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Messages - JoeGuru
June 13, 2013, 10:38:53 AM
June 05, 2013, 12:38:49 AM
Court date set for Dallas County DA Craig Watkins' contempt hearing
The judge overseeing the contempt charge against Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins has set a date for a hearing on the matter.
Craig Watkins was held in contempt of court March 7 after refusing to testify at a hearing looking into allegations of misconduct against him by oil family heir Al Hill III.
The contempt citation will be addressed at a July 15 hearing before State District Judge Bob Brotherton.
Brotherton initially said that he would rule this week on a motion by Watkins to dismiss the contempt citation from a March 7 hearing where he refused to testify after being order to do so by State District Judge Lena Levario. The hearing addressed allegations of prosecutorial misconduct against Watkins by oil family heir, Al Hill III.
Now that motion will be addressed at the hearing, Brotherton said in an email Tuesday.
"The first order of business will be the pending Motion to Dismiss Contempt Proceeding. If that motion is granted, the matter will be concluded at the trial level, subject to an appeal by the Attorney Pro Tem [special prosecutor,." Brotherton wrote.
"If the motion to dismiss is denied, we will proceed to hear the de novo trial of the contempt matter."
Watkins filed a motion to dismiss the charge in March but Brotherton could not rule until the special prosecutor, Ron Poole, filed the notice of contempt last month.
Hill has alleged that Watkins brought mortgage fraud indictments against him as a favor to Watkins' political benefactor, Lisa Blue.
State District Judge Bob Brotherton
Blue and other attorneys represented Hill in a dispute with his family and later sued him for legal fees. Hill argued that the indictments prevented him from taking the stand in the civil case that he ultimately lost.
Levario dismissed the charges against Hill after holding Watkins in contempt, saying Hill could not get a fair hearing because of Watkins' refusal to testify.
Brotherton, a judge in Wichita Falls, was appointed to preside over the case because officers of the court, like Watkins, are automatically given a hearing when held in contempt. This step is meant to be a check on the power given to judges.
If Brotherton upholds the contempt ruling, Levario will decide Watkins' punishment. He can face jail time, a fine or no sanction.
Brotherton appointed Poole, the first assistant district attorney in Cooke County, to prosecute the case.
The DA's office maintains that Hill committed a crime and has said that Watkins and the DA's office did nothing wrong by filing charges.
The way you know that lefties are getting backed into a corner and are getting scared is that they tend to get outlandishly funny and push the envelope in ridiculous ways. This leads guys like Watkins to use the worst possible example for things like his "get a pass on murder by skin color" legislation. Watkins is under investigation by the FBI and those "in the know" expect an indictment of him and a bunch of his South Dallas mobster buddies on a variety of charges.
May 25, 2013, 09:21:26 AM
I wonder why HE doesn't have a wifeaux!
April 25, 2013, 11:34:06 PM
He's been executed. Moving the thread now.
April 25, 2013, 09:25:13 PM
COBB: ...Looking back you know I never really had a life and whenever I thought I did, that got taken way from me.
I wish I'd been there during this interview. I'd be tempted to say: "let's maybe get something straight here. Nothing "got taken *way" from you, Mr. Cobb. All of this, including the cold reality of waking up in a bad mood in your cell, is your fault and yours alone."
Maybe that's why I don't get to interview death row inmates.
TINSLEY (the reporter): Along the way did you have any kids?
COBB: No. I made it halfway through high school.
TINSLEY: Oh, you were close.
Er... well, maybe that's why I'm not a "real" reporter.
April 20, 2013, 02:10:42 AM
Elmer Leon Carroll execution: Florida man to die by lethal injection for Christine McGowan murder
Carroll later claimed it would be unconstitutional to execute him because he has mental retardation.
The appeals court should reject it saying: "you're not retarded, you're just an idiot."
April 16, 2013, 11:43:48 PM
It's done. 6:40 PM CDST.
April 10, 2013, 11:39:30 PM
STARKE - Larry Eugene Mann has been executed for the 1980 murder of 10-year-old Elisa Nelson of Palm Harbor.
"Thank God it's over," said Katy DeCarolis, Elisa's cousin.
The U.S. Supreme Court denied Mann's latest - and final appeal this evening. His lawyers appealed to the high court on Monday, arguing that his death sentence should be overturned because the jury that recommended it wasn't unanimous. They also argue Mann's constitutional rights were violated because Gov. Rick Scott used a secret and standardless process before signing Mann's death warrant.
Minutes before the 59-year-old former oil well driller from Dunedin was scheduled to be executed, roughly a dozen people gathered at an anti-death penalty vigil at the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle in St. Petersburg.
People sang hymns, listening to readings and praying - praying that the killer's life would be spared.
In 1981, Mann was convicted of killing Elisa, who was last seen riding her bike to Palm Harbor Elementary School on Nov. 4, 1980. She had a note in her pocket explaining she was late because of a dentist appointment.
