Thursday, April 30, 2009
Republicans have Lost Their Minds: Boehner(R) Inserts Pic of Congressional Hispanics in Terrorist Montage.
Mario Solis-Marich is a talk show host that can be heard over the air AM 760 in Denver , KTLK AM 1150 in Los Angeles and worldwide at www.GoToMario.com.
Over the Line: Boehner Inserts Pic of Congressional Hispanics in Terrorist Montage.
Latino members of Congress are up in arms because the Leader of the beleaguered and aimless Republican House caucus, John Boehner, released a new web video ad today that associates them with terrorists and controversial foreign leaders. The topic of the web ad is terrorism and the question is do you feel safer after 100 days?The web ad inserts a pic of Barack Obama sitting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus among pictures of terrorists, Obama bowing to the Saudi Prince, and the President shaking hands with, super villain to the right wing, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.After years of immigrant bashing, recent over heated rhetorical statements about Latin American leaders, and even a renewed claim by Republican pundit Pat Buchanan that Hispanics threaten the very survival of the country, the patience of CHC towards GOP leadership members may be used up.
As I write this members of the CHC are reading a response. We will continue to follow.
See YouTube for Boehner's deplorable video.
LIVE BLOG 4/30/09: "Kick In The Head" Murder Trial Underway - Piekarsky and Donchak - Ramirez Murder
The Ramirez (Kick in the Head) Murder Trial began Monday 4/27/09, and continues today. The Republican/Herald is running a LIVE Blog. They have a reporter in the courtroom who is sending summarized updates which I am posting to this blog.
At the end of Wednesday, 4/29, Day 3 of the trial, the Prosecution rested. Today, the Defense begins their case. The strongest testimonies for the Prosecution were from the jocks: Ben Lawson and Colin Walsh who were participants in the events. From their testimony we heard:
1. There were four active participants in the fight with Ramirez: Scully (charged as a juvenile), Piekarsky, Donchak and Walsh. All had been drinking heavily prior to the park incident.
2. All of these fight participants were large, muscular football players with Piekarsky being the biggest, able to bench press well over 200 pounds. Walsh said he was "not afraid" of Ramirez because he was smaller than them and the big jocks outnumbered him.
3. Scully initiated the argument with the young couple and was the first to use racial remarks.
4. No one claimed to know who threw the first punch.
5. Ramirez only spoke Spanish both in response to them and when using his cell phone. The football players did not say they understood Spanish.
6. All agree several people were fighting with Ramirez at once. Punches. Several kicks. Ramirez fell to the ground. The teens continued to scream racial slurs and Ramirez got up and they said he hit Scully. Then Donchak and Scully were both fighting Ramirez when Walsh punched (Walsh says he looked him in the eye and it was not a sucker punch) Ramirez and knocked him to the ground hitting his head on the macadam. All agreed Ramirez was on the ground passed out.
7. While on the ground passed out, several people were kicking or kicking at Ramirez. Then a final kick to the head was delivered and Ramirez lay foaming at the mouth. Walsh said that kick came from Piekarsky. He said he was standing right next to him when it happened. Scully said it was not him. He said he missed his kick.
8. Walsh's most compelling response was when cross examined by Piekarsky's attorney Fanelli: so you have to impress a federal prosecutor to get a sentence reduction? Walsh: "I don't have to impress anyone. I'm willing to take the nine years."
So there we have it. The Jocks were drunk. They instigated the fight with Ramirez. They outnumbered and outweighed him. Then they kicked him in the head when passed out.
The Defense strategy: Confuse the Jury. Minimize the testimony of Walsh. Provide DOUBT that the final kick came from Piekarsky. Paint Ramirez as an evil illegal immigrant with gang ties and sexual relationship with a minor. They also suggest that since he got up the 1st time, it was his fault for restarting the fight even though all agree the screams and racist taunts were still coming from the jocks.
The most disturbing part of the testimony so far was the fact that the police officer involved was Piekarsky's mother's boyfriend. He drove Piekarsky back to the park. It appears he told Piekarsky to get the boys together to, as Piekarsky's mother said, "Get their story straight." Piekarsky did get the boys together the next day to weave the lies for their story. (Lies: they were not drunk; they did not start it; they did not use racial slurs; there were no kicks; gangs and guns were involved and that is why they fought.)
(Defense: atty. Jeff Markosky & Atty. Fred Fanelli )
11:22 ET The Defense Just Rested its case!! Did not provide witnesses with any type of defensive reasons for the crime. Will post closing argument when they give them!
Thursday, 4/30: (all times Eastern)
8:38: Piekarsky and Donchak have arrived at the courthouse.
9:08: Defense begins their case today.
