Tag Archives: Judge

Lack of Autopsy in Scalia Death Raises Questions

The circumstances surrounding the death of Senior Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia led some detectives to question why his body was not autopsied.

After he was found Saturday morning at the Cibolo Creek Ranch in west Texas, Scalia’s body was transported to El Paso by the Texas Department of Public Safety and U.S. Marshals. Scalia’s remains arrived at the Sunset Funeral Home around 3:30 a.m. Sunday where he was embalmed, which is required by Texas law before it can be moved to another state.

The Washington Post reported that “a manager at the El Paso funeral home where Scalia’s body was taken said that his family made it clear they did not want” an autopsy.

In a frantic search for a justice of the peace, Presidio County Judge Cinderela Guevara pronounced Scalia dead by natural causes without seeing his body or ordering an autopsy, and based off of the details she was given by law enforcement over the phone.

However, Juanita Bishop, a justice of the peace in Presidio who was contacted but could not get to Scalia’s body, told the Washington Post she would have made a different decision concerning Scalia’s body, because she “would want to know.”

Bill Ritchie, a retired deputy chief and former head of criminal investigations for the DC police, told the New York Post that he was shocked to learn that no autopsy would be performed.

“How do you know that person wasn’t smothered? How do you know it’s not a homicide until you conduct an investigation?” Ritchie questioned. “You have to do your job. Once you go through that process, you can conclude that this is a naturally occurring death.”

[RELATED: Ranch Owner: Scalia Found Dead With a ‘Pillow Over His Head’]

John Poindexter, the owner of the Cibolo Creek Ranch, claimed that Scalia was found “in bed, a pillow over his head. His bed clothes were unwrinkled.”

Poindexter described Scalia as “lying very restfully,” and said he “looked like he had not quite awakened from a nap.”

Retired Brooklyn homicide Detective Patricia Tufo told the New York Post that he also questioned the lack of autopsy when a pillow was found over the head of a Supreme Court Justice.

“He’s not at home. There are no witnesses to his death, and there was no reported explanation for why there was a pillow over his head,” Tufo said. “So I think under the circumstances it’s not unreasonable to request an autopsy. Despite the fact that he has pre-existing ailments and the fact that he’s almost 80 years old, you want to be sure that it’s not something other than natural causes.”

As a staunch conservative voice on the Supreme Court, Scalia’s death could affect the outcome of upcoming cases. Last week, Scalia voted to put a hold on President Obama’s “Clean Power Plan,” which was presented as a regulation to help lower carbon emissions from U.S. power plants.

Reuters noted that without Scalia’s vote, “the conservative members of the court no longer have a majority, at least in the short term,” and the “sudden shift has given a boost to the supporters of the emissions rule.”


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Oregon Judge May Lose Job For Refusing To Perform Same-Sex Marriages

By Casey Harper – A spokesman for the Oregon judge refusing to marry same-sex couples told The Daily Caller News Foundation the judge may lose his job, though he thinks that is unlikely.

“It could range all the way from dismissal of the complaint up to removal and anything in between,” Oregon judge Vance Day’s spokesman Patrick Korten told TheDCNF. “You could call [removal from office] the nuclear option, highly doubtful.”

Day stopped performing marriages in March and asked his staff to kindly refer couples to other judges. Now he’s under investigation by the Oregon Commission on Judicial Fitness And Disability over whether he is still fit to be a judge. A complaint was filed in June.

Korten said the commission’s conclusions will then go to the court system, and that the commission does not have the final authority to remove Day, if it were to come to that.

Day, former chairman of the Oregon Republican party, received permission from the Oregon Government Ethics Commission Thursday to set up a legal defense fund to pay his legal expenses for the response to the complaint.

Korten pointed out that judges in Oregon are not required to perform marriages and that there are plenty of other judges who could do it instead. A wide range of officials, including state judges, federal judges and county clerks can perform them.

“This is the start of what we’re going to be wrestling with for the next several years,” Korten told TheDCNF. “How are we to resolve the conflict between where same-sex marriage now stands thanks to the Supreme Court and people who have deep and profound objections to it. Where does the line get drawn? Does conscience and religious belief have any value?”

