Preacher gets lighter sentence for rape because he’s a “man of god”

❝ A pastor facing life in prison for raping his 14-year-old daughter was shown mercy by a judge who was impressed by his alleged religious faith.

David Richards, 41, was sentenced to 12 years in jail on Thursday in Knox County Tennessee for raping his adoptive daughter – 60 years less than the maximum term sought by prosecutors. As he handed down the lenient sentence, Judge Steve Sword cited Richard’s work as a pastor and the Bible study he began in jail as mitigating factors…

Richards was found guilty of rape, incest, and sexual battery by an authority figure for abusing his daughter, Amber Richards, for two years beginning when she was 14…

Throw away the key!

Modern-day debtor prisons in El Paso challenged in federal court


Levi Lanephoto/Lorne Matalon

El Paso has a policy on its books that allows the city to jail people who cannot pay their traffic fines. Now a lawsuit filed in federal court is challenging that policy, saying it violates citizens’ constitutional right of equal protection under the law guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Levi Lane was stopped by El Paso coppers driving home from the night shift at a dog food factory. He let them search his car. Nothing wrong.

…The story changed immediately when the officers ran Lane’s license. “They found out that I had, like,13 traffic warrants,” he recounted. That translated to approximately $3,400 in unpaid fines…

“From there on out, story over,” he said. “My registration was expired and I didn’t have any insurance. And I couldn’t update my registration because of the lack of insurance prior to that.” Lane had decided decided to roll the dice — and drive to his overnight work shift — because buses in El Paso don’t operate around the clock. He lived across town and needed the work…

…Lane was brought into court later that morning. He pleaded guilty to his previous offenses. He could’ve gone home then and there if he could pay a portion of the outstanding fines. He couldn’t.

And here’s the issue: both federal and state law say you can’t jail someone for non-payment unless you first have a hearing to see if that person is really unable to pay. If they can’t, the Supreme Court, Texas law, and the Justice Department all say alternatives like a payment plan, reduced fines or community service must be considered. Lane never had that hearing…

Citing Lane’s case, a state-funded legal aid program has launched a federal lawsuit against the City of El Paso…”The basis of the case is that the City of El Paso has an unconstitutional debt collection process,” said Brian Jacobi, an attorney at the Texas Civil Rights Project. He is part of the team representing Levi Lane in this case.

Jacobi showed me a city memo dated 2006 which states that people with outstanding tickets who are caught must pay one quarter of their debt-right away. “They’re told, pay 25 percent, maybe qualify for a payment plan. Can’t do that? Pay in full. Can’t do that? Go to jail…

This not an abstract legal debate limited to El Paso. Since September, similar lawsuits have been filed in Washington state, Mississippi and Louisiana.

RTFA for details on this case and others. No shortage of municipalities where conservative beancounters come up with ideas befitting a novel by Charles Dickens – instead of a United States of America governed by constitutional law that decided centuries ago that laws and judicial systems can’t be used to punish people for their poverty.

Alabama’s secessionist judge Roy Moore suspended over bigoted rulings – once again

Alabama politics are at a low point even by the state’s own high – or low – standards: three top elected officials are embroiled in scandal or facing removal from office while a former governor serves time in federal prison on a corruption conviction.

On Friday, chief justice Roy Moore was suspended from his job. He faces possible ouster over his attempts to block gay marriage following the US supreme court ruling that effectively legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

It is familiar territory for the Republican, a Christian conservative who was removed from the same position in 2003 over a Ten Commandments monument, then easily won re-election later…

Idjits love re-electing idjits.

Among the nation’s poorest states, Alabama is troubled by problem areas including physical and mental health; comparatively low high school graduation rates; and too many occupational deaths, according to a report by the United Health Foundation…

In its list of civil charges against Moore, the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission said the 69-year-old chief justice abused his office by issuing an administrative order to probate judges in January, telling them an Alabama court order and law banning same-sex marriages remained in effect despite the US supreme court decision affirming same-sex marriage six months earlier…

The court of the judiciary will decide whether Moore violated judicial ethics, and he could be removed from office if found guilty. The same court removed Moore from office in 2003 for his refusal to follow a federal court order directing him to remove a washing machine-sized Ten Commandments monument from the rotunda of the state’s judicial building.