9:09: Fanelli calls Officer Robert Senape, of the Mahanoy, West Mahanoy, and North Union township departments. Senape: I interviewed Arielle Garcia on-scene, and she identified Scully as the kicker and the "he's not dead" comments to Walsh.
9:24: On cross-exam by Goodman, Senape says he saw the Garcias being interviewed at Shen. Police station, doesn't recall seeing the teens.
9:28: Fanelli calls officer Michele Ashman, of the Frackville police. Ashman: on-scene, I saw Officer Hayes interview Arielle Garcia, and she identified Scully as the kicker. Ashman: I found a gun in an alley near the scene. I was told it was a BB gun. Ashman: my written report did not mention Garcia naming Scully as kicker.
9:47: Fanelli calls Diego Tovar Alvarez, friend of Ramirez. Tovar: Ramirez called and told me about the fight. Tovar: "I went down in my basement, got a BB gun and went to where he was at." Tovar: Ramirez was down and the kids were running. I went to them and asked what happened. Tovar: the BB gun was concealed under my shirt. I never pointed it at them.
10:04: Fanelli's examination is very choppy because of frequent objections and conferences with Judge Baldwin.
10:08: Tovar: I threw the BB gun into the bushes. The gun has been entered as evidence. Both Ashman and Tovar identified it. Tovar: I didn't ask the boys to call anyone. One of them did call the police, who arrived shortly.
10:16: Baldwin has to take care of something upstairs, and has announced an unspecified morning recess.
10:23: Tovar's testimony was limited to his involvement with Ramirez and the teens--no word on his interaction with police later on. Tovar was hustled out of the courthouse by sheriff's deputies immediately after his testimony. From the newsroom: we're told Tovar had a warrant for his arrest apparently unrelated to this incident. We'll update with more details when available. No record of arrest connected to this incident.
10:59: Fanelli calls chief county detective Anthony Carroll. Carroll: I interviewed Scully on July 13, and interviewed Arielle Garcia later that day. Carroll: I don't recall Garcia naming Scully as kicker. She mentioned white sneakers, but "wasn't positive." Carroll: I hadn't asked Scully about footwear. No thought given to showing footwear to Garcia for identification. Carroll: in a July 25 interview, Scully said he kicked and missed at Ramirez.
11:15: Ramirez's phone entered into evidence. Carroll says he examined the calls. Carroll: from 11:30 to 11:35 pm Ramirez made 5 calls: to Tovar (twice), Victor Garcia, Dillman, and someone named Zimudio. Carroll: I never had the BB gun tested but "I think it was broken." Fanelli had asked why Scully was charged in juvenile court.
11:21: Under Goodman's cross-exam, Carroll says Donchak and Scully have similar charges--at the time, Donchak was 18 and Scully 17.
Defense rests their case.
11:25: The crowd is shocked at the abrupt rest of the defense's case. Fanelli called four witnesses today. Markosky called none. Neither defendant took the stand. In his opening statement, Fanelli had alluded to a medical expert for the defense, but none was ever called. It's very quiet--no one wandering the floor, the courtroom emptied out, and nothing of note going on outside. Live Blog commenter Brian provided link about Alvarez' court docket sheet. Has nothing to do with the case but is interesting reading. from the newsroom: Diego Tovar Alvarez, who testified today was brought to the courthouse from the Schuylkill County prison and returned there after testifying. He has been in prison in lieu of $100,000 bail for charges stemming from incidents last summer unrelated to the July 12 Ramirez beating case. On July 31, Alvarez was arrested and charged with burglary, criminal tresspass, theft by unlawful taking and resisting arrest. He was committed to prison in lieu of $50,000 bail. On Aug. 1, he was also charged with stalking, harrassment, defiant tresspass and loitering and prowling at night. For those charges bail was also set at $50,000. Earlier information from a distict magistrate's office was incomplete.
12:42: Reporter: Caught Baldwin in the stairwell--he said we'll reconvene at 12:45 to dismiss, then reconvene Friday at 9 a.m. The proceedings have concluded for the day. Closing arguments, jury instructions and deliberations begin at 9 a.m. Friday.
I will be posting Closing Arguments as they are reported on the LIVE Blog tomorrow.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
LIVE BLOG 4/29/09: "Kick In The Head" Murder Trial Underway - Piekarsky and Donchak - Ramirez Murder
Wednesday, 4/29: (all times Eastern)
8:38: No signs of any protestors or demonstrations.It's a much cooler morning than the past two days--a welcome change of pace when Courtroom 1 lacks air conditioning.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Republicans Are In Turmoil: Arlen Specter Switches Parties to become a Democrat Creating a 60 Seat Filibuster Proof Majority!
