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Bill Cosby Going to Trial

Damn! This is on heck of a long fall.

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Pennsylvania judge decides Cosby sex assault case will go to trial

A Pennsylvania judge has decided that disgraced comedian Bill Cosby will go to trial for criminal sexual assault.

The judge reviewed testimony, excerpts of the comedian’s interview with police and other evidence from prosecutors.

Earlier, it was revealed in court that Andrea Constand told authorities that Cosby violated her sexually after giving her three pills that made her dizzy, blurry-eyed and nauseated and left her legs feeling “like jelly,” according to a police report read at the hearing on Tuesday.

“I told him, ‘I can’t even talk, Mr. Cosby.’ I started to panic,” the former Temple University athletic department employee told police in 2005.

The testimony was read at a preliminary hearing to determine whether prosecutors have enough evidence to put the 78-year-old TV star on trial on sexual assault charges that could bring 10 years in prison.

It was not the face-to-face confrontation between accuser and accused that some had anticipated: Constand was not in the courtroom, and the judge ruled that she would not have to testify at the hearing and that prosecutors could instead have her statements to police read into the record.

Cosby’s lawyers argued unsuccessfully that that would be hearsay and would deprive him of his right to confront his accuser. Such testimony from law enforcement officers is common practice at preliminary hearings in Pennsylvania, which have a far lower burden of proof than trials.

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2016 in Giant Negros

 

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Supreme Court Reverses Racially Chosen Georgia Jury In Death Penalty Case

Local and State Courts aren’t supposed to allow the striking of black juries to achieve an all white jury, which when the defendant is black, mean almost certainly a conviction – regardless of the evidence pointing otherwise. Some courts around the country still believe the can get away with this.

Uncle Tommie Clarence, seeing the possibility of a black man receiving justice …Was the Court’s lone dissent.

Supreme Court gives black death-row inmate new life

AP SUPREME COURT ALL WHITE JURY A USA GAThe Supreme Court gave a black death-row prisoner new life Monday by ruling that prosecutors unconstitutionally barred all potential black jurors from his trial nearly 30 years ago.

The 7-1 verdict, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, reversed Georgia courts that had refused to consider claims of racial discrimination against Timothy Foster for the murder of an elderly white woman. The ruling is likely to fuel contentions from death penalty opponents that capital punishment is racially discriminatory.

What brought Foster’s case back to court after three decades was a series of prosecution notes obtained by defense lawyers through an open-records request. While jurors were being picked, prosecutors had highlighted the names of African Americans, circled the word “black” on questionnaires, and added notations such as “B#1” and “B#2.” On a sheet labeled “definite NO’s,” they put the last five blacks in the jury pool on top and ranked them in case “it comes down to having to pick one of the black jurors.”

This happened just a year after the Supreme Court had declared such actions unconstitutional. Civil rights groups say discriminatory practices in jury selection have survived for 30 years despite the Supreme Court’s 1986 ruling in Batson v. Kentucky.

“The focus on race in the prosecution’s file plainly demonstrates a concerted effort to keep black prospective jurors off the jury,” Roberts wrote. He said prosecutors’ other purported reasons for striking two of the blacks from the jury pool were belied by their acceptance of white jurors with the same characteristics.

“Such evidence is compelling,” Roberts wrote. “But that is not all. There are also the shifting explanations, the misrepresentations of the record, and the persistent focus on race in the prosecution’s file.”

Justice Clarence Thomas, the court’s lone African American member, cast the lone dissent. “Foster’s new evidence does not justify this court’s reassessment of who was telling the truth nearly three decades removed from voir dire,” he said.

The controversial case took the court nearly seven months to decide after oral argument in November. Roberts’ opinion for himself and Justices Anthony Kennedy,Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan ran 25 pages. Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito, who concurred in the ruling, wrote another 25 pages each to express their views.

 

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Second Officer Gets Off in Freddy Gray Death

On the surface, at least – it seems to be the same old story. I thought the “unlawful arrest” part would have won a conviction, at least for that. Which would have led to an administrative penalty. Don’t see the evidence that this guy was any more than the arresting officer.

