Keller entered the plea to an open count of murder earlier this week. Kimberly Draman had been reported missing on Sept. 13.   Her remains were found earlier this month about 12 miles northeast of Tucumcari. Keller told authorities that he hit Kimberly Draman in the head with a car jack and then accidentally...

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Registered Sex Offender Busted in Rio Rancho

After being in New Mexico for 31 days, a registered sex offender was caught with a dozen images of child pornography.   David Palmer Harper was arraigned on child sexual exploitation charges in Sandoval County. Harper is on probation for a sex crime he committed in New Jersey.   When a probation officer stopped by to check on Harper in his new Rio Rancho home, she said she saw child pornography on his computer.   "We walked in the residence and within a matter of seconds...

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Chimayo Father Charged with Child Abuse, 5th D.W.I.

A Chimayo man faces multiple child abuse charges after police say they caught him driving drunk with his kids in the car.   Steve Sanchez faces aggravated drunk driving charges stemming from an incident Monday night.   Sanchez has four prior DWI arrests. Santa Fe County deputies pulled him over on Airport Road after they saw his four children - ages 12 to 3 - in the car with him.   He is in jail on a no-bond hold.               David...

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Auburn Dismisses Four After Arrests

AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn coach Gene Chizik has dismissed four players from the national champions after they were arrested on robbery and other charges.   Auburn police said Mike McNeil, Antonio Goodwin, Shaun Kitchens and Dakota Mosley were each charged with five counts of first-degree robbery, one count of first-degree burglary and one count of third-degree theft of property.   Police said in a statement that three black males entered a residence with five occupants and one...

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18 Arrested in TCU Drug Bust

A drug bust on and around Texas Christian University‘s campus in Fort Worth led to the arrest of 18 people, including four football players, school officials say.   TCU officials said the students arrested sold drugs to undercover narcotics officers on campus and off-campus at a nearby 7-Eleven, a Kroger and a Hooters restaurant.   “There is no doubt, all of those arrested today are drug dealers,” said Steve McGee, TCU chief of police. “These individuals engaged...

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Missouri Coach Gary Pinkel Suspended

University of Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel, arrested  on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, has been suspended one week without pay and will have his salary frozen for a year, the school announced at a news conference.   Deputies pulled Pinkel over for lane and signal violations around 10 p.m. ET. Pinkel was cooperative, lawmen said. Pinkel admitted to drinking and driving in a statement released by the school. Pinkel posted a $500 bond and was released from the Boone County...

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Albuquerque Woman Charged with Husbands Murder

The party ended just after 4:00 a.m. with Marc Herrera dead. Albuquerque Police Department officers found the 37-year-old, Air Force major’s body in the master bedroom closet slumped over on his knees.   Court records state Amy told police she and her husband had been drinking during the party. And when it ended she said Marc got angry that the students weren’t sleeping in separate rooms. Amy told police Marc then grabbed his loaded gun and pointed it at the students.   He...

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Man Arrested in Bosque Farms Murder

New Mexico State Police have arrested a man they believe murdered his niece in a Bosque Farms home.   It didn't take police long to find suspect Marvin Martinez, 55, who is suspected of murdering his own niece 20-year-old Ashley Raulerson.   Authorities said they learned the suspect's location when a Peralta woman called 911 stating Martinez had showed up to her home.   When police arrived, Martinez fled in his vehicle, but once he reached the end of the street he surrendered...

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Three Women Arrested in Chimayo Murder

Three women have been arrested in connection to a murder in Chimayo, and one of them is the victim's niece.   She's 34-year-old Rhiannon Montoya of Espanola.   Deputies also arrested 22-year-old Angel Baldanado, of Ohkay Owingeh, and 18-year-old Shea Martinez, of Chimayo.   According to an office spokesman, Montoya told Sheriff Tommy Rodella she conspired with the two women telling them to go to her uncle Rudy Montoya's home to steal items to sell, and that's when they beat...

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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Last of Ex-TCU Players Pleads Guilty in Drug Case

FORT WORTH, Texas - The last of four former TCU football players arrested in a drug sting earlier this year has pleaded guilty to marijuana delivery charges and received probation. The four were among who were among more than a dozen students netted by the sting. Tarrant County district attorney's spokeswoman Melody McDonald said that Devin Johnson entered his plea in August and also was ordered to pay a $300 fine and court costs. Former players D.J. Yendrey, Tanner Brock and Tyler Horn pleaded...

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Connecticut Running Back Apologizes for Arrest

STORRS, Conn.- Connecticut running back Lyle McCombs has publically apologized for his arrest last week on a breach of peace charge, saying it created a distraction that hurt the Huskies (3-3) in their 19-3 loss to Rutgers. The sophomore was arrested along with his girlfriend on Friday after an altercation outside a residence hall. McCombs is due in Rockville Superior Court Nov. 27. He says he feels fortunate that he was only suspended for the first quarter of Saturday's game, and has not been...

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Kent Bazemore Arrested

The Old Dominion Monarchs lost in the CIT quarterfinals in a 79-73 decision to the Mercer Bears. But the loss of Kent Bazemore before the game was the huge blow of the night. Bazemore was arrested by Virginia Beach police shortly before the Monarchs were ready to take the court at the Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk, VA.   The arrest was in connection to Bazemore's DUI conviction last summer. Part of his sentencing included attending Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP) classes....

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Eddy County inmate Bites Off Officer’s Finger

Eddy County Sheriff Ernie Mendoza said 29-year-old Adrian Dagnino chomped down on the officer's finger after he became disruptive.   Mendoza said Dagnino, a Mexican national, bit off the officer's pinkie finger down to the second knuckle.   He said the portion of the finger bitten off could not be re-attached.   The transport officer, 63-year-old Michael Sweeney, was transported to Carlsbad Medical Center where he was treated for his injury and later released.           David...

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Man Guilty of Killing Texas Pastor was Teen Felon

FORT WORTH, Texas - A man convicted of killing a North Texas pastor in his church caused various problems while jailed after his arrest _ including assaulting jailers _ but his criminal record began when he was a young teenager, witnesses testified during the punishment phase of his trial.   Steven Lawayne Nelson, 25, is facing the death penalty or life in prison without parole for the suffocation death of the Rev. Clint Dobson at Arlington’s NorthPointe Baptist Church in March 2011....

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Rio Arriba Sheriff’s Office Makes 2nd Arrest in Homicide Case

The Rio Arriba County Sheriff's office has two suspects in custody as it continues its investigation into an Thursday evening homicide in Northern New Mexico.   A male in his late 60's was found dead in his Chimayo home by a caretaker around noon Friday. He has been identified as Rudy Montoya.   A spokesperson for the department said Friday afternoon that one female suspect was already in in jail on unrelated charges.   The Sheriff's Office is now saying they've arrested a...

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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Minnesota State-Mankato Coach Arrested on Suspicion of Child Pornography

The head football coach at Minnesota State, Mankato, was arrested on suspicion of child pornography, sheriff's officials said.   Todd Hoffner, 46, was in custody on suspicion of using underage people in a sexual performance and possession of child pornography, Blue Earth County Sheriff's Capt.   \Messages left for sheriff's officials and prosecutors were not immediately returned to the Associated Press.   Hoffner was escorted off the football practice field and has been...

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Temple’s Praise Martin-Oguike Arrested on Rape Charges

Temple linebacker Praise Martin-Oguike has been arrested on multiple charges, including forcible rape, sexual assault, aggravated assault, unlawful restraint and false imprisonment.   According to the police report, on May 26 Martin-Oguike tried to kiss a 21-year-old woman in his dorm room. When she resisted and tried to leave, Martin-Oguike allegedly grabbed her by the throat, dragged her into his bedroom and raped her.           David Chipman “Chip”...

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Oregon’s Isaac Remington Arrested on Suspicion of D.U.I.

Oregon starting defensive lineman Isaac Remington was arrested Friday morning on suspicion of driving under the influence. He has been suspended indefinitely.   Remington, 23, was taken into custody but was not jailed. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Nov. 1.   The school announced that Remington has been suspended while it gets more details about the incident.       David Chipman “Chip” Venie is a New Mexico criminal defense lawyer and Freedom Law...

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Hearing in Chicago for 2 Alleged Cartel Leaders

CHICAGO - A federal judge in Chicago held a hearing  for two reputed lieutenants from one of Mexico’s most powerful drug cartels who are accused of playing key roles in an alleged $1 billion conspiracy to traffic drugs in Chicago and other U.S. cities.   Mexico extradited Alfredo Vasquez Hernandez, 57, to Chicago. Vicente Zambada, 37, was extradited in 2011. Their joint hearing in Chicago on was seen as a legal victory in the long Mexican-U.S. fight against the Sinaloa cartel.   The...

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Philadelphia Man Charged with Vehicular Homicide

PHILADELPHIA - A father pushed his 5-year-old son out of harm’s way just before he was fatally struck by a hit-and-run driver on a heavily traveled thoroughfare that has become notorious for deadly pedestrian accidents.   Michael Romano who died at the scene of the crash, managed to push his son to safety before impact. The driver fled but was pulled over about three blocks away by an off-duty police officer who witnessed the crash, authorities said.   Police identified the...

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Lawsuit Involving Pedophile Pediatrician Settled

DOVER, Del. - Attorneys for the state medical society and a southern Delaware hospital have settled a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of victims of former pediatrician Earl Bradley, who sexually abused scores of his young patients over more than a decade.   Under the settlement disclosed, $123 million will be placed into a trust for the benefit of victims. Bradley, 59, is serving 14 life sentences for child rape.   The victims fund is composed mainly of insurance proceeds, with...

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Friday, October 12, 2012

Casey Pachall Leaving TCU, to Enter Rehab

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Suspended TCU quarterback Casey Pachall is leaving school for the rest of the semester and entering an inpatient rehabilitation facility. Coach Gary Patterson made the announcement, five days after the junior starter was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving in his second brush with the law in the past eight months. Patterson said most of the inpatient programs like the one Pachall will enter are 30 to 60 days. If Pachall completes the treatment, the door remains open...

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UConn’s McCombs Arrested After Fight with Girl

STORRS, Conn. -- Police say University of Connecticut sophomore tailback Lyle McCombs has been arrested and accused of yelling, pushing and spitting at his girlfriend during an argument outside a residential hall.   Police said that the 166-pound McCombs was charged with second-degree breach of peace. The fight occurred on campus in Storrs.   Police say the 20-year-old McCombs was released after he posted a $500 bond.           David Chipman “Chip”...

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Georgia RB Dismissed After Arrest

ATHENS, Ga. – Georgia tailback Isaiah Crowell was dismissed from the team by coach Mark Richt after the sophomore was arrested on felony weapons charges.   Police found a gun in Crowell’s vehicle.   Crowell was arrested at a vehicle checkpoint on the Georgia campus, according to Athens-Clarke Police Department spokeswoman Hilda Sorrow. Among the charges he faces are carrying a concealed weapon and possession of a weapon on school property.   Crowell consented...

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21 Accused in NYC of Selling Meds on Craigslist

NEW YORK - The Craigslist ad offered Percocet pills for sale, but warned: "No LE please." Meaning: No law enforcement.   Like that made a difference.   The 40-year-old man accused of placing the ad was among 21 people arrested in an attempt by the New York Police Department to make an example out of some of the smallest of small-time drug dealers: students, young professionals and others who clean out the medicine cabinet and then are brazen enough _ and foolish enough...

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Probation for Man who Stole from Tribal Casino

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M - A former slot machine supervisor at Pojoaque Pueblo's Cities of Gold Casino has been sentenced to five years' probation for faking wins on the machines and pocketing the money.   A federal judge also ordered 25-year-old Calvin R. Trujillo to pay nearly $26,000 in restitution to the casino.   Trujillo admitted in a plea agreement that he came up with a way to steal money by fabricating wins on slot machines.   He'd then cash the winning ticket at the cashier's...

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Santa Fe Man Gets 7 ½ Years in Child Porn Case

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- A former church organist in Santa Fe has been sentenced to 7½ years in federal prison for possessing child pornography.   Patrick Railsback has been in federal custody since a jury convicted him of seven child porn counts in September 2011.   The 62-year-old was sentenced and will have to serve 10 years of supervised release once his prison term is completed.    Railsback was arrested after investigators tipped off by an internet service provider...

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Ball State Suspends LB Following Arrest

MUNCIE, Ind. -- Ball State linebacker Jonathan Newsome has been suspended for the first two games of the season for violating team rules.   Coach Pete Lembo announced the suspension. Newsome was arrested after a bag containing marijuana was allegedly found in his wallet. He is facing a preliminary charge of possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor.   Newsome sat out last season after transferring from Ohio State, where he spent the previous two seasons.   Lembo says the school...

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South Florida’s Rudd Arrested

TEMPLE TERRACE, Fla. -- South Florida basketball player Victor Rudd Jr. has been arrested on a charge of driving without a valid license.   Rudd, 21, was released on $250 bond. No attorney was listed for Rudd in the jail records, and a USF athletic department spokeswoman declined to comment.   Rudd's South Florida team this year reached the NCAA tournament for the first time in two decades           David Chipman “Chip” Venie is a New...

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Texas Tech Dismisses LB Cobb Following Burglary Arrest

LUBBOCK, Texas -- Texas Tech has dismissed linebacker Daniel Cobb from the team after he was arrested and charged with felony burglary.   Red Raiders spokesman Blayne Beal said that Cobb was dismissed for violating unspecified team rules.   Online records show the junior from Killeen Ellison was arrested and charged with burglary of a habitation. Conviction of the second-degree felony is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.   He was released early after posting bond...

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Final Trial Begins in NJ Schoolyard Killings

NEWARK, N.J. - In a dramatic opening statement, the attorney for the final defendant in a schoolyard triple-murder case quoted Shakespeare at times and knelt in front of the jury to re-enact a victim begging for her life as he sought to portray his client as a hapless bystander who had simply wanted money to go to the movies for his birthday.   "It was supposed to be a movie, not murder; a birthday sleepover with two friends, not this," Attorney Michael Robbins said of his client,...

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2nd Detroit Police Chief Accused of Sex Scandal

DETROIT - Detroit Mayor Dave Bing was elected to replace a scandal-plagued predecessor after promising to clamp down on crime. But following allegations of a sex scandal involving another police chief, he’s having trouble stabilizing the department, let alone the streets.   Bing suspended Police Chief Ralph Godbee, 44, after a subordinate, a 37-year-old internal affairs officer, claimed the two had engaged in a sexual relationship for about a year.   The mayor hired Godbee...

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Okla. Pharmacist Files Appeal to Murder Conviction

OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma pharmacist sentenced to life in prison for fatally shooting a teenager who tried to rob his store claimed that his case was mishandled and his attorney was ineffective.   Jerome Ersland, 60, made the allegations in an appeal that asks the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to order a new trial and set aside his May 2011 first-degree murder conviction and sentence.   Among other things, the appeal alleges that Ersland’s defense attorney, Irven Box...

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

New Mexico QB David Vega Suspended After Arrest

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—New Mexico junior quarterback David Vega has been suspended from the team indefinitely.   The suspension was announced by Lobos coach Bob Davie, who says Vega was arrested by Albuquerque police.   Davie says that until he's satisfied that he has all the facts, he won't make a decision on Vega's return to the program.   Vega is the second Lobos player suspended in two days.           David Chipman “Chip” Venie...

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Southern Illinois’ Diamond Taylor Arrested

Southern Illinois guard Diamond Taylor was arrested on DUI charges this weekend, leading to his indefinite suspension from the Salukis by new coach Barry Hinson.   "I'm extremely disappointed in Diamond," Hinson said in a release from the school. "We're in the business of educating student-athletes and teaching them how to conduct themselves on and off court, and this is a significant setback.   "The question now is how do we react? I met with Diamond and issued...

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Florida’s Leonard Arrested for Battery

Authorities say Florida freshman tight end A.C. Leonard was arrested on a simple domestic battery charge.   Gainesville police say the 20-year-old got into an argument with his girlfriend Wednesday night.   According to a police report, Leonard shoved the woman to the ground, causing her to hit her head on a dog cage. She told police Leonard had told her to leave the apartment they shared.   The arrest report says Leonard grabbed the woman by both feet and pulled her out of...

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NY Doctor: 1 of My Personalities Led to Drug Crime

NEW YORK - A doctor once lauded for her AIDS treatment work is blaming one of her dozen or so personalities for a prescription painkillers scheme that defrauded Medicaid out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.   Diana Williamson was supposed to be sentenced, but U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska delayed a final determination until prison authorities say whether they can treat a variety of illnesses her lawyer says would certainly lead to her death behind bars.   The government...

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Mo. Abuse Case Poses Question of Consent vs. Crime

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Advocates for people who engage in rough but consensual sex say they fear an abuse case unfolding in Missouri ultimately could criminalize their lifestyle.   Ed Bagley faces a federal trial early next year on 11 counts of abuse against a woman authorities say he groomed to be his sex slave. Now prosecutors plan to present consensual, though violent, acts between Bagley and his own wife as evidence that Bagley has a history of sexually assaulting women.   The case...

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Three Who Escaped from Cubs NM Juvenile facility are Now in Custody

According to the Sandoval County Sheriff's office all three men who escaped from a correctional facility in Cuba have now been arrested,   Sheriff's deputies found the last two inmates at a Giant gas station in Cuba.   The males were reported to have been knocking on doors asking for food and water.   A K-9 tactical team searched abandoned homes and sheds and an infrared helicopter surveyed the area.   State Police told residents to keep their doors and windows locked...

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Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Missouri’s Dorial Green-Beckham Arrested on Suspicion of Marijuana Possession, Suspended

Three Missouri freshman football players, including Dorial Green-Beckham, the nation’s No. 1-ranked recruit of 2012, were arrested on suspicion of possession of marijuana.   University police said that an officer found Green-Beckham, wide receiver Levi Copelin and linebacker Torey Boozer in a white Lincoln Navigator in a parking lot near Memorial Stadium.   All three players will be suspended for Saturday’s game vs. Vanderbilt, according to the school. Two others, Harold...

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TCU’s Casey Pachall Suspended After D.W.I. Arrest

TCU quarterback Casey Pachall was suspended indefinitely, hours after he was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated in his second brush with trouble this year and one that clouds the 15th-ranked Horned Frogs' push for a Big 12 title. Coach Gary Patterson announced the suspension, saying his quarterback "obviously needs help." Pachall was arrested just after midnight when he was pulled over after running a stop sign near TCU's Fort Worth campus, police Sgt. Pedro Criado...

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Temple’s Johnson Arrested, Accused of Assault

Temple defensive tackle Kamal Johnson was arraigned  on charges stemming from an alleged assault Sept. 27 on his girlfriend, also a student at the university. Police spokeswoman Tanya Little said the 20-year-old junior was arraigned on charges including kidnapping, false imprisonment, simple assault, and endangering the welfare of another person. Bail was set at $25,000. The 21-year-old girlfriend told police that she and Johnson had an argument on the phone, that about 11:50 p.m. he forced...

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Three People Arrested for Drug Violations in Alamogordo

    The Alamogordo Department of Public Safety implemented three search warrants for controlled substances on Oct. 2.   Evelyn Koch, 38, was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia at her residence, after a search warrant was served for probation violation. Koch is on a no-bond-hold, pending an arraignment in Magistrate Court.   Sidney Benson, 44, was arrested and charged with possession of heroin after a search warrant was served. A balloon...

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Las Cruces Hotel Owners Sentenced in Nanny Slaves Case

The owners of a New Mexico hotel have been sentenced to two years of probation for aiding and abetting illegal immigrants, and they must pay more than $15,000 in restitution to two victims.   The U.S. Attorney's Office says Elina Sihombing and her husband David Girle were sentenced in Las Cruces.   The couple was arrested in May 2011 after two nannies claimed they were enslaved and brought to the U.S. from Indonesia.   They reached plea agreements with federal prosecutors...

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Suspected Storage Unit Thief Arrested

A Bloomfield man, suspected of breaking into more than a dozen storage units in the Four Corners, has finally been arrested.   Surveillance video shows an SUV entering Farmington Mini Storage with an empty trailer. In the next shot it leaves - full.   Farmington police said Michael Shawn Clayton, 34, was behind the wheel.   According to police, Clayton is linked to more than 13 burglary cases of storage units across San Juan County. One of those storage facilities is where...

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Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Mizzou Booster Arrested in Drug Sting

COLUMBIA, Mo. — A Missouri basketball fan who regularly traveled with the team to NCAA Tournament games the past four seasons is among more than a dozen people facing federal drug conspiracy charges for cocaine distribution.   In March, FBI agents arrested Coolley on felony cocaine distribution charges at the Missouri team hotel in Omaha, Neb., hours before the Tigers' most recent NCAA appearance, a second-round loss to Norfolk State. Missouri athletic officials said an internal review...

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Tulane’s Trent Mackey Arrested on Armed Robbery Charges

Tulane linebacker Trent Mackey has been arrested on armed robbery charges and is suspended indefinitely.   Mackey, who finished sixth in the nation last season with 145 tackles, was chosen by the media as the Conference USA preseason defensive player of the year.   According to the police report, it first appeared as though Mackey was the victim because his cell phone and backpack were stolen from the residence of a female friend on July 12.   Police arrested Robert Murray...

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Minnesota State-Mankato Coach Arrested on Suspicion of Child Pornography

EAGLE LAKE, Minn. -- The head football coach at Minnesota State, Mankato, was arrested on suspicion of child pornography, sheriff's officials said.   Todd Hoffner, 46, was in custody on suspicion of using underage people in a sexual performance and possession of child pornography, Blue Earth County Sheriff's Capt. Rich Murry said.   Hoffner was escorted off the football practice field Friday and has been on leave from his coaching position since then, the university said in a statement....

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More Charges in Tulsa Church Abuse Investigation

TULSA, Okla. - A fourth victim of alleged abuse at a 17,000-member Tulsa megachurch has come forward, and police said that there might be a fifth.   At the same time, members of Victory Christian Center are beginning to speak publicly about the allegations that have shaken the worldwide ministry’s foundations and tarnished the reputations of its pastor and her family members.   Prosecutors added two additional charges against 20-year-old Chris Denman, a former church employee....

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F.B.I. Agent Accused of Paying for Prostitutes

LOS ANGELES - An undercover FBI agent has been accused in court documents of spending U.S. taxpayer dollars on prostitutes in the Philippines for himself and others during an international weapons trafficking probe last year.   Deputy Federal Public Defender John Littrell filed a motion last week asking a judge to toss an indictment against his client, Sergio Santiago Syjuco, for "outrageous government misconduct." Syjuco, 25, and two other Philippine nationals have been charged...

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Jury in NJ Convicts Ill. Man in Military Info Case

NEWARK, N.J. - A former employee of a New Jersey-based defense contractor was found guilty of taking U.S. military technology trade secrets from his employer and exporting them to his native China.   Sixing Liu, also known as Steve Liu, worked for Space & Navigation, a New Jersey division of New York-based L3 Communications. Liu, who had lived until recently in Flanders, N.J., was arrested at his home in Deerfield, Ill., in March 2011 and accused of taking restricted military data and...

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Monday, October 01, 2012

Florida’s Leonard Arrested for Battery

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Authorities say Florida freshman tight end A.C. Leonard was arrested on a simple domestic battery charge.   Gainesville police say the 20-year-old got into an argument with his girlfriend one night.   According to a police report, Leonard shoved the woman to the ground, causing her to hit her head on a dog cage. She told police Leonard had told her to leave the apartment they shared.   The arrest report says Leonard grabbed the woman by both feet...

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UNC Football Player Suspended After Fight Arrest

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- A walk-on football player at North Carolina has been suspended after he was arrested and charged with assault.   Chapel Hill police arrested 18-year-old Nicholas Apostolos Weiler early after an officer reported that he saw Weiler hit a person in the face.   Weiler is a freshman punter. He has not played this season.   Weiler is charged with felony assault afflicting injury and four misdemeanors: simple assault, resisting arrest, underage possession of...

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Lawrence Burl Dismissed from Tulane team Following Arrest

Tulane defensive end Lawrence Burl has been dismissed from the team a month after an arrest on drug and weapons charges.   According to the police report, on May 3 police stopped Burl because his vehicle had broken brake light and no license plate. Once they approached the vehicle, they said they smelled marijuana.   Officer Jon Rene Sanjurjo said the player reeked of marijuana. He reportedly spotted a hand-rolled cigar in an ash try and a blue steel revolver on the floorboard. The...

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Ex-head of NY Hospital for Special Surgery Charged

NEW YORK - Authorities say the former chief executive officer of New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery has been arrested in Massachusetts in a $1.4 million extortion scheme.   John Reynolds was arrested at his Cataumet, Mass., home.   He was charged in federal court in Manhattan with racketeering and making false statements. The crimes are punishable by up to 25 years in prison.   Reynolds served as chief financial officer at the hospital from 1986 to 1997. He was...

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U.S. General Charged with Adultery, Other Sex Crimes

FORT BRAGG, N.C. - An Army brigadier general who served five combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan has been charged with forcible sodomy, multiple counts of adultery and having inappropriate relationships with several female subordinates, two U.S. defense officials said.   Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair faces possible courts martial on charges that include forced sex, wrongful sexual conduct, violating an order, possessing pornography and alcohol while deployed, and misusing a government...

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6 Teens Arrested in Taped Beating of Pa. Woman

CHESTER, Pa. - Six teenagers were in custody on charges they brutally beat a neighbor on her stoop "just for fun" and then posted cellphone video of the attack on Facebook, authorities said.   Four 16- and 17-year-old girls were charged as adults in the attack on the 48-year-old woman, a crime that has shaken this struggling city of about 30,000 residents just outside Philadelphia. The girls were charged with aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, burglary and harassment....

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Florida State’s Greg Reid Arrested, Charged with Marijuana Possession

Florida State senior cornerback Greg Reid was arrested late one night and charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession, driving with a suspended license and a seatbelt violation.   Reid, who is from Valdosta, was taken to the Lowndes County Jail and was released on bond according to the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office.   It's unclear how Greg Reid's arrest will affect his status for the 2012 season.   Reid was stopped by the Georgia State Patrol for window tint and...

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Georgia CB Branden Smith Arrested, Charged with Marijuana Possession

Georgia cornerback Branden Smith was arrested and charged with marijuana possession, the third starter from last year's team to be arrested in the offseason.   The junior was pulled over for having no tag light and following another vehicle too closely in Abbeville in southeastern Alabama, Henry County Sherriff William Maddox said. The arresting officer smelled marijuana in the car and found it under the back seat after a search, the sheriff said.   Smith could be suspended for at...

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Southern Illinois’ Diamond Taylor Arrested, Charged with D.U.I.

Southern Illinois guard Diamond Taylor was arrested on DUI charges, leading to his indefinite suspension from the Salukis by new coach Barry Hinson.   "I'm extremely disappointed in Diamond," Hinson said in a release from the school. "We're in the business of educating student-athletes and teaching them how to conduct themselves on and off court, and this is a significant setback.   "The question now is how do we react? I met with Diamond this morning and issued...

