Carol Doyle Represents Immigration Detainees
Court Watch | 2008/10/08 16:06
Federal officials refused to treat a diabetic immigration detainee'sgangrenous wound for more than two months, despite a stench so bad thatother prisoners staged a hunger strike to demand care for him, MartinHernandez Banderas claims in Federal Court. He says that when theagonizing infection became so serious that a doctor recommendedamputation, the USA discharged him from prison so it wouldn't have topay for it.
    Hernandez Banderas was imprisoned at theImmigration and Customs Enforcement prison in San Diego. Among theclaims in his federal complaint are that 83 detainees have died incustody of the immigration service in the past 5 years, many of themfrom inadequate medical care.
    Hernandez says his treatment wasso bad it constituted torture. He demands punitive damages. He isrepresented by Carol Doyle with Willoughby Doyle of Oakland.


Tokyo Broadcasting Sues ABC for Ripping off Shows
Legal Topics | 2008/10/07 16:29
ABC's "reality" show "Wipeout" is a ripoff of Tokyo BroadcastingSystem's shows, the Japanese network claims in Federal Court. TBS saysABC's show might "more aptly be titled 'Swipe-Out, given that it isnothing more than a blatant copycat combination of protected elementsstolen from plaintiff's ... shows 'Takeshi's Castle,' 'Most ExtremeElimination Challenge,' 'Sasuke,' 'Kunoichi,' 'Ninja Warrior' and'Women of Ninja Warrior.'
    TBS' complaint continues: "From themoment ABC revealed 'Wipeout' to the public, that program has routinelybeen described in the press as a 'rip-off' and 'knockoff' ofplaintiff's shows. Apparently, ABC boldly decided that it need notobtain plaintiff's permission to use the content of the shows despitethe obvious need for ABC to do so. ABC's willful and wrongful use ofPlaintiff's shows to create 'Wipeout' is egregious, inexcusable and notto be tolerated."
    TBS demands punitive damages for copyright violations and unfair competition. It is represented by Stanton Stein.


State Farm Won't Back Mean Mom
Legal Topics | 2008/10/06 16:45
State Farm says a policyholder, a mother, suggested her daughter taunta girl the daughter doesn't like by writing insults, including "bitch,""whore," "slut" and "you have no friends," on disposable diapers andstrewing them about the girl's yard. The girl attempted suicide and washospitalized after the mom bought the diapers, helped write theinsults, drove her daughter to the victim's house and helped her strewthem in the yard, State Farm says. It claims it has no obligation todefend the woman.
    State Farm claims that the defendant, JulieHefner-Phipps, admitted to police that she directed and participated inthe diaper insults.
    The girl's family sued Hefner-Philips.
    StateFarm says the victim tried suicide the day she saw the insultingdiapers, one of which stated, "move-bitch." She was placed in intensivecare and then sent to a psychiatric hospital.
    State Farm saysit's not obligated to defend Hefner-Phillips because the policyexcludes "bodily injury or property damage ... which is the result ofwillful and malicious acts of the insured."


Judge Rejects Challenge to College Religious Displays
Legal Topics | 2008/09/30 15:57
Religious displays in the bursar's office at Hunter College do not constitute a government endorsement of religion, a federal judge ruled.

U.S. District Judge Richard Holwell dismissed a challenge brought by Herman Menes, a college accountant who said the collection of angel figurines, religious posters and holiday decorations on display at the city college violated his First Amendment rights.

Menes claimed the college transferred him from the bursar's department to the accounting department in retaliation for his complaints about the religious displays.

Holwell granted the college's motion for summary judgment, concluding that Menes "failed to offer evidence that any action or policy of any defendant, whether considered individually or in the aggregate, was undertaken with a non-secular purpose."

Menes also failed to establish a causal connection between his opposition to the office displays and his transfer, the judge ruled.


Bag Man Says FBI Told Him to Ask for $2M Hush Money
Areas of Focus | 2008/09/29 16:12
A bag man testified on Friday that he was following FBI instructions when he asked the government of Venezuela for $2 million in hush money, after he was caught carrying $800,000 in a briefcase intended, according to prosecutors, for Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in her campaign to become president of Argentina.

Guido Antonini, who was caught with the money, is now cooperating with federal prosecutors. He testified in Federal Court in Miami against Franklin Duran, who is accused of being an unregistered foreign agent in America.

Antonini was detained in August 2007 at a Buenos Aires airport. Antonini confirmed in his testimony on Thursday and Friady that he asked the government of Venezuela for $2 million in hush money, claiming he wanted it for legal expenses and other debt he would incur as a result of being caught with the $800,000.

In the trial before U.S. District Court Judge Joan Lenard, Antonini also testified that he told Duran he would not accept the money directly from Duran, that the money had to come from the Venezuelan government.

