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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Marine Ordered to Stand Trial For Killings in Fallujah

August 8, 2008

A Camp Pendleton Marine sergeant was ordered Friday to stand trial on charges of unpremeditated murder and dereliction of duty in the killing of an unarmed detainee in Fallujah, Iraq.

Lt. Gen. Samuel Helland ordered the court-martial of Sgt. Ryan Weemer after finding there was sufficient evidence to send him to trial.

Weemer is one of three current and former Marines accused of breaking rules of engagement and killing four men they had captured after a platoon commander radioed to ask whether the Iraqis were “dead yet.”

A telephone message left by for Weemer’s attorney, Paul Hackett, was not immediately returned.

The killings happened in November 2004 during the invasion of Fallujah, one of the fiercest ground battles of the Iraq war.

The case came to light in 2006, when Weemer volunteered details to a U.S. Secret Service job interviewer during a polygraph screening that included a question about the most serious crime he had ever committed.

Weemer, of Hindsboro, Ill., is charged with one count of murder and six counts of dereliction of duty encompassing failure to follow the rules of engagement in Fallujah and failing to follow standard operating procedures for apprehending or treating detainees or civilian prisoners of war.

Helland’s decision to order the court-martial follows an Article 32 hearing, similar to an evidentiary hearing, where prosecutors argued that Weemer, a burly 25-year-old honored with a Purple Heart, should be tried for unpremeditated murder because he knew the rules of engagement forbade harming anyone in his custody.

During the hearing last month, prosecutors played a tape recording of the Secret Service interview where Weemer recounted arguing with his squadmates about what to do with the detainees – all military-age males captured in a house where weapons were also found. The squad was under pressure from the platoon to get moving.

Marine Corps spokesman Lt. Col. David Griesmer said Weemer next faces arraignment on the charges at Camp Pendleton. A date has not been set.

Weemer’s attorney has put much of the blame on Weemer’s former squad leader, saying Jose Nazario Jr. escalated the situation inside the house by beating one detainee with the butt of a rifle after the weapons cache was found.

Nazario, 27, of Riverside, Calif., has been charged with two counts of voluntary manslaughter in the killing of two captives. The former sergeant is scheduled to be tried Aug. 19 in federal court because he has already completed his military service.

Another Marine, Sgt. Jermaine Nelson, 26, of New York, is slated to be court-martialed in December on charges of unpremeditated murder and dereliction of duty for his role in the alleged killings.

Article by Chelsea J. Carter

Andre Jetmir iNPLACENEWS


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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.


Schwarzenegger’s Answer to Overcrowded Prisons is to Build More

June 22, 2008

A federal magistrate has rejected an attempt by the state to keep certain documents secret as courts decide whether to cap California’s overcrowded prison population. California’s 33 adult prisons were designed for roughly 100,000 inmates but currently hold 159,000. Inmate advocacy groups say the crowding has led to numerous problems, including and not limited to neglectful health care and poor mental health treatment.

A special panel of three federal judges had already set a June 27th date to convene a hearing to decide whether to go ahead with a November trial on a set of lawsuits that have been consolidated. Inmate advocacy groups that brought the lawsuits opposed the administration’s request, and federal Magistrate Judge John Moulds in Sacramento issued a ruling Friday generally siding with the plaintiffs and limiting the administration’s request.

In pretrial motions, the state sought to prohibit public disclosure of certain documents classified as sensitive communications or part of internal deliberations. The Associated Press filed written opposition with the court. This written statement suggests the administration’s motion was too broad and had the potential to improperly keep some records from the public.

The administration sought to, for example, define sensitive communications as those that include “budget change proposals for government agencies that are not defendants in this proceeding.”

Judge Moulds said only documents that clearly would jeopardize prison security if they were made public should remain secret. He also ruled that any personal information on inmates and state employees would be redacted. This seems like an even-handed distribution of secrecy when appropriate, as defined by the judge. The administration can and likely will appeal Moulds’ decision to the three-judge panel, according to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger spokesperson. They are currently reviewing the decision.

The ruling comes as court-appointed mediators attempt to negotiate a settlement. Under the proposed settlement, 27,000 inmates would be released before serving their full sentences and a population cap would be set.

According to state Sen. George Runner, Republican state lawmaker who have intervened in the lawsuit will reject any settlement that includes a prison cap formula. In an almost predicatable fashion, he said Republicans agree that crowding needs to be reduced but believe it can be done by adding nearly 38,000 new prison and county jail cells through a building program approved by the Legislature last year. Spending more money on jailing the people than treating them, since much of the overcrowding comes from drug-offenders.

In addition, a federal receiver is seeking $7 billion in state money to add 10,000 hospital and mental health beds whose funding had been cut by Reagan administration.

iNPLACENEWS


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


Judge Rules White House Not required To Turn Over Emails

June 16, 2008

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled that the White House Office of Administration is not required to turn over records about a large collection of possibly missing e-mails. The ruling found the agency does not have “substantial independent authority” so it is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

The decision means the White House does not have to disclose documents relating to its troubled e-mail system which may have caused millions of White House e-mails to be unaccounted for.

The lawsuit was originally saught by watchdog organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington had sued under FOIA, which expressed disappointment in the ruling and is appealing the decision.

In January, the White House said it cannot rule out that it may have lost certain e-mails from a period in which the United States decided to go to war with Iraq, White House officials leaked the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame and the Justice Department started a criminal investigation into who leaked the information.

The White House has denied any e-mails have been destroyed.

iNPLACENEWS


Smut Trial Judge Calls For Ethics Panel To Review His Porn

June 13, 2008

Federal appeal court judge Alex Kozinski called for an ethics panel to investigate his own conduct in regards to the lewd photos and videos on his publicly accessible Web site. “I will cooperate fully in any investigation,” Kozinski, chief judge of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, said in a statement calling for Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to assign the inquiry to a panel of judges outside the 9th Circuit’s jurisdiction of nine western states. The outcome seems almost laughable as Circuit judges are appointed for life and can only be fired by Congress, though they can be censured by fellow jurists. Court rules permit such investigations to be transferred in high-profile cases, or when a decision within a district might weaken public confidence in the outcome.

The gallery of online images and videos included a picture of two nude women on all fours painted to look like cows, images of masturbation, a video of a bare-bottomed man being pursued by a sexually aroused donkey and a slide show featuring a striptease with a transsexual.

Laurie Levenson, a former federal prosecutor and law professor at Loyola University Law School said, “If you found this kind of thing in your kid’s bedroom you would wash your kid’s mouth out with soap….Character counts for judges because they have so much power and affect so many people’s lives.”

The existence of the videos and pictures was first revealed by the Los Angeles Times, which reported that Kozinski had acknowledged the material on his personal Web site, but blocked access to it after being interviewed. He went to claim the images were not obscene.

Cyrus Sanai, a Beverly Hills lawyer, took credit for bringing the graphic material to light.

Sanai said he discovered the sexual content in December while monitoring the judge’s Web site as part of an ongoing legal battle with the court. After downloading the files, Sanai said he began contacting reporters at various publications in January to bring attention to what he called widespread ethical problems on the 9th Circuit.

To see the judge’s website go HERE

This story of the trial, its suspension, and the judge’s personal porn started HERE

The original story continued HERE

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