Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mark Jensen 2008 Murder Conviction Affirmed !

On December 29, 2010 the Wisconsin Supreme Court of Appeal filed their decision in  Mark Jensen's appeal of his 2008 conviction for the 1998 murder of his wife, Julie Jensen.

In it's decision the court stated, "Mark D. Jensen appeals from a judgment of conviction for the first-degree intentional homicide of his wife Julie Jensen contrary to Wis. Stat.  Jensen presents many arguments on appeal, none of which persuade. We affirm."

I included a link to the court's decision above for those anxious to read the decision for themselves. I do intend to write more about the ruling, after pondering it a few more times. It is lengthy. I just wanted to let you know that Mark Jensen's conviction and life sentence stands!

This case's status is now listed as PR, Pending Remittitur, due by January 28,2011.
(PR is case status indicating that a decision has been issued and the case is waiting for the case record, where one was filed, to be returned to the circuit court, or the file to be closed, if there is no case record.)

Given that the loss of Julie's life so outweighs any victory this ruling provides to Special Prosecutor Robert Jambois and his co-counsel Angelina Gabriele or Julie's loved ones, I don't know if congratulations are appropriate, but I hope that they all will have a long earned respite from the stress of this quest for justice that's been battled for over a decade. You have all done Julie's memory justice!
I will never forget the statement given by the prosecution after Jensen's conviction in 2008 and want to share it with you:

The Associated Press reports that Mark Jensen's attorney, Christopher Rose, says he'll ask the state Supreme Court to take the case.....not a big surprise. Sphere: Related Content

Friday, December 10, 2010

Will It Be a Cookie or a Kookie Defense? Continuing.... The Justice For Caylee Anthony Saga- UPDATED

There has been talk throughout the kingdom in the mainstream media and on the internet about what defense strategy Casey's 'Ever Changing' Defense Dream Team plans to use when / if this case goes to trial in May 2011. I personally don't envision Casey Anthony agreeing to any plea bargain, but for those that do, just for the purposes of this post, let's assume this case is going to trial. :) Because of  FL's Sunshine laws, the media's extensive coverage of the discovery, and Casey's media-shy defense team we've been given more than a few clues as to possible strategies that might be used to defend "Princess Casey" from the state's evil henchmen.

It's so ironic that even though neither Cheney Mason or Jose Baez seem to miss a chance to 'court the press' from the courthouse steps, they don't like the media and public speculating about their case...... screw that.... I haven't ventured into the Anthony kingdom for a while so it's time to check in.....and I have some thoughts I want to share about Casey Anthony's possible defenses based on what we know from all those clues :)

Princess Casey's newest minion er.. advocate, Ann Finnell, filed a motion on November 23 that attempts to seal the names of the defense' mitigation witnesses (those who they would call to testify in the penalty phase if Casey is convicted of capital murder). Judge Perry ruled at the hearing on November 29 that the penalty phase witness list would be temporarily sealed until December 20, when the media could respond as they had not been served a notice of hearing . Ann Finnell noticed the media in her Amended Notice of Hearing, so her motion to seal can be heard on December 20, at 1:30 PM. I personally have no position as to how Judge Perry rules on Miss Finnell's motion, but I do hope to be able to attend that hearing in person :) I hear it's a popular Florida tourist attraction.

This past week, Jose Baez has been dancing around Judge Perry's recent order for them to disclose information to the state about their expert witnesses. Jeff Ashton felt it necessary to file A Motion For Clarification/To Compel Compliance With Order For Additional Discovery   after  Jose Baez e-mailed him a list of their expert witnesses with just their mailing addresses and "field of their anticipated testimony", purporting to Ashton he was in compliance with the court's order. The judge's ruling, in response to the state's original Motion To Compel Additional Discovery, ordered the defendant to provide, as to it's expert witnesses, " the subject matter of what they will be testifying to and their area of expertise."  Ashton's motion includes a stream of e-mails exchanged between him and Baez over the course of an hour from the time he received the first e-mail from Baez until Jose eventually wrote some snarky comments on the original email prompting Ashton to write the new motion to clarify/compel. I recommend reading the motion for yourself but here is an example from the list:
                                     DR HENRY LEE (criminalist: He inspected the car and was at the evidence
          inspection and inspected the scene.ALL OF WHICH YOU ALREADY KNOW)

University of New Haven
    Forensic Science Program
300 Orange Avenue
West Haven, CT 05616

Despite Jeff Ashton's efforts to remain professional in the e-mails, Baez comes off as making boyish taunts. My interpretation of what Baez is really saying , " nanabooboo......I know something that you don't and I'm going to stretch this out as long as I can because I like to see you squirm." Whatever....not the first time a lawyer acted childish, I do give kudos to Mr. Ashton for staying on task. One more thing....does anyone else find it hysterical that Dr. Lee's address is Orange Avenue? Cracked me up when I saw that, life can throw out  some funny shit! (see update below for how the court resolved this issue)

Of course the defense has no obligation to put on a "defense" of any kind. It's the prosecution's burden to prove the capital murder charges against Casey Marie Anthony, 25, for the 2008 murder of her two year old daughter, Caylee Marie Anthony. Some say the "best defense" would be to try to raise doubt about the credibility of as many of the state's witnesses as they can, whether it be the experts, law enforcement or civilians and stay away from too much of the "Casey's innocent" jazz or trying to defend her lies, that's a losing battle.

I see the defense also filed their Amended Defense Expert Witness List  last week. Strangest looks just like the list Baez sent to Jeff Ashton except instead of their area of expertise in parenthesis next to their names, on this list, it just says (EXPERT). Goodness.....they put a lot of effort into complying with the judge's order, didn't they? At any rate, It looks like Casey should have a mighty enough round table to wage this battle without having to blame someone else for killing Caylee......although I won't be the least bit surprised for the defense to go there. Their main goal should be to save Casey's life. But rumors are swirling that Casey Anthony's defense may want a win bad enough to forsake another for their beloved princess. ~ alas we shall see what the future holds ~

From the civilian portion of the state's witnesses, George, Cindy and Lee are most likely to be thrown under the bus. Actually, if damaging the Anthony's credibility is part of the strategy, gauging from the things Casey said about her family to her pen pal Robyn and Cindy Anthony's behavior in the courtroom along with the letters she's written to Casey in jail, "the plan"  has already been implemented. I do have sympathy for the Anthonys, they have suffered great losses, but regardless, I don't believe much they have to say. I just don't buy, even for a second, that Cindy believes Caylee is still alive.

I also don't see any benefit to the defense for Cindy to say that under oath other than to hurt her own credibility.....although the thought crossed my mind that the damage to her credibility may be just a bonus of claiming Caylee is alive. It seemed to me she may have even caught the defense off gaurd with that one. What occurred to me is Cindy was awarded disability payments through her job over 2 years ago because of the emotional trauma she was going through. I want to be clear it's not for me to judge whether Cindy's current mental disposition qualifies her for disability or not, that's for her doctor and whoever pays her the benefits to decide. Private LTD insurance companies  usually evaluate clients at least once a year to determine ongoing eligibility for benefits.....if they don't believe her by golly, she can just direct them to the tape of that hearing....the whole world knows she's crazy. LOL just saying...