At least this gives today’s generation a demonstration of the thought processes of secessionists like the Confederate Judge Moore. If the federal constitution supersedes your own archaic ruling – stop recognizing federal law. He’s trying to do the same regarding the state constitution and the commission which suspended him. It’s all the same kind of anarchist silliness that ego-smitten nutballs embrace every time they confront civilized law which refuses to bend to their patriarchal dementia.

The toughest row to hoe is that red dirt and rocky line that women and men of good will in Alabama have to fight to cross. Plenty of folks who love their home state, self-educated or schooled in enough history and philosophy, science and law, to understand what a modern state and society can accomplish for all citizens. So it was when I lived in Louisiana. So it is in Alabama, today.

North Carolina coppers bust man for not returning VHS rental 14 years ago


James Meyers

A Concord, NC, man was arrested for failing to return a 2002 VHS rental movie, “Freddy Got Fingered.”

James Meyers showed Channel 9 the arrest warrant Wednesday. It shows Meyers is charged with failure to return rental property, a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $200. The charge had not been dismissed as of Wednesday afternoon.

The story of Meyers’ arrest has since gone viral after Eyewitness News broke the news late Wednesday night.

The rental store in Salisbury, J&J’s Video, has since closed, but Meyers was still given an April 27 court date for failing to return the gross-out comedy about a cartoonist returning home to live with his parents.

Meyers said he was driving his daughter to school on Concord Parkway Tuesday morning when a Concord police officer pulled him over for a tail-light that was out.

Meyers said the officer ran his license and approximately 25 minutes later asked him to step out of the vehicle.

“The officer said, ‘I don’t know how to tell you this but there’s a warrant out for your arrest from 2002. Apparently you rented the movie “Freddy Got Fingered” and never returned it.’

I thought he was joking,” said Meyers…

Meyers said he thought everything would get straightened out at the department. He was surprised when officers arrested him and then took him to the magistrate’s office.

“…first time I got put in handcuffs,” said Meyers.

No, this is not the first time this has happened in North Carolina. Does anyone expect a state notorious for jerkwater politics to have cops and judges that function like it’s the 21st Century.

The essential rules of computerized systems hasn’t changed. Garbage in = garbage out. It stays the same whether dealing with voting rights or VHS rentals. 19th Century minds produce 19th Century policies.

“Affluenza” teen and momma busted in Mexico

A Texas woman and her son, a teen known for invoking an “affluenza” defense after a deadly drunken driving wreck, held a sort of farewell party before fleeing his probation, driving to the Mexican border and trying to disguise themselves…

Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson said 18-year-old Ethan Couch and his mother, who were detained Monday in the Pacific Coast resort city of Puerto Vallarta, planned their disappearance.

“They even had something that was almost akin to a going-away party before leaving town,” he said.

Couch was on juvenile probation for the wreck that killed four people when he was 16. During the sentencing phase of his trial, a defense expert argued that his wealthy parents coddled him into a sense of irresponsibility — a condition the expert termed “affluenza.” The condition is not recognized as a medical diagnosis by the American Psychiatric Association, and its invocation drew widespread ridicule.

Anderson said an arrest warrant would be issued for Couch’s mother, Tonya Couch, on charges of hindering an apprehension. A prosecutor says that during a hearing next month they plan to ask a judge to transfer Ethan Couch’s case to adult court…

Ricardo Ariel Vera, the representative of Mexico’s immigration institute in the western state of Jalisco, said the mother and son were being held at immigration offices in the state capital, Guadalajara, and would be returned to the United States aboard a commercial flight to Houston sometime Tuesday…

Couch was apparently trying to lie low; a photo distributed by the Jalisco state prosecutor’s office show him in detention with his blond hair dyed black and his normally blondish beard a light brown.

Anderson has said he believes the two fled in late November after a video surfaced that appears to show Couch at a party where people were drinking. If found to be drinking, Couch’s probation could be revoked and he could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.

Couch was driving drunk and speeding on a dark two-lane road south of Fort Worth in June 2013 when he crashed into a disabled SUV off to the side, killing four people and injuring several others, including passengers in Couch’s pickup truck.

Throw the key away. Put mom in a cell down the hall. Sentence their lawyers to work at honest jobs.

Life in a banana republic-state

image

“When an Albuquerque couple caught a man burglarizing their garage, they asked him to stop.

