Informant in Case Against Attorney Retracts His Story

The testimony of Dale Fisher once put a former prosecutor and Michigan attorney in prison. Fisher claimed that Clarence Gomery solicited him and paid him to kill a legal rival. Now in prison himself, Fisher is retracting his story. Fisher now says that it was the legal rival that conspired with him to set up Gomery. Based on the information, Gomery has made a motion in the 13th Circuit Court in Grand Traverse County, Michigan to ask a new judge to throw out the conviction against him.

Fisher said that the rival, also an attorney, had blackmail on Fisher that he used to coerce Fisher to be a part of his plan. Fisher says that the rival and alleged victim threatened to report him for having sex with an underage relative. Fisher says that he went along with the plan to frame Gomery, but that the alleged victim had him charged anyways.

To make the case even more puzzling is the timeline of the charges against supposed hit man Fisher. Only a week after Gomery’s original sentence, Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Bob Cooney brought charges against Fisher for allegations of retail fraud for stealing cell phones from Walmart. Fisher’s actions that led to the charges allegedly happened months prior. There’s no explanation for why prosecutor Cooney held off on issuing charges.

As part of the retail fraud case, prosecutor Cooney also agreed not to bring the criminal sexual conduct charges against Fisher that relate to the alleged victim’s relative. Agreeing not to charge a criminal sexual conduct charge in order to secure a retail fraud conviction is enough to raise eyebrows. However, a short time later, Cooney brought the charges anyways. Cooney has not admitted to knowing about any scheme between Fisher and the alleged victim. However, the alleged victim previously served as the attorney for a Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s sergeant defending allegations of use of force.

In his court filings, Gomery also says that 13th Circuit Court judge Philip Rodgers promised him a lighter sentence than he received. Gomery says that his attorney and prosecutor Bob Cooney met with Judge Rodgers in chambers where Rodgers made the promise. He claims that Rodgers promised a harsher sentence if Gomery took his case to trial. If that claim is true, the judge was in violation of Michigan judicial ethics that prohibit judges from penalizing defendants for exercising their constitutional right to a trial.

Manhattan District Attorney Declined to Prosecute Harvey Weinstein in 2015

Celebrities are continuing to come forward, either to add accusations of sexual misconduct against Harvey Weinstein or to condemn him to the public. As it turns out, this isn’t the first time Weinstein has been accused, however. A 2015 complaint might have outed Weinstein earlier, if the Manhattan district attorney handling the complaint, Cyrus Vance Jr., hadn’t declined to prosecute the case.
Harvey Weinstein was Accused of Sexual Misconduct in 2015
Two years ago, Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, a model and former Miss Italy finalist, accused Harvey Weinstein of sexually accosting her. The incident occurred in Harvey’s office, claimed the model, who stated in her complaint that Weinstein lunged at her, during the interview. He grabbed her breasts and slid his hand up her skirt, according to Ms. Gutierrez.
After filing a complaint with the police, Ambra agreed to wear a surveillance wire for a meeting with Mr. Weinstein at an area bar. At the meeting, the film producer asked Ambra up to his hotel room and she accompanied him, but stopped before going into the room. Ms. Gutierrez took the opportunity to confront Harvey about why he had groped her in his office a day earlier.
In response, Weinstein told Ambra that he was sorry and it wouldn’t happen again, commenting that “I’m used to that”.
While the wiretap produced some incriminating statements against Weinstein, it was Gutierrez’s past that stirred reluctance in District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr.’s to prosecute the case. The police uncovered evidence that Gutierrez had accused another individual, an Italian businessman, of sexual assault, but later refused to cooperate with the investigation.
Ambra Battilana Gutierrez Recanted her Allegations
Later, Ambra admitted the alleged sexual misconduct never happened. That recanting of her allegation was stated in a nondisclosure agreement she signed with Harvey Weinstein. Sources report the NDA was a common practice Weinstein employed to ensure women accusing him of misconduct wouldn’t later step forward and reassert their complaints.
Chief Assistant District Attorney Karen Friedman Agnifilo has since issued a statement regarding the 2015 incident, assuring the public that Mr. Weinstein would have been prosecuted, if police had gathered enough evidence. She added that prosecutors weren’t consulted on what exactly was needed in the wiretapped conversation between Weinstein and Ambra Battilana Gutierrez to constitute sufficient evidence for a prosecution.
“While the recording is horrifying to listen to, what emerged from the audio was insufficient to prove a crime under New York law, which requires prosecutors to establish criminal intent,” reads Agnifilo’s statement in part.
The Chief A.D.A. concluded her statement by admitting there wasn’t enough evidence to move forward with prosecution. As a result, charges against Harvey Weinstein were dropped.

