iNPLACENEWS Blog Has MOVED

September 14, 2008

Hey everyone!  From all the staff to all the readers of our blog and the watchers of our live news programming broadcasted live over the internet directly to your desktop, we want to thank you for all your support and participatiion.  We have relocated our blog to iNPLACENEWS.COM.  There you will find all our blogs, including the old posts, your comments you made, the place to download our free desktop player and all of the current news from around the world.  Stay up-to-date on all the current events by watching our broadcasts, reading our blogs, and watching videos-on-demand.  Again, go to iNPLACENEWS.COM for all the newest blogs and the older posts you love to go back to read.  Thank you again for your time, support, and participation.

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Abu Ghraib Detainees Sue Contractors Over Torture

June 30, 2008


Former detainees of the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq are suing U.S. contractors. The first complaint was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Seattle, Washington. Others are being filed in Detroit, Michigan; Columbus, Ohio; and Greenbelt, Maryland.

According to the court papers, it is alleged that innocent people who were arrested and taken to the prison were subjected to forced nudity, electrical shocks, mock executions and other inhumane treatment by employees of defense contractors CACI International and L-3 Communications, formerly Titan Corporation.

The plaintiffs are represented by law firms in Philadelphia and Detroit and by the Center for Constitutional Rights.

iNPLACENEWS


Man Convicted of Stealing Corpses and Selling Parts

June 27, 2008


Michael Mastromarino, a former oral surgeon who owned Biomedical Tissue Services and was responsible for a ghoulish scheme that involved stealing hundreds of corpses and selling the parts for millions of dollars, was found guilty and will spend 18 to 54 years in prison. The bodies were carved up without permission and were not medically screened. Oddly enough, one of the bodies that got carved up and butchered for pieces was that of “Masterpiece Theatre” host Alistair Cooke. They were sold around the country for dental implants, knee and hip replacements, and other procedures. About 10,000 people received tissue supplied by BTS.

Mastromarino has admitted running the operation from 2001 to 2005 and pleaded guilty to charges of enterprise corruption, body stealing and reckless endangerment.

As the above picture shows, he was using PVC piping to fill out some of the missing bulk after removing organs and such.

iNPLACENEWS


Guilty of Murder By SUV and Train

June 27, 2008


A man who claimed he was attempting suicide when he triggered a 2005 rail disaster was convicted Thursday of 11 counts of first-degree murder and could face the death penalty.

Two commuter trains collided into a tangled mass of smoking wreckage littered with victims after Juan Alvarez left a gasoline-drenched sport-utility vehicle on railroad tracks in Glendale, northeast of downtown Los Angeles.

Alvarez, 29, looked on stolidly as the Superior Court jury returned its guilty verdicts for the murders and one count of arson. The jury also agreed there was a special circumstance of multiple murders – making Alvarez eligible for the death penalty – but it acquitted him of a charge called train wrecking.

Jurors were ordered to return for the start of the penalty phase on July 7.

Alvarez had pleaded not guilty. He admitted causing the Jan. 26, 2005, disaster but claimed he had intended to kill himself, then changed his mind and was unable to get the SUV off the tracks.

A fast-moving Metrolink train struck the vehicle, derailed and struck another Metrolink train heading in the opposite direction and a parked freight train. In addition to the 11 deaths, about 180 people were injured.

Prosecutors denounced his claim of being suicidal as a lie and said he was trying to cause a calamity to get the attention of his estranged wife. Prosecutors said he started out that day with thoughts of killing his wife and then killed the rail passengers because she wasn’t available.

The derailment created a horrific scene of mangled rail cars. Workers from nearby businesses scrambled to rescue the injured before firefighters reached the scene.

As he lay injured in the wreck, John Phipps used his own blood to scrawl what he thought would be his last words to his wife and children: “I (heart symbol) my kids. I (heart symbol) Leslie.” He survived.

According to trial testimony, Alvarez fled the vehicle, left the scene and went to a friend’s house, where he stabbed himself with scissors. Alvarez testified he did not remember stabbing himself but did remember being in a hospital with puncture wounds.

The verdict relieved relatives of the dead.

Alberto Romero said he is reminded of his uncle Leonardo Romero’s death every day because Metrolink commuter trains run past his machine shop. Teresa Nance, whose mother, Elizabeth Hill, was killed, said that as the trial began she had nightmares of being in the train with her.

Neither Romero nor Nance, however, thought it was necessary for Alvarez to be executed.

“He needs to think about this every day of his life,” said Alberto Romero, 45, of Rancho Cucamonga.

Nance, 40, of Reseda, said a death sentence could end up being a life sentence anyway because of appeals. “He’s not going to get off, he’s not going to get out,” she said.

The defense painted Alvarez as a mentally ill victim of childhood abuse who became a drug addict. The prosecution called him a pathological liar whose claim of mental illness was a manipulative tactic.

Separately, the derailment led to a debate about the practice of running Metrolink trains in reverse, with the heavy engine at the rear being controlled from the other end by an operator in what is called a cab car.

