April 7, 2014 |
For 16 months, Bay Area rapper Deandre Mitchell - better known as Laz Tha Boy - has been sitting in a jail cell faced with a decision no artist should have to make: whether to defend his innocence at trial, knowing his music likely will be used as evidence against him, or take a plea bargain and admit to crimes he maintains he did not commit. Mitchell's case dates to October 2012, when he was indicted for his alleged role in two gang-related shootings that occurred that year. Prosecutors didn't present a single arrest or conviction to establish Mitchell's association with a criminal gang, and with conflicting eyewitness testimony - and no physical evidence connecting him to the shootings, according to defense attorney John Hamasaki - prosecutors elected to introduce something else: Mitchell's violent gangsta rap videos and lyrics, which were presented to the grand jury as evidence of his criminal behavior.
April 1, 2014 |
It's a decorous shoe that a woman would wear for a night on the town: a size 9 navy pump. Even the 5-inch heel doesn't seem out of place. But then there is the blood, which carries a different message. Jurors in Houston on Tuesday got their first real look at what prosecutors say was a murder weapon and defense lawyers argue was Ana Trujillo's only way of defending herself from her on-again, off-again boyfriend. Trujillo, 45, is charged with using her stiletto heel 25 times to pound Alf Stefan Andersson, 59, to death.
March 26, 2014 |
NEW YORK--The conviction of a former Al Qaeda spokesman Wednesday for crimes stemming from the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks could bolster calls for the movement of high-profile terror suspects out of Guantanamo Bay to civilian courts, but the defendant's attorney said the trial was unfair and promised an appeal. After a jury found Sulaiman Abu Ghaith guilty, defense attorney Stanley Cohen said his case had been hampered by the absence of certain witnesses whose testimony was not allowed; by the judge's instructions to the jury; and by U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan's own statements as jurors entered a second day of deliberations.
March 3, 2014 |
NEW YORK - A man whose friend died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks was among potential jurors excused Monday from serving on the trial of Osama bin Laden's son-in-law, Sulaiman abu Ghaith, an alleged Al Qaeda propagandist accused of conspiring to kill Americans. The opening day of jury selection shed light on the effects the 2001 attacks had on some New Yorkers, even those who did not know people wounded or killed. Some potential jurors said they were not sure they could be impartial, given their memories of Sept.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 3, 2014 |
SAN FRANCISCO - The California Supreme Court upheld a death sentence Monday for a man who was forced to wear a stun belt during his trial, rejecting arguments that the prospect of being electrically shocked adversely affected his demeanor before jurors. In a 6-1 decision, the majority noted that the prosecution had conceded the court erred in requiring the stun belt, but the justices concluded that it did not affect the outcome of the trial. The ruling came in an appeal by Jonathan Keith Jackson, who was convicted of murdering Monique Cleveland during an attempted drug-related robbery in Riverside County in 1996 and attempting to murder her husband, Robert.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 27, 2014 |
A onetime American Youth Soccer Organization coach in Lancaster was found guilty Thursday of molesting 15 children over 17 years. Jurors took four hours to convict Renoir Vincent Valenti, 52, of multiple felony and misdemeanor sexual abuse crimes after a lengthy trial in which they heard from nearly five dozen witnesses, Los Angeles Deputy Dist. Atty Jon Hatami said. Valenti not only coached but officiated games for the AYSO over nearly 17 years. Valenti, an AYSO coach who used numerous aliases, molested 14 boys, six of whom were soccer players he coached, and a young girl.