Tag Archive | "criminal law"

The DNA Revolution

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The DNA Revolution

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R. Kelly’s Kiddie Korner….

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R. Kelly’s Kiddie Korner….


Is R. Kelly a serial kiddie sexual predator prevert or a wrongly targeted celebrity?

Regardless of which answer you choose it finally appears that the “R Kelly Saga” which which has taken longer to unfold than it took Tolstoy to write War and Peace is finally going to have some closure. Whether that closure is sound of steel bars closing behind Kelly for up to 15 years remains to be seen. Jury selection has finally started.

I have met R. Kelly. I met him in 2003 when he played a charity benefit concert at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. I actually hate his music. I was there on behalf of one of the charities the concert benefitted.

The sex tape scandal had broken the year before and at that time the big issue was whether he would be allowed to leave the state of Illinois to play concerts. At the time I was vaguely aware of the allegations against him but not being fan, vaguely was as much as I knew.

He seemed like a nice enough guy. It was not like he said, “”I’m R Kelly and I like to video myself with very young girls, you know any? By the way, nice to meet you…

The 41-year-old singer, whose real name is Robert Kelly, faces charges stemming from a 15-minute videotape that authorities say was made with a girl as young as 13 sometime between Jan. 1, 1998, and Nov. 1, 2000. The singer has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Regardless of whether you believe he should go to prison or is unfairly targeted, it can not be disputed that the R Kelly case is a prime example of a judicial system gone completely haywire. Let us take a look at the bizarre legal chain of events:

1. The case has been plagued by delays from the beginning, with the defense and prosecution blaming each other. There have to be stats on there on how delays of this length significantly reduce the chances of getting a conviction in a criminal case. It can not be favorable to the prosecution. This case has to be close to setting some kind of record for judicial delay in a criminal trial.

Someone explain to me how the state allows a case that hinges solely on the credibility of witness take six years to come to trial. The have been some legitimate delays but none of the type to make six years reasonable. Were they hoping to keep delaying in the hopes the victim would suddenly change her story and admit it was her? Are we letting a singers celebrity status dictate the course of justice? This was not a case where the passage of time helps the prosecution. I don’t get it.

2. The victim herself denies it was her in the video. She denied her involvement to the grand jury in 2002 and has never changed her story. She will probably testify on R Kelly’s behalf.

3. In an effort to contradict the alleged victim and bolster testimony of her friends and other witnesses prosecutors have petitioned Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan to let them present evidence at trial of what they say are other crimes Kelly has committed.

When you’re entire case becomes about ‘bolstering” you are behind the “eight ball” bigtime.

4.. The prosecutions entire case is based on calling the victim a liar and using testimony of friends and confidants to show that there is a pattern of behavior by R. Kelly including a witness who says she had a three way with R. Kelly and the victim.

So let’s see, you are going to attack your victim and use testimony regarding other acts not involving the videotape in question. You have an entirely circumstantial case. You have no direct evidence that it is even R. Kelley or the girl on the tape. It appears your entire case is hinging on another girl saying she had a three way with the victim and R Kelly and then identifying and “carbon dating” the victim in the tape. There is going to be nothing left of that witness when the defense finishes with her.

I would rather be waterboarded than stake my life on the prediction of a jury verdict but I don’t think I am going to far out on a limb in predicting an acquittal for R Kelly.

What do you think? Targeted Celeb? Righteous Bust? Monster waste of money?

Maybe being labeled a “pervert pewee king” was just what R. Kelly needed for his career….

A strange kharma……

BLOG UPDATE 6/13/08 R.Kelly was found not guilty. You can read the story here.

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Cry Rape and Go To Prison!

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Cry Rape and Go To Prison!

In a case that has sparked national attention and will surely spark a new Law and Order SVU episode, a Dallas women has been sentenced to 5 years in prison for making a false rape accusation that ultimately lead to the murder of her lover.

The sentence stems from a bizarre set of facts starting with a false claim of rape to cover up an affair and ending with the murder of her lover (the man she falsely accused) by her outraged husband.

Mrs. Tracey Roberson, 37, was convicted Friday of manslaughter in the 2006 shooting death of Devin LaSalle. Prosecutors said it was Mrs. Roberson’s husband, Darrell, who fired the fatal shot but only because his wife falsely claimed she was being raped by Mr. LaSalle.

