This week at the court

This week at the courtWe expect orders from the February 16 conference on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. There is a possibility of opinions on Wednesday at 10 a.m. The court will hear oral argument on Tuesday in Currier v. Virginia and City of Hays v. Vogt and on Wednesday in Rosales-Mireles v. United States and Dahda v. United States. […]

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This week at the court

We expect orders from the February 16 conference on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. There is a possibility of opinions on Wednesday at 10 a.m. The court will hear oral argument on Tuesday in Currier v. Virginia and City of Hays v. Vogt and on Wednesday in Rosales-Mireles v. United States and Dahda v. United States. The calendar for the February sitting is available on the court’s website. On Friday the justices will meet for their February 23 conference; our list of “petitions to watch” for that conference will be available soon.

The post This week at the court appeared first on SCOTUSblog.

from http://www.scotusblog.com

Suspect charged in woman’s rape, second man sought

Police arrested one man and are looking for the second person who raped a woman in the bathroom of a Manhattan apartment party. George Ballo, 26, was busted on Wednesday night for sexually assaulting the 25-year-old woman at a party at the Fulton House…

Police arrested one man and are looking for the second person who raped a woman in the bathroom of a Manhattan apartment party. George Ballo, 26, was busted on Wednesday night for sexually assaulting the 25-year-old woman at a party at the Fulton Houses on West 17th Street near Ninth Avenue in Chelsea, cops said....

from https://nypost.com

Categories: Uncategorized

Gun Rights Continue Expanding After Mass Shootings

Despite calls for more gun control, advocates of allowing guns in more places, including schools and colleges, are prevailing in state legislative debates. That trend may go on after the Florida school shooting.

The Florida school shooting has prompted calls for stricter gun laws, but such measures face a tough road as a wave of states have moved to expand gun owners’ rights, the Wall Street Journal reports. In the past six years, after deadly shootings at a Las Vegas concert, an Orlando nightclub and a Connecticut elementary school, efforts in Congress to tighten gun regulations have failed. Legislation in states has led largely to wins for supporters of broader gun rights. In a recent push, 12 states—including West Virginia, Kansas and Missouri—now have laws allowing residents to carry concealed handguns without getting a permit from authorities. Permitless-carry laws are pending in at least 19 states, says the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. North Dakota, Georgia and a growing number of other states have recently passed laws giving gun owners the right to carry firearms to places such as public parks, concerts, bars and churches.

At least 22 states have pending bills to allow guns in schools and colleges. In Texas and other states, licensed gun owners can bring concealed handguns onto public university campuses. Oklahoma passed a law in 2015 allowing trained teachers and staff at K-12 schools to carry handguns in school. A new Iowa law lets children under 14 possess firearms with adult supervision and reduces restrictions on carrying guns into courthouses and city halls. David Kopel, a University of Denver law professor and gun-rights advocate, expects the Florida shooting to boost state bills that seek to bring more guns onto school grounds. Gun-control advocates say allowing guns in more public spaces endangers public safety by heightening the risk of gun violence from unintentional shootings and from conflict escalation. They say armed civilians often shoot inaccurately in a crisis situation.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Gun Control Advocates Cite Progress in Connecticut

States with the strictest gun-control laws have the lowest rate of gun deaths. Those who favor more gun control says Connecticut illustrates one way to go about it after a school shooting.

After the 2012 Newtown school shootings, Connecticut legislators set out to draft some of the nation’s toughest gun measures. They significantly expanded an existing ban on the sale of assault weapons, prohibiting the sale of magazines with more than 10 rounds and requiring the registration of existing assault rifles and higher-capacity magazines. The state also required background checks for all firearms sales and created a registry of weapons offenders, including those accused of illegally possessing a firearm, the New York Times reports. After the Florida school shooting, gun-control advocates, Democratic politicians and others are pointing to the success of states like Connecticut in addressing the spiraling toll of gun violence.