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Death for Arsonist Convicted of 5 Murders

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - A jury recommended death for an arsonist convicted of murdering five men who died of heart attacks during a wildfire that ripped through Southern California nearly a decade ago.   The murder charges against Rickie Lee Fowler, 31, signaled a tough standard for arson cases in a region plagued by wildfires that sometimes claim the lives of firefighters and civilians.   The Old Fire scorched 91,000 acres and destroyed 1,000 buildings while burning for nine days....

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KKK Leader in NC Convicted on Weapons Charges

RALEIGH, N.C. - A Ku Klux Klan leader from North Carolina has been convicted on weapons and explosive charges related to a plot to blow up his county sheriff.   A jury convicted Charles Robert Barefoot Jr. of Benson on all six felony counts. He faces a maximum sentence of up to 51 years in prison on charges that include conspiracy, possession of stolen guns, solicitation to commit a crime of violence and receipt of explosives with intent to kill.   According to evidence presented...

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Deputy Resigns After Crashing Second Cruiser in Six Months

A Rio Arriba County Sheriff's deputy has resigned after crashing his cruiser again.   Police said Sgt. Anthony Armijo failed to yield to oncoming traffic in Española. After that crash, he resigned on Tuesday.   Armijo was suspended in May after being involved in another crash near Alcalde.   Authorities said Armijo was speeding on his way to a call when swerved off the road to avoid a pack of dogs and rolled the car.   A civilian was in the car for a ride along...

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Friday, September 28, 2012

Oklahoma State Suspends Basketball Center After Arrest

Phillip Jurick was arrested for drug possession, weed and paraphernalia. OKSU suspended the basketball center indefinitely after the arrest was made.   He also won’t be able to travel with the team to Spain for the foreign tour.   Before his injury last season, he started in 16 games with 1.6 PPG and 4.9 RPG.           David Chipman “Chip” Venie is a New Mexico criminal defense lawyer and Freedom Law Center is his firm. Chip Venie...

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Klein Dismissed by Ohio State

COLUMBUS, Ohio– Ohio State coach Urban Meyer dismissed senior linebacker Storm Klein from the football team following his arrest on domestic violence and assault charges.   Klein pleaded not guilty to the charges after being arrested by Columbus police on Friday.   Meyer said in a statement that the charges against Klein ”violate the core values of the Ohio State Football Program.”   ”As a result, Storm has been removed from the team. It has been made...

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Alabama Recruit Deon Johnson Arrested, Charged with Rape

Deon "D.J." Johnson, an Alabama commitment rated as highly as a four-star prospect by one recruiting service, was arrested on charges of second-degree rape and sodomy.    The age of the victim was also not released. Johnson is now out on $20,000 bond.           David Chipman “Chip” Venie is a New Mexico criminal defense lawyer and Freedom Law Center is his firm. Chip Venie limits his practice to the representation of people...

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Boys, 13, Charged with Killing Great Grandmother

MILWAUKEE - Two 13-year-old Wisconsin boys were ordered held on $1 million bond after being accused of using a hatchet and hammer to kill one boy’s great-grandmother while stealing jewelry and a car from her home.   Prosecutors allege that the boys, both charged as adults, went to 78-year-old Barbara J. Olson’s home on Monday with the intent to rob and kill her. Authorities said her body was discovered in the garage, in a pool of blood, two days later by her daughter.   The...

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MDC Guard Faces Drug Charges

Albuquerque Police say a Metro Detention Center guard tried to smuggle drugs into the jail.   Rob Padilla was arrested.   MDC officials said he was fired on the spot.   They said Padilla was a new employee, and was still on probation.   Bernalillo County officials said Padilla showed up for his shift, then left to meet someone.   Officials said that's when he came back in with drugs.   They said they searched him and found heroin, marijuana and Suboxone...

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Tom Delay Still Waiting to Learn Legal Fate

HOUSTON - Former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay _ still waiting to learn his legal fate since being convicted nearly two years ago for his role in a scheme to influence Texas elections _ is praying for vindication but also preparing for the possibility of imprisonment.   DeLay’s three-year prison sentence has been on hold as his case has made its way through the appellate process. For both DeLay and his critics, the process has been frustratingly slow, due in part to some of...

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Stanford's Shayne Skov Reinstated Following D.U.I Arrest

Stanford senior linebacker Shayne Skov, arrested in January for driving under the influence, has been reinstated by the team but will miss the first game of the season.   Skov led the Cardinal with 84 tackles and had 7½ sacks two years ago. He tore a ligament in his left knee in the third game of the 2011 season, sidelining him for the year.   Moving in to make a tackle in the second quarter, Skov had his left knee buckle when Wildcats receiver Juron Criner barreled into him....

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Auburn Center Dismukes Suspended After Arrest

AUBURN, Ala.- Auburn coach Gene Chizik has suspended center Reese Dismukes following the sophomore's arrest on a public intoxication charge.   Chizik says he is "very disappointed in Reese Dismukes for his irresponsible behavior.”  The suspension comes eight days before Tigers open against Clemson in Atlanta's Georgia Dome.   Chizik did not say how long Dismukes' suspension would last. The Lee County's sheriff's office said that the starter was released on a $300...

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Arkansas State’s Allen Muse Arrested After Domestic Incident

JONESBORO, Ark. — Arkansas State receiver Allen Muse is facing a misdemeanor charge following a domestic dispute.   Muse was arrested after his mother-in-law called university police. A report on the incident says Muse broke down a bathroom door after his wife locked herself in with his phone. There is no indication in the report that anyone was struck.   Muse was cited for third-degree assault and was released on $775 bond.       David Chipman “Chip”...

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6 Youth Offenders Caught After Knocking Out Guard

SEATTLE - The teenage boys apparently planned their escape from the juvenile detention center in Washington state. Some had packed bags with them, and one boy even stuffed his bed to make it look like he was there, authorities said.   One night when they were supposed to be locked in their rooms at Echo Glen Children’s Center in Snoqualmie, about 25 miles east of Seattle, six inmates knocked a staff member unconscious, locked her in a room and fled, authorities said.   They...

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Two Accused in Valencia Hazing Incident Take Plea Deal

Two former Valencia High School football players accused of hazing other students have taken plea deals.   Jake Sanchez and Jeremiah Carroll pleaded no contest to sexual assault and kidnapping.   The two were minors in 2010 when police allege they bullied and sexually hazed up to three underclassman.   Even so, a grand jury indicted Sanchez and Carroll as adults last year.   But as part of their plea deal the two will be sentenced as juveniles.           David...

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Eddy County Inmate Bites Off Officer’s Finger

CARLSBAD, N.M. - Officials say an Eddy County Detention Center inmate on trial for sexual contact with a minor bit off a piece of an officer's finger in court.   Eddy County Sheriff Ernie Mendoza said 29-year-old Adrian Dagnino chomped down on the officer's finger after he became disruptive.   Mendoza said Dagnino, a Mexican national, bit off the officer's pinkie finger down to the second knuckle.   He said the portion of the finger bitten off could not be re-attached.   The...

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Monday, September 24, 2012

UK Aide Rod Strickland Arrested

Kentucky basketball administrator Rod Strickland had a long, strange day, having spent hours in a Lexington, Ky., jail because of a clerical error.   On his way to the UK basketball offices on the northern edge of campus, Strickland was pulled over by Lexington Police for failing to use a turn signal. Once pulled over, he was arrested on a charge of driving on a suspended license.       David Chipman “Chip” Venie is a New Mexico criminal defense lawyer and...

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Murray St. Guard Suspended After Arrest

MURRAY, Ky.- Murray State point guard Zaveral "Zay'' Jackson was suspended by the team after being accused of hitting two people with his car in a Walmart parking lot in southwestern Kentucky   Police say the 20-year-old sophomore was charged with two counts of first-degree assault and spent the night at the Calloway County jail. Police arrested Jackson following an altercation in which he allegedly hit two people with his white Monte Carlo, causing minor injuries.   Murray...

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Purdue Dismisses Corner Collins After Arrest

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Purdue has dismissed cornerback Sean Collins after he was arrested over the outside a bar on preliminary charges of public intoxication, resisting arrest and battery.   Coach Danny Hope had suspended Collins. He said that the serious allegations prompted his decision to dismiss the junior. He said the school would re-evaluate the situation if the charges change.   Collins is an Indianapolis native who joined the team as a walk-on in 2009. He has not played...

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1 of 4 Suspects in Las Cruces Shooting Guilty

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - A young Las Cruces man charged in the shooting death of a Vietnam veteran during what prosecutors say was a botched attempt at revenge has pleaded guilty.   Arron Valdivia pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and three other charges. Prosecutor Scot Key said that the 24-year-old's plea agreement requires him to testify against the other three suspects.   Prosecutors say Valdivia was a member of a tagging crew that tried to take revenge for the beating death of...

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Former Los Lunas Prison Captain Arraigned on Rape Charges

A former Los Lunas prison captain was arraigned on four charges of criminal sexual penetration stemming from a prison rape lawsuit.   Kenneth Carrejo was in court regarding allegations that, while he was captain at the corrections facility in Los Lunas, he handcuffed a prisoner to office furniture and raped him.   Carrejo pleaded not guilty before District Judge Violet Otero, and told her he has a job in Nevada.   Judge Otero ruled that Carrejo did not have to be jailed because...

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Santa Fe Father Accused of Hogtying Kid

A Santa Fe father is in jail after being accused of hog-tying his 5-year-old son on the bathroom floor.   Damon Gardner, 29, told police he didn’t believe in spanking and thought hog-tying his child was a better option after the child misbehaved.   A hogtie is when someone’s feet and hands are tied together behind his back.   "You put that child in great risk cutting off circulation and causing lacerations to the hands and feet,” said Capt. Aric Wheeler,...

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ball State Suspends Linebacker Following Arrest

MUNCIE, Ind. -- Ball State linebacker Jonathan Newsome has been suspended for the first two games of the season for violating team rules.   Coach Pete Lembo announced the suspension.   Newsome was arrested after a bag containing marijuana was allegedly found in his wallet He is facing a preliminary charge of possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor.  David Chipman “Chip” Venie is a New Mexico criminal defense lawyer and Freedom Law Center is his firm. Chip Venie...

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Texas Tech Dismisses LB Cobb Following Burglary Arrest

LUBBOCK, Texas -- Texas Tech has dismissed linebacker Daniel Cobb from the team after he was arrested and charged with felony burglary.   According to a Lubbock police report, an officer responding to the Sunday burglary call found evidence of forced entry into an apartment and Cobb assaulting the occupant.       David Chipman “Chip” Venie is a New Mexico criminal defense lawyer and Freedom Law Center is his firm. Chip Venie limits his practice to the...

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Temple’s Khalif Wyatt gets Plea Deal on Prostitution Arrest

Temple guard Khalif Wyatt, who was arrested in June during a prostitution sting, has been fined $1,000 and sentenced to community service as part of a plea deal.       While celebrating his 21st birthday in Atlantic City, N.J., Wyatt was arrested after soliciting a police officer posing as a prostitute. He then attempted to flee the scene before being detained.       David Chipman “Chip” Venie is a New Mexico criminal defense lawyer and Freedom...

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Bloomfield Man Arrested

A Bloomfield man, suspected of breaking into more than a dozen storage units in the Four Corners, has finally been arrested.   Surveillance video shows an SUV entering Farmington Mini Storage with an empty trailer. In the next shot it leaves - full.   Farmington police said Michael Shawn Clayton, 34, was behind the wheel.   According to police, Clayton is linked to more than 13 burglary cases of storage units across San Juan County.   Police said Clayton also cut the...

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Police Arrest Driver in South Valley Fatal Hit and Run

An Albuquerque family in the south valley is mourning the loss of a 15-month-old, after she was hit and killed Friday night, deputies said.   Saturday, deputies arrested the man they believe hit the toddler near Isleta and Raymac and took off from the scene.   Friends and family are calling the tragedy, an accident.   Sheriff’s deputies arrested 71-year-old Milan Darr, the driver who they said hit baby Ivana and took off.   While grieving over an innocent child's...

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Federal Prosecutor’s Spouse Charged with Wiretap Disclosure

The husband of a veteran assistant U.S. attorney in Albuquerque has been indicted on charges that he leaked wiretap information to a target of a federal firearms trafficking investigation.   Danny Burnett, a retired teacher who also served as a principal and school superintendent, was indicted Thursday on three counts of disclosing wiretap information and one count of lying to federal investigators.   Burnett is the husband of Paula Burnett, who this week stepped down as chief of...

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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Purdue Suspends LB Beckford Following Arrest

Purdue has suspended starting linebacker Dwayne Beckford indefinitely.   Coach Danny Hope made the announcement late, saying Beckford was arrested for what he described as a violation of Beckford's "probationary status." Hope says the school will examine details of what happened before determining Beckford's long-term status at Purdue.   The 6-foot-1, 228-pound senior finished second on the team with 91 tackles in 2011. Beckford also had seven tackles for loss and three...

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Former TCU Players Sentenced to Probation

Three former TCU football players who were among more than a dozen students arrested during a drug sting have been sentenced to probation on marijuana delivery charges.   Melody McDonald, a spokeswoman for Tarrant County prosecutors, says 21-year-old D.J. Yendrey pleaded guilty last week and was sentenced to three years of probation. Yendrey, who is listed as David Yendry in court records, was fined $300 on each charge.   Tanner Brock and Tyler Horn, both 21, pleaded guilty to the...

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Georgia Player Arrested

Isaiah Crowell, 19 and about to be a sophomore running back at Georgia, was arrested and charged with two felonies — possession of a concealed weapon and of a gun with an obscured serial number.   Even uglier, Crowell, who last season was benched for drug and misconduct issues, was arrested on campus.   David Chipman “Chip” Venie is a New Mexico criminal defense lawyer and Freedom Law Center is his firm. Chip Venie limits his practice to the representation...

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5 More Charged in Ga. Military Militia Case

SAVANNAH, Ga. - Four former Army soldiers and a civilian have been charged in new indictments for connections to an anti-government militia that authorities say was led by Fort Stewart troops who stockpiled weapons and talked of ultimately overthrowing the U.S. government.   A Liberty County grand jury indicted the five on charges of illegal gang activity and various counts involving theft, burglary and auto break-ins. Those crimes were committed to help fund the militia group, which called...

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Drug Suspect Withdraws Plea in Mass. Lab Scandal

BOSTON - A drug defendant serving time in jail was allowed to withdraw his guilty plea in the wake of a scandal at a drug-testing lab. It’s the first of what could potentially be many convictions jeopardized after police say they discovered a chemist failed to follow testing protocols.   David Danielli was originally charged with trafficking oxycodone pills, but he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in June after Department of Public Health officials told Norfolk County prosecutors...

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Marines Arrested in Assault on Gay Man

The beating of a gay man outside a bar resulted in the arrest of four Camp Pendleton Marines and was being investigated as a potential hate crime, Marine Corps and police officials said.   The Marines entered the Silver Fox just before closing time and seemed visibly uncomfortable, bar manager John Barnes said. One of the Marines made a demeaning remark _ calling the bartender "sweetheart" _ before he and the other Marines jumped a young man, Barnes said.   Long Beach police...

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Watkins Arrested on Drug Charges

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Clemson All-American receiver Sammy Watkins was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and a controlled substance.   Watkins and soccer player Amadou-Tidiane Daniel Dia were stopped by university police after an officer saw the car scrape a curb and the temporary license tag was not lit. The police report said an officer smelled marijuana in the car and a subsequent search found two pills for which Watkins did not have a prescription.   Dia was charged...

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3 Ark. Players Arrested for Burglary

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Three Arkansas football players, including receivers Marquel Wade and Maudrecus Humphrey, have been arrested and charged with burglarizing dorm rooms.   University of Arkansas police arrested Wade, Humphrey and tight end Andrew Peterson after looking at security video in which the players allegedly were walking into rooms where items, such as computers and textbooks, had been taken.   An arrest report says witnesses also identified the players. Some of...

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FSU Player Charged with Felony Grand Theft

 Redshirt junior Avis Commackturned himself into campus police — just hours after his graduation — for allegedly stealing an iPad from a fellow student's backpack on Dec. 6. Officers reportedly tracked Commack after he used the iPad to log in to the university network with his own information, and subsequently charged him with felony grand theft of an item valued between $300 and $5,000.       David Chipman “Chip” Venie is a New Mexico criminal defense...

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Ill. School Shooter Had Hatchet in Pack

Ill. - A teacher tackled a 14-year-old student and detained him just after the teen fired a gunshot into the ceiling of a packed Illinois high school classroom Friday, police and witnesses said. No one was injured.   The boy was taken into custody and questioned by police while Normal Community High School’s more than 1,800 students were evacuated to a nearby church where parents could pick them up, Normal police Chief Rick Bleichner said.   Investigators weren’t sure...

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Mass. Health Commissioner Resigns, Cites Drug Lab

BOSTON - Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner John Auerbach resigned in the wake of a growing investigation into a chemist who’s alleged mishandling of drug samples led police to shut down the state crime lab and re-examine tens of thousands of drug cases.   Auerbach said it’s clear that there was "insufficient quality monitoring, reporting and investigating on the part of supervisors and managers" at the lab, which had been overseen by the Department of Public...

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Albuquerque City Employee Faces Drug Charges

An Albuquerque city employee is facing charges after Los Lunas police said they found a pot farm in his home.   Police raided Joe Benavidez's Los Lunas home. Officers said they found 128 marijuana plants and more than three pounds of pot ready for sale.   The drugs are worth about $270,000, authorities said. Police said they also found a handgun in the home.   Benavidez is a city Transit Department employee.   According to a city spokesperson, an internal investigation...

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Iowa State Basketball Player Arrested

Fred Hoiberg wants to be planning his practices for the early portion of the 2012 – 2013 college basketball season. The Iowa State University head basketball coach has other things to deal with following an arrest of one of his players. Babu Palo and another man from Ames, Iowa were arrested on charges of second degree sexual abuse. Since then, Palo has been suspended from the team indefinitely.   The latest police report from Ames Iowa says that Palo offered a ride home to a women...

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Iowa RB De’ Andre Johnson Arrested

Johnson was pulled over for speeding on a motorcycle in Iowa City one night — doing 60 in a 25 mph zone, apparently — but did not immediately pull over for officers. Then, after being pulled over, he put the motorcycle in grass behind another vehicle, and told officers it belonged to a fictional "Jake," according to the complaint.   Eluding is a serious misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail.       David Chipman “Chip” Venie...

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FSU Player Charged with Grand Theft

The Tallahassee Police Department received a report of a stolen green motorcycle off Chapel Dr. around 2 p.m. on Sunday. Later, the victim returned to the scene and noticed skid marks that led from where the motorcycle was last seen to a location nearby, totaling about 1/10 of a mile. The report states that when officers asked Jenkins if he knew why they were there, Jenkins conceded that it was about the motorcycle. Jenkins told the officers that he found the motorcycle lying on the ground and...

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US Fidelis Co-Owner Gets 40 Months in Prison

ST. LOUIS - One of two brothers who formerly owned the auto service contract seller US Fidelis was sentenced to more than three years in federal prison for fraud and tax evasion.   Cory Atkinson, 42, of Lake St. Louis, Mo., pleaded guilty to the federal charges in June. He also faces sentencing Sept. 28 on state charges of insurance fraud, consumer fraud and stealing and is expected to get a four-year sentence, his attorney, William Margulis, said.   Cory Atkinson’s brother,...

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Rhode Island City Mayor Quits Amid Corruption Charge

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The longtime mayor of struggling Central Falls resigned and has agreed to plead guilty to a federal corruption charge of accepting gifts in exchange for handing out a lucrative contract to board up city houses.   The plea agreements bring an end to a two-year investigation that hung over the state’s smallest city, even as it struggled through a painful municipal bankruptcy and faced questions over whether it would have to merge with another city to survive.   Charles...

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Colorado Theater Shooting Suspect in Court

For the first time with hair that's brown instead of a wild shade of orangish-red, the suspect in Colorado's movie theater shooting appeared in court Thursday as prosecutors gave up their fight to see a notebook he sent to a university psychiatrist, saying they didn't want to delay proceedings.   Holmes appeared more animated during the hearing. He smiled and glanced around the courtroom, looking at his lawyers and reporters covering the hearing. He appeared to be moving his mouth but not...

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ohio State Players Stoneburner, Mewhort Suspended After Arrests

Jake Stoneburner and Jack Mewhort were arrested on misdemeanor charges of obstructing official business.   Columbus attorney Mark Collins said that both players will not be allowed in the football facilities until the case is settled.   The players and a third person not on the football team were urinating outside a restaurant when Shawnee Hills police saw them. Collins said that the players ran when they saw a spotlight, but stopped near the restaurant they were first seen next...

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Rees Resumes Practicing with Irish

BRIDGMAN, Mich. – Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees and linebacker Carlo Calabrese have been cleared to participate in summer drills despite their arrests after a party.   Rees, who is part of a four-player competition to start at quarterback, faces four misdemeanor charges after being arrested following a South Bend, Ind., party on May 3.   He faces a July 17 hearing on a charge of battery, two counts of resisting law enforcement and one count of illegal consumption of alcohol...

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Rodgers Faked Hate Crime Attack

LINCOLN, Neb. - A former University of Nebraska women's basketball star faked an attack in which she allegedly carved anti-gay slurs into her skin because she felt it would spark change, police said. Four days before Charlie Rogers crawled naked and bleeding from her Lincoln home, screaming for help, she outlined in a Facebook posting what investigators believe was her motive for faking the July 22 attack, Police Chief Jim Peschong said at a news conference. "So maybe I am too idealistic,...

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APD Arrests 2 Accused in Double Murder

Albuquerque police say they have solved a double murder that happened back in April.    Police arrested Shalaka Booker, 24 and Alfonso Thompson, 36.   They have been charged in connection with the murders of two women - Naomi Trujillo, 26, and May Valerio, 25.   Both women were found shot at an apartment near Lomas and Marble.   There was also a third shooting victim, who survived.       David Chipman “Chip” Venie is a New Mexico...

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Police Officer Accused of Encouraging Teen to Get Abortion

Noah Pestak is accused of getting a 15-year-old girl pregnant when he was a Truth or Consequences police officer.   At issue now is whether he encouraged her to get an abortion to hide the alleged sexual affair.   Pestak was 29 when, according to court documents, he had sex with the teenage girl.   A criminal complaint indicates he picked her up as a runaway when he was with the police department. Documents say Pestak and the girl later communicated on Facebook and then had...

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Death Penalty Remains Option in NM Double Murder Case

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The death penalty remains an option for punishment in the case of a former Arizona inmate accused of killing a couple in New Mexico.   John McCluskey is charged with carjacking and murder in the deaths of Gary and Linda Haas of Tecumseh, Okla.   Their remains were found with their burned-out camping trailer on an eastern New Mexico ranch.   A federal judge this month rejected McCluskey's arguments that the death penalty amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.   A...

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

2 UTSA Players Dismissed After Robbery Arrests

SAN ANTONIO- Two Texas-San Antonio football players have been dismissed from the team after their arrests on aggravated robbery charges.   UTSA spokeswoman Christi Fish said the university was notified of the arrests of safety Adefemi Adekeye (add-eh-FEEM-ee ADD-eh-key) and cornerback Toyin Dada by San Antonio police. Both players were walk-ons.   A police report says the victim went into an apartment to buy marijuana and was talking to one suspect when another man came out of a...

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Georgia RB Dismissed After Arrest

ATHENS, Ga. – Georgia tailback Isaiah Crowell was dismissed from the team by coach Mark Richt after the sophomore was arrested on felony weapons charges.   Police found a gun in Crowell’s vehicle early one morning. Georgia announced the dismissal that afternoon. Richt’s short statement in the announcement did not mention Crowell.   ”We have a dedicated and committed group of men who are working hard to prepare for the coming season,” Richt said. ”Our...

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Murray State Suspends Zay Jackson After Arrest

Murray State sophomore guard Zaveral “Zay” Jackson, expected to start alongside All-American Isaiah Canaan this season, has been suspended indefinitely by coach Steve Prohm in the wake of his arrest.   Jackson, 20, stands accused of hitting two people with his car in a Walmart parking lot, causing minor injuries. He was charged with two counts of first-degree assault and spent the night at the Calloway County jail.       David Chipman “Chip” Venie...

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Albuquerque Man Behind Bars After Nursing Home Attack

A man is in custody after police say he assaulted an elderly woman in southeast Albuquerque.   Dennis Heard faced a judge Saturday on kidnapping and aggravated assault charges.   Court documents state two women at the Copper Rose Assisted Living Facility got into a fight, and that's when Heard, who was visiting the facility, started hitting one of them and tried smothering her.   Albuquerque police also said he raised a metal walker above the woman threatening to her.   Heard...

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Drunk Driver Crashes State Fair Parade

Police said no one was seriously injured, but a number of witnesses are still in shock by what they saw.   Police said Jose Gandara pulled out of one of the parking lots, straight into the parade.   After traveling two to three blocks between floats and cars, Gandara was arrested for DWI and reckless driving.   The police had to break the car window and physically pull Gandara out because he refused to unlock his door.   And witnesses recalled Gandara driving dangerously...

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Valencia County Man Jailed in Governor Threat Case

SANTA FE, N.M. - A Valencia County man facing five misdemeanor charges for allegedly harassing Gov. Susana Martinez is being held in the Santa Fe County jail in lieu of a $100,000 bond.   The attorney for 61-year-old James Sanchez says his client has been on a "crusade" to protect his family from cows crossing a residential subdivision road.   He left multiple messages with the Governor's Office of Constituent Services in Santa Fe using profanity and insulting language...

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Police Raid Home of NBA Star Chris 'Birdman' Anderson

The Douglas County Internet Crimes Against Children Unit (ICAC) investigated the Larkspur, Colorado home of NBA player Chris 'Birdman' Andersen in connection with child pornography.   The ICAC said they began investigating Andersen, 33, after they were given a tip from a law enforcement agency in California.   Pending the completion of the investigation, Andersen has been suspended from all team-related activities by the Denver Nuggets.   Sergeant Ron Hanavan said that the...

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Baseball Great Pleads Guilty to Bankruptcy Fraud

LOS ANGELES - Former All-Star outfielder Lenny Dykstra pleaded guilty and could face 20 years in prison for hiding and selling sports memorabilia and other items that were supposed to be part of his bankruptcy filing.   Dykstra, 49, entered his plea in U.S. District Court to one count each of bankruptcy fraud, concealment of assets and money laundering.   It was the latest legal problem for Dykstra, who earned the nickname "Nails" because of his gritty style of play, and...

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Florida Boy, 13, Killed 2-Year-Old Brother

 JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A decade before he was charged with murder, a 2-year-old Cristian Fernandez was found naked and dirty, wandering a South Florida street. The grandmother taking care of him had holed up with cocaine in a messy motel room, while his 14-year-old mother was nowhere to be found.   His life had been punctuated with violence since he was conceived, an act that resulted in a sexual assault conviction against his father. Fernandez’ life got worse from there: He was...

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Public Safety Employee Accused of Assaulting Officer

A New Mexico Department of Public Safety employee is in serious trouble accused of assaulting a police officer during the Santa Fe Fiestas. Santa Fe Police said the woman was beating up her boyfriend then went after a cop.   Paula Espinosa works in the Special Investigations Division. According to Santa Fe Police reports, Espinosa and her boyfriend, Vince Vigil, were arguing outside of Hotel Chimayo in the Santa Fe Plaza. When officers saw Espinosa hitting Vigil in the face they stepped...