Mr. LaSalle died in December 2006 after Mr. Roberson shot him outside the Robersons’ south Arlington, Texas home. Mr. Roberson shot Mr. Lasalle after he returned home from a card game and caught Mr. LaSalle and his wife – who was clad in only a bathrobe and underwear at the time – together in Mr. LaSalle’s truck

The case was presented to a grand jury. In a soap opera crime show twist the grand jury declined to indict Mr. Roberson(the husband) for the actual shooting and instead indicted Mrs. Roberson on manslaughter charges. Yes, that is correct , at least for now,Mr. Roberson will face no criminal responsbility here for the actual shooting.

The sentencing jury deliberated more than 2 days before sentencing Mrs. Roberson to Five Years in Prison.

This case really bothers me. Not because Mrs. Roberson is going to do time but because Mr. Roberson who engaged in a textbook case of manslaughter himself will walk away scott free. My gut tells me that he killed this guy because he was having an affair with his wife and not because his wife cried rape. Did he take his rage of past indiscretions in the relationship out on this guy? Did he know about this guy prior to the shooting?  There was some testimony that he was suspicious of her infidelities….  It is not clear whether he knew anything about this specific affiar prior to the shooting.  Would that change your opinion on justification if he did?

If the husband knew absolutely nothing and this was a pure spur of the moment decision to try to save his wife, I would feel better about the justification defense here.

Did Mrs. Roberson deserve to do 5 years? I don’t think so but I was not siting on the jury.

If you read up on the case there were a lot of facts presented that certainly did not make Mrs. Roberson likeable person and I am sure that had a lot to do with the severe sentence. There was also testimony of Mrs. Roberson of abuse by her husband with no corroborating evidence. I think introducing this testimony with nothing to back it up backfired on her and made her even more unlikeable as simply looking like someone with her hand caught in the cookie jar……

Finally and in my mind most importantly , juries take claims of rape very seriously. Juries don’t like people who don’t take them seriously. Juries don’t like people who cry wolf with a cry of rape to cover up affairs….

Juries maybe want to send a message to the next person who thinks about crying rape in a crowded theater…..

Any criminal lawyers out there to comment?

What would Oliva Benson and Elliot Stabler think?

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Wesley Snipes: A Character with Character?

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Wesley Snipes: A Character with Character?

Wesley Snipes is in court as I write this to be sentenced on his conviction of multiple counts of failing to file income tax returns. All of this stems out of a highly publicized trial in which Federal Prosecutors hoped to land a more serious conviction of conspiracy to avoid paying income taxes and tax fraud which are felonies. To show just how much more serious, his co-defendants were convicted on the more serious charges and are facing ten years in prison.

The lessor conviction at the times seemed like a major victory for Snipes but the true scope will be seen today as prosecutors argue that Snipes as a high profile tax scofflaw should be made and example of and be given the maximum sentence of three years in prison. Hard, real life prison time. Not a stay at “The Rules Don’t Apply To Me” rehab Hilton.

As expected there was a long line of celebrity friends who submitted letters to the court on Snipes behalf attesting to his “good character”. The list includes Woody Harrelson, Goldie Hawn, etc etc. All saying what a great friend and great guy Snipes is. This is not unusual. Whenever someone faces sentencing on a serious crime, there are often letters submitted to the court on that persons behalf in the hope of convincing the judge to hand down the most lenient sentence possible. I would probably do the same if one of my friends were standing tall before the man….

I just have to ask though if we sacrifice our own character when we step forward and ignore the very morals and “character” which we hope to possess and instill in our children. It is one thing to step forward and say your sorry for what you did but how can you step forward and in face of a verdict saying this guy is a liar and a cheat “but besides that he has “great character”…….. When we step forward for Wesley and those similarly situated are we sacrificing our own character in doing so?

It reminds me of a case here in Dallas about two years ago. A former Dallas pastor by the name of Terry Hornbuckle was accused of the rape of several of his parishioners. During trial it was made public that former Dallas Cowboys and NFL Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith and Deion Sanders both sent letters to the grand jury basically stating what a great guy Pastor Hornbuckle was and what a great influence he was on their families. When I read about these letters, I was frankly shocked that both Emmitt and Deion would put themselves out there like that when this guy is charged with multiple counts of rape. Vouching for this guys “character”.

Pastor Hornbuckle was convicted and is currently serving 15 years. Do you think Emmitt and Deion sent letters to the judge at sentencing. I may be wrong but I doubt it.

This is not a criticism of Emmitt or Deion. If he was my friend, I may have done the same.

It is just an observation on the word “character” . We throw it out there as it suits us. We define it to best self-promote our interests. We dilute it, abuse it, throw it , toss it, stomp it, kick it…. Whenever and whearever it lands, it always seems to be worth a little bit less…..

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