Critics contended that the train wouldn’t have derailed if the heavy engine had struck the SUV. The railroad defends the practice.

Originally found @ AssociatedPress.com

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Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Busted in Mineola: Feeding Kids Pills and Forcing Sex Shows

June 22, 2008

In the windowless front rooms of a former day care center in a tiny Texas community, children as young as 5 were fed powerful painkillers they knew as “silly pills” and forced to perform sex shows for a crowd of adults.
Two people have already been convicted in the case. Now a third person with ties to the club, previously known in town only as a swingers group, is set to go on trial Monday not far from Mineola, population 5,100.

“This really shook this town,” said Shirley Chadwick, a longtime resident of Mineola. “This was horrible.”

Patrick Kelly, 41, is charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child, tampering with physical evidence and engaging in organized criminal activity.

In all, six adults have been charged in connection with the case, including a parent of the three siblings involved.

Jurors this year deliberated less than five minutes before returning guilty verdicts against the first two defendants, who were accused of grooming the kids for sex shows in “kindergarten” classes and passing off Vicodin as “silly pills” to help the children perform.

Jamie Pittman and Shauntel Mayo were sentenced to life in prison. Kelly also faces a life sentence if convicted, and Smith County prosecutors hope for another swift verdict.

Thad Davidson, Kelly’s attorney, said his client passed a lie-detector test proving his innocence and worries about getting a fair trial in Tyler, 25 miles southeast of Mineola, which is in Wood County.

“I think it’s impossible to get a fair trial within 80 miles of Smith County,” Davidson said.

Mineola, about 80 miles east of Dallas, is a close-knit, conservative bean-processing town of with more than 30 churches. Residents there want to put the scandal behind them as quickly as possible.

The one-story building where prosecutors say four children – the three siblings, now ages 12, 10 and 7, and their 10-year-old aunt – were trained to perform in front of an audience of 50 to 100 once a week has been vacant since the landlord ousted the alleged organizers in 2004.

Down a slight hill is a retirement home, and even closer is the office of the local newspaper. Doris Newman, editor of The Mineola Monitor, said rumors of swinger parties spread around town but that no one mentioned children being involved.

Newman, who can see the building from her office window, said she remembers the parking lot filling up with more than a dozen cars at night.

In August 2004, an editorial under the headline “Sex In the City” opined that if the swingers left quietly, “we’ll try and forget they’ve infiltrated our town with their set of moral standards.”

“It’s not that we’re trying to look the other way,” Newman said. “But there’s a lot more to Mineola than that.”

According to a Mineola police report, the department first investigated a complaint in June 2005 in which the siblings’ foster mother said one of the girls described dancing toward men and another child saying that “everybody does nasty stuff in there.”

In the second trial, Child Protective Services caseworker Kristi Hachtel testified, “I’ve seen a lot and I never in my wildest dreams imagined this. They were preyed upon in probably one of the most heinous ways possible.”

The children are now doing better, the welfare agency said.

“Through counseling and therapy sessions, these children are now finally feeling secure and safe,” agency spokeswoman Shari Pulliam wrote in an e-mail.

Permanent custody of the three siblings was given to John and Margie Cantrell. This week, prosecutors in California charged John Cantrell with sexually assaulting a child in the state 18 years ago. Margie Cantrell said her husband is innocent.

Kelly’s attorney moved Friday asking to postpone the trial in light of the allegations against Cantrell, a state witness. Texas Child Protective Services said it would be “common” for the agency to investigate.

The Rev. Tim Letsch is opening a church in the yellow-plastered building where the children were abused. He acknowledges that building a congregation might be difficult because of the stigma attached to the property.

“You got to decide whether you’re willing to forgive those kind of things,” Letsch said. “It’s a hard deal. Especially for a spiritual person to walk in and say, ‘This happened here.'”

Origally posted @ AssociatedPress.com

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Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Supreme Court Questions the Right to Self-Representation

June 19, 2008

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a state has the right to prevent a possibly schizophrenic defendant from serving as his own lawyer in a criminal court.

The justices concluded, 7-2, that trial judges had discretion to take “realistic account” of an Indiana man’s mental capacities in the case of self-representation.

At issue is whether the fundamental right of an accused person to represent himself or herself applies to those whose are competent enough to stand trial, but perhaps not enough to plead their own defense.

The state wanted a higher standard of competency for those representing themselves than for those standing trial with the help of a lawyer.

“The trial judge,” wrote Justice Stephen Breyer for the majority, “will often prove best able to make more fine-tuned mental capacity decisions, tailored to the individualized circumstances of a particular defendant.”

Thursday’s case dealt with Ahmad Edwards, charged with attempted murder and battery with a deadly weapon relating to a 1999 incident in which he fired shots after trying to steal shoes at a downtown Indianapolis department store. He fled but was eventually cornered by an FBI agent, who shot him when he refused to surrender.

Over the next few months various psychiatrists offered conflicting conclusions on whether he had schizophrenia, and state criminal courts went back and forth as well over his competency to stand trial and to represent himself.