The extremists celebrated the purging of another moderate from the Republican ranks. Rush Limbaugh said, "Arlen Specter should take John and his daughter Meaghan McCain with him.'' Michelle Malkin, another right wing extremist said, "Don’t let the door hit you on the way out."
"None of it's logical, none of it makes sense," said interim Sheriff Ed Spooner on Sunday. "He'd obviously just got something else in his mind."
An offense report filed against Cartwright the day he died outlines an angry husband who threatened his wife, kept guns and knives on hand, was "severely disturbed" that Barack Obama had been elected president, and believed the U.S. government was conspiring against him. According to the report, events spun out of control Saturday morning. Cartwright's 21-year-old wife, Elizabeth, told deputies her husband was not attending anger management counseling - something the court ordered after Cartwright was charged with domestic battery against Elizabeth in late 2008.
On Friday, Elizabeth told lawmen, Cartwright was laid off from his job at a telephone store. He also had worked as a bouncer at a bar at one point, and weighed about 220 pounds. About 9:30 a.m. Saturday, a frustrated Cartwright woke up Elizabeth in the couple's Consul Apartments home on Monahan Drive because he couldn't find the Clearasil in the bathroom. He insisted it was in Elizabeth's purse and eventually threw off her covers, picked her up from the bed and threw her back down, pulling her hair with enough force to move her head back and forth, according to the report. She confronted him and "told him this behavior was not acceptable," according to the report. But Elizabeth said she still feared for her life. Cartwright took away two phones she tried to use to call for help, she said. When she picked up one of his pistols near the bed, Cartwright took it away from her. He had "numerous guns and knives throughout the house," Elizabeth told deputies later.
As the argument escalated, Cartwright threw Elizabeth back on the bed and hit her in the face, according to the report. He stopped when he noticed someone looking in their window, which fronts a nearby elevator. But he wouldn't let Elizabeth leave the bedroom. "(Elizabeth) told me her husband gets very controlling and authoritarian when he is angry," a deputy wrote.
She eventually got out of the room and took a Taurus 9mm handgun from her purse for self-defense. Cartwright took that gun, too, then punched her and threw her to the floor, according to the report.
Elizabeth drove herself to the emergency room at Fort Walton Beach Medical Center and called 911. Then deputies began looking for Cartwright to make an arrest.
They learned he'd planned to go with friends to the Shoal River Gun Club in Crestview, a shooting range.
Deputies Lopez and York found Cartwright in the parking lot there, according to the Sheriff's Office. They intended to arrest him on a misdemeanor charge of domestic battery. "They approached him, he was uncooperative, they utilized the Taser, and he went down to the ground," Spooner said Sunday. "He came up firing with a gun nobody saw. He probably had it concealed somewhere." Spooner described the attack as aggressive and well-planned. "To show you how aggressive he was, he was shooting at York. After he shot him, he didn't even turn around," Spooner said. "He just started firing over his head."
Both deputies suffered multiple wounds in areas not covered by their bulletproof vests, Spooner said.
"We don't see anything that indicates they did anything but what they should have. They died brave men doing the job they were trained to do," Spooner said. Cartwright's death minutes later came as he began firing at lawmen in Walton County, where patrol cars rammed his truck, flipping it on its roof near the intersection of U.S. Highway 331 and U.S. 90 in DeFuniak Springs.
LIVE BLOG 4/28/09: "Kick In The Head" Murder Trial Underway - Piekarsky and Donchak - Ramirez Murder
Tuesday 4/28: (all times Eastern)
8:25: Few have arrived so far to watch the proceedings, which resume at 9 a.m. It may be shaping up to be another sparse crowd. There were a lot of teenagers at the preliminary hearing last August--maybe Shen. Valley's attendance policy has reduced turnout.
8:32: Donchak and Piekarsky are hanging out and speaking with people who have arrived early.
8:42: Media, audience, and lawyers beginning to show up. Piekarsky and Donchak have quietly been chatting out alongside the seating area.
8:47: Colin Walsh, who has pleaded guilty to federal chage(s) in a sealed case related to the incident is seen at the courthouse. Perhaps learning a lesson from yesterday's hot weather, the defendants and several lawyers have started the day without their jackets.
8:53: Colin Walsh has been spotted in the D.A.'s office.
8:59: The Garcias are seen in the courthouse
9:11: Prosecution calls Brian Scully. Scully: I have pending aggravated assault and ethnic intimidation charges in juvenile court, and made no promises regarding my testimony. Scully: I was drinking at the creek with a group including Piekarsky, Walsh, Donchak and Lawson. Donchak delivered the alcohol. Scully: I made the "isn't it a little late for you to be out" and "go back to Mexico" comments. Scully: Piekarsky was the strongest person there. Scully: Piekarsky took Ramirez down with a football tackle, and Donchak punched a fallen Ramirez multilple times. Scully: the fighting stopped, and Donchak and I cursed at Ramirez. We were walking away when Ramirez hit me in the back of the head. Scully: Walsh knocked Ramirez down with a punch. Scully: Ramirez was on his back with eyes closed and hands at his sides. I missed a kick, Piekarsky kicked him in the left side of the head.
