Tag Archives: california

Kellen Winslow II’s Rape Trial is Underway

Former NFL player Kellen Winslow is on trial in California for a dozen charges related to alleged sexual assaults, lewd conduct, and indecent exposure: he faces up to life in prison. The first of five accusers testified yesterday, and it did not go well for the prosecution. The victim’s credibility was attacked thoroughly on the stand: her testimony was “shaking and baffling” according to USA Today and she was “caught in a web of lies and contradiction” according to Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel. Wetzel reports that her story changed while she was on the stand, contradicted her prior testimony, and only her word can overcome Winslow’s claim that the encounter was consensual. The state has four more alleged victims with several different claims. It will be hard for Winslow to overcome that many allegations presented to the same jury, but the outcome is far from a forgone conclusion.

DUI on a Scooter in L.A.

Los Angeles had their first successful prosecution of DUI on a scooterscooter. And not like a Vespa, but one of those little motorized scooters. It sounds like California has a law written similar to Florida’s that prohibits operating any VEHICLE under the influence. Nicholas Kauffroath plead to one count of DUI, and another count of hit and run, after he struck an elderly gentleman and sped off on his scooter. I’ve seen DUIs on bikes, and even a motorized cooler, so keep that in mind that you don’t drink and drive/ride/roll!

The Sordid Tale of a former Kentucky Judge turned Sex-Trafficker

tim nolan mug shot

Tim Nolan

Cincinnati.com went long on Tim Nolan, the former judge (and attorney, school board member, and Trump activist) who has pled guilty to charges of human trafficking. Go check out the full article by Scott Wartman. In sum, the former judge- who had prided himself of being tough on crime, turned out to be a criminal. He has pled guilty to 21 counts of human trafficking going back to 2004, and will be sentenced Thursday for what will probably amount to a life sentence (20 years). He took advantage of young women, many living in his properties, often using drugs or physical force or the threat of eviction to induce them for sex.

The case was weird, not only because of Nolan’s political ties. At one point there were allegations he paid a witness, with whom he had had a relationship, but whose daughter was one of his victims. There was talk that he might blame mental illness, or his brain tumor, for his behavior, but ultimately decided to enter a guilty plea. He reportedly had a disdain for lawyers… which in itself suggests his contempt for the rule of law and due process, but is particularly galling for a lawyer himself.

Be sure to check out the article on cincinnati.com.

Former Harvard Law Attorney Pleads Guilty to Bizarre Kidnapping Plot

Matthew Muller

Frmr. Atty. Matthew Muller

Matthew Muller was admitted to practice law in California in 2011 after graduating Harvard Law. A decorated former Marine, he could have accomplished anything with his life, and now he is facing life behind bars. Muller pled guilty on Thursday to a kidnapping and ransom plot, and his attorney is concerned that he could be sentenced to life in prison. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors agreed to recommend no more than 40 years in prison, but the ultimate sentence will be up to the judge.

When Denise Huskins and her boyfriend Aaron Quinn reported that they had been kidnapped, investigators did not believe them, and developed a theory that the report was a hoax. That was finally shot down when Muller was caught in another home invasion/attempted robbery and discovery the trappings of this offense. He had demanded $17,000 in ransom payments that he never collected, and Ms. Huskins was ultimately dropped off safely at her family home.

Huskins and Quinn have filed a lawsuit against the Vallejo police department for their mishandling of the case, and claim that they had to move our of town after the department’s allegations of a bogus kidnapping. Police doubted Ms. Huskins because they thought she didn’t act like a kidnapping victim: going as far to require Mr. Quinn to provide DNA samples. The whole case is crazy: I look forward to seeing it on ’48 Hours’ or even in a movie.

 

 

 

 

Self-driving Car Pulled Over… Who Gets the Ticket?

The Google autonomous vehicle was recently pulled over driving in California. Not for bad driving so much… it was driving too slowly. Google has capped their vehicle at 25 MPH while they test it. No ticket was given; the officer was apparently concerned that something may be wrong, and reminded the Google operator (who was in the passenger seat) to be careful so as not to obstruct other traffic. The Google cars have done very well, most of the accidents they’ve been involved with were getting rear-ended by other vehicles not expecting such a cautious driver.

As to my headline question, “Who gets the ticket”… I don’t know the answer to that. California has drawn up a set of laws specifically to deal with driver-less cars, and the testing of them, so I suspect there is a provision to cite the operator, if it becomes necessary. In theory, having computers control the cars should all but eliminate many driving infractions, like speeding. I welcome our Google overlords, as long as I still get to drive for fun sometimes…

Twitter photo claimed credit by: https://twitter.com/zandr

CNN Takes a Look at the Practice of Property Seizure by Police

CNN did a decent story on an issue we have covered several times on Crimcourts. It’s worth checking out, be sure to check the video for the setup, in addition to the text story. The guys featured were legally carrying money for poker, and the cops grabbed it all. The Justice Department has been stepping back from participating in these civil asset forfeitures. There is a private company running seminars teaching cops how to do this… officers are literally planning to come up with ways to seize citizen property: that’s scary.

Thanks for sharing, Michael.

Update on the Easters: the Drug-Planting-Attorney-Parents

Jill and Kent Easter

Jill and Kent Easter

You might remember Jill and Kent Easter, a pair of married attorneys (and she a part-time novelist), who were charged with planting drugs in the vehicle of a rival PTA volunteer. Jill plead guilty, and was sentenced to jail, and Kent took his case to trial. Kent’s first trial ended in a hung jury, with Kent claiming that he was pushed around by his controlling wife, and that he didn’t know that drugs were planted in the vehicle. It went back to trial in September, amid revelations that Jill was cheating on Kent with a firefighter, and Kent was convicted the second time around. He was sentenced to six months in jail, a couple months more than Jill got, thanks to her plea deal.

ABC News decided to dig deep, and did a whole 20/20 feature on the case just last week. It’s worth checking out, as well.