Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Gloria Allred Lies to Cover Up Professional Malpractice!

Who says TMZ is all about sleaze and sensationalism? Okay, I have said it before, but I am going to commend them for this follow-up story that they did to the Gloria Allred fiasco in court last week. I will first post the video, then I will write more about it. Don't be put off that the TMZ video is  shown to be 44 minutes long. The pertinent Allred piece is the very first story, and it lasts 9:44. You can stop the video at that point.

You can either watch the video first and then read my commentary, or you can scroll down below the video first and read why I think Gloria Allred is guilty of professional legal malpractice before you listen to her blabber to the TMZ guys.

This picture says it all --
Allred is Hollywood
through and through.
First, why on God's green earth would a reputable attorney with honorable intentions call TMZ to defend herself? This video is the smoking gun that Allred's sole purpose in this whole mess is to grandstand and try to further her goal -- that of making Mitt Romney look bad. She denied this was er goal previously, but she cannot deny it now.

Second, Gloria Allred (pardon my french) f**ked up. She is the attorney for a party to the case, Ms. Sullivan. If her client supported the lifting of the gag order, Allred ABSOLUTELY should have filed a motion on behalf of her client. Allred keeps saying that the Boston Globe filed the motion so she relied on that and should not have had to file a motion. A first year law student knows that you cannot depend on someone else to do your job for you, Gloria was riding the Globe's coattails, and they did a right turn and flung her off. Her denials are BS to the Nth degree. She may have gone to law school 40 to 50 years ago, but she knows that her client is a party to the case and the Globe was and is not. Gloria screwed up royally. Her client should sue her for malpractice. [Aside: Hey, Maureen, send me a Comment with your contact info and I will help you file the malpractice lawsuit against Gloria -- FREE!]

Third, the old adage "Me thinks the lady doth protest too much" has never been more fitting. That is why Gloria Allred called TMZ that same day as the hearing to try to defend herself. That is also a red flag that she is a fraud. She is incompetent. She is a joke. She is the reason we attorneys have such a bad reputation. Her own incompetence is why this video nails her to the wall. When the third TMZ guy chimes in at the 5:39 mark and says, "Well you could've couldn't ya?" I was cheering out loud "YES!! She could have and she SHOULD have!"

The Scarlet Allred Letter - L for Loser!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Allred Shut Out in Legal Shuffle in Boston

The judge in Massachusetts hearing the request to unseal the divorce records in the Stemberg divorce case has granted the Boston Globe's motion. However, Gloria Allred did not fare so well in her bid to make Mitt Romney look like a woman-basher because of the value he placed on the Staples business. According to TMZ:
 Mitt Romney's testimony in his friend's divorce case -- in which he's accused of lying under oath to screw over his friend's ex-wife -- will be unsealed today and released to the Boston Globe ... the judge has ruled.

As we first reported, Mitt testified in the divorce of Staples' founder Tom Stemberg -- and Tom's ex-wife Maureen claims Mitt lied under oath, falsely undervaluing Staples' stock in order to shaft her in the divorce.

Mitt's people have already said the Presidential hopeful doesn't care if the testimony is released -- he has nothing to hide.

Things didn't fare so well for Gloria Allred -- her request to ungag her client was shut down by the hot judge ... because Gloria never submitted an official motion to the court.

Gloria was grasping at straws in a last ditch effort to get the judge to cut her a break -- but she was shot down, hard. 
8:30 AM PT -- Gloria denied accusations she's a "surrogate" for the Democratic party ... who's only representing Stemberg in order to wreak havoc on the Romney campaign.

8:20 AM PT --
During a news conference, Gloria accused the Boston Globe of pulling a "double-cross" because she says the paper abandoned its motion to have the gag order against Maureen Sullivan Stemberg lifted.

Read more:

The Weekly Standard has the whole story behind the divorce case/trial and Ms. Sullivan's perpetual whining since 1987 over the fact that she only got millions from her ex-husband in their divorce.
 Allred and her client are rumored to believe that Romney misstated the value of Staples in order to help his friend, Stemberg, receive a more favorable divorce ruling. But it's hardly news that Stemberg believes she settled for too little.
"The entire spectacle is about her client's divorce, which began almost twenty-five years ago. It has been litigated and re-litigated," one source with knowledge of the the divorce proceedings tells me. "She has attempted to get her settlement overturned, but failed. She appealed the decision, and failed. She tried to take her case to the State Supreme Court, and was rejected. She has accused her husband and others of defrauding her, to no avail. She has sued her attorneys for malpractice, and lost. She has declared bankruptcy, and tried to sell her story as a book and a movie, also to no avail."
The case goes back to at least February 1987, when the two were separated, court documents reveal. Lawyers presented the separation to a Massachusetts court later that year in September. And then in 1990 Maureen Sullivan Stemberg "filed a complaint in equity to rescind the separation agreement dated September 23, 1987," according to the court document.
"In 1990, she alleged in a lawsuit that Mr. Stemberg had failed in 1987 to reveal material facts about the value of Staples stock and the extent of his assets ‘present and future.’ Thus, she claimed, she had been wrongfully induced to part with thousands of shares at fire-sale prices. She also said that she had suffered from hormonal imbalances that had impeded her ability to concentrate when she agreed to the settlement," the Wall Street Journal reported in 1997.

