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Is O.J. Getting Out? Eating More Cookies?

A parole hearing that is a televised event! Not something that you expect as must-see TV. Today at 1, O.J. Simpson’s parole hearing is being televised on ESPN. That is some crazy sports television. From the Associated Press, here is an article titled “11 key players in OJ Simpson’s parole hearing in Nevada”. 

Today’s news will have several angles on this hearing. For the purposes of this blog, I want to mention one “confectionary note”.

It’s the story of how a chocolate chip cookie almost derailed this hearing. (USA Today) As it stands now, Simpson will get out of jail around October 1, if his hearing goes as expected today. But, as told by a retired correctional officer, there would be no parole hearing and no parole possibility, if he had not intervened for Simpson.

Following Simpson’s 2007 robbery conviction, Simpson arrived at prison to begin to serve his sentence.  An inmate who helped with in the prison cafeteria, stole cookies and brought them back to cell unit where Simpson was housed. There, the inmate handed out the chocolate chip cookies to the other inmates.  Most of them returned to their cells and took their cookies with them. Not Simpson!

Simpson sat there eating his cookie. (Might explain why he has put on a few LB’s since sentencing. Right?) If the prison jumpsuit doesn’t fit… you must not acquit?

From TMZ, here is a picture in 1995 (which also means “before cookie”)

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And a picture from 2007 (which might be “after cookie”)

 

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Here’s what the retired guard described of the cookie incident, “Being the loud O.J. he is, the guard in the bubble saw him eating a cookie,’’ according to USA TODAY Sports.And of course she said, ‘Where’d you get the cookie from?’ Well, O.J. doesn’t lie. He got it from a guy, a culinary worker.

Well, she wrote him up for having contraband. Over a cookie. That’s pretty crazy. So when I came back the next day for work, O.J. came to me and told me what happened. He said, ‘I can’t have a write up because I won’t get my parole.'”

The guard wrote about his relationship with Simpson in a book, Guarding the Juice. According to him, he intervened with the female correctional guard, to try to get her to destroy the disciplinary note for Simpson’s file. She refused to do it.

He went on to caution her that she would forever be known to the other inmates as The Cookie Monster and that the report would hurt her reputation with the other inmates. She finally relented and ripped it up. And today… OJ has his hearing on schedule… and on TV.

And for pic o’ day, for some reason this seemed a bit on theme:

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The Value of Freedom

We hear stories of defendant’s being found guilty and put in jail; then, years later, some evidence comes out to prove that the defendant wasn’t at the scene and everyone debates the value of being wrongfully convicted.

Well, a story from Pennsylvania’s The Patriot News once again shines a light on the value and fault of improper incarceration. A Mexican man who was jailed by mistake and held there for 129 days, has filed a lawsuit against the police and court officials of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.

The plaintiff’s brother had borrowed the plaintiff’s car when he was pulled over by police. He gave his brother’s plaintiff’s passport and Mexican driver’s license to the officer, which led to the plaintiff being imprisoned on a bench warrant. Plus, while in jail, the plaintiff was not provided a spanish interpreter. So, he sat there unable to tell anyone his predicament. Finally, it was determined that he shouldn’t have been arrested.

Now, a lawsuit seeks “unspecified financial damages on claims of false arrest and imprisonment and unlawful search and seizure. So far, the judge has dismissed most of the listed defendants including Pennsylvania’s Attorney General under a governmental sovernign immunity defense. Only the arresting corporal remains.

In explaining her rulings, the Judge pointed to the person that she felt was really at fault. “It cannot be overlooked that the mistaken identity and subsequent arrest…was the end result of…Jose’s (brother) masquerading as (Ever) during a traffic stop”. (Judge Rambo) Guess family gatherings could be tough from now on.

DID YOU KNOW that the average life-span of a major league baseball is 5-7 pitches. We should be thankful for who we are!

And for pic o’ day, how about a good argument?

a good argument

 

California Inmates are Crowded

A panel of three federal judges have ordered Governor Jerry Brown to release 9600 California prison inmates by the end of the year. (LA Times) The judges have ruled that the prison system is overcrowded, which violates the Constitutional  prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

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The above picture of one of the state prisons does look overcrowded to me.  I can see why there are two sides to the argument of releasing 8% of the prison population in California.

The Court has ordered that prisoners from a list of “low risk” offenders are to be released. Conversely, Governor Brown is taking every possible avenue to appeal the order and have it overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

A spokesman for the California Police Chiefs Association says that the court order shows, “a complete disregard for the safety of communities across California”. As Covina Police Chief Kim Raney put it, “Pressing for 9,000 more inmates on the streets shows an activist court more concerned with prisoners,  than the safety of the communities”.

The California legislature is trying to figure out an alternative. It would include funding for prison expansion. In the meantime, Governor Brown is potentially facing a contempt order, if he does not comply with the mandated release.

What do the voters think? An independent poll was taken to determine how California voters view the early release of low-level, nonviolent offenders. In the poll, sixty-three percent said that they favored the early release. The wrestling match will continue.

And for pic o’ day, a bit of Psalms 23!

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Random Randomness

I’m told that I’m supposed to use blog titles that might have some Internet optimization quality. I don’t think this title will pass muster.  But, it does allow me to just insert some legal news and attachments without any organization.

I usually try to give brief descriptions with a comment and give the attachment, in case you want to read more. Some just make it hard to even give a thought. Of course, Dick Cavett said, “It’s a rare person who wants to hear what he doesn’t want to hear”.  Maybe that goes for reading a blog too.  See, the randomness begins.

