Posts belonging to Category lawyers



Nothing illegal here. Move along, move along… Part 3

From the AP via WUSA 9 in Washington, D.C.: Priest Charged In Embezzlement Scheme Indicted On Federal Charges:

A Roman Catholic priest charged in state court with embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from two rural churches was indicted Tuesday on federal fraud charges, federal prosecutors said.

A federal grand jury indicted the Rev. Rodney L. Rodis, 51, of Fredericksburg, on charges of mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia announced in a news release.

According to the indictment, Rodis embezzled money from Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Bumpass and St. Jude Church in Mineral from 2002 until last year. Rodis wired at least $515,231 of misappropriated parishioner contributions to the Philippines, the release said.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Richmond has said Rodis embezzled more than $600,000 from the churches, where he was pastor from 1993 until his retirement last May.

Rodis is being held at Central Virginia Regional Jail in Orange County on 13 state felony embezzlement charges stemming from the incident. In May, Rodis’ bond was revoked after he violated terms of his bond.

“If the federal authorities had indicted Father Rodney for the same offenses for which he was standing trail in the state court, then arguably double jeopardy principles would prevent him from being tried in both courts for the same offense,” said Rodis’ lawyer, John R. Maus.

No, it doesn’t, you idiot. Where the hell did you go to law school? How the hell did you pass the bar? Of course, this isn’t the first moronic argument you’ve made.

Maus would not comment further on the charges because he had not yet seen the indictment.

Lousia [sic] County Commonwealth’s Attorney Don Short said he’s not surprised by the charges, but believes it probably will cause the state charges to be dropped in order to allow federal authorities to proceed.

Rodis used a post office box to obtain checks from parishioners, which he would transfer to a personal bank account and wire to the Philippines, according to court documents.

The release said that Rodis used the money and property intended for church use for his spouse and three biological children, “whom he concealed” by living about 50 miles from the church.

The case against Rodis originated in November when officials with the Catholic Diocese of Richmond found a Pennsylvania donor’s check was deposited in a bank account they knew nothing about.

"The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers." Part 4

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch: Game warden pleads not guilty in death [emphasis mine]:

A game warden who fatally shot a 16-year-old Greene County teen during a January traffic stop pleaded not guilty Tuesday to voluntary manslaughter.

[…]

As the result of a defense subpoena, Ramirez [the teen’s mother] had been required to appear in court and turn over her son’s writings, including any diaries, journals or letters. A stack of notebooks and other papers presented to Judge Daniel R. Bouton will remain sealed, along with any medical records turned over before trial.

Cochran’s psychiatric history will likely take center stage as the case moves forward. Ham’s lawyers are requesting Cochran’s medical records in hopes of gaining further insight into the teen’s thinking the night of the shooting.

Court filings indicate the defense is looking for evidence that Cochran was suicidal, perhaps homicidal, when he and Ham crossed paths Jan. 24.

“It is our understanding and belief that Mr. Cochran was . . . very disturbed,” defense attorney Steven D. Benjamin said.

Two weeks before the shooting, Benjamin said, Cochran underwent a psychiatric evaluation after threatening to kill former classmates at William Monroe High School and members of his girlfriend’s family.

The night of the shooting, Ham, whose duties include law enforcement, was assisting sheriff’s deputies who were looking for Cochran in connection with the disappearance of his girlfriend, Chelsea Walker.

Authorities spotted a 1995 Chrysler with Walker in the passenger seat near the entrance to the Woodridge subdivision.

According to the defense, Ham approached the car but Cochran drove forward and struck the 24-year-old game warden, throwing him onto the hood and continuing through the intersection.

Benjamin said his client fired at Cochran only after unsuccessfully warning the teen to stop the car.

[…]

Ham, who faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted, has requested a jury trial.

What the hell? A game warden kills some asshole that tried to run him over and he is charged with voluntary manslaughter? The asshole was a nut that the police had thought had kidnapped his girlfriend, he tried to run over a game warden, and the game warden is charged?

Who the hell is this Commonwealth’s Attorney? I would love see his reaction after someone tried to run him over.

