COURT GRANTS WARREN JEFFS’ FARETTA MOTION TO REPRESENT HIMSELF

Texas District Court Judge Barbara Walther granted Warren Jeffs’ request to represent himself in his sexual assault trial. Before asking the court to let him represent himself, Jeffs fired his attorneys. This was the seventh set ofattrorneys he fired on the case. The court must grant a motion to represent oneself, known as a Faretta Motion if the request is made knowingly and intelligently and if the defendant is competent. Competence is a very low standard and it is rare […] Read more »

NINTH CIRCUIT GRANTS FOIA REQUEST FOR CONFIDENTIAL INFORMANT INFORMATION

Gordon Skinner testified for the government at Wiliam Pickard’s narcotics trial. He admitted being an informant for the DEA and to providing information about Pickard. DEA agents also testified that Skinner was an informant. After Pickard was convicted he made a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the DEA for information about Skinner and his relation to the agency. The request was rejected and he appealed, first administratively and then to the District Court. After the DEA’s first motion for […] Read more »

FOURTH CIRCUIT CALLS OFFICER’S JUSTIFICATION FOR SEARCH ABSURD

Stephen Digiovanni rented a car in Fort Lauderdale, took the autotrain to Washington D. C and drove towards his home in Boston. Driving on I-95 in Maryland, he was stopped by Trooper Chrisotpher Connor for following the car in front of him too closely. Connor noticed that Digiovanni was somewhat nervous. Furthermore, the car was clean, shirts were hanging in the back without a clothing bag and there was a hygiene bag in the back seat. All of these things […] Read more »

NEW MEXICO JUDGE ARRESTED FOR RAPING A PROSTITUTE AND WITNESS INTIMIDATION

Albuquerque’s chief criminal judge, Albert S. “Pat” Murdoch was arrested last week and charged with raping a prostitute as well as intimidating a witness. According to the prostitute he met her through an online ad she placed. He invited her over to his house and they met approximately eight times and he paid her approximately $200 each time. On one occasion, the prostitute said, he forced her to be the recipient of oral sex. She refused but he did it […] Read more »

UPDATE: LOUGHNER FORCED TO TAKE PSYCHIATRIC MEDICATION

Despite a recent order by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that Jared Lee Loughner, who is accused of killing six people and shooting another fourteen including Congress member, Gabrielle Giffords, not be forced to take psychiatric medication pending a Ninth Circuit hearing on the matter next month, doctors at the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri where Lorghner is housed by the Bureau of Prisons have begun medicating him again. According to the doctors he is suicidal […] Read more »

WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS DENIED OVER LENGTHLY PERIOD BETWEEN CONVICTION AND APPEAL

James Nelson Blair was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1986 California death, by poisoning, of his neighbor, Dorothy Green in 1989. He appealed the conviction. In 2001 he filed a writ of habeas corpus in the Ninth Circuit complaining that the opening brief had not yet been filed in his appeal. Also in 2005 Blair’s attorneys moved the Ninth Circuit for a competency hearing to determine if he was competent to assist his counsel on the writ. The […] Read more »

CONVICTION FOR MAKING RACIST THREATS AGAINST OBAMA REVERSED

Walter Bagdasarian made two comments prior to the 2008 election on an internet chat page. He said “Re: Obama fk the niggar, he will have a 50 cal in the head soon” and “shoot the nig.” He was charged under 18 U.S.C. § 879(a)(3) with making a threat to kill or do bodily injury to a major candidate for president. The Ninth Circuit reversed the conviction finding that neither of the statements were threats within the meaning of the law. […] Read more »

MISTAKEN USE OF POLICE OFFICER’S REVOLVER RESULTS IN FOURTH AMENDMENT VIOLATION

In 2003 a Maryland court issued a misdemeanor warrant for Frederick P. Henry for failure to pay child support. Deputy Robert Purnell went to Henry’s trailer to serve the warrant. He met a man outside the trailer who said he was a friend of Henry’s. The man told the deputy that Henry was at work and gave the address of his employment. When Purness went to the address he was told that Henry no longer worked there. At this point […] Read more »

NINTH CIRCUIT GRANTS LOUGHNER A PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION FORBIDDING FORCED MEDICATION

Jared Lee Loughner is charged with the attempted murder of Congress member Gabrielle Giffords. Six people were killed and 13 were injured during a political rally in Tucson, Arizona on January 8, 2011. A district court judge found him incompetent to stand trial. This does not mean that he is insane or not guilty by reason of insanity. Rather it means that he cannot help his lawyer or that he does not understand the legal process sufficiently to make decisions […] Read more »