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Illegal Kills Toddler in DUI Crash:  An illegal alien from El Salvador was driving drunk at 1:00 a.m. Sunday when he broadsided an ambulance in North Carolina, injuring three and killing a three-year-old child.  Robert Gearty of Fox News reports that Jose Duran Romero, 27, blew .19 on a breathalyzer, twice the legal limit, two hours after he was arrested for crashing into the ambulance, causing it to roll over, injuring two paramedics and a woman passenger whose little boy died of injuries on Monday.  After the crash, Romero and a passenger tried to run away, but one was held by a citizen who observed the accident and police caught the other a short time later.  In addition to being very drunk, Romero was driving without a license.  He was charged with drunk driving, but could face the charge of vehicular manslaughter because of the child's death.  ICE has placed a detainer on Romero.  Fortunately, there are no sanctuary cities in North Carolina.

Death Sentence Upheld for Craigslist Killer:  The death sentence given to an Ohio man convicted of murdering three men who answered a job offer posted on Craigslist, was upheld in a 7-0 decision by the state Supreme Court last Friday.  Eric Heisig of Cleveland.com reports that habitual criminal Richard Beasley was convicted of the 2011 murders of Ralph Geiger, 56, David Pauley, 54, and Timothy Kern, 47. Marylin Miller of the Akron Beacon Journal reports that along with a 16-year-old accomplice, Beasley posted an offer of $300 per week and free housing for the caretaker of a 600-acre ranch in rural Noble County.  Beasley, who had priors for drug dealing and pimping, arranged interviews with four applicants at the ranch.  Three were shot and buried; one was shot but escaped and later testified at trial.

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Ohio Death Penalty Law Challenged:  An Ohio man facing his second sentencing hearing for the brutal murder of a 19-year-old girl claims that the state's death penalty law is unconstitutional.  Andrew Welsh-Huggins of the Associated Press reports that attorneys for Maurice Mason argue that the U.S. Supreme Court's 2016 ruling in Hurst v. Florida invalidates the Ohio law because Ohio juries are not required to determine each fact needed to sentence someone to death.  The state argues that the Florida law only required a majority of jurors to agree that the aggravating factors related to a murder outweighed any mitigating factors.  Ohio requires a unanimous jury and is much more strict about what jurors must specify to recommend a death sentence.  The case is before the Ohio Supreme Court.  Facts reported in the Ohio Supreme Court's 1998 ruling in State v. Mason indicate that on February 8, 1993, Mason raped Robin McDuffie, the wife of a friend, then beat her to death with a board with nails protruding from it.  Substantial evidence including a DNA match and several witnesses convinced the jury of Mason's guilt.

Alabama Cop Killer's Execution Today:  A habitual criminal who shot and killed a veteran Alabama police officer in 1985, faces execution tonight.  Lawrence Specker of al.com reports that Mobile Police Cpl. Julius Schulte was responding to a domestic violence call when Vernon Madison shot him twice in the head, and shot and wounded Schulte's partner.  Officer Schulte survived on life support for a week.  The Associated Press reports that in 2016, the 11th Circuit ruled Madison was not competent for execution seven hours before his sentence was to be carried out.  The ruling was based on his attorneys claim that after several strokes, Madison could not remember his crime.  The state disputed that finding and last November SCOTUS overturned the lower court's ruling.

Update:  Fox News reports that the U.S. Supreme Court granted a temporary stay halting last night's scheduled execution of cop-killer Vernon Madison.

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SCOTUS Hears Two 4th Amendment Cases:  Search and seizure was on the docket yesterday as the Supreme Court heard oral argument in two cases involving 4th Amendment challenges.  Jessica Gresko of the Associated Press reports that in Byrd v. United States, Terrance Byrd was driving his fiancee's rental car when he was pulled over by Pennsylvania troopers for a traffic violation.  After determining that Byrd was not authorized to drive the car and he admitted that he had marijuana, the officers searched the trunk, finding bags of heroin and body armor.  In the appeal of his conviction Byrd's attorneys argued that there was insufficient probable cause for the search.  In the case of Collins v. Virginia, police arrested Austin Collins after he eluded officers on a motorcycle at speeds of up to 140 mph.  After locating what they believed was the house of the suspect's girlfriend, an officer removed a tarp covering the stolen motorcycle in the driveway.  Collins argued that the police were required to have a warrant to search for the motorcycle on private property.   Nina Totenberg of NPR has this take on how the argument went in these two cases.   

