What is the Danziger Bridge trial? It's a momentous case of police misconduct right after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
Seventeen-year-old James Brissette was killed, and four others -- Jose Holmes, 19; his aunt, Susan Bartholomew, his uncle, Leonard Bartholomew III, and a teenage cousin, Lesha Bartholomew - were wounded. Two brothers, Lance and Ronald Madison, were walking on the bridge, and when they heard the gunfire began to run. The officers chased the brothers down, and injured Ronald, who was later fatally shot in the back as he tried to run away. Lance Madison was arrested and accused of firing at police.
The accusations against Lance Madison were later deemed to be part of a police cover up and dropped.
Seven officers were first indicted in state court in 2008, but federal authorities took the case over after a state judge dropped those initial charges.
In 2010, some of the officers took plea deals, and revealed details of a widespread cover-up that included fabricated witnesses, a planted gun and falsified reports.
So NOPD, with a long history of police corruption, admitted to their misdeeds. Even in the Crescent City, sometimes justice prevails.
Screech. Halt. Stop right there.
Justice may not have prevailed after all, despite sworn confessions of wrong-doing.
Despite witnesses and substantial evidence, plus the police confessions, THE BEAST reports Wednesday:
In a 129-page order, Judge Kurt Engelhardt granted a new trial for the former officers due to what he called “grotesque” misconduct by prosecutors. Englehardt charged prosecutors had created a “prejudicial, poisonous atmosphere” in the trial by posting anonymous comments on nola.com.
Prosecutorial misconduct now jeopardizes the efforts of the survivors of the families inflicted with their losses to get on with their lives. Justice needs to be served, and fairness must always be afforded the innocent, until proven guilty. But of all the states -- Louisiana which uses French law as it's basis -- among other legal anomalies means you're guilty unless proven innocent.
The legal system in Louisiana—unlike that of any other state—derives from the Civil Code established by the French emperor Napoleon in 1804.
From THE UPTOWN MESSENGER (a Louisiana regional magazine)
...in State v. Wischer, 2004-0325 (La. App. 4 Cir. 9/22/04), 885 So.2d 602, another panel of the Fourth Circuit found the opposite, holding that the burden of proof was on the defendant to prove self-defense by a preponderance of the evidence.
The Wischer standard means that any criminal defendant claiming self-defense is effectively guilty until proven innocent, and that the determining issue is decided according to the narrowest of standards – the jury can only feel that the defendant’s guilt has been proven to 51% certainty, and it is still supposed to render a guilty verdict.
So, once again the court will hear a case that on the surface seemed to have been deemed adjudicated and closed. How much nicer it would have been if new evidence was the cause of this retrial, and not poor judgement on the prosecution's side. It'll be interesting to see if the outcome of the second trial is any different from the first.
Here's some video from the Time Picayune which summarizes the most recent turn of events. Does this sound like reason to grant a new trial, or a reason to strictly try the prosecutors for misconduct? Does make you wonder, especially if you were one of the victims or their family.
Every year our family likes to go somewhere for vacation as a unit. It's our family time -- and for that I'm always thankful. When I get the tab, Dad's always seem to be the one who do the paying, I sometimes grimace. But being together as a family is the highlight of our year.
Schedules being what they are we have to plan long in advance. And there's a lot to take into consideration, once we pick a time. Is it going to be too cold, too hot, a monsoon or hurricane season. So timing enters into it. But we do like exotic so there's a few more considerations along with will there be anything fun to do there once we arrive.
We usually determine our final selection by a system of elimination. When you remove places you've already been to or don't wish to go to, you easily pare down your choices. As Sherlock Holmes used to say, eliminate everything that can't be, and you're left with is what is. (that's a paraphrase). So thankfully, there's a new list out to help us chose where to go, or in this case, where not to visit and why. It's the annual Most Dangerous Countries on Earth list which has just been released. So if you find yourself looking for your next vacation spot, consult this list first. You may be surprised:
#1 Johannesburg, South Africa - Our family actually has friends who live there. But here's why we're crossing that off of our list: This country has been described as the ‘rape capital of the world’, with 118.3 rapes per 100,000 people. Not only is the high incidence of rape bad news for visitors, but there's also an incredibly high murder rate. This country consistently has one of the highest homicide rates in the world.
#2 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Wow, I'd always heard of the Carnaval and the beaches, partying. Sounded like a contender until I read: Street crime is rampant in parts of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo, and it is common for tourists to have their lives threatened for their valuables. I can live with having my watch boosted, but not my life threatened.
#3 Cartegena, Columbia. We actually went there, and I did get attacked when an anti-American rally broke out. Not because I was there'; just because...Colombia is truly a lawless state. It's the world capital for kidnappings. There were 12,338 in 2011. Of these 1,138 were killed by their kidnappers. Fourth in the world for murder rates with 69.98 per 100,000 people in 2011, many of those killed were local mayors, dozens being killed every year. In the states we vote officials out of office. In Cartegena, they carry them out, in body bags. Oh, and let's not forget Colombia supplies 75% of the worlds supply of cocaine.
Well, I guess we'll have to do some more looking around, maybe pick a nice safe spot in the States. One thing's for sure, it won't be Chicago, New Orleans, Detroit, St.Louis, Baltimore, Birmingham, Newark, Oakland, Cleveland or Memphis. Those are Americas ten deadliest cities.