Nothing illegal here. Move along, move along… Part 2

From the AP via NBC 4 in Washington, D.C.: Judge To Hear Motion To Dismiss Charges Against Priest:

A Louisa County judge will hear arguments later this month on whether to dismiss 13 embezzlement charges against a priest accused of taking donation money from two Catholic churches where he served as pastor.

The hearing is set for Aug. 27.

The attorney for the Reverend Rodney Rodis claims in a court filing that Rodis should not be prosecuted in court if he mishandled money donated to the two parishes. Lawyer John Maus said the Catholic Diocese of Richmond should handle the case, due to the U.S. Constitution’s clause prohibiting government interference in church matters.

In Louisa County Circuit Court Wednesday, Maus discussed the possibility of calling in high-ranking church authorities to testify at the hearing.

Rodis is being held without bond in the Central Virginia Regional Jail in Orange after being accused of stealing up to $1 million. He’s scheduled to go to trial in October.

I must have missed the clause of the U.S. Constitution that “prohibit[s] government interference in church matters.” The First Amendment states the following:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; […]”

Is the embezzlement of one million dollars part of the free exercise of his religion now? Using this idiot lawyer’s rationale the government wouldn’t be able to prosecute a priest (or father, or reverend, or rabbi, or iman) accused of sexual misconduct with a minor or any other crime that occurred in a church, temple, synagogue, or mosque.

The previous post on this story received the following response from Phil Scoggin:

After hurricane Katrina “Father” Rodney Rodis made an impassioned plea from the pulpit for donations to help the “Katrina Victims”. I was so moved that I grabbed my wife’s checkbook and dashed off a $500 check for “Katrin Relief”. I noticed others taking similar actions. The collection was taken by the ushers. Over a year later we learned that the checks did not go to the Katrina victims but instead were deposited by Rodis in a secret account in the Heartland bank in Fredericksburg. The only signatory to that account was Rodis. The money has since disapeared from the Heartland bank in checks and with-drawalls written by Rodis.

What an upstanding individual there.

"The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers." Part 3

The reprieve is over, from ABC News [photo credit:Ibid]: Boys Face Sex Trial for Slapping Girls’ Posteriors [emphasis mine]:

Cory Mashburn Two middle-school students in Oregon are facing possible time in a juvenile jail and could have to register as sex offenders for smacking girls on the rear end at school.

Cory Mashburn [pictured right] and Ryan Cornelison, both 13, were arrested in February after they were caught in the halls of Patton Middle School, in McMinnville, Ore., slapping girls on the rear end. Mashburn told ABC News in a phone interview that this was a common way of saying hello practiced by lots of kids at the school, akin to a secret handshake.

The boys spent five days in a juvenile detention facility and were charged with several counts of felony sex abuse for what they and their parents said was merely inappropriate but not criminal behavior.

The local district attorney has since backed off — the felony charges have been dropped and the district attorney said probation would be an appropriate punishment. The Mashburns’ lawyer said prosecutors offered Cory a plea bargain that would not require him to register as a sex offender, which the family plans to reject.

But the boys, if convicted at an Aug. 20 trial, still face the possibility of some jail time or registering for life as sex offenders.

The boys’ families and lawyers said even sentencing them to probation would turn admittedly inappropriate but not uncommon juvenile rowdiness into a crime. If they are convicted of any of the misdemeanor charges against them, they would have to register as sex offenders.

“It’s devastating,” said Mark Lawrence, Cory Mashburn’s lawyer. “To be a registered sex offender is to be designated as the most loathed in our society. These are young boys with bright futures, and the brightness of those futures would be over.”

Cory Mashburn said he and Ryan Cornelison slapped each others’ and other kids’ bottoms every Friday. “Lots of kids at school do that,” he said.

Cory and Ryan were brought to the principal’s office Feb. 22, where they were questioned by school officials and a police officer. They were arrested that day and taken in handcuffs to a juvenile detention facility.

Court papers said the boys touched the buttocks of several girls, some of whom said this made them uncomfortable. The papers also said Cory touched a girl’s breasts. But police reports filed with the court said other students, both boys and girls, slapped each other on the bottom.

