Patterico's Pontifications

12/12/2007

Did a Megan’s Law Listing lead to a California Sex Offender’s Murder?

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 9:22 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A Lakeport, California, father is in jail charged with murdering a neighbor who was a convicted sex offender. Initial reports suggest the murder may have been prompted by a Megan’s Law internet posting:

“Convicted rapist Michael A. Dodele had been free just 35 days when sheriff’s deputies found him dead last month in his aging, tan mobile home, his chest and left side punctured with stab wounds.

Officers quickly arrested Dodele’s neighbor, 29-year-old construction worker Ivan Garcia Oliver, who made “incriminating comments, essentially admitting to his attacking Dodele,” the Lake County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.

Prosecutors said they have investigated the possibility that the slaying of Dodele, 67, stemmed from his having been listed on the state’s Megan’s Law database of sex offenders. If so, his death may be the first in the state to result from such a listing, experts said.

Oliver pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder, burglary and elder abuse when he was arraigned Nov. 30. In a jailhouse interview Wednesday night, Oliver said he has a son who was molested in the past, and he took action to protect the child.

“Society may see the action I took as unacceptable in the eyes of ‘normal’ people,” Oliver said. “I felt that by not taking evasive action as a father in the right direction, I might as well have taken my child to some swamp filled with alligators and had them tear him to pieces. It’s no different.”

Although Oliver did not say he killed Dodele, he said that “any father in my position, with moral, home, family values, wouldn’t have done any different. At the end of the day, what are we as parents? Protectors, caregivers, nurturers.”

In fact, Dodele was not a child molester. But a listing on the Megan’s Law website could have left Oliver with the impression that he had abused children because of the way it was written.”

Oliver was arrested after neighbors saw him leave Dodele’s trailer with blood on his hands. Apparently the police were also contacted by a psychologist, Charlene Steen, who had examined Dodele in two recent trials:

I think [Oliver and Dodele] are both victims of the Internet,” said Charlene Steen, a psychologist who examined Dodele on behalf of the defense in two 2007 trials about whether he should be recommitted to Atascadero.

Both ended in hung juries. Dodele was freed Oct. 16 and was hoping to start over in the crowded little mobile home park, where neighbors described him as open and friendly.”

I’m curious if Steen was the source of the idea that Dodele’s murder was motivated by Megan’s Law:

Steen wrote a letter to a local paper decrying Dodele’s death “simply because he was a sex offender whose name and picture were on the registry.”

Shortly after the letter was published, Steen said, a woman describing herself as Oliver’s wife called to complain. “She said, ‘We have a child who was molested, and my husband is very upset to have a child molester living nearby’,” Steen recounted, noting the irony that Dodele’s crimes all involved adult women.

Steen said she had not talked to police about the phone call. Oliver said that the woman with whom he lived in the trailer park was his girlfriend, and the two were not married.”

If so, how can Steen be so sure Megan’s Law was the reason Oliver allegedly murdered Dodele?

— DRJ

Is the Hillary Train About To Leave the Rails? A Train Wreck Must be Like A Car Accident — You Can’t Help But Look

Filed under: 2008 Election,Current Events,Politics — WLS @ 6:10 pm

Posted By WLS:

Several events/news reports over the past week or so seem to foretell a coming train wreck for the Hillary Express.

But I was drawn to writing this post after reading this National Journal article by Stuart Taylor. Taylor’s past writings have always led me to believe he’s slightly left of center, but not a rabid partisan by any means. But he’s absolutely eviserates Hillary in this article. Its truly stunning in its repeated body blows to her character and honesty. The best part is, they’re all true. A sampling:

Former lounge singer Gennifer Flowers surfaced in early 1992 with claims — corroborated by tapes of phone calls — that she had had a long affair with then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, who had arranged a state job for her. Bill Clinton told the media, falsely, that the woman’s “story is untrue.”

….Hillary backed his squishy denials … on “60 Minutes”… More deceptively, she suggested to ABC’s Sam Donaldson that Bill’s contacts with Flowers were just an example of how he loved to “help people who are in trouble” and “listen to their problems.”

“Hillary’s words uncannily foreshadowed her insistence six years later to … a White House aide that Bill had ‘ministered’ to [Monica] Lewinsky because she was a troubled young woman,” Sally Bedell Smith writes in her fine new book about the Clintons, For Love of Politics. Hillary has continued to insist that she believed what she said about Lewinsky. But friends and former aides have told Smith and others that she knew her husband was lying all along.

…. Chief of Staff Mack McLarty fired the seven employees in the White House office that arranges travel for the press corps … the dismissed employees were quickly replaced by friends and relatives of the Clintons.

Hillary later told the General Accounting Office, in a document prepared by her attorney, that she had no role in the decision to fire the employees, did not know the “origin of the decision,” and “did not direct that any action be taken by anyone” other than keeping her informed.

But her statements were contradicted by evidence, including a long-concealed memo to McLarty and a written chronology prepared by White House aide David Watkins that came to light years later. Hillary, Watkins wrote, had said that “we need those people out and we need our people in” and had made it clear that “there would be hell to pay” unless she got “immediate action.” Another aide wrote that Hillary intimate Susan Thomases had said, “Hillary wants these people fired.”

