Patterico's Pontifications


Raymond Jessop FLDS Trial, Day 2

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 11:59 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Raymond Jessop’s sexual assault trial continued today in Eldorado, Texas, and the Houston Chronicle reports 34 potential jurors remain out of a pool of approximately 300. Of the 17 FLDS members in the original jury pool, 7 were released because they are related to the defendant and it’s not clear how many remain. Fourteen jurors are needed (12 jurors and 2 alternates) and jury selection is expected to conclude tomorrow.

The Judge considered and rejected a defense motion — probably a Motion in Limine — to prohibit the prosecution from mentioning polygamy or plural marriage:

“State District Judge Barbara Walther heard Jessop’s defense team make another go at keeping Deputy Attorney General Eric Nichols and his team from discussing polygamy or plural marriages, common within the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints, during the child sexual assault trial.

“How is it relevant?” Jessop’s attorney Mark Stevens asked Walther. “It is highly prejudicial.”

Nichols countered that the state the victim — a 16-year-old girl in 2005 — was living in is relevant and he made no promise not to introduce the fact that the victim was one of eight illegal marriages Jessop had.

“It is proof to the element of the crime,” Nichols said.

The judge refused to bar the mention of plural marriage or polygamy.”

It’s a tough call but IMO a Texas jury would be more inflamed by this testimony (if it’s admissible):

“In this case, evidence from journals belonging to FLDS’ jailed prophet Warren Jeffs indicates that Jessop had a child with an underage bride in 2005. Jeffs would not let church members take the girl to a hospital when she was in labor.

“All through the afternoon and evening I was in contact with (the YFZ Ranch), having the report as I called there that (Raymond Jessop’s wife) was struggling,” Jeffs wrote in his journal on Aug. 18, 2005. “She had been in labor for three days.”

Jeffs went on to detail how the girl had been tended to by Sally Nielsen, an FLDS member who was acting as the girl’s midwife.

According to Jeffs’ journal, Nielsen had consulted with Dr. Lloyd Barlow, who is also an FLDS member and has been charged with Jessop and other 10 FLDS men.

Jeffs said he turned to prayer. “I was yearning unto the Lord, even offering myself as the atonement for her to be blessed and deliver the child.” Taking the girl to the hospital was out of the question, Jeffs reasoned.

“I knew that the girl, being 16 years old, if she went to the hospital, they could put Raymond Jessop in jeopardy of prosecution as the government is looking for any reason to come again….”

The San Angelo Standard-Times analyzed what kind of jurors the defense might be seeking:

“The task before the defense is to not only choose a jury that will find Raymond Jessop innocent but also a jury that will mete out the minimum punishment if the 12 jurors do find him guilty.

[Texas Tech Law Professor Arnold] Loewy said defense attorneys are probably looking for jurors who will consider mitigating circumstances.

For instance, Raymond Jessop isn’t accused of snatching a girl off the street and raping her, but instead, he’s accused of sexually assaulting a girl considered his wife in the eyes of the sect members, Loewy said.

Being a member of the sect could also be another mitigating circumstance to be taken into account, he said.”

The Standard Times is covering this story every day but other reports are more sporadic. Some Utah papers and TV stations may be covering this, too. Please feel free to provide links in the comments if you run across other reports.


Senate Doctors Discuss ObamaCare

Filed under: Government,Health Care,Obama — DRJ @ 9:11 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Senate has 2 members who are also doctors — Oklahoma’s Tom Corburn and Wyoming’s John Barrasso — and they host a twice-a-week discussion entitled “Senate Doctors.” Today’s topic is the pending health care legislation:

Barrasso: “Right now, we’re at a point where Harry Reid has announced yesterday kind of a new plan for the health care bill in the Senate, talked about this so-called public option, government-run insurance and now given an opportunity, Tom, for States to opt out of it.”

Coburn: “Well, States are never going to opt out of it because they will be contributing to it and they would be foolish not to take money back from it. We already have an opt-out program. It’s called Medicaid and none of the States have done it. So this is an identical system to Medicaid which is bankrupting the States and will bankrupt us.”

Senator Coburn says the CBO is scoring the bill now and he wonders why the CBO has the bill’s text but Senators and the public don’t. He also wonders whether it’s Constitutional to require that people buy health care insurance. And if you don’t have time for the whole thing, skip forward to the last 2 minutes where the Senators discuss why ObamaCare will hurt the best doctors most of all.

By the way, Coburn also said we’re about to have government health care.



Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:54 pm

It seems like we’re in a brownout. The lights are dim and major appliances don’t work. I’m posting this from my iPhone. Is anyone else experiencing this in L.A.?

What the Hell Is This All About??

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:42 pm

What is the reporter supposed to do? Break into Corzine’s home at midnight and ambush him in his bed?

I don’t get it.

Thanks to Hot Air.

FAA Revokes Northwest Pilots’ Licenses

Filed under: Air Security — DRJ @ 6:39 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Northwest pilots who overshot the Minneapolis airport last week (they claim they became distracted while working on their laptops) have had their licenses revoked by the FAA:

“The Federal Aviation Administration said Tuesday the pilots had violated numerous regulations, including failing to comply with air traffic control instructions and clearances and operating carelessly and recklessly.

The pilots — first officer Richard Cole of Salem, Ore., and captain Timothy Cheney of Gig Harbor, Wash. — told investigators they lost track of time and place while working on their laptop computers.”