But the court rejected Sullivan-Stemberg's request in 1994. Instead, Stemberg-Sullivan was found to have sold her stock expeditiously, before it matured to what it would be worth only a couple years later. "[T]he wife cannot blame the husband for her uncoerced decision to sell approximately one half of her shares prior to the initial public offering of the Staples stock," the judge ruled. She had 500,000 shares of Staples, from the first divorce settlement.

You can see the entire divorce Procedural Background and Findings of Fact here:


The couple had only been married for 10 years. Notice the part where it says that one day before the final judgment was to be entered, "the wife filed objections" and asked that the separation agreement be rescinded, in part because "at the time of the negotiations regarding the separation agreement, the wife was under the care of physicians for hormonal imbalances, as a consequence of which she was unable to concentrate and focus on matter of detail, including financial matters, and that this ailment prevented the wife from fully and fairly considering the terms of the separation agreement, and the resulting consequences to her." (p.2)

A few months later the husband filed a motion to terminate alimony because the wife was living with a man and had been for a year, which violated the provision that upon remarriage of the wife, alimony would end. His motion was eventually dismissed by agreement. After a 50 day trial, the judge wrote the 52 page document above and found that the wife's hormonal imbalance did not affect her decisions and that her attorney (NOT Gloria Allred, although she was old enough to be there) represented just fine. He said that "during her extensive trial testimony, the wife demonstrated that she is a highly intelligent, competent and articulate individual." And the judge did not make the wife pay for the husband's extensive legal fees for dragging out the case, even though they had agreed to that during the settlement. He did apply the "unclean hands" doctrine to the case, pertaining to the wife, to further support his decision that she was not entitled to anything more than she already got.

This case is NOT going to make anyone feel sorry for Maureen Stemberg Sullivan. Why on earth she would agree to let is become public is beyond me. If she thinks it is going to hurt Mitt Romney, she is as much a greedy fool now as she was back in 1987. There is absolutely nothing to be gained from this legal spectacle other than trying to hurt Mitt Romney. Allred is a disgrace to lawyers everywhere.

Now, here's my question. Why does Gloria Allred always have her arm around her clients even though they are able-bodied women who capable of standing on their own? I never did that when I was practicing in the courts. Are they invalids when they come to her or only after she gets her claws in them?

Here's Gloria and Maureen Stemberg Sullivan

Finally, this photo says it all.


Here's WHY Gloria is Up to Her Old Tricks Again

Now that we know WHAT Gloria Allred is up to, here is the WHY behind what she is up to. TMZ captured this unabashed gushing by Miss Allred. (Notice how the subject of her meeting Obama comes up.)

Can you say "Lady Stooge"? Gloria, I think Barack's got your number!!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Here's What Gloria Allred is Up To...

So, it is now being reported that Gloria Allred went to court this morning to get records unsealed in a divorce case from the early 90s. The parties to the divorce were the founder of Staples, Tom Stemberg, and his former wife, Maureen Stemberg Sullivan. Mr. Stemberg was and is a friend of Mitt Romney. He spoke at the RNC in Tampa back in August, attesting to Romney's support for small business and his ability to turn around the economy as president.

Mrs. Stemberg was in court with Ms. Allred this morning. The motion to unseal the records is apparently coming from the Boston Globe, not Allred herself. The Globe just wants to see what's in the file and to look for salacious stuff on Romney. What was his role in the Stemberg divorce? Is seems he was an expert witness who testified about the value of a company so that property could be equitably divided in the property settlement agreement.

Although initial reports are that Romney has no objection to the testimony being unsealed, and indeed may not even have a dog in the fight, the judge is giving the parties until tomorrow to review the content and raise any objections to the records being made public. I see no report on how Mr. Stemberg feels about the unsealing. Presumably he will have concern over anything that could potentially damage Romney.

There is another story out there this afternoon that seems to dovetail with this Allred flop. 
DRAGON-LION MEDIA's Edmund Druilhet has just announced the production of "The Maureen Sullivan Stemberg Story: A Portrait In Courage", a documentary detailing the life of Boston native Maureen Sullivan Stemberg, the former and first wife of Staples founder, Tom Stemberg, who served as CEO and drove the company through its growth from infancy to what is now a worldwide superstore based on the idea of a home-office. Maureen Sullivan Stemberg ran her own very successful interior design business from just such a home-office. This is such a timely story the truth is coming out about corporate greed at its best and its worst. This is a uplifting story, although she has been weakened in her body by divorce, cancer and auto immune illnesses, she prevailed everything she is standing tall and telling the story of the beginning of staples, her marriage to Tom Stemberg and much more. This is a uplifting story to inspire everyman and woman today who asked how they got away with it.