9:53: Scully: several males showed up after the fight, and one of them pointed a gun at me. Scully: we met after the fight to get our story straight. Scully: Piekarsky said he kicked Ramirez, and Donchak "said he was glad he didn't break his knuckles."
9:56: Scully: the next day Shen. Police Officer Moyer called me in, and I gave a false statement which omitted some facts, including the kick. Scully: Donchak had a "border patrol" t-shirt and wore it multiple times prior to the fight.
10:11: Cross-examination, Fanelli to Scully: your omissions were designed "to protect you and you alone." Scully: I wanted to protect everybody. Under Fanelli's cross-examination, Scully says he was intoxicated and his recollection abilities may have been impaired. Scully: I don't remember Piekarsky making any comments to Ramirez. Scully: I play four or five sports and am one of the best players. Fanelli: but you missed a kick on a motionless target?
10:41: Markosky alludes to Schlack's Monday testimony that multiple people kicked Ramirez. An objection ends the line of questioning. Scully: one fight stopped after Donchak pushed Ramirez away.
10:45: On redirect, Scully says Moyer's partner on July 12 was Piekarsky's mother's boyfriend. (Moyer is police officer) Moyer's partner was Jason Hayes. Scully's testimony has concluded.
Proceedings will resume after a 20-minute recess.
11:14: DA Jim Goodman is questioning Walsh. Walsh: I have been charged under a federal civil rights statute under the Fair Housing Act. http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cid/civilrights/statutes.htm#section241 (when force or threat of force is used to interfere w/ rights guaranteed by the fair housing act the department of justice may bring criminal prosecutions that can result in prison sentences and/or fines for those convicted of such crimes. these crimes include cross burning,arson,fire bombings,vandalism to property, written and oral threats,and assault on persons attempting to exercise their fair housing rights )
11:33: Walsh: my understanding is I would be sentenced to four years on my federal charge if I co-operated and testified. Walsh: Scully made the "late to be out" and racial comments. I also cursed at Ramirez. Walsh: I wasn't scared of Ramirez because "he was smaller than us and there were six of us." Walsh: after the first fight, Roxanne Rector and Victor Garcia were trying to calm Ramirez down. Walsh: Scully continued making comments, and Ramirez attacked him. Walsh: me, Piekarsky, Donchak and Scully kicked the fallen Ramirez. Walsh: I took Ramirez down with a solid "uppercut hook" and saw him hit his head. Walsh: Piekarsky kicked Ramirez in the head while he was down. Walsh: "It wasn't right what (Piekarsky) did, kicking a man when he was down."
11:46: Walsh: after we fled the scene, a man showed up, pointed a gun at us and said "what you did wasn"t cool." Walsh: Hayes (police officer/his mom's boyfriend) gave Piekarsky a ride back to the scene that night. Piekarsky told police Ramirez started the fight and omit the kick. Walsh: Piekarsky's mother, Tammy, told us that Hayes told her Ramirez was Life Flighted and we better get our story straight. Walsh says Donchak later showed him a small piece of metal and said he was lucky he had it. Walsh: Tammy told us our stories were inconsistent with Rector's version of events. Walsh: Officer Moyer asked me if I talked to the other guys "meaning did I get my story straight." Walsh: I gave a false statement saying Ramirez threw the first punch and minimizing the racial aspects. Walsh on Piekarsky's kick to Ramirez's head: "I was right next to him." 12:09: On cross-examination, Fanelli is grilling Walsh on how he violated Ramirez's federal housing rights. Fanelli: "Tell me how a 17-year-old violated a man's housing rights." Walsh: our actions intimidated other Latinos from wanting to move into the area. Walsh has repeatedly said the federal record makes it clear he plead guilty to aiding and abetting crimes by the group as a whole. Walsh: my understanding of federal sentencing guideline Rule 5K.1 is if I testify truthfully my sentence can be reduced. Fanelli: so you have to impress a federal prosecutor to get a sentence reduction? Walsh: "I don't have to impress anyone. I'm willing to take the nine years."
12:30: Fanelli has asked both of today's witness about the color of Scully's and Piekarskys's shoes. Walsh: I saw no kick-and-miss by Sculy.
12:32: There about 60 to 70 people in the general seating area, which includes press. Crystal Dillman is again present.
12:32: Walsh says his punch on Ramirez wasn't a sucker punch: "I looked him right in the eye."
