Tag Archives: guilty

Officer convicted in killing of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards — a rare outcome in police shootings

A former police officer in Texas has been found guilty of murder in the high-profile shooting death of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards — a rare victory for civil rights activists seeking justice for the dozens of unarmed African American men and boys who have been killed by police officers in recent years.

As Judge Brandon Birmingham read the verdict Tuesday against Roy Oliver, who worked in the Dallas suburb of Balch Springs, sobs came from the gallery of the packed courtroom. The last time an on-duty police officer in Dallas County was convicted of murder was in 1973. Oliver could be sentenced to life in prison.

“I’m just so thankful,” Jordan’s father, Odell Edwards, told reporters. “Thankful, thankful.”

Daryl Washington, an attorney representing the family, said the verdict meant more than justice for Jordan.

“It’s about Tamir Rice. It’s about Walter Scott. It’s about Alton Sterling,” he said, naming victims of police shootings in recent years. “It’s about every, every African American, unarmed African American, who has been killed and who has not gotten justice.”

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted a link to a news story about the conviction, saying that Jordan’s “life should never have been lost.”

On the night of April 29, 2017, Oliver fired an MC5 rifle into a Chevrolet Impala carrying Jordan and two of his brothers as it pulled away from a high school house party. Jordan, who was struck in the head, died later at a hospital.

Police initially said the vehicle had backed up toward Oliver “in an aggressive manner,” but body camera video showed the car was moving away from him and his partner. Days after the shooting, Oliver, who had served in the department for six years, was fired.

Jordan’s stepbrother, Vidal Allen, was driving the car the night of the shooting.

“I was very scared,” Allen testified. “I just wanted to get home and get everyone safe.”

Oliver, 38, has said he feared for his life and his partner’s safety.

“I had to make a decision. This car is about to hit my partner,” Oliver testified in the trial. “I had no other option.”

After a weeklong trial, it took the jury one day to reach a verdict.

Jordan’s death echoes other police shootings involving black boys and men. But no convictions were handed down in most of those cases.

In November 2014, Cleveland police got a 911 call about someone brandishing a pistol near a park — the weapon, the caller said, was “probably fake.” But in an incident captured on camera, a police cruiser pulled into the park and Officer Timothy Loehmann jumped out and opened fire. Within seconds, 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who had a toy gun, was dead.

Even before Tamir’s death, the U.S. Department of Justice had been investigating the Cleveland Police Department. A month after his shooting, it released a report saying Cleveland police displayed a pattern of using unnecessary force.

A year later, a grand jury decided not to indict Loehmann in Tamir’s death, saying he had reason to fear for his life.

In September 2016, in Columbus, Ohio, police shot and killed Tyre King, 13, who was carrying a BB gun while running from police. A grand jury declined to file criminal charges against the officer who killed him.

And in May 2017, an Oklahoma jury acquitted an officer who shot and killed Terence Crutcher, 40, as he stood with his hands above his head along a rural highway.

Those cases and others illustrate the difficulty of convicting police officers. The law in most places gives them the benefit of the doubt.

Prosecutors usually must show that an officer knowingly and intentionally killed without justification or provocation. A fear of harm has been successfully used as the justification for many shootings, even when the victim turned out to be unarmed.

The most recent case that ended in a conviction came last year when Michael Slager, a former officer in North Charleston, S.C., was first tried on murder charges in the April 2015 shooting of Walter Scott, an unarmed black man who was stopped for a driving with a broken taillight. But after those proceedings ended in a mistrial, Slager pleaded guilty to a civil rights violation and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The last Dallas County police officer convicted for murder while on duty was Darrell Cain, who shot and killed 12-year-old Santos Rodriguez after forcing him to endure a version of Russian roulette while handcuffed inside a patrol car.

There was no immediate reaction to Thursday’s verdict from local or national police groups.

John Fullinwider, a longtime Dallas activist and co-founder of Mothers Against Police Brutality, said Oliver’s conviction came as a surprise.

“I expected to see an angel fly over City Hall before I saw this murder conviction,” he said. “This is a victory, but we really need independent federal prosecutors in all fatal police shootings.”

Lee Merritt, a civil rights attorney who represents the Edwards family, said the conviction was justice for the country.

“We’ve seen time and time again, no charges, let alone convictions, in these high-profile shootings,” he said. “It is my hope that this is a turning point in the fight against police brutality against blacks.”

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PAUL MANAFORT FOUND GUILTY ON 8 CRIMINAL COUNTS

Paul Manafort has been found guilty on eight out of 18 criminal counts in the tax and bank fraud case against him brought by special counsel Robert Mueller.

The jury said they were not able to reach a verdict on the remaining 10 counts, and the judge declared those a mistrial — meaning prosecutors will be able to bring them to trial again.

The trial of President Trump’s former campaign chairman has been seen a major test for Mueller’s team, which is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The partial conviction still represents a significant victory for Mueller’s prosecutors, Mimi Rocah, a former federal prosecutor, told VICE News.

