Friday, June 13, 2008

LA - R. Kelly Acquitted in Child Pornography Case

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Bubba "The Love Sponge" Video

So I do not see where they mention about going after who was on the tape, if it wasn't R. Kelly. If the tape is as graphic as they say, and it's a child on the tape, then they need to find out who it actually is.

06/13/2008

Well, that was easy.

It took more than six years for the case to go to trial, but after less than a day of deliberations, a Chicago jury has found R&B superstar R. Kelly not guilty of all 14 counts of videotaping himself having sex with an underage girl.

If convicted, the 41-year-old singer could have faced a minimum of four years in prison and a maximum of 15 years and would have had to register as a sex offender in Illinois.

Kelly's acquittal essentially came down to whether or not his legal eagles instilled enough reasonable doubt in the panel of nine men and three women as they debated the kiddie-porn charges over seven hours. Obviously, Kelly's camp succeeded.

"R. Kelly was found not guilty, because they had the best jury that Cook County could produce," Kelly's attorney, Sam Adam Jr. said outside the courtroom.

Three hours before the verdict was reached, Cook County Criminal Court Judge Vincent Gaughan received a note from an African-American juror who attends a culinary school requesting that he be excused from the panel because of some serious family illnesses.

Per the Chicago Tribune, the panelist told the judge that he needed to be there for his family after his cousin had died on Monday; his aunt and uncle were hospitalized with pneumonia; and his niece was diagnosed with cancer.

"My mom is stressed out," the unidentified man told Gaughan when asked in open court. "I just need to find out what is going on."

However, after discussing the issue with both prosecutors and the defense who objected to his dismissal, the judge declined the request and ordered the juror to give his family's contact information to sheriff's deputies so he could keep in contact with them.

The jury also asked for an easel and paper so they could "visualize our argument" as well as an additional TV and VCR so they could compare notes on the kinky sex tape at the heart of the case. The judge granted their requests.

Prosecutors began building the child-pornography case against Kelly, whose first name is Robert, in February 2002 after the infamous videotape was anonymously sent to Chicago Sun-Times music critic Jim DeRogatis, who subsequently turned it over to authorities. After countless delays, the trial finally kicked off last month and lasted four weeks.

Helping the jurors in their decision to acquit was skepticism about a mole on his back that prosecutors claimed was proof that Kelly was indeed the man in the video who participated in the three-way with another woman and the minor in question and was seen urinating on the latter after engaging in various sex acts.

The alleged victim, now 23, refused to cooperate with the Cook County District Attorney's Office, did not testify against Kelly and neither did her parents.

The "Bump n' Grind" crooner's lawyers called their own forensic expert to assert that the X-rated footage could have been manipulated to frame Kelly and was of "such poor quality" that the elongated mole near his spine was really a shadow that kept disappearing and reappearing depending on the lighting.

The defense also called up several people who challenged the credibility of a number of the prosecutor's key witnesses, such as Lisa Van Allen, the other woman in the video whom Kelly's lawyers tried to paint as a liar and theif and alleged had tried to extract $300,000 from the entertainer to keep her from taking the stand.

Van Allen, 27, told the Chicago Sun-Times after the verdict was read that she believed jurors were easily swayed by Kelly's celebrity.

"Star power. Definitely," she said when asked of her reaction. "I came forward. I told the truth. That's basically it. That's all I could do. I'm disappointed."

Van Allen noted that she thought prosecutors "did a really good job."

Confident that his team had successfully rebutted the charges, Kelly opted not to testify in the trial before the case went to the jury.


MA - House passes sex offender law reforms

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06/11/2008

BOSTON — State Rep. Patrick M. Natale (Email), D-Woburn, has announced that the House of Representative passed reforms to the current Sex Offender Laws which will better protect children from sex offenders through the enforcement of tougher sentences and enhanced tracking of online predators.

“These new reforms strengthen the current laws in protecting the children of the Commonwealth” said Natale. “The House displayed strong support passing this legislation because there is no higher priority than the protection of our children.”

“Here in the city of Woburn we know all to well the devastating impact these predatory sex offenders can cause,” he added. “In January 2004, a Level 3 sex offender raped and murdered a Woburn mother, Joanne Presti, age 34, and murdered her daughter, Alyssa Presti age 12.”

The legislation provides a number of minimum mandatory sentences for child predators, creates three new criminal charges for child rape and broadens the aggravating factors for the new crimes to include the use of a weapon, providing drugs or alcohol to the victim and cases where the offender holds a position of trust and authority over the victim such as teacher, coaches and clergy.

