Archive for ‘Law Bites’

July 5th, 2011

Casey Anthony: Not Guilty, Even If You Don’t Agree

by Venomous Kate

By now, you’ve heard that the jury found Casey Anthony not guilty of murdering, abusing or unintentionally killing her daughter, Caylee Anthony. They did find her guilty on four other counts, all of which involved lying to law enforcement officers.

To say this verdict is explosive is putting it mildly. While Nancy Grace’s head may have exploded, her mouth continues to run, as do the mouths of so many who’d insisted all along that Casey was to blame for her daughter’s death.

I’ve maintained all along that I don’t think Casey did it. As the evidence unfolded, and none of the physical evidence linked Casey with this crime, my beliefs only grew more certain. In the beginning, I’d simply looked to the fact that NO other physical evidence — no fingerprints, no stray hairs bearing DNA, or any other tangible evidence — was found at the site where Caylee’s body was buried. To me this raised the possibility that Caylee’s body had been moved from its original place. But remember, her body was found beneath a heavy white board which, as the defense pointed out, took a full-grown man to lift. Not likely a 110 lb. young woman could have done it. On top of that, original pictures of the area did not reveal the white board. It turned up later… and by that time Casey Anthony was already in jail. So, who put the board there?

Then, too, the cleanliness of the burial scene does not smack of a 20-something party girl. It does, however, smell of someone who knows how to keep a clean crime scene. As in, an ex-cop. As in, I’ve maintained all along that George Anthony is somehow involved in Caylee’s death.

Add to this his fixation on finding the missing roll of duct tape. The special duct tape. The kind that was produced in a limited quantity, not easily purchased in stores. George Anthony didn’t mention it while the initial hunt for Caylee’s body was on. He didn’t bring it up at all when he told the tale of Casey borrowing his gas can — which had a piece of the duct tape on it — although he certainly made a stink over that missing can. In fact, he said nothing about it until Caylee’s body had been found with that duct tape covering her mouth.

Why did he bring it up then? My guess — and, just like your opinion on this case, mine’s only a guess — is because he realized he’d made the same mistake that every criminal does who thinks s/he’s committed the perfect crime: he’d overlooked one tiny detail. And one detail is all it takes.

Regardless, the fact is that our American jurisprudence system says it’s the State’s job to prove that Casey, and ONLY Casey, could have committed the crime. They failed in that respect. There were simply too many unanswered questions about George Anthony, and possibly his wife Cindy, too. And with that, the State could not and did not meet its burden of proof. Ergo, Casey Anthony was found innocent.

But here’s the kicker: to those of you expressing outrage and anger over that verdict? You. Are. Wrong. See, that, too is how our American jurisprudence system works. Casey Anthony was innocent until proven guilty. The State did not prove her guilt. Ergo, she’s innocent even if you think otherwise. In fact, because the jury and only the jury gets to decide what is truth and what is not in this case, it is THEIR decision — not guilty — that is truth.

The rest of you who say otherwise aren’t just defying the evidence, you’re not just disparaging Casey Anthony, you’re calling the jurors liars and you’re insulting our American legal system. I can almost guarantee that if it were you on the stand who’d been found not guilty, you’d be outraged that anyone questioned the verdict.

So put your stones down, people. Here in America, we operate by the rule of law. On this case, the law ruled she is innocent. Stop stoning this woman with your words, and let her get on with her life.

February 3rd, 2011

Feds Pick On “The Plain People” Over Raw Milk

by Venomous Kate

Home cheese making in the cheese cave Since I began trying my hand at home cheese making last month, I’ve found reason to scream at least once a week about the Fed’s ban on raw milk.

For one thing, using store-bought (pasteurized) milk means I have to add calcium chloride to reintroduce calcium to the milk (yes, really) so it can form the curd which is the basis of any cheese. Now, getting away from chemical additives in my food was one of the things that led me to home cheesemaking (along baking bread from scratch, making my own pasta, etc.) So it ticks me off that the government is basically forcing me to either buy food with additives, or use additives if I want to make my own food. That’s seriously overstepping some boundaries, if you ask me.

For another thing, the raw milk ban means our already cash-strapped government is spending big bucks prosecuting something rather minor. How minor? According to Boing-Boing, despite a thriving underground and black market among foodies (and just about anyone who owns their own cattle), raw milk is responsible for two — yes, just two — deaths in the last ten years.

