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Showing posts from June, 2016

Led Zeppelin Copyright Infringement Trial

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Spirit, a psychodelic rock band from the 1960's, sued Led Zeppellin for copyright infringement over a song titled "Taurus" that Spirit had released and performed four years before Led Zeppelin released its most famous song with a virtually identical introductory melody line, "Stairway to Heaven."

The introductory line from that song is so famous that the movie "Wayne's World" filmed a brief scene in a music store where Mike Meyers plays that line, only to have an employee stop him and point to the "No Stairway" sign, which is actually hanging in that store.

Today, an eight person jury found there was no copyright infringement by Led Zeppelin.  A finding in favor of the band Spirit would have meant Led Zeppelin would have had to turn over a good portion of the song's past earnings to the estate of the composer of that song for Spirit, as well as future profits.  As Led Zeppelin has earned over $562 million for that one song, a lot wa…

National Parks Vandal

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23 year old Casey Nocket of San Diego painted on natural rock formations at national parks across the West and posted her work on social media. She has plead guilty to seven misdemeanors of defacing government property. Nocket admitted to defacing rocks at Death Valley National Park, Yosemite, Zion, Crater Lake National Park, and Rocky Mountain National Park. She used Instagram and Tumbr to share her graffiti which lead to outrage by those who saw it. Eastern District US Attorney Phillip Talbert said that Nocket's defacement showed her lack of respect for the law and our shared national treasures.

Nocket was sentenced to probation for two years, where she is banned from all federal lands, and 200 hours of community service including graffiti removal. She is also required to write a letter of apology to the National Park Service. She is going to have another hearing to determine how much she will have to pay for restitution.

Comments from Allen:

This lady probably has no criminal hi…

Mother's Misdemeanor Due to Facebook

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Jeanette Garza Alvarez from New Mexico was convicted of creating a public nuisance by posting a comment about the possibility of a shooting at her son's school. Alvarez was given a 30 day deferred sentence and ordered to pay $29 in court costs after she was convicted of a petty misdemeanor in her trial. Her defense attorney argued that her First Amendment rights were being violated and that he will be appealing the decision to State District Court. He believes that Alvarez didn't do anything wrong.

The criminal complaint said that Alvarez posted on her Facebook page that her son told her that several of his classmates were planning on taking guns to school and have a shootout. Alvarez responded to this complaint saying that the purpose of the post was to gather information, but there were 160 student absences in school the next day, in addition to over 100 phone calls to the school regarding the post.

Tom Burris, superintendent of the Roswell school district, said the post was…

Wrongly Overturned Death Sentences

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In an 8 to 1 opinion on January 20, United States Supreme Court Justices ruled in favor of Kansas officials seeking to reinstate the death penalty for three men. Two were convicted for the "Wichita massacre" in 2000. They broke into a house in Wichita and forced three men and two women to have sex with each other, withdraw money from ATMs, and then all five were taken to a soccer field and shot in the head. One woman survived after the bullet was deflected by a hair clip. The two are brothers, Jonathan and Reginald Carr, were sentenced to death. A couple years later, Sidney Gleason was convicted of two counts of capital murder and sentenced to death. Gleason killed Mikiala Martinez and Darren Wornkey because Martinez was a potential witness in a previous robbery by Gleason and Wornkey was her boyfriend. However, all three inmate's death sentences were overturned in 2014 by the Kansas Supreme Court.

The state court said that the juries in both cases should have been told …

Funeral Thief

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A Texas woman was caught on video stealing a wedding ring off the finger of a deceased old woman, Lois Hicks, lying in an open casket in funeral home. The family of Hicks had just left the funeral home after a visitation service when the stranger came in and asked to use the restroom. The woman is seen entering the room with casket. She puts her hand in Hicks’ coffin for more than a minute, turns, and leaves. Hicks’ daughter returned to the funeral home to touch up her mother’s makeup and noticed the missing ring. What the thief didn't know was that the rind she stole was a $10 plastic ring.

The surveillance video captured the alleged thief's license plate, and the family is pressing charges. The incident is being investigated as a felony because it deals with theft of a corpse. Police have said that they arrested Kalynn Homfeld on Tuesday, and she has been charged with theft from a human corpse and faces six months to two years in a state jail.

Comments from Allen:
The val…

Flying Spaghetti Monsterism Rejected by Federal Judge

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U.S. District Judge John Gerrard in Lincoln, Nebraska rejected an argument from an inmate in Nebraska who says prison officials violated his rights as a follower of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Judge Gerrard ruled that Stephen Cavanaugh's argument contained important issues, but that Flying Spaghetti Monsterism(FSM) was not entitled to protection as a religion. Judge Gerrand wrote that FSM is a parody religion to raise an argument about science, evolution, and religion in public education.

Cavanaugh filed the complaint in 2014. He said that officials ignored his requests to observe his religion, and he found assertions about FSM being a parody religion offensive. He claimed that the prison refused to let him dress as a pirate, which the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster teaches were the first members of their religion. Cavanaugh was not allowed to meet for weekly worship services or to receive communion, which consists of a large portion of spaghetti and meatballs. He has op…

Juvenile Detention Staffers Indicted for Misconduct

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Two employees of a juvenile detention center in Kentucky where a teenage girl died in January have been indicted for official misconduct. A grand jury charged Reginald Windham and Victor Holt with one count of second-degree official misconduct as a result of a state police investigation into the death of 16-year-old Gynnya McMillen on Jan. 11. The charges Windham and Holt face are Class B misdemeanors, which carry maximum jail sentences of 90 days, according to Oldham.Officials announced Wednesday that medical examiners ruled that the teen died in her sleep as a result of a rare genetic disorder that caused an irregular heartbeat. Hardin County Attorney Jenny Oldham said the investigation found that the Windham and Holt failed to perform regular bed checks on the teen and allegedly falsified documents related to those checks.

McMillen was arrested On January 10 around 2 AM after police responded to a domestic incident involving her mother. She was charged with misdemeanor assault.

T…