“It’s like a handshake we do,” one girl said, according to the police report.

The boys were initially charged with five counts of felony sexual abuse. At a court hearing, two of the girls recanted, saying they never felt threatened or inappropriately touched by the boys. The judge released the boys but barred them from returning to school and required that they be under constant adult supervision.

District Attorney Bradley Berry has since dismissed the felony counts. The boys face 10 misdemeanor charges of harassment and sexual abuse. They face a maximum of up to one year in a juvenile jail on each count, though Berry said there was no way the boys would ever serve that much time.

[…]

Depending on the terms of probation, it’s likely that the boys would not be allowed to have sexual contact with anyone or any contact with younger children, McFarlane [a supervising attorney at the Juvenile Rights Project in Portland, Ore.] said. For Cory Mashburn, that would mean he couldn’t be left alone with his younger siblings.

[…]

Cory, who said he now realizes what he did was inappropriate, spends his days playing video games and basketball. He said he’s scared. “I could go to jail. I could be registered as a sex offender,” he said. “I think it’s all crazy.”

Hat tip: Overlawyered

Nothing that would make people prejudicial there

From WTVR 6 in Richmond: Kaine: Vick Indictment Details “Will Make Your Blood Run Cold” [emphasis mine]:

Governor Tim Kaine has a few words about the federal dogfighting charges against Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick.

Vick is scheduled to be arraigned in Richmond federal court this afternoon.

In his monthly call-in show this morning on the Virginia News Network, Kaine called the allegations … quote … “an outrageous, outrageous offense if it’s true.”

The governor said some of the details in the federal indictment about the alleged killing of dogs … quote … “will make your blood run cold.” Federal prosecutors claim that Vick and three others accused in the case ran a dogfighting operation and killed dogs or had knowledge of their execution.

Kaine says he doesn’t have any sympathy for anyone who is convicted of such a crime.

He hasn’t been convicted yet, Governor.

Can you explain why an elected official, a Governor of a state, is making comments regarding an ongoing trial? An elected official that is a former lawyer no less.

When will he learn to keep his mouth shut?

I’m guessing the phrase “equal protection” doesn’t mean anything to you… Part 3

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch: Big fines for bad drivers tested:

A courtroom assault yesterday on the state’s new fees for traffic offenses fizzled in a cloud of legal briefs and a no-show.

After a Henrico County judge politely said he didn’t have the authority to address the issue, a Henrico man portrayed as a test case to overthrow the civil remedial fees failed to show up for his court appearance.

“Is Anthony Price here? Anthony Price?” defense lawyer Esther Windmueller asked unsuccessfully, scanning a General District courtroom.

General District Judge Archer L. Yeatts III, who had less than an hour earlier refused to rule on the constitutional merits of the fees, rescheduled Price’s case for Aug. 23 and moved on to a reckless driving case.

That left Windmueller suggesting to reporters that she might have to troll the hallways of the Henrico Courts building for a new plaintiff.

[…]

The fees, passed by the legislature this year, are intended to generate more than $60 million toward state road funds. So far they have mostly generated fever-pitch public opposition — in large part because out-of-state drivers aren’t subject to the ramped-up fines.

[…]

In Richmond traffic court yesterday morning, clerks were marveling at the city’s first instance of a traffic offense that invoked the costly fee structure.

A July 1, noontime stop on Lee Bridge had produced charges of reckless driving and no valid driver’s license for a man court papers identified as Rolando Reyes.

“This was our first one,” said Irving C. Wright, clerk of the Richmond General District Court’s traffic division.

Yesterday, Reyes saw the reckless driving charge reduced to speeding but saw his costs explode.

Instead of being limited to fines and court costs of $317, Reyes had to pay $617 with the addition of the new $300 penalty fee.

And he’ll owe $600 more in coming months in two $300 installments, bringing the total to $1,217.

Had Reyes not had the reckless driving charge reduced, he could have been looking at a total of more than $2,200.

[…]

Besides the fact that out-of-state offenders don’t face the extra penalties, critics say, the fees most severely affect low-income traffic offenders, and collection efforts are expected to clog the courts and increase the number of cumbersome cases that involve defense lawyers.