Oh, and did I mention that these statistics are of such great concern to the Feds that they’re raiding Amish and Mennonite farms, guns drawn and voices screaming, like they were meth labs?

Honestly, it’s enough to make me give serious thought to packing up the Venomous Household and moving where we can enjoy unpasteurized cheese in peace and quiet. I hear France is lovely, now that hardly anyone still smokes. And at least I could get some decent Brie there.

Speaking of Brie… mine didn’t turn out. I’d love to blame the pasteurized milk for that, but the blame goes to my cat. Next time, I’ll remember not to leave the cheese press unattended while I shower. As they’d say in France (where they get to eat unpasteurized cheese to their hearts’ content), C’est la Brie.

Or something like that.

January 27th, 2009

California Town Bans Smoking In Own Home

by Venomous Kate

For years now, I’ve been an on-again-off-again smoker. Since I don’t permit smoking in the house, whether I’m “on” or “off” smoking is dramatically affected by the weather. In the summer when we’re spending evenings grilling on the deck and swilling cocktails, I definitely smoke more. Come winter days like today, when it’s freaking cold outside, not so much. Yesterday, for instance, I had a total of three cigarettes while today I haven’t had a single one.

When asked why I continue to smoke despite the known health issues and expense, my answer is always the same: it’s saves me a fortune in legal fees by keeping my hands too occupied to wrap around other peoples’ necks.

That argument doesn’t fly in California, though, where the little town of Belmont has gone so far as to ban people from smoking in their own homes.

Not surprisingly, habitually health-conscious California has been ahead of the curve on the issue, with several other cities passing bans on smoking in most units in privately owned apartment buildings, but none has gone as far as Belmont, which prohibits smoking in any apartment that shares a floor or ceiling with another, including condominiums.

Oh, sure. I know some of you rabid non-smokers out there are no doubt applauding, particularly those of you living in apartments and condos who’ve had to deal with the smell of your neighbor’s cigarette smoke.

But just remember: first they came for the smokers. Piss enough of us off and you’re going to see smokers starting to call for legislation that makes it illegal for you to cook smelly food, wear cheap perfume, clump around in high heels on hardwood floors and sing along with your radio.

January 8th, 2009

Bruised Hooter’s Waitress Wins Lawsuit

by Venomous Kate

It’s no coincidence that ugly girls don’t work at Hooter’s. After all, the company’s employee handbook requires waitresses to maintain a “glamorous appearance” with hair that’s styled as if they’re going out on a big date or to a photo shoot.

So when 27-year-old Sara Dye’s “domestic partner” beat the crap out of her, leaving her with a black eye and bruises over her body along with a hunk of missing hair, managers where she worked at the Davenport Hooter’s said the waitress couldn’t work because of the bruising.

While Dye said the restaurant was supportive after the assault, and that she understood why her appearance rendered her ineligible to work since her “body wasn’t up to par”, she nevertheless sued.

And won.

July 25th, 2008

Georgia At Fault In Highway Bus Crash

by Venomous Kate

A bus accident that killed seven people — five of them college baseball players — and injured another 28 was caused by confusing highway signs, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Investigators say the bus driver, who was killed in the crash along with his wife, thought he was remaining in an HOV lane when, in fact, he’d entered a highway exit ramp. Officials blame the state’s Department of Transportation for not following federal guidelines for exit signs which require pairing them together to make them more clear.

Although Georgia officials claim they’d never received complains about the highway’s self luminous exit signs before the wreck, police records reveal that three drivers had previously had wrecks at the same location.

As a result of this accident, the NTSB is now recommending that the Federal Highway Administration take action on a proposal to require more clear, consistent signs — such as photoluminescent exit signs elsewhere around the country.

Investigators, not surprisingly, maintain the bus driver himself was at least partially at fault despite having a good record and no signs of a medical condition or fatigue. “He simply missed what route guidance was available,” they’ve said, and as a result he didn’t know to slow down as he came up the exit ramp.

Perhaps Georgia out to take a page from the Kansas DOT and go with blue signs to help drivers distinguish exits from all the other crap mentioned on highway signs?

