Angela Corey failed to disclose evidence in Michael Dunn case

January 31, 2014

Friday, January 31, 2014

Good morning:

I have disappointing news to pass along from Angela Corey’s office.

The audio recordings of Michael Dunn’s jailhouse phone calls will not be available for 9 to 10 weeks. Since the trial is likely to end before then, I do not believe we will have an opportunity to listen to them.

According to the terms of the order issued two weeks ago today by the 1st District Court of Appeal, the prosecution was required to release the audio recordings to the media no later than one week ago today.

Corey claims that she has a legitimate excuse for the delay.

I disagree.

She says her office has 170 hours of recorded calls that cannot be released to the public in their present condition because the names and addresses of the participants and various other people mentioned in the calls have not been redacted.

True, but that task should have been accomplished months ago.

Why?

Because anything Dunn said during the calls about the shooting will be admissible in the prosecution’s case-in-chief pursuant to the admission-by-a-party-opponent rule. If Dunn testifies and his testimony differs from what he said during those calls, the prosecution can impeach his testimony with his prior inconsistent statement.

The prosecution acquired this evidence approximately one year ago and I cannot think of any reason that would justify its failure to review the calls months ago. I do not believe that any reasonably competent prosecutor would have failed to review that evidence months ago and for that reason I do not accept Corey’s excuse.

If I were Judge Healey, I would find Corey in contempt and order her to pay $500 per day until she produces the records.

Given the inadequate performance of her team of prosecutors in the George Zimmerman trial, I was expecting her to avoid bonehead screw-ups like this.

Her failure to do so raises new questions about her commitment to this case.


Our commitment to this blog

January 30, 2014

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Good afternoon:

Many of our readers generally know that Crane and I have enemies dedicated to intimidating us and eliminating our blog. I write today to describe their tactics so that readers will recognize their handiwork when they see it and better appreciate what we deal with on a daily basis.

To discredit what I say, they knowingly disseminate false and malicious information about me and my professional reputation as a lawyer and law professor. They do this at their own websites and at high-traffic internet websites like the Huffington Post.

They do not rely on real evidence because no such evidence exists. As my regular readers know, my posts are self-authenticating for the most part because I explain what is happening in non-technical language, provide insights about a case or issue that only a knowledgeable and experienced trial lawyer would know, and generally predict outcomes accurately or explain what went wrong. I admit I am wrong when I make mistakes.

Over time the truth of these statements reveals itself.

Our detractors attempt to create the appearance that their false statements about us and what we say are legitimate by using multiple internet identities to communicate the same false information and proxy servers that conceal their true identities and IP addresses. Using this method, one person can appear to be more than ten people having a conversation about us or something that we supposedly said.

This method of character assassination and legitimization of false information has been around for a long time. The late Andrew Breitbart used it to discredit democratic candidates for political office and organizations dedicated to registering voters and turning out the vote. The method was used to defeat John Kerry in the 2004 election. At that time it was called swift boating.

In some cases involving people who have their own blogs and comment here, they have threatened to use the same tactic against them unless they moderate what they say and stop commenting here.

The effort against me has been underway for about two years and I have no reason to believe that it will end unless the feds indict the people running the scam with conspiracy to violate my civil rights.

Everyone has a right to free speech, including me. However, it is not absolute. For example, no one has a right to scream “Fire” in a crowded theater.

The right to free speech comes with a duty to speak the truth. Knowingly or recklessly uttering false statements about another person is not protected by the First Amendment. If such a statement causes an injury to a person’s reputation that is capable of being measured in dollars, such as lost income for example, the injured person can recover money damages from the person who uttered the false statement.

Under some circumstances, a person who utters a false statement may be charged with a crime.

We realize that a federal prosecution against the people attempting to destroy the credibility of this website probably will remain a low priority for the feds, unless someone is murdered. We are not the only people whom the right wing hate machine seeks to discredit and silence with a coordinated campaign of lies.

They do this all the time.

From time to time we get discouraged by all of the hate directed at us. Within the past two weeks we were doxed: our address and telephone number was published on the internet.

We want our readers to know that we honor our commitments.

No matter what happens, we will continue to speak the truth.


