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Showing posts from September, 2017

Sheriff’s Deputy Denied Immunity

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A sheriff's deputy in Pasadena, California will have to face civil claims from the family of a 13 year old boy who he killed after mistaking the boy's toy gun for an AK 47.

The boy was shot on October 22, 2013 while he was on the sidewalk walking to his friend's house. The toy gun was missing the orange tip that designates it was a replica, but witnesses for the police have said that the officers were far enough away that they wouldn't have been able to distinguish the tip anyway. The officers were 100 yards from the boy.

Sheriff’s Deputy Erick Gelhaus's partner turned their car around when they noticed the boy and turned on the siren. Gelhaus got out of the car, ordered the boy to drop the weapon, and fired eight shots. Seven of the shots hit the boy in the chest, and he died at the scene.

Chief US District Judge Phillis Hamilton advanced the civil claims by the boy's family last year, and the deputy appealed to the Ninth Circuit. A three judge panel determined…

Couple Cleared of Satanic Abuse Awarded $3.4 Million

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The state of Texas will pay $3.4 million to a couple who were wrongfully imprisoned for over twenty years on claims that they sexually abused children in their day care business in 1992. Dan and Fran Keller will receive the payment from a state fund for the wrongly convicted.

In June, a judge approved the request for a declaration of innocence for the Kellers. The Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore stated that there wasn't enough evidence left. The Kellers were convicted in 1992 of sexually assaulting children at the day care they operated out of their home after children told investigators about dismembered babies and tortured pets. They were sentenced to 48 years in prison.

In 2013, the couple was freed after the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals found that the doctor was mistaken in determining the physical evidence of assault. The court ruled that the doctor's testimony was false, and the doctor also recanted it. The alleged victim acknowledged in a later inter…

Judge Finds Teacher-Student Sexual Relationship Law Unconstitutional

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A judge in Alabama ruled that the law that barred teachers from having sexual relationships with students old enough to consent is unconstitutional. The legal consenting age in Alabama is 16. The law prohibits any school employee from having a sexual relationship with a student younger than 19. Violation of this law results in a felony and up to 20 years in prison and require that the convicted to register as a sex offender.

Morgan County Circuit Judge Glenn Thompson dismissed charges against 44 year old Carrie Witt, a former teacher at Decatur High School, who was accused for having sex with two students who are over the age of 16. Judge Thompson also dismissed the charges against 27 year old David Soloman, a former contract teacher at Falkville High School, who was accused of having sex with one student over the age of 16. 
Judge Thompson ruled that the prosecutors would have to prove that the teachers used their position of authority to coerce the illegitimate consent of the allege…

10 Best Attorneys

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Wow, what an honor!  I have been informed that I have been selected as being a member of one of the "Ten Best Law Firms in Idaho."

I need only pay $295.00 and I get a nifty plaque just like the one pictured above, so I can put it up in my office for all of my clients to see.

I actually get notifications like this about 4-5 times per year.  I am always suspect when I get one of these letters soliciting money for a nifty plaque.  One company selling plaques like this had a listing of those participating, and I believe it was about 4,500 attorneys, each one sporting a plaque proclaiming his firm as a "Top 10" something-or-other.

I checked the website for the company whose plaque is pictured above, to find the names of those 10 attorneys who were so very good in Idaho in 2016.  There were no names of any selected, but the website did say that two attorneys were being considered.   In other words, as we approach the end of 2017, this group has not yet decided who their…

Moonshiners Get Caught on Facebook

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Bladen County sheriff's deputies caught a South Carolina man and woman attempting to sell moonshine across state lines and now they are facing multiple charges.

Dillen Wright, 20, and Kaytee Nielsen, 26, were arrested following an undercover operation involving North Carolina Alcohol Enforcement Agents and agents with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

Sheriff James McVicker's office had received complaints about two people selling moonshine over Facebook. The two agencies set up a meeting in Clarkton, where an undercover agent met the pair who drove up from South Carolina and delivered 8 quarts of moonshine. After the exchange, the two were arrested without incident.

Wright was charged with possession of alcohol by a 20 year old, consuming alcohol by a 20 year old, transporting non tax paid alcohol, possessing non tax paid alcohol, unauthorized possession of spirituous liquor, selling alcohol without a permit, consuming alcohol on a premise with only off premise …

"Pranking" Parents get Probation

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Michael and Heather Martin, the couple on the YouTube 'prank' channel DaddyOFive, were sentenced to years of probation due to child neglect. Their videos had them playing 'pranks' on their five children. The videos triggered outrage and claims of child abuse.

Some videos included the couple yelling at their children until they cried, and one showed a child being shoved over and getting a bloody nose. The Frederick County Sheriff's Office and Child Protective Services started investigating the Martins after several people complained that the videos showed the kids in emotional distress. They had the entire family undergo psychological evaluations and found that two of the children suffered mental injury as a result of the videos. Back in May, the couple lost custody of those two children who are Michael's biological children and Heather's stepchildren. The three other children, who are Heather's biological sons, were not a part in the criminal case becau…

Prison Time for Former Boise Boatmaker's Ponzi Scheme

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Prosecutors are asking that Christopher Bohnenkamp be sentenced to more than 5 years in prison, $3.2 million in restitution and $3.7 million forfeiture judgment. Bohnenkamp pleaded guilty in April to wire and bank fraud. 
He was aware that his companies were broke, but he continued to take money from customers in 2015. Bohnenkamp owned Treasure Valley Marine and Bohnenkamp's Whitewater Customs in Boise. He would take prepaid orders from customers and never fulfill them. Then he moved to New York to start a boat tour business.  The prosecutors said their reasoning for recommending the high sentence is to "provide just punishment, promote the defendant's respect for law and provide adequate deterrence." They called his crime egregious and a Ponzi scheme to fund his indulgent lifestyle. Bohnenkamp would take customer payment and immediately spend the money on airline tickets, hotels, gambling, clothing, and food. His customers and suppliers lost $3.2 million. 
In May 2…

$41.7 Million Tick Bite

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Cara Munn was 15 years old when she was paralyzed by a tick bite in China and contracted tick-borne encephalitis on a trip set up through her private boarding school in Lakeville, Connecticut. The state's highest court has decided to uphold the $41.7 million damages awarded to her.

Munn claimed that the director of international programs failed to inform the students that the U.S. Center for Disease Control had issued a warning to protect against the disease in forested area of northeastern China, where the students were going to travel.

She and other students got lost in the woods going down Mount Panjan and were bitten by insects. Their teachers and chaperones were not with them because they took the cable car down the mountain. Ten days later, Munn was partially paralyzed and semi-comatose. Her symptoms improved, but she is unable to speak, type, or control her facial muscles. Her brain function is also compromised. She did manage to finish high school and enroll in college at…

Teacher Allows Son to Sell LSD

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Ohio elementary teacher, Amy Panzeca, allowed her 15 year old son to sell LSD to 20-30 juveniles, and letting them use it in her house. She has been charged with permitting drug abuse, endangering children and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. 
Prosecutors said that her son sold the drug to over 20 students. He is facing felony drug charges and is being held at the juvenile detention center.

The search warrant states that Panzeca's son was interviewed and he admitted to giving his mom money to buy bitcoins, which he then used to buy LSD online. Panzeca admitted to buying the bitcoins, but said she thought they were being used for her son's gambling habit.

The drug force found LSD and marijuana at their house in May. Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said that examination of Panzeca's cell phone found evidence that she aware of the drug trafficking in her home.

Panzeca plead not guilty to the charges she is facing and is currently on paid administrative l…