Enough catching up, I'd like to talk defense strategy. For your convenience (and mine) I separated these defense strategies into two categories, the Cookie Defense Category and Kookie Defense Category.

 Defenses falling into the Cookie Defense Category are ones that were brought up in Casey's jailhouse letters to 'Cookie' aka Robyn Adams.
They are really excuses more than defenses but they're possibly very helpful to the defense team when preparing mitigation. I know we're supposed to believe this correspondence with Cookie is nothing more than the result of boredom and the need for human contact, but it may also be Casey's way of taking control, writing these contraband letters. I'm not saying these letters were 'intended for release' but she is smart enough to know it's a possibility......besides if they did get least she gets to talk, something Casey complained about during the last jailhouse visit with her parents. "NOBODY IS LETTING ME TALK!" A lot of the stuff Casey wrote did seem to be just bored chatter, but oddly enough, out of the many letters that Casey wrote to 'Cookie' she managed to condense most of the 'good stuff' into one eleven page letter. How convenient :)  From here out I'll just refer to those 11 pages as 'the cookie letter'.

Even though "the nanny did it" defense has been a leading 'contender' for a Casey Anthony defense since the first day Caylee was reported missing, the defense have been kinda stuck with this defense since the princess came up with that fable before she thought she "needed" a lawyer. For some reason the cookie letter seems to let the nanny off the Zany kidnapped Caylee but according to Casey she wasn't responsible.....for something??? : ( On page 10 of the cookie letter, Casey wrote, "You want to know something? I know that Caylee's nanny, the "real" Zenaida, the girl who was my friend for 4 years, I know in my heart that she's not responsible and I don't blame her for not showing her face.

Casey continued rambling to Cookie, would you be wanting to sit here with me for something you didn't do? Considering the circumstances, you technically are and it sucks and I know this goes without saying, but outside of myself and my legal team, not a soul knows this. I was going to take Caylee and move away. Unfortunately, my plans got beyond tangled when Zany wouldn't tell me where she and Cays were. I had asked her to take Cays for a few days so I could put the rest of our stuff together, money I had saved, new clothes, new everything. That's why I waited to report her missing, because she was and she wasn't. 

See...maybe Casey wasn't lying about a Zany (She just wasn't willing to give all of the details to help get her missing daughter back?) and see.....there was a reason for not reporting Caylee missing. Jose said there would be compelling reasons for that. NOT!

Another 'Casey clue' to a cookie defense are the sexual abuse allegations Casey made against her brother Lee and father George on pages 8 and 9 of the cookie letter. Once again, I don't think these allegations are helpful as a defense in the guilt phase, but may come in handy for mitigation. Here are some exerpts from those pages:

Anthony stated in the letters that she's an emotional wreck and said she was sexually abused."I woke up night after night with my sports bra lifted over my chest or if I had a regular bra, it would be unhooked," Anthony wrote. She claimed her brother would walk into her room at night and feel her breasts."This went on for over three years before I finally stood up to Lee and told him if he ever came in my room again, I'd kill him," Anthony said she informed her mother about the incidents, but that Cindy Anthony turned on her."When I told my mom about it two years ago, she made excuses, saying that he was sleepwalking. Not only did she say I was lying, but when I explained everything, her reaction was literally like a knife in my chest: So that's why you're a whore?"  

Anthony also claimed she thought her father, George Anthony, did the same things to her when she was much younger. She wrote," Over the past few months, I've been having really vivid dreams, and it's obvious that they are dreams of things that have already happened. I think my dad used to do the same thing to me. I can see him in my room, exactly the way it was when I was in elementary school and everything gets fuzzy. But I wake up feeling both sore and sick to my stomach, the way I used to feel growing up. Maybe that's part of the reason I have so much anxiety with my parents."

I think the content of these jailhouse letters do reflect some mental illness issues but not to the legal definition of insanity.  While being sexually abused as a child doesn't excuse killing your child, this little tidbit could be compelling evidence if there is a penalty phase. Childhood sexual abuse could go a long way in mitigating Casey's promiscious behavior before and after Caylee's disappearance, an explanation that might 'soften' the defendant a bit.....make her life worth saving. Having said all that, IMO, the abuse allegations Casey made against George and Lee seem contrived to me......but then I can't think of a single instance where Casey Anthony has told the truth. Can you? It's all the world as Casey sees it.

The second category is the Kookie Defense Category.The defenses in a Kookie Defense category are those that are well....kookie!

The most popular Kookie defenses  is the "Somebody Else Did It Defense". Roy Kronk has been a strong contender for blame since he reported finding Caylee's skull and ultimately her remains on Suburban drive. At the last hearing when asked about their pending Motion in Limine, defense counsel advised the court they would make a decision that day whether they would withdraw it and refile it closer to trial. In Judge Perry's order on his rulings from the hearing on November 29,  the court advised the defense to carefully consider before withdrawing  their Motion in Limine to Introduce Prior Bad Acts and Other Circumstantial Evidence pertaining to Roy Kronk, reminding them of the established deadline for hearing motions. It's all malarky anyway. I tried without success to look up the date of deadline for hearing motions. Anyone know off hand?

When asking the court for more investigative hours, Casey's defense was forced to admit they have spent over $8,000 on a investigation (fishing expedition) to find a searcher from TES who will say they searched the exact spot on Suburban that Caylee's remains were found. If they can get someone to say they searched that area when Casey was in jail and Caylee wasn't there ....they would prove Casey couldn't have put her there.....but that doesn't mean she didn't kill her and someone else put her there. This all goes back to the battle of the experts....not some anonymous searcher.

According to WFTV,  On December 6, Casey Anthony's defense received more evidence from prosecutors in her murder case. Among the 119 pages of documents are Texas EquuSearch documents from volunteer Laura Buchanan. Buchanan is under investigation by the Orange County Sheriff's Office for allegedly falsifying documents to help Casey. She claims she and others searched the woods, three months before Caylee's remains were found there, and found nothing. Investigators say the area was under water at that time.

Judge Perry has ruled the defense must give the state a list of witnesses, as a result of the EquuSearch document review, by December 31 and any depositions of those witnesses must be completed by March 2011. Casey Anthony's defense team claims to have found 150 new EquuSearch witnesses who searched the exact area months before where Caylee Anthony's remains were found and sent its private investigator, Jeremy Lyons, to talk to them. Yep,that's where that $8,000 went, and get this.....Assistant State's Attorney Linda Drane Brudick told the judge the number of new possible witnesses was greatly exaggerated publicly by the defense."When I asked Mr. Mason about that he told me he believed there would be 6 to10 individuals that may qualify as having relevant information." More malarky!

Another person who is a strong candidate ( and Cindy Anthony's personal favorite)  for scapegoat  is Jessie Grund, Casey's onetime fiance and suspected baby daddy. I think he has been on Cindy and Casey's shit list ever since he had a DNA test done that proved he wasn't Caylee's father.....some think the reason Casey went to the Grund's home, before anyone realized that Caylee was missing, was to try and get some evidence to plant and incriminate Jessie for Caylee's death. In the Cookie letter Casey mentioned that Jose had tried to get some DNA from Jessie.....wisely he didn't comply. There are rumors swirling about other attempts to gather DNA and finger prints from Jessie but I'll leave that subject be for now, until we see what comes of the allegations. If Jessie's DNA or prints are found on the shorts and blanket (?) that the defense sent out for testing recently we will likely hear more,  until then........