So, I surmise that they are going to try to use Romney's testimony to show that he undervalued the value of the Staples empire so as to deprive poor Maureen of her just desserts. She slaved in the business while Tom played golf with Mitt. Then he shoved her aside like a rag doll and went for a younger woman. Romney will come out as a villain and a good-old-boy in destroying the woman and up-lifting the man. I am just making this up. We'll see if I am right though.
I don't know what else Romney could possibly have said in a divorce case that would be an October Surprise, or the bombshell that has been predicted. So far she seems to have made about as much of an impact as Donald Trump with his October surprise.

Maybe Gloria should follow the lead of Donald Trump and offer the judge $5,000,000 to unseal the records.


Trump Puts Up $5,000,000 for Obama School Records

Trump made his announcement. A bit of a let-down. Nothing will come of it. Obama will release nothing.

I hope Allred's October surprise is equally as non-productive.


Latest on Gloria Allred's War on Romney

I am playing along with the rest of the salivating press out there, waiting to see what Ms. Allred is digging up on Mitt Romney. Speculation has been an affair, a child fathered out of wedlock, a sexual harassment claim while he was Governor of Massachusetts, and now, in the latest from this morning, that Romney testified in the divorce trial of a friend. Yes, that is the latest. Romney estimated the value of some stock that the friend owned for purposes of helping to divide assets in the settlement. And Ms. Allred wants to know what value Romney placed on it and how badly he screwed over the female party in the case. Because Romney is all about the war-on-women.

But that sounds too benign of a reason for such hoopla. Allred is fishing for more. She wants the records unsealed so she can see if Romney was accused of wrong-doing with the wife of the friend. She would not be putting her tarnished reputation on the line for a mere worth-of-business estimate. She wants something salacious. Someone has told her there is more to the story.

She is salivating along with the rest of us, waiting for herself to get the goods and save her leader form self-destruction....


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

More on How Unsafe Hotels Can Be

Lest my last blog post did not convince you that your personal items are not safe in your hotel room these days, how about this video of how wily thieves can steal your property. And as this story shows, it is not only your hotel room that is vulnerable. It is ANYWHERE in the hotel. This story came on in July of 2009. More from ABC's Mark Greenblatt.

If this happened to me, and I was able to catch the scoundrel, I would "Tagg (Romney)" him!


You Are Not Safe from Thieves in Your Hotel Room!

A few weeks ago I blogged about a device that dishonest people can buy or construct that can steal your credit card information while the person simply walks by you in the mall or on the street. Now the word is out that there is another device that thieves can make that allows them easy access to your credit cards and other valuables inside your hotel room.

Having just returned from a week in Chicago and a week in Orlando on business trips, and as I am preparing for a trip to Dallas next week, I am troubled by this story. The Chicago hotel I stayed in did not have the type of lock that is the subject of this story, but the Orlando hotel did. The locks are made by a company called Onity, which calls itself the "Worldwide Leader in Electronic Locks."

The Onity website, English edition

Onity electronic lock products
This story was broadcast this past Sunday night, October 21, 2012, on ABC News by Mark Geenblatt. Watch how easily these guys can get into a hotel room.

While in both Chicago and Orlando these past two weeks, I hung my Do Not Disturb or Privacy sign on the door each day. I can get along for several days without having to switch out towels or sheets. I hate the thought of the cleaning people in my room messing with my stuff. I am not high maintenance at home, so I never let them service my room. They may be the nicest and most honest people in the world. But I just prefer not to leave things to chance. Even then, that certainly does not mean that no one can come in uninvited, as this recent revelation of dishonesty confirms. 

And, to add insult to injury, these brazen thieves are sharing their "craft" with other thieves. Watch this video to see how they pass along their knowledge.

And, then a video that shows you how to take that information and put it into a dry erase marker for purposes of disguising it in plain sight.

And that is not the end of it. On a website called TrustWave at you can find an entry for "James Bond's Dry Erase Marker: The Hotel Pen Test Pen" which contains a complete description on how to construct this theft device for as little as $50. And the entire written instructions are here:

Next week in Dallas, for the one night I am there, I will not be leaving ANYTHING of value in my hotel room, regardless of what type of lock is on the door. 