12:43: Walsh has concluded his testimony.
The trial is on a lunch recess, and the proceedings resume at 1:45 p.m
1:03: Scully's shoes: Scully and Walsh both said white. Piekarsky's shoes: Scully said blue and grey, Walsh said grey. No reports of any protests or demonstrations today.
1:54: Prosecution calls Victor Garcia. Garcia: me, my wife Arielle, Ramirez and Rector were hanging out at my place on July 12. Ramirez and I were drinking. Garcia: Arielle and I dropped Ramirez and Rector off at the Vine St. Park. Garcia: when I arrived at the park, I saw 5 to 6 boys and heard one of them yell a slur at Ramirez. Garcia: after I unsuccessfully tried to pull Ramirez and a boy apart, I was punched in the back of the head and started to fight back. Garcia: "No one was trying to help me, (and I said) I'm not going to get beat up too" Garcia: I didn't see Ramirez hit the ground--"all I heard was a 'boom' on the ground." Garcia: Ramirez didn't respond to his nickname "caballo" or slaps to the face to wake him. Garcia: Ramirez was kicked in the head "out of nowhere." I chased and kicked at the boy, but didn't see who it was. Garcia: Ramirez was foaming at the mouth.
2:22: Fanelli asks Garcia if, in a previous statement, he saw shorts, black socks and white shoes on the kicker. Garcia says he "probably" gave that testimony, but isn't "certain." Garcia can't identify the boy he fought with, but says he was taller and had dark hair. Garcia: Ramirez was not wearing a shirt.
2:25: Prosecution calls Barry Nelson Boyer, of Shenandoah. Boyer: I saw Piekarsky get into a cop's car at 11:30 on July 12. I followed them to the park. Boyer: Hayes and Piekarsky's mom were "going together." Boyer: Moyer asked if I had been involved, and I said no. Boyer: I met with those involved the next day at Piekarsky's house to get our story straight.
2:40: Stephanie Wierzalis gives brief testimony that a photo from her MySpace depicts Donchak in a Border Patrol shirt at a Halloween party. Wierzalis said she knew Donchak through mutual friends.
2:46: Correction: Boyer saw Piekarsky get into a cop car and followed alone. Donchak was not involved in the transport. Boyer is a friend of the boys. Boyer: at the scene, Piekarsky pointed to a male and "that's the guy with the gun" and that person was taken into custody.
Recess called until 3 p.m.
3:02: Prosecution calls Mahanoy City police officer John Kaczmarczyk, who says he responded to the scene of the fight. Kazmarchik on a weapon recovered at the scene: "it appeared to be a BB gun." Kaczmarczyk: Ramirez had a red, swollen face and what appeared to be a shoe print on his chest. Fanelli starts to ask if an untrained eye would be mistaken for a real gun, but is stopped by an objection. Kaczmarczyk says the weapon resembled a .45 automatic.
3:16: Prosecution calls Richard Exemitis, a Lost Creek Ambulance chief who says he was called to the scene. Exemitis: Ramirez was unconscious and unresponsive. The right side of his head was swollen, and he had abrasions on the left side of chest.
3:27: Citing the humidity and expectations of more seasonal temperatures Wednesday, Baldwin is calling for an end to the day's proceedings.
Note on the "bb gun": it was not admitted into evidence, and no word on whether or not it was the gun allegedly pointed at the boys.
The trial resumes at 9 a.m. Wednesday.
The trial resumes Wednesday. A new daily blog will be posted for each day of the Courtroom Testimony.
Monday, April 27, 2009
This New Swine Flu Reminds Me of Reye's Syndrome of the Past! Please Take Early Prevention Measures!
. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze.
. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
. Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
. If you get sick, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
Daniel Knight Hayden, 52, was arrested by FBI agents who identified him as the Twitter user CitizenQuasar. In a series of tweets beginning April 11, CitizenQuasar vowed to start a “war” against the government on the steps of the Oklahoma City Capitol building, the site of that city’s version of the national “Tea Party” protests promoted by the conservative-leaning Fox News.
“START THE KILLING NOW! I am willing to be the FIRST DEATH!,” read a tweet at 8:01 PM that day. “After I am killed on the Capitol Steps, like a REAL man, the rest of you will REMEMBER ME!!!,” he added five minutes later. Then: “Send the cops around. I will cut their heads off the heads and throw the[m] on the State Capitol steps.”
Hayden’s MySpace page is a breathtaking gallery of right wing memes about the “New World Order,” gun control as Nazi fascism, and Barack Obama’s covert use of television hypnosis, among many others.
In addition to the threats, many of Hayden’s tweets fixated on another Oklahoma City man whom he erroneously believed was in charge of the city’s tea party demonstration.