The princess is growing her hair....
a back up plan in the making....
lest the jury of her peers doesn't buy....
the kookie defense her dream team is taking.   

update 12/ 10
There was a hearing at 5pm est for the court to clarify it's order of November 29 which directed the defense to share more information with the state about their expert witnesses. The hearing was scheduled to respond to the state's motion to clarify/compel filed by ASA Jeff Ashton yesterday, after an hour of back and forth emailing with Jose Baez. Judge Perry was a few minutes late....made them wait. He's a man of few words, he just asked a few questions and made a new ruling and the hearing was over.. His ruling, as your can see below was short and sweet:

"Since ya'll can't seem to agree and can't seem to understand what I meant the last time. This is what I'm going to do," Judge Perry said less than 15 minutes into the hearing. "Where experts have not prepared reports of examinations or tests, both the state and the defense are required to provide the following … the expert's curriculum vitae, qualifications of experts, the expert's field of expertise or medical specialty, a statement of the specific subjects upon which the expert will testify and offer opinions, the substance of the facts to which the expert is expected to testify, and last but not least, a summary of the expert's opinion and grounds for each opinion … All of this must be completed by 3pm on December 23."

Those questions the judge asked said it all.......he made certain it would be clear who had the most homework to do....and did so without engaging in the tit for tat of the matter. Kudos to the court! Why is it that every step this defense team takes turns out to be just plain 'kookie' ?
Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Stacy Barker Wants To Make A Deal......

As I'm writing, snuggled up in a blanket in front of the computer, I can hear the wind howling outside, bringing us our first Midwest snowstorm for the Winter of 2010/11. The forecast isn't for a big storm, but you never "really" know what the wind is going to 'blow in' until after it has blown. For anyone not familiar with Midwest Winter, the wind doesn't have to bring new snow to be devastating, the accumulation of snow drifts caused by the wind are often harder to overcome than fresh fallen snow. Even so, my mind isn't so much on the storm outside, but the "storm" that seems to be brewing  out in Lancaster, CA in the Stacey Barker murder case.

Stacey Barker, 25, is charged (2nd degree) with murdering  her 18 month old daughter Emma on March 18, 2009. She is also charged with one count each of (273ab.) assault on a child causing death and (273a). felony child abuse. Barker has pled not guilty to all of the charges.

 Even though this case is being played out in the CA high desert the storm outside seems relevant, because following a
criminal case reminds me of the uncertainty of watching a winter storm in progress....You can try to "forecast"  what the outcome of a criminal case might be (through the discovery and case law), but you never know for certain what the result will be until it's over. Much like the wind continuing to blow throughout a storm, the criminal investigation can continue until the case is settled either by trial or a plea bargain. The investigation may not uncover new evidence, but like the wind blowing that old snow (and possibly new) to make a drift, the accumulation of evidence that supports each other can be as damaging as a single admission. This scenario may well be what determines the outcome of the Stacey Barker murder seems the defense may have realized they are stuck in a drift and are trying to dig themselves out.

if only.....
The hearing on December 3 was short. Once again, after confirming with both parties that they agree to stay in his court, Superior Court Judge Hayden Zackey allowed for another continuance. Judge Zackey said, " The next hearing will be on December 17..... adding....for what we were to do today ". Sorry, I can't tell you WHAT they were supposed to do today because recently much court business has been conducted in chambers .....kind of makes it hard to forecast anything.  A couple detectives (Nava was one) and a uniformed sheriff' deputy were in court today and were told to return on the 17th. A note of interest... we haven't seen or heard anything more about the defense experts that  required the trial to be delayed in September. What's up with that? Well anyway.....Zackey continued, " It's my understanding the parties are having an ongoing discussion regarding this case....we'll see if those discussions are fruitful on December 17th" adding, "Kelly will make a will make a motion, right?" Cromer agreed. If an agreement can't be reached and this goes to trial, January 7 will be a pre-trial hearing and Zackey said it will start 0 of 59.

The Saturday morning headline of the Antelope Valley Press (AVP) reads,"  Baby Barker's Mom Seeks Plea Deal!" Craig Currier of AVP reports that Deputy District Attorney (DDA) Kelly Cromer declined to comment about the specifics of the deal; however, she said she was approached before the hearing on December 3, by Stacy Barker's Public Defender, Roberto F. Dager, about the possibility of resolving this case without a trial.  Cromer also told the AVP the state has until December 17 to decide whether they will negotiate with the defendant's attorney or take this case to trial. If a plea agreement isn't reached, Cromer said this should go to trial in early February.

The state is under no obligation to accept a deal....word on the street is.....  the state has already turned down the defense offer.....we've also heard, but can't confirm, that Stacy Barker is willing to plead guilty to Involuntary Manslaughter and one of the 273 (we assume that is the felony child abuse charge 273a) in exchange for a twenty year sentence with 2 strikes and time served (subtract 20 months and don't forget good-time) . I only bring up the unconfirmed deal (consider it scuttlebutt) as a jumping off point to start a discussion....Do you think the state should negotiate or take this case to a jury? What type of deal do you think the state could make that would be justice in this case?

According to Wikipedia, "Plea bargains are so common in the Superior Courts of California that the Judicial Council of California has published an optional seven-page form (containing all mandatory advisement required by federal and state law) to help prosecutors and defense attorneys reduce such bargains into written plea agreements. Click here to see a PDF of the form, it's interesting.(Thanks LCM)

 This isn't the first discussion of a plea.Earlier this year, there was mention of an offer to settle and Deputy District Attorney Kelly Cromer was overheard saying in the courtroom, " The only deal I'll accept is 15 to life." Obviously, there wasn't a deal made. I wonder....was Dager just blowing smoke up DDA Cromer's skirt to see how strong of a case the state felt they had or was he just trying to see what color her panties were? LOL jk We will never know that answer for sure, but at the next hearing  DDA Kelly Cormer presented through the discovery process some CD's that consist of taped visits with civilians that went to see Barker in jail and some letters to and from another inmate at the jail....can you hear the whistling wind? I can and it's whistling "Erin Sutton". Whoooweoooo.....the wind can blow from all directions.

Did PD Dager forget to forecast a warning to his client........prisoners have no rights to privacy....or did she just not heed his warning? The content of the communication Barker has engaged in with her visitors or fellow inmates hasn't been made public, but I'd think it can't be good for the defense if the state intends to use it at trial. Is it a coincidence that a week or so after Erin Sutton proffered his testimony in camera Barker's visitor status changed to no visitors? What seems most telling is the defense making a plea offer following an order signed by Judge Zackey on November 17 to allow Dager and Barker a face to face visit with his laptop.
If the state has Barker on video or letters she has written making comments that are consistent with her admissions to law enforcement she may have undermined her own defense.