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Lawyer Gloria Allreddy to Save Obama and Topple Romney

Lawyers can be such weasels. Take perennial attention seeker Gloria Allred. She has contributed enormous amounts of money to Democratic candidates. And she has repeatedly set her sights on bringing down Republican candidates for office, such as Meg Whitman and Herman Cain.

She is reportedly waiting in the wings, preparing for the "right moment" to bring forth an "October surprise" against Mitt Romney. Or maybe against Paul Ryan. Or maybe she is just faking it. She refuses to acknowledge any plans, although she also does not deny she is scheming to bring down the Republican ticket.

News of an impending attack has been Tweeted by Matt Drudge, reported by The Red Side of Life blog, and discussed on Twitchy, the latter of which has some funny lawyer jokes in the comments section.

I think Miss Allred has come to live out the lyrics of the 80s song "Gloria" sung by Laura Brannigan about a crazy gold-digging woman looking to bring down a man. Remember the spooky lyrics?
Gloria, you're always on the run now
Running after somebody, you gotta get him somehow
I think you've got to slow down before you start to blow it
I think you're headed for a breakdown, so be careful not to show it

You really don't remember, was it something that he said?
Are the voices in your head calling, Gloria?
Meanwhile, Miss Allred joins such personalities as Rahm Emmanuel, Madonna, David Axelrod, and Chris Matthews, who are just some of the people who give me the creeps and make me feel like I need to take a shower just to wash the sleaze off of me after I hear or see them.



Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Oh, Deer! Another Deer Story Crosses the Line

If you read my blog regularly, you saw my post a few weeks ago about the Chinese restaurant in Kentucky that was shut down for bringing a roadkill deer into the kitchen. In that post I included a news item that talked about deer crossing signs being located in "the wrong place."

It seems Tim Abbott of Crown Point, Indiana is not the only one with this opinion. A woman recently called into a radio station and opined that deer crossings should be moved when they are in high traffic areas. The You Tube poster wrote this explanation of the following video:
This audio clip from Y94 Playhouse Fargo, ND radio station was too funny to not find a way for more people to hear it so thus, this video. A lady asks for help getting deer crossing signs moved to lower traffic areas. "The government can guide deer to lower traffic areas" ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! Kudos to Y94 Playhouse and Donna for the joy that you have given many through laughter.

The "Donnas" I know are not this ignorant. I don't know if she was joking or not. The jury is still out on that one. But I feel sure there ARE people who think the U.S. government can control where deer cross simply by posting signs since the government controls just about everything else!

Update on Half-Ton Texas Woman's 600 Pound Loss

In September I wrote about Mayra Rosales, the Texas woman who falsely confessed to killing her nephew. Mayra weighed over 1000 pounds at the time, and it took 10 deputies to get her out of her house when she was arrested for the crime. You can read my previous post on how Mayra was cleared of the charges.

In the wake of the tragedy of the young boy's death at the hands of his mother, Mayra has been given a new lease on life. She has since resided in a nursing home in Houston and, through controlled diet and physical therapy, Mayra has lost over 600 pounds.

This past week a TV special aired about Mayra on TLC. Access Hollywood then followed up with a report on her phenomenal weight loss. Mayra explained how she lost 600 pounds and that her husband is not able to be with her during this phase of her life's journey due to immigration status problems. Still, she hopes to one day be able to literally put her arms around him and thank him for all that he has done for her. Mayra is able to walk a bit with assistance, and unassisted mobility is also one of her goals. Here is a video clip from the Access Hollywood interview.

I find Mayra's struggle to be an inspiration. I wish her all the best in her continuing path to health and independent living.

UPDATE 11/28/12

Saturday, October 13, 2012

D.C. Sniper - Somber Tenth Anniversary Remembrance

Sunday, October 14, 2012, is a date which holds a special, somber note for the residents of Fairfax County and Arlington, Virginia. It is the 10th anniversary of one of the tragic DC sniper shootings, one of over a dozen shootings that terrorized and all but paralyzed the residents of the Metro area for over three weeks starting September 30 and continuing into October of 2002.

Just a year prior to the sniper shootings, the National Capital region had been stunned and traumatized by the 9-11 terrorist attacks. The Pentagon in Arlington was one of the four sites where the lives of thousands of Americans were tragically cut short by brutal, maniacal, religious fanatics. When the DC sniper shootings began in 2002, it was only natural that suspicions of terrorism surfaced and circulated.

However, the perpetrators turned out to be John Allen Muhammad, a convert to Islam (in 1987), and Lee Boyd Malvo, a 17-year-old minor who was biologically unrelated to Muhammad but whom Muhammad called his "son."

At the time of both the 9-11 attacks (September 2001) and the subsequent sniper attacks (September-October 2002), I was attending graduate school in Ottawa, Ontario. However, having lived in the Maryland suburbs outside of DC for several years on two previous occasions, I was very familiar with the locations where the first several shooting victims were targeted, in Maryland. I had driven those roads in Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties countless times and knew people who lived in the shooting areas.Hardly a day went by during that three-week span that I was not emailing someone I knew in Maryland asking how my friends in the area were doing. Luckily, no one I knew was a victim of the snipers.

