September 4, 2008
After being shot five times, a western Nebraska man had to go to court to get his prosthetic leg back from prosecutors.
The Box Butte County Attorney’s office gave Val McCabe’s leg back Wednesday after a judge ordered it returned.
McCabe’s prosthetic left leg had been held since Friday’s shooting because prosecutors wanted to run tests on it and a bullet lodged inside.
The 58-year-old McCabe, who lost his leg below the knee in a railroad accident roughly 30 years ago, filed his lawsuit Tuesday.
McCabe lawyer argued it wasn’t practical for him to replace the specially built, $28,000 prosthesis.
Police removed the bullet from the leg before returning it. No arrests had been made by Wednesday.
Article courtesy of Associated Press
July 4, 2008
A suburban Chicago man, Ricardo Gonzalez, 35, locked his two young daughters in a wire cage hidden in the back of his pickup truck because he didn’t have a baby sitter. He was arrested Monday after a woman at a gas station in Posen heard a crying child and witnessed him pushing small hands back into a cage, according to the police report.
Apparently, he had a wire cage behind the front seats of his truck. His truck had black-tinted windows and a large plywood board in the back window to keep[ the cage hidden. He said he wanted to control the girls, ages 2 and 5, so they wouldn’t run away. Police later added that the girls did not live in the cage.
The children were turned over to the state child welfare agency and placed in foster care Monday.
Agency spokesman Kendall Marlowe said the department was investigating abuse allegations against the father, they had already previously found the mother neglectful and provided unspecified “supportive services” to the family.
Gonzalez will appear in court July 31 on charges of misdemeanor child endangerment. Cook County prosecutors were exploring Thursday whether the charge could be upgraded to a felony.
June 3, 2008
Since the raid on the El Dorado, Texas compound of a polygamist sect of FLDS followers, the Canadian government has been rying to fgure out if they can also pursue legal and criminal actions against another branch of the same Mormon-splinter.
Attorney General Wally Opal called for a special prosecutor to look into allegations of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of girls in the community in Bountiful, British Columbia. He said the issue is whether the criminal code on polygamy is constitutional, which has been a point of contention in British Columbia’s judiciary for 20 years. At the Attorney General’s request, two lawyers recently issued opinions on the matter, both concluding it would be difficult to pursue criminal charges. One said it would be unfair to do so.
Opal picked Vancouver lawyer Terrence Robertson to determine whether the sect can be prosecuted successfully.
More on this story to come.
June 2, 2008
A judge on Monday signed an order allowing more than 440 children seized from a polygamist sect to be returned to the custody of their parents. This came following a ruling in May when the 3rd District Court of Appeals ruled that officials erred in removing the children from the ranch, effectively overturning Walther’s ruling that the children remain in state custody.
The Texas Supreme Court on Thursday let stand the lower court’s ruling that the state had no right to remove them during an April raid on the Yearning for Zion ranch near Eldorado. As a result, Judge Barbara Walther of Texas told the Department of Family and Protective Services to allow parents to pick up their children starting at 10 a.m. Monday morning. The court made it clear that under the judge’s order, the Department of Family and Protective Services will still have the right to visit and interview the children. Those visits, which will be unannounced, could entail medical, psychological and psychiatric examinations, and the parents will not be allowed to intervene.
Also under the order, the parents must attend and complete parenting classes. The families must remain in the state of Texas and notify the department within 48 hours of any trips more than 100 miles from their homes. the only real travel some parents may do will be in the state, as some parents’ children are being kept at different facilities across the state, and it could take some time to pick up their kids.
“The kids have been terrorized and put in the custody of the state for weeks and weeks,” FLDS spokesman Willie Jessop said Friday after a hearing to determine how to return the children.
“Every effort has been made to bring relief,” Jessop said outside the courthouse. “It doesn’t need to be a problem to go pick up the kids. It doesn’t need to be any more difficult than picking them up after school.”
May 23, 2008
Brenda Sullivan pleaded guilty in January to three counts of aggravated child abuse, and prosecutors agreed to drop lesser child neglect charges. She was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in prison for keeping her 17-year-old adopted son caged in her home.
When child welfare workers found him in 2005, the teen weighed 49 pounds and was in what appeared to be a cage. Sullivan told a judge at the time that Ohio authorities told her to keep the boy in a crib, because he had severe mental and physical issues.
“There’s only one conclusion when you look at the medical evidence in this case, and that is that she literally starved him,” prosecutor Julie Schlax said.
The two other children in the house, 13-year-old twins the Sullivans adopted as infants, both testified they were kept in similar cages.
Sullivan’s husband was also arrested, but died in January 2007 before he could go to trial.
Sullivan’s lawyer, Charles Fletcher, said he didn’t think prison was the appropriate sentence because she does not pose a threat to society, and thus would appeal the sentence.
May 22, 2008
According to ruling by the Appeals Court on Thursday, the state of Texas should not have removed the more than 460 children it took from a polygamist sect’s ranch. In the ruling, the Lone Star State’s 3rd District Court of Appeals decided in favor of 38 women who had appealed the removals and the decision by a district judge that the children will remain in state custody.
“The existence of the FLDS belief system as described by the department’s witnesses, by itself, does not put children of FLDS parents in physical danger,” the appeals court panel said. The state’s Department of Family and Protective Services “did not present any evidence of danger to the physical health or safety of any male children or any female children who had not reached puberty,” the ruling went on to say.
“The legislature has required that there be evidence to support a finding that there is a danger to the physical health or safety of the children in question and that the need for protection is urgent and warrants immediate removal.”
“Evidence that children raised in this particular environment may someday have their physical health and safety threatened is not evidence that the danger is imminent enough to warrant invoking the extreme measure of immediate removal prior to full litigation of the issue.”
Stay tuned for what will follow in this potential child molestation case against the men in the polygamy sect.