In my opinion, even though we've been aggravated and sometimes amused by Roberto Dager for things he has said and done in this case, such as, " There is no proof his client 'SUFFERCATED' her daughter " or when he argued his motion for a change of venue,” These dumb, stupid, idiotic, moronic people blog on things they don’t know or things they think they know in an effort to turn people or potential jurors against my client.”........he does seem to be providing Stacey Barker a vigorous defense. If the state decides to take this case to trial I'll write a post about possible defense strategies based on information we have learned during the pre-trial hearings and the motions filed so the meantime I'm going to put another log on the fire and call it a's cold out there. Sphere: Related Content

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Delays Push Stacey Barker's Murder Trial Into 2011

Emma Barker
In this entry I want to give an update on the pre-trial hearings of a murder trial that has been in the making since April 23, 2009 when Stacey Barker was arrested and charged for the death of her daughter, Emma Leigh Barker. After the update on the hearings and a little review, I want to take another look at the charges filed against Barker and what the California penal Code says about the elements of those charges that apply to this case.

Stacey Barker
For those who may not be familiar with the case, Emma Barker was 18 months old forever when her mother, Stacey Barker, led police to where she had disposed of Emma's lifeless body the day before, along side the Golden State Freeway in Sylmar, CA, . When Emma was first reported missing at about 11 pm on March 18, 2010, Stacey Barker claimed she had been attacked and knocked unconscious as she was loading Emma into the car after playtime at a Lancaster, CA Park. Barker claimed when she came to, Emma was gone, evidently taken by her attacker(s). Later Barker admitted she had made up the story of the attack and kidnapping, she said Emma had died accidentally and she feared being blamed so she dumped her daughter’s body, removed some clothing and injured herself to support her kidnapping claim.

On April 23, 2009, when Barker was arrested, nearly a month after Emma's death, the charges filed against the young mother included one count of Second-degree murder, one count of Assault on a Child Causing Death and one count of Child Abuse. The complaint alleges that Barker willfully caused and permitted the child to be injured and harmed and that injury resulted in death. Authorities have accused Barker of smothering her daughter. Stacey Barker pled not guilty to all counts on August 12, 2009. She has been held at the Century Regional Detention Facility on a one million dollar bond since her arrest.

Rather than give the "in the courtroom report" of the hearings, I'll just hit on some of the highlights; however,I still want to thank our friends from the AV for taking the time to attend the hearings and share with us what they see and hear. Your efforts are greatly appreciated by many who are trying to follow this case through the justice system.

For many, this murder case seems to be dragggging on.....(A July 26 trial date had been set but because the court was informed at a June 28th hearing that both sides and a witness(s) had a conflict with that schedule the judge agreed to another delay.) At the end of the June 28th hearing, as Judge Hayden Zackey set a new date for the trial to start, during the week of September 26, he was very clear that there would be no more delays.....

Judge Zackey addressed the lawyers for both sides," You both want it to stay in this court right?" They both said, "yes".  Zackey then said, "Alright then, there will be NO more delays unless I am in a trial, then you both agree to wait until I am finished to start the trial...the only delays will be from ME, agree?"  Both Deputy District Attorney (DDA) Kelly Cromer and Public Defender(PD) Roberto F. Dager said," Yes".
Well.....there have been more trial yet and we are almost half way through November, at this point we don't even have another tentative trial date. There have been several hearings since I wrote about the August 11 hearing in this case, yet there really isn't much to say beyond delay, delay, delay. ~sigh~

No doubt the judge's admonition when he set the trial for September was sincere, but Mr. Erin Sutton aka "Vampire" had just surfaced in an exchange of discovery on June 9 and the investigation was ongoing.....Sutton is an inmate who reportedly has had communication with Stacey Barker while they have been incarcerated. It wasn't until August 11 that Sutton appeared before the court "in camera" to answer questions. The  information from that hearing remains under seal for now. Undoubtedly more time has been needed to investigate Sutton's claims.

The hearing on August 26 was scheduled to wrap up discovery and hear some previously filed defense motions. Judge Zacky told the defense," All the other motions you want to file at that time will be heard", and then asked," You will be bringing in expert witnesses right?" - During the August 26 hearing we learned the defense needed more time for consulting an expert witness....which meant no September trial......just another hearing scheduled for September 15......
This is speculation, but because of the timing, it seems the proffer of Sutton's testimony in chambers on August 11 may have changed or shifted the strategy of the defense compelling the judge to grant another they need a new expert to support a motion(s) to keep Sutton's testimony out, or rebut it in some way? It's possible the expert witness is for something unrelated to Sutton, there are other issues. Whatever the reason, it must be compelling for Judge Zackey to allow another continuance. I guess we'll have to wait for trial to find out.

The hearing on September 15- There was another Public Defender in court for the defense, because PD Dager had a family emergency. I don't know if the defense expert witness was there or not, but the judge said the hearing is rescheduled for October 8 and all witnesses are to come back on that date, adding with no explanation, the hearing will be held in camera (on the record with both parties but in judges chambers and under seal ). Sheriff's Homicide Detective Sandra Nava was at this hearing, accompanied by two men in suits, who appear to be LE.

Detective Nava testified during the preliminary hearing that when she questioned Stacey Barker, she changed her story several times blaming Emma's death on a variety of accidents in the back seat of her car on the freeway before "admitting" she had held her hand over Emma's mouth knowing that Emma had a baggy in her mouth. It seems likely this "admission" will be a focus of contention for both sides during trial. Will there be a video shown of LE questioning Barker, particularly if she was making admissions? At the Preliminary hearing Judge Carlos Chung didn't allow the tape to be played, citing length, but let Detective Nava testify to it before he ruled Stacey Barker would stand trial. Judge Chung didn't make a ruling about the admissibility of the video at trial and as far as we know Judge Zackey hasn't made any rulings. Was this an issue before the court during some of the recent meetings in camera as well? Sounds feasible.

October 8- "In Camera hearing" There was no explanation from the court for having the hearing in camera.

October 13- This was a short but contentious hearing.....DDA Cromer asked Judge Zackey if they could go in camera to discuss some problems she found with paperwork. After returning to the courtroom, Judge Z. announced that he found the state's request to be reasonable and that things need to redacted from records, such as witness information.
As the judge was speaking, Mr. Dager appeared to be furiously reading some papers, Ms.Cromer asked the judge, "Make him stop reading!". (Hmmm do you suppose he was trying to get a good look before the redaction was done?) The judge told Dager to go get his papers.  On Dager's way out of the courtroom he was overheard saying some very non-professional things about the DDA.....I won't go into it, but will say both sides have engaged in name calling.
 When Dager returned,  Judge Zackey said he has  the reports from both parties and they will be redacted per discovery rule 1054. Dager added he also wanted some redaction per 1054 in the first or second subpoena, adding he wants to interview everyone who has had contact with Barker since May (09 or 10 ?) Something was said about a government agent and Kelly Cromer said, "He's not a government agent!" (We know this refers to Erin Sutton, Dager announced in open court on June 28 that Sutton had identified himself as such to Barker.)
Discovery rule 1054 specifically requires that discovery be conducted informally between and among the parties before judicial enforcement is requested.....
Zackey says again he will redact and asks how long it would take them to read it? They agree to one week and made plans to return to court on the 20th. Zackey told the defense it wasn't necessary for the defendant to attend that hearing (exchange of paperwork). Court was recessed.