“When that didn’t work, they pulled out a rifle and a handgun, and held him at gunpoint until police officers arrived…”

“Upon arrival, I observed an older male … pointing some type of rifle at a male suspect on his knees,” an officer wrote in a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court.

“Lujan, while being handcuffed, told police that he had recently been released from the county jail. Jail and court records show he got out Wednesday after posting bail in a July drug case.”

“Homeowner George Kennedy, 70, told officers that he was in his garage when he noticed a man loading items into a sport utility vehicle nearby. Kennedy saw that some of the items the man was loading – including a generator and a cooler – were his…

“He went over to the man, later identified as Lujan, and asked him to stop, but Lujan continued loading the items, according to the complaint. Kennedy went inside and got his wife, Rebecca Kennedy, 66, and they armed themselves.

“They held Lujan until officers arrived…”

“When police searched Lujan, they found keys belonging to Rebecca Kennedy in his pocket. Police also discovered that the SUV Lujan was loading the stolen items into was stolen…”

“Lujan was arrested, charged with residential burglary and booked back into jail.”

BUT – this is New Mexico. Even a former governor admitted life here is more like living in the 3rd World than a modern nation. We have a judicial system that is a perfect example of that. There are no standards. Care and concern for ordinary citizens does not exist.

Lujan was taken back to jail. Remember he just violated his bail from a drug case. No worry. Going before a judge on the burglary charges, he was released on his own recognizance. No need for bail, then, you see.

Back on the streets.

Judge reverses order to take baby from lesbian couple — will obey the law


Republican governor tells judge to follow the law

A Utah judge has reversed his decision to take a baby away from her lesbian foster parents and place her with a heterosexual couple, after the initial ruling led to widespread backlash.

Judge Scott Johansen signed an order, which was released Friday, that will allow the 9-month-old baby to stay with April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce, a married couple who live in the city of Price.

Johansen had said in court Tuesday that the baby would be removed from the couple’s home. Utah officials and the couple filed court challenges demanding the judge rescind the order.

In his first decision, Johansen cited [crap] research that allegedly showed children do better when raised by heterosexual families. However, the American Psychological Association has said there is no scientific basis to the belief that same-sex couples are unfit parents based on sexual orientation…

Hoagland and Peirce are among a number of same-sex married couples who were allowed to become foster parents in Utah after last summer’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that made gay marriage legal across the country. State officials don’t keep an exact count, but estimate there are a dozen or more foster parents who are married same-sex couples.

The move to take the baby away generated widespread criticism, including from national gay rights groups and Utah Gov. Gary Herbert…Herbert said Thursday that Johansen should follow the law and not inject his personal beliefs into the decision.

Groups including the Anti-Defamation League, Human Rights Campaign and the American Civil Liberties Union called the order shocking, outrageous and unjust.

Life might also be more just for the whole nation if bigots and reactionaries got around to obeying laws instead of circumventing progress and imposing their petty ideology on others. BTW, I include phony libertarians and papier mache conservatives in that clot of ignorance, selfishness and egregious anarchy.

Judge orders parishioners to vacate church they’ve occupied for 11 years

Mary Fernandes inside Mother Cabrini church
Click to enlargeDina Rudick/Boston GLOBE Staff

Mary Fernandes, parishioners, continue to occupy their church

A Massachusetts judge ordered St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Church be vacated as parishioners continue to keep an around-the-clock vigil in the shuttered church that has lasted more than a decade.

Judge Edward P. Leibensperger ordered parishioners out of the Roman Catholic church that was closed by the Archdiocese of Boston in 2004 as part of a downsizing plan. But church members, calling themselves The Friends of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, said they have no plans to end their 11-year occupation, instead opting to appeal Leibensperger’s ruling.

Jon Rogers, a leader and founder of the nonprofit group, said the archdiocese’s decision to close the church was solely based on money. The church needs money to pay off clergy sex abuse scandals, he said. The church sits on 30 acres of ocean-view land worth some $4 million.

“Here’s the crux of the matter — we are sitting on one of the most valuable of pieces of property in Boston. And they need the money,” he said. “You don’t get to hurt children and then steal our church to pay off your crimes…”

The occupation has been ongoing, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, since the church closed. Parishoners have been working in shifts, sleeping on floors and pews and holding Sunday services with consecrated bread and wine for the Eucharist secretly provided by area priests.

Anyone see anything about this courageous act on national TV? Any family values hustlers helping out?