The Home Depot in Fairfax, Virginia
Now, ten years later, the legacy of one particular victim of the DC snipers has become entrenched in my thoughts. The first time I went to the Home Depot in Fairfax, Virginia, over seven years ago, my husband told me that it was one of the locations where a sniper victim was murdered in 2002. I read what I could find about the shootings on the Internet, and learned the victim's name was Linda Franklin. I have thought about her during nearly every visit to that store since I learned Ms. Franklin's identity. Muhammad was never tried for Ms. Franklin's death.

Recently the local media began writing stories to recall the tragic events of September and October 2002, as the 10th anniversary is upon us. A Washington Post video called "23 Days of Terror" brings back many memories and emotions for me. In a recent rare interview, John Malvo, now age 28 and incarcerated for life, made a chilling revelation. He said that as he and the much-older John Muhammad undertook the senseless, random shootings that autumn, it was the shooting of Linda Franklin at the Fairfax Home Depot that finally evoked an emotion in him.

Muhammad and Malvo had already carried out 11 attacks in the local region prior to the Fairfax shooting, so people in DC, Maryland, and Virginia were all aware that a demented person was targeting innocent people with no rhyme or reason. Many people were afraid to leave their homes, while others had a firm resolve that they would not let this maniac rob them of their freedom. A map of the locations of the shootings reveals how widespread the area is over which the snipers hunted. No one knew where they would strike next. Number eleven on the map below is the Home Depot site where my husband and I shop and where Ms. Franklin was savagely killed.

When these demonic men shot Mrs. Franklin, on Monday, October 14, 2002, her husband was there with her in the Home Depot parking lot. Malvo said that when he saw the look on Mr. Franklin's face and the devastation in his eyes when his wife was shot, he felt like "the worst piece of scum on the planet." And rightfully so. The three photos immediately below were taken by media sources at the scene of the murder, that very night as police sought answers.

My heart breaks for all those whose loved ones were murdered during those 23 nightmarish days in September and October 2002. Last weekend my husband and I visited the Fairfax scene. Having been in the Home Depot parking lot scores of times, I needed to see for myself where Muhammad and Malvo were located when they perpetrated the horrific act, so close to my home.

There is really only one way into the parking lot, so they had to come in this way.

At the time, it was thought that a white van was what the sniper was driving based on witness accounts.

I took pictures from the parking lot across the street from Home Depot...

... and my husband took pictures looking across at where I was in the parking lot. It almost always stands empty.

Clearly the snipers had an unobstructed view.

I took this photo looking eastward from the pedestrian walkway that crosses Route 50.

Since his incarceration and conviction, Malvo has written a diary account and given a recorded interview about the reign of terror that he and fellow serial killer John Muhammad perpetrated. Of the Franklin murder at Home Depot, Malvo said that it was Muhammad who pulled the trigger, and that he shot from the wooded area on a hillside. So it sounds like they did not shoot from the trunk of the car as first suspected.. The Washington Post recently reported:
Malvo remembers being in the blue Chevrolet Caprice, in which police found binoculars and walkie-talkies. He scanned the area to make sure John Allen Muhammad had a clean shot. He gave the “go” order and looked across Route 50 in Seven Corners at the target. Muhammad, hidden on a hill above, pulled the trigger. A bullet screamed across the highway, instantly killing Linda Franklin, who just happened to be going about her business at the Home Depot in Virginia at precisely the wrong time.
But mostly he remembers Ted Franklin’s eyes — the devastation, the shock, the sadness. “They are penetrating,” Malvo said in a rare media interview from prison. “It is the worst sort of pain I have ever seen in my life. His eyes. . . . Words do not possess the depth in which to fully convey that emotion and what I felt when I saw it. . . . You feel like the worst piece of scum on the planet.”

Originally it was reported that Malvo himself was the shooter in all the cases. He has since contradicted that, stating that he lied and confessed to the shootings to protect Muhammad and keep him from the death penalty. It did not help. Muhammad was executed in 2009, a few years after being convicted of one death in Virginia (not Mrs. Franklin's though). Malvo was also convicted but could not be executed since he was a minor at the time of the murders. He is serving six life sentences without the possibility of parole.

Malvo's drawing of how the Caprice was modified to accommodate the shooter in the trunk.

Photo from the treeline at the back of the parking lot across from Home Depot.