“This kind of split verdict happens quite often, especially in complicated fraud cases,” Rocah said. “I still think that’s a win for the Mueller team. I don’t see this as some kind of stain on Mueller at all.”

The jury convicted Manafort on five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and a single count of failing to disclose a foreign bank account.

Manafort, 69, had been charged with five counts of filing false tax returns between 2010 and 2014, four counts of failing to report foreign bank accounts, and a combined nine counts of bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud. If found guilty on all counts, he would have faced a maximum of 305 years in prison.

Trump, not surprisingly, didn’t like the verdict. Upon his arrival in West Virginia for a planned rally, he said he was “very sad” about the conviction and that it “has nothing to do with Russian collusion,” calling it “a disgrace.”

Though the financial charges against Manafort may have had little to do with the election, the verdict still carries major political implications. Before the trial began, the presiding judge, T.S. Ellis, publicly described the legal assault on Manafort as a pressure tactic aimed at convincing him to cooperate with Mueller’s investigators and spill everything he knows about Trump.

Sen. Mark Warner, the ranking Democratic member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said the decision should lend credence to the Mueller probe, despite Trump repeatedly calling it a “witch hunt.”

“This verdict makes it absolutely clear that the Mueller probe is not a ‘witch hunt’ — it is a serious investigation that is rooting out corruption and Russian influence on our political system at the highest levels,” Warner said in a statement immediately following the jury’s announcement. “Any attempt by the president to pardon Mr. Manafort or interfere with the investigation into his campaign would be a gross abuse of power and require immediate action by Congress.”

Before the verdict came down, observers had predicted that a guilty verdict would strengthen Mueller’s hand — but that a total wipeout for his team’s first major courtroom effort would be a crippling blow, leaving it vulnerable to the president and his allies who’ve repeatedly called for Mueller to wrap up the investigation quickly.

“In one sense, this trial is separate from the rest of the work that Mueller is doing,” said Jens David Ohlin, Cornell Law vice dean and an expert in international criminal law. “On the other hand, this is the first case that they’ve taken to trial, so they need to establish that their efforts are yielding fruit.”

Manafort had refused to plead guilty and cooperate. But legal experts have told VICE News that even after the verdict, he can still potentially strike a deal with Mueller’s team in exchange for leniency, especially if he does have bombshell insider information about the Trump campaign colluding with Russia in the 2016 election.

So far, however, there are no signs he plans to do that, prompting speculation he may be holding out for a presidential pardon, or that he may have no such information to trade for his freedom.

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Bill Cosby Found Guilty of Sexual Assault After Years of Accusations

Cosby’s main accuser, Andrea Constand, and two other women who testified that Cosby also drugged and sexually assaulted them were in the courtroom and burst into tears as the verdict was announced.
“I feel like my faith in humanity has been restored,” one of the women, Lili Bernard, said after hearing the verdict.

The conviction came about 11 months after a mistrial was declared in Cosby’s first trial when a jury failed to reach a verdict.

The jury of seven men and five women began deliberating Wednesday and spent a little over 12 hours going over evidence presented to them over two weeks before rendering their unanimous decision.

After the verdict was announced, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele asked Judge Steven O’Neill to revoke Coby’s bail and send him to jail right away.

“I understand this is very serious … however to ask to revoke the bail of individual … is your concern?” O’Neill asked Steele.

“Flight,” Steele said. “To any place. He has a plane.”

At that point, Cosby screamed out in a booming voice: “He doesn’t have a plane you a——!”

Cosby was convicted charges connected to the assault on Andrea Constand, a former director of operations for the women’s basketball team at Temple University, where Cosby was a trustee and major financial donor. Constand testified that Cosby knocked her out with a powerful drug and sexually assaulted her in 2004 at his home.

The prosecution was also allowed to call five other women to testify that Cosby assaulted them in the same manner.

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Larry Nassar sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for decades of sexual abuse

Former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced 40 to 175 years in prison. Over the past two decades, more than 150 women and girls reported that Nassar sexually abused them. CNN reports that he pleaded guilty to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct.

“There are no words that can describe the depth and breadth of how sorry I am for what has occurred. An acceptable apology to all of you is impossible to write and convey. I will carry your words with me for the rest of my days”, said Nassar.

Previously, he was sentenced to 60 years for a separate case — having child pornography on his computer.

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NFL Will Smith’s Killer Found Guilty

Cardell Hayes, the man who shot and killed New Orleans Saints star, Will Smith, was found guilty of manslaughter.

NFL Will Smith's Killer Found Guilty

Hayes argued that he was acting in self-defense in the road rage incident; however, the claim was rejected by a 12-person jury after a weeklong trial, and now faces up to 20-40 years in prison.