Man Loses Attorney License for Beating Dog

One man has lost his freedom and his law license all in one day. Corporate lawyer Anthony Pastor is a lawyer no more after he was convicted of beating his girlfriend’s dog to death. A jury convicted the 46-year-old of felony aggravated cruelty to animals. The jury also convicted him of other charges.

The dog’s name was Snoopy, and he was 4 years old. The jury handed down the convictions on May 9, 2017. The court said that Pastor showed malice and violence when he beat the dog. Pastor allegedly flew into a rage when the dog went to the bathroom inside. The court also said that their sentence is justified because the dog suffered in pain before dying from his injuries. Judge Robert Mandelbaum also criticized Pastor for going back to work on his computer rather than trying to get help for the dying dog. The judge said that Pastor’s violence in the incident is “almost incomprehensible.”

In his defense, Pastor’s lawyer Gerald Lefcourt says that Pastor suffered trauma as a child. He said that he was the only Jewish child at a boarding school, and that he suffered abuse in the environment. Lefcourt went on to say that Pastor is at a crossroads in his life. He said that Pastor wanted to repair his relationship with his son.

Largely rejecting Pastor’s pleas, Judge Mandelbaum pointed out the cruelty of the crime when handing down his sentence. The two years that Pastor is going to spend in prison is the maximum possible sentence for the crime. He also has to register in the state’s registry of animal abusers. The judge said that Pastor obviously demonstrated that he has the ability to act in a dangerous and violent way. The judge said that it was Pastor’s own actions that damaged his relationship with his son. He also called Pastor a “terrible father.”

Pastor has been the target of some threats. In response, on judge’s orders, law enforcement has given Pastor protective custody since May. The dog’s owner and Pastor’s then-girlfriend Taly Russell found the deceased dog. The dog had severe injuries including nine broken ribs. The dog had internal bleeding and injuries to his kidneys.

Another of Pastor’s ex girlfriends also testified that her dog died under similar circumstances. In addition, a landlord testified to having witnessed Pastor’s mistreatment of animals. Russell said that while she understands the sentence can’t bring Snoopy back, she hopes it will prevent violence against more animals.

Lawyer for OJ Simpson Loses Case for Attorney Reinstatement

F. Lee Bailey may have played a key part in helping OJ Simpson secure his acquittal for the murders of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman, but that’s not enough to convince officials for the State Bar of Maine to approve his bid to practice law in the state. Despite his high-profile and notable legal career, the State Bar of Maine says that Bailey isn’t fit to practice law in the state. Bailey played a key part in the defense of O.J. Simpson including cross-examination of key witnesses.

Bailey’s storied legal career began in 1961 when he represented a man charged with murder. Bailey had less than one year of practice experience at the time, but he successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court just a few years later. Ultimately, the man was never convicted for the crime.

Unfortunately for Bailey, trouble came soon after. Florida officials revoked his license to practice law, and Massachusetts soon followed suit. Maine is the latest state to deny Bailey a bar card. He’s 81 years old but says he wishes he could practice law.

Bailey says that he thinks the judiciary resents him for his success in the O.J. Simpson case. He says he was just doing his job. The bar examiners of Maine say that Bailey blames others for his own misconduct and refuses to show remorse. They say that’s a problem when it comes to getting a bar license. They say what really happened is that Bailey refused to transfer stock that the government took from a client as part of a plea agreement. Bailey was found in contempt of court and spent 44 days in jail.

The State of Florida says that Bailey’s actions were enough to warrant disbarment for at least five years. They also say that he commingled client funds with his own assets and that he did things that amounted to a conflict of interest. They also say he wasn’t forthcoming when they asked for complete information.

Bailey passed the Maine bar exam in 2012. He asked for a license to practice. In a split decision, the board of law examiners said that they aren’t sure he has the necessary character and fitness to practice law. They don’t deny that Bailey has many supporters. They even admit that he has great legal advocacy skills. However, they think that Bailey’s past misdeeds are too much. Bailey won’t be practicing law in the Pine Tree State any time soon.