“He seemed to know stuff about me, but I don’t know how or why,” says Earl Shaffer. “He called me a few days before that tea party and let me know somehow he got my name as one of the organizers. I don’t have the energy.”
Shaffer told Hayden that he wasn’t a tea party organizer, but Hayden continued to tweet baffling messages about the 58-year-old retiree, posting his phone number in one. Hayden’s penultimate tweet at 12:49 AM on April 15 returned to the subject of his martyrdom. “Locked AND loaded for the Oklahoma State Capitol. Let’s see what happens.”
The FBI arrested (.pdf) him at his home later that day, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oklahoma City, which otherwise declined to comment on the case. Despite the odd phone call from Hayden, Shaffer planned on joining the tea party himself. He was headed there when he spotted what turned out to be FBI agents watching him from their car around the corner. Like a real Oklahoman, he confronted the feds, who advised him that he could be arrested if he went to the demonstration.
“They asked if I knew [Hayden], and I told them no,” he says. ” They asked me questions about how I heard about the tea party, and I told them I heard about it through that talk show host Glenn Beck.”
Hayden was arraigned on the 16th, and ordered released to a halfway house pending trial — a move that suggests the magistrate judge does not consider him a genuine threat. Hayden’s attorney declined to comment. California-based Twitter did not respond to an inquiry by Threat Level.
LIVE BLOG 4/27/09: "Kick In The Head" Murder Trial Underway - Piekarsky and Donchak - Ramirez Murder
Monday Morning 4/27: (all times Eastern)
8:36: Donchak, Piekarsky and lawyers arrive in courtroom.
8:48: Judge enters and begins trial.
8:56: Jury enters. 9:21 Judge instructs Jury.
9:41: Prosecution Opening Statement: Piekarsky kicks Ramirez head like a football. This is a group assault, not street fight gone bad.
9:42-1059: Defense argument: Ramirez in relationship with girl he is walking with. Ramirez is the agressor and calls for back up six times. Walsh punched Ramirez and he was dead when his head hit the ground (before the kick to the head.) Ramirez mentioned gun when he called his friends for back-up. Scully called Ramirez racial slurs, not Piekarsky and he "went to kick" Ramirez, not Piekarsky. Doctor will testify there was no kick to the head or that the kick was insignificant. Evidence will show Ramirez started it or was hell bent on finishing it. Fighting dispersed when friends in van returned and Ramirez got up and sucker punched Scully.
20 minute recess
11:26: Prosecution calls Trooper John P Minalda (State Police). Trooper, who was not on location on July 12, testifies he took photographs and made maps of the area, which are admitted into evidence. Defense cross.
11:54: Prosecution calls Trooper Robert Wessner of the state police at Reading, a member of the forensic services unit. Wessner provides similar testimony and evidence.
Break for lunch. Proceedings will resume at 1 p.m.
1:04: Prosecution calls Elizabeth Schlack, a Shenandoah resident, who lives near the incident.
1:17: Schlack: I called 911 after I heard continuous thumping and saw three males kicking a prone man. On cross-examination, defense enters Schlack's 911 tape as evidence. Fanelli points out that Schlack referred to "teenagers fighting and beating each other" and counted 6 to 8 people during the 911 call.
1:37: Prosecution calls Roxanne Rector, 15, of Shenandoah. Rector had a sexual relationship with Ramirez, and he had asked her to marry him. Rector: one boy asked if it was past her bedtime. She and Ramirez walked away, and comments continued from the group. Rector: I don't know who threw the first punch. Rector: The fighting left Ramirez unconscious, and friend Arielle Garcia said he was not breathing. Rector: a boy falsely said Ramirez was breathing, after which the group fled.
2:21: Rector on Cross Examination: Rector: It was Walsh who made the "bedtime" comment. Rector: I asked the boys to stop. Scully said "tell your boyfriend to stop," but I didn't; "I wasn't thinking." Rector: I saw no kick to the head.
2:34: Rector on Redirect: Rector said Ramirez was already on the ground when Scully said "tell your boyfriend to stop."
2:43: 20 minute recess
3:04: Prosecution calls the last witness of the day: Ben Lawson, one of the teens in the group on July 12. Lawson: Piekarsky was "strong" and could bench press 215 lbs. Lawson: I was drinking with a group including Piekarsky, Donchak, Walsh and Scully at the creek earlier in the evening. Lawson: Scully sarcastically asked Rector "isn't it a little late for you to be out?" Lawson: Scully said "This is Shenandoah. This is America. Go back to Mexico to Ramirez." Lawson: Ramirez had his phone out, and Scully said "call your friends." Lawson: Victor Garcia tried to break up the fighting, and I didn't see him throw any punches. Lawson: Walsh knocked Ramirez down with a punch, and "the fighting was over" when Piekarsky kicked the left side of his head. Lawson: we met at Piekarsky's house the next day to get our story straight. Lawson: "Nobody kicked him, there were no racial slurs, we weren't drinking and Brian got hit first" was their false story. Lawson: Piekarsky said he kicked Ramirez during the meeting at his house. Lawson: After the fight, Donchak had said "I'm glad I had this" and shown a small rectangular piece of metal he'd used to punch.