Texas Republicans cannot reanimate the dead

January 29, 2014
A patient in a hospital bed connected to equipment.

Why are Texas Republicans so ghoulish?

Good morning:

I will be subbing for Crane Station today because she is busy working on her case.

Four Republican candidates seeking their party’s nomination to run for the position of Lieutenant Governor of Texas in the fall election participated in the first televised debate of the primary season on Monday evening.

Under normal circumstances, I would not comment on the debate.

I have decided to comment, however, because the four candidates disagreed with the judge who ordered the hospital to disconnect Marlise Munoz from a ventilator. They also vowed to change the law so that this mistake will not happen again.

I believe their position is indefensible legally and ethically and I believe it demonstrates why these men are not qualified for the position they seek.

The primary is March 4th.

First, Marlise Munoz very likely was brain dead (i.e., clinically dead) before she was transported to the hospital. If not, she soon reached that condition. Her condition was irreversible.

Second, but for the Texas statute, the hospital was ethically required to unplug her from life support.

Third, it was undisputed that the fetus was not viable and but for the Texas statute, the hospital had no choice but to let it go.

Fourth, the statute cannot be rewritten to bring the dead back to life.

Therefore, the court made the correct decision and the Texas legislature cannot amend the existing statute to require the hospital to bring the dead back to life.

The four candidates have no excuse for not being aware of this impossibility.

Characterizing the court’s decision as wrong and promising to rewrite the statute to, in essence, reanimate the dead can only work in zombie films.

President Obama did a pretty good job of zombie politics in his State of the Union address last night.

Read the rest of this entry »


If you could make 5 people disappear, who would you choose?

January 26, 2014

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Good afternoon:

“Would the following people please report to the vice principal’s office,” was a summons over the junior high school public address system that used to strike fear into my heart because my name often would be on that list for various and sundry immature pranks that I committed against teachers whom I disliked for reasons both real and imagined.

Yes, I confess that I was a bratty merry prankster who irritated the hell out of my frazzled teachers. Fortunately, I eventually managed to give my poor overworked and underpaid teachers a break and redirected my teenage rebellion into more productive pursuits like protesting against the war in Vietnam.

But that’s another story.

I am pleased to report that, as far as I know, I never made a teacher sick.

Of course, I had not yet discovered how to cast magic spells.

Which brings me to Brandi Blackbear, a student at Union Intermediate High School in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma back in December, 2000.

The assistant vice principal suspended her for 15 days for casting a magic spell that made a teacher sick.

ABC News reported:

The lawsuit, filed on Thursday [by the ACLU], alleges that Blackbear was summoned to the office of assistant principal Charlie Bushyhead last December after a teacher fell ill, and was questioned about her interest in Wicca.

According to the lawsuit, Brandi Blackbear had read a library book about Wicca beliefs and, under aggressive interrogation by Bushyhead, said she might be a Wiccan. In fact, Blackbear is a Roman Catholic, according to the newspaper Tulsa World.

“The interview culminated with Defendant Bushyhead accusing Plaintiff, Brandi Blackbear, of casting spells causing (a teacher at the school) … to be sick and to be hospitalized,” the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit stated that because of the “unknown cause” of the teacher’s illness, Bushyhead advised the 15-year-old girl “that she was an immediate threat to the school and summarily suspended her for what he arbitrarily determined to be a disruption of the education process.”

Absolutely brilliant detective work by Mr. Bushyhead, who should give serious consideration to changing his name to Defendant Shit For Brains.

First Coast News reprinted this story from December, 2000 as its selection for today in the strange news department.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful, if we could cast magic spells that would make people disappear?

George Zimmerman would be in my top 5.

How about you?


Discovery dump today in Michael Dunn case

January 24, 2014

Friday, January 24, 2014

Good evening:

We have a discovery dump (156 pages) to review in the Michael Dunn case. Among the contents are some letters he wrote that you may find interesting to read.

(H/T to Lynn for providing the link)

Happy trails,

Fred


Marlise Munoz hearing

January 24, 2014

Friday, January 24, 2014

Good afternoon:

No live stream of the Munoz hearing and it started at 3 pm. Judge ordered all cell phones turned off during the hearing, so no one can tweet about it.

