Patterico's Pontifications


Huckabee Warned Not to Lobby for Parole of Serial Rapist Who Later Killed

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:54 pm

Little problem for Mike Huckabee:

As governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee aggressively pushed for the early release of a convicted rapist despite being warned by numerous women that the convict had sexually assaulted them or their family members, and would likely strike again. The convict went on to rape and murder at least one other woman.

Not good. Worse, he has denied having been informed of the man’s dangerousness — but now there are documents contradicting him.

Gitmo Argument Resources and Commentary

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Court Decisions,General,Judiciary — Patterico @ 9:04 pm

The oral argument transcript in the Gitmo cases is here.

The audio is here.

I’m listening to it now.

Jan Crawford Greenburg has a post about Gitmo, which she recently visited. She also has a raft of commenters who have completely misconstrued what she said, which is always fun. Her post is about Gitmo itself and not about today’s argument; I’m looking forward to more from her on the argument itself. [UPDATE: Here we go. And she has a video report here.]

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for an entertaining liberal perspective on the argument, Dahlia Lithwick’s take is here.

Bill O’Reilly Reports both Suspects Shot by Joe Horn were Illegal Immigrants (Updated x2)

Filed under: Crime,Immigration — DRJ @ 8:14 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

UPDATE 2 – 12/7/2007: Related post here.

UPDATE 1 – 12/7/2007 @ 12:15 AM PST: According to a Houston Chronicle article (linked here), the suspected burglars’ names were Diego Ortiz, 30, and Hernando Riascos Torres, 48. Police are investigating whether they “were part of a crime ring linked to burglaries and the use of fake immigration documents.” In addition:

“Police found a Puerto Rican identification card on Ortiz. He had two aliases.

Torres had identification cards from Colombia, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. He had three aliases.”

This earlier post discussed a Texas case in which 61-year-old Pasadena TX resident Joe Horn shot and killed Miguel Antonio DeJesus and Diego Ortiz after they allegedly burglarized a neighbor’s home.

Tonight, Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly reported that both DeJesus and Ortiz were illegal immigrants with criminal records. O’Reilly said DeJesus was from Columbia Colombia. He served 6 years in a Texas prison on drug charges and had previously been deported. Ortiz was also in the US illegally and had an arrest record on drug charges.

In the past, Houston was a sanctuary city. Its current status is unclear.


A Dinnertime Conversation Between My Five-Year-Old Son Matthew and My Seven-Year-Old Daughter Lauren

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:12 pm

We were sitting at the dinner table when suddenly Matthew looked at Lauren and, apropos of nothing, started this conversation:

Matthew: I know something you don’t know.

Lauren: What?

Matthew: I am not left-handed.

Lauren: There’s something I’ve got to tell you.

Matthew: Tell me.

Lauren: I’m not left-handed either.

They have good taste.

A Question for Stanford Law School

Filed under: Law — DRJ @ 7:48 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

By blogging standards, this is an old story because it was covered by Power Line in mid-November. Power Line’s Paul Mirengoff, a Stanford Law graduate, blogged about his concern that Stanford Law unfairly discourages students from interviewing with military (Navy) recruiters by applying different interview rules for the military than for other recruiters. In addition, Stanford Law students told him that:

“… the Stanford Law faculty has distributed a letter to students telling them that it is disrespectful to their fellow students (i.e., Stanford’s gay and lesbian community) to meet on campus with recruiters from the military.”

Now has picked up story:

“Nearly the entire faculty of Stanford Law School has signed an e-mail to students encouraging those interested in a career in the military to meet recruiters off campus, a move that one Stanford alum argues puts the school at risk of violating the Solomon Amendment.

Paul Mirengoff, a 1974 Stanford law graduate and now partner at a Washington law firm, has made three entries on his blog, Power Line News, that stop short of saying Stanford is in violation — which the law school says emphatically it is not — but criticize the school for discouraging military recruiters.”