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NM Man Accused of Causing Girl’s Drinking Death

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Authorities in New Mexico say a Beclabito man is accused of causing the death of a juvenile girl by serving her alcohol.  A two-count indictment charges Stanford Benally with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. The 41-year-old Benally was arrested by the FBI. Authorities say Benally is accused of giving liquor to an underage girl on May 19 in San Juan County and then leaving the unconscious and intoxicated minor on her bedroom floor without providing...

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Friday, September 14, 2012

Washington Man Gets 125 Years for Stealing Gun used in Murder

Wash. - A man convicted of stealing a gun used in a murder was given 125 years in prison _ about a century longer than the actual killers received after taking plea deals.   Christopher G. Nichols, 27, was sentenced for gun theft, trafficking in stolen property, being a felon in possession of firearms and other crimes.   Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen said sentences for the gun crimes must be served one after another, as a result of Washington’s 1995 law known as Hard Time for Armed...

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Kansas City Priest Pleads to Child Porn Charges

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A Roman Catholic priest in Kansas City pleaded guilty to producing child pornography in a federal case that also led to charges against the diocese bishop for failing to report suspected child abuse, and prosecutors said they would recommend that he be sentenced to life in prison.   The Rev. Shawn Ratigan, 46, had been scheduled for trial later this month. He was charged with child pornography in May 2011 in Clay County after police received a flash drive from the priest’s...

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Former APD Officer Posts Bail

Chavez is a former Albuquerque Police Department officer, accused of killing his wife at their Los Lunas home in 2007.   The Valencia County District Attorney stated Chavez violated the conditions of his release by making contact with a witness in his case.   Judge George Eichwald said the DA's statements were credible and sent Chavez back to jail.   Chavez is accused of shooting his wife, Tera, with his APD issued gun, and then reportedly attempted to make the shooting look...

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Michigan Man Ordered to Stand Trial in Dismemberments

ALLEN PARK, Mich. - A suburban Detroit man accused of fatally shooting his ex-girlfriend and her fiancé then chopping off their heads and limbs and dumping their remains into the Detroit River must stand trial.   Allen Park District Court Judge John Courtright said at a preliminary examination that there is enough evidence to try Roger Bowling, 39, in the murder of 32-year-old Danielle Greenway and 42-year-old Chris Hall.   Border Patrol agents and the U.S. Coast Guard found...

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Man Arrested in Central Park Assault on Woman, 73

NEW YORK - An arrest has been made in the broad daylight attack on a 73-year-old birdwatcher in New York City’s Central Park.   New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne identified the suspect as David Albert Mitchell.   The 42-year-old suspect had been taken into custody on for questioning after the woman reported the attack, Browne said. He was expected to face rape charges. It wasn’t immediately clear if he had a lawyer.   The woman told police she was...

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Grants Man in Child Porn Ring Case Pleads Not Guilty

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A New Mexico man charged in a child pornography ring and who authorities have said talked about raping and cooking children has pleaded not guilty in federal court.   Richard Dates entered his plea Wednesday in Albuquerque after being indicted on two counts of possessing child pornography.   The 67-year-old was arrested last month for possessing child pornography in a case that began in Massachusetts with the arrest of a Sheraton hotel manager.   That child...

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Pa. Dad Charged in Drug-Laced Baby Bottle Death

PHILADELPHIA - Prosecutors believe a Philadelphia man put heroin and methadone in his infant son’s bottle to quiet him but instead killed him, two days before his first birthday.   Orlando Rosado will face a third-degree murder trial after waiving his right to a preliminary hearing.   Rosado, 45, told police he accidentally put drugs in the bottle during a 3 a.m. feeding in May. But Assistant District Attorney Lorraine Donnelly plans to argue the drug mixture _ though not baby...

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Two Accused in Valencia Hazing Incident Take Plea Deals

Two former Valencia High School football players accused of hazing other students have taken plea deals.   Jake Sanchez and Jeremiah Carroll pleaded no contest Thursday to sexual assault and kidnapping.   The two were minors in 2010 when police allege they bullied and sexually hazed up to three underclassman.   Even so, a grand jury indicted Sanchez and Carroll as adults last year.   But as part of their plea deal the two will be sentenced as juveniles.           Chip...

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Grandparents and Father Charged in Dog Mauling Death of Las Cruces Toddler

The grandparents and father of a 15-month-old Las Cruces girl who was mauled by the family’s pit bull in May have been arrested and charged in the fatal dog attack.   Leticia I. Mesa, 52, Arthur “Arturo” Mesa Sr., 57, and Jesus Mesa, 21, all residents of 819 Stone Canyon Dr. in Las Cruces, were arrested Monday evening on warrants.   Leticia Mesa, the paternal grandmother of Jazilyn Nevaeh Mesa who died in May following the dog attack, is charged with negligent child...

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Boy Accused of Stabbing Man in Santa Fe

SANTA FE, N.M. - A 16-year-old boy from Santa Fe is accused of stabbing a man from a neighboring apartment who told him that he shouldn't use abusive language during an argument with the teen's girlfriend.   The teen is being held on charges of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and battery against a household member.   The 25-year-old neighbor suffered internal bleeding, but his injury didn't threaten his life.   Investigators say the neighbor called police after hearing...

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Albuquerque Man Arrested for 7th D.W.I.

Bernalillo County Sheriff deputies arrested a man for driving more than 50 miles an hour over the speed limit - with two children in the car.   They tell us Matthew Sweeten, 29, is accused of driving 88 miles an hour in a 35-mile-an-hour zone on the 4th of July.   BCSO deputies pulled him over on the holiday near 4th and Alameda. They say he looked intoxicated and failed field sobriety tests.   Sweeten had his 13-year-old daughter and 6-month-old niece in the car with him.   This...

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Roswell Man Pleads No Contest in Bat Beating of Dog

A New Mexico man has pleaded no contest to charges of severely beating a dog with a bat and burning another with chemicals.   According to the Chaves County Sheriff's Office, in July deputies found Baltazar with a bloody bat at his home and a dog with several breaks to the jaw and snout and an eye socket that had been shattered.   Deputies said a second dog had chemical burns on the back. His attorney, Harry Wilcox, said Baltazar was driven to this action by his neighbors who complained...

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Wis. Dad and Friend Charged in Pit Bull Attack on Son

MILWAUKEE - A Wisconsin man who suspected an 18-year-old visiting his home of stealing morphine and gold coins was charged with tying the teen by his ankles and ordering his pit bull to attack, while the teen’s own father helped.   Richard R. Lisko, 58, is charged with false imprisonment, injury by negligent use of a dangerous weapon and substantial battery. The teen’s father, Joel E. Kennedy, 43, is charged with being party to a crime of the same felonies, and also with failing...

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Two Killed in Roswell Hit and Run

Two people were killed in Roswell in a hit and run accident.   Police say Mandy Miranda, 30, and her son were killed when their 2007 Sonata was hit from behind by a white 2007 Cadillac Escalade.   According to police, the Escalade drove over the Sonata and the Escalade flipped.   Miranda's young daughter, who was riding in the Sonata, was treated at a hospital and released.   The driver of the Escalade fled the scene on foot. Police believe alcohol is a factor.   Police...

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Roswell Police Officer on Leave After Crash

A Roswell police officer has been charged with aggravated DWI after police say she ran into a parked car.   Roswell police tell us Stephanie Coon crashed her personal vehicle early Friday morning.   She was off-duty at the time.   We know she was put on leave - but Roswell police haven't said whether that leave is paid or unpaid.           Chipman Venie is a professional criminal defense lawyer and Freedom Law Center is his firm. Chipman...

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Sunday, September 09, 2012

New Jersey Man Tried to Toss 2 Boys in Front of Train

RAMSEY, N.J. - A New Jersey man has been charged with attempted murder and kidnapping after authorities said he tried to throw two young brothers in front of a train that was pulling into a station.   The boys, ages 7 and 9, were with their mother and grandmother at a New Jersey Transit station in Ramsey when the boys moved toward the platform’s edge to see a train, police said.   Authorities say 47-year-old David Howard, of Wyckoff, approached the boys around 2:30 p.m. and...

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Albuquerque Man Faces Child Abuse Charges

Police arrested an Albuquerque man for what they said he had next to a baby.   Phillip Lopez is charged with child abuse after police said they found pipes used for smoking marijuana and meth under a 7-month-old baby.   Police say they were called to the home on Louisiana yesterday because Lopez threatened to kill his neighbor.   He's accused of being high while caring for the baby while the mother was at work.           Chipman Venie is a professional...

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Midwife Faces Child Abuse Charges

A woman who helped another woman deliver her baby faces charges.   Albuquerque police said Jessica Weed helped a woman deliver her baby, and it led to severe complications.   Court documents state Weed is a midwife and helped her friend deliver her child, but the child was born feet-first. And a couple of days later, that child had to go to the hospital with head trauma and bleeding retinas.   The mother also went to the hospital with birthing complications.   Police...

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Saturday, September 08, 2012

Pa. Man Imprisoned Disabled Victim in Home

PHILADELPHIA - A tip led police to rescue a deaf, mute man from a locked basement where he had been kept for months while his captor spent his Social Security checks, authorities said Thursday.   William Richardson, 63, told police he was hungry and had been punched, beaten and threatened during four months in the dark basement, police Capt. Larry Nodiff said.   "Your heart goes out to him," Nodiff said Thursday.   Suspect Dwayne Young is being held on $1 million...

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APD Officer's Wife Faces Felony Gun Charges

The wife of an Albuquerque police officer is facing felony gun charges.   There are also allegations that she may somehow be linked to a convicted felon. That felon has been questioned in the disappearance of an Albuquerque woman.   Deputy Police Chief, Paul Feist, who met with reporters Friday, confirmed police arrested Elizabeth Taylor earlier this week.   The 30-year-old is the wife of Officer David Taylor.   Elizabeth Taylor is charged with having guns and drugs...

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Woman gets Maximum Sentence in Vehicular Homicide Case

Memori Hardwick, who pleaded in June guilty to hitting and killing a bicyclist on her way to purchase drugs, was sentenced in District Court to nine years behind bars Friday - the maximum sentence.   It's a case that shocked and alarmed cyclists all over the state - a 21-year-old woman admits she was out of her mind on meth when she dropped a lit cigarette on her car seat and sped through a red light.   Albuquerque Police Department officials said Hardwick was en route to buy methamphetamine...

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Friday, September 07, 2012

Suspected Drunk Driver Rams into McDonald's

A man was arrested for alleged drunk driving and hitting a wall while going through a McDonalds drive through.   The incident occurred at the McDonald's at San Pedro and Lomas.   Police said Mesa Eagle Moquino ran from the scene.   Another man and a woman were also in the car with Moquino.   No one was hurt in the incident.   Moquino faces a number of charges including aggravated DWI and driving on a revoked license.           Chip...

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Albuquerque Man Arrested for Heroin; had Kids in Car

Albuquerque police have arrested a man they said was driving with heroin and two children in the car.   Police stopped Dillon Sanchez, 20, at Paseo and 2nd Street after noticing the car's windshield was shattered.   Police said Sanchez told them he didn't have a driver's license.   He had two children - a two-year-old girl and a 1.5-year-old boy - in the car with him at the time.   After searching the car, police said they found heroin.   Sanchez has been charged...

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Española Cop Faces D.W.I. Charges

An Española Police Officer faces drunk driving charges in Albuquerque.   James Gallegos, 34, of Ojo Caliente, was pulled over  after police say he ran a red light at Coors and Sequoia.   Gallegos told police that he had drank three to four beers at the Effing Bar.   He's also charged with negligent use of a firearm because a loaded gun was found in his car.   Gallegos is on administrative leave.               Chipman...

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Thursday, September 06, 2012

Albuquerque Man Linked to City Government Drug Ring Arrested

At least one Albuquerque Housing Authority worker has been arrested who is linked to a possible drug ring within city government.   Patrick Vargas was arrested under bribery and intimidation of a witness charges and booked into jail.   Even though Vargas wasn't arrested for drug offenses, the arrest is linked to a drug investigation.   And according to a criminal complaint, Albuquerque Police detectives suspect Patrick Vargas of selling oxycodone, steroids, heroin and cocaine....

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Albuquerque Couple Charged with Murder Plead Not Guilty

Two people accused in a deadly Albuquerque double-shooting pleaded not guilty in court.   Shalaka Booker pleaded not guilty to murder charges and a judge set her bond at $750,000 - cash only.   Her boyfriend, Alfonso Thompson, also entered a not guilty plea to his murder charges.   His bond was set at a cash only $1 million.   Police said back in April, booker lost a tooth in a fight with the victims - 26-year-old Naomi Trujillo and 25-year-old May Valerio.   Police...

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Accused Murderer Pleads Not Guilty

A man accused of strangling two Albuquerque men and then burning their bodies at Pajarito Mesa went before a judge. Jessie Young pleaded not guilty to the murder of Alejandro and Alfonso Garcia. The judge kept Young's bond at $1 million - cash only. Deputies found the men's bodies in a burned car on the Pajarito Mesa in April. Investigators said Young and Vincente Gutierrez killed the men over a 150 dollar drug debt.       Chip Venie is a professional criminal...

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Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Police Say Albuquerque Man Forced Fiancé into Prostitution

An Albuquerque man has been arrested for allegedly forcing his fiancé into prostitution.   Marc Tapia and his fiancé were pulled over near the Econo Lodge near Interstate 40 and Eubank Boulevard NE.   Police say they spotted the couple in a stolen truck. When they tried to interview Tapia, officers say he sped off.   Officers caught the couple after a short chase.   Tapia's fiancé told police he had been forcing her to prostitute for the past six...

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Arizona Man Gets 52 to Life, Terms for Texas Sex Abuse

 EDNA, Texas - An Arizona man has been sentenced to 52 life prison terms for sexually abusing three girls in Texas in the 1980s.   Jackson County District Attorney Bobby Bell says the abuse happened in 1988 and 1989. Indictments were returned in 1990 and in June. Moore was arrested last year in Arizona.   A jury in Edna, about 90 miles southwest of Houston, on Aug. 17 convicted Moore of 52 counts including aggravated sexual assault of a child, indecency with a child by sexual...

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Ex-National Guardsman Sentenced in Child Sex Case

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A federal judge has sentenced a former national guardsman to 10 years in prison for child sexual exploitation.   U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales announced that 44-year-old Jeffrey Neal Jackson was sentenced following his guilty plea in April to a two-count indictment charging him with coercion and enticement of a minor.   Authorities say Jackson was a National Guard military recruiter and stationed in Lubbock, Texas, when he was arrested in November.   Prosecutors...

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Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Georgia CB Branden Smith Arrested, Charged with Marijuana Possession

Georgia cornerback Branden Smith was arrested and charged with marijuana possession, the third starter from last year's team to be arrested in the offseason.   The junior was pulled over for having no tag light and following another vehicle too closely in Abbeville in southeastern Alabama, Henry County Sherriff William Maddox said. The arresting officer smelled marijuana in the car and found it under the back seat after a search, the sheriff said.   Smith could be suspended for at...

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Missouri Freshman QB Mauk Arrested

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Missouri freshman quarterback Maty Mauk has been arrested on suspicion of four charges including leaving the scene of an accident after a scooter mishap.   Mauk is third on the depth chart after a record-setting high school career in Kenton, Ohio, and is the second Missouri quarterback to have a scrape with the law in recent months. Redshirt freshman Corbin Berkstresser, the backup, was arrested and charged in May with a misdemeanor for hitting a parked car with his truck...

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Hung Jury in Redhorse Double Murder Trial

For the past week, family members of victims in a double-murder trial have sat at Aztec District Court hoping for a different verdict than the hung jury they got back in May in Gallup.   Alex Redhorse sat in court after Judge Grant Foutz announced a mistrial.   Redhorse is accused of shooting Alec Armijo and Dusty Rye and then burning their bodies in the Cibola National Forest near Gallup last April.   The defense asked for a change of venue after the mistrial back in May...

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Monday, September 03, 2012

Woman Busted at Butt-Pumping Party

Another person was busted for butt-injections in Philadelphia at a butt-pumping party. The self-proclaimed “professional,” Padge Winslowe (also known as the Black Madam) is being held for 10 million bail after being charged with assault, simple assault, deceptive business practices, in regards to injections she performed on a 23-year-old aspiring exotic dancer.   Winslowe is still under investigation for the death of a woman who was hospitalized after a botch injection hit a...

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New Mexico Mixed Martial Arts Fighter Arrested

Professional Mixed Martial Arts fighter Willie Parks was out of the ring and before a judge.   He was arrested and accused of beating up his 7-week pregnant girlfriend.   The criminal complaint goes into detail about how Parks allegedly beat up his pregnant girlfriend and then tried to cover it up.   Parks appeared nervous, massaging his face as a judge imposed a $50,000 cash surety bond.   According to the criminal complaint, Parks argued with his girlfriend about...

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Former APS Teacher Sentenced for Sex with Student, 13

A former Albuquerque Public Schools teacher was sentenced in court for having sex with a 13-year-old student at Jimmy Carter Middle School in 2009.   Kristy Sanchez-Trujillo was fired from the West Side Albuquerque middle school in October 2009 after another teacher reported the relationship with the male student.   In April, she pleaded guilty to having sex with the boy.    A judge sentenced her to one year of house arrest followed by 5 to 20 years of probation.       David...

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Sunday, September 02, 2012

Ex- Albuquerque Public School Teacher gets 5 Years Probation for Voyeurism

A former Albuquerque Public Schools teacher charged with videotaping up girls' skirts at Cliff's Amusement Park entered a guilty plea.   The judge sentenced Lucero to five years of supervised probation.   Back in 2007, Lucero used a shoe camera to record up girls' skirts.   In court he spoke to the judge and apologized:   "I truly am sorry, and I stand in front you today, Your Honor, to take responsibility for my actions," he said.   Lucero does not...

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Court Reverses Murder Conviction of Hobbs Man

SANTA FE, N.M. - The state Supreme Court has overturned one of two murder convictions of a Hobbs man who is serving life in prison for the deaths of two women in separate crimes.   The court last week tossed out Paul Lovett's conviction of murdering Elizabeth Garcia in 2002. The young mother was abducted while working at a convenience store in the southeastern New Mexico community and was stabbed more than 50 times.   The court affirmed Lovett's rape and murder convictions for the...

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Toddler Injured in Alleged D.W.I. Crash has Died

A two year old boy injured in an alleged DWI crash has died.   APD says Vicente Griego's family took the boy off life support five days later.   Griego suffered a broken neck and brain injuries after the car in which he was riding was hit by Mariano Salaz, Jr., 20.   According to Albuquerque police, Salaz's blood alcohol level was at least twice the legal limit when he hit two vehicles and a police cruiser on Coors Boulevard near Quail Road in northwest Albuquerque.   Salaz...

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Saturday, September 01, 2012

Man Stole Doctor's ID, saw 500 Patients

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A man stole a physician's identity and pretended to be a doctor for a year in South Carolina, and now investigators are combing through medical records to see whether he harmed any of the hundreds of patients he treated, authorities said.   Ernest Addo of Austell, Ga., is charged with unlawful practice of medicine and obtaining goods under false pretense, authorities said.   Addo doesn't have a medical license in the U.S. But he assumed a doctor friend's identity,...

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Rio Rancho Man Charged in Major Gun Theft Case

RIO RANCHO, N.M. - A Rio Rancho man pleaded not guilty to three federal weapons charges related to the theft of dozens of guns.   Christopher Rooks, 30, is charged with stealing the guns from the Rio Rancho Armory, a gun store off of Southern Boulevard.   The case started July 25 when Rio Rancho police were called to the gun store in the early morning. According to a search warrant, officers found the security bars on the window were removed as were 39 guns.   Among the loot...

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South Dakota Couple Charged in Toddler's Death

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - As a 2-year-old girl lay dead in the closet of a South Dakota home, another child invited two young neighbors over to take a look. The adults in the home, who were binging on drugs, didn’t call 911 until some 14 hours later, police allege.   Taylor Cournoyer, 21, and Laurie Cournoyer, 29, are charged with failing to notify police of the death and five counts of child abuse related to other children who live in the home with them.   The couple is accused...

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Friday, August 31, 2012

Santa Fe Officer Out Following Domestic Violence Arrest

SANTA FE, N.M. - A Santa Fe police officer has resigned after an internal investigation into criminal charges stemming from a domestic dispute with his wife led to a recommendation that he be fired.   Lopez faces battery and interfering with communication charged for the June 24 incident that led to his arrest. He has pleaded not guilty.   The arrest of the three-year veteran came just two days after the department began enforcing a "zero-tolerance" policy that recommends...

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Santa Fe Online Sex Sting Leads to Arrests

A human trafficking case in Santa Fe has more than a dozen online sexual predators facing charges.   The nearly one month long investigation highlights a growing trend, police said.   The 13 people arrested responded to a fake online ad soliciting sex with an underage girl, but little did they know they were talking with an undercover cop instead.   "Immediately after we posted the ad, we received 140 hits," Lieutenant Louis Carlos said. "We had to shut down...

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Man Accused in Double Murder Held on $2 Million Cash Bond

The man accused of killing two people in their Albuquerque apartment was charged with two counts of murder and ordered held on $2 million cash bond.   Judge Benjamin Chavez told the court he set the bond so high for Brian Pulliam because of the "extreme nature" of his alleged crimes and because of his violent criminal history.   Pulliam, 38, is accused of killing Kirsten Landeau and Dillon Cearfoss, who were found dead in their home.   Friends and family have said...

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Reporter Waives Detention Hearing on Child Porn Charges

A reporter at the Cibola Beacon waived his detention hearing on charges of child pornography possession.   Richard Dates, 67, is charged with possessing child pornography as part of an international ring.   Dates worked as a science teacher at Gallup McKinley County Schools from 2006-2011.   He was also a tutor in the Chicago area in the 1980's.   Court documents say Dates traded pictures of children engaged in sex acts online with people in other countries.   The...

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Men Arrested in Undercover Solicitation Ring

Police arrested three men accused of trying to have sex with who they believed was a 13-year-old.   Police said Richard Rivera, Clifford Duldulao, and John Desoto were arrested for child solicitation in separate incidents.   The charges stem from an undercover online investigation.   Police said the men arrange a meeting with who they thought was a 13-year-old, but who was actually an undercover detective.   When the men arrived at the meeting place, the men were arrested.       David...

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Teen Charged in Murder of 5 Year Old Child

John Freeman, 16, was arrested and charged as an adult for the murder of 5-year-old Isabella Tennant. John Freeman was the last known person to see the little girl from New York. Tennant’s body was found just two streets away from her great-grandmother’s home stuffed inside a garbage can. Isabella Tennant was staying at her great-grandmother’s home while her mother worked a shift at Players night club in Niagara Falls. Isabella Tennant was playing with John Freeman inside...

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

NJ Man Disputes Charges of Mid-Flight Sex Abuse

 NEWARK, N.J. - A man accused of sexually abusing a woman sleeping in an airplane seat next to him on a cross-country flight is an ethnic Kurd who fled Turkey years ago and wouldn’t return there if released on bail, his lawyer said in disputing the charges against him and questioning prosecutors’ version of events.   The U.S. attorney for New Jersey charged the man, Bawer Aksal, in a criminal complaint last week with sexual abuse. Prosecutors said a passenger seated next...

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Pharmacist Tech Arrested During Drug Investigation

A local pharmacy tech who agreed to work with Albuquerque Police Department narcotics detectives was instead busted for cocaine.   Alexandria Patterson was arrested at Lovelace Pharmacy downtown where she worked. But detectives said Patterson may be just one in a larger investigation.   "We're working with the Board of Pharmacy into the allegations of taking pills, and we're looking at several different, not only pharmacists but pharmacy techs," said one narcotics detective,...

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Suspected Drunk Driver Arrested

A suspected drunk driver who police say caused a fatal accident on I-25 near Socorro has been arrested.   State police say Bertha Sanchez, 42, died in the three-vehicle crash on I-25 near Socorro.   We're told she died after Reyes Duran, 21, hit another car carrying four people.   Sanchez was one of those passengers - she died at the scene.   Several other people were taken to hospitals with injuries.       David Chipman Venie is a professional criminal...

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

2 Years for Las Cruces Teens Who Robbed an 81 Year Old

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Three Las Cruces teens will spend two years in juvenile detention for a purse-snatching that left an 81-year-old woman in a wheelchair.   Victim Mary Inez Garcia told Judge Jacinto Palomino at a hearing that she hopes the 17-year-old boys get a high school diploma while incarcerated so they don't have to live a life of crime.   Garcia broke her hip when one of the boys jumped out of a car in a Wal-Mart parking lot and tried to snatch her purse.   The 81-year-old...

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Santa Fe Police Cracking Down on Burglary Ring

Santa Fe police are closer to busting a ring of burglars because property crime victims have been able to identity their stolen items. Santa Fe Police Captain Aric Wheeler said investigators have been able to successfully match stolen jewelry and goods with their rightful owners. The police department invited property crime victims to identify their belongings. Twenty-two people were able to reclaim property. "We'll be able to link these individuals that have already been identified...

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Man Arrested in Hit and Run

Albuquerque police say they've arrested an Albuquerque man in connection with the hit and run of a woman in the Northeast Heights.   Police say they arrested Edward Gurule in connection with the near-fatal injury of an as yet unidentified woman who was apparently hit by a car on Princess Jeanne NE.   That car then left the scene.   The woman is on life support.   Police have arrested Gurule and charged him with leaving the scene of an accident, tampering with evidence...

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Man Repeatedly Threatened Woman

A Gainesville man threatened his girlfriend through texts and calling her 37 times while and after she was helping a friend in a hospital emergency room, Alachua County Sheriff’s deputies said. Corry Monroe, 26, was arrested on a charge of felony harassment, according to an arrest report, which gave the following account: Monroe and the victim live together at 15226 SW 114th Place, with a child they have in common. The woman called deputies and told them about the threatening...

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APD Officer Charged with Excessive Force

An Albuquerque Police Officer faces criminal charges after a lapel camera showed him using excessive force in the arrest of a drug suspect.   Police Chief Ray Schultz announced in a news conference that Officer Connor Rice not only violated APD policy, but also broke the law. Officers Shad Solis and Ron Surran are also under an administrative investigation.   Rice faces battery and aggravated battery charges based on what the district attorney’s office and APD investigators...

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Pot Farm in NE Heights Found

A tipster led Albuquerque police to a pot farm in the northeast heights.   Police arrested Micah Rees at his home near Academy and Burlison.   Officers showed up to the house early in the day to follow up on a tip. And when they returned later with a search warrant, police said Rees and two other people were destroying the plants.   Officers said they found 48 pods with plants growing and a number of plants they said Rees was attempting to flush down the toilet.       Chip...

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Jury Convicts Rio Arriba Man of Killing 2

SANTA FE, N.M. - A northern New Mexico man who was acquitted of murder after a 2007 trial has been convicted in two other killings. A jury in Rio Arriba County found 29-year-old Donald Ferran guilty of two counts of first-degree murder and tampering with evidence. Prosecutors says the Ojo Caliente resident lured 25-year-old Joey Maestas and 27-year-old Sarah Salazar to a highway rest stop north of Espanola in March 2011 after seeing Maestas flash a wad of cash. The victims were found...