First story comes from Connecticut. Police were called when a 911 call was placed to advise that someone was on the playground giving children beer. Two were charged with giving beer to a 4 year-old and beer and cocaine to a 10 month-old child. (Looking away uncomfortably.)

Next from MSNBC.  Five people were stabbed during a “Welcome Home From Jail Party”.  One woman was also detained for allegedly firing a gun.   (Not sure if I should insert something like they played “Pin the tail on the human” or just suggest that the title of the party was a bit prophetic)

PostCity.com announced Toronto’s worst named restaurants. Just a sample: “The Big Chubby Burger”. Of course, I’m probably not one to criticize since I once owned a restaurant named “Glutton’s”. The concept was that all sandwiches were so big that only a Glutton could finish one. I know; with that concept, you’re not surprised that the result was that I must have been a Glutton for punishment. (Just thought I’d throw this story in for some marketing discussion)

Finally, here’s a news story from an “Occupy Portland” event.  Police were walking through the event to make sure that the demonstration remained peaceful. One guy seemed to be drunk, so the police decided to speak with him and  put him through a test  to determine if he should be charged for being drunk in public. He assured them that he wasn’t and went on to show them that he had a mason jar that was filled with bags of marijuana. Yep, that’s quite a defense.

And now, it just seems like we need some organization to get away from such randomness. Here’s pic o’ day:

Dominican Republic Laws

     When people ask me “Who is your favorite baseball team?”, it’s almost to the point that I don’t have an answer.  Part of that is how baseball is set up, to favor big market teams; The other part is because I’m really an Orioles’ fan and, well, having 13 straight losing seasons is a test of one’s meddle.

     I still find myself reading about  Orioles’ news. Their off- season has been more exciting, these recent years, than the baseballl  season. I guess, maybe, that’s how Redskins’ fans have felt. It’s the old saying that the Redskins always win the off- season, with their signings.

     In following the Orioles, this off- season, I was reminded of the value of our Court system. The reminder came because of a story involving one of the Orioles pitchers.

     Alfredo Simon is accused of firing a shot in the air, on New Year’s Eve. The shot killed 25-year-old Michel Castillo. His brother was also injured. Initially, Simon claimed he had nothing to do with the shooting. Then, he admitted to firing the shot, but that the shooting was accidental.

     At the time of this writing, the results of the ballistic tests are pending. They are being done to determine whether Castillo was killed by a bullet that came from the gun, fired by Simon.

     Simon’s lawyer is claiming that, even if ballistics match the bullets to the weapon, that Simon was only firing celebration shots for the New Year. Despite what the evidence might be, the pitcher is expected to remain in jail for over a year, while the authorities investigate the shooting. Simon has been denied bail and has been charged with involuntary manslaughter.

     The defense attorney says that she plans to appeal the Judge’s ruling. “We think that the judge acted in such a way, to avoid a reaction from the media.” She added, “There is already forensic evidence that Simon’s weapon did not cause the death of the victim.”

     The Dominican Republic’s judicial system allows for preventive detention. Unlike the United States, there is no right to a speedy trial. Simon could sit there, in jail for a year. The possible sentencing for being found guilty of involuntary manslaughter is only 2 years.

     Whenever people criticize our judicial system because of sentencing or runaway juries, perhaps they should stop and read about other countries abroad. It’s also something to think about when going on some cruise to a foreign land. When you take a step off these shores, the value of our Constitution no longer has that reach of protection. I’m guessing that Simon can’t wait to be back here, pitching for the Orioles.

Bad Advice From a Client

     Normally, lawyers are giving their client advice. Unfortunately for one Pennsylvania lawyer, he took the advice of a client, and the advice was his downfall.

     Mainlinemediannews reports that a 62-year-old lawyer took the advice of an incarcerated client, on how to smuggle drugs into a Delaware County prison. The fact that I am blogging on it is a quick clue that things did not go as planned.

     The inmate is heard, in a prison conversation, to be telling the lawyer how to package the drugs, to safely bring them to her. She also advised him to “make sure you look like a lawyer, you won’t be searched.”

     The inmate further instructs him to place the package of drugs “in your right hand, and when I see you, I will be able to hug you and I will get it from your hand.” When the lawyer came through the routine scan at the entrance, he told the guards that he was there to see a client. During the scan, he was found with the drugs. I wonder if he tried to keep them in his hand or if he put the drugs in the basket, where you usually put your personal items, before walking through the scan.

     The lawyer has pled to a charge of possession with intent to deliver drugs to a prison inmate. The plea was worked out to allow him to avoid a mandatory two-year sentence.  Also, as a classified first offender, he is eligible for an additional reduced sentence, if he meets certain criteria of conduct, while in prison.

     His lawyer has indicated that his defense would have been that he suffers from dementia. At the time of his arrest, he told authorities that he had been “introduced to crack cocaine and marijuana by some girls that he met” and had been a user for about three months.

     His license to practice law has been suspended. Because of his admitted medical diagnosis of dementia,  I expect that he will no longer be able to practice law, regardless of the outcome of the sentencing.

     It made me sad to read this story. I wonder if anyone that he worked with, or his family, noticed that he was dealing with these medical issues. Could all this have been prevented.

     His defense lawyer noted that he had been a practicing attorney since 1972 and had never been guilty of anything worse than a traffic ticket. He noted that,  “He was a professional and made wonderful decisions, up until he (the lawyer) was diagnosed with dementia”.

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