Disney Worker Leaves Child in Hot Car: Police Make Arrest

One Disney World worker will have to answer to a jury of her peers after she left her toddler in a hot car. The worker left the 2 year old girl in her vehicle while she went to find her boss. She wanted to talk to the boss about taking vacation time. The woman is a housekeeper at Walt Disney World.

The incident took place at Walt Disney World’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. A coworker found the child inside the hot car. When the coworker found the child, she was trapped inside the locked vehicle. They found her at 1:05 p.m.

Even though the child was conscious, she was still sweating and crying. Law enforcement officers removed the child. The windows were cracked, but authorities found that the temperature inside the girl’s car seat was a sweltering 113.5 degrees. The 2 year old was strapped into her safety seat when authorities found her.

Relatives of the girl’s family say that the woman only wanted to leave the girl in the vehicle for no more than five minutes. She wanted to run inside and have a quick conversation with her boss about time off to care for the child. The girl was actually in the car for approximately 45 minutes.

The woman arrested isn’t the child’s mother. Instead, she’s a family friend. The child’s mother was in labor and needed childcare for the day. The woman went to her employer at the Disney resort in order to ask for the day off in order to care for the 2 year old.

The woman said that she didn’t mean for the child to be in any danger. She insists that she loves the child very much. The child went to Florida Hospital Celebration Health for medical care, and she is in stable condition. The woman was arrested and booked at the Orange County Jail. She posted a $1,000 bond to secure her release. For now, she’s on leave from her job at Walt Disney World.

There are a number of things that the arrested woman may face. She may face criminal charges under Florida law for child abuse or neglect. These charges can bring time in jail, fines and other penalties. In addition, the Florida Department of Child and Family Services can bring an investigation into the circumstances and assess the risks of future abuse and neglect to the child.

In New Delhi, Sometimes No Really Does Mean Yes

Here in the United States, society is still struggling to eliminate rape culture, but women in India now have it even worse. A New Delhi judge ruled that “a feeble ‘no'” isn’t necessarily the end of a sexual encounter. In this recent trial, the judge stated that a weak protest doesn’t always mean the victim wants the encounter to stop and that supposition led to an acquittal in a highly publicized trial.
Defense Suggests A Rape Never Took Place
India is facing a new legal quagmire in relation to the issue of sexual consent, following the decision handed down in the case of Bollywood filmmaker Mahmood Farooqui. The director, best known for Peepli Live, had previously been sentenced to seven years in prison for the rape of a female Columbia University student. The verdict came into question recently, as Farooqui’s lawyer pursued an appeal in the case.
The attorney argued there is a lack of evidence to support the conviction in a New Delhi court. Mahmood was alone with the victim in his home on the evening the alleged rape took place, argued the lawyer. He added that, if a sexual encounter did take place, it was only with the victim’s consent.
Mahmood Farooqui Deserves “The Benefit Of The Doubt”
The appeal process went well for the defense, as High Court Judge Ashutosh Kumar overturned the conviction and suggested Mahmood may not have acted inappropriately. The high court justice said the prosecution never truly proved that events happened as the victim stated and added that Farooqui had “no idea at all” that consent wasn’t given.During Kumar’s decision, he explained that, while one party in a sexual encounter may not be entirely willing or may feel hesitant about seeing it through, that’s not the same as withdrawing consent. He said where there is “assumed consent,” feelings of uncertainty cannot be considered a refusal.
“Such feeble hesitation can never be understood as a positive negation of any advances by the other partner.”
Further, Judge Kumar added that, especially in cases where the two parties kniw each other well, “a feeble ‘no’ may mean yes”. He said in his ruling that a more insistent refusal was needed to either refuse or withdraw consent.
Meanwhile, a lawyer for the victim, responding to the ruling, said she verbally protested and continuously pushed away his advances. She previously stated in court that he pulled away her lingerie, even as she struggled to stay dressed. Ultimately, Farooqui overpowered her.
“Under those circumstances, it is therefore startling to hear this series of events recorded as a ‘feeble no,'” commented U.S. Supreme Court lawyer, Karuna Nundy.
Ms. Nundy helped reform India’s rape laws.

Gotti Underboss Released from Prison

Former mafia underboss Sammy “The Bull” Gravano has been released from prison after being incarcerated for more than 17 years. He confessed to being involved in at least 19 murders, and he was a pivotal prosecution witness in convicting former Gambino family crime boss John Gotti pursuant to a multi-count indictment. Another 39 mobsters went down with Gotti. That’s not what put “The Bull” behind bars for 17 years though. While being under witness protection, Sammy got into the action again.