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New York Judge Lets Wife Serve Divorce Papers To Husband Via Facebook

A landmark ruling by a Manhattan Supreme Court Judge is allowing a woman to legally serve her husband with divorce papers via a private message on Facebook, due to the fact that he is “hard to find” and has no physical address.

The NY Daily News first reported that Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Matthew Cooper is allowing a 26-year-old nurse from Brooklyn, Ellanora Baidoo, to serve her elusive husband, Victor Sena Blood-Dzraku, with divorce papers, using a private Facebook message from her lawyer.

Cooper wrote that Baidoo is “granted permission serve defendant with the divorce summons using a private message through Facebook,” because of his lack of a registered physical address.

This transmittal shall be repeated by plaintiff’s attorney to defendant once a week for three consecutive weeks or until acknowledged,” wrote Cooper.

Andrew Spinnell, Baidoo’s lawyer, will be the one sending the messages to Blood-Dzraku. He told the NY Daily News that Baidoo and Blood-Dzraku, who are both from Ghana, were married in a civil ceremony in 2009.

Spinnell said that although Blood-Dzraku would not keep his promise to have a traditional Ghanian wedding ceremony, and the two never lived together, or consummated their marriage, Blood-Dzraku still does not want a divorce.

Cooper’s ruling states Blood-Dzraku mainly communicated with Baidoo by telephone and Facebook, and that she learned over a phone call that he “has no fixed address and no place of employment.”

Cooper went on to state that Blood-Dzraku has “refused to make himself available to be served with divorce papers,” and he has not been located, due to the fact that the “post office has no forwarding address for him, there is no billing address linked to his prepaid cell phone, and the Department of Motor Vehicles has no record of him.”

Spinnell told the NY Daily News that they have tried multiple ways to locate Blood-Dzraku, including hiring a private detective, and that the first Facebook message notifying him of his divorce was sent last week, but Blood-Dzraku has not responded.

Judge orders man to pay $30K in child support for someone else’s child

A Detroit judge has ruled a man, who was unaware he was a “father,” must pay approximately $30,000 in child support after the man neglected to do so for close to twenty-five years.

In the early 1990’s, Carnell Alexander was pulled over by a police officer and this officer informed Alexander he was under arrest for being a deadbeat father. Alexander, however, was taken aback when he heard he was a deadbeat father, according to WXYZ.

What had happened was an ex-girlfriend of Alexander gave birth to a child in the late eighties, and in order to qualify for welfare assistance to raise the child, she needed to name a father on the appropriate paperwork. Even though the woman was aware Alexander was not the father, according to KFOR, she decided to put his name down anyways.

Usually, when a man is named the father of a child on such paperwork, the state sends a notice to the person via mail. However, Alexander was incarcerated, according to the Michigan Department of Corrections, so he would not have received the notice.

On Tuesday, Alexander went in front of the Third Judicial Circuit Court where Judge Kathleen McCarthy said she was outraged Alexander had failed to take this matter seriously. According to FOX 2 Now, McCarthy said Alexander should have filed a motion long ago to dispute his parentage of the child.

“That motion must be filed within 3 years after the child’s birth, or within one year after the order of filiation is entered,” said McCarthy. “The defendant has failed to to timely file this motion setting aside the acknowledgment of parentage.” It is here the court ruled Alexander must pay the $30,000 in child support for the child, who is now an adult.

According to CBS Detroit, Alexander took a paternity test in 2013 after he had tried to find the mother of the child for many years. The test proved he was not father of the child, but even though this evidence was provided to the courts in the past, they held to their decision to make Alexander pay for the child support. The court also said it would not help his case if he presented the mother of the child for the case.

Alexander acknowledges he may owe the money according to the fine print of the law, but he will not believe the fine print of the law is right. “The law is not going to fit into everybody’s situation,” said Alexander. “Why don’t they use common sense?”

Federal Judge Rules NSA Spying IS Legal; Strange Ruling Cites Emotion, Sept 11. and Edward Snowden “Spawning Mischief”

One could argue that the ruling by a Federal Judge that the NSA spying program is legal was not only a horrible ruling, but based on his personal view and not grounded at all in law.

The headlines on Friday, December 27th, 2013 came across loud and clear.  “Federal Judge Rules NSA Spying is Legal”.  This ruling of course, was sudden and bit surprising to many people because it comes less than two weeks after another U.S. Circuit Court Judge ruled the exact opposite, saying that the NSA’s bulk collection of phone and email records is illegal, and likely a violation of the 4th Amendment protection against unlawful search and seizure.