The gun used by the snipers.
The modified Caprice.
The ten murder victims from the DC area. Linda Franklin is in the top row, second from right.
There were several other murder victims around the country,
and additional shooting victims who survived.
Muhammad's ex-wife lived in Prince Georges County, MD. Some believe Muhammad
wanted to kill her, and he carried out the sniper shootings to hide his identity and motive.
Standing in that parking lot was indescribably eerie. Ten years ago, two men viciously ended the life of a beautiful woman whom I never met. Yet, standing there at that location a week ago, looking across the highway to the Home Depot parking lot brought me to a strangely quiet "place" within my soul. I found myself weeping in my inner being and praying in my heart for Linda Franklin, her husband and her family. I do not know how Ted Franklin has moved on in her absence. I pray that he has been comforted by the love that he shared with Linda. And I hope that he believes in the after life, because I believe that she is waiting to see him again in Heaven.

This marker is in Wheaton, Maryland, where another sniper victim was slain.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Your Credit Card Information Is Vulberable, Despite Your Efforts to Protect It!

This is very scary, especially for someone like me whose credit card account information has been stolen twice in only four months. I thought it was from the use of my card, but this video made me aware of another possibility for how my private financial information could have been stolen. This news story video is over 1 1/2 years old, but it is something that people need to be aware of. The suggestion that this invasive device is available on the Internet for anyone with $100 to spend on it chilling.

I am going to make myself a sleeve from aluminum foil for my wallet. I refuse to leave it up to the good-heartedness--or lack thereof--of the people who surround me any longer.


Monday, October 8, 2012

Birds Drop Poop Bombs on Unsuspecting Beachgoers

Sometimes things happen that immediately make you think Somebody's gonna get sued. Finding out who to sue, however, is not always easy. And even if you do find the culprit, proving damages is a problem. You would spend more time hiring an attorney to handle the lawsuit than you could ever hope to recover from a lawsuit.

The example in this video is kind of like a practical joke, or a really ill-conceived science project. If you have teenage sons and live near a beach, you might want to hide this video from them.

You could probably track down at least some of the pranksters through the YouTube account that posted the original video. But the people who were hit with poop would have to prove they were damaged by the poop, and that the birds that pooped on them were the same ones that ate the laxative-laced Pringles, and that there is a monetary amount to their damages. It would not be an easy task.

This video has been out there for about 7 months, and has been viewed over 3,000,000 times. I have to wonder if PETA members have gotten their dander up over these kids and their practical joke. If so, they should just re-laxative!


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Catholic "Wikileaks" and a Different Kind of Judicial Procedure

Just as each country in the world has its own laws and justice system, the same is true for the Holy See, also known as Vatican City or just "the Vatican." The Vatican is an autonomous political entity nestled within the city of Rome. The basic law of the Catholic Church, similar to our Constitution, is called the Code of Canon Law. It provides basic procedural norms (guidelines) for prosecuting delicts (crimes) in the Church.

There are several procedural differences in trials under canon law than in our American system of justice. One of these differences is that there is no jury. The finder of fact--which in our system is the jury--is the same entity as the judge. That is, the judge is "jury, judge, and executioner." Judges hear the testimony, decide on the truth to a degree of moral certitude, and then sentence the person if the accusation is substantiated. If the charge is unsubstantiated, this finding is pronounced in a decree.

Another difference in canonical trials and American trials is that a canonical trial takes place in front of a tribunal. The tri- prefix denotes that there are three judges. At least two of the three judges must agree on the decision to substantiate. There are no "hung juries" or "mistrials" in Church trials conducted by tribunals.

A Church Tribunal at the Vatican - three judges.

Over the last decade, many canonical trials have taken place in the United States. Every diocese is empowered, and indeed required, to have a tribunal. The (arch)bishop is the chief judge in his (arch)diocese, but he usually appoints others judges to actually act in judicial matters. Most of these judges are priests, but lay people can be appointed. A lay person may not be the sole judge on a case, and on a three judge panel, at least two must be priests. Tribunals are the norm, but a sole judge can hear a case if there are not enough judges to handle the volume of cases. The most common type of case is a marriage validity case, commonly called an annulment case. (That term is not accurate, but that is a whole different issue.)

The reason for this short dissertation on how Catholic Church trials are conducted is that a rare Church trial just concluded yesterday in Vatican City. It involved the theft and wrongful distribution (to journalists) of papal documents that were intended to be destroyed. Earlier this year, newspapers in Rome began publishing stories about the inner workings of the Vatican, including allegations of corruption at the highest level. The leak was traced to the Pope's personal butler, a married lay man named Paolo Gabriele. He had access to the Pope and the documents that had been stolen. Gabriele and a Vatican computer expert who helped him disseminate the documents were charged with aggravated theft. This was the Church's version of "Wikileaks."

The Pope's butler also acts as a bodyguard of sorts, as well as a valet outside the papal household.

This sign is on the building containing the only court room inside the Vatican city-state, which is where the trial took place.