According to Reuters, with his cooperation, Gravano was the highest ranking mobster to testify against a boss. Before his conviction, Gotti was known as “the Teflon Don.” He’d been able to walk away from previous prosecutions, but as a result of Gravano’s cooperation and testimony, Gotti was convicted of numerous offenses in 1992 that included extortion and murder. “The Teflon Don” died in prison from cancer in 2002. In return for his cooperation, Gravano was only sentenced to five years in prison by pleading guilty to a racketeering charge.

Gravano served his five year sentence and entered the federal witness protection program. He was invisible and living under the name of Jimmy Moran until he became involved in an ecstasy ring that kept 50 people busy and brought in $500,000 a week. In 2001, he entered guilty pleas to both federal and state charges of criminal conspiracy to distribute the drug. He’s under supervised release for the rest of his life. Nobody knows if Gravano will be in the witness protection program again.

“The Bull” is fortunate to even be alive. Gotti’s brother, “One Eye” Peter Gotti, enlisted a team of hit men in retaliation for his brother’s conviction and imprisonment. The hit order was never carried out. Peter Gotti’s arrest for extortion and arranging for Gravano’s murder got in the way.

Gravano had originally been sentenced to 20 years on the drug conviction, but he served only a little more than 17 years of that time. It’s customary for federal prisoners to serve 85 percent of their sentence.

 

Texas Woman Jumps to Death in Face of Solicitation of Murder Charges

One Texas woman will never get her day in court after she jumped to her death. Valerie McDaniel was on a $50,000 bond for solicitation of murder at the time of her death. She allegedly conspired with her boyfriend to hire a hit man in order to murder her ex husband.

McDaniel and her ex husband, Marion “Mack” McDaniel, divorced after 17 years of marriage. The two agreed to share joint custody of their 9-year-old daughter. However, Valerie McDaniel was reportedly unhappy because of what she claimed was Marion McDaniel’s threats to take full custody of the child. McDaniel was also in a financial bind, because her divorce judgment required her to pay more than a million dollars to buy her ex husband out of the veterinary clinic that they shared.

McDaniel jumped to her death from her seventh-story balcony. She lived with her boyfriend in a two-bedroom condo in the upscale Houston neighborhood of Oak Park. McDaniel also had a beach house where she enjoyed weekend getaways and visits with friends.

Shortly after her divorce, McDaniel met Leon Jacob. Jacob had a criminal history. McDaniel’s friends describe Jacob as arrogant. They said that they got a bad feeling about Jacob from the start.

The plot first began when state officials charged Jacob with stalking an ex girlfriend. While Jacob awaited trial on the stalking charges, he decided to hire someone to murder his ex girlfriend. He paid a man named Zach with $5,000, watches and a laptop in exchange for carrying out the crime. Instead of doing the deed, Zach took the payment and ran. He later worked with the police in order to gather evidence to charge Jacob with solicitation.

That’s where the plot took an interesting twist. Jacob and McDaniel told undercover officers that they wanted to kill McDaniel’s ex husband too. McDaniel agreed to pay an extra $10,000 for the hit on her ex husband. Authorities then went to McDaniel and told her that her ex husband was found dead. In reality, the ex husband was around the corner, waiting to take custody of their child as McDaniel was arrested.

Although McDaniel will never face trial for her actions, Jacob sits in the Harris County Jail awaiting trial. The court denied him bond. They also refused to allow him out of jail to attend McDaniel’s funeral. Jacob denies the charges against him. He says that law enforcement entrapped him.

Two High School Principals Suspended Over Spirit Rock

Two Northern Michigan high-school principals are fighting discipline for breaking the law over burying a spirit rock. Traverse City Area Public Schools Superintendent Paul Soma handed down a five-day suspension for Joe Esper and a two-day unpaid suspension for Charles Kolbusz. The suspensions are without pay.

Both men are principals at Traverse City West Senior High School. Traverse City West Senior High School Principal Joe Esper received a five-day suspension and Assistant Principal Charles Kolbusz got a two-day suspension. They plan to take legal action fight the decision.

The spirit rock is a large rock that sat on school property. Students decorated the rock and used it to write messages. Although many of the messages were innocuous, some of the artwork contained profanity and vulgarities. The trouble comes as Esper and Kolbusz created a plan to bury the Traverse City West Senior High School spirit rock. They say the action was necessary in order to put an end to misuse of the rock.

