This Rapper's Ultra Violent Lyrics Should Never Have Been Used Against Him in Attempted Murder Trial

Categories: Trials

liquidbonez via flickr
Vonte Skinner has been in jail for almost ten years. In a way, the fact that he's been locked up so long is a testament to the power of his own words; it's also, as the New Jersey Supreme Court wrote today, a complete injustice.

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NYPD Testifies In Trial of Cecily McMillan, Occupy Wall Street Protester Accused of Assaulting Cop

McMillan talks with one of her lawyers, Martin Stolar, after court Monday
On Friday, the trial of Occupy Wall Street protester Cecily McMillan began, more than two years after she's accused of assaulting NYPD officer Grantley Bovell during a March 17, 2012 demonstration at Zuccotti Park. Jury selection took the better part of a week, as both sides had difficulty finding jurors who didn't have opinions about the Occupy movement. Testimony began late Friday; this morning, court was almost immediately interrupted when supporters of McMillan entered the courtroom wearing pink paper hearts on their lapels. After the hearts were confiscated by court security, Officer Bovell finally took the stand for the first part of his testimony, telling the jury that McMillan deliberately elbowed him in the face as he was trying to escort her from the park.

McMillan and her attorneys, Martin Stolar and Rebecca Heinegg, don't disagree that she elbowed Bovell, but say she was doing so instinctively, in self-defense, not knowing he was a police officer. During opening statements, Heinegg told the jury of of 10 women and five men that McMillan, now 25, is known by other activists "for her commitment to non-violence." The incident occurred, Heinegg said, as McMillan was stopping by Zucotti Park during a night out celebrating St. Patrick's Day with out-of-town friends. She only elbowed Bovell after he suddenly grabbed her from behind by her right breast and yanked her backwards, "leaving the shape of a handprint" on her body.

"Reacting to being grabbed by a stranger is not a crime," Heinegg told the jury.

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Diane McCloud, Long Island Woman, Denied Heart Transplant After Stealing from CVS

Earlier this year, Judge Francis Ricigliano showed sympathy for ailing 47 year-old Diane McCloud, who was serving 15-months in jail for petit larceny. He suspended her sentence in order for her to get on a heart transplant waiting list. The Daily News reports that McCloud appeared in front of Ricigliano again this Friday for stealing $500 worth of items from a CVS in July. The Judge rescinded the original suspension and sent her back to jail, tacking on an additional 6 months to her prior 15-month sentence. While in jail, McCloud won't be eligible for Medicaid, which means her hopes of getting a heart transplant are over.

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Jake Davis, Alleged LulzSec Leader, Released on Bail

Jake Davis, an 18 year-old believed by Scotland Yard to be the leader of the hacker group LulzSec, was released on bail this morning. He appeared at a City of Westminster Magistrates' Court wearing "jeans, a black T-shirt, denim shirt and sunglasses," the Telegraph reports. Prosecutors say that Davis had a collection of 750,000 personal passwords on his home network of 16 computers.

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Levi Aron Home Dismantled For Evidence in Murder of Leiby Kletzky

The Kensington home of 35-year-old Levi Aron was again the focus of investigators in the case of 8-year-old Brooklyn boy Leiby Kletzky, who Aron admitted to killing last week. The circumstances of the boy's smothering and the disposal of his body are still mysterious, with no evidence yet public that Aron molested the boy, but instead, indications that Aron is "simple-minded" and has a "fondness" for children; panic over the missing persons signs may have led to the killing after Aron abducted the lost child. Sunday, police removed furniture from the home Aron shared with his father, uncle and step-mother including a couch, carpet and two chairs, in addition to two mattresses taken earlier in the weekend. Meanwhile, Leiby's father Nachman Kletzky told City Councilman Brad Lander that he's concerned about the safety of the neighborhood: "He's thinking about what we could do about security cameras to make sure there are no more Leibys." [NYP]

DSK Told Cops He Had Diplomatic Immunity, Wanted Eggs for Breakfast

According to court papers released Thursday, former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, now being held under house arrest for allegedly sexually assaulting a Sofitel Hotel maid, told the cops that he had diplomatic immunity following his removal from an Air France flight to Paris at JFK. The document released chronicles the moments from the afternoon on May 14 that Strauss-Kahn called the Sofitel from JFK airport about his forgotten cell phone to his interception at JFK and through his initial questioning -- it goes until 9:50 p.m. on May 15. It's a rather fascinating look into the police process.

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Catherine London and Marcella Caprario Can't Let Trader Joe's Fight Go; Both Take to Internet

Dr. Catherine London was slapped in the face by Marcella Caprario at the Upper West Side Trader Joe's after a verbal tussle involving London's 13-year-old son, Caprario's husband and some vegan Pad Thai. This week, Caprario, who never denied hitting London but refused a plea bargain, was found not guilty in Manhattan court of assault. London, now with her pride stinging instead of her face, turned to a message board to vent: "Well I guess I should have decked her as the judge found her NOT GUILTY!!!!" she wrote on (members only), as reported by the New York Post. "I guess it is ok to hit someone if you feel they invade your personal space . . . wow." Caprario also took some time to responded to the verdict -- in the Village Voice comments section.

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Garrett Mannerz, New York Cop, Accused of Groping Woman Then Asking Her on a Date

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A police officer in Nassau County, Long Island pleaded not guilty yesterday to sexually abusing a woman, receiving a bribe and official misconduct. Garrett Mannerz allegedly pulled over three women and gave the driver a sobriety test before removing a passenger and offering to let them go if she "did something for him." She claims he proceeded to grab her hand, forcing her to touch him sexually in his patrol car. Then he let them go. Later, the woman alleges, he called her repeatedly, spoke sexually and requested a date, but she recorded the conversation and turned him in. Though that might seem like slam-dunk evidence, remember that so-called "rape cop" Kenneth Moreno was on tape ensuring his accuser that he at least wore a condom on the night she was too drunk to get home without NYPD assistance. Moreno went on to argue that he never had sex with the woman who claimed he raped her and was, of course, ruled innocent. [WSJ, NYDN]

Dominique Strauss-Kahn Accuser Gets New York Times Profile to Stress Her Simplicity

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The New York Times traveled to Guinea, West Africa, to profile the woman who on May 14 accused then-head of the International Monetary Fund Dominique Strauss-Kahn of groping her, attempting to rape her and forcing her to perform oral sex in his hotel room. Much was made about the victim's identity in the initial swirl of interest around the case, with the U.S. press protecting her name and the French press, which was often sympathetic to their potential future president, airing out the details of her life right away. But as the trial approaches, Strauss-Kahn's defense claims in court that they possess "substantial information" that will "gravely undermine her credibility." Thanks to a fair Times portrait, that seems unlikely. For starters, as far as that damning evidence goes, "They have not provided any details."

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Jorge Arbaje-Diaz, Legendarily Crooked Cop, Gets 20 Years for Sticking Up Gangs

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Former NYPD officer Jorge Arbaje-Diaz was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Tuesday for living his life like Denzel Washington in Training Day. The cop would wear his uniform and use his badge and gun to rob gangs of epic amounts of drugs and profit. The judge in the case rejected a plea deal that would've given Arbaje-Diaz only 10 years because of the dirty officer's "untrammeled, unlimited, unchecked greed" and violation of public trust. Arbaje-Diaz also held "children at gunpoint," the Post reports. "You are the poster boy for a sentence that will deter others from the kinds of acts you engaged in," said the judge. From 2003-2008, Arbaje-Diaz stole over 1,650 pounds of cocaine and $4 million from dealers. [NYP]