New California law allows felons who served their time to serve on juries

A new California law allows many former inmates with felony records to serve on juries.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the measure Tuesday, the Recorder reports. KTVU has previous coverage of the bill.

The “Right to a Jury of Your Peers” law allows felons to serve on juries if they have finished their prison time, unless they are still on parole, probation or other post-prison supervision. Registered sex offenders with felony convictions will still be banned from jury service.

The law is intended to make California juries more representative of the state’s population. Thirty percent of black men in California couldn’t serve as jurors because of the felon ban, according to the bill’s author, Democratic state Sen. Nancy Skinner.

About two dozen states permanently ban felons from jury service, according to California State University law professor James Binnall, who spoke with the Recorder. A dozen allow service, while a handful of others allow only some felons to serve.

By Debra Cassens Weiss

via ABA Journal Daily News

October 11, 2019 at 04:26PM

This Week’s Corrupt Cops Stories

A Georgia narc gets in trouble for his sticky fingers, a Philadelphia narc uses a confiscated Porsche for his stepdaughter’s prom pictures, and more. Let’s get to it:

In Lawrenceville, Georgia, a former Gwinnett County deputy was arrested last Wednesday for allegedly using his position on a federal narcotics task force to steal cocaine and methamphetamine. Antoine Riggins faces federal charges of stealing cocaine and methamphetamine, as well as multiple counts of making false statements to cover up his thefts. Riggins was assigned to transport seized drugs to the evidence vault but would repeatedly take some for himself.

In Philadelphia, a Philadelphia police narcotics officer was arrested last Thursday for using a 2018 Porsche he confiscated during a drug investigation to drive his stepdaughter to take photos for her school prom. James Coolen Jr., 45, is charged with unauthorized use of an automobile and misapplication of entrusted property, both second-class misdemeanors. He resigned from the department last Wednesday to avoid being fired.

In Senath, Missouri, a Senath police officer was arrested last Friday after a traffic stop turned up meth, drug paraphernalia, and a bunch of guns. Officer Freddie Williams, 38, faces one count of class C felony possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute and nine counts of class E felony unlawful use of a weapon. Williams is also the former police chief in Cardwell, Missouri.

In Springville, Alabama, a St. Clair Correctional Facility guard was arrested Tuesday after a work vehicle search found 138 grams of methamphetamine and 16 grams of heroin in his car as he came to work. Ivan Caldwell, 26, is charged with two counts of trafficking in controlled substances, promoting prison contraband, and violation of license to carry a pistol. He has resigned as a correctional officer.

via Criminal Justice

October 9, 2019 at 04:51PM

EFF to First Circuit: First Amendment Protects Right to Secretly Audio Record Police

The First Amendment protects the public’s right to use electronic devices to secretly audio record police officers performing their official duties in public. This is according to an amicus brief EFF filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. The case, Martin v. Rollins, was brought by the ACLU of Massachusetts on behalf of plaintiffs who are challenging the constitutionality of the Massachusetts anti-eavesdropping statute, which prohibits the secret audio recording of all conversations, even those that are not private.

The First Circuit had previously held in Glik v. Cunniffe (2011) that Glik had a First Amendment right to record police officers arresting another man in Boston Common. He had used his cell phone to openly record both audio and video of the incident. The court also held that this did not violate the Massachusetts anti-eavesdropping statute.

EFF’s amicus brief argues that people frequently use modern electronic devices to record and share audio and video recordings, especially on social media. These often include newsworthy recordings of fatal police shootings and other police misconduct. Such recordings facilitate police accountability and enhance the public discussion about police use of force and racial disparities in our criminal justice system.

EFF’s amicus brief also argues that audio recordings can be particularly helpful in chronicling police misconduct, providing more context beyond the video images, such as when a bystander audio recorded Eric Garner screaming, “I can’t breathe.” Additionally, being able to secretly audio record police officers performing their official duties in public is critical given that many officers retaliate against civilians who openly record them.