Esper and Kolbusz used a backhoe to bury the rock. They didn’t get permission from Superintendent Soma. They also didn’t call Miss Dig to verify locations of underground utilities which may be a violation of Michigan law. Soma says that this is only part of the problem. Soma says that when confronted, the two men lied about their actions.

Although Soma claims that the pair violated Michigan law without verifying the locations of utilities with Miss Dig before their misadventure, there are exceptions in the law for government entities. There are potential civil penalties but no criminal penalties, so the men can’t face criminal charges. Even so, Soma justifies his suspension of the pair by citing the dangers that the men created by undertaking the dig. He also feels the two deserve discipline for evading the truth when others started asking what happened to the rock.

The principals say it’s their school and their problem to solve. They also say that they were careful to avoid dangers while they were digging. They claim that the benefits of getting rid of the rock outweigh the dangers that might have resulted from their methods. If they had waited to get permission to move the rock, they say, there would have been months of committees, public hearings and questions. Taking action themselves allowed them to dispose of the rock before it had a chance to become a problem in the new school year. Instead, it’s the legal proceedings surrounding the pair’s discipline that may drag on.

Gymnastics Coach Associated With Larry Nassar Still Coaching in Michigan Gym

Michigan State University parted ways with their longtime women’s gymnastics coach Kathie Klages after the inquiry into her response to sexual abuse by gymnastics trainer Larry Nassar. However, despite the dismissal, one Lansing gym owner seems to think Klages still belongs in the gym. Klages has been filling in at Twistars Gymnastics Club. John Geddert owns the gym. Though some say Klages is only with Twistars temporarily, the move to bring Klages in contact with gymnasts is raising eyebrows as some say she didn’t do enough to respond to warning signs and complaints about Nassar’s abuse of gymnasts.

Geddert admitted that Klages worked at the gym. He claims it was only “filling in” for a “a couple days.” Klages says that she’s not an employee of the gym. Gym owners said that they asked Klages to fill in because of a staffing shortage.

Klages resigned her position as the head gymnastics coach at Michigan State University in February, 2017. Accusers say that Klages downplayed accusations of misconduct against Nassar. Accusers say that Klages told victims that Nassar’s abuse was medical treatment. They say that Klages also told a victim not to file a formal complaint. The victim was a teenager.

Under Klages’ supervision, Nassar worked for the Michigan State University gymnastics team as the team doctor. Nassar also worked as the team doctor for the U.S. national gymnastics team. 2012 Olympian Jordyn Wieber trained at Twistars under Geddert’s coaching.

Legal fees for Michigan State University because of Nassar’s actions have now topped $2 million. MSU President Lou Anna Simon believes that the charges are necessary. Both criminal charges and civil litigation remain pending in the courts. Simon says that the university isn’t tapping their endowment to fund the defense. Individual attorneys on the case charge as much as $990 per hour.

Nassar’s accusers at Michigan State University were collegiate athletes from a variety of sports. The victims claim that when they voiced their concerns to trainers and other school representatives, they told the victims that Nassar’s actions were legitimate medical treatment. One victim even said that MSU employees told her that she should be grateful to work with Nassar.

In total, victims name MSU in nine different lawsuits in federal courts. More than 140 victims total have come forward against Nassar. They claim that abuse occurred at MSU, at the U.S. national gymnastics training center near Houston, Texas and at other locations. Because of the allegations, former president of USA Gymnastics Steve Penny resigned his position.

 

 

Anthony Weiner Makes His Case to Avoid Prison

As Anthony Weiner awaits sentencing for the sexting scandal that derailed his political campaign, new court filings appear to indicate that he blames his 15-year-old victim for much of what went on in the sexting scandal. But Weiner’s lawyers say that he’s not the instigator. They say that the victim initiated the contact in an attempt to influence the U.S. Presidential election.

Despite his attempts to blame the victim, Weiner’s attorneys admit that the former mayoral candidate self destructed. They say his actions came from “deep sickness.” Weiner’s attorneys also say that Weiner’s case is not as serious as other cases that prosecutors chose to pursue suggesting that Weiner feels prosecutors are targeting him for reasons other than his guilt. In fact, lawyers for the former politician say that the investigation into Weiner is politically motivated and that it may have affected the results of the election. They say the fact that he didn’t seek out victims on the internet mitigates his guilt compared to other sex offenders. He says the victim wanted to exchange sexual messages and not the other way around.