“People will get lawyers hoping they can reduce the charges,” said Henrico General District Court Clerk Lawrence G. Sprader.

The state attorney general’s office argued to Yeatts yesterday that only a higher court can block the fees. Yeatts agreed, saying that a legal theory of seeking to bar the clerk’s office from collecting the fees is improper.

“The judge imposes the fee,” said Yeatts, noting that the judges control the actions of the clerk.

Windmueller said she and co-counsel Craig S. Cooley will likely take the case to the higher court, the county’s Circuit Court, before the end of the week. Traffic cases from the lower court that are subject to the fees are likely to reach circuit courts across the state, also, as the cases are appealed. That would produce scores of opportunities to challenge the law, lawyers familiar with traffic cases said yesterday.

[…]

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine has said he favors waiting for the regular session in January to make the fee structure more equitable.

If there’s a problem Governor, why wait?

Again, from the Richmond Times-Dispatch [photo credit: Virginia House of Delegates]: Delegate does U-turn, now opposes high fees:

Scott Lingamfelter Del. L. Scott Lingamfelter, R-Prince William, now says he opposes increased fees on bad drivers.

Del. L. Scott Lingamfelter, R-Prince William, who 12 days ago defended unsafe-driver fees, now says they should be repealed.

[…]

Lingamfelter declined to say whether the General Assembly should be called back into special session to repeal the bill. That is up to the leadership, he said, but if he came back to Richmond, he would vote for repeal.

Lingamfelter said the bill is “at best complicated.” It also should apply to all drivers, not just Virginians, he added. In addition, he said the fees should be focussed [sic] on curbing bad driving, not on repairing roads.

Twelve days ago, Lingamfelter wrote an op-ed article in which he defended the fees, saying only reckless drivers should be disturbed by them.

The House Democratic Caucus issued a news release yesterday calling Lingamfelter “flip-flop Scott.”

“He saw his support for the abusive-driving tax that exempts out-of-state drivers as hurting him politically, so he put political expediency above principle,” caucus spokesman Mark Bergman said.

A Democrat, William Day of Prince William, is opposing Lingamfelter in November.

Lingamfelter said “real leaders listen, learn and act. They do not name-call, which is what the Democrats do.”

So you admit you’re not a “real leader”? You appear to have listened and learned but where is your act? You’re sitting on your fat ass complaining. Why do you refuse to call for a special session? If there’s a problem Delegate, why wait?

Again, from the Richmond Times-Dispatch: Driver fees about to be tested in court:

An effort to stop Virginia’s new special fees for traffic offenses great and small will get another day in a Henrico County court this morning. Anthony Price has been found.

A legal team had said Tuesday that Price would serve as an important test case to overthrow the fees as unconstitutional. But Price, who lives in Henrico, didn’t show up for court. That left his lawyers, a judge, and a gaggle of media with no case, no ruling and no story.

But Price, located yesterday by a Times-Dispatch reporter, said that he believed his court date was today and he was unaware that a high-powered legal team was ready to defend him.

“Who?” Price said yesterday when asked if he’d been contacted by prominent trial lawyers Craig S. Cooley and Esther Windmueller.

Windmueller said her efforts to contact Price about court dates and her representation likely got lost in the mail.

[…]

Price got in touch with the lawyers yesterday, and Windmueller said he would appear at a General District Court hearing this morning.

Price is facing his fifth charge of driving on a suspended license. If convicted today, he faces $750 in penalty fees in addition to fines and court costs. He referred questions about his driving history to his lawyers.

But Price’s conviction, which his lawyers said they would appeal, would set in motion an effort to end the fees statewide.

A Henrico General District Court judge on Tuesday refused to consider legal arguments that the fees were unconstitutional because the motions were brought before the court independent of a defendant being charged with one of the offenses.

But Price does face a traffic charge affected by the new fees. If the judge rules that the fees are unconstitutional, the ruling will likely be appealed by the state.

The special fees went into effect July 1 and are just beginning to reach traffic courts. They apply to dozens of traffic infractions, from manslaughter to a failed turn signal. They have outraged tens of thousands of drivers.