 The next court hearing is scheduled for December 3, 2010. Craig Currier reported in the Antelope Valley News(AVN) that the prosecution said the trial should begin within 45 days of that date. DDA Kelly Cromer told the AVN, "We're pretty much ready to go" adding, " The trial should begin in January." When asked if this was the last continuance, Cromer replied, "I'm hoping so."  I think a lot of people would agree with that hope. Cromer also told the AVN, when asked, she couldn't comment about the delays or the closed hearings.

I noticed on the LASD website that as of August 20th, Stacey Barker's visitor status has changed from a Y to a N. Does anyone think it's a coincidence her visitor status changed 9 days after her attorney questioned Erin Sutton / Vampire in the judges chamber? It came out  through discovery, that the state has some CD's consisting of taped visits with civilians that went to see Barker in jail and some letters to and from another inmate at the jail, Vampire. Have things been said during visits with others that could hurt the case? Why else shut off visits? Once again we'll have to wait for the trial, until then it appears inmate Barker won't be getting her twice weekly visits.

Because so much of the recent court business has been conducted in camera and there seems to be a number of motions and records that are sealed, there isn't a lot of court business to report. During this lull in the case it seems a good time to take a look at the California Penal Code and revisit the charges filed in this case.

 The California murder law

187.(a) Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being, or a
fetus, with malice aforethought.

Malice is "express" when there is clear evidence that someone intended to kill another person. Malice is "implied" when the person acted with a reckless disregard for human life. And while there are two degrees of murder…that is, first-degree murder and second-degree murder…  both require that the defendant acted with malice.
189. All murder which is perpetrated by means  of a destructive device or explosive, a weapon of  mass destruction, knowing use of ammunition  designed primarily to penetrate metal  or armor, poison, lying in wait,  torture,or by any other kind of willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing, o r which is committed in the perpetration of,  or attempt to perpetrate, arson, rape,  carjacking, robbery, burglary, mayhem, kidnapping, train wrecking, or any murder  which is perpetrated by means of discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle, intentionally  at another person outside of the vehicle  with the intent to inflict death,  is murder of the first degree.
All other kinds of murders are of the second degree.
Second-degree Murder
In cases where child endangerment leads to a child's death and thus murder charges, prosecutors generally charge it as a second-degree murder. This is because criminal negligence and lack of care usually invoke implied malice rather than an actual intent to kill. Prosecutors can charge second-degree murder charge in connection with child 
endangerment charges in one of two ways: 1)through the California felony-murder rule,  or (2) by demonstrating implied malice. These are two separate "theories" upon which prosecutors can base their second-degree murder charges. This means that a jury can convict a defendant of second-degree murder so long as it agrees with either of these theories. And, under certain circumstances, a jury may actually agree with both theories. Every person guilty of murder in the second degree shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a term of 15 years to life. There are longer terms possible for second-degree murder,  but they don't apply in the Barker case. Assault on a Child Causing Death 273ab. Any person who, having the care or custody of a child who is under eight years of age, assaults the child by means of force that to a reasonable person would be likely to produce great bodily injury, resulting in the child's death, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for 25 years to life. Nothing in this section shall be construed as affecting the applicability of subdivision (a) of Section 187 or Section 189. Child Abuse
273a.(a) Any person who, under circumstances or 
conditions likely to produce great 
bodily harm or death, willfully causes
or permits any child to suffer, or inflicts 
thereon unjustifiable physical pain or mental 
suffering, or having the care or custody of any child,
willfully causes or permits the person or health
of that child to be injured, or willfully causes or 
permits that child to be placed in a situation 
where his or her person or health is endangered. 
A child abuse charge in CA is considered a "wobbler"
(can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony
 depending on the facts in the case) if prosecuted
as a misdemeanor shall be punished by 
imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding 
one year and a $6000 fine, if prosecuted
as a felony and there is a conviction the
penalty is  in the state prison for
two, four, or six years.
Sorry for the lapse in updates, my personal life called.
I love blogging, but this is a hobby so occasionally
I have to take a break. I am also not a lawyer, so I
interpret as best I can. I included the link to the
California Penal Code so anyone so inclined can look
for themselves. I found the penal code section
1054 - 1054.10 very interesting.  
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Friday, August 27, 2010

The Mystery Is Solved, Eric Preimesberger's Remains Are Found, The Quest for Justice begins

UPDATE 9/9- The preliminary hearing in this case has been continued until October 4, 2010 . Also, Kristi Preimesberger's attorney filed a motion for her to either be released on her own recognizance or to  have her bail reduced,  both were denied, so for now she remains in jail in Washoe County NV along with her brother Timothy Morgan.

*edited copy
Four months after Kay Wilson of New Mexico last spoke with her son Eric Preimesberger, 29, and his young children, she is finally getting answers to what really happened to her son and why her daughter-in- law Kristi left the state with her and Eric's children, cutting off all contact with Kay. 

The answers are certainly not the answers anyone wanted to hear, but there is no turning back time. Because the details of the story, for the most part,  have come from those who have been charged with killing Eric and covering up his death, and the criminal investigation continues, this story may change over time as more evidence is revealed. 

For now, this is what we know for sure, Tim Morgan, 25  is charged with a $1 million warrant for the murder of Eric Preimesberger, and his sister Kristi Preimesberger, 30 (Eric's wife of 7 years and mother of his 2 young children)  is being held on a $100,000 cash bail on a material witness warrant.

During Kay's last conversation with Eric and his children on April 20, they were excited about a move to Eugene,Oregon at the end of the month. I should note that even though both Eric and Kristi's parents live in NM and Eric, Kristi and their kids had been living in Reno, NV they spoke regularly on the phone. 

Eric and Kristi's brother,Tim Morgan, were planning to start a business  building and selling Yurts  up in Eugene. Work had been scarce in Reno for a while and that caused problems, although I 've heard their marriage has been stormy for some time. It seemed as though this move might  be a fresh start for the family. Eric also told his mother that he was glad Tim was coming to Reno to help them move, especially because his (recently injured) ankle was still bothering him. Things definitely did not go as planned.................or did they?

What really happened at the couple’s Red Baron Boulevard home, in Reno, between April 20th and 24th, aside from the fact Eric was killed, is still in question because of the changing and suspicious stories that Kristi told. 

For those not very familiar with this case, Kristi told Eric's family that she and Eric had argued because she was sick in bed and Eric felt "that" had ruined their anniversary on April 20
Later it's learned that Kristi had went to get dinner for the family from Applebee's and had not come back until the wee hours of the yes they probably did argue, especially if she told her husband the same story she told her mother. 