USCA8 Rehears Ferguson Civil Case:  The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reheard a case arising out of the notorious Ferguson, Missouri police shooting case in 2014.  Dorian Johnson, who was with Michael Brown at the time of his altercation with Officer Darren Wilson and who later falsely stated that Brown had his hands up, is suing the City, its police chief, and Officer Wilson.  In this pretrial motion to dismiss, the key question is whether Johnson was "seized" within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.  Rachel Lippmann has this story at St. Louis Public Radio.  The National Police Association submitted an amicus curiae brief, written by CJLF.  Update:  Robert Patrick has this report for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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Kate Steinle Killer Gets Time Served:  The five-time deportee who fired the gun that killed 32-year-old Kate Steinle in 2015 was sentenced to time served today.  Claudia Cowan of Fox News reports that last November a San Francisco jury decided that  Jose Ines Garcia Zarate had accidently fired the stolen gun that killed the young woman walking with her father on a crowded pier on July 1, 2015.  Garcia Zarate is expected to be turned over to U.S. Marshals for trial on federal charges of being an ex-felon and illegal alien in possession of a firearm.  If convicted he could receive a 10-year sentence and deportation.  His new defense attorney, the renowned Tony Serra, called the federal charges a "vindictive prosecution."  

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Child Killer Challenges Conviction:  A North Carolina criminal, found guilty in 2013 of the kidnapping, rape, and murder of 5-year-old Shaniya Davis, is asking the state supreme court to overturn his conviction and death sentence because his defense counsel told police where to find the victim's body.  WRAL News reports that habitual felon Mario McNeill had recently been released from probation when he went to Antoinette Davis' mobile home in Fayetteville on November 10, 2009, to collect a $200 debt.  Davis later admitted, "I gave her (Shaniya) to him to cover $200. He was only supposed to have sex."  McNeill left with the child.  He was arrested three days later on suspicion of kidnapping.  Hoping to get a better deal for his client, McNeill's defense attorney told detectives where to find the child's body, which had been dumped in a kudzu patch.  The Associated Press reports that at his trial, where McNeill pled not guilty, the jury deliberations lasted less than an hour.  His appellate attorneys are claiming ineffective assistance of his trial counsel for ruining McNeill's claim of innocence.  McNeill's criminal record includes a 2003 conviction for shooting three people.

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Sexual Harassment:  The jury will be out for a while on the real impact of the flood of claims of sexual harassment that have been made in recent months.  The debate about what even constitutes sexual harassment ranges from someone making a comment, telling an off-color joke, asking someone out for a drink, to a person using the power of a position to force a subordinate to choose between performing a sex act or losing their job.  The credibility of the accuser has too often been washed through a political filter, rather than evaluated by any objective standard.  This is true for the accuser of the manager of a Burger King, a Hollywood big shot, and those holding or trying to win political office.  While there will always be exceptions, the most credible accusers appear to be those who have nothing to gain by coming forward and often something to lose.  Also, because most behaviors reflect a pattern rather than a one-time event, the person abusing their authority to take advantage of young or vulnerable subordinates often has a reputation for this behavior.  Last weekend the Washington Post published one young woman's compelling story about her experience years earlier with a member of Congress who later resigned because of his reputation.

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Maryland AG Wants Lawsuit Dismissed:  The Maryland Attorney General is asking the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss the malicious prosecution lawsuit against Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby brought by five Baltimore police officers she had charged with contributing to the death of small-time criminal Freddy Gray in 2015.  The Associated Press reports that Ms. Mosby's public announcement that she would prosecute the six officers involved in the arrest and transport of Gray in a police van was greeted by a cheering crowd. Gray suffered fatal spinal injuries during the transport.  While all of six of the officers were acquitted, the five suing Mosby argue that she did not have sufficient evidence to bring charges against them and withheld exculpatory evidence.  After the officers were acquitted of the criminal charges, the Obama Administration's Justice Department decided not to bring federal civil rights charges against them.     