Mann kidnapped her, took her to an orange grove, cut her throat and then beat her head with a pole with a concrete base. He then went home and tried to kill himself, telling the responding police officers he had "done something stupid."
On Nov. 8, Mann's wife was getting his glasses out of his pickup and found the note Elisa's mother had written. It had blood stains on it.
Last week, the state Supreme Court unanimously rejected the argument that Mann shouldn't be executed because the jury that recommended the death sentence wasn't unanimous.
His death sentence was overturned once because the trial court made a legal error. He was resentenced to death, and the Supreme Court then affirmed that sentence.
Former Gov. Bob Graham signed Mann's first death warrant in 1986. Mann has appealed in state and federal court since then.
Elisa's murder wasn't Mann's first brush with the law. He had molested a 7-year-old girl some years before Elisa's death, prosecutors have said. And, at the time of Elisa's murder, he was on parole in a 1973 rape in Mississippi, where he told his victim if she didn't comply with his sexual demands, he'd "get what he wanted" from an 18-month-old baby in the next room, a prosecutor said.
At the prayer service at the Cathedral of St. Jude, St. Petersburg Bishop Robert Lynch asked people at the prayer service to take a moment and pray for the Nelson family. Then he spoke out against the death penalty.
"We take as articles of faith that even one who has fully violated the Fifth Commandment, 'Thou shalt not kill,' should have their life taken by anyone other than the author of all life, the lord God," he said.
"After over 200 years of the exercise of the death penalty in this nation that we love, there is still no valid evidence that it reduces crime, that murders diminish and that the people live in a greater security."
"That same heart and mind which abhors the horror of abortion should logically abhor the state deciding who it is who will live and who will die," the bishop told the group, which had grown to 21 by the end of the half-hour prayer vigil.
Of the more than 400 inmates on Florida's death row, 25 were convicted in Pinellas and 25 in Hillsborough County. More than a dozen of the inmates on death row have been there longer than Mann.
I agree it's not a deterrent. It sure is insurance though.
April 10, 2013, 09:08:54 PM
"Steve has a history of accidental, unintended consequences when he gets drunk," he said. "Autumn's injuries were caused by the rape. There are no wounds that are strongly corroborative of an intent to kill."
Look at it this way: no one will have to worry about any more "unintended consequences" in his life!
April 04, 2013, 11:49:47 AM
Joe, is there any more news out than what is posted here about the results of all the DNA testing???
No. Neither side has released all the details. The Attorney General seems pretty convinced that there's nothing even remotely exculpatory. We won't know everything until both sides file what they're going to file. If you go back and read "John/J.Bennett/John.B/J.B./etc. Skeptical Juror's" needlepoint, however, you see that much of what's been talked about really chips away at the conspiracy theories.
Again, this is a case of stepping back and looking at everything in context. A missing jacket and random DNA with nothing more than a conspiracy theory doesn't seem like the smoking gun he needs to save him from the final journey gurney. But with prolific "reporter" supporters like Brandi Grissom and the proven-dishonest and defrocked David Protess (http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/October-2011/What-Happened-Between-David-Protess-and-Medill/
), I'm sure they'll push the conspiracy theories to the bitter end.
April 03, 2013, 09:49:40 PM
One more note regarding "the windbreaker" (http://tcadp.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Pic-of-Jacket002.jpg
) the big question is: what do they expect it to show?
First, there is what appears to be blood on the sleeve or not. If it is blood, whose is it? If it is Twila Busby's, that proves the windbreaker was nearby. If it's somebody else's, it should be someplace other than on the windbreaker, right (like on the carpet too)? So let's assume that they're not going to find anybody else's blood in the vicinity of where the windbreaker was (which they're not). OK, let's assume it's Uncle Bob's (Donnell). OK. So what? Where's *ANY* evidence that Uncle Bob came over, took his windbreaker off, beat and stabbed the family then ran off conveniently leaving his jacket at the scene? I know the conspiracy theory--is that all they have?
Next, the DNA spot on the carpet from an unknown contributor. OK. So? Where's *ANY* evidence that it came from some crazed killer? Again, I know the conspiracy theory, where's the beef?
It surely doesn't seem like any of this trumps the behavior of a violent ex-con (which Skinner was before the murders) wearing the blood of the victims, whose own blood was splashed around all over the place (including the murder weapons); who fled practically unscathed from this horrendous scene, hid at his ex-girlfriend's house and deliberately tried not to involve the police. Or am I being too closed minded?
April 03, 2013, 09:25:48 PM
The solace is that no matter how long it takes until he is finally no longer a threat to society, he spends it all by himself in an itty-bitty metal box with others making his life decisions.
Stepping back and looking at it from a 50,000 foot view, a conspiracy theory over a missing jacket and a random spot of unknown, unconnected DNA found on a carpet wouldn't create reasonable doubt (unless you had a jury made of of wifeaux, Mamma Stalkin, Brandi Grissom, David Protess and their clones); much less the clear and convincing evidence needed to sway a judge.
