THE DEBATE OVER THE KILLING OF TRAYVON MARTIN

Trayvon Martin a 17 year old African American teenager was shot and killed by George Zimmerman a 28 year old Caucasian/Hispanic male member of the neighborhood patrol near Martin’s father’s fiancee’s house in Sanford Florida. Zimmerman was stalking Martin who he said looked “suspicious.” Zimmerman who has not been charged has not elaborated on what he meant when he said Martin looked suspicious. But I think that it is safe to say that among the factors leading to Zimmerman’s description […] Read more »

SUPREME COURT FINDS DEFENSE COUNSELS’ INCOMPETENCE IN PLEA BARGAINING CASES

Wednesday, in Lafler v. Cooper and Missouri v. Frye The Supreme Court set the rules for granting writs of habeas corpus for incompetence of counsel in cases involving plea bargaining. First it held that plea negotiations were a ‘critical’ stages of the criminal proceedings.” and therefore were covered by the3 Sixth Amendment’s right to effective counsel. With 97 per cent of all Federal criminal cases and 94 per ce4nt of all state criminal cases being resolved by pleas, plea negotiations […] Read more »

SUPREME COURT EXTENDS HABEAS CORPUS IN INCOMPETENCE OF COUNSEL CASES

Luis Mariano Martinez’s attorney filed a brief with the Arizona courts saying that there was no cause to file a writ in post conviction collateral proceedings. Under Arizona law allegations of incompetence of counsel can only be brought up in collateral proceedings. Later, with a new lawyer, Mariano attempted to file a second collateral appeal. The court rejected the collateral appeal since under Arizona law an issue can not be brought up in a collateral appeal if it could have […] Read more »

ROSS MIRKARINI’S GUILTY PLEA

I have not written about the allegations of domestic violence against San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi. For one thing Ross is a friend of mine and I don’t want to risk the impartiality that I attempt to obtain in this blog. Mirkarimi was charged with domestic violence based upon a New Years Eve incident involving his wife, eight days before he was sworn in as the city’s new sheriff. Last week, during jury selection, Mirkarimi entered into a plea bargain […] Read more »

NOTICE

Sorry, folks, I’m in trial and posts may be irregular for the next week to ten days Read more »

UPDATE: LUCERNE COUNTY AFTER THE CONVICTION OF TWO JUVENILE COURT JUDGES

Former Lucerne County, Pennsylvania juvenile court judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan were convicted last year for receiving over a million dollars in bribes from developers of private prisons for sending juveniles to their facilities. Since the scandal came to light the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has reversed the convictions of 2,251 juveniles sentenced by Ciavarella and Conahan. Part of the Lucerne County system under Ciavarella and Conahan was that the juveniles were routinely denied the right of counsel. As a […] Read more »

CORRECTIONS CORPORATION OF AMERICA OFFERS TO BUY STATE PRISONS EN EXCHANGE FOR AGREEMENT TO SEND INMATES TO THE PRISONS

Corrections Corporation of America, (CCA) a major owner of private prisons has offered to buy state, local and Federal prisons in exchange for twenty year contracts in which the governmental body guarantees to keep the prisons at a minimum of 90 percent of capacity. According to its web site CCA “designs, builds, manages and operates correctional facilities and detention centers on behalf of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States Marshals Service, nearly half of […] Read more »

SIXTH CIRCUIT DENIES GOVERNMENTAL LIABILITY FOR FALSE ARREST UNDER FCTA

U. S Marshals, working with local police including the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department arrested 10,733 individuals, including Paula Milligan,who were waned on warrants as part of Operation Falcon III in October 2006. The problem is that they got the wrong Paula Milligan. The warrant gave Milligan’s height, weight, age and driver’s license information. All of that information for the arrestee was different than for the Paula Milligan who was on the lam. Police officials made at least three errors in […] Read more »

SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS DENIAL OF CAPITAL DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO REPLACE APPOINTED COUNSEL

Kenneth Clair was convicted of the 1984 murder of Linda Rogers. His appeals were denied and he requested appointed counsel to file a Federal habeas. His request was granted and counsel was appointed. Two associates in the firm accepted jobs at the Federal Public Defender. The Federal Public Defender substituted in as counsel. After an evidentiary hearing and the completion of post hearing briefs Clair requested the appointment of substitute counsel,claiming inter alia that his counsel refused to work with […] Read more »

EDWARD LEE ELMORE RELEASED AFTER 30 YEARS IN PRISON FOR RAPE AND MURDER HE DID NOT COMMIT

Edward Lee Elmore was convicted of raping and murdering an elderly woman in 1982 in Greenwood, South Carolina. The only physical evidence supporting the conviction was “Negroid” public hair found on her abdomen. The hairs were found by the doctor performing the autopsy. He gave them to Earl Wells, an agent for the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) who looked at them through a microscope and placed them in an envelope marked “Item T.” “Item T” was never given […] Read more »