Officer in Freddie Gray case found not guilty on all counts

Officer Edward Nero of the Baltimore police department was found not guilty Monday on all counts over the arrest and subsequent death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man.

Nero had faced assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment charges. Prosecutors said the 30-year-old unlawfully arrested Gray without probable cause and was negligent when he didn’t buckle the prisoner into a seat belt.

Nero opted for a bench trial rather than a jury trial.

After the verdict was read, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake released a statement saying that Nero is still expected to face an administrative review by the city’s police department. The mayor seemed to once again refer back to and warn against the violent unrest the gripped the city immediately following Gray’s death.

“We once again ask the citizens to be patient and to allow the entire process to come to a conclusion,” Rawlings-Blake said. “In the case of any disturbance in the city, we are prepared to respond. We will protect our neighborhoods, our businesses and the people of our city.”

Gray died April 19, 2015, a week after his neck was broken in the back of a police transport van while he was handcuffed and shackled but left unrestrained by a seat belt.

His death set off more than a week of protests followed by looting, rioting and arson that prompted a citywide curfew. His name became a rallying cry in the growing national conversation about the treatment of black men by police officers.

Shortly after Gray’s death, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby charged six officers. Three of them are black; Nero and two others are white.

Nero’s attorney argued that his client didn’t arrest Gray and that it is the police van driver’s responsibility to buckle in detainees. The defense argued that the officers who responded that day acted responsibly, and called witnesses to bolster their argument that any reasonable officer in Nero’s position would have made the same decisions.

The defense also sought to convince the judge that the department’s order requiring that all inmates be strapped in is more suggestion than rule because officers are expected to act with discretion based on the circumstances of each situation.

Nero is the second officer to stand trial. Officer William Porter’s manslaughter trial ended with a hung jury.

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Stand and Murder Law, Again in South Carolina

Guy was doing a Hannibal Lecter routine…

And gets out on bail!

I guess it was OK in SC, because one of the men was brown.

SC man who shot and ’slow-cooked’ two men out on bail thanks to ‘stand your ground’ law

James Edward Loftis --  mugshotUsing the “stand your ground” defense, a Goose Creek man was granted bail on Monday in the shooting death of two men whose bodies he burned after he killed them, the Post Courier is reporting.

James Edward Loftis, 39, is facing murder charges in the deaths of taxi driver Guma Oz Dubar, 46, and his friend James Cody Newland, 32, on March 5 after they demanded he pay his fare following a ride home from a strip club.

While Loftis has given police varying accounts of what happened that evening — once saying he invited the men in, while another time saying they barged into his home —  several facts are not in dispute.

Loftis admitted that he shot both men before dragging their bodies outside his house, where he placed them in a shallow grave and set them on fire along with his bloody clothes before burying them.

“They were essentially just slow-cooked inside the grave site,” Deputy Solicitor Bryan Alfaro said during the bail hearing.

Conceding that what Loftis did was “heinous,” his attorney defended his client saying he was within his rights to defend himself in his own home under the state’s “stand your ground” laws.

“He’s a human being,” Stephen Harris said. “He freaked out and thought he was going to prison, so he tried to hide the bodies. Nobody knows how you’re going to react when you kill two people.”

Circuit Judge Markley Dennis agreed to allow Loftis to post $250,000 bail, saying his choice of the defense makes him less of a flight risk.

“The only way he will ever be able to resolve that is to … have his day in court,” Dennis explained.

The S.C. Protection of Persons and Property Act — also known as the “stand your ground” law — gives homeowners the right in many circumstances to use deadly force against people breaking into their houses.

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2016 in Domestic terrorism

 

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Juror Stops All White Jury Selection For 2 Black Accused

A common trick in some of the courtrooms in the country is to “whiten” the jury, even though said whitening is illegal. It is all too often met with a wink wink, wave by Judges. In this case a courageous Juror stood up and forced a mistrial.

Juror gets two black men a new trial after calling out elimination of African-Americans from jury pool

A Juror won a new trial for two African-American defendants when he stood up in front of a Nashville courtroom and called out the fact there were no black jurors seated to hear their case, the Tennessean reports.