July 15th, 2008

What California Drivers Can Do With Their Free Hands

by Venomous Kate

Earlier this month, California’s hands-free law went into effect. Drivers in the Golden State must now use Bluetooth headsets or similar devices to ensure their hands are available for driving. This measure, they’re being told, will save 300 lives per year. Most notably, the law’s backers say, it will protect teen drivers since they’ll be prohibited from talking on the phone at all while driving, even if they use a hands-free headset.

Except, of course, like all Nanny State legislation, this one also falls short of the mark. The law, for instance, does not prevent those teens from talking to their passengers and, really, how many teens drive around alone? It does not stop them from wearing Emo hair blocking at least half of their vision. Or from performing that ridiculous head bop that signifies they’re listening to music and which, really, is no different from the Night at the Roxbury head bop their parents perform except that it moves front-to-back and is, inevitably, accompanied by hip-hop music.

Nor does the law make it illegal to send, read or type text messages while driving. It does not even stop iPhone users from tapping away as they surf the net. Toyota Corolla owners can still use the touch-guided DVD navigation system to flip through their favorite songs. GPS addicts can stare at their screens as they navigate turn-by-turn, arguing with the dang thing whenever the system’s directions are blatantly wrong.

Got one of those in-dash car DVD players, too? No problem: it’s still legal for you to watch the Best of Hooters (2008) while motoring down I-9 (presumably with at least one hand still available).

But, hey, you’ll be safe from all those folks who gab incessantly over their cell phones now that they’ll be using Bluetooth accessories to ensure their hands are free to drive. Right?

Right???

June 13th, 2008

Obscenity Judge Posted Obscenity Himself

by Venomous Kate

When Justice Potter Stewart said of pornography that “I’ll know it when I see it,” he no doubt believed his fellow justices would share his discerning eye. Apparently, the chief judge in the 9th circuit does: the judge posted explicit adult images on his own website… while presiding over the obscenity trial of a Los Angeles adult filmmaker.

In an interview Tuesday with The Times, Kozinski acknowledged posting sexual content on his website. Among the images on the site were a photo of naked women on all fours painted to look like cows and a video of a half-dressed man cavorting with a sexually aroused farm animal. He defended some of the adult content as “funny” but conceded that other postings were inappropriate.

Kozinski, 57, said that he thought the site was for his private storage and that he was not aware the images could be seen by the public, although he also said he had shared some material on the site with friends.

Judge Kozinski, known as a champion of 1st Amendment and free speech rights, described the material on his site as “odd and interesting” but said he does not consider it obscene. Among the images, a tranny’s striptease and contortionist sex, including a man performing oral sex on himself. Only users of his site (http://alex.kozinski.com/) who knew which subdirectory to type in were able to access the racy stuff. Everyone else would simply find his legal writings and articles. The site has since been taken down.

Kind of puts a whole new twist on the phrase “Here comes the judge,” doesn’t it?

May 31st, 2008

Unmarried Couple Banned From Their Own Home

by Venomous Kate

Did you know that in some towns you need an “occupancy permit” to move into a home you’ve purchased? I didn’t, and apparently one unmarried couple in Black Jack, Missouri didn’t, either.

Worse yet, because the couple doesn’t meet the town’s definition of a “family” (the girlfriend has three children), they can’t move into the home they purchased.

A man, his girlfriend and her three children recently bought a house in Black Jack in north St. Louis County. But because Toi Pruitt and Joe Pulliam and the children don’t meet the town’s definition of a family, they couldn’t get an occupancy permit.

In 2006, Black Jack revised its definition of a family after initially refusing a permit for Fondray Loving, Olivia Shelltrack and their children. That family had filed a federal lawsuit.

The new ordinance allows unmarried couples as long as the children are related to both. None of the children are related to Pulliam.

The city attorney says he’s willing to fight for the ordinance in court.

(Read more about the Loving/Shelltrack lawsuit here.)

According to the city’s website, the occupancy permit exists to “enforces the city’s property maintenance code standards by requiring that an inspection be done to ensure that the house or apartment is safe for occupancy.”

The real irony? If the girlfriend had only one child they’d qualify under the city ordinance (Article V, Sec. 6-76(a))

Family…(3) A group of not more than three (3) persons who need not be related by blood, marriage, adoption or foster care relationship, living together as a single nonprofit housekeeping unit in a dwelling unit…

Can you say “arbitrary and capricious”?

I knew you could.