On Fox’s Red Eye last night, TV’s Andy Levy speculated that the pilots continued flying because they wanted to erase something on the cockpit audiotape. That makes more sense to me than the pilots’ story.


Obama: Playing Semantic Games on Abortion and ObamaCare

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:32 pm reports:

Rep. Bart Stupak (D.-Mich.) told that President Barack Obama told him in a telephone conversation that when he said in his Sept. 9 speech to a joint session of Congress that “under our plan no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions” he was not talking about the actual bill drafted in the House but about the president’s own health care plan—which has never been written.

“I don’t know if it is a game of semantics or what,” Stupak said of Obama’s nationally televised declaration to Congress that the health-care plan will not allow federal funding of abortion.

Both the House and Senate versions of the health-care bill permit federal funds to pay for insurance plans that cover abortions.

The article quotes Obama’s speech from the transcript: “And one more misunderstanding I want to clear up: Under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions.” Also, everyone will receive free pixie dust and chocolate pie. It’s right there in the unwritten language.

It’s worth noting that, even if Obama was playing a little game and giving a speech about a mythical unwritten plan (and the words of his speech arguably support that notion), he also falsely denied that the House bill would fund abortion:

We’ve heard that this is all designed to provide health insurance to illegal aliens. That’s not true. There’s a specific provision in the bill that does not provide health insurance for those individuals. You’ve heard that there’s a government takeover of health care. That’s not true. You’ve heard that this is all going to mean government funding of abortion. Not true. This is all, these are all fabrications that have been put out there . . .

But as said in August:

[A]s for the House bill as it stands now, it’s a matter of fact that it would allow both a “public plan” and newly subsidized private plans to cover all abortions.

You can’t simply trust, of course, but their analysis appears sound in this instance.

ObamaCare: Reid’s public option gamble

Filed under: General — Karl @ 7:04 am

[Posted by Karl]

On Monday, Sen. Maj. Ldr. Harry Reid submitted a draft healthcare bill including a “public option” with an opt-out provision for states to the CBO. Allahpundit summarized most of the main points, but they are worth further exploration.

Reid apparently does not have 60 votes lined up for the public option, though Reid thinks he will have them after the CBO scores it. This move was supposedly forced by the hardcore liberals in the Senate, though this could still be the kabuki by which Reid sheds responsibility for a later failure to include the public option. Either way, the ball is now in the moderates’ court.

Allahpundit correctly notes that this proposal loses Sen. Olympia Snowe. Howard Fineman may not think that’s a big deal. Jay Cost, looking at ideological scores, suggests the White House wanted Snowe on board to woo Sen. Susan Collins and keep Sen. Ben Nelson on board. I think it is more the latter, and that the same applies to the next two Senator’s to Nelson’s left — Evan Bayh and Blanche Lincoln. Although Chris Bowers hears that Bayh is a solid vote for cloture, Bayh has suggested he might filibuster, though maybe not now. Ben Nelson supposedly opposes the idea of a national public option with an opt-out for the states. Both Bayh and Nelson have each received more than $470,000 from the health insurance industry since 2006. And Lincoln has not committed to vote to bring Reid’s proposal to the floor. Any one of these Senators could scotch Reid’s proposal after the CBO scores it — and may cite reasons other than the public option for doing so, at least for public consumption (though I doubt a lone Senator would do this; it’s more likely if two or three of them choose this course of action). It would be like Sen. Joe Lieberman saying his concern about the Senate bill is based on the deficit — not the insurers that dominate his state.

Bob Laszewski still thinks that there ultimately will not be 60 votes for a robust public option with an opt-out, because of the barriers to opting out. At least two of the analysts solicited by National Journal also see the opt-out as a ruse, while Paul G. Ginsburg notes that a robust public option with an opt-out could cause “an extensive pattern of distortions.” While some, like R.J. Eskow (a lefty not thrilled with the opt-out proposal) believe that the most conservative states are the most likely to opt out, Ginsburg notes that states with the highest rates relative to Medicare are likely to opt out in response to pressure from providers, which would likely affect the CBO scoring (and it will be interesting to see what sorts of assumptions CBO makes along these lines). Michael G. Franc notes that the 41 states with mixed or total Democratic control are unlikely to opt out today, but wonders whether Reid’s proposal — if it became law — would not turn state legislative and gubernatorial elections between now and 2014 into referendums on ObamaCare. State officials — already chafing at the way prior drafts of ObamaCare would burden their Medicaid programs — might be wondering the same.

In sum, a Senate bill with the public option is not quite a done deal. However, for the sake of argument, let’s assume that Reid can get such a bill to the floor. He can only do so by getting moderates to burn political capital — voting for cloture before voting against the public option or the bill in total. Voting for things before voting against them tends to hurt people on Election Day, as the moderates undoubtedly know. And the remainder of the bill may be difficult to pass, regardless of the public option. Including the public option (an idea so good that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to rename it) may please liberals today, but it increases the risk that the bill collapses of its own weight on the Senate floor.

Update: Joe Lieberman: I’ll filibuster Harry Reid’s plan. Heckuva job, Harry! (Self-link to honor Patterico’s Politico boycott. –K)

Update x2: Reid says Lieberman is the least of his problems, which Dems better hope is a bad bluff. Bayh can imagine the Reid bill failing before it gets to the Senate floor. Lincoln says she’s still opposed to public option. Neither Bayh nor Lincoln is talking about a filibuster — pols always want maximum flexibility — but making such comments at this particular moment is not an accident, either.


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