Kristi's mother, Karen, told Kay that Kristi had called her (in NM ) at 11:30 p.m. on 4/20  wanting her father's phone number. She said she needed to ask him about how to drive in a snowstorm. It's not clear if she made contact with her dad, but at 2:30 a.m. 4/21 Kristi called her mom's phone again but the call went unanswered because her mother was in bed.  The next morning , Karen called the number back. A man answered, when she said she had a call from his number he asked ,"Do you have a daughter named Kristi?" After she said yes, he told Karen that Kristi had knocked on his door and wanted to use his phone. He mentioned she wasn't properly dressed for the weather, so he let her in to use the phone and she left. It's not clear if Kristi left a message when she called her mom at 2:30 or told her this the next day, but Kristi claimed she got lost in the snowstorm, ended up at an apartment complex and walked around until she found a light on and knocked on the door asking to use the phone...... Here is another bizarre aspect of this story.....the weather summary  for 4/20 and 4/21 at was Reno only had .57" precipitation over those 2 days, hardly enough to run your wipers let alone get lost.

Kristi said that after a heated argument Eric threw his cellphone along with the keys to his scooter at her and stormed off on foot, with just a backpack, saying they would never see him again.

I bring the reason for the argument up between Eric and Kristi because I wonder if this argument had anything to do with Tim showing up in Reno so soon, given that they weren't going to move until the end of the month. Could this incident have something to do with the argument between Tim and Eric? These are questions that we really don't know the answers to yet.

Although after April 20th there was no contact between Eric and his family or friends and the 20th was also the last day Eric (his user name was RuckRider) posted a comment at an online forum that he frequented named,  there is some confusion over when Eric was last seen. Kristi said he was back and forth getting things from the house until the 24th.

Kay was suspicious hearing that Eric left without any means of transportation, especially his beloved Ruckus scooter, and more suspicious yet when he didn't make contact with any of his family or friends, but when Kristi didn't want to file a missing person's report and moved to Eugene just 8 days after she said Eric left, Kay knew something was wrong.

Kay filed a missing person's report with Reno PD on May 17. Within a month Eric's missing status was changed from missing adult to a suspicious endangered missing adult and the case was moved to the Robbery/Homicide division to allow more resources for what now was an interstate investigation.

By June 16, when the Oregon police tried to contact them, Kristi, the kids and her brother Tim were missing from Eugene as well. On July 2,  Kristi and Tim contacted their mother in NM and said they were safe, but wouldn't disclose their location. Kristi also contacted the police in Reno sometime in July, but gave the same information she had given before she left Reno, she said she had moved to Oregon because Eric had walked out on her and the kids, but in an action that garnered more suspicion, she refused to disclose where they were living. 

Valhall at "The Hinky Meter" has some very interesting information about Tim and Kristi's activities before they fled the Northwest for Minnesota, you can read what she has to say here.
I'll give you a hint of what to look for, in Oregon they used the aliases of Emmet and Mary. Like this story wasn't strange enough. ~insert katfish rolling eyes~

On August 13 Kay and her family received word, from a Homicide Detective with the Reno, NV police, that Tim and Kristi were in police custody in Minnesota. She was also informed that Tim confessed to killing Eric. This news didn't come as a total surprise to Kay, as she had learned on July 29 from a news report in Eugene, OR. that after the storage pod that Kristi rented in Reno had been found at a storage facility in Eugene,  cadaver dogs searched and  "hit" on the pod and a search warrant was executed. Police said no actual evidence was found during the search of the pod, giving Eric's family "a little" hope that Eric might still be alive.

Reno PD also told Kay that Eric and Kristi's children,ages 6 and 22 months, were safe and in Child Protective Services in MN. She was informed her grandchildren  would go to the custody of Kristi's mother, in New Mexico, per Kristi's wishes, as the only remaining parent of the children. While Kay would like to have the children herself, she was somewhat consoled that the kids are with someone they know and love. For some reason, at this point she hasn't been allowed to see her grandchildren.....that is just wrong in this writers opinion.....hopefully that will be rectified soon in the best interest of the kids....they have lost enough!

Timothy Morgan and Kristi Preimesberger  Mugshots,  photos courtesy  of Ramsey County Jail 
RGJ. com  out of Eugene has reported,
" Court records show that once Kristi Preimesberger was aware police in Oregon were helping investigate her husband’s disappearance, she fled to Minnesota with Morgan and her kids."
 * I've been told there is reason to believe that Tim (not sure about Kristi) stayed in Oregon until the end of July.....katfishponders hasn't heard why they ended up in MN of all places,
but the fact remains....... you can run, but you can't hide.....when you're a dumb ass.

According to PiPress in the Twin Cities," Timothy Wayne Morgan, 25, was arrested Aug. 10 at the Residence Inn by Marriott on Centre Pointe Drive on suspicion of felony drug possession, according to Roseville, MN police. He was later charged in MN with suspicion of being a fugitive from justice. His sister, Kristi Michelle Preimesberger, 30, was arrested Aug. 12 on suspicion of being a fugitive from justice and child endangerment.

Reno police charged him with the murder of Eric Preimesberger and Kristi is considered a material witness to her husband's killing, investigators said.

The narcotics arrest turned out to be a lucky break for Reno investigators, who had been looking for the brother-sister duo for weeks, said Reno police Lt. Robert Nuttall. Roseville police were called to an area hotel Aug. 10 on a report of a suspicious item left behind in a room used by Morgan and his sister. The two, along with Morgan's girlfriend and Preimesberger's two children, had checked out, said Roseville police Lt. Lorne Rosand."We sat on the room until someone came back," he said. Morgan returned and was arrested. Officers recovered a large amount of narcotics and seized a sizable amount of cash, Rosand said.

Investigators questioned Preimesberger and released her for the night. Rosand said the department put her up in an area motel so she could be questioned the next day about the narcotics. Police were not aware of the missing-persons case until they received a call the next morning from Reno investigators.

Rosand said Reno police were tipped off by Kristi Preimesberger's mother, who received a call from her daughter after Roseville police dropped her off at the motel. Reno investigators flew to Minnesota on Aug. 11 and interviewed the siblings. Kristi Preimesberger was arrested, and her children were placed in protective custody, Rosand said. He didn't know how long they had been in the metro area, but their stay involved multiple motel rooms and multiple cars, he said." 

Morgan and Preimesberger were extradited to Reno on Monday August 23 and are being held in the Washoe County Jail. During their first appearance in Reno Justice Court,Timothy Morgan and Kristi Preimesberger were given a Sept. 8 preliminary hearing date regarding the murder of Eric Preimesberger.

Kristi Michelle Preimesberger
The pictures at the left are of Kristi and Tim's mugshots in Nevada. Notice a little difference? In the Minnesota pictures they are both glassy eyed and most likely high.....the Nevada pictures have the appearance of addicts in withdrawal. Not a pretty sight! What is really ugly, is the thought about what Eric and Kristi's children have been exposed to the last four months.

Court records show that during an interview with police, Morgan said that after he struck Eric Preimesberger in the head twice with a bat, he and his sister moved his bleeding body into a laundry room. A few hours later, they realized he was dead. They then placed him in the back of a vehicle, where his rotting body was concealed for days while Morgan figured out what to do with him.

Timothy Wayne Morgan

The siblings never called police or summoned medical assistance.According to an arrest affidavit, Morgan rented a moving truck and a commercial freezer, which he used to transport Eric's body. He dumped his body near Frenchman’s Reservoir, in Plumas County, California (about 38 miles NW of Reno, and 8 miles from the nearest town ) before taking the freezer to another location and burning evidence related to the crime.