[…]

A key constitutional issue centers on the fact that the higher fees do not apply to out-of-state drivers, even when they commit the same driving offenses as a Virginian.

One lawyer said yesterday that she would raise the argument that a person from another country, whether in Virginia illegally or on a visa, should not have to pay the fee, either.

The fees range from $3,000 for more-serious crimes such as vehicular manslaughter and felony unauthorized use of a motor vehicle to $900 for having below-standard tires or failing to wear a seat belt while operating a school bus, according to guidelines published by the state Supreme Court.

For now I give a reprieve for lawyers.

And this guy was president of an university?

See Previous Article.

From Fredericksburg.com: Report: Frawley drank cough syrup:

Former University of Mary Washington President William Frawley told a police officer he had consumed six bottles of cough medicine on the day of his April 11 arrest in Fredericksburg, court documents show.

The officer also smelled a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage, the police report states.

Frawley, 53, was charged in the city with driving under the influence and refusing a Breathalyzer test. He had been charged the previous day in Fairfax County with driving while intoxicated after flipping a vehicle owned by the UMW Foundation.

UMW’s board of visitors fired him “for cause” at the end of April. His trial in Fredericksburg General District Court had been scheduled for yesterday but was pushed back until Sept. 18.

He’s scheduled to appear in Fairfax General District Court on Sept. 21.

Fredericksburg Commonwealth’s Attorney Charles Sharp said prosecutors requested the delay because they’re still awaiting Frawley’s blood test results subpoenaed from Mary Washington Hospital.

You have to laugh when a newspaper gets a headline that incorrect. It should be something around the lines of “Frawley claims he drank cough syrup” and not a statement of fact that he did in fact drink cough syrup. And even if he was in fact under the influence of cough syrup he would still be guilty of driving under the influence, from Code of Virginia § 18.2-266 [emphasis mine]:

It shall be unlawful for any person to drive or operate any motor vehicle, engine or train […] while such person is under the influence of any narcotic drug or any other self-administered intoxicant or drug of whatsoever nature, or any combination of such drugs, to a degree which impairs his ability to drive or operate any motor vehicle, engine or train safely.

Criminal Complaint: pdficon_small

UPDATE 8:48 PM: They have now changed the headline after I left a comment.

Hmm…obviously an ongoing plot by Big Tobacco to advertise to kids…

From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Study: Anti-smoking ads have opposite effect on teens:

The more exposure middle school students have to anti-smoking ads, the more likely they are to smoke, according to a new University of Georgia study.

Hye-Jin Paek, an assistant professor at UGA, found that many anti-smoking ad campaigns have the opposite effect on teenagers, backfiring because they actually encourage the rebellious nature of youth.

“They don’t want to hear what they should do or not do,” Paek said. Instead, she said, ads should focus on convincing teens their friends are heeding the anti-smoking warning because peer pressure has the most direct effect.

Paek and co-author Albert Gunther from the University of Wisconsin-Madison examined surveys from 1,700 middle school students about their exposure to anti-smoking ads and their intention to smoke. The study will be published in the August issue of the journal “Communication Research.”

The study is the latest in a string of research showing that anti-smoking campaigns often have ad little to no impact on teens. In 2002, a study commissioned by an anti-smoking foundation found tobacco manufacturer Philip Morris’ youth anti-smoking campaign was making students more likely to smoke.

Paek said the data showed middle school students are more like to be influenced by the perception of what their friends are doing, and that anti-smoking campaigns should be more focused on peer relations.

“Rather than saying, ‘don’t smoke,’ it is better to say, “your friends are listening to this message and not smoking,” she said. “It doesn’t really matter what their peers are actually doing.”

Hmm…obviously an ongoing plot by Big Tobacco to advertise to kids. That court settlement is looking better and better everyday.

Nothing illegal here. Move along, move along…

From NBC 4 in Washington, D.C.: Lawyer For Jailed Priest Says Case Is A Church Matter:

The attorney for a Virginia Catholic priest suspected of stealing from two churches wants the theft charges dropped because he claims the matter is an internal church affair outside the legal system’s jurisdiction.