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Ohio Murderer's Conviction Overturned:  The Ohio Supreme Court overturned the conviction and death sentence of a man found guilty of the 2010 rape and murder of a bartender.  Evan MacDonald of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the court's 4-3 ruling held that the introduction of the defendant's knife collection at trial was "highly prejudicial" and likely influenced the jury's verdict.  Witnesses at the bar where Ann McSween worked saw defendant Joseph Thomas on the night of the murder with a blue knife clipped to his belt.  They saw her refuse to dance with Thomas and heard her ask him to leave at closing time.  Later in the parking lot, the woman was stripped, beaten, raped and stabbed to death.  Thomas' neighbor saw someone at Thomas' residence shortly after the murder, burning what police found to be the victim's clothes in a barrel.  Thomas' girlfriend said he always carried his blue knife on his belt when he went to bars.  Thomas denied this, and his blue knife was never found.  At trial the prosecutor showed the jury the five other knives Thomas kept and suggested it would not be unusual for him to carry a knife.  The court's dissent noted that showing the jury the knives corroborated testimony that Thomas was carrying a knife on the night of the murder. 

DNA Ties Sex Offender to 1980 Murder:  A construction worker, who dodged a sexual assault conviction in 1981 and was later convicted of one in 1982, has been arrested for the murder of a 20-year-old pregnant woman in 1980.  Emily Holland of the Patch reports that new DNA technology resulted in a match tying Robert Yniguez to the body of Teresa Broudreaux found in March 1980 lying on a beach near Palos Verdes in Los Angeles County.  Yniguez served eight years in prison for the 1982 sexual assault, but charges were dropped for an earlier assault when the victim stopped cooperating with police.  He is being held on $2 million bail.

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Florida Executes Double-Murderer:  A Florida man who murdered two people in 1983 was executed Thursday, Jessica Schladebeck reports for the New York Daily News. Michael Lambrix was sentenced to death using a procedure that the United States Supreme Court had previously reviewed and upheld in Spaziano v. Florida but later declared unconstitutional in Hurst v. Florida. The Florida Supreme Court held that the new rule does not apply to cases as old as Lambrix's, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene.

Judge Stays Alabama Execution:  Hours after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to stay the execution of double-murderer Jeffery Borden, a federal district judge granted one.  Ivana Hrynkiw of AL.com reports that Borden's attorneys sought a stay, claiming that use of the sedative midazolam in Alabama's three-drug protocol violated the Eighth Amendment bar to cruel and unusual punishment.  On Christmas Eve 1993, in front of his three children, Bordon murdered his estranged wife and her father.  His guilt was never disputed.  Three hours before Borden's scheduled execution Thursday, District Judge Keith Watkins granted a stay to allow further argument over the use of the sedative.  "Despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court has already agreed to proceed with Mr. Borden's execution, the lower federal courts continue to place roadblocks in the vicitms' family's pursuit of justice.  We will seek a new execution date as soon as possible," said the Alabama Attorney General.

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Bike Sharing Not Working in Baltimore:  In 2015, riots broke out in Baltimore after the death of small-time criminal Freddy Gray while in police custody.  Although an intensive, nationally scrutinized review found that none of the officers involved in Grey's arrest and transport were determined to be responsible for his death, political pressure forced the city's police department to end proactive policing.  This has resulted in sharp increases in crime, particularly in minority districts. The impact of this is even being felt by innocuous, politically-correct programs like bike sharing.  Colin Campbell of the Baltimore Sun reports that the $2.36 million Baltimore Bike Share system has experienced so many thefts and damage that it is being shut down so operators can try new anti-theft technology.  While authorities have repeatedly declined to say how many bikes have been stolen, most are currently out of service.  A spokesman for the Canadian operation told the Sun, "we don't have this issue anywhere else, not at this level." 

Federal Judge Stays Cutoff of Funds to Sanctuary Cities:  In a ruling announced today, a federal district judge in Chicago ruled that Attorney General Jeff Sessions cannot withhold federal grant funds from sanctuary cities.  Fox News reports that District Judge Harry Lenenweber granted Chicago's request for a temporary "nationwide" injunction of the Attorney General's requirement that, in order to receive the funds, cities would have to be willing to cooperate with federal law enforcement on illegal immigrants.

Antifa Professor Steps in it:  There was a time long ago when a college professor was assumed to be worthy of the respect of his students, colleagues and community.  This is what passes for a college professor today.  Fox News reports  JohnJayProf.jpg
that Michael Issacson, an adjunct-professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and known Antifa leader, tweeted Aug. 23, "Some of y'all might think it sucks being an anti-fascist teacher at John Jay College but I think it's a privilege to teach future dead cops."   This is not a joke, that's what he said and that's his picture.  Someone please
defend this guy. 

