Monday, April 23, 2012

Marissa Alexander Faces 20 Years in Prison

Marissa Alexander shot a bullet into the ceiling now is facing leaving her children for prison. Judge would not accept her defends of "Stand Your Ground" in Florida. Motions are to heard before a sentencing hearing. Alexander had a protection order against her husband at the time of the shooting.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

George Zimmerman's attorneys withdraw from Trayvon Martin case

Update from a MSNBC article:  The two attorneys said they had never met their client George Zimmerman, but they had communicated with him over email and on the phone. On Sunday, however, they were no longer able to contact him. NBC's Kerry Sanders reports.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Update: Howard Morgan

The 29th Bullet Won't End Police Shooting Controversy - Howard still sentenced to 40 years in prison. Four white Chicago police officers shot a Black railroad detective 28 times -- mostly in the back of his body. Even though Morgan's account was supported by an independent witness, the Cook County State's Attorney's Office charged him with aggravated battery, discharging a firearm, and attempted murder. A jury in 2007 acquitted Morgan of all charges except the most serious -- four counts of attempted murder -- on which they deadlocked. A second trial and this time Morgan was convicted of the serious crimes.

At age 61 and an ex-policeman, Morgan was sentenced to 40 years in jail.  If he survives being a policeman in jail, he will probably die from old age and/or the result of injuries from the 28 bullets. The article still points out the compelling questions:

  • Why would a former cop open fire at four armed officers, knowing it would not end well?
  • Why wasn't a gunshot residue test done of Morgan's hands? If he actually did discharge his weapon, as the authorities contend, wouldn't this simple test have confirmed their version of events?
  • Why was Morgan's car destroyed before forensic testing could be conducted, including of the bullets that pierced it?
  • Why were only three bullets preserved from the dozens of rounds fired, as Morgan's advocates claim? Under the circumstances, how do we know whether any of the remaining bullets that hit Morgan were fired from his own weapon by police?
  • Beyond these unresolved questions about Morgan's guilt, there are two more troubling issues that arise from this case.
  • Why was Morgan shot 21 times while his back was turned? Weren't seven direct hits to his front torso enough to subdue him?
  • And, was race a factor in the shooting?
  • The first question goes to the issue of who is truly responsible for attempted murder -- Morgan or the cops who repeatedly shot him?
  • The second compels us to ask: Would the case have been handled differently if the four officers were black West Siders and the shooting victim was a white Gold Coast resident?

Morgan has been sentenced but that should not be the end.  Law advocates, law students besides civil rights leaders, Occupy Chicago, a prominent newspaper columnist and Morgan's family should continue to work for his release.   Signed an on-line petition by seeking Morgan's release.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Howard Morgan Black Policemen Shot 28 Times By White Police

On April 5, 2012, Howard Morgan is scheduled to be sentenced for crimes he did not commit – place Criminal Court Building, Courtroom 600, 2650 South California, Chicago, IL 60608 at 8:00 a.m. (Please be on time).  How did Morgan get to this point? 

Feb 21, 2005, the Chicago Sun-Times reports Howard  Morgan was an off-duty detective for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad when he was pulled over for driving the wrong way on a one-way street.  After that the story goes in two different directions.  It ends with Morgan surviving being shot 28 times and now being sentenced for attempted murder.  Morgan is Black and the police who shot him are white.

According to police, Morgan opened fire with his service weapon when officers tried to arrest him, which caused them to shoot him 28 times.  There was no indication Morgan was drunk, on drugs or had a medical condition.  Not sure why Morgan was being arrested since driving wrong way seems to be a traffic issue.   People have made a wrong turn into a street.   A petition signed by more than 2,600 people called for all charges against Morgan to be dropped, and now Occupy Chicago is getting involved. It’s not the same attention given to Trayvon Martin’s case... perhaps because Morgan was shot by the fellow police – the brotherhood of law enforcement.

Howard Morgan, Black Off-Duty Cop Shot 28 Times By White Chicago Officers, Faces Sentencing - possible 80 years – a lifetime sentence. Some things noted in the article:
Morgan’s van was crushed and destroyed without notice or cause before any forensic investigation could be done.
Howard Morgan was never tested for gun residue to confirm if he even fired a weapon on the morning in question.
The State never produced the actual bullet proof vest worn by one of the officers who claimed to have allegedly taken a shot directly into the vest on the morning in question. The State only produced a replica.
Howard Morgan will be sentenced Thursday. He faces 80 years in prison.