The Rev. Rodney L. Rodis faces 13 charges of stealing as much as $1 million while he was a pastor of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Bumpass and St. Jude Catholic Church in Mineral.

Rodis’ lawyer, John R. Maus, filed a motion in Louisa Circuit Court last week to dismiss the charges, arguing that the U.S. Constitution bans the government from interfering in church matters.

According to the motion filed, church law grants a pastor a certain authority to handle money for the two churches.

“Whether his use of such funds exceeded his authority as administrator of these parishes will necessarily involve this court in the interpretation and application of (church) law,” the motion states.

R. Don Short, Louisa County’s commonwealth’s attorney, disagrees. “I don’t think the fact that you’re a priest immunizes you from criminal prosecution,” he said.

[…]

Rodis is accused of stealing donations from 1995 until his retirement last year.

Parishioners have said that Rodis handled much of the donation money personally. Investigators claim he deposited some donation funds into a Fredericksburg bank account set up in the churches’ name without the congregations’ knowledge and used the money for other purposes.

[…]

William Etherington, a lawyer who represents the Richmond Diocese, thinks Maus’ argument is off base.

“I don’t think the First Amendment says that,” Etherington said.

He likened the argument to someone trying to claim that child-molestation cases should be handled as an internal church matter. “That’s crazy,” he said.

At least the church is smart enough to tell the lawyer to buzz off. The reverend (shouldn’t it be Father?) must really be guilty if this is the best a lawyer can come up with. What next, “the devil made me do it!”?

I’m guessing the phrase “equal protection” doesn’t mean anything to you… Part 2

See previous article

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch: Kaine, GOP united on traffic fines:

Virginians will have to put up with new, stiff fines for bad drivers at least until early next year.

[…]

They’re now immune because Kaine and lawmakers this year agreed the fines would be difficult to collect from non-Virginians — a feature of which some legislators said they were unaware.

Read the legislation I’m voting on? Parish the thought!

“Being for driver safety is a good thing,” said Kaine. “We need to study it in a deliberate way before we rush into it.”

What the hell kind of line is that? Is someone going to say they’re for bad driver safety? I’m sure these fines are going to slow people down on I-95.

Kaine and Howell, accompanied by transportation and safety advocates as well as the Republican majority leaders of the House and Virginia Senate, emphasized that Virginians need not fear the controversial fines if they drive safely.

Here’s hoping all of you get tickets, you corrupt asses.

Howell and Senate Majority Leader Walter A. Stosch, R-Henrico, suggested that bloggers, the news media and a confusing overview of the law on the Virginia Supreme Court Web site have contributed to public misunderstanding.

“Those damn bloggers! Exposing our actions like that!” Where have I heard that before?

“I don’t feel we dropped the [public relations] ball,” Howell said. “This has been a storm that no one anticipated.”

Because someone found out about it. You thought you could hide in your offices, vote on bills, and no one would notice what’s in them.

The unlikely display of bipartisanship at a state Capitol news conference was aimed at quelling a spreading voter revolt, largely via the Internet, that potentially threatens some legislators in fall elections for the House and Senate.

Unfortunately for me, no one is running against McDougle or Wittman.

[…]

A growing number of legislators, most of them Republicans, have urged Kaine to order the General Assembly into special session this summer to revise the penalties, some of which could cost drivers thousands of dollars over three years. Felony offenses, such as reckless driving, carry a $3,000 fine.

I thought you wanted them fix, Kaine, you lying bastard. You just want people to totally forget about it by next year. If there’s a problem, why wait?

House Majority Leader H. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, told reporters he believed the Virginia courts would rule that it is constitutional for the state to limit the penalties to Virginians. Griffith, a lawyer, who — like Albo — handles traffic cases, said the new law could cut into his business.

“We’re going to tell our clients, ‘Hey, I’m not going to challenge its constitutionality. You may want another lawyer,'” said Griffith. “It’s going to cost us a few clients.”

You’re so full of it. They’re going to hire you in the hope of being found not guilty or negotiating a plea deal for an amended charge you weasels.

Here’s hoping the people that voted for this get their asses kicked in November.


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