Given the Supreme Court’s Solomon Amendment ruling last year in Rumsfeld vs FAIR, I thought Stanford – and especially Stanford law professors – would have used the utmost care in issues like this. Instead, it looks like Stanford Law and most of its professors put their personal beliefs and politics first. Either that or Stanford Law and its professors don’t trust their law students to make informed choices about potential employers unless they have detailed instructions on “respectful” choices.

So my question to Stanford Law School and the law professors who encourage off-campus military recruiting is this: “Are Stanford Law graduates so poorly prepared that they can’t make personal and professional decisions without detailed instructions?”

It seems the Instapundit and Professor Bainbridge have questions, too.


The First Amendment Right to Jennifer Aniston Photos

Filed under: Law — DRJ @ 5:35 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Apparently Judge Terence T. Evans of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals isn’t a big Jennifer Aniston fan like Jevon Jackson but he does have a sense of humor:

“EVANS, Circuit Judge. Jennifer Aniston: television
(“Friends”) star; actress in several forgettable (“Rumor Has It” and “Along Came Polly”) recent films; former wife of Brad Pitt; and anointed as a hottie by “FHM Magazine” —#35 on its list of the “100 Sexiest Women in the World in 2007” (she also made “People” magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People” list in 2002)—has legions of fans. Jevon Jackson, the plaintiff in this case, is one of them.

And Jackson would like to display a photograph of Aniston in his room. His “room,” however, is actually a prison cell where Jackson is serving time for a state court conviction in Wisconsin. The prison authorities, relying on a rule, won’t allow Jackson to receive, and thus display, a commercially published photograph of Aniston that he had ordered. So Jackson made a federal case out of the situation by filing this suit alleging that Wisconsin was violating his rights under the First Amendment. The district court granted the state’s motion for summary judgment and Jackson appeals.

Jackson’s suit, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, named Matthew Frank, the Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC), and William Pollard, the warden at Wisconsin’s Green Bay Correctional Institute (GBCI), as defendants. The GBCI is where Jackson was serving his state sentence. The facts are not in dispute.

In September 2006, the DOC adopted a policy that prevents inmates from possessing individual, commercially published photographs. See DAI Policy No. 309.20.01. Commercially published photographs subject to the policy include photos of “celebrity figures, movie stars, models, or other [sic] that are produced for sale or distribution.” Inmates, however, may receive photographs of family and friends, as well as commercially produced photographs published in magazines, subject to content and quantity restrictions that are not at issue here.

After the policy was put in place, Jackson, who at the time had successfully ordered photographs of other celebrities, was told that DOC officials would not deliver his photograph of Aniston because it violated the new policy. The photograph that Jackson requested is not part of the record on appeal, but neither party suggests that it contained any inappropriate content. 2 (F/N 2: “That’s good. In 2000, Aniston sued ‘Celebrity Skin’ magazine for publishing photos taken of her while sunbathing topless in her own backyard!”)

Not surprisingly, the parties disagreed regarding how Jevon Jackson could appropriately obtain a Jennifer Aniston photograph:

“Daniel Westfield, the security chief for the DOC, explained without contradiction that individual, commercially published photographs had become a particular burden on the prison system because they often contained nudity and other forbidden content like gang symbols. According to Westfield, these photographs are problematic because staff members have to take time to review each of them and, if they disallow the photographs because of content, contact the inmates to determine how to dispose of them. On the other hand, the policy
permits photographs of family and friends because, he asserted, they are less likely to contain gang symbols, nudity, and other impermissible material. Additionally, Westfield declared that inmates can subscribe to magazines to find individual celebrity photographs. He explained that magazines were less burdensome to process than individual, commercially published photographs because staff members can more easily predict their content.

In his response, Jackson disputed the necessity of the ban, asserting that the prison did not rationally advance its interest in preserving resources by disallowing commercially published photographs, while permitting inmates to subscribe to magazines that may contain hundreds of photographs. Jackson also argued that he had no alternative means of possessing a similar photograph because he could not predict when a magazine would contain photos of Aniston. Additionally, Jackson asserted that requiring him to order several magazines to find her picture would actually increase the burden on prison resources. Therefore, he argued, the policy was an exaggerated response to unrealistic prison concerns. The district court, in granting summary judgment, embraced the defendants’ arguments and rejected the claims asserted by Jackson.”