The legislation amends current law to help prosecutors to better track online predators as well as offenders of other crimes, by allowing the use of administrative subpoenas to Internet service providers to obtain basic subscriber information.

The bill also expands criminal laws regarding subsequent offenses, allowing prosecutors to charge a subsequent offense for those who had previously been convicted of crimes such as indecent assault and battery on a child or attempted rape of a child.

The bill also instructs the Chief Justice for Administration and Management of the Massachusetts Trial Court to establish and implement an annual reporting system to provide the Joint Committee on the Judiciary with information regarding the prosecution and disposition of sex offender cases as of December 31, 2008.

The legislation now proceeds to the Senate for its consideration.


Uncomfortable Truth

The following is a new web site that is in the process of being constructed, check it out when you get a chance.

Click the image to visit the site


IL - Jurors Watch Alleged R. Kelly Sex Tape

More Here

05/20/2008


FL - 'Dateline' cop yet to see trial

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Of course, he's a cop...

06/12/2008

More than one year after the footage of his arrest aired as part of a four-day sexual predator sting on Dateline NBC's "To Catch a Predator," the former Florala police officer accused of traveling to Florida to have sex with a 13-year-old girl has yet to make it before a jury.

Todd Monroe Spikes, 41 and former police officer and a resident of Defuniak Springs, Fla., was arrested in December 2006 as a result of the operation coordinated by the watchdog group, Perverted Justice, and the Flagler Beach (Fla.) Police Department. His arrest was filmed as part of the "To Catch a Predator" series.

According to reports, Spikes traveled to the small beach community 20 miles from St. Augustine, Fla., and had made plans to have more than just sex with what he thought was a 13-year-old girl named "Lindsay."

He wanted to film the act and start a sexual relationship with the mother of "Lindsay" so he could continue seeing the girl, the report said.

But what officers found once Spikes' arrived left officers stunned. Inside his SUV, officers found several digital and Polaroid cameras, several handguns, an M-4 assault rife and a shotgun.

According to the Perverted Justice website, officials also located knives, a variety of firearms, rope, duct tape, tarps, a chainsaw and a boat anchor.

As a result, Spikes is facing felony charges of computer pornography and attempted lewd and lascivious behavior. He is currently out on a $10,000 bond.

Records indicate Spikes has yet to enter a plea in the case. He is one of 21 others arrested as part of the sting operation.

On Tuesday, a former karate teacher from South Daytona, Fla., entered a plea of no contest to charges he e-mailed explicit photos and tried to meet someone he thought was a 13-year-old girl. He was the second of the 21 to stand before a judge concerning the incident.

It is unknown when Spikes will head to court.


American Constitutional Society (Blog)


Organization

The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (ACS) is one of the nation's leading progressive legal organizations. Founded in 2001, ACS is comprised of law students, lawyers, scholars, judges, policymakers, activists and other concerned individuals who are working to ensure that the fundamental principles of human dignity, individual rights and liberties, genuine equality, and access to justice are in their rightful, central place in American law.

Today, American values, our constitutional heritage, and the freedoms and opportunities of our people are being undermined by a narrow, conservative approach to the law which lacks appropriate regard for the ways in which the law affects people's lives and that has come to dominate American law and public policy - from law school classrooms to legislative hearing rooms to federal courtrooms. This conservative vision, advanced by a highly organized movement, threatens to undermine the true promise of our Constitution.

ACS is committed to fostering a progressive vision of the law on issues such as access to the courts; anti-discrimination and affirmative action; civil liberties; consumer rights; criminal justice; disability rights; freedom of speech; gay rights; international human rights; immigration; labor law; open government; privacy; protection of health, safety and the environment; and women's rights and reproductive choice.

With national programming and over 100 law school and lawyer chapters all across the country, ACS is working to:

- Promote a progressive vision of the Constitution, the law and public policy through speaking programs, an annual convention, a speakers bureau of leading scholars and practitioners, media outreach, and publications designed to turn the tide of legal debate both locally and nationally;

- Educate lawyers, law students, decision-makers and the public about the legitimacy and vitality of such a vision, and its importance for the lives of real people;

- Strengthen the intellectual underpinnings for progressive law and policy in the United States; and

- Build a diverse and dynamic national network of students, lawyers, academics, judges and policymakers that can play an important role in debates about the vital issues of law and policy facing America both today and in the future.