So where did this latest ruling come from?  In this case, it was U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley who dismissed an ACLU lawsuit claiming that the NSA program was violation of the 4th Amendment.

“The question for this court is whether the government’s bulk telephony metadata program is lawful. This court finds it is. But the question of whether that program should be conducted is for the other two coordinate branches of government to decide,” Pauley said.

What is most interesting about his ruling is how little, if at all, Judge Pauley actually explained the legal justification for his ruling.  Rather, he stated over and over why the September 11, 2001 terror attacks provide justification for the program.

“The government learned from its mistake and adapted to confront a new enemy: a terror network capable of orchestrating attacks across the world. It launched a number of counter-measures, including a bulk telephony metadata collection program — a wide net that could find and isolate gossamer contacts among suspected terrorists in an ocean of seemingly disconnected data,” he said.

The Judge went on to claim that because of the “safeguards” in place for all this information gathered by the NSA, there is no reason to suspect or think that the government might abuse that information.  In response to the ACLU claim that the government, through this kind of data collection, would know whether or not someone had visited a sex hotline, had contemplated suicide, had struggled with gambling or drug addiction or had supported political candidates or causes, Judge Pauley insisted that the Government will not mis-use that kind of data.

What is most fascinating about this ruling is that Judge Pauley does not give a legal or Constitutional reason as to why the NSA has the right to this information or why the private information can be gathered and queried by federal agents.  He simply states that the government won’t misuse it and therefore, Americans shouldn’t be worried about it.

Contrast this ruling with the one by Judge Richard Leon which we told you about just under two weeks ago.  In this case, District Court Judge Leon cited legal reasons, not emotional ones, to strike down the NSA program stating,

“No Court has ever recognized a special need sufficient to justify continuous, daily searches of virtually every American citizen without any particularized suspicion.”

Judge Leon went on to say “I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval. Surely, such a program infringes on ‘that degree of privacy’ that the Founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment.”

Perhaps the most interesting part of the latest ruling by Judge Pauley was when the Judge took on Edward Snowden, stating that the only reason the ACLU has filed this lawsuit in the first place was because of Snowden’s disclosure of information.  Had Snowden never disclosed the program, the ACLU and the rest of America wouldn’t have known the program was taking place.  Calling the Snowden revelations “Another level of absurdity in this case”.

“It cannot possibly be that lawbreaking conduct by a government contractor that reveals state secrets — including the means and methods of intelligence gathering — could frustrate Congress’s intent. To hold otherwise would spawn mischief,” he wrote.

In a nutshell, Judge Pauley’s ruling is simple.  The government needs no legal permission to carry out their programs, they simply need a reason that trumps the rights of the individual.  Like the government lawyers, Pauley seems to believe that reason is the September 11 terror attacks.  Judge Pauley also chooses to never address the individual rights of the American citizen protected by the 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and instead makes a ruling based in the old adage “What you don’t know won’t hurt you”.

Federal Court: Entire NSA Program Unconstitutional

NSA Spying

UPDATE #1: Federal Judge rules Friday December 27, 2013 that NSA spying legal

By Michael Lotfi,

Judge Leon of the DC District Court has held that the NSA’s bulk data collection of telephony metadata violates the Fourth Amendment and has enjoined the entire program- stayed pending appeal. The ruling came hours ago.

Leon said, “I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval. Surely, such a program infringes on ‘that degree of privacy’ that the Founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment.”

According to Leon, the plaintiffs have a very strong case pursuant to NSA Fourth Amendment violations. However, the ruling has been stayed pending appeal to the DC Circuit Court. This means no immediate action will be taken. The federal government will appeal this case to the Circuit Court. One may also expect the case to eventually reach the Supreme Court before a final disposition is handed down.

The government argued that special circumstances warranted the NSA’s spying. In the Court opinion Leon wrote, “No Court has ever recognized a special need sufficient to justify continuous, daily searches of virtually every American citizen without any particularized suspicion.”

This Court ruling equates to winning a battle. The war goes on.

You may read the entire filing bellow.

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DC District Court Rules NSA Surveillance Unconstitutional.