Weiner and wife Huma Abedin appeared cordial during divorce proceedings in court in early September. Abedin aided Hillary Clinton in her failed bid to become the first female President of the United States. Weiner’s sentencing filings included a letter from Abedin. In her letter to the court, Abedin writes that Weiner’s actions “devastated” her. She writes that she never could have imagined the circumstances that resulted from Weiner’s behavior. She says that she understands the court must impose consequences.

Weiner says that the teenage victim initiated contact in order to pursue a book deal. They accuse her of “shopping to publishers” with the material that she worked to “generate” through her contacts with Weiner. Weiner’s attorneys say that the girl saved copies of her interactions with Weiner, and that she made $30,000 for selling her story to a British media outlet. Weiner’s attorneys say that these actions amount to proof of the victim’s ulterior motives.

Despite pointing blame at the victim, Weiner says that he regrets committing the crime. He admits that his behavior was against the welfare of a minor. He says that his actions destroyed his marriage and hurt his wife’s professional ambitions. Clinton blames her loss in the Presidential election in part on the investigation into her email server as it related to Weiner’s actions.

Weiner awaits his sentence to find out whether he’ll serve time in prison. As part of his plea offer, he can’t appeal a prison sentence if it’s less than 27 months. Weiner says he’s in treatment and that he has mentors to help him with behavior modification. He describes his current life as “quiet.”

 

The Mystery Killings of Women in Uganda

Uganda parliament has suspended its sittings due to a wave of crime that has swept through the country. Members of Uganda’s legislative body have put the government on notice due to a series of murders that are still unsolved. The parliamentarians vowed not to convene any meetings until a government report was issued on the matter. Many fear that these murders are being committed by a serial killer.

A parliamentary session that was conducted on Tuesday decided to delay its meetings for an indefinite period after government officials declined to give an explanation for the murder of women in the capital, Kampala.

Who is Killing Women in Uganda?

According to reports by the police, since June, 20 women have been murdered mysteriously. These killings have caused unrest in this peaceful East African nation. In a statement to the press, the police spokesman, Asan Kasingye dismissed claims that the killings were related. He reiterated that the authorities had no evidence pointing to the work of a serial killer. He implored Ugandan citizens to remain calm and to rest assured that investigations were still underway and that the perpetrators of these crimes would be brought to justice.

Reports by local media have told how a majority of the deceased women were assaulted sexually before being murdered. Many of these women died through strangulation.

The recent murder occurred on Monday. The killing was that of a young woman whose body was found near a car washing bay near Kampala town. This murder brings to 20 the number of women who have been murdered so far. On Tuesday, the police announced they had one suspect in custody. The suspect was found concealing himself at a healer’s shrine.

When the ministers charged with internal affairs and security failed to issue a report on the murders, an opposition parliamentarian raised a motion of suspending parliamentary sessions for an indefinite period. The lawmaker, Mr. Odonga Otto, is reported to have said that lawmakers had no business to conduct in the house up until they were appraised on the reason women were being murdered.

Convicted Killer Hopes To Avoid Execution

Convicted serial killer Gary Lee Sampson is taking one last shot at avoiding execution for his crimes. A federal jury handed Sampson the conviction in 2001. They agreed with federal prosecutors that Sampson carjacked and murdered Jonathan Rizzo.

At the time, Rizzo was 19 years old and a college student. Sampson was 57 years old. The jury believed that it was fair for Sampson to die for his crime. Sampson has spent the last 16 years trying to challenge the execution.

In addition to his 2001 conviction for carjacking and murder, Sampson is also serving a life sentence for killing Philip McCloskey. McCloskey was a 69-year old plumber. The murder occurred in Massachusetts. His third killing occurred in New Hampshire. In that case, Robert Whitney was the victim.

Sampson committed the Rizzo and McCloskey murders using a similar pattern. He coaxed each victim into allowing him to ride in their car. Then, he told the men to drive to a secluded area. Once they were there, he stabbed them to death. In the Whitney case, he strangled his victim with a rope.

The convicted serial killer recently filed a new appeal after previous efforts failed. Most of the substance of his appeal is against the death penalty. Sampson’s lawyers say that he’s not completely culpable for his crimes because he had brain damage at the time of the killings.

A U.S. District Court judge shot down Sampson’s previous request to overturn his death penalty conviction. Judge Leo T. Sorokin based his ruling on the brutality of the crimes. He said that the murders of the three men were incomprehensible, and that Sampson’s death sentence was not unjust given the seriousness of the crimes.