And the courtroom itself is a small room that holds only the accused, their canonical legal counsel, the canonists who act as the equivalent of "prosecutors," and whomever the tribunal approves to be in attendance. Generally there are no live witnesses, as all testimony has been taken during the pre-trial stage.

The wood-panelled courtroom, where on Saturday Pope Benedict's former butler will appear in front of judges, is seen in this picture released by Vatican
Fish-eye view of the only courtroom in Vatican City.

The courtroom during Gabriele's trial.
The Tribunal members did ask questions of Gabriele and the computer specialist. While being questioned, the accused sat in the chair in front of the three judges in the photo above. Gabriele stated in his defense that he acted out of love for the Holy Father and the Church. He saw corruption at the highest levels, even amongst Cardinals in positions of authority, and he tried to tell the Pope what he was seeing. But the Holy Father did not understand, he said. Gabriele thought that he would be able to change things by alerting the Italian media. Instead, his actions caused great embarrassment to the Pope and, consequently, to all those who work in the various dicasteries (departments).

The fact that cameras were allowed inside during the proceedings is quite extraordinary.

The Tribunal substantiated the charges against Gabriele, and sentenced him initially to 3 years in prison. They amended that, however, to half that amount. He and the computer expert who also was "convicted" will serve their time in an Italian prison since the Vatican does not have a jail at which to incarcerate people. It is also possible that the Pope will pardon Gabriele. That remains to be seen.

Paolo Gabriele, formerly the Pope's butler, was found "guilty" and sentenced to 18 months in jail.


Friday, October 5, 2012

Connecticut Man Repeatedly Rapes 11-Year-Old While Living in Mother's Home

A number of years ago, shortly after I got out of law school, I worked for a short time (less than two years) in the prosecutors office in my home county in Kentucky. One of my assigned duties was to handle the child abuse, neglect, and dependency cases. It was the least favorite part of my job, mostly because it was difficult to remain unemotional and detached when it came to dealing with parents who abused or neglected their children.

For a short time while I held that job, I was the chairperson of the County's task force that sought to educate people on the horrors of child abuse. Working with law enforcement officers gave me access to some of the worst case files and evidence that they accumulated in investigations of this nature. I can gladly state, however, that I never saw anything that compares to some of the cases of child abuse that are depicted in scores of videos that now populate the Internet.

A few weeks ago I wrote about the monster who was convicted of sexually abusing and murdering his infant daughter, Baby Evelynne. That story came back to me this morning when I read about the arrest this week of 23 year-old Elier "Leo" Torres Garcia of New Haven, Connecticut.

Elier Garcia's mug shot
According to the news report, Garcia and his victim's mother met about a year ago, in December 2011, in a night club in New Haven. Immediately thereafter Garcia moved in with the woman, sharing the small apartment with her two children -- a boy age 11 and a girl age 8. The woman's stepdaughter also rented a bedroom in the apartment. She has an unspecified number of children and works outside the home.  No mention is made of a husband, which can be inferred from the fact that there is a stepdaughter. He must not be in the picture.

Although the exact nature of the relationship between the mother and Garcia is not conveyed, Garcia earned his keep by baby-sitting her children, taking them to and from school, cooking, and cleaning the apartment. This woman must have thought she had quite the catch.

But the mother's blindness did not carry over to the children. They saw the real Garcia while the mother was at work. He drank tequila. He smoked marijuana. He sent the 11- year-old boy to the store for odds and ends. And then he raped the 8-year-old. Apparently Garcia did not worry if the boy returned early and caught him molesting his sister. He also did not bother to aide when he hit their mother, in whose home he was a guest.

This behavior went on for over five months. The stepsister (I am not clear of her exact relationship to the homeowner), who must be old enough to live on her own and have a job, suspected something was going on with the 8-year-old stepsister. She saw hickies -- yes the monster left hickies -- on the girl's breast, and video-taped her response. Sadly, fearing there was not enough corroborating evidence, the older girl did not take the video to police until two additional months had passed.

When the stepsister reported the crimes, police interviewed the 8-year-old victim. KTLA News reports:
"The victim stated that she has been feeling sad about what [Garcia] did to her," the warrant states. The girl told police she felt like screaming from the pain, but that Garcia would cover her mouth to keep her from making noise, police said. He also threatened to whip her if she said anything and said her mother would hit her and "kill her to death" if the girl said anything.

Police arrested Garcia, and he was arraigned this past Tuesday on 28 counts of risk of injury to a minor and 28 counts of aggravated sexual assault of a minor. Bond was set at $200,000. There is no indication as to whether he posted it or not, but his next court date is set for October 16.

Sadly, this story of child abuse is all too common in this country. Fortunately, organizations such as Dreamcatchers are trying to educate people and make us aware of the horrors that children go through every minute of every day. They posted this video on You Tube to spread the word. Watch carefully at the 7:11 mark, as the sleeping child depicted there is a notorious case in New Mexico. More on her below.