The Court declined to set the case for oral argument and the case was submitted on the briefs and pleadings. Not only did Judge Evans rule against Jevon Jackson on all counts and theories, he doubted that possessing “a photo of a movie star in a prison cell can even be deemed a ‘right’ protected by the First Amendment.”

In today’s celebrity-mad world, that’s cold.


Nebraska Mall Shooter: “I’m Going Out in Style” “Now I’ll Be Famous”

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 3:20 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

UPDATE 12/6/2007: Title altered to reflect a more recent news report regarding the contents of a note left by the perpetrator.

Fox News reports that a 19-year-old man with a rifle opened fire today in a Westroads Mall department store in Omaha, Nebraska, killing 8 and wounding 5 before taking his own life:

“A man with a rifle opened fire at a busy Omaha shopping mall Wednesday, killing eight people before taking his own life, police said. Five others were wounded, two critically.

The alleged shooter, a 19-year-old man, left a suicide note stating, “I’m going out in style,” a local news station reported. The man’s vehicle was found in the parking lot.

Shoppers and employees ran screaming through the Westroads Mall and barricaded themselves in dressing rooms after hearing gunfire. The gunman was found dead on the third floor of the Von Maur store with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and his victims were discovered on the second and third floors, police said.

Witnesses said the gunman fired down on shoppers from a third-floor balcony of the Von Maur store.

Sgt. Teresa Negron said the gunman killed eight people, then apparently killed himself. His name was not immediately released, and authorities gave no motive for the attack and did not know whether he said anything during the rampage.

Police received a 911 call from someone inside the mall, and shots could be heard in the background, Negron said. By the time officers arrived six minutes later, the shooting was over, she said.”

Witnesses reported hearing “dozens and dozens” of shots. The incident coincides with a recent report of a grenade on Mall property and today’s visit to Omaha by President Bush for a fundraiser:

“The sprawling, three-level mall has more than 135 stores and restaurants, according to the Web site for General Growth Properties, the manager of the mall. It gets 14.5 million visitors every year, according to the Web site.

On Friday night, authorities removed a live granade from the parking lot of the same mall.

President Bush was in town Wednesday for a fundraiser in Omaha, but left about an hour before the shooting.”

We look for answers to help us understand “Why?” when events like this happen. If this is like many cases, there will be reports that this man was troubled or had a history of altercations, bullying, etc., or encouragement for broader concealed carry laws, or demands for better gun control and more security in public places.

At the end of the day, however, I think the most practical answer is to hope family, friends, teachers and/or co-workers speak up if they believe someone poses a threat to others. Unfortunately, sometimes there are no warnings.


Police Sergeant that Sued Joey Cosmillo’s Family has been Fired

Filed under: Law — DRJ @ 12:25 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

In mid-October I posted on Joey Cosmillo, the 1-year-old boy who almost drowned in his grandparents’ pool but was left brain-damaged, unable to walk, talk or swallow. His family was sued by Police Sergeant Andrea Eichhorn, who claimed the family was negligent because there was water on the floor from Joey’s rescue that caused her to slip and break her knee.

Eichhorn subsequently dismissed her lawsuit but the police chief has now fired her:

“Casselberry authorities say a police sergeant has been fired for suing a family after she slipped and fell while trying to rescue a 1-year-old boy from drowning. Casselberry Police Chief John Pavlis fired Sergeant Andrea Eichhorn on Tuesday.

Eichhorn has dropped her negligence lawsuit. It claimed there was water on the floor at Joey Cosmillo’s home when police arrived. Eichhorn claimed she broke her knee and missed two months of work after she slid on the wet floor.

The boy suffered brain damage and can no longer walk, talk or swallow. He lives in a nursing home and eats and breathes through tubes.

Eichhorn can appeal her firing. Pavlis said the lawsuit brought public ridicule to the agency and damaged its reputation.

I think Chief Pavlis is right that this case hurt the department’s reputation. I hate to see someone lose their job so I would have preferred it if Eichhorn had issued a public apology to Joey’s family. However, if she did that, I have not seen it reported.