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Albuquerque Man Charged with Kidnapping and Raping Homeless Woman

Rape and torture are things no one deserves, but one Albuquerque woman said she was subjected to that for more than a day and a half.   According to a criminal complaint, the woman Victor Gonzales while he was riding his bike along Central Avenue, and offered to let her stay at his apartment.   She said Gonzales didn't do anything to her that night.   But she said the next day is when everything started.   The woman told police Gonzales raped her multiple times and...

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German Grandmother Facing Possible Death Sentence

APALACHICOLA, Fla. - Attorneys for an elderly German woman accused of drowning her 5-year-old grandson in the bathtub of a Florida beach house say she suffered from depression and was legally insane in part from injuries brought on by a World War II bombing raid.   Marianne Bordt, 73, faces a possible death sentence if convicted of first-degree murder in the January 2010 death of Camden Hiers. Such a possible outcome is believed unlikely given her age, lack of a prior record and other factors....

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

LA Gang Member Convicted of 4 Murders

LOS ANGELES - A gang member who hid out in the Philippines for 11 years was found guilty for four murders during a mid-1990s crime spree in a quest to make the gang the most feared in Los Angeles.   Jurors found Pierre Mercado guilty of four counts of murder, two counts of kidnapping and five counts of attempted murder.   Mercado was a member of the Asian Boyz, a gang founded by his brother Marvin Mercado that terrorized parts of Los Angeles in the mid-1990s.   Marvin Mercado...

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Texas Teacher Convicted After Sex with 5 Students

FORT WORTH, Texas - A former North Texas high school teacher was convicted Friday and sentenced to five years in prison for having sex with five 18-year-old students at her home.   The Tarrant County jury decided on the sentence for Brittni Nicole Colleps, 28, of Arlington after nearly three hours of deliberation. It took jurors less than an hour to find her guilty earlier in the day of 16 counts of having an inappropriate relationship between a student and teacher. The second-degree felony...

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Indiana Mom Convicted in Son's Death could be Freed

GREENSBURG, Ind. - An Indiana woman convicted of setting a 1995 fire that killed her 3-year-old son could taste freedom for the first time after 16 years in prison, but her release could be short-lived.   A Decatur County judge is expected to set bail for Kristine Bunch, 38, while she awaits a new trial on murder and arson charges stemming from a mobile home fire that some experts now say appears to have been accidental.   Bunch’s case drew the attention of the Center on Wrongful...

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Tulane's Trent Mackey Arrested on Armed Robbery Charges

    Tulane linebacker Trent Mackey has been arrested on armed robbery charges and is suspended indefinitely. Mackey, who finished sixth in the nation last season with 145 tackles, was chosen by the media as the Conference USA preseason defensive player of the year. According to the police report, it first appeared as though Mackey was the victim because his cell phone and backpack were stolen from the residence of a female friend on July 12. Police arrested Robert Murray for...

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Parents of Drowned Toddler Accused of Endangerment

ST. LOUIS - The parents of an Illinois toddler who drowned in a lake were charged with child endangerment, accused of allowing the boy and his twin brother to routinely wander from home through a basement window and having them live in what one prosecutor called "filth and squalor."   The charges come more than two months after 2-year-old Lukas Pinski was found unresponsive and submerged in a small lake near the family’s Edwardsville home in southwestern Illinois. Authorities...

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Day Care Workers Arranged Fight Club for Toddlers

A Delaware day care has been shut down after three workers allegedly encouraged a pair of 3-year-olds to fight one another.   The alleged fight took place in March at the Hands of Our Future Daycare in Dover.   Police say cell phone video shows three women working at the day care encouraging the kids to fight.   Police have arrested employees Tiana Harris, Estefania Myers, and Lisa Parker.   All three women face two counts each of second-degree assault and reckless...

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

17 Indicted for Trafficking Drugs in New Mexico

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Authorities say 17 people have been indicted for trafficking drugs in New Mexico's Lincoln and Otero counties. Federal authorities announced two indictments in the cases after a 10-month undercover investigation. One indictment charges 16 people with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana in Lincoln County and Otero County including the Mescalero Apache Reservation between November 2011 and August 2012. The second indictment charges two defendants,...

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Albuquerque Police Make Massage Parlor Arrests

Police arrested two women at an Albuquerque massage parlor.   Albuquerque Police Department officers said there have recently been more complaints about illegal activity at Albuquerque massage parlors.   According to a criminal complaint Zhaowei Chi was arrested and is facing charges of prostitution and massage without a license.   Police say Yumin Feng was also arrested and faces charges for massage without a license.   Feng was not arrested for prostitution.   Police...

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Border Patrol Nabs Man Wanted in 1980 Homicide

LORDSBURG, N.M. - U.S. Border Patrol agents have arrested a man wanted in connection to a 1980 homicide in Nebraska as he was trying to cross from Mexico along the New Mexico border. The Border Patrol announced Monday that agents arrested 51-year-old Mexican citizen Oscar Rosario Hernandez last week in a remote area of southwestern New Mexico. A check revealed Hernandez had an outstanding warrant in connection with the homicide in Omaha. Hernandez was taken to the Luna County jail, where...

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

VA Veteran Detained After Strident Facebook Posts

RICHMOND, Va. - A former Marine involuntarily detained for psychiatric evaluation for posting strident anti-government messages on Facebook has received an outpouring of support from people who say authorities are trampling on his First Amendment rights.   Brandon J. Raub, 26, has been in custody since FBI, Secret Service agents and police in Virginia’s Chesterfield County questioned him Thursday evening about what they said were ominous posts talking about a coming revolution. In...

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Albuquerque Family Ripped Off by Nanny

An Albuquerque nanny was jailed after she was suspected of stealing more than $20,000 from the family she was employed by. "There must have been 30 first interviews, then a few second,” Kassan (a mother of 3) said. "I thought I was being diligent." Kassan put her nanny applicants through multiple interviews, background checks, even forcing them to take drug tests. After a lengthy process, she settled on a 24-year-old named Ciara Abromavage. Five months later, Kassan...

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2 Year Old Dies After Being Left in a Car in NW Albuquerque

Albuquerque police say a two-year-old boy was pronounced dead at a hospital after being found inside a car in the parking lot of a day care Monday afternoon.   According to officials, the toddler was found unresponsive inside his car seat in a car around 3:30 p.m. in the parking lot of Precious Moments Child Care on Ladera near Atrisco.   Officials said it was 91 degrees outside when the child was found.   The boy was transported to the hospital but was pronounced dead after...

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Accused Child Killer

The day after being extradited from Mexico, accused child-killer Noe Torres was arraigned at district court in Clovis. Torres is accused by the State of New Mexico of killing 10 year-old Carlos Perez in a drive-by shooting in Clovis on September 15, 2005. Torres fled to Mexico after the incident for over six years before being caught in January. District Judge Donna Mowrer ordered Torres be placed in a maximum security prison outside Curry County for the duration of the trial. She...

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3 Arrested in U.S. 'Dark Knight' Movie Incidents

At least 3 men accused of making threats during or after watching the new Batman movie have been arrested in separate incidents, underscoring U.S. moviegoers' anxieties and heightened security in the wake of a deadly mass shooting at a Colorado theater showing the film.   Moviegoers in Sierra Visa, Ariz., panicked when a man who appeared intoxicated was confronted during a showing of the movie. The Cochise County Sheriff's office said it caused "mass hysteria" and about 50 people...

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Arrests Made Nationwide in New Mexico ID Fraud Case

Federal authorities are searching for members of a multi-state organization accused of selling New Mexico driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.   Thirty people from multiple states are named in three separate indictments unsealed Wednesday. Four people in New Mexico have already been arrested.   Investigators say the operation began in South Carolina where recruiters offered illegal immigrants an opportunity to obtain a New Mexico driver's license.   New Mexico and Washington...

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Seton Hall Recruit Aquille Carr Arrested For Assault

Seton Hall recruit Aquille Carr, a top-100 point guard in the Class of 2013, has been arrested for assault in his hometown of Baltimore. Carr, 18, was arrested Friday morning on a warrant issued the day before. He is accused of second degree assault and reckless endangerment. He is being held on $50,000 bond. He is a 5-7 dynamo who has wowed scouts on the summer circuit with his explosive quickness, court vision and ability to finish plays at the rim despite his lack of height. He picked Seton...

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FSU's Hollan Arrested

OMAHA, Neb. — Florida State coach Mike Martin suspended infielder John Holland indefinitely Tuesday after the freshman was arrested on suspicion of shoplifting at an Omaha sporting goods store. The suspension was announced a few hours before the Seminoles faced UCLA in the College World Series. Holland was the Seminoles’ designated hitter in their first two CWS games. The infielder was batting .243 for the season, and appeared in 41 games, 16 as a starter. Holland went before a judge...

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Toussaint Suspended After Arrest

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan has suspended running back Fitzgerald Toussaint after he was arrested during the weekend on suspicion of drunken driving. Saline Police Department Detective Don Lupi says Toussaint was stopped for a traffic violation in Ann Arbor on Saturday night around 11:45 p.m. He was arrested on suspicion of operating a vehicle while intoxicated and taken to the Saline Police Department, where Lupi says he tested above the legal limit during a breath test. Michigan coach...

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Saturday, August 18, 2012

UFC Fly Weight Ian McCall Arrested

UFC flyweight Ian “Uncle Creepy” McCall was arrested on Tuesday in Irvine, Calif. McCall was identified by undercover Laguna Beach detectives and DEA agents that were working on an investigation. McCall's manager Jason House stated that “McCall's arrest was actually under much different circumstances.” According to House, McCall was driving home on Tuesday when an unmarked police car recognized his vehicle from past occurrences and pulled him over. The police ran McCall's...

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Chad Johnson Arrested

Chad Johnson (formerly Ochocinco) has lost his job; his reality show and now his wife of six weeks, Evelyn Lozada, following the NFL players arrest for allegedly head-butting her after she found a receipt for condoms. Lozada filed for divorce Tuesday. “I have been married to a baseball player [Scott Erickson] for 17 years and we have been around the world of sports, and we see this time and again where at the decline of a player's career, suddenly he starts to feel insecure, he starts...

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FBI Arrests Former Top Fundraiser For Staten Island Rep. Michael Grimm

A former top fundraiser for Staten Island Congressman Michael Grimm and aide to the so-called Rabbi to the Stars has been arrested by the FBI on charges of lying on immigration documents. Ofer Biton, a citizen of Israel, is accused of making false statements about the source of $400,000 he loaned to a company as part of an entrepreneurial visa program administered by the government. The criminal complaint was filed by prosecutor Anthony Capozzolo of the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney's public corruption...

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Friday, August 17, 2012

College Athletes Arrested

       So far this year through August, 125 college and professional football and basketball players have been arrested on serious charges. By that I mean felonies or misdemeanors involving violence, weapons or substance abuse. That's pretty astounding. At this rate, the number will be up around 200 by year's end.            I started looking into this about a month ago, after seeing what seemed like daily stories about athletes...

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Batman Slaughter

AURORA, Colo. — Anticipation built in the packed, darkened movie theater. Life and its cares began to recede. Then, just after midnight on Friday, fantasy became nightmare, and a place of escape became a trap, when a man strode to the front in a multiplex near Denver and opened fire. At least 12 people were killed and 58 wounded, with witnesses describing a scene of claustrophobia, panic and blood. Minutes later, the police arrested James Holmes, 24, in the theater’s parking...

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Man Wanted for Car Accident That Killed 2 in New Mexico

ROSWELL, N.M. — A man wanted in connection with a car accident that killed two people in New Mexico has been arrested in Texas. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the El Paso port say they took 22-year-old Joel Cordoba Lopez into custody about 11 a.m. Wednesday. They say Lopez was a passenger in a vehicle that entered the U.S. from Mexico at the Paso Del Norte international crossing. Lopez applied for entry by presenting his passport to a CBP officer at the...

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

20th DWI Arrest for Albuquerque Man

ALBUQUERQUE - Police say a man who has been arrested for drunk driving 19 times has been arrested again.   An employee at the T-Mobile store on Menaul and San Mateo says he spotted 62-year-old George Toledo inside his store yesterday, reeking of liquor. He called police around 9:00 a.m., when he saw Toldeo go into his car and chug a beer. "He had a hard time finding where his feet met the ground," said Justin Huffmon, who called police. Huffmon had just opened the doors...

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New Mexico Finance Officials Arrested for Faked Audit

Santa Fe - The New Mexico Finance Authority, which issues debt to help local government with public works, suspended two executives on Thursday following the arrest of the agency's chief operating officer and a former controller, an official said.   Chief Operating Officer John T. Duff and former Controller Greg Campbell were arrested on Wednesday by State Securities Division officers among charges of submitting a fake audit, misrepresenting financial statements, and covering up $40 million...

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Former Wranglers Player Faces Sexual Abuse Charges

LAS VEGAS -- A former Las Vegas Wranglers hockey player has been charged with nine felony counts in connection with the sexual assault of his stepdaughter. According to the arrest report, Michael Brian McBain, 35, turned himself in after his wife and stepdaughter told police the 16-year-old girl had been sexually abused by McBain between 2008 and 2012. The girl told police she started co-sleeping with her mother and stepfather when she was 12 years old, because her mother thought it would...

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Las Cruces Murder Suspect Arrested in Albuquerque

LAS CRUCES — Two suspects in a July 27 murder in Las Cruces were arrested Friday evening in Albuquerque's South Valley. Jeffrey Moore, 26, and Christine Walker, 40, believed to be transients, are both charged with an open count of murder in the death of 62-year-old James David Vaughn.  An off-duty Truth or Consequences police officer who was in Albuquerque spotted Moore and Walker and was aware that they were wanted for questioning by Las Cruces Police in the death of Vaughn....

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Lloy Ball Arrested For DUI

United States Olympic volleyball player Lloy Ball was arrested Saturday (June 4, 2011) night in Steuben County, Indiana. Ball was arrested just before midnight. He was driving home from a wine tasting event and had a blood alcohol content of .13. Ball, 39, was the captain of the gold medal-winning volleyball team in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. Chip Venie is a professional criminal defense attorney and the Freedom Law Center is his firm.  Mr. Venie limits his...

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APD Officer Shoots Yet Another Dead

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Albuquerque police continue to investigate an officer involved shooting that left one man dead. Police said it started out as a car jacking around nine o’clock Saturday night, at Freeway Liquors in northwest Albuquerque. Officers saw the stolen car, chased it to Lomas Boulevard and Palomas Drive, where police were able to force the stolen car sideways. Police chief Ray Schultz said officers ordered the suspect to get out of the car with his hands up. Instead...

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Dykstra Arrested for Grand Theft

Former Mets and Phillies star Lenny Dykstra was jailed Monday on grand theft auto and drug possession charges after being accused of using phony information to lease a car from a Southern California dealership.   Chip Venie is a professional criminal defense attorney and the Freedom Law Center is his firm. Mr. Venie limits his practice to the representation of people accused of crimes.  Mr. Venie is admitted to practice law in New Mexico, California, Washington D.C., and Michigan....

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Barry Turner, Nebraska Defensive Player, Arrested for Domestic Violence

Barry Turner, a Nebraska Cornhuskers player who will soon start in the defense, will be arraigned in court after being arrested on allegation of a third degree assault on a woman they share an apartment with on a block at Hanneman Dr. On response to a call by the 20 years old woman, the police arrested Barry, however according to the Lincoln Police there are no charges that have been filed yet. The police report allege that Barry and the woman fought Turner picked her in the entry of the block...

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Elvis Patterson arrested on DUI charges

Former Kansas football player Elvis Patterson was arrested in Douglas County on Kansas Highway 10 early Saturday morning on charges of driving under the influence. He was released on $250 bail and is scheduled to appear in court at 3 p.m. June 17. The 51-year-old Patterson, who currently resides in Lenexa, played for KU as a defensive back and defensive end from 1981 to 1983. He went on to play in the NFL and was on two Super Bowl champion teams, Super Bowl XXI with the New York Giants and Super...

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Thursday, June 09, 2011

Judge Baca Rules Against APD, Calls Officer Testimony Not Believeable

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - District Court Judge Theresa Baca ruled an Albuquerque police officer wrongfully shot and killed a wounded teen as he lay on the ground unarmed in February 2009.  The family of Andrew Lopez sued over his death.  Police spotted Lopez driving late at night on the West Side and thought his car matched the description of a car involved in an earlier shooting that day. They were wrong.  Lopez refused to stop, led officers on a chase, then bailed out of his car...

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Jordan Matechuk, Long Snapper, Arrested

Hamilton Tiger-Cats long snapper Jordan Matechuk was arrested Tuesday (May 31, 2011) in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan. Matechuk, 25, was arrested after trying to cross the International Bridge, which connects Michigan and Ontario, when he was selected for a secondary enforcement exam. While conducting the secondary inspection, officers discovered a pill bottle containing a small amount of a green leafy substance, a small box containing pills and a shaving kit containing vials of liquid steroids....

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Chip's Tips, Vol. II, Issue I, Hubble and Anaya and PC to stop on DWIs

Chip's Tips By Chip Venie, Esq., (505) 766-9000, chipesq@hotmail.com, chip@anothernotguilty.com. Volume II, Issue I, 3.27.2011 I.        Hubble/Anaya and reasonable suspicion to stop a vehicle based upon not using a turn signal when changing or departing lanes.              Some time ago, one of our list serve members asked the list serve about reasonable suspicion to stop a vehicle based upon the driver...

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Chip's Tips: Montejo and Massiah and Protecting Your Client's Rights

Chip's Tips By Chip Venie, Esq., (505) 766-9000, chipesq@hotmail.com, chip@anothernotguilty.com. Volume I, Issue VII, 11.29.2010 I.          Montejo v. Louisiana and the Diminishment of the Fifth And Sixth Amendment (Massiah) Rights To Counsel.              Last year, in a little discussed case, in Montejo v. Louisiana, 556 U.S. ___ (2009) the United States Supreme Court considered the...

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Chip's Tips: Torres, Brazeal and Getting A Continuance

Chip's Tips By Chip Venie, Esq., (505) 766-9000, chipesq@hotmail.com, chip@anothernotguilty.com. Volume I, Issue VI, 11.26.2010 Introduction.             With the holidays upon us, we are all getting crunched for time. Today's issue of Chip's Tips discusses trial continuances and how best to obtain them by framing your motions in terms of effective assistance of counsel and other Constitutional claims.  Salazar and Effective...

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Chip's Tips: The Forgotten Jury Instructions

Chip's Tips By Chip Venie, Esq., (505) 766-9000, chipesq@hotmail.com, chip@anothernotguilty.com. Volume I, Issue V, 11.16.2010 Introduction.             Today's issue of Chip's Tips discusses the unused jury instructions, and how we can use them to make sharper arguments in a jury trial, and to better focus the court's attention in bench trials.  The "Forgotten"Jury  Instructions, UJI 14-5001 - 14-5051            ...

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Sunday, November 07, 2010

Chip's Tips: Preservation of State Constitutional Claims

Chip's Tips By Chip Venie, Esq., (505) 766-9000, chipesq@hotmail.com, chip@anothernotguilty.com. Volume I, Issue IV, 11.7.2010 Introduction.             Today's issue of Chip's Tips explains preservation of claims and how to properly frame a New Mexico Constitutional claim depending on whether precedent exists to support your claim or if you are making the claim for what appears to be the first time.  Preserving claims for later...

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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Chip's Tips: Jones and Grand Jury Submissions

Chip's Tips By Chip Venie, Esq., (505) 766-9000, chipesq@hotmail.com, chip@anothernotguilty.com. Volume I, Issue III, 10.31.2010 Introduction. Today's issue of Chip's Tips will deal with Grand Jury Submissions under Jones v. Murdoch, 2009-NMSC-002, 145 N.M. 473 and Rule 5-302A.  How to do a "Bort Jones" Grand Jury Submission/Potential Pitfalls.             After approximately twenty years of fighting for the right to force...

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

California Supreme Court Destroys Right to Conduct Confidential Third Party Discovery

In a true travesty that threatens every California criminal defendant's right to subpoena materials from third parties without revealing to the Government what the defendant is seeking, the California Supreme Court held, in Kling v. Superior Court, that a prosecutor may participate in, and argue at, the hearing on a motion to quash a subpoena duces tecum to a third party, if the trial court so desires. The Court also held that the Court of Appeal erred in categorically denying the People the right...

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Chips' Tips: Harperize Your PTI Practice

Chip's Tips By Chip Venie, Esq., (505) 766-9000, chipesq@hotmail.com, chip@anothernotguilty.com. Volume I, Issue II, 10.24.2010 Introduction. In State v. Harper (No. 27,830) our Court of Appeals provided a road map on how to set up witness interviews and framework for getting a State's witness excluded if the Government has failed to arrange and schedule a pre trial interview (PTI) of that witness.    Harper.             ...

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Chip's Tips: Mendez Ortega and Rule 11-803D

Chip's Tips,   By Chip Venie, Esq., (505) 766-9000, chipesq@hotmail.com, chip@anothernotguilty.com. Volume I, Issue I, 10.17.2010 Introduction. In State v. Mendez, the Supreme Court further refined the "medical diagnosis or treatment" exception to the hearsay rule under Rule 11-803(D) NMRA, to statements made by an AV in a SANE exam, and in so doing, partially overruled State v. Ortega, 2008-NMCA-001, which categorically excluded such statements. If you have ever defended...

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Morrissette's Life Spared

William Wilton Morrisette, III, who who made Virginia legal history by persuading the state supreme court that he had been denied effective representation at his 2001 trial, recently reached a sentencing agreement with the Commonwealth that will spare him the death penalty.

In 2001, Morrisette was convicted of the 1980 capital murder and rape of Dorothy White in Hampton, Virginia.  The case had gone unsolved for 19 years.  In 1999, testing of Ms. White's PERK developed a foreign DNA profile that, when submitted against Virginia's DNA database, resulted in "cold hit" implicating Mr. Morrisette in the crime.  In 2001, a Hampton jury convicted Mr. Morrisette of capital murder and rape, and sentenced him to death for murder and life imprisonment for rape.

In 2005, the Supreme Court of Virginia ruled that Mr. Morrisette had been denied the effective assistance of counsel at the penalty phase of his 2001 trial when his attorneys failed to object to verdict forms that did not accurately reflect Virginia law.  The Court granted a limited writ of habeas corpus and remanded the case to the Hampton Circuit Court for re-sentencing before a new jury.  This represented the first contested capital case in Virginia history in which the state supreme court had sustained a claim of ineffective assistance.

On remand for resentencing, a circuit judge initially reappointed the same lead counsel whom the Virginia Supreme Court had found to have been ineffective, but  the attorney withdrew when Mr. Morissette vehemently objected.

Subsequently, after more than three years of negotiation, Mr. Morrisette entered into a sentencing agreement with the Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney in Hampton.  Under the terms of the agreement, Mr. Morrisette would be sentenced to two consecutive terms of life imprisonment for the murder and rape of Ms. White.  As part of the agreement, Mr. Morrisette agreed to withdraw his federal habeas petition challenging his convictions, and to forego any further appeals or collateral litigation related to his convictions and sentences.  Mr. Morrisette also waived his right to be considered for parole and agreed not to petition for parole.  Effectively, Mr. Morrisette was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole, a sentence that was technically unavailable at the time of the murder.

In a hearing on Wednesday, August 18, 2010, Judge Louis R. Lerner accepting the sentencing agreement and imposed two life sentences.  Mr. Morrisette will be transferred off of death row and into general population to serve his life sentences.

During his re-sentencing trial, Mr. Morrisette was represented by Jeff Russell, Doug Ramseur and Joel Mandelman of the Office of the Capital Defender for Southeast Virginia, Les Smith of Hampton, Michele Brace of the Virginia Capital Representation Resource Center, and Matthew Engle of the Office of the Capital Defender for Northern Virginia.  Matt Engle had argued Mr. Morissette's successful habeas challenge in the Virginia Supreme Court, and stayed with the case despite two subsequent job changes until last week's successful conclusion.  Substantial mitigation investigation was conducted by Jennifer Schweizer of the Southeast Virginia CDO, Ellen Shultz of the Northern Virginia CDO, and Deirdre Enright of the Virginia Capital Representation Resource Center.

Congratulations to the entire Morissette team for guiding this case to a successful conclusion after so many years of effort.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Supreme Court Review January 21, 2009

    The defense bar went 2-1 today in a trio of cases further explaining a criminal defendant’s rights in different contexts.   1.      First, one of the two “wins” for the defense.  In a 7-2 decision (Alito and Roberts dissenting) in Spears v. United States, the Court sought to uphold the holding in Kimbrough (the crack cocaine sentencing case).   The Court upheld a federal sentencing court’s right to reject...

Read More "Supreme Court Review January 21, 2009"

Friday, March 07, 2008

Extreme Prosecutorial Misconduct – State v. Breit

In reading through some cases last week, I came across an “oldie but goodie” in State v. Breit.   The expression “extreme prosecutorial misconduct” caught my eye.   In Breit, the New Mexico Supreme Court sets forth a veritable catalogue of forbidden prosecutorial arguments.  The Breit court found the misconduct to be so severe and pervasive that it reversed the convictions and found that double jeopardy barred re-trial of the defendant.  ...

Read More "Extreme Prosecutorial Misconduct – State v. Breit"

Ninth Circuit Reverses Crack Sentence Under Kimbrough

In US v. Francisco Medina Castaneda, the Ninth Circuit applied Kimbrough and held that a district court erred when it stated that it could not properly consider the 100:1 sentencing disparity between crack cocaine and powder cocaine.   The Ninth Circuit held that the judge could properly consider the 100:1 disparity in sentencing the defendant and it was error for the judge to state otherwise. 

 

 

Chip Venie is a private criminal defense attorney in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is admitted to practice before state and federal courts in New Mexico, California, Washington, D.C., and Michigan. Mr. Venie graduated from The University of Virginia School of Law and clerked as a staff Attorney to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia.   He has been in private practice with his own firm for six years.  Mr. Venie has litigated over 700 trial level felony matters and over 150 appeals. Mr. Venie can be reached at (505) 766-9000 or chipesq@hotmail.com.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Crack resentencing - how is it going to work?

The USSC announced today that the new rule regarding crack cocaine sentencing has been made retroactive to offenders sentenced before November 1, 2007.  That means that almost 20,000 federal crack cocaine defendants or prisoners are eligible for a re-sentencing and possibly less time. 

It does not mean that a reduction is automatic, nor that someone will file the necessary paperwork, i.e. a Motion pursuant to 18 USC 3582(c)(2) so that the offender may obtain the reduction.

Starting March 3, 2008, offenders will be able to apply for this reduction through the section 3582(c)(2) motion procedure described above.    (The sentencing commission alotted this extra time to deal with the expected deluge of motions).  The public defenders may not have the time or resources to deal with all of these cases, although many seem willing to try.

I am wiling and able to help you or your loved one obtain a re-sentencing on a federal crack cocaine case.  Time is of the essence, if you want the best chance to get a re-sentencing, and maybe to get out soon, you need to start gathering materials to assist the attorney and the attorney needs to begin work on the case, right away.  Call now: 505-766-9000, or in California 619-235-8300.  