Detectives found the remains of Eric Preimesberger on Aug19. Police allege Morgan killed Eric on April 24 during an altercation. No doubt the coroner or medical examiner will attempt to determine if Morgan's story matches up to the forensics obtained from Eric's remains. The state of Nevada will be cremating Eric's remains and hopefully assist in returning him to his family in New Mexico.

Arrangements have not been made yet, although Eric's mother said they are in the process of planning a celebration of Eric's life for the near future.

 Katfish.....ponders will continue following this case. When this goes to trial it seems like a good case for TruTV's InSession to cover. NV does allow cameras in the courtroom. Depending how the defendants plead in this case, it could be a few years before a trial happens. Any ideas how we can bring this to the attention of the producers at InSession?
* This post has been edited, katfishponders was notified that even though the msm reported Kristi worked as a stripper, while that was true in the past, she didn't work "dancing" in Reno. It was also brought to my attention that Tim was definitely in Oregon at the end of July, a fact that can be established by an encounter with police. 

Please feel free to notify me if you see something published here that you think might not be correct. I strive to provide accurate reporting here but sometimes I have to rely on what is reported in the news and they don't always "get it right"; therefore,  I'm glad to correct or amend something posted on katfishponders that isn't accurate. You can reach me through the e-mail on my profile page.
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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Eric Preimesberger, The Story Of A Man Who Loved Life, A Man Whose Life Was Cut Short

Eric's life was taken  by a senseless act of violence, in Reno, NV

Eric's life was taken sometime between April 21, 2010 and April 24, 2010 by a senseless act of violence, in Reno, NV.  His legal date of death is the day the M.E.'s office received him into their care which was  8/19/2010.

The purpose of the article you are reading is to pay tribute to Eric Preimesberger's life. Katfish.....ponders did a report on Eric in July of this year, entitled: The Mysterious Disappearance Of Eric Preimesberger.  If you are interested in learning about the circumstances in which Eric went missing, please follow the link above to the previous article. 

I am working on an article entitled: The Mystery Is Solved, Eric Preimesberger's  Remains Are Found, The Quest for Justice begins. In that article I will provide details about Eric's death, those who are accused and the long journey Eric's  family and friends will take in their quest for justice. To be honest, I was working on that article before I started this one. In an effort to protect the investigation, the decision was made to hold off on reporting any details about the arrest of the accused and the admissions they were making until 8 / 24. The accused have now been arraigned, so it's ok  to report those details....But... as I worked on it, I kept coming back to Eric and felt the need to learn more about his life. As I came to learn more about Eric I also learned what a devastating  loss his senseless killing was to so many. 

I will include links at the bottom of this article to a blog, The Hinky Meter and an online main stream media site,  RGJ out of Oregon, who have their posts up about the legalities and the gruesome details of Eric's death. Those articles are very informative and factual and a must read.

The information in this article was gathered from someone who knew Eric possibly the best of anyone in Eric's life, his mother. 
It's usually best to start at the beginning, so here we go.....

~A Loving Son, Grandson, Brother ,Uncle, Nephew and Cousin~

Eric was born  to Edwin and Kay  Preimesberger on July 9, 1980 in Bozeman, MT.

Eric moved with his family to Farmington, NM from from Bakersfield, CA in 1990. He attended school in Farmington and Bloomfield NM, and graduated from Bloomfield High School in 1998. He graduated from San Juan College after two years of auto body repair training.

When younger, Eric was very involved with dirt bikes, more specifically, a KTM dirt bike was his bike of choice. He loved to go fast and he rode his KTM in many races, according to his mother he had lots of trophies and broken bones to show for it. Eric rode often with Don Sheets, Jr. his cousin and best bud.

Eric was the type of guy that always had a smile on his face, a quick joke or silly impression to make you feel better. It didn't matter if you were really having a bad day, he could still cheer you up and even make you laugh. One of  his bonus sisters from Washington told his mother a story about a day when they went to the fair together. There was a person making a variety of balloon things. Eric made his into a hat and wore it the rest of the day, just to make his sister and the other two kids who were along laugh. He always thought of others first. 

Kay wrote, "Eric was the light of my life, I loved him from the moment I knew I was Pregnant with him, and that love only grew stronger every day of his life, it will never stop 'til the day I die. I remember when I was single, and working 3 jobs and coming home from work so tired and depressed I wanted to cry, I would walk through the door and both boys would run to hug me, but Eric would say " Wasn't it a great day mommy!?" and then it would be." What a wonderful memory Kay! It sounds like you have some wonderful kids!

Eric is survived by his parents ; William Wilson his bonus(step) father,  mother Kay Wilson of Farmington, NM. and  bonus mom Laurie Harns of Vancouver, WA, his siblings ; brother Coby Preimesberger and sister Teresa Wilson of Farmington NM, his bonus sisters; Kara and Nicole Lukens of Vancouver, WA , Janie Sheets of Kirtland, NM and bonus brother M. Eugene Sheets III of Snyder TX, His maternal grandparents Max and Lois Hickman of Glendive, MT. Eric is also survived by numerous Aunts,Uncles, many, many cousins and loving friends from all over the country.

Eric was proceeded in death by his father Edwin J. Preimesberger of Vancouver, WA, paternal grandparents X. Fred Preimesberger of Glendive, MT, Pete and Judy Penner of Florence, MT. and his Uncle Chuck (Charles) Preimesberger of Glendive, MT.

Eric with his children
      ~A Loving Father ~

Eric is survived by his children; Ivy Rayne Preimesberger, age 6 years and Damien Eric Preimesberger, age 22 months.
Eric was always a very hands on father. He got up with the kids at night and fixed their bottles, even when he had to work the next day. From the day the babies came home from the hospital, he helped bathe them, changed their diapers, dressed them, made their meals and feed them...he saw to it that their laundry was done and the house was cleaned.

Eric even was learning to french braid hair because one of  Ivy's friends wore hers that way and she really wanted her hair braided like that. Ivy was excited that daddy was going to be able to do her hair for her. Eric and Damien walked Ivy to and from school almost everyday, on the wet days they would drive her both ways . He was so dedicated to this that after he hurt his ankle, he walked down to the school using Damien's stroller to lean on.

Kay said," Eric was the kind of dad we all wish we  had and what all dads aspire to be. He was literally the chief cook and bottle washer."

Eric was a man who loved spending time with his kids, and truly enjoyed playing with them as often as he could. He didn't just "say" his kids were his greatest accomplishment in life, he "lived" it.

Eric lost his father at an early age, so he vowed to be the best dad ever, and he was.......until the day he was brutally taken from them.

            ~A Trusted And Loyal Friend To Many ~

While Eric's family was a very important part of his life and many of his friends are family, Eric also has a large number of "unrelated" friends all across the nation.