Two hours before the hearing, the hospital acknowledged in legal papers filed with the court that Marlise Munoz has been brain dead since November 28th and the fetus is not viable.

You can follow developments on twitter

#marlisemunoz

Meanwhile, we wait . . .


Open Thread

January 23, 2014

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Good afternoon:

I have replaced my dead computer and I’m back up and running.

Not much happening today that has not already been mentioned in the comments.

Big day tomorrow.

Angela Corey’s office must release the audio recordings of Michael Dunn’s 740 or so phone calls from jail by tomorrow at the close of business.

There will be a hearing in Erick Munoz’s lawsuit against the hospital seeking an order to disconnect his dead pregnant wife from a ventilator with the fetus in some serious difficulty.

Fauxmccoy posted this comment quoting his attorney and a link, which I have embedded.

“According to the medical records we have been provided, the fetus is distinctly abnormal,” the attorneys said. “Even at this early stage, the lower extremities are deformed to the extent that the gender cannot be determined.”

The attorneys said the fetus also has fluid building up inside the skull and possibly has a heart problem.

“Quite sadly, this information is not surprising due to the fact that the fetus, after being deprived of oxygen for an indeterminate length of time, is gestating within a dead and deteriorating body, as a horrified family looks on in absolute anguish, distress and sadness,” the attorneys said.

Meanwhile, Zimmerman’s fledgling career as a paint-by-numbers copycat continues.

The pool is open.


George Zimmerman is back in the news

January 23, 2014

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Good morning:

George Zimmerman is back in the news today with yet another paint-by-numbers masterpiece.

CNN describes his latest work:

The painting, a swirl of bright red and yellow, shows Corey with her fingers pinched.
The caption, in all caps, says, “I have this much respect for the American judicial system – Angie C.”
It’s an artistic depiction of a much-reprinted photograph of Corey from the news conference when she announced the charge against Zimmerman.

Brother Robert Zimmerman, Jr., announced the new painting on twitter. Details about when and where he will offer it for sale will be announced today.


West Virginia Chemical Leak and the Smell of Collusion

January 22, 2014

posted by Crane-Station

On Friday, January 17, 2014, as the chemical plume from the January 9 West Virginia chemical spill was passing through Louisville in the Ohio River, Freedom Industries, whose storage tank the chemical leaked from, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in federal court in Charleston, West Virginia.

The feeding frenzy of lawsuits in the wake of the spill involves many plaintiffs and two main defendants, Freedom Industries, who stored the chemical, and the water company, whose intake pipes are situated 1.5 miles downstream from Freedom. (Eastman Chemical (EMN), the Kingsport (Tenn.)-based manufacturer of the chemical has also been named in one lawsuit so far.)

Freedom Industries is closely held and newly acquired by Pennsylvania coal magnate J. Clifford Forrest. The main other main defendant is the water company, the West Virginia division of American Water Works Company Incorporated. American Water Works (aka American Water) is publicly traded under, amazingly enough, the initials AWK.

In its bankruptcy filing, Freedom Industries claimed that AWK was to blame for the chemical leak from its (70-year-old uninspected) tank. Freedom advanced a theory, to explain why the water company was responsible for the visible hole in the chemical company’s storage tank. Paul M. Barrett, writing for Bloomberg Businessweek explains:

Freedom has a strategy for spreading the blame.

The company’s bankruptcy attorneys, led by Mark Freedlander of the Pittsburgh office of McGuire Woods, used Chapter 11 to float a theory designed to ease Freedom’s liability: ‘It is presently hypothesized that a local water line break [caused] the ground beneath a storage tank at the Charleston facility to freeze in the extraordinary frigid temperatures in the days immediately preceding’ what Freedlander delicately termed ‘the incident.’ Freedom further hypothesized that ‘the hole in the affected storage tank’ was caused by ‘an object piercing upwards through the base’ of the tank.

This happens all the time. The old water pipe-ground-expanding bomb thing. Every winter. In fact, as I type this, our faucets are cut on a bit because it is 15F outside; standing water in pipes can freeze and expand, compromising a pipe and breaking it. One time, a pipe in the ground outside did break. But I don’t remember any sort of phallic projectile protruding through the floor of this tiny modest apartment, which leaves me thinking that only really vulnerable structures succumb to underground water-propelled projectile object bombs. Like reinforced steel tanks engineered to hold thousands of gallons of toxic chemicals.