 

 

Chip Venie is a private criminal defense attorney in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is admitted to practice before state and federal courts in New Mexico, California, Washington, D.C., and Michigan. Mr. Venie graduated from The University of Virginia School of Law and clerked as a staff Attorney to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia.   He has been in private practice with his own firm for six years.  Mr. Venie has litigated over 700 trial level felony matters and over 150 appeals. Mr. Venie can be reached at (505) 766-9000 or (619) 235-8300, or chipesq@hotmail.com.

Mr. Venie's website can be found at
http://www.anothernotguilty.com.


Crack Offenders May Seek Reduced Sentences!

December 12, 2007

The U.S. Sentencing Commission voted unanimously yesterday to give federal inmates incarcerated for crack cocaine offenses a chance to reduce their sentences, paving the way for about 3,800 prisoners to petition for an early release in the next year.

According to an analysis by the commission, 19,500 inmates will be eligible to petition the courts to reduce their sentences. The largest number of those -- more than 1,400 -- were convicted in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, covering Northern Virginia and the Richmond and Tidewater areas. About 280 inmates convicted in federal courts in Maryland will be eligible, as well as almost 270 prisoners convicted and sentenced in the District.

"Crack cocaine sentences have generally been excessive and unwarranted," said William K. Sessions III, a vice chair of the commission. He went on to quote Judge Reggie B. Walton, who appeared before the commission last month: "I just don't see how it's fair that someone sentenced on October 30th gets a certain sentence when someone sentenced on November 1st gets another."

The commission's vote came a day after the Supreme Court decided that federal district judges are not bound by commission guidelines that created a large disparity in punishments meted out to crack and powder cocaine offenders. The 7 to 2 decision cut across the court's typical ideological divide.

The commission's decisions are its attempts to narrow that gap. That disparity, first written into federal law by Congress in 1986, has long been criticized by some jurists and civil rights advocates because it meant crack cocaine offenders, who tend to be African American, often get longer prison sentences than those convicted of crimes involving powder cocaine, who more often are white.

In March, crack cocaine offenders will be eligible to petition the courts that originally sentenced them to have their prison time reduced. Many could be denied by judges based on certain factors, such as whether they represent a public danger or were convicted for other crimes.

But the change is not a "get out of jail free" card, said commissioner Michael E. Horowitz. "Not everybody is automatically entitled to this reduction," he said, explaining that federal judges, many of whom supported making the guidelines retroactive, will decide cases individually on merit.

 

 

What does this all mean?  It means that if you or your loved ones were convicted in federal court of crack cocaine offenses, the time is NOW to petition for a reduction in your sentence.   There are almost 20,000 people who are eligible for this type of reduction.  Do not rot in prison when you do not have to.  Act now!

On March 3, 2008, the first inmates will be eligible to begin applying for reductions.  The average reduction is expected to be around 27 months.   Over 3000 people are eligible to be released in 2008 alone. 

Judges will decide the cases individually.  For that reason, it is important to start gathering materials that will be helpful to the attorney who petitions the court for the reduction. 

Call now for help: 505-766-9000

 

Chip Venie is a private criminal defense attorney in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is admitted to practice before state and federal courts in New Mexico, California, Washington, D.C., and Michigan. Mr. Venie graduated from The University of Virginia School of Law and clerked as a staff Attorney to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia.   He has been in private practice with his own firm for six years.  Mr. Venie has litigated over 700 trial level felony matters and over 150 appeals. Mr. Venie can be reached at (505) 766-9000 or (619) 235-8300, or chipesq@hotmail.com.

Mr. Venie's website can be found at http://www.anothernotguilty.com.


Friday, November 23, 2007

Bullet Lead Analysis (CABL) Is Junk Science

Bullet Lead Analysis is Junk Science

Bullet lead analysis, in other words, attempting to match the metallurgic content from one “batch” of bullets to another is almost a totally discredited means of forensic analysis. 

On November 19, 2007, the FBI and criminal defense lawyer groups announced that they will review cases where the bureau used a forensic technique known as compositional analysis of bullet lead (CABL) to secure convictions in criminal cases, particularly murder prosecutions. The technique, which matches bullets from a crime scene to those in a suspect’s possession, was abandoned by the FBI after a 2004 National Research Council report concluded that the technique was flawed in part and that its limitations should be clearly conveyed in court.

Different from ballistics techniques that compare striations on the barrel of a gun to those on a recovered bullet, CABL is used when no gun is recovered, or when bullets are too small or mangled to observe striations. Since the 1960s, expert witnesses have used CABL evidence to testify that bullets found to be analytically indistinguishable probably come from the same “box” or “source.”

CABL has three distinct steps: first, chemical analysis of trace elements in the bullets’ lead ; second, statistical comparison of the lead compositions ; and third, the legal interpretation of data derived from the first two steps. The Research Council report Forensic Analysis: Weighing Bullet Lead Evidence found that the technique the FBI uses for chemical analysis is accurate and reliable but that the statistical tests used to say that two samples of bullets are indistinguishable should be improved.

Variations in the manufacturing process for bullets also sharply limit how CABL findings can be used in court. Every step from smelting the lead to buying the ammunition in a store provides opportunities for bullets with different compositions to be mixed and for bullets with the same composition to be shipped separately to different outlets in a region or to different regions. In fact, the FBI’s own research shows that a single box of ammunition can contain as many as 14 distinct compositional groups.

The report concludes that it is important that criminal justice and legal professionals, as well as juries, understand both the capabilities and limitations of this forensic technique.

 

An excellent article about bullet lead ‘science’ and its flaws:

From the Washington Post:

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/18/AR2007111801539.html?wpisrc=newsletter

 

From CBS News:

 

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/11/16/60minutes/main3512453.shtml

 

Chip Venie is a private criminal defense attorney in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is admitted to practice before state and federal courts in New Mexico, California, Washington, D.C., and Michigan. Mr. Venie graduated from The University of Virginia School of Law and clerked as a staff Attorney to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia.   He has been in private practice with his own firm for six years.  Mr. Venie has litigated over 700 trial level felony matters and over 150 appeals. Mr. Venie can be reached at (505) 766-9000 or (619) 235-8300, or chipesq@hotmail.com.

Mr. Venie's website can be found at http://www.anothernotguilty.com.

 


The Ninth Circuit Gives Teeth to Chambers and Brecht!

 

The Ninth Circuit Gives Teeth to Chambers and Brecht.

 

In a remarkable holding, the Ninth Circuit reversed a murder conviction because of the cumulative effect of multiple errors in a trial, when each one of the errors, individually may not have been reversible error. 

 

In Parle v. Runnells, the Ninth Circuit, reversed Mr. Parle’s conviction for killing his wife.  Parle did not contest that he killed his wife, the only issue was his state of mind at the time of the killing.    The trial court excluded certain key evidence about his wife’s violent nature, and excluded key expert testimony about the effect of bi-polar disorder on the issue of ability to premeditate and premeditation itself.   The trial court made matters worse when it admitted certain privileged psychotherapist-patient communications against Parle. 

 

Parle was convicted of first degree murder for the killing of his wife. The only issue in dispute was Parle's state of mind, Parle's defense being that, at most, the killing was second degree. At trial, the court improperly admitted damaging testimony from Parle's psychiatrist but excluded evidence of an expert psychiatric witness and admitted evidence of Parle's threat to a peace officer five years prior but excluded evidence of his wife's verbalized threats against Parle a few days before the killing. The California Court of Appeal agreed that there were numerous and serious errors but upheld the conviction, concluding that the errors, both individually and collectively, were harmless because the included/excluded evidence was essentially cumulative and it was not probable a different verdict would have occurred but for the errors. The Court of Appeals here observed that the improperly admitted evidence bolstered the theory offered by the prosecution whereas Parle's defense was rendered less persuasive as a result of evidence being erroneously excluded. As a result of this denial of due process, it affirmed the district court's granting of Parle's habeas petition, noting that although the California Court of Appeal's decision identified the correct governing legal principle, it unreasonably applied it to the facts of the case.

 

The Ninth Circuit held:

 

cumulative error warrants habeas relief only where the errors have ‘so infected the trial with unfairness as to make the resulting conviction a denial of due process.’ [citations] Such ‘infection’ occurs where the combined effect of the errors had a ‘substantial and injurious effect or influence on the jury’s verdict.’ [citations]

 

 

The fundamental question in determining whether the combined effect of trial errors violated a defendant’s due process rights is whether the errors rendered the criminal defense ‘far less persuasive”, and thereby had a “substantial and injurious effect or influence” on the jury’s verdict.” 

 

The Ninth Circuit had little difficulty finding the Brecht standard met.  The court explained:

 

“[A] unique and critical thread runs through the trial errors in this case: all of the improperly excluded evidence in Parle’s case – i.e. expert testimony about the effects of a bipolar manic episode on one’s state of mind, the victim’s previous threats and history of violence, and Parle’s father’s testimony about Parle’s appearance and demeanor immediately before and after the crime – supported Parle’s defense that he lacked the requisite state of mind for first degree murder; at the same time all of the erroneously admitted evidence –i.e. Parle’s psychiatrist’s testimony in violation of privilege about Parle’s minor bipolar disorder and relative stability in treatment, and evidence of Parle’s violent threats to a police officer – undermined Parle’s defense and credibility and bolstered the State’s case . . . given the plainly one-sided prejudice resulting from these errors and their direct relevance to the only contested issue before the jury, the state’ court’s conclusion to the contrary was objectively unreasonable. ”

 

This is a great case setting for the standard for a Chambers Brecht combined error.  The Chambers doctrine is one that is infrequently dusted off.    Keep objecting trial counsel, maybe all of the errors combined, while not individually will get your client a new trial if convicted. 

 

The full case may be found at:

http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/ca9/newopinions.nsf/D32632775752B5048825737000539587/$file/
0616780.pdf?openelement

 

 

Chip Venie is a private criminal defense attorney in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is admitted to practice before state and federal courts in New Mexico, California, Washington, D.C., and Michigan. Mr. Venie graduated from The University of Virginia School of Law and clerked as a staff Attorney to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia.   He has been in private practice with his own firm for six years.  Mr. Venie has litigated over 700 trial level felony matters and over 150 appeals. Mr. Venie can be reached at (505) 766-9000 or (619) 235-8300, or chipesq@hotmail.com.

Mr. Venie's website can be found at http://www.anothernotguilty.com.

 


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Justices Step In and Block Mississippi Execution

Late on Halloween night, the United States Supreme Court stepped in and issued an order stopping a Mississippi defendant's execution by lethal injection.  This move has been hailed as a virtual moratorium on the carrying out of a death penalty by lethal injection in the United States. 

The Supreme Court has already agreed to review the Constitutionality of the lethal injection method of carrying out the death penalty.  The Court will review whether the three drug "cocktail" that is currently in use across the United States is itself cruel and unusual punishment forbidden by the 8th Amendment.   The Case in which they will review the lethal injection protocol is called Baze v. Rees. 

 

Chip Venie is a private criminal defense attorney in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is admitted to practice before state and federal courts in New Mexico, California, Washington, D.C., and Michigan. Mr. Venie graduated from The University of Virginia School of Law and clerked as a staff Attorney to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia.   He has been in private practice with his own firm for six years.  Mr. Venie has litigated over 700 trial level felony matters and over 150 appeals. Mr. Venie can be reached at (505) 766-9000 or (619) 235-8300, or chipesq@hotmail.com.

Mr. Venie's website can be found at
http://www.anothernotguilty.com

 

 


Federal Crack Defendants to Get Reduced Sentences?

As reported in the Washington Post:

 

Federal defendants sentenced to mandatory minimum sentences for crack offenses may be given a chance to apply for reduced sentences.    This Spring, the United States Sentencing Commission, which establishes guidelines for offenders in federal cases, established more lenient guidelines for future crack cocaine offenders.  The commission is currently meeting to discuss whether these new guideline will be made retroactive to defendants already in prison. 

 

Read full article here:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007
/11/12/AR2007111201745.html?hpid=topnews

 

 

Chip Venie is a private criminal defense attorney in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is admitted to practice before state and federal courts in New Mexico, California, Washington, D.C., and Michigan. Mr. Venie graduated from The University of Virginia School of Law and clerked as a staff Attorney to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia.   He has been in private practice with his own firm for six years.  Mr. Venie has litigated over 700 trial level felony matters and over 150 appeals. Mr. Venie can be reached at (505) 766-9000 or (619) 235-8300, or chipesq@hotmail.com.

Mr. Venie's website can be found at
http://www.anothernotguilty.com


Monday, November 05, 2007

House Passes Thought Crime Prevention Bill

http://www.blacklistednews.com/view.asp?ID=4596

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed HR 1955 titled the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007. This bill is yet another attack against the Constitution yet and actually defines thought crimes as homegrown terrorism. If passed into law, it will also establish a commission and a Center of Excellence to study and defeat so called thought criminals. Unlike previous anti-terror legislation, this bill specifically targets the civilian population of the United States and uses vague language to define homegrown terrorism. Amazingly, 404 of our elected representatives from both the Democrat and Republican parties voted in favor of this bill. There is little doubt that this bill is specifically targeting the growing patriot community that is demanding the restoration of the Constitution.

First let’s take a look at the definitions of “violent radicalization” and “homegrown terrorism” as defined in Section 899A of the bill.

The definition of “violent radicalization” uses vague language to define this term of promoting any belief system that the government considers to be an extremist agenda. Since the bill does not  specifically define what an “extremist belief” system is, it is entirely up to the interpretation of the government.  The government according to this definition can define whatever they want as an extremist belief system. Essentially they have defined violent radicalization as thought crime. The definition as defined in the bill is shown below.

`(2) VIOLENT RADICALIZATION- The term `violent radicalization' means the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change.

The definition of “homegrown terrorism” uses equally vague language to further define thought crime. The bill includes the planned use of force or violence as homegrown terrorism which could be interpreted as thinking about using force or violence. Not only that but the definition is so vaguely defined, that petty crimes could even fall into the category of homegrown terrorism. The definition as defined in the bill is shown below.

`(3) HOMEGROWN TERRORISM- The term `homegrown terrorism' means the use, planned use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual born, raised, or based and operating primarily within the United States or any possession of the United States to intimidate or coerce the United States government, the civilian population of the United States, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.

Section 899B of the bill goes over the findings of Congress as it pertains to “homegrown terrorism.” Particularly alarming is that the bill mentions the Internet as a main source for terrorist propaganda. The bill even mentions streams in obvious reference to many of the patriot and pro-constitution Internet radio networks that have been formed. It also mentions that homegrown terrorists span all ages and races indicating that the Congress is stating that everyone is a potential terrorist. Even worse is that Congress states in their findings that they should look at draconian police states like Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom as models to defeat homegrown terrorists. Literally, these findings of Congress fall right in line with the growing patriot community.

The biggest joke of all is that this section also says that any measure to prevent “violent radicalization” and “homegrown terrorism” should not violate the constitutional rights of citizens. However, the definition of violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism as they are defined in section 899A are themselves unconstitutional. The Constitution does not allow the government to arrest people for thought crimes, so any promises not to violate the constitutional rights of citizens is already broken by their own definitions.

`
SEC. 899B. FINDINGS.

`The Congress finds the following:

`(1) The development and implementation of methods and processes that can be utilized to prevent violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence in the United States is critical to combating domestic terrorism.

`(2) The promotion of violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence exists in the
United States and poses a threat to homeland security.

`(3) The Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens.

`(4) While the
United States must continue its vigilant efforts to combat international terrorism, it must also strengthen efforts to combat the threat posed by homegrown terrorists based and operating within the United States.

`(5) Understanding the motivational factors that lead to violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence is a vital step toward eradicating these threats in the United States.

`(6) The potential rise of self radicalized, unaffiliated terrorists domestically cannot be easily prevented through traditional Federal intelligence or law enforcement efforts, and requires the incorporation of State and local solutions.

`(7) Individuals prone to violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence span all races, ethnicities, and religious beliefs, and individuals should not be targeted based solely on race, ethnicity, or religion.

`(8) Any measure taken to prevent violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence and homegrown terrorism in the United States should not violate the constitutional rights, civil rights and civil liberties of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents.

`(9) Certain governments, including the
United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia have significant experience with homegrown terrorism and the United States can benefit from lessons learned by those nations.

Section 899C calls for a commission on the prevention of violent radicalization and ideologically based violence. The commission will consist of ten members appointed by various individuals that hold different positions in government. Essentially, this is a commission that will examine and report on how they are going to deal with violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism. The bill requires that the commission submit their final report 18 months following the commission s first meeting as well as submit interim reports every 6 months leading up to the final report. Below is the bill’s defined purpose of the commission. Amazingly they even define one of the purposes of the commission to determine the causes of lone wolf violent radicalization.

(b) Purpose- The purposes of the Commission are the following:

`(1) Examine and report upon the facts and causes of violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence in the United States, including United States connections to non-United States persons and networks, violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence in prison, individual or `lone wolf' violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence, and other faces of the phenomena of violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence that the Commission considers important.

`(2) Build upon and bring together the work of other entities and avoid unnecessary duplication, by reviewing the findings, conclusions, and recommendations of--

`(A) the Center of Excellence established or designated under section 899D, and other academic work, as appropriate;

`(B) Federal, State, local, or tribal studies of, reviews of, and experiences with violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence; and

`(C) foreign government studies of, reviews of, and experiences with violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence.


Section 899D of the bill establishes a
Center of Excellence for the Study of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism in the United States. Essentially, this will be a Department of Homeland Security affiliated institution that will study and determine how to defeat thought criminals.

Section 899E of the bill discusses how the government is going to defeat violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism through international cooperation. As stated in the findings section earlier in the legislation, they will unquestionably seek the advice of countries with draconian police states like the
United Kingdom to determine how to deal with this growing threat of thought crime.

Possibly the most ridiculous section of the bill is Section 899F which states how they plan on protecting civil rights and civil liberties while preventing ideologically based violence and homegrown terrorism. Here is what the section says.

`
SEC. 899F. PROTECTING CIVIL RIGHTS AND CIVIL LIBERTIES WHILE PREVENTING IDEOLOGICALLY-BASED VIOLENCE AND HOMEGROWN TERRORISM.

`(a) In General- The Department of Homeland Security's efforts to prevent ideologically-based violence and homegrown terrorism as described herein shall not violate the constitutional rights, civil rights, and civil liberties of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents.

`(b) Commitment to Racial Neutrality- The Secretary shall ensure that the activities and operations of the entities created by this subtitle are in compliance with the Department of Homeland Security's commitment to racial neutrality.

`(c) Auditing Mechanism- The Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Officer of the Department of Homeland Security will develop and implement an auditing mechanism to ensure that compliance with this subtitle does not result in a disproportionate impact, without a rational basis, on any particular race, ethnicity, or religion and include the results of its audit in its annual report to Congress required under section 705.'.

(b) Clerical Amendment- The table of contents in section 1(b) of such Act is amended by inserting at the end of the items relating to title VIII the following:


It states in the first subsection that in general the efforts to defeat thought crime shall not violate the constitutional rights, civil rights and civil liberties of the United States citizens and lawful permanent residents. How does this protect constitutional rights if they use vague language such as in general that prefaces the statement? This means that the Department of Homeland Security does not have to abide by the Constitution in their attempts to prevent so called homegrown terrorism.

 


Chip Venie is a private criminal defense attorney in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is admitted to practice before state and federal courts in New Mexico, California, Washington, D.C., and Michigan. Mr. Venie graduated from The University of Virginia School of Law and clerked as a staff Attorney to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia. Mr. Venie has litigated over 700 trial level felony matters and over 150 appeals. Mr. Venie can be reached at (505) 766-9000 or (619) 235-8300, or chipesq@hotmail.com.

Mr. Venie's website can be found at
http://www.anothernotguilty.com


Maryland Court Rejects Fingerprint Evidence as Unscientific

A Trial court in Maryland has refused to allow admission of certain fingerprint evidence finding that it fails FRYE.  Specifically, the court found that the ACE-V method of making fingerprint ‘matches’, the most commonly used method, did not rest on a sufficiently reliable factual foundation to allow its admission.

 

In State v. Bryan Rose, the State sought to use certain latent fingerprints identified as Mr. Rose’s using the ACE-V method.  The Court rejected as insufficient each part of the A-C-E, V, acronym.

 

The A in ACE-V stands for ‘analysis.’  The Maryland court faulted the methodology as lacking any real objective analysis whatsoever.  Among the flaws in the so-called analysis, “The ACE-V methodology does not require the examiner to create a written record of the analysis even though preparing a written analysis prior to Comparison promotes objectivity and removes the opportunity for anyone to suggest that one is seeing friction ridge details where none exist.”

 

The C in ACE V stands for ‘comparison.’  The Maryland court noted that the so-called comparison is completely subjective and that there are no “standards or protocols that a comparison be conducted on a particular scale.”

 

The E in ACE-V stands for ‘evaluation.’   The Maryland court correctly noted that in terms of a “match”, “There is no scientific basis for requiring that a predetermined number of predetermined number of corresponding friction ridge details be present to effectuate [a match].” 

 

The V in ACE-V stands for ‘verification.’  The Maryland court described the claim that the ‘verification’ was ‘independent’ as “not credible.”  First, “verifiers” consult with the first examiners.  Moreover, verifiers are told of the first identification.  The Court found that under any reasonable definition, the verification is a subjective, tainted process, skewed with bias.

 

The court rejected the state’s pleas to admit the evidence.  The State’s argument was essentially, “we have been doing it this way all these years, so it must be scientific enough to be admissible.”  The Court rejected that argument stating bluntly “for many centuries, perhaps millennia, humans though that the earth was flat.  The idea has a certain intuitive appeal.  Indeed, there still exists a Flat Erath Society for people who cling to the idea that the Earth is not an orb.  But science has proved that the Earth is not flat, and it is the type of fact of which a court can take judicial notice.”    The court stated “the long history of use does not itself establish its reliability.”

 

In rejecting the State, the court cited a similar case from the Florida Supreme Court which challenged the admission of expert testimony to the effect that the defendant’s knife was the one that made a certain wound to the exclusion of all other knives in the world.  The Florida Supreme Court had rejected this dubious scientific opinion, finding problems almost identical with the ACE-V method of fingerprint examination.   The Maryland court, echoing the Florida Supreme Court, found the flaws in the science included:

 

1.     The determination was subjective;

2.     there are no minimum number of matching prints or other objective criteria;

3.     no notes are required so there is no documentation of the expert’s work;

4.     matches are made with absolute certainty, exceeding the certainty of DNA testing;

5.     no testing or verification by independent means;

6.     no meaningful peer review;

7.     no error rate quantified;

 

The ACE-V method suffered from ALL of these flaws and therefore could not be admitted against defendant Bryan Rose. 

 

What does this all mean?  As defense counsel, we should be challenging the admission of every fingerprint analysis.   The science is not science at all.  The Maryland court focused on the perceived, and indeed attested to, infallibility of the ACE-V method.  Get you fingerprint examiner to admit the same things: (a) no objective standards for declaring a “match”, (b) no independent review of matches, and (c) no error rate (i.e. the test is infallible). 

 

Chip Venie is a private criminal defense attorney in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is admitted to practice before state and federal courts in New Mexico, California, Washington, D.C., and Michigan. Mr. Venie graduated from The University of Virginia School of Law and clerked as a staff Attorney to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia.   He has been in private practice with his own firm for six years.  Mr. Venie has litigated over 700 trial level felony matters and over 150 appeals. Mr. Venie can be reached at (505) 766-9000 or (619) 235-8300, or chipesq@hotmail.com.

Mr. Venie's website can be found at
http://www.anothernotguilty.com

 


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Did Humans Murder Off Neanderthals?

A new report issued yesterday by scientists in England suggests that human being may have been responsible for the demise of the Neanderthals.   Previously, it was thought that the Neanderthals died off because of extreme climate pressures including a mini ice age. 

A new core sample of earth that was taken deep from the ocean floor casts doubt on the climate hypothesis.  Studies by Konrad Hughen of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts have shown that layers of that core -- undisturbed for millennia because the lack of oxygen kept worms and bugs from reaching them -- can tell with uncanny resolution what the climate was like in the Northern Hemisphere.

Hughen and his colleagues used the core to determine the climate in Gibraltar, where the most recent remnants of Neanderthal culture have been found. They focused on three time periods: 28,000 and 32,000 years ago (when, according to the best evidence, Neanderthals died out) and 24,000 years ago (when, according to one controversial estimate, the last Neanderthals died).

Climate was moderate during all three of those periods, they found, with extreme cold not arriving until about 21,000 years ago.

"I find the work both novel and solid," said Jan Heinemeier, a physicist who does carbon dating at the University of Aarhus, Denmark.

A gradual cooling of northern Europe may have played a role by pushing modern humans south, but from there either warfare or competition for resources must have been key, Hughen said.

"They survived 20,000 years of very unstable climate. Then when you add humans to the mix, they are gone within 10,000 years," Hughen said. "You tell me what the most parsimonious explanation is."

Whodunit?  Humans!

 

Chip Venie is a private criminal defense attorney in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is admitted to practice before state and federal courts in New Mexico, California, Washington, D.C., and Michigan. Mr. Venie graduated from The University of Virginia School of Law and clerked as a staff Attorney to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia. Mr. Venie has litigated over 700 trial level felony matters and over 150 appeals. Mr. Venie can be reached at (505) 766-9000 or (619) 235-8300, or chipesq@hotmail.com.

Mr. Venie's website can be found at
http://www.anothernotguilty.com


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Virginia Tech Shooting Report Released

The Report on the April 16th Shootings at Virginia Tech has been released.  It faults University administrators and officials for several aspects of there response on that tragic date.  In particular, the reports faults a certain unnamed professor for failing to immediately call university police when he found Cho's bomb threat note that stated that if the doors to Norris Hall were opened a bomb would erupt.  

 

Read the full report here:

http://www.governor.virginia.gov/
TempContent/techPanelReport.cfm
 

 

Chip Venie is a private criminal defense attorney in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is admitted to practice before state and federal courts in New Mexico, California, Washington, D.C., and Michigan. Mr. Venie graduated from The University of Virginia School of Law and clerked as a staff Attorney to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia. Mr. Venie has litigated over 700 trial level felony matters and over 150 appeals. Mr. Venie can be reached at (505) 766-9000 or (619) 235-8300, or chipesq@hotmail.com.

Mr. Venie's website can be found at http://www.anothernotguilty.com


Saturday, August 18, 2007

Ninth Circuit makes statutory rape deportable.

On August 16, 2007, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that statutory rape pursuant to California Penal Code 261.5(c) was a deportable offense. In Juan Elias Estrada-Espinoza vs. Gonzales, the Ninth Circuit upheld a BIA decision ordering Mr. Estrada-Espinoza deported.

The facts are striking: Mr. Estrada-Espinoza met the alleged victim when she was 16 and he was 20. They began dating and with the consent of both sets of parents moved into one of the parents' homes. Eventually, they got their own apartment and raised a child together.

The district attorney succeeded in convicting Mr. Estrada-Espinoza of, among other offenses, statutory rape in violation of California Penal Code 261.5

The Ninth Circuit upheld the BIA's defining the 261.5 offense as "sexual abuse of a child" and therefore and aggravated felony and therefore deportable.