The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence says that, with few exceptions, states with the strictest gun-control measures, including California, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, have the lowest rates of gun deaths, while those with the most lax laws like Alabama, Alaska and Louisiana, have the highest. After Connecticut passed its package of gun laws, gun-related deaths started to drop. The number of deaths resulting from firearms fell to 164 in 2016, from 226 in 2012. There are limits to state and local gun laws. Cities like Chicago and Baltimore, with rigorous gun laws, also have two of the nation’s highest murder rates. The black market for illegal guns has thrived in those cities, with gang members and criminals turning to the streets to get firearms. Still, state officials say Connecticut has experienced the fastest drop in violent crime of any state over the last four years. Gun-control advocates say the suspect in Florida, Nikolas Cruz, could not have bought the AR-15-style rifle used in the attack, or the high-capacity magazines, in Connecticut.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Thornton P. Knowles On Trying To Teach Writing

One of my college writing students, pursuant to a composition assignment, wrote the following sentence: “In the desert that day there wasn’t a drop of wind.” When I asked the student if, on second thought, he found something wrong with that sentence, h…

One of my college writing students, pursuant to a composition assignment, wrote the following sentence: "In the desert that day there wasn't a drop of wind." When I asked the student if, on second thought, he found something wrong with that sentence, he asked, "Did I misspell desert?" I figured what the hell, the kid can spell. For that reason, it didn't make a drop of sense to flunk him. Perhaps there is nothing more ridiculous than trying to teach someone to write. If they can, they can. If they can't, they can't. Eventually, I learned to settle for good spelling.

Thornton P. Knowles

from http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/

Categories: Uncategorized

The Nuzzio Begaren Murder-For-Hire Case

     In the southern California city of Santa Ana, Nuzzio Begaren married a 36-year-old state corrections officer named Elizabeth. The 40-year-old groom had a daughter from a previous marriage who was ten. Three days after the wedding, N…

     In the southern California city of Santa Ana, Nuzzio Begaren married a 36-year-old state corrections officer named Elizabeth. The 40-year-old groom had a daughter from a previous marriage who was ten. Three days after the wedding, Nuzzio bought a $1 million insurance policy on his new wife's life. This meant that Elizabeth Begaren stood between her husband and a million dollars. Buying the life insurance had been the first step on Nuzzio's path to wealth. Getting someone to murder his wife comprised step two.

     Finding someone to kill his wife was the easy part of Nuzzio's murder-for-hire scheme. He simply offered $4,800 in cash to friends who belonged to a Los Angeles criminal gang. On the night of January 17, 1998, the murder-for-hire mastermind took Elizabeth and his daughter shopping at a mall in Burbank. While shopping in Macy's, he gave Elizabeth the cash to hold for him. She placed the money into her purse, unaware she was carrying the pay-off for her own demise.

     As Nuzzio, Elizabeth, and his daughter drove home in the blue Kia Sportage, they were followed by a Buick Regal driven by 24-year-old Guillermo Espinoza. Three other gang members were in the vehicle. At eleven o'clock, as Nuzzio pulled onto the off-ramp of the 91 Freeway in Anaheim, the Buick pulled up alongside Nuzzio and ran him off the road. Three of the LA gangsters got out of the Buick, and as Nuzzio climbed into the back seat of the Kia to be with his daughter, Elizabeth made a run for it as the hit men approached.

     The hit men quickly caught up with Nuzzio's terrified wife. In begging for her life, she pulled out her correction officer's badge. That's when Guillermo Espinoza shot her in the head and chest. The shooter grabbed the dead woman's handbag, returned to the Buick with the other two men, and drove off.

     Nuzzio Begaren told officers with the Anaheim Police Department that the men behind his wife's cold-blooded murder had targeted his family at the shopping mall and followed them home. "There was no reason for someone to follow us," he said. "We have no enemies." Nuzzio described the gangsters' car as a dark blue, late 1970s Oldsmobile. He gave detectives a license number that didn't check out. Nuzzio described the four men in the Oldsmobile as a pair of blacks, and two men who were either white or Latino. "When they saw the badge," he said, "they shot her. She was dying, lying face down in the blood, with her badge in her hand." Nuzzio described his dearly departed wife as someone who had been "full of joy."

     Detectives believed that Nuzzio was full of something else. But the investigation went nowhere, and the case eventually died on the vine. It looked as though Nuzzio Begaren had gotten away with murder.

     In February 2012, police officers arrested the 55-year-old Begaren in Rancho Cucamonga, California. An Orange County grand jury had indicted him for soliciting the murder of his wife. Guillermo Espinoza had been indicted as well, but his whereabouts were unknown. (In 2011, when he learned that cold case detectives had reopened the case, Espinoza went underground.)