During the same press conference, Hillary was asked why her then-chief of staff, Maggie Williams, had been involved in removing documents from the office of Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster after his suicide… “I don’t know that she did remove any documents,” Hillary said. But it was reported three months later that Hillary had instructed Williams to remove the Foster documents to the White House residence. Then they were turned over to Clinton attorney Bob Barnett.

Castle Grande was a sewer of sham transactions, some used to funnel cash into Madison Guaranty. Castle Grande’s ultimate collapse contributed to that of the thrift, which cost taxpayers millions. Hillary told federal investigators that she knew nothing about Castle Grande. When it turned out that more than 30 of her 60 hours of legal work for Madison Guaranty involved Castle Grande, she said she had known the project under a different name. A 1996 Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. report said that she had drafted documents that Castle Grande used to “deceive federal bank examiners.”

Prosecutors later came to believe that Hillary had padded her bills; she “wasn’t guilty of [knowingly] facilitating nefarious transactions — she was guilty of doing less work than she took credit for,” Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta Jr. explain in their 2007 biography, Her Way.

(more…)

Jamie Leigh Jones vs Halliburton: You Be the Judge (Updated)

Filed under: Crime,War — DRJ @ 12:13 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

UPDATE: Overlawyered has much more.

Don Surber is madder than a wet hen at Halliburton/KBR about Jamie Leigh Jones:

“A gang-rape victim tells all to ABC. It is sickening.

This made the Drudge, and it made me sick. Jamie Leigh Jones, now 22, of Houston, said she was gang-raped while working for Halliburton in Baghdad.

On top of that, she was housed in a container and told not to report the rape or she would lose her job.

She also was warned that if she left Iraq for medical treatment, she said, “Don’t plan on working back in Iraq. There won’t be a position here, and there won’t be a position in Houston.”

Somebody screwed up, terribly, and someone should pay.”

The Houston Chronicle reports Congress wants an investigation:

“In June, the Houston Chronicle reported that the male suspects in the alleged rapes were not prosecuted.

[Houston Congressman Ted] Poe said Congress could have hearings on the Jones case and others as early as January. In the letter Conyers and Poe sent Tuesday, they ask the Justice Department whether it can investigate and prosecute crimes by U.S. civilians in Iraq under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act.

Jones’ family called Poe for help after Jones said she was held against her will in a KBR storage unit following the attack at Camp Hope in Baghdad. Investigators freed Jones after Poe contacted the U.S. State Department.

Jones is one of at least four women who have filed federal lawsuits against KBR and its former parent company Halliburton, both based in Houston, following allegations of rape or sexual harassment.

According to her lawsuit filed in May, Jones awoke with bruises on her body, blood on her genital area and ruptured breast implants after being drugged the night before. L. Todd Kelly, Jones’ attorney, said a rape kit taken after her attack confirmed DNA samples from a man found in her bed as well as multiple unknown males. Kelly said the rape kit was lost after Army investigators turned it over to KBR officials.”

It looks like Justia.com has posted the pleadings in this case. Based on my cursory review, Halliburton/KBR asserts multiple defenses but apparently concedes Jones may have been raped in Iraq. It also looks like Halliburton/KBR asserts that Jones’ employment contract requires claims against her employer must first be submitted to arbitration, but Jones may have sued before arbitration was completed.

By the way, Halliburton asserts it never employed Jones and that she was instead employed by KBR.

In any event, I think we’ll be hearing more about this case.

H/T Instapundit.

— DRJ

Iranian President Blogger Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Filed under: Blogging Matters,International — DRJ @ 9:31 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

From Abe Greenwald’s online column yesterday at Commentary Magazine … look who has a blog:

“Today’s New York Times reports that Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is a blogger.

Mr. Ahmadinejad has tried to touch on most issues that concern him. He has written about freedom in Iran, referring to the protest of students against him a year ago at Amir Kabir University in Tehran as an example of its existence in Iran. “It was a joyous feeling to see a small group insult the elected president of people fearlessly amid a majority,” he wrote, without referring to the fate of the students, many of whom are in prison now.

Cherry-picking like that could get Ahmadinejad a regular spot at The Huffington Post. The Iranian president spends fifteen minutes a week updating readers on everything from his views on Washington to the role of Islam in government. These may be the most valuable fifteen minutes of his time. The U.S. hasn’t been on the winning side of a P.R. war since Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty broadcast into the Soviet Bloc. Rulers like Ahmadinejad, with no substantive credibility, are master manipulators of public perceptions.”

Here’s a link to the English version of Ahmadinejad’s blog which (full disclosure) I barely read. I did notice the infrequent posts but he claims to spend at least 15 minutes a week reading comments (or summaries of comments – see below) and for now he prefers that to posting.

Ahmadinejad’s posting habits came from his November blog entry entitled “To read or to write, that is the question!” (Who knew Ahmadinejad was a Shakespeare fan?) In it, he noted that he uses “trusted students” to summarize the comments on his blog and that he hopes commenters will keep their comments brief.

It’s a small (online) world after all.

— DRJ


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