Police have accused two men, Terance Bradley, and Hurley Brown, of attacking two people during a fight in which gunshots were fired and two men were injured. Both men have pleaded not guilty to charges of burglary, assault with a deadly weapon and possessing weapons while felons. Both men have been held in-custody for 18 months awaiting their trial.

Mary Hamilton and Tiffany Steele, the grandmother and mother of Bradley and Brown, respectively, both expressed outrage after watching prosecutors dismiss every black juror in the pool.

The women said prosecutors dismissed only one white juror. Then they nixed every eligible black juror who was called up from the larger pool.

“It was disgusting. It was irritating,” Steele told the paper. Hamilton agreed it wasn’t fair for the men to face a jury that contained not a single person of their own race.

“There’s still prejudice out there,” Hamilton told the Tennessean. “I don’t care what anyone says.”

While the jury was dismissed on a technicality, the incident has raised the issue of race and juries, the Tennessean reports.

Judge Cheryl Blackburn told the Tennessean she dismissed the jury because they ignored her instructions not to discuss the case before hearing all the evidence. And while the move resulted in further delays for the men’s trial, their family members do not believe they would have gotten a fair trial with that jury.

“There was an angel in the courtroom that day,” Steele told the paper. “Good for him for speaking up.”

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2016 in Domestic terrorism

 

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No Prison for Peter Liang in Akai Gurley KIlling

Not sure if I am 100% certain this is just in light of the mass police shootings of unarmed black men this year. But on the flip side, the evidence is that the shooting was accidental…

No prison for ex-NYPD officer in fatal stairwell shooting

Aformer police officer convicted in the shooting death of an unarmed man in a darkened stairwell was spared prison time Tuesday, and a judge reduced his manslaughter conviction to a lesser charge.

Peter Liang was sentenced to five years’ probation and 800 hours of community service in the 2014 shooting of Akai Gurley, who was walking down a stairway in a public housing complex when the rookie officer fired a bullet into the dark – by accident after being startled, he said. The bullet ricocheted and killed Gurley, 28.

“Given the defendant’s background and how remorseful he is, it would not be necessary to incarcerate the defendant to have a just sentence in this case,” Brooklyn state Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun said in sentencing Liang, also 28.

A jury had convicted him in February of a manslaughter charge carrying up to 15 years in prison. But Chun on Tuesday reduced the offense to criminally negligent homicide, which carries up to four years in prison.

Brooklyn prosecutors recommended Liang serve no time, based on his record and the circumstances of the trial. They suggested five years of probation, six months of home confinement and 500 hours of community service.

Some members of Gurley’s family said they felt betrayed by Thompson’s recommendation and had hoped Chun would sentence Liang to prison anyway.

The shooting happened in a year of debate nationwide about police killings of black men. Activists have looked to Liang’s trial as a counterweight to cases in which grand juries have declined to indict officers, including the cases of Michael Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner in New York. Like Gurley, Brown and Garner were black and unarmed.

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Peter Liang, Akai Gurley, and Why Asians Are Still Black in America

Peter Liang about 2 moths ago became the first NYC Law enforcement officer to be convicted of murdering an unarmed citizen in 10 years…Despite numerous egregious cases of police misconduct and outright murder in NYC – was Liang’s prosecution and conviction based on just timing, or race? NYC Police and Fire Unions have a long, long, history of racism. Such racism is even reported by Officers on the force.

Funny how only a minority cop can get convicted and go to a speedy trial without the Police Department “analyzing” the data for 2 years.

The case adds another twist to the intense debate about race and policing.

On February 11, Peter Liang became a rare statistic: He was the first New York City police officer in more than a decade to be found guilty of shooting and killing a citizen while on duty. Liang, who is Chinese American, was convicted of second-degree manslaughter and one count of official misconduct for the shooting of Akai Gurley, a 28-year-old black man and father, during an encounter in a Brooklyn housing project. In the post-Ferguson era, the case has added another twist to the intense ongoing debate about race and accountability in policing.