In addition to the First Circuit’s Glik decision, five other federal appellate jurisdictions have upheld a First Amendment right to record police officers performing their official duties in public: the Third, Fifth, Seventh, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits. EFF wrote an amicus brief in the Third Circuit case, as well as in a pending case in the Tenth Circuit and a case in the Northern District of Texas that focused on the First Amendment right to record emergency medical personnel and other first responders.

The First Circuit reached the right decision in Glik, and we hope the appellate court will take this opportunity to further strengthen the right to record police officers performing their official duties in public by holding that secret audio recording is also protected by the First Amendment.

via Updates

October 7, 2019 at 03:02PM

Police in Illinois charge 9-year-old with five counts of first-degree murder

A 9-year-old has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder in connection with a lethal mobile-home fire in April near Goodfield, IL, reported the Peoria Journal Star.
The juvenile also has been charged with two counts of arson and one count of aggravated arson, Woodford County State’s Attorney Greg Minger said.
The identity of the suspect was not revealed, given that person’s age. Minger would not divulge additional details about the suspect, including a possible relationship to the victims.
Minger’s decision to prosecute came six months following the blaze April 6 that killed two adults and three children in a residence at Timberline Mobile Home Park.
The fire at 14 Cypress Court began shortly after 11 p.m. on a Saturday. The trailer was engulfed in flames by the time firefighters arrived a few minutes later.Kathryn Murray, 69; Jason Wall, 34; Rose Alwood, 2; Daemeon Wall, 2; and Ariel Wall, 1, died of smoke inhalation, autopsies revealed.
There were two survivors — Katrina Alwood, who was 27 at the time of the fire, and her juvenile son.
Katrina Alwood and Jason Wall, who were engaged to be married, were parents of Ariel Wall and Daemeon Wall. Rose Alwood was a niece. Murray was Katrina Alwood’s grandmother.
Minger said he went through various authoritative reports about the blaze numerous times before he decided to proceed with prosecution.
“It was a heavy decision,” he said. “It’s a tragedy, but at the end of the day it’s charging a very young person with one of the most serious crimes we have.
“But I just think it needs to be done at this point, for finality.”
He said the aggravated-arson charge suggests the suspect knew others were present when the fire was set.
Earlier, Woodford County Coroner Tim Ruestman ruled the fire was started intentionally.
The fire site is just northeast of Goodfield. The village of about 1,000 residents is located along Interstate 74 between Peoria and Bloomington-Normal.
No arrest warrant is to be issued for the suspect, Minger said. He wasn’t certain about the minimum age threshold for imprisoning a minor.
The suspect is to be appointed an attorney and will be subject to a bench trial, in front of a judge, according to Minger. No jury is to be empaneled.
If convicted, the suspect could be placed on probation for at least five years but not beyond the age of 21, the state’s attorney said. Therapy, counseling and psychological evaluation would be likely. Incarceration is not an option, Minger suggested. “Probation, given the age, is about the only outcome that could happen here,” he said.

via Matt Mangino

October 11, 2019 at 09:19AM

They Took Different Paths. They Died Together in the Bronx.

The lives of two young men — one a police officer, the other a gang member with a gun — collided after midnight. Each has a story.

Brian Mulkeen, 33, had a fascination with heroes and loved action movies. It did not surprise his friends when he became a New York City police officer, in an aggressive plainclothes unit focused on getting guns off the street.

Antonio Lavance Williams, 27, a cook and a father of two from Binghamton, N.Y., had traveled to the Bronx to watch a televised prize fight with a friend. He was on probation for a drug conviction. He was also carrying a pistol, the police say.

The lives of these two men, of similar build and close in age, collided — and ended — violently, just after midnight on Sunday, Sept. 29.

Mr. Williams had everything to lose if he were arrested again, and when plainclothes officers tried to question him and another man outside the Edenwald Houses at 12:30 a.m., he ran. Officer Mulkeen chased Mr. Williams and they grappled in a dark courtyard behind a building.

Within minutes, both were mortally wounded by gunshots fired by officers. Officer Mulkeen fired five times at Mr. Williams before being shot by his fellow officers. Mr. Williams’s .32-caliber revolver was never fired.

Ten days later, the police have released few details about the shooting. The department has not said why Officer Mulkeen and his partners stopped Mr. Williams, nor has it said when or how the officers learned Mr. Williams had a loaded gun. And it has not explained how Officer Mulkeen ended up in the line of fire of his partners.

