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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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


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

iNPLACENEWS


We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Warrants

April 23, 2008

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The Supreme Court offered unanimous support for police Wednesday by allowing drug evidence gathered after an arrest that violated state law to be used at trial, an important search-and-seizure case turning on the constitutional limits of “probable cause.”

The Supreme Court unanimously gave police broader powers to search for and seize evidence.

“When officers have probable cause to believe that a person has committed a crime in their presence, the Fourth Amendment permits them to make an arrest, and to search the suspect in order to safeguard evidence and ensure their own safety,” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote.

David Lee Moore was stopped by Portsmouth, Virginia, officers five years ago for driving his vehicle on a suspended license. Under state law in such incidents, only a summons is to be issued and the motorist is to be allowed to go. Instead, detectives detained Moore for almost an hour, arrested him, then searched him and found cocaine.

At trial, Moore’s lawyers tried to suppress the evidence, but the state judge allowed it, even though the court noted the arrest violated state law. A police detective, asked why the man was arrested, replied, “Just our prerogative.”

While some of the justices expressed concern about that level of discretion at oral arguments in January, their 9-0 ruling raised few such doubts.

“The arrest rules that the officers violated were those of state law alone,” Scalia said. “It is not the province of the Fourth Amendment to enforce state law.”

The state had argued an arrest is constitutionally reasonable if officers have probable cause to believe a suspect has committed a crime. “This standard represents the best compromise between the needs of the citizens and the duty of the government to combat crime,” Stephen McCullough, Virginia’s deputy solicitor general, had told the high court.

But Moore’s attorney, Thomas Goldstein, called an “extreme proposition” the idea that it would be reasonable “to go out and arrest someone for a non-arrestable offense and not only do that, but having committed that trespass at common law, to further search them.”

There has been widespread judicial confusion over how such police searches should be handled. Some lower courts had ruled that when state arrest law is violated, the Constitution provides a remedy in the suppression of any evidence resulting from the arrest and a related search.

But the justices agreed with the majority of courts that said constitutional requirements are satisfied when an officer has probable cause to make an arrest, even if some provision of state law was violated in the process.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a concurring opinion suggesting Virginia change its law to make driving on a suspended license an arrestable offense.

During arguments, Ginsburg spoke for several colleagues when she pointed out that if a summons had been issued in Moore’s case, any incriminating evidence would have been excluded. “Would you explain the logic to saying that when the police violate state law, then the evidence can come in, but when they comply with state law, it can’t,” she asked.

The ruling means Moore’s original jury conviction and 3-½ year prison term will stand.

This story was found @ CNN.com

iNPLACENEWS