On the night of November 20, 2014, Gurley and a friend had just entered an unlit stairwell on the seventh floor of their building. Liang, a 28-year-old rookie cop, was on the stairwell landing above with his partner, on a “vertical patrol” assignment. Liang had his gun drawn, his attorneys told jurors, because the stairwell was dark and police officers are trained that this can be dangerous—for New York cops on vertical patrol, lack of lighting is commonly perceived as a sign of criminal activity. When Liang heard a noise come from below, he testified, he was startled and pulled the trigger of his gun by accident. The bullet ricocheted off a wall along the landing below where Gurley stood, mortally wounding him. Liang told jurors that he did not realize he had shot anyone until he went down the stairs looking for the bullet. Liang said that when he discovered Gurley bleeding on the ground, “I was panicking. I was in shock, in disbelief that someone was actually hit.”

In the aftermath, New York Police commissioner William Bratton told reporters that the shooting appeared “to be an accidental discharge, with no intention to strike anybody.” But during the trial, prosecutors zeroed in on evidence that Liang failed to administer immediate medical aid as Gurley lay bleeding to death, instead arguing with his partner over whether to call their supervisor. Gurley’s friend attempted to give him CPR after receiving instructions from a 911 dispatcher. Liang testified that he tried to request an ambulance over the radio. Transcripts from radio calls, however, did not show him calling for one.

Liang, whose sentencing is scheduled for April 14, was fired from the department and initially faced up to 15 years in prison. In late March, however, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson announced that he would not seek prison time for Liang. Thompson instead recommended five years of probation, including six months of home confinement, citing “the unique circumstances” of the case. On Tuesday, Liang’s lawyers asked a judge to throw out Liang’s conviction, alleging jury misconduct.

In the view of his supporters and some former prosecutors, Liang’s conviction is a glaring anomalyamong cops who have killed unarmed civilians, the vast majority of whom don’t face criminal charges. Kenneth Montgomery, a former assistant prosecutor in Brooklyn and now a defense attorney, found the conviction somewhat surprising. “When you look at the spectrum of police shooting cases, this seemed to be—I want to be careful because all of these cases are of public concern—less egregious than Anthony Baez, Amadou Diallo,” he says. “It seemed to me that the defense had a lot to work with.”

Many believe Liang’s race was a factor. On February 20, in the wake of Liang’s guilty verdict, thousands of people—many of them Asian American—gathered in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington, DC, to protest. Demonstrators charged that Liang was not afforded the same protections as other officers because of the color of his skin. Former New York City Comptroller John Liu echoed this sentiment in a speech to the crowd: “Shocking! This is not manslaughter…We kind of had a sense in our hearts that this was going to be the result, because for 150 years, there has been a common phrase in America. This phrase is called ‘Not a Chinaman’s chance.'” As the writer Jay Caspian Kang noted in a New York Times essay, the Liang protests marked “the most pivotal moment in the Asian American community since the Rodney King riots.”

Some of Liang’s supporters compared him to past Asian American victims of police brutality, and even went so far as to suggest that both Liang and Gurley were victims of the same kind of oppression. That rhetoric quickly drew heat from Black Lives Matter activists and supporters—including many Asian Americans—who found it offensive and misguided. “[I don’t care] how many “black lives matter” signs were flying at the Peter Liang protest,” organizer Johnetta Elzie tweeted. “That’s rooted in anti-blackness + supporting white supremacy.” Kang described the reactions from some Asian Americans as “the stunted language of a people who do not yet know how to talk about injustice”:

The protesters who took to the streets on Saturday are trying, in their way, to create a new political language for Asian Americans, but this language comes without any edifying history—no amount of nuance or qualification or appeal to Martin Luther King will change the fact that the first massive, nationwide Asian American protest in years was held in defense of a police officer who shot and killed an innocent black man….And yet it would be catastrophic to ignore the protesters’ concerns altogether.

Liang’s conviction is indeed rare for cops. “Ten years ago, he wouldn’t have been prosecuted,” Stephen Saltzburg, a George Washington University law professor, toldThe Atlantic. “And if he was, they would have acquitted him.”…Read the Rest Here

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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