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Driving this afternoon and listening to CNN on Sirius, the main story was not ISIS or Syria, it was a new audio of the Michael Brown shooting that a passer-by captured on his cell phone while video-chatting with a woman. As he tells her how fine she looks, there are gunshots in the background. Either 10 or 11, depending on the guest they were interviewing. But all could clearly hear about a three second pause between the first round of five or six, and the final ones. They then replayed four interviews of eye witnesses, all of whom said there was a pause in the shooting as Brown turned around and put his hands up.
The significance? Unclear, since it's not been confirmed the tape is authentic or reliable, and obviously, the network doesn't have the original recording. The FBI has also been given a copy.
Here's a thread for all topics related to the Brown shooting.
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Ferguson police have changed their story again about whether officer Darren Wilson stopped Michael Brown after suspecting him on robbing cigars from a convenience store. At a press conference today, the police chief said Wilson did not stop Brown because he was a robbery suspect but because he was blocking the streets.
The Ferguson police officer who shot Michael Brown didn’t stop him because he was suspected in a recent robbery, but because he was “walking down the middle of the street blocking traffic,” the city’s police chief said Friday.
Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson told reporters the alleged “robbery does not relate to the initial contact between the officer and Michael Brown.”
After the conference, he told the St Louis Dispatch the officer might have stopped Brown because he saw cigars in his hand and knew there was a robbery.[More...]
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Closing arguments have ended in the Oscar Pistorius trial. The judge will issue her ruling on September 11.
You can listen to the arguments on Soundcloud here.
The defense said it comes down the 20 seconds where he was standing at the entrance to the bathroom. He was standing there without legs, facing the door. He hears the sounds and fires the shot - was that reasonable? If the judge finds that was reasonable, she must acquit him.
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Former cartel and AUC right-wing paramilitary honcho Don Berna, aka Diego Murillo, who is serving 31 years in a Florida prison, has written a book. In it, he says it was his brother Rodolfo Murillo Bejarano, alias “Semilla,”, not the Search Bloc cop Hugo Aguilar who fired the shot that killed Pablo Escobar.
Berna was one of the leaders of the Pepes (Persecuted by Pablo Escobar). Aguilar has since been sentenced to 9 years in prison for his ties to the AUC. [More...]
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Colmin Smith, age 48, was flying from Antigua to London with 239 grams of cocaine (about 1/2 pound) in pellets in his stomach. Shortly after the packed Virgin Atlantic flight took off, the pellets burst. He managed to tell a flight attendant right before he lost consciousness.
The plane made an emergency landing in Bermuda, where medics performed emergency surgery at the airport, and then took him to the hospital. He survived, and then had to face the judge.
The penalty: No jail, just a fine of 417 pounds (about $700.00). Why did he catch such a break? [More...]
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Yesterday the feds arrested Stephen Silva of Cambridge, MA for heroin dealing and possession of a firearm with a partially obliterated serial number. Leaks from law enforcement claimed the gun is the one used to kill a Cambridge police officer days after the Boston Marathon bombings.
In June, the Judge in Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's case said he was very concerned about leaks but declined to issue a gag order. He should be more concerned now. As should the judge in Silva's case, since Silva isn't charged with anything related to the bombing, the Tsarnaev's or the officer's shooting.
He was charged with unlawful possession of a gun that had an altered or obliterated serial number. That police say it's the same gun that killed the officer says nothing about how the Tsarnaev's got it. Silva could have given it to any number of people who might have given it to the Tsarnaevs. Or, maybe someone paid a drug debt to Silva with the gun, and not being into guns, he sold it the next day, and his buyer sold or gave it to Tsarnaev.
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Juror Daniel Antonino told reporters the jury believed the laptop had been taken "because it was valuable, plain and simple," and not to influence the investigation.
The defense will appeal. Among other things, they say Azamat was prejudiced by the split verdict form.
Moral of the story: Don't talk to the Feds without a lawyer. Our prisons are filled with people who thought if they could only tell their side of the story, the cops would see it their way. It rarely happens. Ask for a lawyer immediately and don't talk until you've consulted one. [More...]
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The charges relate to its shipping of prescription drugs on behalf of internet pharmacies. The Indictment claims Fedex has been doing this since 1998 and was told to stop in 2004. The pharmacies are the Chhabra-Smoley organization and Superior Drugs.
The penalties: [More...]