So test away! Conspiracy theories do not a legitimate defense make. Facts, like those that just continue to pile up, do.
April 02, 2013, 02:03:10 PM
Many of the folks here on this forum know I had a friend who was executed a few years back. I knew him and his fiancee for several years before the police arrested him for a particularly gruesome murder (while high on cocaine he went to a woman's apartment under the guise of borrowing sugar then tied her up, raped her and shot her in the head with a shotgun). The murder went unsolved for several years until they finally matched a print. They arrested him early in the morning at his apartment in front of his fiancee.
Nobody knew. Nobody believed it. The guy I knew was not (what some called) a "poster boy" for the death penalty. He'd been a devoted, caring, thoughtful fiance of a friend. I never saw him drink more than a beer in an evening and he was strikingly extreme in his opposition to drugs. I would have bet the farm they had the wrong guy until he confessed and was sentenced to death. We wrote back and forth a number of times and I was fairly depressed when he was executed.
The whole situation caused me to re-examine my views on the death penalty. I mean, the guy I knew was really, really changed. He wrote me and asked if I would handle his website--and try to help get his sentence commuted to life. I thought about it for a long time. I thought about how I'd react when some day, in about 60 years, he'd call me up to tell me he was out of prison and "let's go have a beer" and "can I stay at your place until I get back on my feet?" I wrote him back and told him I respected his position and resolve but I was finding out that I really couldn't disagree with the decision of the court! There was no scenario where I could envision ever wanting to see him free again--or even risk it happening.
So, until you get to the point where you spend a lot of time thinking about: "could he do it again" and "would I ever want to see this guy on the street again" you never really get to the core of the question. Yes the death penalty is horrible. No I don't feel good about it and I don't dance about when someone is executed. But it does one thing: it absolutely, positively, prevents someone who has proven they can commit a heinous act from ever committing a heinous act again--no matter how changed we may think they are. It absolutely mitigates any and all risks.
Critics point out that there's always "life without parole" as a better alternative. My response: there's no such thing as life without parole. Times change. Politics change. Life without parole only exists until some politician convinces folks that keeping someone locked up for the rest of their life is cruel and unusual.
I respect people who respect life. I respect folks who don't believe in an eye-for-an-eye; I don't believe in that either. My motivation for supporting the death penalty is not "revenge" or "punishment." It is fear--pure, simple fear. It's hard enough to locate and arrest many of these guys, in the first place, and my desire for protection from somone's "second chance" is absolute. So until someone comes up with an alternate, guaranteed form of absolute protection, I'll put the death penalty into the category of "the best there is". I'll continue to hate it. I'll continue to wonder why our civilized, evolving society can't fix this. I'll continue to be open-minded to alternatives. But I'll accept it until something better comes along.
Think about it.
April 01, 2013, 07:29:58 PM
Miriam, the fact that Saldate's integrity was questionable does not mean he was lying in this case. You don't have any more proof that the guy lied than one of us has proof that he didn't. It is, by definition, a technicality. If this is all the proof that existed in evidence, then the fact that the guy was impeachable means (to me) that the burden of "beyond reasonable doubt" was not met.
As I said previously: I lay the blame squarely on Saldate. He failed to follow good investigative procedures and practices. Because of his incompetence there is either (1) a chance that a guilty murderer will walk free or (2) an innocent person spent a fair portion of her life behind bars. Neither of those is good--and only one person knows if she's truly guilty.
April 01, 2013, 01:31:48 PM
True, Henrik, and these twisty little details are a powerful tool for dishonest cons and their supporters to use. The truth is usually much less complicated. Here are Skinner's in a nutshell:
"Severe allergy to codeine." Nope, this is simply a claim by Skinner. It's never been affirmed by any physician and, as a matter of fact, was called "B.S." by a doctor at Skinner's first trial who testified that Skinner had no such history of any such allergy.
"Was comatose from this severe allergy." Nope. If you look at his ups-and-downs the night of the murders it's pretty clear his comatose condition ebbed and flowed with convenience.
"Didn't have enough strength in his hand to strangle Twila." Nope. This opinion was given by an occupational therapist at Skinner's trial and never put forth by a doctor.
"Key witness recanted her testimony." Nope, Skinner's ex girlfriend simply changed her story from "he threatened to kill me if I called police" to "he told me not to call police." She was found to be not credible, anyway, by a court.
"Twila Busby was raped by her dead uncle." Nope, the most recent DNA evidence proves she wasn't.
"The dead uncle was a violent man who stuck knives in people and stuff." Yet there's not *one* assaultive offense on record (he did serve time for auto theft in Oklahoma). For a crazed knife-wielding psychopath, he sure managed to get away with some heinous stuff without so much as a police report or an arrest for doing it. Skinner, by contrast, had a criminal history for violence and assaults.
"The dead uncle's jacket, now mysteriously missing, was found at the scene proving he did it." Nope. Twila's mom testified the missing jacket was Twila's at trial.
Bottom line: there is not a single claim that, on it's own, points to anything other than Skinner's guilt.