     Begaren went on trial on August 21, 2013 in a Santa Ana court for conspiracy to murder his wife for financial gain. (Guillermo Espinoza was still at large.) Orange County prosecutor Larry Yellin, in his opening statement to the jury, told of a piece of torn-up paper found near the murder scene that bore the victim's handwriting. Elizabeth had scribbled "light blue" and had written down the license number of the car that had been following them. The plate number belonged to a light blue Buick Regal, the vehicle driven that night by Guillermo Espinosa.

     Prosecutor Yellin informed the jurors that gang members Rudy Duran and Jose Luis Sandoval, both of whom had been in the Buick that night, were going to testify for the prosecution. According to these men, the defendant had arranged his wife's murder for the insurance money. The murder-for-hire mastermind had wanted the killing to look like a highway robbery turned fatal.

     Defense attorney Sal Ciula told the jury that Rudy Duran had been pressured into cooperating with the authorities. According to the defense attorney, if Duran worked with the prosecution, "he would become a witness instead of a defendant. He [Duran] made the obvious choice."

     The heart of the prosecution's case involved the $1 million life insurance police and the testimony of the alleged hit men, Rudy Duran and Jose Luis Sandoval. The essence of the Bergaren's defense involved attacking the credibility of the two key prosecution witnesses.

     On September 6, 2013, the jury, after deliberating three days, found the defendant guilty of hiring Espinoza and Sandoval to murder his wife. On October 4, 2013, the judge could put him away for 25 years to life.

     In October 2013, Rudy Duran and Jose Luis Sandoval pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter. Both men were sentenced to time served and were released from jail. Guillermo Espinoza, as of January 2016, was still at large.

        

from http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/

Brevard County Sheriff’s Office (FL)

Deputy Sheriff Kevin Stanton was killed when his patrol car was struck by a tractor-trailer on I-95, just north of Route 50, at approximately 5:10 am.

The tractor-trailer suffered a tire…

Deputy Sheriff Kevin Stanton was killed when his patrol car was struck by a tractor-trailer on I-95, just north of Route 50, at approximately 5:10 am. The tractor-trailer suffered a tire...

from https://www.odmp.org/

Categories: Uncategorized

Justice Reformers Focus on Prosecutor Races

After Larry Krasner’s victory in Philadelphia, civil rights advocates are looking at DA contests in cities like Dallas, Baltimore, Charlotte, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego and St. Louis. George Soros is backing the effort.

National civil rights organizations are teaming with local groups to push their agendas in  district attorney races, where a few thousand votes can determine who asserts the most influence over the local justice system, NBC News reports. Picking targets carefully, crunching election data to influence pivotal voter blocs, and benefiting from the largesse of George Soros, crusaders have racked up big wins, most recently in Philadelphia, where civil rights lawyer Larry Krasner was elected chief prosecutor last year. Using Krasner as proof that their strategy can work, the American Civil Liberties Union, Color of Change and like-minded political action committees now focusing on 2018 races, with Dallas at the front of a list that could also include Baltimore, Charlotte, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego and St. Louis, as well as parts of Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Oregon.

Each will involve targeted voter-education drives and the hiring of formerly prisoners to canvass neighborhoods, asking voters to demand that candidates pledge to curb mass incarceration. “We want to send a clear message that these are the real issues and the litmus test in the election, and to demonstrate the public demand for it,” said Scott Roberts of Color of Change, which organizes online campaigns focused on ending injustices against African-Americans. Stanford law Prof. David Sklansky, who studies prosecutors, says that, “In a growing number of races, people have defeated incumbents by running on platforms that are very policy heavy. They’re not calling for more punishment, but more sensible policies,” from police oversight to criminal sentencing. The trend in 2013, when Ken Thompson defeated longtime Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes. Since then, self-described reform candidates have won in Chicago, Denver, Houston, and Orlando, and in smaller jurisdictions in Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Pulitzer-winning article on botched rape case is now a must-read book

Devoted “This American Life” listeners will recognize the story: Marie, an 18-year old in Lynnwood, Wash., claimed that a stranger broke into her house, tied her up with shoelaces, took pictures and raped her. Cops doubted the story. A complete stranger? Shoelaces? Marie didn’t help convince them. She didn’t cry, seemed to dodge questions and…

Devoted “This American Life” listeners will recognize the story: Marie, an 18-year old in Lynnwood, Wash., claimed that a stranger broke into her house, tied her up with shoelaces, took pictures and raped her. Cops doubted the story. A complete stranger? Shoelaces? Marie didn’t help convince them. She didn’t cry, seemed to dodge questions and...

from https://nypost.com

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