To some critics of the police, the deaths of Officer Mulkeen and Mr. Williams are emblematic of the risks inherent in the Police Department’s strategy of sending plainclothes teams to search for people with guns. The units have been accused of being overzealous and of stopping people on questionable legal grounds.

The “friendly fire” police death — the second time this year an officer has been killed by colleagues’ bullets — has also led to calls for more training.

At Officer Mulkeen’s funeral, the police commissioner, James P. O’Neill, said, “One person is responsible for Brian’s death, and that’s the person carrying a loaded and illegal gun that decided to run from the police.”

Read more:

via Police Brutality, Misconduct and Shootings

October 9, 2019 at 05:16AM

Feds hit GirlsDoPorn owners with criminal sex trafficking charges

Federal prosecutors have charged three men and a woman with sex trafficking charges for operating the popular porn site GirlsDoPorn. At least 22 women featured on the site have sued the site’s owners, charging that the pornographers used lies and coercion to gain their participation.

The 22 women said they responded to ads for clothed modeling gigs. When they were asked to shoot porn instead, they initially resisted. But they went along with it after the company assured them that their videos would only be sold on DVD to customers outside the United States and would not be posted online. That turned out to be a lie, as their videos wound up on GirlsDoPorn, a website with plenty of American viewers.

“I was in a state of panic when I first found out,” one of the alleged victims testified in court. “I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t believe it.”

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via Policy – Ars Technica

October 10, 2019 at 10:06PM

Federal corrections officer in Miami accepted money for bribes, feds say

A federal corrections officer has been charged after accepting bribes from South Florida prisoners, prosecutors said Friday.

Victor DeJesus, 47, was arrested and charged with bribery and conspiracy to commit bribery.

A 14-count indictment filed in Miami federal court alleges DeJesus accepted money in exchange for providing contraband to inmates at the Federal Correctional Institution.

According to the indictment, prisoners and those acting on their behalf supplied DeJesus with bribe payments from at least as early as December 2018 through September 2019.

DeJesus is alleged to have deposited the money into his personal bank account.

In exchange for the bribe payments, the indictment alleges, DeJesus brought prohibited items into the prison. The indictment goes on to say DeJesus had inmate co-conspirators distribute the contraband.

The Federal Correctional Institution in Miami is operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

DeJesus was scheduled to appear before a U.S. magistrate Friday afternoon.

Copyright 2019 by WPLG – All rights reserved.

via “Miami arrested” – Google News

October 11, 2019 at 11:33AM

Arrested Japanese stalker used pupil image reflections – Miami Herald

A man arrested on suspicion of stalking a female pop idol used the reflections of her pupils in photos she shared on social media and Google Street View to find where she lived.

Tokyo police declined comment on the specifics of the investigation but confirmed Friday that 26-year-old Hibiki Sato was arrested Sept. 17 on suspicion of indecent behavior in connection with stalking and causing injuries to the 20-year-old woman.

The police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity as is often policy at Japanese bureaucracies, said the case was related to the reports about a stalker and pupil images.

Police described Sato as an “avid fan.”

Public broadcaster NHK and other Japanese media reported this week that details in the woman’s selfies were used to identify the train station she frequented. They said Sato looked at other images she shared, such as her apartment, to figure out where she lived.

Police say he hurt her and committed indecent acts, such as groping her after accosting her from behind and knocking her down.

Japan has many young female performance groups.

Tokyo Shimbun, a metropolitan daily, which reported on the stalking case, warned readers evArrested Japanese stalker used pupil image reflections  Miami Heralden casual selfies may show surrounding buildings that will allow people to identify the location of the photos.

It also said people shouldn’t make the V-sign with their hand, which Japanese often do in photos, because fingerprints could be stolen.

Cyberstalking has been a problem for years, with criminals and perpetrators of domestic violence using hacking, clandestine activation of microphones and cameras and other methods to track their victims.