This case has major ramifications in places where there is a large number of Mexican American immigrants, of any other group of immigrants whose culture and society sanctions sexual relationships between older males and younger females. It does not matter if her family says its OK, it does not matter if she consents, if you have sex with a girl under 18 and you are more than three years older than her, you can be convicted of violation of California Penal Code 261.5, and after this decision will be deported and denied naturalization or citizenship.

see full decision here:

http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/ca9/newopinions.nsf/


Chip Venie is a private criminal defense attorney in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is admitted to practice before state and federal courts in New Mexico, California, Washington, D.C., and Michigan. Mr. Venie graduated from The University of Virginia School of Law and clerked as a staff Attorney to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia. Mr. Venie has litigated over 700 trial level felony matters and over 150 appeals. Mr. Venie can be reached at (505) 766-9000 or (619) 235-8300, or chipesq@hotmail.com.

Mr. Venie's website can be found at http://www.anothernotguilty.com

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Vick Attorneys Enter Negotiations for Plea Deal

Apparently, attorneys for Michael Vick have entered into some sort of negotiations with prosecutors in his dog fighting case. Prosecutors may have set Friday as an unofficial deadline to accept a deal; if not indications are that Vick may be indicted again with more, and potentially more serious counts added against him.

On co-defendant, Tony Taylor has already pleaded guilty and is presumably cooperating with investigators so that he may receive the maximum consideration under USSG 5K1.1 Vick's remaining co-defendants, Purnell Peace and Quanis Phillips, are scheduled to plead guilty on Friday.

See full story here:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/
14/AR2007081401596.html?hpid=moreheadlines




Chip Venie is a private criminal defense attorney in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is admitted to practice before state and federal courts in New Mexico, California, Washington, D.C., and Michigan. Mr. Venie graduated from The University of Virginia School of Law and clerked as a staff Attorney to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia. Mr. Venie has litigated over 700 trial level felony matters and over 150 appeals. Mr. Venie can be reached at (505) 766-9000 or 619) 235-8300, or chipesq@hotmail.com.

Mr. Venie's website can be found at http://www.anothernotguilty.com


State of New Mexico will not distribute marijuana, New Mexican medical marijuana patients can grow their own

Today, the State of New Mexico announced that it will not distribute marijuana to those patients who need it. Medical marijuana patients will be allowed to grow and possess there own marijuana.

"The Department of Health will not subject its employees to potential federal prosecution, and therefore will not distribute or produce medical marijuana,'' said Dr. Alfredo Vigil, who heads the agency. The department will continue to certify patients as eligible to possess marijuana, protecting them from state prosecution, Vigil said. Thirty patients have been approved to participate in the program since the law took effect July 1, according to a department spokeswoman. The law was passed by the 2007 Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Bill Richardson, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination. Medical marijuana advocates urged the agency to reconsider its stance on producing marijuana so that patients would be able to get the drug from a source that was legal under state law. "I remember certain legislators talking about how they didn't want their grandmother to have to go into some alley and deal with some criminal element,'' said Reena Szczepanski, a lobbyist for Drug Policy Alliance New Mexico who helped push the legislation through this year. Szczepanski also said the department is "leaving itself vulnerable to a lawsuit'' for not complying with the law. "I hope that the department is not closing the door to production and distribution entirely,'' Szczepanski said. New Mexico — alone among the dozen states with medical marijuana laws — requires that the state license marijuana producers and develop a distribution system. The rules were to be issued by Oct. 1. Attorney General Gary King cautioned last week that the agency and its employees could face federal prosecution for implementing the new law, and that the attorney general can't defend state workers in criminal cases. Marijuana is illegal under federal law, but medical marijuana advocates say no state employee ever has been federally prosecuted for implementing a state medical marijuana law. King should provide "more meaningful legal direction to the department,'' Szczepanski said. Under the current program, certified patients may possess a three-month supply of marijuana, including plants. The department will go ahead with the process of making permanent rules governing that part of the program, said spokeswoman Deborah Busemeyer. "What we're doing now is what every other state is doing that has a medical marijuana law. ... Those states have set a precedent in being able to successfully do that,'' she said. Going beyond that by overseeing a production and distribution system could put state employees at greater risk of federal prosecution, she said.


Chip Venie is a private criminal defense attorney in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is admitted to practice before state and federal courts in New Mexico, California, Washington, D.C., and Michigan. Mr. Venie graduated from The University of Virginia School of Law and clerked as a staff Attorney to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia. Mr. Venie has litigated over 700 trial level felony matters and over 150 appeals. Mr. Venie can be reached at (505) 766-9000 or (619) 235-8300, or chipesq@hotmail.com.

Mr. Venie's website can be found at http://www.anothernotguilty.com

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Fourth Circuit Finds Professional Negligence Malpractice and Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

Yesterday, August 6, 2007, the United States Court of Appeal for the Fourth Circuit held that a criminal defense attorney committed ineffective assistance of counsel when he advised his client to plead guilty to federal felon in possession of a firearm charges when the record and evidence revealed that the client may have had a justification defense.

During an argument with his girlfriend, the defendant's girlfriend aimed a firearm at the defendant. In response he took the firearm from her, and walked to a nearby bar where police were waiting. He immediately turned over the gun to police upon there arrival.

Counsel for the defendant advised the defendant that there was no defense to his crime and he ultimately pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 15 years in prison

The problem was that the justification defense was available for felon in possession of a firearm charges (18 USCA 922) and EVERY circuit which addressed the issue had held the defense available. Counsel was just plain wrong in his advice, he simply did not know that the defense was available to these charges.

This case underscores the importance of hiring or otherwsie obtaining knowledgeable counsel for your case. If this defendant had a knowledgable attorney, it may not have cost him 4 years of his life (he had been arrested on August 2, 2002).

See full case here:

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data2/circs/4th/067565p.pdf






Chip Venie is a private criminal defense attorney in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is admitted to practice before state and federal courts in New Mexico, California, Washington, D.C., and Michigan. Mr. Venie graduated from The University of Virginia School of Law and clerked as a staff Attorney to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia. Mr. Venie has litigated over 700 trial level felony matters and over 150 appeals. Mr. Venie can be reached at (505) 766-9000 or 619) 235-8300, or chipesq@hotmail.com.

Mr. Venie's website can be found at http://www.anothernotguilty.com


Monday, August 06, 2007

President Bush approves at least six more months of warrantless wiretapping!

Today, with little fanfare, President Bush signed into law a bill that allows for expanded warrantless wiretapping of American's cell phone calls and emails, so long as those calls or emails have some nexus to another country.


Read more:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/
article/2007/08/05/AR2007080501404.html?hpid=sec-nation


Saturday, August 04, 2007

Fourth Circuit gets Booker/Apprendi correct and upholds life sentence for perjury.

Yesterday, I wrote about the United States v. Dazey, a case in which the Tenth Circuit held that enhancing a defendant's sentence by using facts found by a judge by preponderance (rather than a jury) does not violate the Sixth Amendment.

In response to the Dazey court, I wrote "This cannot be what the Sixth Amendment and Booker (which of course is based on Apprendi and Blakely) meant. If the Dazey court's interpretation of Booker were sound, a federal judge could still enhance a defendant's sentence outside of the presumptive USSG range and outside of the statutory maximum for the offense and so long as the district judge stated on the record that he or she was enhancing the defendant's sentence because he or she wanted to, not because he or she was commanded by the law to impose a certain sentence."

In United States v. Ruhbayan, the Fourth Circuit demonstrates why the Dazey court's holding was not fully complete and may be wrong. In Ruhbayan, the defendant was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with a criminal trial. Even though Ruhbayan's indictment specified that he was charged under 18 USC 1512(b), which had a maximum sentence of only ten years, the district judge sentenced him to life in prison pursuant to 18 USC 1512(j). Ruhbayan, unlike Scooter Libby, received a life sentence pursuant to 18 USC 1512(j) for suborning perjury in his first criminal trial.

The Fourth Circuit upheld the sentence. The reasoning was based upon the fact that Ruhbayan's indictment did incorporate language from 1512(j), namely that the pejury or obstruction of justice occurred in a criminal trial. Because of this language, the jury implicitly made the finding beyond a reasonable doubt that Ruhbayan's conduct occurred during a prior criminal trial when it convicted him of the offense in the second indictment.

Therefore, the judge was free to impose life, a life sentence, afterall is stautorily authorized upon conviction of 1512(j).

The Fourth Circuit explained:

First, because Count Two of the 2002 indictment alleged the elements of the § 1512 offense and fairly informed Ruhbayan of the charge, it was sufficient to enable him to plead double jeopardy in any subsequent prosecution. See United States v. Williams, 152 F.3d 294, 299 (4th Cir. 1998) ("To pass constitutional muster, an indictment must (1) indicate the elements of the offense and fairly inform the defendant of the exact charges and (2) enable the defendant to plead
double jeopardy in subsequent prosecutions for the same offense."). Second, Count Two specified that Ruhbayan’s conduct occurred in connection with the First Trial. Indeed, the jury in the Second Trial was instructed on Count Two as follows:

Count 2 of the indictment charges that in or about May through August of 2000, . . . Ruhbayan[ ] did knowingly and corruptly persuade . . . Goodman[ ] to testify falsely in an official proceeding, namely his pending criminal trial in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at Norfolk, entitled United States v. Ruhbayan, Criminal Number 2:00cr86, with intent to influence the testimony of that person in an official proceeding, namely his criminal trial, in violation of Title 18 of United Sates Code, Section 1512(b)(1).

Clearly, the issue of whether the conduct charged in Count Two occurred in connection with a criminal trial was a fact that would increase the penalty for that offense beyond the maximum Ruhbayan otherwise faced under § 1512(b). For that reason, that factual issue was appropriately submitted to the jury. The indictment and the instructions each identified the Count Two offense as related to the First Trial, and the jury could not have returned a guilty verdict thereon without so finding. Ruhbayan was thus subject to a maximum of life imprisonment under § 1512(j), because an offense charged in the First Trial involved use of a firearm in connection with a drug trafficking crime, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1). (citations omitted)

Because the trial court properly submitted to the jury the factual issue of whether the Count Two offense occurred in connection with the First Trial, no Apprendi error occurred. The sentencing court thus properly determined that the statutory maximum penalty on Count Two was life in prison.

This is the correct application of Apprendi, the 10th Circuit's holding in Dazey is imprecisely written or just plain incorrect.




Chip Venie is a private criminal defense attorney in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is admitted to practice before state and federal courts in New Mexico, California, Washington, D.C., and Michigan. Mr. Venie graduated from The University of Virginia School of Law and clerked as a staff Attorney to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia. Mr. Venie has litigated over 700 trial level felony matters and over 150 appeals. Mr. Venie can be reached at (505) 766-9000 or 619) 235-8300, or chipesq@hotmail.com.


Senate approves expanded wiretapping of calls/emails from or to overseas.

Yesterday, August 3, 2007, the Senate voted 60-28 to authorize expanded wiretapping of US citizens.

Joseph Lieberman former vice presidential candidate, stated in support of the bill "We're at war. The enemy wants to attack us . . .This is not the time to strive for legislative perfection." Apparently.

The new bill, if it becomes law, expands the government's power to wiretap telephone calls and emails if they are coming from or going to, an overseas location. Privacy advocates accused the Democrats of selling out and charged that this bill gives the government more authority than it had under a controversial warrantless wiretapping program begun in secret after the 2001 terrorist attacks. Under that program, the government could conduct surveillance without judicial oversight only if it had a reason to believe that one party to the call was a member of or affiliated with al-Qaeda or a related terrorist organization. This bill drops that condition, they noted.

Americans had better get used to the fact that if they call or email someone overseas the NSA is listening in.


Friday, August 03, 2007

Tenth Circuit interprets Booker and Blakely and sentences fraud defendant by facts found by preponderance

In United States v. Dazey, the Tenth Circuit upheld a district court's sentence that was based upon facts found by preponderance b y a district judge. The Dazey court re-affirmed pre Booker case law and determined:

"For the reasons stated in Dalton and Magallanez, the district court applied the correct standard in evaluating the factual evidence related to Dazey's sentencing enhancements. As this court has explained, "Constitutional Booker error occurs when the district court re[lies] on judge-found facts . . . to enhance a defendant's sentence mandatorily." Dalton, 409 F.3d at 1252 (quotation omitted). It is only the mandatory application of enhancements that create constitutional problems, not the manner in which the facts underlying the enhancements are found."

This cannot be what the Sixth Amendment and Booker (which of course is based on Apprendi and Blakely) meant. If the Dazey court's interpretation of Booker were sound, a federal judge could still enhance a defendant's sentence outside of the presumptive USSG range and outside of the statutory maximum for the offense and so long as the district judge stated on the record that he or she was enhancing the defendant's sentence because he or she wanted to, not because he or she was commanded by the law to impose a certain sentence.



Click here for entire opinion:
http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=10th&
navby=docket&no=056258





Chip Venie is a private criminal defense attorney in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is admitted to practice before state and federal courts in New Mexico, California, Washington, D.C., and Michigan. Mr. Venie graduated from The University of Virginia School of Law and clerked as a staff Attorney to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia. Mr. Venie has litigated over 700 trial level felony matters and over 150 appeals. Mr. Venie can be reached at (505) 766-9000 or 619) 235-8300, or chipesq@hotmail.com.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Supreme Court lowers the review bar on federal habeas for denial of defense claims.

In Fry v. Pliler, (a link to the complete decision is set forth below), the United States Supreme Court redefined the rules that are going to be applied on federal habeas (2254) when the defendant claims that the state trial court denied him the right to present certain evidence.

In Fry, the defendant claimed that the trial court denied him the right to present the testimony of a witness who would have testified to certain statements made by a third party that suggested that he, the third party, was the actual perpetrator of the crime.

The defendant got convicted and appealed to the California Court of Appeal. The California Court of appeal affirmed the conviction, but did not specify whether the court analyzed the error under the Chapman "harmless beyond a reasonable doubt" standard or the Brecht "substantial and injurious effect standard."

The United States Supreme Court held that a federal court must examine the prejudicial impact of constitutional error in a state court criminal trial under Brecht's standard, whether or not the state reviewing courts analyzed the error for harmlessness beyond a reasonable doubt under Chapman v. California.

What does all this mean? It means that if a defense attorney is denied the right to present certain evidence in a state court trial, that defense attorney can and should cite this case as the proper standard that federal habeas courts will use to examine the trial court's rulings.

Federal constitutional errors in state court trials are always going to be reviewed on federal habeas to determine if that error resulted in a substantial and injurious effect or influence on the verdict, rather than if the error was harmlessness beyond a reasonable doubt. This standard is "less onerous" for defendants than the Chapman standard.

The Chapman standard still applies on Supreme Court DIRECT review of state criminal convictions.


Link to decision:
http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/06pdf/06-5247.pdf


See how Mr. Venie can help you at his website:

ANOTHERNOTGUILTY.COM

Chip Venie is a private criminal defense attorney in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is admitted to practice before state and federal courts in New Mexico, California, Washington, D.C., and Michigan. Mr. Venie graduated from The University of Virginia School of Law and clerked as a staff Attorney to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia. Mr. Venie has litigated over 700 trial level felony matters and over 150 appeals. Mr. Venie can be reached at (505) 766-9000 or 619) 235-8300, or chipesq@hotmail.com.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Bowles v. Russell the triumph of form over substance!

The Supreme Court ruled on June 14, 2007, that a federal habeas petitioner (murder defendant) who relied on the district court's wrong statement regarding the deadline for filing a notice of appeal had no right to relief and no avenue of appeal.

The Court stated that the rules relating to the taking of appeal in a civil case are mandatory and jurisdictional. The appellant petitioner's failure to timely file a NOA, even when the district court erroneously told him he did have time to file, divested that appellate court of jurisdiction to hear the habeas petition, and the district court of jurisdiction to deem the NOA timely filed as an equitable matter.

The practical effect of this is that habeas or appellate counsel must timely file the NOA in denial of 2254 petitions and CANNOT rely upon a district court's statements regarding the deadline.

Bowles v. Russell:

http://supreme.justia.com/us/new-cases/06-5306.pdf






Chip Venie is a private criminal defense attorney in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is admitted to practice before state and federal courts in New Mexico, California, Washington, D.C., and Michigan. Mr. Venie graduated from The University of Virginia School of Law and clerked as a staff Attorney to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia. Mr. Venie has litigated over 700 trial level felony matters and over 150 appeals. Mr. Venie can be reached at (505) 766-9000 or 619) 235-8300, or chipesq@hotmail.com.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Outrage of the week! Schwarzenegger bars NCAA athletes from competition based on minor crimes.

Outrage of the week! Schwarzenegger bars NCAA athletes from competition based on minor crimes.


(September 4, 2006) Today, California Governor Schwarzenegger signed into law a statute forbidding NCAA student athletes in California Universities and community colleges from competing if they are convicted of certain crimes. These student athletes will presumably lose their scholarships for being convicted of some relatively minor offenses.

see: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/
2006-04-27-california-bill-athletes_x.htm?POE=
click-refer


New California Education Code, section (§) 67362, (AB 2165) prohibits and bars any student athlete from competing in any event in California, or for any collegiate team (except intramurals), if that student/athlete is convicted of certain crimes, including:

(a) breaking into a car or shop-lifting (California Penal Code § 459);
(b) getting into a fight at a bar or fraternity party (California Penal Code § 245); or
(c) “beer runs” or grabbing and taking some alcohol from a convenience store (California Penal Code § 211).

In addition, NCAA student/athletes can be barred for more serious offenses like murder, rape, and sexual assault. The law also imposes a new “reporting” requirement upon NCAA student athletes in California: from now on they will have to declare under penalty of perjury that they are essentially “crime-free.” If the student athlete does not report accurately, he or she risks further discipline including loss of scholarship.

This new law has tremendous implications for the more than 25,000 NCAA student athletes in California. To being with, to just take away the eligibility and scholarships of NCAA athletes upon conviction of seemingly small crimes may violate the due process clause under the federal and state constitutions. In addition, it may also violate the right an education under the California Constitution.




Chip Venie, Esq, and the Freedom Law Center are attorneys who concentrate a large portion of their practice on NCAA law and the criminal defense application of NCAA laws and policies. Mr. Venie is admitted to practice law in California, Washington D.C., and Michigan. Please call him at the San Diego office at (619) 235-8300, or email him at chipesq@hotmail.com if you have any questions, or are facing the impact of this new law AB 2165. See the website at blogspot.crimelaw.com

 


Friday, June 23, 2006

Ninth Circuit actually applying Lopez to overturn conviction for lack of federal jurisdiction.

The Ninth Circuit has ruled that crimes committed upon boats seized off of the coast of South America cannot provide a sufficient jurisdictional nexus for federal prosecution in San Diego, California.

In US v. Perlaza, the Ninth Circuit held that certain defendants cannot be prosecuted in federal court in the United States without a sufficient jurisdictional nexus. There is also a discussion of prosecutorial misconduct in this opinion. See below:

http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/ca9/newopinions.nsf/998F96BF16F626B18825713000771550/
$file/0250084.pdf?openelement


Sunday, April 09, 2006

Global warming is the greatest threat to US says Pentagon!

In a remarkable report that received little fanfare, the Department of Defense issued a report over two years ago that defined Global Warming as the single greatest threat to United States national security. Read below:




http://www.grist.org/pdf/AbruptClimateChange2003.pdf


US Soldier prosecuted by DA for going to Iraq, serving in combat!

Sgt. Jose Estrada, a recently returned (Jan. 2006) Iraq veteran is facing charges that he "wilfully failed to appear" because he went to Iraq to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Estrada was initially charged with domestic violence offenses. The alleged victim in the case came to court and testified three times under oath that the incident did not happen as alleged. There were three witnesses to the crime, two said Estrada did not do it, the third was a six year old girl who would not see where the crime allegedly happened (in the closet of a bedroom). Instead of dismissing the case, the DA persisted.

Sgt. Estrada waited for his day in Court. The DA continued the case on the final date set for trial. Sgt. Estrada was ordered to report to Ft. Lewis Washington for deployment to Iraq. He went and served in Fallujah among other places.

Sgt. Estrada returned and within days contacted the Court and put his case on calender so that he could resolve the matter. The DA was forced to dismiss the domestic violence case because the witnesses left town, but immediately the DA issued charges in a second case for "failing to appear" on the first case.

Sgt. Estrada wants to continue in the military and continue to serve on active duty, but he now has this cloud hanging over his head. Veterans should not be treated like this. If you feel this is wrong, please let you feelings be known. Send an email to Bonnie Dumanis, the district attorney of San Diego:

publicaffairs@sdcda.org

or call her office at:

619-531-4040

Ms. Dumanis is by and large a reasonable prosecutor. Make your voice heard.


Thursday, March 23, 2006

California felony sentencing being reviewed in Supreme Court.

The US Supreme Court agreed to accept review of People v. Black the California Supreme Court case that upheld California's determinate sentencing scheme against a Blakely challenge.

Very soon we will know what all those California courts that are requiring Blakely waivers, already know: that California's scheme which allows a judge to aggravate a sentence is unconstitutional.

see summary of recent developments in People v. Black click below:

http://www.fdap.org/blakely4.html


Friday, July 08, 2005

Blakely NOT RETROACTIVE in Ninth Circuit!

Today the Ninth Circuit, the top appeals Court for most western states, slammed the door shut on thousands of federal prisoners who were holding out hope that Blakely would be applied retoactively in the West as Crawford had been held to be a few months prior.

In Schardt v. Payne, the Court held the Blakely rule did not fall within the Teague v. Lane exception permitting retroactive application of certain rules. The Court marches through a pretty thorough analysis and collects cases.

See full text here:
http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/ca9/newopinions.nsf/
42AEDE6841B771188825703700817B64
/$file/0236164.pdf?openelement


Should the 'new' standards for IAC in Rompilla and Wiggins also apply in the non-captial context?

Yes. There is no logical reason to distinguish between the standards for counsel enunicated in Rompilla v. Beard and Wiggins v. Smith.

Rompilla, you will remember is the very recent case which held an attorney in a capital case per se

The court rebuked the Rompilla defense attorney in the strongest terms possible. The Court stated it was "more than common sense" that defense counsel must review and obtain information that the state has and will use against the defendant. The Court explained that "It flouts prudence to deny that a defense lawyer should try to look at a file he knows the prosecution will cull for aggravating evidence, let alone when the file is sitting in the Court house open for the asking."

See full text of Rompilla decision below:

http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/20jun20051200/
www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/04pdf/04-5462.pdf


There is no logical or legal reason to distinguish between capital and non-capital cases for purposes of the Rompilla rule. Counsel should be held per se ineffective for failing to discover and review evidence in Court files that either exculpates or that the prosecution intends to use to aggravate the defendants' sentence. Counsel has to be held responsible for at least looking at court files.
ineffective for failing to discover and review aggravating evidence that was in Court files which the prosecution had indicated that it intended to use against the defendant.


Thursday, July 07, 2005

California Supreme Court defines and spells out when witness may invoke 5th amendment privilege.

In a remarkable case this week, the California Supreme Court reversed the California Court of Appeal when it held that a defendant's failure to object to a witness asserting the Fifth Amendment waives the issue on appeal. The specific evidentiary issue was whether a trial court errs when it admits the prior preliminary hearing testimony of a witness who invokes the privilege against self incrimination at trial. (NO) That seems like a straight forward ruling however, what is important is that the CASC fleshes out further when and under what circumstances a person may assert the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.

In People v. Seijas (full text below), the CASC applied Hoffman and Ohio v. Reiner in California. The Seijas court stated:

In an oft-cited case, the high court stated that this privilege “must be accorded liberal construction in favor of the right it was intended to secure.” (Hoffman v. United States (1951) 341 U.S. 479, 486.) A witness may assert the privilege who has “reasonable cause to apprehend danger from a direct answer.” (Ibid.; accord, Ohio v. Reiner (2001) 532 U.S. 17, 21) However, “The witness is not exonerated from answering merely because he declares that in doing so he would incriminate himself—his say-so does not of itself establish the hazard of incrimination.” (Hoffman v. United States, supra, at p. 486.) The court may require the witness “to answer if ‘it clearly appears to the court that he is mistaken.’ ” (Ibid.) “To sustain the privilege, it need only be evident from the implications of the question, in the setting in which it is asked, that a responsive answer to the question or an explanation of why it cannot be answered might be dangerous because injurious disclosure could result.” (Id. at pp. 486-487.) To deny an assertion of the privilege, “the judge must be ‘ “perfectly clear, from a careful consideration of all the circumstances in the case, that the witness is mistaken, and that the answer[s] cannot possibly have such tendency” to incriminate.’ ” (Malloy v. Hogan (1964) 378 U.S. 1, 12, quoting Hoffman v. United States, supra, at p. 488.)
California’s Evidence Code states the test broadly in favor of the privilege: “Whenever the proffered evidence is claimed to be privileged under Section 940 [the privilege against self-incrimination], the person claiming the privilege has the burden of showing that the proffered evidence might tend to incriminate him; and the proffered evidence is inadmissible unless it clearly appears to the court that the proffered evidence cannot possibly have a tendency to incriminate the person claiming the privilege.” (Evid. Code, § 404, italics added.) We have said that this section incorporates the standard of Hoffman v. United States, supra, 341 U.S. 479. (People v. Ford (1988) 45 Cal.3d 431, 441-442; see also People v. Cudjo, supra, 6 Cal.4th at p. 617.)


Applying the facts to the case before it, The seijas court held that one of the witnesses to the crime, a 13 year old who may (or may not) have had gang ties and who was in the car with the alleged murderers just before the crime, rightly fully asserted the privilege.

Full Text, People v. Seijas:

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data2/californiastatecases/
s123790.doc


In PDF: http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data2/
californiastatecases/s123790.pdf


This means that if you have a case going to trial where any of the witnesses have even the slightest Fifth Amendment problem you should demand those witnesses be given immunity before testifying. Every effort should be made to object to the witness testifying (if that is a tactical advantage). If you can object that the crimes that the prosecution purports to immunize are not federal crimes. In other words, object that the state prosecutor cannot possibly immunize from federal crimes and for that reason the state immunity is not good enough. (State drug crimes can apparently always be made federal drug crimes in the wake of the ruiling in Gonzales v. Raich).

If the witness is granted state Kastigar immunity, you must demand federal immunity as well. The state prosecutor will cite Murphy v. Waterfront Commission, 378 U.S. 52 (1964). The state prosecutor will argue that Murphy stands for the proposition that state court immunity is good enough, in other words, if the state promises Kastigar immunity to a witness that witness can essentially estop the federal government from prosecuting in the wake of a state immunity agreement. Moreover, Murphy can be easily distinguished and/or blunted.

Murphy creates a federal constitutional exclusionary rule in this context: when a state witness is compelled to give testimony in a state proceeding under a grant of immunity the "Federal Government must be prohibited from making any such use of compelled testimony and its fruits." This means that a witness should be able to keep out the compelled testimony from "other" criminal and quasi-criminal proceedings. However, the Murphy rule has never been applied by the Supreme Court to at least two contexts: the courts martial and the immigration deportation or removal because of criminal conviction. If the potential witness has exposure on either of these two grounds, that witness should be able to assert the Fifth even with a grant of Kastigar immunity and a federal immunity letter (or in the alternative, a state court ruling that the Murphy exclusionary rule applies).


