Showing posts from 2018

Brock Turner Files Appeal in Stanford Sexual Assault Case

Former Stanford student Brock Turner who was convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman after a fraternity party is now appealing his conviction. Witnesses saw Turner lying on top of a half-naked unconscious woman. The victim didn't wake up until three hours later and had a blood alcohol level more than three times the legal limit for driving.

Turner was convicted of three felony counts of sexual assault while he was a high performing swimmer at Stanford. He was sentenced to six months in jail, three years of probation, and to register as a sex offender. Prosecutors had asked for six years in prison.

His lawyers said that the initial trial was a detailed and lengthy set of lies, and they are hoping that a new trial will also overturn his mandatory lifetime requirement to register as a sex offender. Turner's legal advisor believes that what happened was not a crime, and that the facts do not reflect the verdict. The brief filed argued that the prosecutor incorrect…

Michael Cohen To Enter Two "Guilty" Pleas

It was announced today that attorney Michael Cohen will enter two "guilty" pleas for violating campaign finance laws by paying off porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougall, to keep them silent during the last presidential campaign. Apparently Cohen will state that he paid these women at the direction of Donald Trump.

Regardless whether you do or do not support Trump, there are many thorny issues in this case, the type I deal with as a defense attorney on a regular basis:

1. Before I take any case, I have to ask myself whether my interests conflict with those of the client who wishes to hire me. In the case of Mr. Cohen, he hired Lanny Davis, an attorney who has been a spokesman for Bill and Hillary Clinton and the Democrat National Committee. In Mr. Cohen's case, Mr. Davis has a very strong interest in destroying Donald Trump and using confidential information in the possession of his client against President Trump. It would be in Lanny Davis'…

Grumpy Cat Awarded $700,000 in a Lawsuit

The internet famous, Grumpy Cat, is a minor celebrity who became popular due to memes about her particularly angry face in 2012. She became a cash cow to her owner, Tabatha Bundesen, in Arizona. The cat's fame allowed Bundesen to quit her waitressing job at Red Lobster. 
Bundesen has created a company that processes branded clothing, pillows, mugs, pens, bags, and books "written" by the annoyed looking cat. Grumpy Cat even "wrote" a New York Times bestseller. Grumpy Cat, whose real name is Tardar Sauce, has appeared on "Today," "Good Morning America" and "American Idol." She also starred in a commercial for Honey Nut Cheerios and became spokescat for Friskies cat food in 2013.  The company has generated somewhere between $1-100 million within the first couple years.  The cat found itself in an intellectual property dispute between the Grumpy Cat Limited company and the Grenade beverage company. An eight person jury in Santa Ana, C…

King of Pop Suing Disney & ABC

Michael Jackson's estate sued ABC and Disney because a two hour documentary on Jackson's last days improperly used his songs, music videos, and movies.

The lawsuit filed alleges that the special illegally uses significant excerpts of his most valuable songs. It also says that ABC used clips in the 2016 Spike Lee directed documentary, “Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off the Wall,” and from the 2009 feature film “Michael Jackson’s This is It.”

It cites Disney's aggressive defense of its own copyrights and its normally narrow view of fair use, the doctrine in copyright law that says short excerpts can be used for news, criticism and research.

Representatives from ABC said that the special was a piece of journalism and that it did not infringe on Jackson's estate rights. Since the special could be regarded as a form of news, they would be entitled to fair use of excerpts of Jackson's work, but the lawsuit says that the documentary did not have any news value and…

The Pardoning of Alice Johnson

Kim Kardashian West recently went to the White House to discuss the pardoning of Alice Johnson, a 62 year old woman who is serving a life sentence for a first time non-violent drug offense.

Johnson was sentenced to life in prison in 1997 after she was convicted of eight criminal counts related to a cocaine trafficking ring. Since appellate judges and the US Supreme Court have since rejected her appeals, Johnson would need to be granted clemency by the president to be discharged.

Johnson has serves over twenty years of her life sentence without parole. So far she has become an ordained minister, a playwright, a mentor, a counselor, a tutor, and a companion for inmates who are suicidal. She hasn't committed a single disciplinary infraction in two decades in prison.

Johnson's case began around 1990. She started getting addicted to gambling, then she lost her job while she was trying to raise five children. Then she was faced with divorce, bankruptcy, foreclosure, and the death o…

Fertility Doctor Fathers 11 Kids With His Patients

A formerly respected fertility doctor in Canada used his own sperm to father 11 children or more over the course of decades with his patients, according to a class action lawsuit.

The complaint says that Doctor Norman Barwin agreed to use an anonymous donor's sperm in some cases or samples from one member of the couple, but he used his own instead. Recent DNA tests show that as a a result Barwin is the biological father of at least 11 children.