It’s unclear how prevalent the use of high-resolution photos to locate potential victims might be.

via “Miami arrested” – Google News

October 11, 2019 at 02:41AM

Florida Men Arrested for Unlawfully Capturing Alligator, Pouring Beer in its Mouth

Two men were arrested earlier this month for a crime that just screams Florida – pouring beer into the mouth of an alligator after allegedly getting the reptile to bite one of them on the arm and filming the whole incident.

A report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said a complaint was sent in about an August incident where 27-year-old Timothy Kepke of Hobe Sound was allegedly holding the alligator and “enticing” the reptile to bite his arm while pouring beer in its mouth.

Kepke was interviewed in September about the incident by FWC officials, in which he said the alligator was caught by 22-year-old Noah Osborne of Stuart, saying the duo released the alligator alive after the incident and admitting he had a couple beers beforehand but was not drunk at the time.

A female who was with the men at the time told investigators the same and both men were arrested on October 3rd on a charge of unlawfully taking an alligator.

Each man was released on bond ahead of their next court appearance.

via “Miami arrested” – Google News

October 9, 2019 at 02:35PM

Who paid for hit on FSU prof? In lurid trial, a Broward dentist’s name keeps coming up

Katherine Magbanua, charged in the 2014 murder of Florida State law professor Dan Markel, mimics with her hands an incident involving Sigfredo Garcia cutting off her and Charlie Adelson with his car.

Hours after Florida State University law professor Daniel Markel was shot and killed in his car at his Tallahassee home in July 2014, his ex-wife Wendi Adelson sat with an investigator at the Tallahassee Police Department, shaking, crying and burying her face in her hands.

When the investigator told Wendi the shooting was intentional and they needed to find out who murdered the father of her two children, she blurted out a name: Charlie Adelson, her older brother and confidant.

“[Charlie] knew that Danny always treated me badly and it was always this joke,” Wendi Adelson, also an FSU law professor, told police. “He said: ‘I looked into hiring a hit man and it was cheaper to get you this TV so instead I got you this TV … but he would never … it’s such a horrible thing to say.’”

Charlie Adelson, a Tamarac periodontist, has not been charged in the case and denies any involvement, but his name has come up again and again during a five-year investigation — and repeatedly during an ongoing three-week trial of two South Florida residents facing murder charges in Leon County for Markel’s death. The jury is expected to begin deliberations after closing arguments on Thursday.

This week, a state prosecutor called Charlie Adelson an “unindicted co-conspirator” during an interview with the Miami Herald. And the Tallahassee Police Department has done little to hide its suspicions that he organized the hit. Three years ago, police even released a draft of a probable cause affidavit against Adelson that the local state attorney rejected as insufficient to file charges.

charlie adelson linkedin.png
Charlie Adelson has not been charged in the murder of Florida State University law professor Dan Markel. But his name has come up repeatedly at trial. LINKEDIN

The two people now on trial in Tallahassee are Sigfredo Garcia, who prosecutors say shot and killed Markel, and Katherine Magbanua, who had romantic relationships with both Garcia and Charlie Adelson and is accused of being the go-between in the alleged murder-for-hire.

The prosecution’s case depends in large part on the testimony of Garcia’s friend and confessed accomplice, Luis Rivera, also of South Florida, who said Magbanua hired them for the job. Rivera, a convicted ringleader of the North Miami Latin Kings gang, has already pleaded guilty. Garcia and Magbanua are charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and solicitation of murder. They have both pleaded not guilty and are being tried together.

Although prosecutors never produced a witness who could link Adelson or his family to either Rivera or Garcia, they have spent much of the trial attempting to persuade jurors of abundant circumstantial links — with Magbanua as the cog.

“Charlie Adelson had a sister in Tallahassee, Wendi Adelson — and Wendi Adelson had a problem,’‘ lead prosecutor Georgia Cappleman told jurors in her opening statement. “Her problem was named Dan Markel. The solution to that problem was Magbanua, Garcia and Rivera.”

Magbanua took the stand Wednesday, where she denied involvement in a conspiracy but pointed the finger at a man far away in South Florida. Based on the evidence presented at trial, she told jurors she thought Markel’s brother-in-law — her former boyfriend Charlie Adelson — was behind the murder.

October 10, 2019 at 01:59PM