Sunday, July 03, 2005

Another White Collar Booker reversal for plain error in the Ninth Circuit.

This past week, in United States v. Barken, the Ninth Circuit again reversed a sentence imposed for environmental crimes. The Court held that because the district court had held that the application of the guideline was in fact mandatory that court committed plain error. The defendant did not object to imposition of certain enhancements at trial based upon Blakely/Sixth Amendment grounds. However, that was not held against Barken based upon plain error.


Full text, United States v. Barken:

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data2/circs/9th/0350441p.pdf


Saturday, July 02, 2005

Would Luttig have voted differently than Scalia in Gonzales v. Raich?

Judges M. Luttig and J. Harvie Wilkinson of the Fourth Circuit are often mentioned as possible replacements for Justice O'Connor. Federalism, and what it means in the wake of the Raich

It seems like Luttig's reasoning in the dissent below (Gibbs v. Babbitt) would suggest that he would have voted to invalidate the marijuana regulation in question in Gonzales v. Raich.
In Gibbs, Judge Luttig dissented from a decision holding that a Fish and Wildlife Service regulation limiting the killing of endangered wolves on private land was within the commerce power. Judge Luttig argued that the killing of a small number of wolves did not have a "substantial effect" on interstate commerce required by Lopez and Morrison. The case has received media attention because of the criticism of Judge Luttig's views in the majority opinion written by Judge Wilkinson. Judge Wilkinson argued that Judge Luttig "would rework the relationship between the judiciary and its coordinate branches" by allowing courts to invalidate laws based on "a judge's view of the wisdom of enacted policies."

Judge Luttig's view of the substantial effects test cannot be reconciled with his mentor, Scalia's opinion in Gonzales v. Raich. For starters, the grey wolf taking regulation in question in Gibbs IS part of a larger regulation, the Endangered Species Act. This is the specific reason why the marijuana regulation was upheld by Scalia, because the Congress is allowed to make regulations that reach purley intrastate activities if regulation of those intrastate activities is part of a larger scheme of interstate commerce regulations. Under Scalia's reasoning in Raich, the grey wolf taking regulation would have been valid.

So is Luttig in favor of medical marijuana? The Fourth Circuit has not ruled directly on the medical marijuana issue (none of the states in the Fourth Circuit have passed medical marijuana laws), see Raich at fn1. See e.g. United States v. Dash (10th Circuit 1997)(maufacturing controlled substance can be reached by the commerce clause based legislation). Proyect v. United States (2nd Cir. 1996) (manufacturing marijuana can be reached by commerce clause based legislation).

However, in United States v. Leshuk, 65 F.3d 1105, 1111-12 (4th Cir. 1995), Judges Russell, Hall, and Widener upheld the CSA's application to the growing of thirty three marijuana plants. Judge Luttig did not participate in the decision. The Leshuk decision itself simply says that because Congress made explicit findings that the manufacture of marijuana substantially affects commerce (and Congress failed to make the findings in the Gun Free Schools Zones Act), the CSA is valid. However, there were findings made by Congress in the VAWA, and they are explicitly discussed in Luttig's dissent in Brzonkala.

Luttig specifically criticizes finding an act of Congress contitutional against a commerce clause challenge just by making conclusory "findings." Luttig states: "Ignoring entirely the overarching change in Commerce Clause analysis wrought by Lopez, the majority merely recites several statements from House and Senate committees on the general problem of violence against women and the effect of that violence on the national economy, together with a sentence from a House Report stating that violence against women substantially affects interstate commerce (incidentally, never mentioning that the Senate, as opposed to the House, did not conclude that such violence substantially affects interstate commerce) and then simply states, without more, that the Act is constitutional."

Luttig suggests that he could have found differently on the issue in Leshuk:

"The majority's wholesale deference to a committee finding would at least be understandable if that committee had made extensive findings deserving of deference. However, the majority ultimately sustains the constitutionality of the Act literally on the basis of a single sentence appearing in that committee report, which sentence is, itself, entirely conclusory."

United States v. Leshuk:
http://www.law.emory.edu/4circuit/sept95/945839.p.html

See Gibbs v. Babbitt, full case available here:
http://pacer.ca4.uscourts.gov/opinion.pdf/991218.P.pdf

Brzonkala v. Virginia Tech, full text here:
http://pacer.ca4.uscourts.gov/opinion.pdf/961814A.P.pdf

Luttig is a true federalist and seems willing to examine the sum and subtance of Congressional findings vis-a-vis the substantial affect any given activity may have on interstate commerce. He probably would have bucked his mentor Scalia and voted with Thomas in Gonzales v. Raich.
decision is an important distinction between Wilkinson and Luttig.


Friday, July 01, 2005

9th Circuit Overflowing with pro se appeals.

This is an interesting article on now the Ninth and Fourth Circuits are dealing the onslaught of pro se federal appeals from prisoners:

http://www.judicialaccountability.org/articles/
proseappeals9circuit.htm



Justice O'Connor retires . . . speculation starts on who will replace her?

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor announced her retirement from the United States Supreme Court today.

see: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/
2005/07/01/AR2005070100653.html


The speculation is that Alberto Gonzales, the current Attorney General with be nominated to the high Court.


Wednesday, June 29, 2005

VAWA re-introduced by Biden, Hatch, others.

Can this NEW version of the VAWA pass constitutional muster under GONZALES VS. RAICH? It seems that under Scalia's reasoning in his concurrence in Raich that all Biden need do is put a insert a legislative record that the new VAWA is part of a larger scheme of regulation of intrastate violence.

See full text here:
http://biden.senate.gov/newsroom/details.cfm?id=239039


Monday, June 27, 2005

California's Wheeler challenge procedure is unconstitutional.

In Johnson v. California the United States Supreme Court threw out the Wheeler procedure in California for challenging a prosecutor's race-based use of peremptory challenges. The USSC ruled that California's procedure of imposing a preponderance standard with respect to establishing a prima facie case of race based use of peremptory challenge violated Batson v. Kentucky its progeny.

California had required that a defendant show that it is more likely than not that a prosecutor had used race to peremptorily challenge jurors in the voir dire. The USSC said that the defense must only show facts that give rise to an inference of race-based use of challenges, the defense is not required to show initially, by preponderance, that the prosecution is violating Batson. (Although that may be the defense's ultimate burden).

The defense need only raise an inference of purposeful discrimination to shift the burden to the prosecutor to justify his use of challenges.

Full case here: Johnson v. California

http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/13jun20051230/
www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/04pdf/04-6964.pdf


911 Calls are Testimonial Under Crawford!

The Sixth Circuit held in United States v. Arnold that the 911 calls in question are testimonial and shoudl have been excluded under Crawford. This is a decision in the right direction, applying the straight forward definition of testimonial, the Sixth Circuit stated that because the statements on the 911 calls were made stated that the decisive inquiry as to whether a statement is testimonial is "whether a reasonable person in the declarant's position would anticipate his statement being used against the accused in investigating and prosecuting the crime." Id. [389 F.3d] at 675. The court further stated that a "statement made knowingly to the authorities that describes criminal activity is almost always testimonial." BINGO!

The Arnold panel specifically rejected the "excited utterance" admittance rationale advanced by the US. The question and answer nature of the 911 calls take it outside of the realm of an excited utterance as a logical matter, and the Sixth Circuit held that there was no proof in the record of when the incident that prompted the 911 call had occurred. Because of this, there was no way to tell on the record before it if the incident was close enough in time to the so-called excited utterances.

Full case here: United States v. Arnold (6th Cir. 2005)

http://www.ca6.uscourts.gov/opinions.pdf/05a0269p-06.pdf


Joint trial for snitching co-defendants virtually dead in California

If you have a trial coming up in California where there are multiple co-defendants who made statements to police implicating one another YOU MUST move for a severance. After People v. Pena, full text below, the People can almost never use the statements of one co-defendant implicating another in evidence against the other under any circumstances.

This means that severance is almost guaranteed if the prosecution wants to use the statements of one co-defendant that implicate he, himself in the trial against that speaking co-defendant. If they want to use it, they cannot "sanitize" it under Aranda. Do not allow prosecutors to argue this situation is governed by Aranda, Bruton, or any other case.

The statement of the co-defendant to police implicating your client is testimonial hearsay, pure and simple, and is not admissible against your client in his trial. Further if they want to try your client and the co-defendant together, they cannot use the statement of either against the other in any trial. Get your severance on the grounds that they cannot use the others' statement in evidence against him with your client present in a joint trial, then argue that they cannot use the others' statement at all in evidence against your client under Crawford.

Full case:

http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/documents/H023394.DOC

or PDF

http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/documents/H023394.PDF


Saturday, June 25, 2005

Medical Marijuana, Wickhard, and Raich

Medical marijuana is in trouble in California. Instead of completing the federalist revolution that began in 1995 in United States v. Lopez, the United States Supreme Court (with Scalia and Kennedy casting the deciding votes), denied Amber Raich the right to use medical marijuana in California without the fear of federal intervention and prosecution.
The United States Supreme Court wrongfully readopted the reasoning of Wickhard v. Fillburn and ruled that because consumption of the pot in question could impact the interstate market on marijuana, that a sufficient federal nexus has been met.

How interesting is it that when the conservatives on the Supreme Court (Scalia) review the scope of federal power for things they enjoy (hunting, guns), they often find the laws unconstitutional. However, in the area of drug policy they cannot stay logically and legally consistent.


California Supreme Court speaks on Blakely and its impact in California

Last week the California Supreme Court held in People v. Black that allowing a judge to impose an aggravated sentence based upon facts he or she found to be true (rather than a jury) does not implicate nor violate Blakely or Booker.

Full case here:

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data2/californiastatecases/
s126182.doc


The CASC held that because Apprendi allows a judge to sentence within the maximum sentence allowed by statute, the California procedure of allowing a judge to determine whether aggravating factors outwiegh mitigating factors, and thereafter impose an aggravated sentence that does not go beyond the statutory maximum, does not implicate Apprendi/Blakely/Booker. To put it another way, because a California state judge cannot find and enhance a defendant's sentence beyond the statutory maximum without additional jury findings on enhancements, the CASC said that the California procedure comports with the Sixth Amendment right to a a jury trial.
This one is going to the United States Supreme Court, we, as diligent and aggressive California criminal defense attorneys, must continue to object to imposition of aggravated terms and consecutive terms on "judge found" facts. This must also mean that the "Blakely" friendly Information(s) that I have been seeing must be demurrer to as failing to state a claim.


Defendants who plead guilty are entitled to appointed paid for counsel for first appeal.

On June 23, 2005, in Halbert v. Michigan the United States Supreme Court held a Michigan law unconstitutional which denied appointed counsel for a first appeal for those defendants that had pleaded guilty.
The Court has already held in Douglas v. California that a defendant is entitled to appointed counsel on his "first tier" appeal. The Court held that a state may not make pass a law to define the first appeal as "discretionary" and then deny appointed counsel merely by changing the name of the first appeal.

Full case here:

http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/23jun20051201/
www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/04pdf/03-10198.pdf


Proving prior convictions, judges not allowed to look at police reports and other hearsay.

This is a continuing post on the impact of Shepherd v. United States, a case recently decided by the United States Supreme Court. The Shepherd decision states that a judge must now look only at the fact of conviction, the plea form, the transcript of the plea hearing and other assented to or admitted facts to determine whether a prior conviction is an aggravated felony within the Armed Career Criminal Act.
This case has tremendous impact in a variety of contexts.
When challenging a prior, Shepherd and its reasoning should be used to sharply limit the record that the fact finder can consider to establish the prior or its 'aggravated' nature or quality.

http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/07mar20051115/
www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/04pdf/03-9168.pdf


For example, suppose a client's prior indicates that he had pleaded guilty in Calfornia to Transportation of Methamphetamine, in violation of California H & S 11379. The plea form states the charge as "H & S 11379." The plea colloquy is silent as to whether the client plead guilty to Transporting Meth, or simply Offering to Transport Meth (which is also a prong of H & S 11379). The client, a green card holder, is picked up by INS who wants to deport him for being convicted of a drug trafficking offense.

A diligent immigration lawyer could move to exclude all police reports or prelim transcripts (or transcripts of other contested hearings) relating to the prior from evidence before the immigration judge. The immigration lawyer would then point out the ambiguity, i.e. the client could have been convicted of just offering to transport instead of transporting (mere offering not being deportable), and that the doubt should be resolved in favor of the client, and non-removal.

Looking forward, diligent defense counsel should totally eliminate the use of "slow pleas" or pleas that incorporate other documents in the pleas' allocution or factual basis. Counsel should no longer stipulate to any factual basis, stipulate to the incorporation of police reports, or stipulate to the incorporation of ANY other document into the plea colloquy or allocution. The language in plea agreements should mimic the statute verbatim. However, extra language should not be included without careful thought as to immigration, drug conviction, and other consequences.

See Shepherd:
http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/07mar20051115/
www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/04pdf/03-9168.pdf


Supreme Court Watch: Will Rehnquist Retire on Monday?

An excellent article by Tony Mauro regarding the chief justice and his potential retirement:

http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1118999115802

And if Alberto Gonzales is not nominated, will it be my former colleague, Judge Luttig:

http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1118999119492


Federalism and federalist analysis of Raich decision, medical marijuana is dead?

This is an excellent, thoughtful, and thorough federalist analysis of the recent travesty in the Raich case.

http://federalism.typepad.com/ashcroft_v_raich/


Scalia talked in circles and abandoned federalism.

Scalia abadoned his federalist ideological "purity." (His protegee Thomas, did not). Scalia sold out his legacy as a federalist icon, he is now a judicial activist in the War on Drugs. The Supreme Court's prior cases dictated clearly a result contrary to the one that Scalia signed off on, yet he still agreed with the Market analysis in Wickhard.

Scalia's concurring analysis is full of idelogical holes for a true federalist. Scalia expanded upon the doctrine of "substantial affects" on interstate commerce set forth in Wickhard. Scalia called the definition of substantial affects "incomplete" and then explained "where necessary to make a regulation of interstate commerce effective, Congress may regulate even those intrastate activities that do not themselves substantially affect interstate commerce." Huh?

He further explained that sometimes regulating intrastate activitites is "necessary and proper" for the regulation of interstate commerce and that may happen in two circumstances:
1. Congress may devise rules for the governance of commerce between states, but may also
2. facilitate interstate commerce by eliminating potential obstructions and to restrict it by eliminating potential stimulants.

Under this reasoning, Scalia believed the federal regulation of pot was valid because simple possession can be regulated by the federal government as part of its larger comprehensive scheme to elimiate controlled substance trafficking and markets. If Congress "could reasonably conclude" that its objective of eliminating marijuana from the interstate market "could be undercut" if possession of purely homegrown marijuana were exempted from federal drug law, then Congress can prohibit adults who have grown their own marijuana from smoking that marijuana in their own homes.

Scalia reasoned that its just to hard to distinguish between home grown marijuana and that which moves in interstate commerce (I thought a new class of so-called plant botanist 'experts' would be the next move of prosecutors across the land).

Are there any limits on Congress's power now? Is Necessary and Proper the next battleground?

Scalia distinguished Morrison on the ground that domestic violence was non-economic activity, yet smoking pot was not. Scalia then really danced on the head of a pin, when he claimed that although the regualtion at issue in Lopez was also noneconomic, the regulation (guns near schools) was not part of a larger scheme of interstate commerce related regulations and therefore was invalid.

Scalia states that Morrison and Lopez do not catergorically declare noneconomic intrastate activity to be beyond the reach of the Federal government. Rather, under the necessary and proper clause, intrastate activity that impacts interstate commerce or that supports a greater scheme of laws that properly and constitutionally regulate interstate commerce, may be reached by a law of Congress.

Scalia is wrong with respect to his analysis of Morrison. Morrison did not even discuss whether the VAWA was part of a larger comprehensive scheme of regulation, a fact that Scalia concedes. (The VAWA seems about as comprehensive in its approach to fighting domestic violence on all fronts as is the CSA with respect to drugs).

Scalia is also wrong as to his analysis with Lopez. While Scalia correctly notes that the Lopez

This decision is a logical and legalistic sham:

Full opinion here:

http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/06june20051130/
www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/04pdf/03-1454.pdf


decision itself disclaims that the Gun Free School Zone Act is part of a larger scheme of regulation, is that the logical end of the matter? Will Scalia be satisfied with legislative disclaimers, or should the court have looked at substance over form? May the Supreme Court may now find an implied "Lopez" disclaimer, every time it wants to strike down a federal law that purports not to reach interstate commerce. Conversely, may Congress now insert "anti-Lopez" language in every bill that states that "this bill is part of a larger regulatory scheme" and therefore bullet-proof that law from commerce lause challenges?


City of San Diego political corruption trial in depth.

An excellent compendium of the history and course of the current political corruption trial occurring in San Diego.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/probe/index.html



Sunday, April 03, 2005

Crawford Retroactivity summary:

This is a great summary of retroactivity of Crawford from Professor Friedman's Confrontation Blog. In all the buzz about Booker we may have forgotten about this very important one year old rule changing the very nature of hearsay analysis.

Retroactivity of Crawford:

I don't know much about retroactivity but at least for now there seems to be a split in the federal circuits as to whether Crawford is retroactive for purposes of collateral review. Last week, the Ninth Circuit decided Bockting v. Bayer, 2005 WL 406284 (9th Cir. Feb. 22, 2005), in which a split panel held in favor of retroactivity. I've been on vacation for most of the time since the decision came down, and have not had a chance to read the decision carefully, much less comment on it -- but Brooks Holland has, and you can read his comments, attached to my posting on the Brooklyn conference, by clicking here. (As Brooks points out, there are other interesting aspects of the Bockting decision, and I hope to comment soon on one of them -- unavailability -- in another post.)The day after Bockting was issued, the Sixth Circuit issued Dorchy v. Jones, 2005 WL 415147 (6th Cir. Feb. 23, 2005), which held rather conclusorily that Crawford does not paply retroactively. This is the position that the Second and Tenth Circuits have already taken. Mungo v. Duncan, 393 F.3d 327, 336 (2d Cir.2004); Brown v. Uphoff, 381 F.3d 1219 (10th Cir.2004).Assuming the Ninth Circuit panel is not reversed en banc, therefore, it appears there is a conflict among the circuits, which presumably the Supreme Court will soon feel it necessary to resolve.


Ever wonder what happened to Mr. Blakely?

They certainly taught Mr. Blakely a lesson for daring to appeal his sentence:

http://www.columbiabasinherald.com/articles/2005/
03/23/news/news02.txt


Once Blakely won in the USSC, the same DA came up with a snitch and instead of releasing him put him on trial for solicitiation to murder his wife.


How about Mr. Crawford? What happened to him?

Crawford ended up shaving four years off his sentence by pleading guilty and stipulating to a ten year sentence:

http://www.theolympian.com/home/news/
20050331/topstories/116331.shtml


Were you convicted of crime because of hearsay? Crawford and retroactivity. . .

In March 2005, the Ninth Circuit held that the Crawford rule (which redefines hearsay rules in all courts nationwide) is retroactive to cases not still pending on direct appeal. In the Bockting case the Court held that the defendant (a convicted child molester), was entitled to retroactive relief on a 2254.

See full case: http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/ca9/newopinions.nsf/
1886E09C54A4E27388256FB0005803BA/$file/0215866.pdf?openelement


The Court reasoned that it did not matter whether Crawford announced a new rule within the meaning of Teague because Bockting was entitled to relief either way. The court reasoned that Crawford announced a new PROCEDURAL rule, and therefore "Crawford merits retroactive application only if it implicates the fundamental fairness of the accuracy of the proceeding' [citations] and reworks our understanding of bedrock criminal procedure."

The Ninth Circuit then goes through a very eloquent discussion of both of these elements and finds that Crawford meets them both. Quoting from Scalia in Crawford, the Ninth Circuit notes that Crawford specifically dissaproves of the old Ohio v. Roberts 'trustworthiness' regime for hearsay rule exceptions. The Ninth also reasons that the because cross examination is a engine designed for improving accuracy of factfinding, and because Crawford re-works the rules of cross-examination, then the first part of the Teague test with respect to new procedural rules is met.

Moving on, the Ninth then distinguishes its rule of retroactivity from that announced by the Tenth Circuit.


Sunday, March 20, 2005

High Court again expands Apprendi, Jones, and Blakely doctrines.

In Shepard v. United States the United States Supreme Court again expanded the scope of defendant's rights with respect to what types of evidence are sufficient to support findings of certain prior convictions and the conduct that allegedly happened in those prior cases.

Click here for full case:

http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/07mar20051115/
www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/04pdf/03-9168.pdf


The trial Court in Shepard found that the defendant had three or more burglary convictions and hence enhanced his sentence at the request of the Government. The Armed Career Criminal Act makes burglary a 'violent' felony if it is committed in a building, or enclosed space (i.e. a "generic burglary"), as opposed to a vehicle (the common distinction between first and second degree burglary in California). The trial court had attempted to enhance Shepard's sentence from 37 months to over fifteen years based upon materials found in police reports.

The Supreme Court disapproved this practice. Following Apprendi v. New Jersey, and Jones v. United States, the Supreme Court stated that in 'guilty plea' cases there are only certain types of records that can lawfully support a later specific factual findings of that offense. When attempting to prove a prior for purposes of enhancing a sentence, a transcript of the Rule 11/plea hearing, a written plea agreement, or some sort of on-record plea colloquy or factual basis must be the factual predicate or basis for proof of the facts of the prior.

Defense counsel must now attempt to factually limit and to be as circumspect as possible in their plea allocutions, whether in plea agreements or allocutions. In San Diego Superior Court (and California courts in general), defense counsel should no longer stipulate to the inclusion or incorporation by reference of police reports or transcripts of preliminary examinations as the factual basis to support pleas. This maxim is especially true in drug cases and violent offenses (or other strikes).

Chip Venie


Sunday, March 13, 2005

Another Booker Blakely win in Fourth Circuit

The Fourth Circuit gave reversed a 65 year sentence last week in United States v. Johnson. The Fourth Circuit found "plain error" because a jury failed to find facts in aggravation that amounted to impostion of an extra 32.25 years to Mr. Johnson's sentence. The Court also made some interesting rulings on Miranda issues.

See full case below:

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data2/circs/4th/034677p.pdf

Chip Venie, Esq.
Chip Venie was a staff attorney for the Fourth Circuit from 1999-2000. He is now in private practice in San Diego, California.


Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Blakely and Booker In California

Below is an excellent article on Blakely and Booker's impact in California state court.

http://www.fdap.org/downloads/blakely/

BlakelyBookerFDAPJan2005seminar.pdf


Thursday, March 03, 2005

Judge says woman "too pregnant" to keep kids!

March 3, 2005

JUDGE RULES, MOM “TOO PREGNANT” TO KEEP KIDS

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA: When a divorced mother, with a live-in nanny and fiancé, becomes too pregnant to drive, she will lose her right to any visitation with her children. That is what Family Court Judge Patricia Garcia ruled yesterday, in a hotly contested child custody matter in Chula Vista.

Judge Garcia ruled that a young mother, Cynthia Venie, who is again pregnant with her fourth child, is the only person allowed to pick up her two daughters from their father’s home every other week. When it was explained to Judge Garcia that Ms. Venie had difficulty in the past with her pregnancies and that she might not be able to drive herself, the Judge ordered that she would lose her right to spend time with her two daughters from her first marriage.

“I was shocked by this order from the Court,” said Ms. Venie’s attorney, Jon M. Pettis, “It seems to suggest that because she is pregnant, she should have fewer rights as a parent. That is outrageous and discriminatory. The Court knows Ms. Venie has responsible adults in her home to assist her in caring for the children. The Court also has been informed that the father chooses to leave the children at homes where a convicted drug dealer and documented gang member lives and another, where a mother has been accused of failing to protect her own children from many years of sexual abuse.”

This was in the wake of earlier hearings where evidence was presented to the same Judge accusing Ms. Venie’s ex-husband, Noel Alfsen of sending nearly 20 threatening e-mail messages to Ms. Venie’s fiancé. In one of the emails, Mr. Alfsen allegedly threatened to “Laci Petersen” his former wife and her unborn child.” However, despite extensive testimony and evidence from Mr. Alfsen’s on-line provider showing he was using his e-mail at or near the time of all the messages, Judge Garcia refused to accept the e-mails into evidence and denied a request for a restraining order protecting Ms. Venie or her children.

“I’ll keep going to pick up my daughters as long as I can,” cried Ms. Venie. “It’s because I want to see them and raise them, but also, because I am also terrified about what can be happening to them when they are not with me. I just hope this doesn’t hurt the baby inside me.”

Judge Patricia Garcia: San Diego Superior Court, So. Bay, Dept. 8: (619) 691-4545
Mr. James Albert: (619) 440-7070, Attorney for Mr. Alfsen
Mr. Noel Alfsen: (619) 656-9549, Petitioner
Mr. Chip Venie: (619) 235-8300, Attorney / Respondent’s Fiancé


Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Capitol Sniper avoids execution as HIgh Court voids juvenile death sentence.

On March 1, 2005, the Supreme Court reversed 15 years of precedent and ruled, 5-4, that executing people for crimes they committed under the age of 18 is unconstitutional as against the "cruel and ununusal punishment" clause of the Eight Amendment.

This case appears to have far ranging impacts, but currently impacts between 78 and 84 prisoners on death rows nationwide. Probably the most prominent example of a juvenile who will not be exeucted as a result of this ruling is the case of John Lee Malvo, one of the infamous Capitol snipers. Because Malvo was 17 at the time of the killings, Virginia prosecutors have announced that they will not seek the death penalty as a result of yesterdays rulings.


Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Defense lawyers: always move for judgment of acquittal.

In a somewhat narrow factual ruling, the United States Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2005, that the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment bars a judge from re-considering guilt on a charge for the which the Court has already acquitted the defendant.

In Smith v. Massachussetts, the Court barred a judge who had already acquitted the defendant on one of three counts at his jury trial from reconsidering that judgment of acquittal.

See, full text of opinion:

http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/22feb20051100/
www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/04pdf/03-8661.pdf


This ruling appears quite narrow on its face. For defense lawyers, this means that Motions for Directed Verdicts or Judgments of Acquittal should be filed and fought in almost every case that is tried.


United States Supreme Court bars racial discrimination in prisons!

In a controversial decision, the US Supreme Court held Wednesday that prisons may not temporarily discriminate on the basis of race with respect to its housing of inmates. In Johnson v. California, the high Court held that racial classifications for prisoners who had recently been transferred to a new prison must be subjected to strict scrutiny, as all governmental racial classifications must be after Adarand.

The Court threw out California's current system, see full text of opinion below:

http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/23feb20051045/
www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/04pdf/03-636.pdf


Chip Venie, Esq.
(619) 235-8300
chipesq@hotmail.com


Sunday, February 20, 2005

Ninth Circuit throws out another sentence in light of Booker!

The Ninth has done it again, in this case from Feb. 18th, United States v. Moreno-Hernandez, the Ninth stated that a district court must reconsider its decision to depart 16 levels upward and impose a sentence enhancement upon an offender for a prior crime under Oregon law.