NFL Will Smith's Killer Found Guilty

According to NFL.com, the 29-year-old former tow truck driver and semi-pro football player was also convicted of attempted manslaughter for wounding Smith’s wife, Racquel Smith and will be sentenced in February. In a statement, Racquel’s attorney said, “Because of the upcoming sentencing hearing, in which Racquel will provide a victim impact statement, she does not feel it is appropriate to comment on the facts of the case at this time.” Her attorney continued, “The main focus of Will Smith’s family is to see Mr. Hayes justly sentenced for the murder he so callously committed.”

SOURCE: VLADTV

Judge Clowns Coolio’s Hairstyle

Talk about kicking a man when he’s down. Coolio had to stand before a judge to hear his fate after getting caught at the airport with a gun, and get his hair critiqued.

Judge Clowns Coolio’s Hairstyle

Court is never a fun place to be, that is unless you are the judge holding people’s fate in your hands. Rapper Coolio plead guilty to possession of a concealed weapon in court Wednesday after getting caught with a gun in his bag at LAX airport. He won’t face any jail time, but he was sentenced to three years probation and must commit 45 days of community service.

Judge Clowns Coolio’s Hairstyle

A sigh of relief there. However, Coolio didn’t escape the court without getting his hairstyle acknowledged. Midway through the sentencing, the judge took a moment to bring attention to the spider legs currently perched atop Coolio’s head.

Judge Clowns Coolio’s Hairstyle

“You’re a little bit different,” said the judge, inferring that this is not the first time he’s seen Coolio in court. “You’ve got a different little hairstyle going here than in the past, but it, you know, it suits you.”

SOURCE: WWF

Kevin Gates Sentenced 180 Days in Jail

A jury of six women took less than two hours to find a rapper guilty on Wednesday of kicking a woman during a performance at a Lakeland, Fl club in 2015.

Rapper Kevin Gates Found Guilty

County Judge Sharon Franklin sentenced Kevin Gates to 180 days in jail, three times more than what prosecutors requested for the misdemeanor battery conviction.

The sentence came after Gates’ lawyer, Jose Baez of Orlando, requested that Franklin refrain from sentencing Gates to any jail time and instead “fashion a sentence.”

“Mr. Gates has been involved in the Make a Wish Foundation,” Baez said. “That would assist the community much more than a 60-day jail sentence.”

Kevin Gates Sentenced 180 Days in Jail

Franklin asked whether Gates, whose real name is Kevin Jerome Gilyard, had any prior convictions before she sentenced the multiplatinum recording artist to jail time. Prosecutors said he was once convicted of possession of hydrocodone and marijuana.

Gates, wearing a kufi, a brimless hat worn by Muslims, and a black bowtie, thanked Baez as a Polk County sheriff’s deputy escorted him out of the courtroom. His jail sentence was expected to begin today.

After the sentence, Baez declined comment, saying that his client did not give him permission to speak to the press.

Kevin Gates Sentenced 180 Days in Jail

Gates, 30, was charged in August 2015 with battery after Lakeland police said he kicked 18-year-old Miranda Dixon on Aug. 30, 2015, at Rumors Niteclub, located off Memorial Boulevard in Lakeland, while he was performing in front of a packed crowd.

Gates told jurors that he was attempting to protect himself when he kicked into the crowd after being touched twice by Dixon, who is now 19. Because of the lights on stage, Gates said he didn’t know whether he was kicking a man or woman.

Kevin Gates Sentenced 180 Days in Jail

“I didn’t want to get pulled off stage,” Gates said. “I just kicked at the hands that were grabbing me.”

But jurors sided with Dixon, who testified that she only wanted to touch the rap star.

“He looked at me after the first time I touched him and that got us excited,” Dixon said on the stand. After Dixon touched him a second time, she said Gates lifted his leg and kicked her. “It hurt while I was breathing,” Dixon said. “I was short of breath.” Dixon reported the incident to police the following day.

Kevin Gates Sentenced 180 Days in Jail

Assistant State Attorney Hope Pattey said Gates could have done numerous other things besides “hauling back” and kicking Dixon, such as ask security to step in or speak into his microphone to tell Dixon and others to stop.

But Baez said in closing arguments that Dixon has a financial motive in the case, saying that she had a civil lawyer. “She wants to sue him,” Baez said. Baez said Dixon lied when she told jurors about the amount of alcohol she drank at the show.

Kevin Gates Sentenced 180 Days in Jail

In addition, he said Dixon never should have touched Gates. “She was committing a battery herself,” Baez said. “You poke the bear and then you don’t like it when the bear strikes you.”

The courtroom, which was packed with television cameras, was tense at times during cross examinations.

Baez said to Dixon, “you just finished lying to jurors,” at the beginning of his cross examination of her.

Kevin Gates Sentenced 180 Days in Jail

Pattey told Gates he could have kicked an innocent person if he didn’t know who he was kicking.

“That’s your sincere love of fans,” she questioned. “You want this jury to believe you didn’t see her?”

Pattey said Gates may need to find a new job if he feels threatened by the touch of a fan.

“He assumes some risk as a celebrity when he goes into a venue and there are hundreds of people crowded around him,” Pattey said in closing arguments.

SOURCE: LEDGER