At any rate, AWK was not amused by this one hundred percent evidence-free filing in federal court, and on January 19, it fired back a response. Paul Barrett explains:

In its own filing dated Jan. 19 and made available yesterday, the West Virginia unit of the water company fired back. West Virginia-American Water accused the chemical supplier of concealing its true ownership, using a proposed emergency loan to put creditors at a disadvantage, and generally failing to provide the bankruptcy court with sufficient financial information about such matters as Freedom’s insurance coverage. The situation ‘smells of collusion,’ the water utility alleged in its court papers.

Collusion is people agreeing to do bad things together. What does the water company mean by this? Well it appears that Freedom Industries is 1) blaming the water company for the spill and 2) asking the court to approve a five million dollar loan from, well, J Clifford Forrest, to keep the company running, during the bankruptcy proceedings, and for the punchline 3) have priority over all of the other creditors, since it is lending the money. Forrest wants to transfer all of the assets from Freedom to another company that he owns and borrow money from it. The name of the other company escapes me, but it should be a household name by now because it has been around forever — since Friday.

So, Freedom Industries is wanting to keep the lawsuits on hold, transfer money from one pocket to the other to remain operational, and then blame the water company for its unfortunate and sudden onset of problems. AWK is calling bullshit. Paul Barrett writes:

Read the rest of this entry »


Court denies Dunn’s request to delay trial in Jordan Davis murder case

January 22, 2014

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Good morning:

Judge Russell Healey yesterday denied the defense motion to continue the trial date in the Michael Dunn case. The trial will commence on Monday, February 3rd.

Judge Healey next considered the media’s motions to release discovery to the public. By media, I refer to The Florida Times-Union, First Coast News and WJXT TV-4 (AKA: the intervenors). They previously petitioned to intervene on behalf of the public seeking the release of discovery that Judge Healey improperly withheld in violation of the Sunshine Law. They obtained an order from the 1st District Court of Appeal last Friday directing Judge Healey to release the evidence no later than this Friday, unless he determines at an evidentiary hearing to be held held no later than today that some of the withheld discovery, such as names, addresses and telephone numbers of witnesses should be blacked out.

Judge Healey waded into those waters at yesterday’s hearing with both prosecution and defense lamenting the appellate court’s order. Their major complaint was that the release of the discovery this close to trial may prejudice the defense and make it impossible to select a fair and impartial jury.

Of course, if the discovery had been released to the public when it was released to the defense, as required by the Sunshine Law, the late-publication problem would have been avoided.

The primary concern of the prosecution and defense is Dunn’s 740 phone calls from the jail. The Florida Times-Union at Jacksonville.com has the story:

But Corey said the media would still have to pay for the staff time it would take to produce the phone calls. Lawyers for the State Attorney’s Office have said it would take 180 hours of staff time to review the phone calls before they could be released to the public, and the media would have to pay over $6,000 for the staff time it would take to do that.
George Gabel, an attorney representing the Times-Union and First Coast News, said the media shouldn’t have to pay for the calls because the State Attorney’s Office has already reviewed them.

Corey acknowledged that they’d been reviewed, but said her staff had been looking at using them during the criminal trial, and had not reviewed them for release to the public.

Assistant State Attorney Lisa DiFranza said the office would have to review the phone calls again to redact anything that could be seen as a confession on Dunn’s part, and would also have to take any social security numbers or bank numbers that might come up during those calls because public records law prohibit those things from being released to the public.
Prosecutors estimated there were about 740 phone calls made by Dunn since he was in prison. Corey said about 10 of those calls are being looked at by her office to use against Dunn during his criminal trial.

Corey did not volunteer what was said in those phone calls.

Judge Healey said he would issue an order later.

Given the appellate court’s order, I believe Judge Healey has no choice. He has to order the release of the recordings by Friday at the close of business, so Angela Corey better git ‘er done.

I don’t know about you, but I am looking forward to reading transcripts of those calls.


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