For full opinion, see below:

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data2/circs/9th/0330387p.pdf

This opinion is important because it suggests nearly all federal prisoners in the West will be entitled to a re-sentencing or at least to ask the judge not to impose very severe enhancements. In this case, the Court held that the defendant's enhancement CAN be imposed (that is what the Court says), but it does not HAVE to be imposed (after Booker) and therefore the defendant is entitled to a re-sentencing and to argue that it SHOULD NOT BE IMPOSED. You can see, good defense counsel make all the difference in these matters. If you can get you re-sentencing (which seems easier and easier), you still need good counsel to craft an argument to reduce your sentence. At our firm, we have compiled a Motions bank of nearly 200 factors or reasons to mitigate or lower a federal prisoner's sentence. Please call us or email us today for more information.

Chip Venie, Esq.
chipesq@hotmail.com
(619) 235-8300


Blakely Booker caselaw update central!

This website has it all regarding Booker Fanfan Blakely and their progeny:
http://www.fd.org/blakely_main.htm


Saturday, February 19, 2005

Weekly Blakely Booker Update: List of Departure Factors!

We have compiled a comprehensive list and discussion of mitigating factors that can now be argued on behalf of federal defendants and prisoners who file appeals and receive re-sentencings.

Remember, under Booker and Fanfan, federal judges should sentences defendants (and prisoners who file appeals) under 18 USC 3553(a) which is a list of broad factors that mitigate sentences.
Here is a list of 108 mitigants that can be argued on behalf of defendants who are entitled to Blakely Booker or Fanfan relief.

http://sentencing.typepad.com/sentencing_law_and_policy/files/
levine_108_easy_mitigating_factors_feb_1.doc


Professor Douglas Berman also has provided us with an excellent summary of how judges should now sentence prisoners:

http://sentencing.typepad.com/sentencing_law_and_policy/2005
/02/departures_vari.html


Chip Venie, Esq.
(619) 235-8300
chipesq@hotmail.com



Chip Venie is an attorney in San Diego California who concentrates his practice in criminal defense. Mr. Venie is admitted to practice in Courts throughout the United States (Michigan, California, Washington, D.C., federal courts in California, Michigan, Tennessee, Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, South Carolina, North Carolina).


Nationwide Booker Fanfan Blakely roundup!

Here is a quick weekly summary of rulings from the Second, Third, Ninth and Tenth Circuits:

From the Second Circuit, we get (unpublished) Booker-related dispositions in US v. Alexander, 2005 U.S. App. LEXIS 2905 (2d Cir. Feb. 18, 2005) (affirming sentence apparently based on mandatory minimum and defendant's admission), US v. Mitchell, 2005 U.S. App. LEXIS 2907 (2d Cir. Feb. 18, 2005) (rejecting Booker claim in collateral habeas attack on sentence), and US v. Bostic, 2005 U.S. App. LEXIS 2921 (2d Cir. Feb. 18, 2005) (ordering remand on the basis of Booker and Crosby).

From the Third Circuit, US v. Tyree, 2005 WL 375700 (3d Cir. Feb. 17, 2005), continues the court's pattern (previously noted here and here) of simply remanding Booker claims because, in the Third Circuit's view, they are "best determined by the District Court in the first instance."

From the Ninth Circuit, in both US v. Moreno-Hernandez, 2005 WL 387608 (9th Cir. Feb. 18, 2005), and US v. Alarid, 2005 WL 375728 (9th Cir. Feb. 17, 2005), the court remands for resentencing on the basis of Booker, although Moreno-Hernandez begins with an intricate and complicated discussion over "whether a federal defendant's previous state-law conviction is for a 'felony that is ... a crime of violence' under USSG 2L1.2(b)(1)(A)(ii)."

From the Tenth Circuit, in US v Briceno-Rosado, 2005 WL 388727 (10th Cir. Feb. 18, 2005), the court applies its important ruling in Labastida-Segura (discussed here) to order a remand for resentencing even through the defendant's case involved no Sixth Amendment violation because the court could not conclude that the application of mandatory guidelines to Briceno-Rosado was harmless.


The Courts are already starting to chip away at the scope of the Booker/Fanfanruilings. If you are a federald defedant facing chargs you need to be aware of these cases.
Some of the things that are suggested are:
(1) Judges may be able to enhance your sentence based upon your admissions (saying nothing before you speak to a lawyer is critical); however, almost all of these rulings from last week suggest that
(2) Most federal criminal defendants whose appeals are still pending, or within one year thereafter are entitled to re-sentencings.

Chip Venie
chipesq@hotmail.com
(619) 235-8300


Is Booker Fanfan Retroactive?

In an thorough opinion denying 2255 habeas relief, this judge sets forth the reasons why BOOKER and or Fanfan should not be found retroactively. It reads like an outline of arguments for good defense counsel to anticipate and respond to (in advance) or the Governments pleadings:

http://sentencing.typepad.com/sentencing_law_and_policy/files/
siegelbaum_opinion_denying_2255_motion.pdf


Chip Venie, Esq.


Our firm concentrates on federal and state criminal defense. Mr. Venie has handled over 130 federal criminal appeals and over 600 other felony matters.


Thursday, February 10, 2005

'Plain error' extended to the West on Booker Blakely claims!

The Ninth Circuit (the federal court of appeal for most of the Western states) ruled yesterday that "plain error" analysis is to be applied to Booker Fanfan Blakely Apprendi claims of sentencing error.

What this means is that almost ALL federal prisoners in the west who were sentenced after June 26, 2000, and whose sentences were enhanced by the judge, have a right to a new sentence, AND TO HAVE THEIR OLD SENTENCE THROWN OUT! The Court said as much in its opinion.

In United States v. Ameline, the Court echoed the Fourth Circuit, in Hughes, and held that it does not matter if you lawyer failed to object to your sentence, your former lawyer cannot be held responsible for failing to understand that you had a right to sentencing outside of the guidelines.

Mr. Ameline's case is like so many we have seen in the last ten years. Ameline had his sentenced enhanced because the judge found that he had possessed more than a kg of meth in connection with the conspiracy. Ameline disagreed about the amount of meth.

Mr. Ameline's sentence was also enhanced because his offense level was raised two levels because the judge found that he had possessed a weapon in connection with the drug possession. The judge based this finding on the hearsay testimony of a snitch that stated that Ameline had traded some meth with him for a rifle and that he had once seen Ameline threaten his son with a rifle.

The district court enhanced his sentence based upon those two factors and that sentenced him to 150, the middle of his range of 135-168 months, based upon an total offense level of 33. This is even though the maximum that Ameline could have faced based upon what he admitted oin his plea bargain, was 16 months in prison, given a base offense level of 12.

The Ninth Circuit overturned the sentence, and remanded for a JURY TRIAL on the two sentencing factors, the gun and the AMOUNT OF DRUGS. The Court held that "Ameline was deprived of his right [under Blakely and Booker] to have a jury find beyond a reasonable doubt the quantity of drugs attributable to him. "

But the Court went even farther, they stated that unless your case was "truly" exceptional, you as a defendant would almost always be entitled to a resentencing under the new Blakely Booker holdings. And the Court said on resentencing, that the district court must apply all of the new factors set forth for resentencing and is not constrained on its ability to depart and fashion a sentence that the Court truly thinks is fair and "reasonable."

Link to the case:

http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/ca9/newopinions.nsf/
68A618A338BB0B4188256FA3000764E6/$file/
0230326.pdf?openelement


The impact of this is staggering. Defense counsel are no longer restrained in their pleas to federal courts on behalf of their clients. Truly innovative defense counsel can now obtain low(er) sentences on almost any grounds.

Our firm concentrates solely on criminal defense matters. I have personally handled over 130 federal criminal appeals, and over 600 other felony matters.

Call or email today.

Chip Venie, Esq.
(619) 235-8300
chipesq@hotmail.com



federal drug crimes Booker Fanfan Blakely Booker drug crimes white collar crimes federal appeals appeal


California federal prisoners will get new sentences!

In United States v. Ameline (issued on February 9, 2005) the highest federal court of appeal in the West held in that unless a federal prisoner's case is truly exceptional, he or she will be entitled to a jury trial on all of the aggravating factors used to make his or sentence worse.

This means that all federal prisoners in the West, and specifically drug offenders for Federal drug crimes in California, who were sentenced after June 26, 2000, are probably entitled to a re-sentencing. Prosecutors cannot claim that you possessed anymore drugs (and therefore cannot punish the federal inmate), than they can prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. The old way of punishing a federal drug offender or defendant does not apply anymore. They cannot punish on hearsay about the amount of drugs.

But you must act quickly, the rules of procedure say that you must ask for a resentencing no more than one year after your final direct appeal is denied. (Or you must raise the issue in your direct appeal).

Chip Venie, Esq
chipesq@hotmail.com
(619) 235-8300
Offices in Washington D.C.
San Diego, California
and Davisburg, Michigan.


Saturday, February 05, 2005

'Rape Lite': New Law for Reckless Sexual Conduct?

Two law professors have proposed a new law for "reckless sexual conduct." The propsoed new law would cover situations like the Kobe Bryant case. To convict, prosecutors would have to show beyond a reasonable doubt that a first-time sexual encounter occurred between the accused and the alleged victim, that the couple were not married to one another and that no condom was used. The accused would then have the opportunity to prove, by a preponderance of evidence, that the alleged victim consented to having unprotected sex.

See http://www.abanet.org/journal/ereport/f4conduct.html

This is an interesting proposal. The new law could cover cases like the one below, where a minsiter is accused of using fear of the devil to get women to have sex with him. The new law is wrong insofar as it is another encroachment of government into the bedroom.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/
20040918-9999-2m18pastor.html


http://www.sanluisobispo.com/mld/sanluisobispo/
news/politics/9700407.htm


Chip Venie, Esq.
chipesq@hotmail.com
(619) 235-8300


Rape Lite: a Proposal to Make Consensual Sex a Crime!

This paper suggests that sex bewteen two consenting adults be made a crime if one later objects (think the Kobe Brant case, and our firm's own Romero case discussed below).

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=581663

This proposal has proposed grave impacts on the state of sexual freedom in this country. Further still, the proposed law is at least paternalistic, and at most sexist. The contiuned prosecution of people in the Kobe Bryant or Carlos Romero situation is offensive to women because it once again seeks to portray women as weak, and incapable of consenting to sexual acts. It allows police and prosecutors to determine who is a "bad guy" or a dog (or Lothario) and essentially prosecute them for being "a dog" to women.

This proposed law is a disaster.

For more on the Carlos Romero case, which is a prime example of prosectuorial "white knightsmanship", click below:

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/
20040918-9999-2m18pastor.html


Chip Venie, Esq.
(619) 235-8300
chipesq@hotmail.com


Friday, February 04, 2005

Loved one in prison on a mandatory minimum?

The new Supreme Court ruling in Booker may help get him or her out of jail. Booker and Fanfan themselves were drug defendants, and the United States Supreme Court threw out the guidelines in their cases.

In United States v. Hughes, published just a week ago, the Fourth Circuit (the top Court for federal appeals in Virginia, West Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Maryland), went even further. That Court applied the "plain error" test to this issue, and bascially stated that defendants cannot be held responsible for their lawyers' failure to object at the time of sentencing.

This is an excellent resource on how the new ruilings may impact your loved on serving a mandatory minimum for a federal drug crime or offense:

http://www.famm.org/nr_sentencing_news_blakely_resources.htm

If you loved one is serving time in federal prison for a federal drug crime, please call today, we may be able to help.

Chip Venie, Esq.
chipoesq@hotmail.com
(619) 235-8300


Federal Court in Utah declares sentencing guidelines unconstitutional. . .

This Court in Utah went further than any Court before it. In US v. Croxford, the District Court threw out the guidelines in their entirety. (Interestingly enough the judge in the case clerked for Scalia).

The Utah Court considered three remedies: (1) convene a jury; (2) use the guidelines apart from the defective upward departure provisions; (3) treat guidelines as entirely unconstitutional and pick a sentence between the min and the max. (see pp. 20-29.) He chose the 3d option. Interestingly, and perhaps ironically, in picking the sentence within the statutorily permissible range, the judge made factual findings (grave harm and absconding) by applying the preponderance standard. (see p. 29.) Once he got rid of the guidelines, the maximum sentence that could be imposed without any fact-finding beyond the facts admitted by the plea was the statutory maximum of 20 years. He was, thus, using the facts regarding grave harm and absconding to determine the sentence within the range permitted by the plea, not to raise the statutory maximum. So no jury trial, no proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and, in fact, no "top" or "lid" to protect the defendant. The court did sentence the defendant to 148 months, slightly below the applicable guideline range of 151-188 months.

This ruling shows creative approaches for re-sentencing of defendants after they obtain relief from appeals Courts. If you or a loved one, was sentenced after June 26, 2000 and the judge found enhancements in that case, you may be entitled to relief.

Chip Venie, Esq.
chipesq@hotmail.com
(619) 235-8300


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Thursday, February 03, 2005

Federal Judge reverses first sentenced based on Booker!

It has happened! A federal appeals Court in Richmond, Virginia has held that the applying the federal sentencing guidelines after Booker is PLAIN ERROR, in other words an error so fundamental that the sentencing must be re-done in almost all cases which were sentenced after June 26, 2000.

See, * United States v. Hughes, ___ F.3d ____, 2005 WL 147059, 2005 U.S. App. LEXIS 1189(4th Cir. Jan. 24, 2005) (finding plain error in sentencing of defendant under mandatory guideline scheme and remanding for resentencing under advisory scheme)

Link: http://pacer.ca4.uscourts.gov/lastweek.htm

Mr. Hughes, a white collar criminal, was convicted of bankruptcy fraud and perjury, (traditionally considered white collar crimes). The District Court had applied five different enhancements, raising Mr. Hughes offense level from a 6 to a 22, and taking him from a range of 0-6 months imprisonment to 41 to 51 months. Ultimately the judge sentenced this white collar offender/criminal with no prior convictions to 46 months in prison.

The Fourth Circuit, a court not exactly known for its leniency to convicted criminals reversed. In a remarkable decision, the Court held that "PLAIN ERROR" had occurred. In other words, that the denial of Mr. Hughes's Sixth Amendment rights was so substantial that he could not be faulted for failing to object at the time of sentencing.

What does this all mean? The Plain Error ruling of the Fourth Circuit is huge in terms of impact of federal prisoners and specifically, white collar offenders. Many white collar offenders and other federal prisoners' lawyers failed to object at the time of sentencing to judges enhancing their sentences. (This is not meant to criticize those lawyers, it is reasonable to assert that no one could have seen the Apprendi/Booker revolution comming).

However, IF YOU ARE A FEDERAL DEFENDANT WHO WAS SENTENCED AFTER JUNE 26, 2000 IN A FEDERAL COURT IN MARYLAND, VIRGINIA, WEST VIRGINIA, NORTH CAROLINA, OR SOUTH CAROLINA, YOU ARE PROBABLY ENTITLED TO A RESENTENCING.

If you are a federal prisoner, the Hughes ruling can help in a very dramatic fashion. It can persuade a judge to give you another chance at sentencing, and it can help the judge reduce your sentence.

Mr. Chip Venie was a former Fourth Circuit Staff Attorney and is intimately familiar with the procedures for obtaining resentencing relief in that Court. In addition, Mr. Venie is a member of the Ninth Cicruit bar and can help you pursue your federal appeal in almost all western states. Mr. Venie has handled over 130 Federal Criminal Appeals and Habeas Petitions.

Chip Venie
chipesq@hotmail.com
(619) 235-8300


Booker Fanfan White Collar White Collar White collar prisoner Booker Fanfan


White Collar Criminals in New York getting lesser sentences!

In this twin set of cases, we see federal Courts more open to giving relief and re-sentencing to white collar offenders

US v. Ranum

Facts: Ranum was a bank officer who made a series of loans to a promising shipping company, but lied to the bank committee about the company’s reserves. Opinion at 7. He was charged with misapplication of funds and false statements. Id. at 8. After conviction at trial, he faced a guideline range of 37-45 months in custody. Id. at 9. Before sentencing, Booker was decided.Issue(s): How does a federal court sentence a defendant after Booker?Held: "In Booker, the Supreme Court held that Blakely v. Washington applied to the federal sentencing guidelines, and that the Sixth Amendment’s jury trial guarantee prevented judges from finding facts that exposed a defendant to increased prison time. As a remedy, a different majority of the Court excised the provision of the Sentencing Reform Act that made the guidelines mandatory, 18 U.S.C. § 3553(b). The remedial majority held that district courts must still consider the guideline range, 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a)(4) & (5), but must also consider the other directives set forth in § 3553(a). Thus, under Booker, courts must treat the guidelines as just one of a number of sentencing factors." Id. at 1-2. "I determined that the factors set forth in § 3553(a) fell into three general categories: the nature of the offense, the history and character of the defendant, and the needs of the public and the victims of the offense. I analyzed each category and in so doing considered the specific statutory factors under § 3553(a), including the advisory guidelines." Id. at 10."In the present case, after carefully considering all of the evidence and applying all of the § 3553(a) factors, I declined to follow the guidelines and instead imposed a sentence which was sufficient, but not greater than necessary, to satisfy the purposes of sentencing." Id. at 5. "I impose[] a sentence of twelve months and one day, followed by five years of supervised release." Id. at 13.

The Ranum Court gave the white collar offender 12 months instead of the required 37-45. White collar offenders are beggining to benefit from the Booker/Fanfan ruling. It gives judges the discretion to depart from the very strict "amount of loss" guidelines, and "level of sophistication" enhancements that are routinely imposed in white collar crimes.

See also: * United States v. West, 2005 WL 180930, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1123 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 27,2005) (Sweet, J.) (in wire fraud case, where stipulated Guideline range was 57-71 months, sentencing defendant to 60 months, the statutory maximum; following Ranum (supra), in that Guidelines are only one factor to consider; notably, stating that “[n]othing in Booker appears to suggest that such fact-finding, as limited by the principles of Apprendi and its progeny, is inappropriate. Accordingly, this Court will sentence West based upon the facts admitted in connection with his plea and upon those facts found by the Court in the context of analysis under subsection 3553(a), as limited by Apprendi and Booker”)

Many white collar offenders from New York City, Connecticut and surrounding areas can benefit from these cases.

Chip Venie
chipesq@hotmail.com
(619) 235-8300


Will it apply to drug offenders in Virginia?

In United States v. Hughes, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia stated that the new sentencing rules announced in Booker will be applied for plain error.

What that means is that Mr. Hughes, who is a white collar offender, could have been sentenced to 0-6 months instead of the 46 that he got under his applicable range (41-51 moths).

Federal drug offenders are entitled to the same relief. There is no reason to distinguish between Mr. Hughes, who got an erroneous sentenced based upon 'amount of dollar loss' findings, and a drug offender who got a greater than authorzied sentence because of 'drug amount' findings.

It is my firm's belief that drug offenders who were sentenced after June 26, 2000 in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, and South Carolina, may be entitled to drastic reductions in their prison time.

Mr. Venie has handled over 130 appeals before the Fourth Circuit, the Court you must ask for help if you are a federal drug offender in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina or South Carolina.

Chip Venie, Esq.
chipesq@hotmail.com
(619) 235-8300


Marijuana and gun offender given 55 year reduction in sentence!

This is a very interesting case out of Utah. The judge is actually the same man who argued for the reveral of Miranda in Dickerson. The judge calls out President Bush to do what is right for the defendant.

www.utd.uscourts.gov/reports/angelos.pdf

Chip Venie, Esq.
(619) 235-8300




Booker Fanfan Booker Fanfan drug crimes


"COPS" like car chases causing accidents cannot be murders under California Law.

Last week, in People v. Howard, the California Supreme Court threw out a second degree murder conviction for Mr. Howard and his life sentence as well, and ruled that he COULD NOT be convicted of murder after a 'COPS'-like chase through rural parts of Fresno County.

Mr. Howard, who had marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine in his system when tested after the crash, took off from police in a high speed pursuit after they attempted to stop the stolen SUV which he was driving. Howard ran a red light after police broke off pursuit and hit a car in an intersection killing one of the car's occupants.

The court held that not all evading cases are inherently dangerous to human life. The Court stated that the prosecution could not rely upon the second degree felony murder doctrine, which allows for conviction of murder if someone is killed in the course of commission of a felony. The prosecution will now have to prove that someone acted with "malice", not just in reckless disregard for life and limb.

Chip Venie, Esq.
chipesq@hotmail.com
(619) 235-8300






evading evade car car chase car law murder accident car accident evading offense crime criminal


Saturday, January 15, 2005

Almost every prisoner should file a Motion to Re-sentence

With the death of the federal sentencing guidelines, almost all of criminal defendants sitting in Federal prisons should all writs (2255) or new appeals to address the Booker and Fanfan decisions. The article below gives a full summary of the effect of Booker and Fanfan.

http://www.abanet.org/journal/ereport/j14sentence.html

Needless to say, almost EVERY criminal defendant has important rights under the new decisions. Time is running however, the Congress will do something soon to address this huge criminal law "loophole" or "escape hatch."


Chip Venie, Esq
(619) 235-8300
chipesq@hotmail.com

Booker Fanfan Booker Fanfan


Friday, January 14, 2005

White Collar Offenders will get a major break with new rules

With this week's major decision in Booker and Fanfan, white collar offenders (i.e. those accused of and sentenced for fraud offenses), will be able to escape the harsh consequences of the guidelines table.
Before Booker and Fanfan, the sentence for fraud offenses was based upon the amount of loss. White collar criminals or offenders had little room to argue for leniency, the table drove the sentences. Now, a white collar offender will not have to be locked into the table, and good defense counsel can make all of the difference.


Chip Venie, Esq.
chipesq@hotmail.com
(619) 235-8300


Prayer's OK at Inauguration

A federal court here in California rejected noted atheist Michael Newdow's request to keep prayers out of "W's" second inauguration. Newdow, who is the same guy who challenged the Pledge of Allegiance, made the following comments after the judge's ruling:

"To uphold the Constitution in this case, someone would be castigated beyond belief by a public that wants religion in their government," Newdow said. "That's what people want. There is an inherent bias in a case like this to see if you can find a way out."
Newdow had argued that the inauguration is perhaps the most public of all government-sponsored national ceremonies. It should not provide the president with an opportunity to make nonreligious citizens and non-Protestants feel like outsiders, he said.
"This is like the Super Bowl, the Olympics. It's a civic ceremony like no other," Newdow told Bates in a hearing yesterday. "The president will swear to uphold the Constitution and then violate the Constitution so heinously by endorsing these religious beliefs . . . and telling everyone this is a Christian nation."

To see the entire story, click on this link


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/
A9936-2005Jan14.html


Thursday, January 13, 2005

Ding Dong the "Witch" is Dead. . . The Supreme Court

today threw out the United States Sentencing Guidelines, USSG, making them "advisory." This is a HUGE development for Federal criminal law lawyers. The consolidated cases, United States v. Booker and United States v. Fanfan, are the final death blow to a system of mandatory guidelines that severely restricted federal judges discretion, all in the name of uniformity of sentencing. The Supreme Court today reaffirmed that anyone who is facing criminal charges must have the facts which determine his guilt, or innocence or punishment, must be decided by a jury fo his or her peers. Further the Court stated that those facts must be decided beyond a reasonable doubt and not just by a judge after a jury trial by some lesser standard of proof.
Mr. Booker's and Mr. Fanfan's cases are instructive. In Booker's case he pleaded guilty to possession of 92.5 grams of crack with intent to sell. Under those facts, his sentencing range was set at 210-262 months. Instead, after a judge led hearing, the judge found certain facts to be true by preponderance of the evidence (the standard for civil lawuits), and then imposed a 360 month (30 year) sentence. In Mr. Fanfan's case, under the terms of his conviction, he was supposed to be sentenced to no more than 78 months imprisonment. Instead, after a judge led hearing, the judge found certain facts and enhanced his sentence to 188-235 months.
The Supreme Court rejected both these enhancements, and stated that all facts that lead to conviction or enhancement of a sentence must be pleaded to a jury, and proved before a jury, and that a jury must find them beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Supreme Court also invalidated a provision that allowed appellate judges to review all of the factors that the trial judge took into account in deciding to depart. The Supreme Court stated that from, now on, a judge's decision to depart from the sentencing table (which is advisory now anyway), that the decision to depart wil be reviewed only to see if it is 'unreasonable'.

What does this mean to you? If you were sentenced on a federal crime after June 26, 2000, you have the right to a resentencing and maybe a right to a departure. The clock is ticking however, Fanfan and Booker were made applicable to caes currently in trial courts and on appeal, but you need to get the appeal filed sooner rather than later.

Chip Venie
Criminal Defense Attorney
chipesq@hotmail.com
(619) 235-8300


Booker and Fanfan: A new era in sentencing

Today, the United States Supreme Court invalidated the sentences of many federal inmates. For more information see the last post, or read the following cases


www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/04pdf/04-104.pdf




Booker Fanfan Booker Fanfan Booker Fanfan Booker Fanfan Booker Fanfan Booker Fanfan Booker Fanfan


Sentencing changed forever!

Major change in federal sentences for crimes!

Booker and Fanfan,

The United States Supreme Court changed federal criminal sentencing and sentences yesterday when it threw out the sentencing guidelines that judges had been required to use prior to yesterday.

An excellent summary of the case is found at

http://supct.law.cornell.edu/supct/cert/04-104.html

This is the final judicial slapdown to the Ashcroft administration. The Supremes have clearly signaled a greater deference to federal TRIAL court judges, and most of all to juries, the ones who hear the facts and should be the decision makers.

The decision reaffirms that a defendant is entitled to a JURY determination of any fact used to convict or punish him, thereby reaffirming our faith in the jury system.

The decision also rejects and rebukes the Ashcroft amendments to the guidelines that allowed appellate judges to review trial judges decisions to depart. Instead of getting to completely reconsider all of the facts that the tiral judge considered in deciding to depart, appellate judges will now only get to determine if the trial judge's decision was not "unreasonable." This is significant because it puts the decision making power on sentencing departures back where it should be in the trial judges hands.

Chip Venie, Esq.
chipesq@hotmail.com
(619) 235-8300


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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

AOL indictments on PuchasePro, more to follow?

Today, some AOL executives were indicted for, among other things, accounting fraud. Apparently, they had forged a signature on some financing documents, as well as a variety of accounting fraud issues.
This apparently is just the beginning, Time Warner has already settled for a massive fine, and the Justice Department promises more prosecutions.
The difficulty with proving this kind of fraud is that most of the so-called "evidence" of fraud exists only in the minds of the executives, and the average jury may have a hard time with complicated financial issues.


Monday, January 10, 2005

Peterson is not guilty of first degree murder

Peterson should not get the death penalty, the reason is simple: he is not guilty of FIRST degree murder. I think he probably got mad because she confronted him about the affair with Amber and then he probably pushed her or she fell down after a struggle. At that moment, he had two choices: (a) call the police and take the charge (maybe assault with a deadly weapon, a serious felony, and strike under California Law under most circumstances), or (b) he could do something stupid and cover it up/finish her off. It makes no sense that he deliberately premeditated to kill his child, even though he may have wanted to get rid of her. If this is true, then he is guilty of at second degree murder, which is 25-to-life (25 to life) under California law.