Daily Archives: February 17, 2009

The “chattering classes” care! Anti-Pork Protest in Denver

FROM DENVER:

Hundreds of taxpayers took time out of their busy day to protest President Obama’s “stimulus” bill-signing in Denver today.

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Jim Pfaff of Colorado Americans for Prosperity, Jon Caldara and the Independence Institute, former Rep. Tom Tancredo, and several GOP officials and state legislators spearheaded the event. Count us all among the “chattering classes” appalled at the massive pork and the short-circuited process that paved the way for the trillion-dollar Generational Theft Act.

And from Seattle yesterday:

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Way. To. Go.  Let it spread all across the country.

Media coverage?

2-17-09 Jim Pfaff, Jon Caldara, Michelle Malkin, and Tom Tancredo lead a rally against Barack Obama’s stimulus bill on the west steps of the state capitol in Denver

H/T Michelle Malkin and My Own Side.

Posted:  02.17.09

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Filed under Barack Obama, Financial Crisis, Media, politics, President Barack Obama, Uncategorized

Reset: All jurors dismissed in Gateway murder case II

Back to square one in the trial of Fred Cooper.

In a major setback for the day, Judge Thomas Reese dismissed the remaining jury panel after Cooper and a potential juror came face to face while the defendant was wearing handcuffs.

Defense attorneys brought the issue before Reese after a 20-minute recess. Sight of the handcuffs could have prejudiced a juror.

“I don’t know if anybody even saw (the handcuffs),” a Pinellas County deputy told the judge.

The interaction occurred after either the juror or Cooper was on an elevator that stopped on the wrong floor. When the doors opened, Cooper was standing handcuffed, across from the juror.

“I’m going to discharge this panel,” he said. “Get a new panel and start all over again.”

The dismissal of the remaining 41 potential jurors unravels the progress of the day.

Jury selection will move to a Clearwater courtroom on Wednesday, where a new jury pool will be convened.

Court will be back in session at 9:00 a.m. at the Pinellas County Criminal Justice Center in Clearwater.

On Thursday, the trial will return to the St. Petersburg Judicial Building, the site of today’s proceedings. If a full fourteen jurors haven’t been seated by that point, another jury panel will be available at the Judicial Building.

Jurors in the first trial talk about their deliberations. I love it when you can get the thinking that went into the verdict, or lack thereof, as in this case.

See Naples News.

Posted: 02.17.09

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Filed under crime, Human Interest, law and order

Haleigh Cummings still missing

The investigation into the disappearance of Haleigh Cummings has moved away from a full-out ground search, though investigators continue to “diligently follow up” on tips and interview family members and “known associates” of Haleigh’s family, with some taking polygraph tests.

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The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office announced this morning that it has a couple of new leads in the search for Haleigh, but they didn’t reveal what the clues were, to my knowledge.florida-county-map

It has been reported that there are 44 registered sex offenders within a five mile radius of the Cummings home located in Satsuma, Putnam County, near the St Johns River.  Satsuma is located just a little south of Palatka.  I just put the map up to give an idea of just where we’re talking about and also the proximity to other counties, such as Orange and Citrus Counties where other high profile cases involving murdered or missing children have occurred.

The Jessica Lunsford case led Florida officials, spurred by efforts of Jessica’s father, to introduce legislation called Jessica’s Law. Among the key provisions of the law is a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison for sex offenders.  Many states have adopted a similar law.

The Trenton Duckett case was in Leesburg in Lake County.  Trenton has never been found.  These places are really not that close.  I did notice that Satsuma is close to the Ocala National Forest, and one of the searches for Trenton Duckett took place in Ocala National Forest.

I read that four years ago, an ordinance was proposed by Putnam County Commissioner Brad Purcell in response to the high number of offenders and sexual predators living in Putnam County.

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) website, there are more than 240 registered sex offenders living in the county.  I don’t know if this ordinance was ever passed.

Why are so many sexual predators in Florida, particularly in Putnam County?  I don’t know.  These numbers are really staggering for just one little county.

Missing Florida girl puts tiny Satsuma in the spotlight.

Posted:  02.17.09

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Filed under crime, Human Interest, law and order, Uncategorized

Jury selection begins in Gateway murder trial II

How did I forget about the jury selection.  This could take a few days or longer since it is a death penalty case.  The trial is beginning in Saint Petersburg, but of course this part won’t be televised.  I am not even sure Trutv will televise the testimony, but I am hoping they will.

But in addition to the death penalty issue in the selection of the jury, gender will probably play a major role as well.

The Naples News reported yesterday that during the deliberations in the first trial, it was four women who were the hold-outs for a not guilty verdict. (BUT there were four women who voted to convict as well, so was it really gender or just a difference of opinion.)

Juror Lynne Johnson reported that early in the deliberations, she and three other women were at odds with the other eight.

Cooper is charged with two counts of capital murder in the killings of Steven and Michelle Andrews, who were found dead in the bedroom of their Gateway home on the morning of December 27, 2005. Prosecutors say Cooper killed the pair in a fit of jealousy after his longtime girlfriend, Kelly Ballew,  entered a relationship with Steven Andrews.

Early in the deliberations of Fred Cooper’s first murder trial, juror Lynne Johnson snapped at a male colleague she thought was being disrespectful, she recalled.

The first trial, held in October, ended in a hung jury. The final jury split ended the way it began, with four women voting against conviction.

No smoking gun exists to show Cooper’s involvement in the killings of the Andrewses. Jurors in the first trial said they dismissed DNA evidence that showed Cooper as a possible contributor.

With no direct evidence, Cooper’s believability became an issue in the trial when he told jurors he and Andrews had sex in her driveway the night before she was killed. In the account, first offered by Cooper after he was told investigators had DNA evidence against him, Cooper and Andrews had grown close consoling one about their spouses’ affair.

Some jurors dismissed the account as made up. Others, like Johnson, called it believable.

In an interview, the juror claimed that “none of the women” liked Cooper’s former girlfriend, Kellie Ballew, who had the relationship with Steven Andrews.

“I can’t say I feel sorry for him,” she said. “Do I feel he’s getting railroaded? Yeah, quite possibly.”

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I tend to agree with her.  I would make one heck of a defense juror.  I believe in the death penalty in certain cases, but I would hold the state to their burden and make them prove it to me, especially if the death penalty was on the table.

Jurors can be eliminated for cause if they state they could not under any circumstances render a verdict for the death penalty.  Of course, race or gender cannot be used as a reason to eliminate, but each side has a certain number of challenges for which they do not have to give a reason.

Posted:  02.17.09

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Bill to Hil: I got you, Babe

NBC’s Luke Russert was in Austin on Valentines Day covering the second annual Clinton Global Initiative University Meeting. Russert got a sit-down with the former president and insiders tell us at the end of the interview, Russert asked the former president what he got the Secretary of State for Valentine’s Day.

Russert: Last question. It is Valentines Day, may I ask what you got Madam Secretary?

President Clinton: Yes you can – I got her three things and the third thing I haven’t given to her yet, because she and I had to leave. I sent her a bunch of beautiful red roses. And I got her two funny little Raggedy Ann dolls singing “I Got You Babe,” the old Sonny and Cher song. And I got her a piece of jewelry, which I have not yet delivered.

Well, ain’t that sweet.  Wonder what that “piece of jewelry” is.  I saw her from Tokyo today and she looked a little haggard.

(I didn’t know Luke Russert was on NBC.)

H/T:  Media bistro/TV Newser.

Posted:  02.17.09

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Filed under Human Interest, Humor, politics, Uncategorized