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Execution Set For Georgia Murderer:  A September 26 execution date has been set for a 59-year-old Georgia man who murdered his sister-in-law in 1990.  Rhonda Cook of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Keith Leroy Tharpe will be the second murderer executed in Georgia this year.  In 1990 Tharpe's wife left him to escape a violent marriage and moved in with her mother.  Responding to Tharpe's repeated threats to kill her and her family, the ex-wife received a court order prohibiting Tharpe from contacting them.  A few weeks later, Tharpe, whose own mental health expert called a "mean son of a bitch," forced his ex-wife's car off the road as she and her sister were heading to work.  He then shot the 29-year-old sister twice with a shotgun and rolled her body into a ditch, before kidnapping his ex-wife and raping her.  He was later caught in Macon trying to withdraw money from his ex-wife's credit union.  His guilt was undisputed, leaving his lawyers to unsuccessfully claim that his death sentence was the result of racial prejudice.

Appeals Court Overturns Murder Conviction:  The Oregon Court of Appeals has overturned the murder conviction of a Bethany man who beat his girlfriend to death in 2012.  Maxine Bernstein of the Oregonian reports that Paul Joseph Sanelle was convicted on overwhelming evidence but the court's unanimous ruling held that his Miranda rights were violated during questioning following his arrest.  Sanelle lived with Julianne Herinckx and Terlin Patrick.  The trio has been in a polyamorous relationship for about five years.  On April 29, 2012, Herinckx called in sick for work at about 5:20 p.m. Within the next hour, Sanelle beat her so badly that she died of blunt force injuries to her head and a crush injury to her chest the medical examiner believed was caused by her being stomped or jumped on.  When police responded to Terlin's 911 call, they found Senelle naked over Herinckx's body attempting CPR.  At trial his attorneys claimed that the young woman died as the result of a violent sparing match.         

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Defending Jeff Sessions:  While we have posted several times in support of Attorney General Jeff Sessions on this blog over the past several months, Heather MacDonald does a far more thorough job in her piece in the National Review.  The contrast between Sessions and Obama Attorney General Eric Holder is particularly enlightening.

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Trump's Fifth Judicial Appointment Confirmed:  On Tuesday the U.S. Senate confirmed the appointment of former Alabama Solicitor General Kevin Newsom to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.  Alex Swoyer of the Washington Times reports that this was the fifth Trump judicial pick confirmed this year, far outpacing Presidents Obama and George W. Bush.  Obama had zero appointees confirmed by August of 2009, Bush had three by August of his first year in office.  So far, in addition to Justice Gorsuch and Judge Newsom, Trump has placed two other judges in federal courts of appeal and one on a district court. There are 28 other Trump judicial appointees awaiting Senate confirmation.   

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Uber Driver Rapes Unconscious Passenger:  An habitual felon has been charged with raping a passenger who fell unconscious as he was driving her home.  Richard Winton Richard of the Los Angeles Times reports that Alaric Spence has been arrested for the June 26 kidnapping and sexual assault of the 24-year-old passenger.  After the passenger passed out in the back seat, Spence, who has five felony drug priors, drove to a motel and was caught on security video carrying her into a room.  While California law forbids hiring drivers who have had a felony conviction within seven years, in 2014 California's Proposition 47 converted most drug and property felonies to misdemeanors.  Any recent convictions Spence may have gotten for stealing a gun or TV, or transporting less than $900 worth of drugs, would not have been reported to Uber.  Earlier this month an Uber driver in the Bay Area was arrested for sexual battery of a passenger.  In April another Uber driver was arrested for the rape of a woman he picked up in Newport Beach.    

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1.4 Million Illegals Using Stolen SSA Numbers:  An audit by the U.S. Treasury Inspector General found that most illegal immigrants who pay taxes have stolen someone else's legal identity.  Stephen Dinan of the Washington times reports stolen Social Security numbers were used on an estimated 1.4 million returns filed in 2015.  The IRS tries to mark the files of fraud victims with electronic filings but it misses about half of them.  The IRS is not currently allowed to communicate with the Department of Homeland Security to identify who is using the stolen information and where they are.  Identity theft has become one of the most prevalent crimes in the U.S. with over 12 million victims annually. 

Mexico Sets Homicide Record in May:  New government statistics indicate that May was the bloodiest month in Mexico in twenty years with 2,186 reported murders.  Peter Orsi and Lisa Martine Jenkins of the Associated Press report that there have been 9,916 murders in the country during the first five months of 2017, over 2,000 more than at the same point last year.  In 2011, the Mexican government launched a military offensive against the drug cartels operating in the country.  Officials believe that this effort and ongoing wars between the cartels are responsible for the increased killings.  

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