Eric will be remembered as a trusted and loyal friend, if you needed him, he would drop everything and come running. While living in Reno, Eric became involved with a new hobby......scooters.  When time allowed Eric loved to ride his Honda Ruckus Scooter.
" The machine that's too cool to know it's a scooter."
"Ruckus Love"
Eric was well known as a Honda Ruckus Scooter enthusiast. He belonged to a scooter club in Reno known as the BBSC (Battle Born Scooter Crew) and loved to go for rides with his friends from the club. Kay said, "If that scooter was human, Eric would have considered it his best friend". One of Eric's friends told Kay that Eric loved that scooter so much he would tease Eric and call him "Eruck". LOL! Eric was also active on an online forum named for scooter enthusiasts from all over the country and went by the user name RuckRider.

          ~The Plans for the future ~

Eric's  life was cut short by people that have no regard for human life. Eric's Mom, Dad, and his large clan of family and friends vow they will see justice done for Eric, their beloved son, grandson, brother, nephew, cousin and friend.

During Kay's quest to find the truth about what happened to her beloved son, Eric and his family have touched many people that have never met them, including this author. I vow to continue to  follow this case and pray for justice to be done.

There will be a celebration of Eric's life in the near future. His family will try to let everyone know far enough ahead to allow time for those who need it, to get the time off from work and for travel.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Search For Stacy Peterson Continues

The Illinois State Police (ISP) have returned to West Central Illinois for a third attempt at finding Stacey Peterson in as many months. Police investigators and dive teams spent five hours Monday, August 23, in Knox County lake, following up on a tip in the disappearance of Stacy Peterson. Earlier this month, investigators searched in rural Knox County and investigators also searched a rural area near Peoria in June in connection with the same tip Click here to read about the June search.

Investigators searched the waters of Lake Storey following up on a tip concerning the disappearance of Stacy Peterson, the fourth wife of former Chicago area policeman Drew Peterson. Several divers searched a stretch of shoreline in Lake Storey near Galesburg. The small lake is just off Route 150. Assisting the ISP were members of the Galesburg Police Department dive team and the Department of Natural Resources.

''This is part of the Stacy Peterson investigation'', confirmed Illinois State Police spokesman Tom Burek.'' We're looking for evidence to follow up on a lead'.''The investigation lasted from roughly 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., said Illinois State Police Master Sgt. Tom Burek. ''The specifics of the lead, I can't really discuss. It's the same lead we've been working on since late spring'', Burek said after a police briefing on the search Monday in Galesburg.

Burek told WQAD, News 8 that ''nothing of significance'' was found in or near the lake.''You don't always hit a homerun'', Burek said. ''We're going to stay moving forward with this.'' For now, ISP has no immediate plans to return to Knox County.
Drew and Stacey Peterson in happier times
Investigators have also followed several leads in the Chicago area, conducting searches in the waters near the couple’s home. Stacy Peterson was a 23 year old mother of two young children when she disappeared in October 2007.No one has been charged in her disappearance, although Drew Peterson,56, is the only suspect in the death.

Peterson is also facing murder charges in the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.Savio's death initially was ruled an accidental drowning, but her body was exhumed and re-examined in 2007 after the disappearance of Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy. The onetime Bolingbrook, Illinois, police sergeant denies any wrongdoing in either case.

Drew Peterson pleaded not guilty to the murder charges and remains held in the Will County Jail on $20 million bond. That trial was scheduled to begin in July, but has been postponed, possibly for months, while the Prosecution appeals a decision by the trial judge to the IL Supreme Court. Circuit Judge Stephen White issued a ruling that keeps some witness statements out of court as hearsay.

Galesburg  Register- Mail Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Legal Meaning of Presumption of Innocence

This is a subject that seems to come up a lot, and also seems to be a concept that is most often misunderstood. I came by what I think is an excellent explanation of The Legal Meaning of The Presumption of Innocence at a website called The Tipmra.. This site is actually a speeding ticket defense website.....luckily I have never needed to use "The Genuine Tipmra Speeding Ticket defense" but I admit I do keep it bookmarked in case that day ever comes. Never say never.......In the mean time I'm happy to give them a plug because they generously give everyone permission to reprint this article making changes as necessary as long as it is not submitted as original work.This article was submitted (with minor changes) by attorneys and law school students as original work.

Have you ever  wondered  why people who are charged with a crime are treated as if they are guilty when we are supposed to be innocent until proven otherwise?

In an argument a presumption is what someone owns. Think of an argument as a scale. If both sides of the scale are equal the one that owns the presumption wins. A presumption can be a presumption of debt, a presumption of title and so on. As a defendant you own the "presumption of innocence".

Many confuse presumption with assumption or assertion. 
An assumption is a position that is not proven but because of the circumstances can be considered correct. An assertion is a claim made justifying the assumption. If challenged by the owner of the presumption the burden of proving the assertion is placed upon the party making the assertion. Failure to prove the assertion results in the owner of the presumption prevailing in the dispute.

In an arrest the person making the arrest warrants to the court (makes a type of guarantee) that there is a warrant (a link between a claim and evidence) to prove an assertion. In other words the arresting officer when he fills out your ticket swears to the court that there is sufficient evidence to to prove his assertion that you were speeding.

If you do not challenge the assertion then you accept as fact the elements of the assertion and give up your ownership of the presumption. By pleading Not Guilty you are challenging the prosecution's assumption which is based on assertion of guilt. Your presumption will prevail unless the party making the assertion can provide the link between the evidence presented and its claim. Without evidence a claim can not be proven and your presumption prevails.

Your presumption of innocence does not mean that the court believes you are innocent. On the contrary the court believes you are guilty because a warrantee has been made by a responsible party to the court that they can make the link between proof and claim to outweigh your presumption.

Until such time when the assertion is tested your presumption prevails and you are innocent. However, since the prosecution has given its assurance, its warrantee, the court will assume you as being guilty even though you are presumed innocent. The court can place restrictions on you until such time when the prosecution has opportunity to present its evidence to prove its assertion.

The prosecutions assertion is not timeless. By making the assertion it also warrants that it has all the evidence it needs and needs no more evidence to prevail over your presumption. The prosecution assures the court that is ready for trial at a place and time of the court's choosing. To prevent indefinite delays as to the trial there are statute of limitations, Time expiring points where if the assertion is not tested in a timely manner, it goes away. In that event the presumption prevails.

In short, the court will assume you are a criminal because of the warrantee made by the prosecution. The fact that you own your presumption of innocence and in fact are innocent is what the prosecution must overcome to gain a conviction.

It is not that you are innocent until proven guilty as many believe. It is that you are assumed guilty because of the assertion made and until your presumption of innocence prevails your protestation of innocence is simply the challenge to the prosecution to prove its case.

If the prosecutions assertion is not tested in a timely manner or if it fails in any way to prove its assertion then your presumption takes precedence.

Since you own the presumption you have nothing to prove. The court recognizes the fact that the presumption is yours. With the presumption is innocence you do not have to prove innocence as it is a given. The Burden of proving otherwise is upon the party making the assertion.

If the presumption were a presumption of title you would maintain the title unless the opposing party proved their assertion. However because of the conflict created, the court can protect the party making the assertion by preventing you from selling the title until such time as the case is heard. In a similar way the court can have you jailed to prevent you from fleeing even though you still own the presumption.

Hopefully this gives you a better understanding of how the justice system really works. Sphere: Related Content