The Littlest Hero

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 12:07 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Seven-year-old Alexis Goggins has overcome a lot in her brief life. Alexis is a special education student due to complications from a massive stroke suffered as an infant. Doctors said she would have trouble with tasks like writing, but despite that she has learned to write her name.

This weekend, Alexis, her mother Sieletha Parker, and family friend Aisha Ford were abducted by Calvin Tillie, her mother’s former boyfriend. Tillie shot Alexis’ mother in the head and arm, and Alexis is recovering in the hospital from six point-blank gunshot wounds she received trying to protect her mother:

“The drama began to unfold just before midnight Saturday, when Parker called Ford and asked if she and Alexis could spend the night at Ford’s home. “She said she had no heat and they were very cold, and I said , sure I’ll come and get you,” Ford said.

Ford said she drove her burgundy 1998 Ford Expedition to Parker’s home on Dwyer. She said as Parker and Alexis walked up to her vehicle she saw a man on the porch, who she assumed was a furnace repairman. She said Alexis, who walks with a limp, slipped momentarily on the icy sidewalk and as she helped the girl up, she saw the man and recognized him as Tillie. He was holding a gun.

Tillie ordered them into the vehicle, cursed at the women and angrily told Ford to drive him to Six Mile Road, she said. “He looked like he was enraged and didn’t care what he did. I knew if we went to Six Mile, he would kill us,” Ford said. Instead, she told him she needed gas and drove to the Fast Stop Gas station in the 5000 block of East Seven Mile Road, a station that requires customers to pay the attendant inside.

“I figured if he got out to pump the gas, I was going to take off,” Ford said. Instead, Tillie gave her $10 and told her put in $5 worth of gas.

Ford said she dialed 911 on her cell phone as she walked into the station. “The first operator clicked off and I dialed again and told that operator a guy with a gun was holding me hostage with a mother and baby and threatening to kill us. I told her the name of the gas station and then she said they didn’t have a unit to send.”

Ford said she paid for $5 of gas and slowly returned to the vehicle, stalling for time as she handed Tillie the change. She said she kept stopping and starting the pump, hoping the police would show up.

“I told him I needed more gas and took money out of my purse and went back into the station,” she said. The attendant, Mohammad Alghazali, 30, said he noticed Ford was crying and she told him what was happening. He called 911 as he heard shots coming from the vehicle.

“It was very scary. She (Ford) was scared and screaming when the guy was shooting. I was scared, too. I was on the phone talking to the police when he started shooting,” he said.

Parker told police that Tillie said Ford was taking too long. She said she pleaded with him but he pointed the gun at her and shot her in the side of the head. She told police she was shot in the arm as she lunged at Tillie. Before Tillie could fire again, Alexis jumped over the seat between her mother and the gunman and begged him not to shoot her mother.

The police report said Tillie “without hesitation” pumped six shots into the child.

As police arrived, they saw Parker, covered in blood, running from the truck, screaming, “He just shot my baby.”

The officers said Tillie came out to the vehicle holding a blue steel 9 mm semi automatic and dropped the weapon when ordered to do so. Officers said they found Alexis huddled on the floor under the steering wheel, covered in blood, surrounded by spent cartridge casings, a spent bullet on the floor and teeth on the seat. There were bullet holes in the windshield and blood inside.”

Marvin Bodley, a Detroit public schools attendance agent who spent two days at Alexis’ bedside (kudos to him), described Alexis as a “courageous, courageous little girl” and added “You see more bandages than child,” he said. “It’s a horrific sight.”

Alexis is a special child and a real hero.


Gitmo Cases Heard Today

Filed under: General,Law — Patterico @ 7:21 am

The Gitmo cases are being heard today. The AP has a report here.

I never heard whether the Court will be releasing the audio of the argument today, but it wouldn’t surprise me. If so, I’ll be very interested to hear it.

My take is that the Administration is certain to lose this case — and that, very possibly, it should. I started reading one of the petitioner’s briefs recently and found it persuasive. I’m withholding final judgment on the proper outcome until I’ve read all the briefs and heard the argument. But I know enough to confidently predict that the Administration will lose.

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