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Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, arrested in February, is in solitary confinement at Altiplano Maximum Security Prison. Édgar Valdez Villarreal, aka "La Barbie" is in the same prison. The two at one time worked together, but later became enemies when La Barbie jumped ship to Beltran-Leyva. But their joint interest in the conditions of their confinement apparently trump old feuds, as the two have engineered a hunger strike (article in spanish)among 1,000 of the prison's inmates, to protest the violation of their human rights. It began Wednesday, and will continue indefinitely. [More...]
Among their complaints: [More...]
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Update: Here is Attorney General Eric Holder's press release endorsing the Sentencing Commission's action.
At my direction, the Bureau of Prisons will begin notifying federal inmates of the opportunity to apply for a reduction in sentence immediately. This is a milestone in the effort to make more efficient use of our law enforcement resources and to ease the burden on our overcrowded prison system.
The U.S. Sentencing Commission voted today to make the upcoming two level decrease in drug offense levels under the sentencing guidelines retroactive to cover those already serving sentences. Here is the press release.
The effective date for reductions for those already serving sentences will be delayed until November, 2015, so that courts can consider public safety risks. In other words, the retroactive application is not mandatory. Inmates can begin filing motions in November, 2014, but the reduction won't go into effect until November, 2015.[More...]
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U.S. District Court Judge Katherine Forrest was not impressed with the legal arguments made by Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht in his bid to dismiss his drug and money laundering charges. In a 51 page ruling, available here, she denied the motion. Among her rulings: Bitcoins are close enough to currency to count as money for the purposes of the money laundering statute. [More...]
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A lying jailhouse snitch got caught at his game in a Miami murder trial this week.
The snitch, Andres Garcia Florez, is serving 30 years for cocaine distribution. He thought he'd shave some time off by testifying against Clifford Friend, who is being tried for the 1994 murder of Friend's wife. (Prosecutors deny they had promised him a reduction, he testified he was hoping for one.)
Florez told the jury the two had watched an episode of El Capo 3 together. In the episode (Episodio 7, you can watch here), a high-level Russian drug dealer figures out his girlfriend is working for a rival group trying to take him down. He lures her onto a boat, ties her up with rope, attaches an anchor to the rope and throws her overboard. Flores claimed while the episode was airing, Friend told him that's what he did with his wife (whose body has never been found.) [More....]
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"El Chino" Antrax, Jose Rodrigo Arechiga Gamboa, has arrived in San Diego from the Netherlands via Con Air. He will be arraigned today in federal court.
The young, flashy alleged "sicario" for Sinaloa (Zambada) and logistics coordinator (El Chapo Guzman) is charged with conspiracy to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine, more than 500 grams of meth and more than 100 kilograms of marijuana. He is not charged with any crimes of violence.
His case is related to the case of Serafin Zambada-Ortiz, youngest son of Ismael Zambada-Garcia and brother of Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla, according to the court docket, but it may just be they were both intercepted on the same wiretap.[More...]
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Former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. He was convicted in February on 20 of 21 counts of bribery, money laundering, fraud and filing false tax returns.
The judge sentenced him below the 15 year guidelines. The Times Picayune says here's why:
- Nagin didn't lead the conspiracy; he followed.
- He didn't pad his pockets as outrageously as some.
- Aaron Broussard and William Jefferson set favorable precedents.
- He is unlikely to run for office again.
- He helped his family more than he enriched himself.
That news articles refer to the sentence as "relatively short" is indicative of our out-of-whack sentencing policy. 10 years for a non-violent offense is overkill.
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The Evidence Room of Cleveland, Ohio has a problem. It was retained by the defense in the Oscar Pistorius case to create a re-enactment of the shooting of Oscar's girlfriend Reeva.
The reenactment, with commentary by Scott Roder, President of the Evidence Room, as it's being run on a display monitor, aired last night on Australian TV. Since Roder appears in the interview, and takes the interviewer through it, it's not possible he wasn't aware Seven News had it. Roder also talks about what Oscar told him (something a defense lawyer would never do.)
In the exclusive interview, Roder says he is convinced Pistorius did not mean to kill his girlfriend on the morning of February 14, after weeks of interviewing and analysing the evidence. "Absolutely, they physical evidence is consistent and his story remains unchanged," Roder told Sunday Night reporter Ross Coulthart."If you look at the evidence Oscar's clearly not guilty.
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