4:07: Under cross-examination, Markosky points to discrepancies in Lawson's preliminary hearing and trial testimonies. Markosky said Lawson went from 4 to 5 "moderate" punches to "hard" punches in his different testimonies. (Earlier, Rector had testified Ramirez gave her his shirt, wallet, and medallion to hold before the fight. ) Under cross-examination by Fanelli, Lawson said he never saw Ramirez remove his shirt. Lawson: I didn't see how the fights started and ended. Lawson: Rector asked Ramirez to stop, but he would not. Lawson: I can't attribute any racial slurs to Piekarsky. Lawson: I saw Walsh punch Ramirez. Lawson: I was frustrated after the fight and punched the Garcias' vehicle. Lawson: My first statment to the police "wasn't good" because I was still trying to protect my friends.
4:52: Proceedings have concluded for the day. The trial, along with the Republican-Herald's live coverage, resume at 9 a.m. Tuesday.
See tomorrow's Blog for future courtroom action.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Unbelievable Breaking News: Kick in the Head Trial Jury Pool is ALL White And an Alternate was the Driver's Ed Teacher of One of the Defendants!
. The jury of the peers are for the ones on trial, not for the scum that came here illegally and sucked off our society for six years. I would bet a bunch that his nasty girlfriend is collecting public assistance for that **** child they have; and why, because he is illegal and not paying a cent but instead we are paying him. F-that, give them all a oneway train ticket to Cuba.
. Many of the "illegal" immigrants of our past were LEGAL and they worked and payed their dues. this scumbag didn't do any of that. he sucked off OUR system, and when I say OUR system I probably don't mean you since you are probably on some type of public assistance yourself while collecting a check elsewhere. You my friend are the one who needs to be educated.
. because they are slimy little cockroaches who creep around at night and have ignorant, uneducated females hide them out. I think the INS should be at the trial and check all the protesters for their credentials and documentation.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
In Tennessee, a young mother is arrested and jailed when she asks to be paid for her work in a cheese factory.
In Alabama, a migrant bean picker sees his life savings confiscated by police during a traffic stop.
In Georgia, a rapist goes unpunished because his 13-year-old victim is undocumented.
These are just a few examples of the injustices that confront Latino immigrants as they struggle to gain a foothold in the South. The region is now home to the fastest growing population of Latinos in the country, many of them lured by the manufacturing and construction jobs created during the economic boom of the 1990s. But many in Dixie aren't treating their new neighbors with any semblance of Southern hospitality.
In fact, Latinos in the South — many of whom came here to escape crushing poverty in their home countries — are encountering widespread hostility, discrimination and exploitation.
They are routinely cheated out of their earnings and denied basic health and safety protections. They are regularly subjected to racial profiling and harassment by law enforcement. They are victimized by criminals who know they are reluctant to report attacks. And they are frequently forced to prove themselves innocent of immigration violations, regardless of their legal status. This treatment — which many Latinos liken to the oppressive climate of racial subordination that blacks endured during the Jim Crow era — is encouraged by politicians and media figures who scapegoat immigrants and spread false propaganda. And as a result of relentless vilification in the media, Latinos are targeted for harassment by racist extremist groups, some of which are directly descended from the old guardians of white supremacy.
Instead of acting to prohibit and eliminate systematic exploitation and discrimination against Latinos, state and local governments in much of the South have exacerbated the situation. A number of Southern communities, for example, have enacted ordinances designed to limit services to undocumented immigrants and make their lives as difficult as possible, with the ultimate goal of driving them away. In addition, many law enforcement agencies in the South, armed with so-called 287(g) agreements with the federal government, are enforcing immigration law in a way that has led to accusations of systematic racial profiling and has made Latino crime victims and witnesses more reluctant to cooperate with police. Such policies have the effect of creating a subclass of people who exist in a shadow economy, beyond the protection of the law.
The South's immigration explosion began in the 1990s. By 2006, six Southern states (Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee) had added 1.6 million Latinos. Latino workers provided cheap labor to fuel the South's economy — building skyscrapers in Charlotte, harvesting onions in Georgia, slaughtering poultry in Alabama and rebuilding New Orleans after Katrina. Many of these new arrivals left their homes in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and other Latin American countries to escape poverty, which some experts believe has been worsened by U.S. trade policies. Many crossed the border illegally, risking their lives and freedom for opportunity in the United States, while others were originally "imported" by employers under the guestworker system. Many others are legal residents or U.S. citizens, caught in the crossfire of America's war on "illegals."