The child at the 7:11 mark is Baby Brianna, the worst case of child abuse in New Mexico history.

Below is a video telling Baby Brianna's tragic story. The baby died in 2002, and was buried in a pauper's grave, using funds that the townspeople collected when the family failed to claim her body. After Brianna's burial, the family erected a cage around her grave to keep people from putting flowers and memorial items on it.  Numerous family members were convicted of participating in her murder.

The prosecutor  in this video, who helped bring the perpetrators to trial and conviction, is Susana Martinez of Dona Ana County. She is now the Governor of New Mexico. Martinez spoke at the RNC in August.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Kentucky Restaurant Shut Down for (Almost) Serving Roadkill

I was born in Kentucky, and  I live the Bluegrass state. I still call it home even though I live 750 miles from where I grew up. So when I her stories about something bad that has happened in the Commonwealth, I still get a bit of an uneasy feeling over it. I especially hate to see stories like the one that has shone a spotlight on the tiny border town of Williamsburg, Kentucky this week.

Doesn't exactly let you pinpoint it on a map, does it?

It seems a customer at a Chinese restaurant in the town of 5200 people  happened to notice two employees sneaking something into a back door at the restaurant a few days ago. It was a trash can. But it was not filled with ordinary trash. The customer noted a tail and feet protruding from the container. So she notified authorities. When questioned, the owners of the restaurant admitted that they had brought a dead deer into the kitchen area. Since it was not deer hunting season, the owner was either guilty of hunting out of season or the alternative. It was the alternative -- road kill.

Here  is how a local news channel reported on the story. (I like the guy named Jack Hardigree -- Kentuckian through and through. Although he may be from across the border in Tennessee.)

Now, I love Chinese food, so this kind of story disturbs me on another level also. Yet, deer meat is some of the best eating you can find at home. If this was a fresh kill, I would not be that concerned about the incident. Yes, they should not do it again, but I would not want to see them shut down. They make have to pay a fine and get regular inspections, but let them learn fro their mistakes.

I have learned from my mistakes when t comes to deer, that's for sure. I learned I will never drive through the night in West Virginia in November again. A few years ago I got hit by a deer while I was  traveling from D.C. to KY. My husband was asleep in the passenger seat, having just finished the first 6 hours of the drive. It was 2:15 in the morning, and I was tooling long at 55 mph (yeah, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it). Out of my left peripheral vision I saw movement and that son-of-a-doe ran right into my front right fender. I came to halt about 200 yards up the road, with the sound of metal and plastic scraping the tire. Hubby woke up and I think he thought he was dreaming.

"What happened?" he half shouted as he saw I was pulling over  Unable to speak at first, I took a few seconds to regain my composure and blink back the tears that I could feel welling u in my eyes.

"A deer hit me!" I shouted "Son of a doe!" Except I did not say doe. I said the B-word.

Hubby got out to view the damage. I could not open my door, as the crunched fender would not let it open.

My car after hubby ripped the wheel lining out with brute force and left it on the road side

To make a long story short, we had to wait at the next exit until dawn, call Geico, drive to New Albany, IN for the nearest Geico affiliated garage (250 miles away), stop along the way to buy duct tape to hold the bumper on, leave the car in IN to be fixed, but not before we waited for 2 hours for a rental replacement since they had none due to the astronomical number of people hitting deer over the previous week. And to top it all off, when we got to my mother's house hours later than planned, and we told them why we were late, the first thing everyone asked was, "What happened to the deer? Did it die?" Agggghhh!

Later my stepdaughters would reward me with a lovely cake to mark the occasion of getting my car fixed.

Ever since then, I have learned to keep an eye out and heed the deer crossing signs that pop up along the road, especially in November. You've seen the before no doubt.

Have you ever seen the deer heed them?

Apparently the guy who wrote this ad knows that deer in the picture above.

Crown Point is in Indiana, not Kentucky.

A few years ago a friend sent me some pictures of an accident where a deer had hit a car head-on. I cannot find the pictures now, which is probably good because the were pretty gnarly. But I did find some other pictures on the Internet that might be an indication of what happened to the deer that the Red Flower Chinese Restaurant took in. If you are squeamish, this is where you should bail out. I chose the less graphic pictures (no blood), so that might make it better. Please, no PETA comments!

Deer in the window...
Deer in the engine... (nothing runs like a Deere?)
Deer in the grill...
Deer in driver's seat...
Deer in windshield...

Deer in headlights...
And finally, even police are not immune from the phenomenon. This video IS a bit graphic, so don't think of Bambi when you watch it!@

Now go make sure your automobile insurance contains towing and rental car coverage. Deer season is fast approaching!