Although Sampson received his conviction in 2001, the courts didn’t hand down the death sentence until 2003. Since that time, Sampson has engaged in a serious of appeals. At one point, a judge reversed his death sentence. However, court procedures then remanded the matter for a second trial. Sampson then chose to plead guilty. That’s when a federal jury decided to sentence Sampson to death.

The court overturned the first death sentence because of a jury irregularity. They said that the juror should have disclosed more information about her personal history in order to make sure that the jury was fair. If Sampson continues to pursue his case, the matter could end up in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Judge Richard Posner’s Jury Instructions Reversed on Appeal

Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit learned the hard way that writing jury instructions is more difficult than it looks. In February of 2016, Posner presided over the United States of America v. Enkhchimeg Uliziibayar “Eni” Edwards, a criminal trial heard in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern District. Edwards, a naturalized U.S. citizen, faced two charges each of witness tampering and making false statements on an official questionnaire for federal employment.

The jury convicted Edwards on all four counts. Edwards subsequently appealed all of her convictions. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld the two making false statements on an official questionnaire for federal employment convictions. The appellate court overturned Edwards’ two witness tampering convictions.

Edwards challenged her witness tampering convictions based on the fact the jury instructions omitted an element of the offense. Witness tampering requires a finding by the jury that the defendant acted corruptly. Before the start of the trial, prosecutors presented Posner with jury instructions that substantially followed extant Seventh Circuit witness tampering instructions. Posner objected to the inclusion of the standard language stating that it had too much “legal jargon” and insisting, “You don’t need ‘corruptly.”

Defense counsel objected, stating, “by eliminating some of this technical language which has been approved by the Seventh Circuit … it will weaken the burden that the government must meet in a criminal case.” Posner overruled the objection and presented the jury instructions without the corruptly element to the jury. A required element of the crime was therefore absent from the jury instructions.

The appellate court overturned the defendant’s two witness tampering convictions due to the court’s failure to adequately instruct the jury on the intent element of the crime. According to the appellate court, the instructions,”failed to inform the jury about an essential element of the witness tampering charges—the corrupt mental state that distinguishes unlawful from innocent interference with an investigation.”

Posner often writes his own jury instructions when sitting as a trial judge in the Seventh Circuit’s district court. He’s a strong proponent of appellate judges getting experience with the demands placed on trial judges. It turns out being a trial judge might be a bit more complicated than Posner expected.

Pakistani Refugee Victimized in Michigan

A teenage girl who escaped abuse and oppression in Afghanistan and Pakistan suffered sexual abuse at the hands of her Michigan foster father. Walker resident Nathan Bosma faces several counts of abuse and criminal sexual conduct charges as they relate to the teenage girl. Although he maintains his innocence, he’s reached a plea agreement with prosecutors for the State of Michigan.

The victim lived in dire conditions in Afghanistan before fleeing to Pakistan. There, her father arranged her marriage to a 70-year-old when she was only twelve. The girl fled her family and ran to the Benazir Bhutto Center for Women in Islamabad. They arranged to send her to foster care in the United States. Bethany Christian Services was the U.S. social service organization that arranged for her travel to the United States and placement with Bosma in his upscale home.

42 year old Nathan Chad Bosma said he believed the girl initiated the contact herself. Even so, Bosma accepted guilty pleas to two counts of criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree. This is a much lighter pair of charges than Bosma faced initially. State prosecutors first charged Bosma with eight different criminal sexual conduct counts each relating to unlawful sexual conduct with the teenage victim.

He finds out his sentence on September 19. He faces no more than one year in a county jail. The victim’s new foster mother says that the sentence is too light for the crime. She says it amounts to a “slap on the wrist.”

The victim’s new foster mother criticizes Bosma for his hypocrisy. She says that he claimed Christian values and forced the child to pray. Allegedly, he even assaulted her once during what was supposed to be prayer time. She said that Bosma went through Bethany Christian Service’s screening process and was well aware of her history when he chose to abuse her. Despite the organization’s screening process, they approved Bosma and sent the girl to her home.

The girl’s new foster mother says that the girl is emotionally traumatized by the abuse especially since she was sent to the United States for her safety. She said that despite Bosma’s claims that the girl may be older than 16, the girl is emotionally a child, and she was put in Bosma’s care for her safety and well being. The girl’s new foster mother said that she can live safely in her home for as long as she needs to.