You know, maybe we'll just stay home this year, have a big barbecue. I mean, what can go wrong in L.A.?
Story that goes with this image is here.
The bad news: There was yet another mass shooting, one of the victims being a 10-year-old girl who was grazed and thankfully is in good condition. The good news: There were no deaths.
Happy Mother's day:
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Gunmen opened fire on dozens of people marching in a Mother's Day neighborhood parade in New Orleans on Sunday, wounding at least 17 people, police said.
Sadly, yesterday, there was another shooting of one small child by another. Via TPM:
A five-year-old boy in Denton, Texas was left in critical condition after he was shot in the head by his eight-year-old friend Saturday morning. According to the Denton Record-Chronicle, the police said the two boys were alone in the bedroom when the older child found a .22 caliber rifle, pointed it at the other boy, and shot him.
The boy is in critical condition.
Garry Trudeau continues his wickedly satirical story arc about the George W. Bush “lie-bury." Previously, he skewered W and his House O' Coloring Books and Propaganda in these posts: Doonesbury, Rachel Maddow and the Bush Lie-Bury: “You’re a top decisioner!” “Way to go, wusses!” and Doonesbury– Bush Lie-Bury “Decision Points” Option 2: “Fly over flooded city and look out window with concern.”
Melissa Harris-Perry didn’t hold back either, both in this terrific Maddow Show video, and now in a segment from her own show:
Melissa nailed it:
Dear President George W. Bush,
It’s me, Melissa.
Congratulations on the opening of your library. Now maybe you’ll go inside one. [...]
[A]s a resident of post-Katrina New Orleans, the one decision point that really has me fired up is how your library represents the choices you faced in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. [...]
Looting was the big problem?
As much as 80% of the city was flooded. Nearly a thousand Louisiana residents died, many in their own homes, drowned by storm surges that breached inadequate federal levees. Many thousands more were trapped in the Superdome and Convention Center for days without food, medicine, water, electricity, or working bathrooms.
And you were trying to figure out whether or not to quell an insurrection? These people were Americans, Mr. President. [...]
I am glad that you are slowing down, catching your breath and finding a way to live life to the fullest. In the meantime, tens of thousands of New Orleanians are still trying to find a way home, still displaced by the policies of your administration, still reeling from the failures of your decisions.
But hey, “Heckuva job, Dubya.”
If you missed Doonesbury, Rachel Maddow and the Bush Lie-Bury: “You’re a top decisioner!” “Way to go, wusses!" then please link over, because Rachel Maddow was nearly as snarky as Trudeau was in his strip.
As the inimitable Garry Trudeau continues his wickedly satirical story arc about the George W. Bush "lie-bury", Melissa Harris-Perry didn't hold back either. She hosted The Rachel Maddow Show last night, and full-on skewered W in this segment:
What is the Decision Point that the Bush library asks you to confront when it comes to Hurricane Katrina? A disaster in which nearly 2,000 Americans died, many in their own homes. What's the Decision Point that's laid before you at the Bush library?
"Officials in New Orleans are overwhelmed. The president can send in troops, but those troops would serve in supporting roles and state efforts and would not have law enforcement powers unless the president invokes what's called the Insurrection Act. President Bush had to make a choice: One, rely on the National Guard and local police. Two, send in federal troops in a supporting role with no law enforcement authority.
Three, invoke the Insurrection Act and send in troops to restore order."
Excuse me, restoring order was the problem when it it came to Hurricane Katrina, seriously? The main dilemma faced by President Bush when it came to the government's response to Hurricane Katrina was quelling disorder?
The Bush library takes you through this whole scenario about how to deal with the problem of looters and how to restore law and order in New Orleans. That is the Decision Point. No mention at all of, you know, search and rescue.
Eight years later, the people of New Orleans, who were basically left to starve and dehydrate and die in our city, mostly elderly people and children, eight years later, these people are memorialized at the Bush library as public enemies, not as citizens who were in need of relief....
So it should be noted that the level of urgency that's on display inside Decision Point Theater was not so much on display when it came to the decider himself.
This was President Bush, the morning that Katrina made landfall, sharing a cake with John McCain in Arizona! This was after his administration had already been informed that levees in New Orleans had been breached. This was President Bush on Day Two of the disaster, yukking it up with the country music star in Southern California.
That night as the situation was growing worse and worse in New Orleans, George W. Bush decided to return to his ranch in Crawford, Texas to finish up his vacation.
When he finally headed back to D.C. the next day, President Bush got an aerial view of the damage in Louisiana and Mississippi.
But by Friday, five days into that disaster, his aides at the White House were putting together DVDs of news coverage to convince President Bush how bad things were in New Orleans. During those five days,
President Bush was not "on the edge of his seat" as the Bush library would like you to believe. He was basically checked out. That's the real history.
The truth is, the American people have already decided how they felt about President Bush's leadership during Katrina, and while his approval ratings before Katrina weren't that impressive, they never recovered afterwards.
15 months after the failed response, Democrats took control of the House. They took control of the Senate. and they took a majority of gubernatorial seats across the country. The public has already decided.
But, hey, if you're in Dallas this weekend, you've got some time, go see how President Bush "saved" a city from disaster, and "restored a sense of calm" in all of the disorder.
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Kuwaiti Citizen Detained at Guantanamo since 2002
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