Edwards was eventually found competent to stand trial, and in June 2005, with the help of standby lawyers, was convicted on charges of criminal recklessness and theft. Standby lawyers are appointed by the court to advise defendants who represent themselves, and can step in if defendants change their mind.

In Edwards’ case, the judge was forced to declare a mistrial on two other counts — attempted murder and battery with a deadly weapon — on which the jury could reach no decision.

During a second trial, Edwards again insisted on representing himself and had his attorneys removed. But the trial court ruled that Edwards, though competent to stand trial, lacked the additional capability required to conduct a defense. With defense attorneys present, he was convicted of the remaining two counts.

He appealed those convictions. They were overturned when Indiana agreed that his right to represent himself had been violated.

In dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia called the ruling “extraordinarily vague,” saying it gives little guidance to trial courts. And he warned judges “have every incentive to make their lives easier” by denying a defendant’s wish to be his own lawyer. Scalia was supported by Justice Clarence Thomas.

The Supreme Court has generally upheld the right of self-representation, but Justice Samuel Alito spoke for many of his colleagues in March oral arguments. “It is the rare case in which a lay defendant can adequately represent himself or herself,” he said. “Where do you draw the line?”

Edwards’ appellate attorney told the justices that standby trial counsel could assist someone like Edwards, and even take over the case if the trial descended into chaos or incoherence.

The Bush administration supported Indiana in the Edwards appeal. “To force the state to have the train wreck occur” would be wrong, Deputy Solicitor General Michael Dreeben told the high court. “This judge did the responsible thing.”

The Indiana case was cited by a defense lawyer in the recent arraignment of five suspected high level al Qaeda terrorists being held in a U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and his fellow defendants asked a military judge they be allowed to represent themselves in court.

Original story found @ CNN.COM

iNPLACENEWS


3 in 1 Day – Efficiency in Japan’s Capital Punishment

June 17, 2008

Tsutomu Miyazaki

A serial killer who mutilated the bodies of four young girls and reportedly drank the blood of one of his victims was among three convicted murderers executed in Japan on Tuesday for crimes an official called indescribably cruel.

Tsutomu Miyazaki, 45, whose rash of grisly killings in the late 1980s triggered calls for tighter restrictions on violent pornographic videos, was hanged at a detention center in Tokyo, Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama said.

Miyazaki burned the body of one 4-year-old and left her bones on her parents’ doorstep. He also wrote letters to the media and victims’ families taunting police. Japanese newspaper reports said he ate part of the hand of one of his victims and drank her blood.

The two others executed Tuesday were Shinji Mutsuda, 45, who had been on death row for the murder and robbery of two people, and Yoshio Yamasaki, 73, who was convicted of killing two people for the insurance money, the Justice Ministry said in a statement.

“I ordered their executions because the cases were of indescribable cruelty,” Hatoyama said. “We are pursuing executions in order to achieve justice and firmly protect the rule of law.”
Japan, one of the few industrialized countries that has capital punishment, has picked up the pace of executions over the past year amid rising concerns about violent crime.
The three executions brought to 13 the number of death row inmates hanged in the past six months under Hatoyama, an outspoken supporter of the death penalty. Only one inmate was executed in 2005.
Amnesty International Japan protested Tuesday’s hangings and said the pace of executions in Japan is quickening. In a statement, the group also demanded Japan abolish capital punishment.

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said there is no need for a change.

“There is no other policy than to maintain the current policy,” Fukuda said Tuesday. “There are people who want to abolish it, but that is a minority view. The majority want it to be maintained. I feel there is no need to change it, but we must also keep an eye on world opinion.”

Hatoyama, who took office last August, denied his ministry was purposely picking up the pace of hangings. Three men were executed in December, three more in February and another four in April.
In 1997, Tokyo District Court found Miyazaki guilty of killing four girls aged 4 to 7 years old in 1988 and 1989, and sentenced him to death. The Tokyo High Court upheld the sentence in 2001, and the Supreme Court followed suit on Jan. 17 this year, exhausting Miyazaki’s appeals.
Miyazaki was also convicted of the abduction and sexual assault of a fifth girl.
The murders and Miyazaki’s arrest dominated Japanese headlines, along with the discovery that his home was filled with a collection of thousands of violent pornographic videos, animated films and comic books stacked floor-to-ceiling.
The case triggered concerns that many young people had become desensitized to human suffering through the repeated viewing of graphic images in videos and comics.
Mutsuda also was hanged at the Tokyo detention center for killing two men and robbing them of $278,000 in 1995 and 1996. Yamasaki was executed in Osaka for murders committed in 1985 and 1990.
Japan has 102 death row inmates after Tuesday’s hangings, the ministry said.
The government began to release the names of those executed and their crimes in December, easing its secret policy in an apparent move to gain understanding and support for capital punishment.
Despite international criticism of Japan’s death penalty, there is little opposition to the policy domestically.

Originally Found @ AssociatedPress

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Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.