For this report, Southern Poverty Law Center researchers surveyed 500 low-income Latinos — including legal residents, undocumented immigrants and U.S. citizens — at five locations in the South to take the pulse of a community that is being increasingly driven into the shadows by a sweeping anti-immigration movement.
We found a population under siege and living in fear — fear of the police, fear of the government and fear of criminals who prey on immigrants because of their vulnerability. Many of the difficulties faced by undocumented immigrants are, no doubt, the result of their lack of legal status, which makes them easy prey for unscrupulous employers and puts them at constant risk from law enforcement. But even legal residents and U.S. citizens of Latino descent say that racial profiling, bigotry and myriad other forms of discrimination and injustice are staples of their daily lives.
"The assumption is that every Latino possibly is undocumented," says one immigrant advocate in North Carolina. "So [discrimination] has spread over into the legal population." Systemic discrimination against Latinos in the region — by both private and public entities — constitutes a civil rights crisis that must be addressed. We offer recommendations for reform at the conclusion of this report.
In addition to murdering Racine Balbotín and Nicolás Corp, Baker also seriously injured three other students after entering the residence where group was gathered with a 30-calibre rifle.
Instead, his attorney Lenny Platterborze entered a written plea of not guilty on March 27. On March 31, the State Attorney's Office officially notified the court they intended to seek the death penalty for the crimes Baker is charged with, according to the Walton County Clerk of Courts Web site.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Many conservative claimed that the report was aimed at them, even though the word “conservatives” was never mentioned. So does the outcry from Limbaugh, et. al. mean they identify with such violent and repugnant groups as mentioned in the report? Do they identify with Richard Andrew Poplawski, the Pittsburgh man who recently murdered three policemen in cold blood after they answered a domestic dispute call?
After all, Poplawski was described by his best friends as being anti-Semitic, anti-government, anti-police. They said he was convinced that there was an Obama plot afoot to take away all the guns he had stockpiled.
No, no, no, insist many of those who took offense at the report, which was aimed in part to keep policemen like the ones killed by Poplawski alive by spelling out the threats they need to look out for — the report was just another example of how the new regime is taking a turn to the left.
The report also came out the same week as the anti-government Tea Bag Parties across the nation, an obvious attempt to take the steam out of that movement, the conservative conspiracy theorists said. But as it turns out, the report had originally been commissioned under the previous administration of George W. Bush and had to come out some time.
But you don’t hear any liberals or Democrats crying that they have been attacked, now do you? As the Bard said, we believe the conservatives do protest too much.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Some say just tar and feather Perry, like they did this poor soul at Boston
Tea Party. We believe even Rick Perry deserves a trial by his peers, the Texas
Senate...on his impeachment.
Independent Texans, founded in 2001, has initiated this Impeach Perry campaign. We are turning Perry’s attacks on the people of Texas in to a mobilization of the 42% (and growing) plurality of voters who do not identify with a political party and who self-identify as independent with a small “i”. We know that many Republican and Democratic voters will join our ranks to make the call to Impeach Rick Perry louder and louder as we move beyond the 2008 Presidential election and in to the 2009 legislative session where an impeachment resolution can be filed.
"It is not clear-cut that the tea-party phenomena helps the GOP, unless they have a specific measure or policy (like Prop. 13 in 1978, and income tax cuts after that) to coalesce around," said Steven Hayward, a scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. "Right now it reminds me a bit of the free-floating 'angry moderates' of 1992 who fueled the Ross Perot candidacy, and that is the hazard for Republicans I think. I think the crazies at the rallies are a problem, but probably out of proportion (they always get the media attention) to the real breadth of sentiment underneath, which I think is largely authentic."
Self-professed middle-of-the-road political types were even more biting in their critiques.
Of course, because the series of nationwide tea parties were geared towards a specific day (Tax Day), the political ramifications of the events seem naturally limited. "Those tea parties will be long forgotten by, oh, say tomorrow," said Stu Rothenberg, of the Rothenberg Political Report. "Do you really think that next November, when people go to the polls, the April 15 tea parties will be on their minds?"
That said, plans are in place for a next wave of protests in July. More significantly, as the GOP continues to stake their future on a wave of populist anger at the government and economy (witness: Texas Gov. Rick Perry talking about secession), the likelihood only increases that the most vocal and offensive elements of that anger will come to personify the party.
"Cons[ervatives are] finding out why I generally don't like protests on my side," Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsos said in a post-tea party tweet. "[T]hey bring out the wackos."