CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 9, 2012 |
Dean R. Gits, who won an acquittal for his client Peggy McMartin Buckey in the infamous child molestation case of the 1980s and early 1990s and represented thousands of other clients during a lengthy career as a public and private defense attorney in Los Angeles, has died. He was 68. The chief deputy of the federal public defender's office for California's central district, Gits died Tuesday at his Los Angeles home of complications from cancer, said his wife, Christina Larson Gits.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 8, 2012 |
A day after California voted to soften its three-strikes sentencing law, defense lawyers around the state Wednesday prepared to seek reduced punishments for thousands of offenders serving up to life in prison for relatively minor crimes. The process of asking courts to revisit old sentences could take as long as two years and benefit roughly 3,000 prisoners. They represent about a third of incarcerated third-strikers. Proposition 36 garnered about 69% of the vote. The initiative won in all 58 counties, amending one of the nation's toughest three-strikes laws, one that had overwhelming voter support when it was approved in 1994 amid heightened anxiety over violent crime.
November 7, 2012
In March 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court concluded that a defendant's 6th Amendment right to counsel - and its implied right to effective counsel - is violated when defense lawyers fail to warn their noncitizen clients that a guilty plea to certain offenses carries a risk of deportation. Now the court must decide whether that ruling should be applied retroactively to people convicted before it was issued. Justice and the court's own precedents suggest that it should. The case before the court involves Roselva Chaidez, a Mexican immigrant who had been living legally in Chicago with her children and grandchildren.
November 7, 2012 |
Former Penn State President Graham Spanier was arraigned and released on bail Wednesday on charges he lied about the child sex abuse allegations involving Jerry Sandusky. Spanier was charged last week with perjury, obstruction, endangering the welfare of children, failure to properly report suspected abuse and conspiracy for his actions in response to complaints about Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant football coach, showering with children. Spanier was Penn State's president for 16 years before being forced out last year.
October 23, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - A former U.S. intelligence officer with a long history at CIA headquarters and the agency's Counterterrorism Center pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., to a single count of disclosing information identifying a covert agent. He faces a 30-month federal prison sentence and $250,000 fine under a plea agreement with federal prosecutors. John C. Kiriakou, a CIA officer from 1990 to 2004, was charged in April with unmasking the 20-year covert agent to a Washington journalist who then shared that information with defense lawyers for terrorist detainees at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
October 19, 2012 |
George Zimmerman's attorneys can subpoena the school records of Trayvon Martin, a judge ruled Friday during a hearing in the celebrated Florida case that has ignited racial tensions. Circuit Judge Debra Nelson ruled that Zimmerman's defense team can seek the school records but must keep the information confidential. The ruling was the first in a scheduled afternoon of arguments in the case. In general, Zimmerman's lawyers are seeking more evidence in the case, some of which they contend the state has been slow to deliver.
October 19, 2012 |
FT. MEADE, Md. -- Top officials in the George W. Bush and Obama administrations, including the two presidents themselves, repeatedly and publicly pronounced a group of senior Al Qaeda leaders guilty in the Sept. 11 conspiracy and created an “unlawful command influence” that pressured the U.S. military to bring capital murder charges against them in a military commission trial, defense lawyers said Friday. The lawyers, speaking at a pretrial hearing at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, asserted that the Washington officials unfairly prejudged their clients.
October 18, 2012 |
Alleged Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed lashed out Wednesday at his military judge and prosecutor, saying Americans had killed "millions" more people than the nearly 3,000 who died during the 2001 airplane attacks. "My only advice for you is that you do not get affected by the crocodile tears," he told Judge James L. Pohl. "Because your blood is not made of gold and ours is made out of water. We are all human beings. " Wearing a green camouflage vest over his white robes, his thick, orange beard hiding most of it, Mohammed sat at his counsel table in front of the judge and sternly ridiculed the military judicial process at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
October 17, 2012 |
FT. MEADE, Md. — Three of the five alleged Sept. 11 conspirators, including purported mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, refused to attend a pretrial hearing Tuesday where lawyers argued over one of the significant overlying issues in their case — whether potential evidence of torture and other classified material will be discussed publicly in their trial at the U.S. naval base on Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The government wants a protective order prohibiting the release of material from CIA "black sites," the secret prisons where the defendants were held before being moved to Guantanamo Bay in 2006.
October 17, 2012 |
FT. MEADE, Md. - A military commission judge said Wednesday that he expects to issue a protective order on the handling of classified information in the case of the top five alleged conspirators in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Such an order would settle the most crucial dispute between prosecutors and defense lawyers on whether stories of torture or inhumane treatment will ever make it into the courtroom at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. His decision, which he now plans to research after hearing legal arguments over the last two days, will determine how much the public ultimately will learn about how allegedly Sept.