Antonini wore a wire during his conversations with Duran, according to the testimony. In one of the taped conversations used in court, Antonini is refusing $2 million in hush money directly from Duran. He says he wants to receive the money directly from the Venezuelan government.

But Duran answers that the Venezuelans won't go for that because they don't trust him, thehy think he is working with the FBI. The two men never spoke again after that conversation.

Duran's defense lawyer, Edward Shohat from Bierman Shohat Loewy & Klein, suggested that when Antonini pressured Venezuela to accept the hush money offer on his terms, he committed extortion.

Antonini replied by saying that he was acting as instructed by the FBI.


Guilty Plea In Courthouse Bombing
Areas of Focus | 2008/09/26 16:03
Eric R. Robinson pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiring to bomb the San Diego Federal Courthouse. Robinson admitted he drove a co-conspirator to the courthouse on May 4 and waited in the car while the other person set off three pipe bombs, then he drove the other person back to Menifee, about 80 miles north.

Edward Reginald Robinson, 43, of San Diego, admitted he conspired with others to build and detonate a series of pipe bombs, including the ones used at the courthouse and others set off at a Federal Express distribution center in San Diego on April 25. He faces up to 30 years in prison at his Jan. 9, 2009 sentencing in San Diego Federal Court.


Witness Says OJ Told Him To Bring A Gun
Areas of Focus | 2008/09/25 15:55
O.J. Simpson told two friends to bring guns to last year's hotel room heist, a former co-defendant in Simpson's kidnapping and armed robbery trial testified Wednesday. "He said, 'I just need you all to bring the guns. But you don't have to take them out, just put them in your waist band. Kind of open up your jackets so they see that you got them and they know that we mean business,'" Walter Alexander testified.

Also Wednesday, Judge Jackie Glass refused to let Fred Goldman's attorney testify about his 10 years of efforts to get Simpson to pay the $33 million wrongful death civil award for the death of Goldman's son.

In testimony Wednesday, Alexander said he expressed hesitation about carrying a gun, and Simpson responded, "Fuck the police. It's my shit. I'm just going to get my shit. What they gonna do? Take me to jail for going to get my own shit?"

Alexander said Simpson then told the other friend, Michael McClinton, "to take the gun out and put it in his hand" before they entered Tom Riccio's hotel room to get the sports memorabilia from dealers Alfred Beardsley and Bruce Fromong.

"I thought, 'Man this is gonna be a robbery," Alexander said. "I really wanted to go in the opposite direction, but at the same time I didn't want to seem like a coward, and O.J. was my friend."

Alexander said he carried a .22-caliber pistol, but he never took it out.

Alexander testified that Simpson encouraged them to lie about the guns after the incident. "He kept repeating, 'Hey just remember - there was no guns. No guns,'" Alexander said.

Simpson has maintained that he saw no guns, and that he was merely retrieving his personal property that was stolen from him years ago.

Alexander was the first witness to admit being armed during the alleged events at the Palace Station on Sept. 13, 2007. He was also the first to cut a deal with prosecutors for a lesser charge in exchange for his testimony.

He said that District Attorney David Roger told him, "The first horse to the trough drinks the pristine waters."

During his testimony, Alexander said Simpson was drinking, "laughing and boisterous, like nothing had happened," at a wedding dinner the next day. He even quipped, "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas - unless you're O.J. Simpson," Alexander said.

When Alexander expressed fear about being arrested, he said, Simpson "just laughed," and told him "'Nigga, if you get out of town you don't have to worry about going to jail.'"

Alexander carried a Bible into the courtroom Wednesday, and opened it to read during a sidebar. After objections from Simpson attorney Yale Galanter, Clark County District Court Judge ordered Alexander to hand it over.

During a heated cross-examination, Galanter peppered Alexander with questions in an attempt to make him look like a money-hungry turncoat with a checkered past.

Galanter also wanted to explore allegations that Alexander was a pimp - not a real estate agent, as he testified - but Glass wouldn't allow it.

In the middle of Galanter's cross-examination, Alexander seemed to suggest that he'd almost rather be a co-defendant with Simpson than take a pounding from Galanter. "Then I would not have to say anything and I would not have to be badgered by this man," he said.

The two then entered a shouting match, after Alexander told Galanter to back up when he approached the witness stand and tried to show him a copy of the transcript from the preliminary hearing.

Glass retained order, then admonished Galanter: "Don't ever do that again. If he asks you to back up, back up."

The long day of testimony began with Glass barring prosecutors' attempts to allow Fred Goldman's attorney, David Cook, to testify about his efforts to retrieve the $33.5 million, wrongful-death civil award that Goldman won against Simpson in 1997.


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