In other cases, Barwin treated 16 women who had chosen intended fathers and later gave birth to children who are not biological matches for those men. The complaint says that the fathers are unknown. The inseminations in the lawsuit are from 1970's to the early 2000s.

The first lawsuit was filed in 2016, but was granted a class action status in April 2018 meaning that the attorneys believe that more people may have been affected by Barwin's actions.

Some sperm samples entrusted to Barwin became contaminated with other sperm which m…

Mother Gives Toddler Pot Infused Food

25 year old Alaina Limpert from Arizona told the police that she didn't intend for her two year old daughter to eat marijuana infused mac and cheese. She said that she made the pasta dish with cannabutter (which is butter that is laced with THC, the active ingredient in weed that gives someone the high feeling) as a treat for her husband. She wasn't aware that her daughter ate some until the toddler started showing symptoms of being high. 
Then neither parent took the child to emergency care. Instead the police allege that Limpert laughed when her daughter was high and put the toddler in a cold pool to "shock" her.

Someone who witnessed the incident called the Arizona Department of Child Safety. Police arrested Limpert at her home for child abuse, cultivation of marijuana and possession of marijuana, among other charges.

At the Limpert's home, the police found a bag of psychedelic mushrooms, a bag of marijuana, and three large tubs of THC butter in her fridge. T…

Man Burns His House, So His Ex Wife Won't Get It

Australian, Krste Kovacevski, burned down his house the day before it was going to be handed over to his ex-wife, Naumka Kovaceska, in a property settlement. He lost an appeal in which he argued that he didn't commit any crime by starting the fire. 
K. Kovacevski and N. Kovaceska divorced in 2015 after being separated for several years.

On 22 July, 2016, a judge finalized the property settlement proceedings between the former couple and ordered K. Kovacevski to leave their cottage, where he since in 1991, and hand it over to N. Kovaceska within a couple of months.

K. Kovacevski signed the transfer agreement on 3 August. But after midnight on the morning of 4 August, he set the house on fire and it was completely destroyed.
According to court documents, K. Kovacevski confessed to starting the fire when police arrived at the scene and found him by a garage at the back of the property.

He was convicted of intentionally destroying with fire property belonging to either his ex-wife or…

Ohio Inmate Fights Execution Based on Age

Ohio death row inmate Gary Otte is motioning to have his death penalty rescinded for the third time before his execution date on September 13, 2017. Otte robbed and murdered two people on consecutive nights in 1992 and was convicted on two counts of aggravated murder and sentenced to death when he was 20 years old. The state of Ohio allows the penalty for those older than eighteen.

A recent court decision in Commonwealth of Kentucky v. Bredhold found that the death penalty is unconstitutional for a defendant who was younger than 21 at the time of his offense. It cites that based on current scientific understanding that the brain and emotional development of young offenders reduces their accountability for the death penalty.

Otte is arguing that his death sentence is a violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. His lawsuits goes further to note that scientists have discovered brain systems and structures that are involved in self-regulation and higher-order cognition which cont…

7th Circuit Upholds Puppy Mill Ban

The Seventh Circuit ruled that banning sales of out of state breeders does not violate the Commerce clause, and should help reduce puppy mills. Since the law's enactment, pet stores in Chicago are limited to selling dogs, kittens, and rabbits purchased from animal shelters, nonprofit humane societies or animal rescue organizations.

Before it's effect in 2015, Chicago based pet shops brought up a federal complaint that accused lawmakers of doing more to help puppy mills with the law than shutting them down. The complaint argues that the ordinance does not eliminate the facilities, but eliminated the source of commercially bred puppies in the county that are highly regulated. So consumers wanting a pure-bred puppy will go straight to the source(the puppy mill) instead of going to the pet stores.

The Seventh Circuit found that they failed to state a claim. U.S. Circuit Judge Diane Sykes states that, "the puppy-mill ordinance doesn’t discriminate against interstate commerce, …

Fake Movie Ticket Offer To Find Fake Pizza Order

Richard Crawford was convicted of placing a fake pizza order to a woman's house, but the New Zealand High Court overturned it because of the hoax movie ticket text a police officer used to track him down and get Crawford's address.

Crawford placed a fake $30 Domino's order last year to the house of a woman who was an unwitting and unwilling recipient. The woman was upset after she got several other anonymous orders made to her house including one occasion where a taxi was ordered to take her to the hospital. There isn't any proof that Crawford is responsible for the other incidents. When the order arrived at the woman's house, she got the phone number of the person who made the order and complained to the police. 
The police sergeant tried to call the number several times with no response, so he ran the number through police systems to no avail. Then he sent the following text: "Thanks for your continued support. You are the winner of two Movie Max 5 session p…