Courts

The Artist and her “Portrait Seen ‘Round the World” Courtesy Jane Rosenberg (not for duplication)

A word about courtroom artists, please.

In the wake of “Deflategate” or “Sketchgate” or whatever they’re calling the controversy surrounding New England quarterback Tom Brady these days, I think it’s time to speak up for court artists everywhere.

Disclosure: Jane Rosenberg, the artist at the center of the recent storm over her less-than-perfect depiction of the handsome quarterback, is a pal of mine. I have worked alongside her as the reporter covering a court proceeding, she the assigned artist.  Rosenberg is a 35-year veteran and widely considered to be one of the best in her field. [click to continue…]

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Why the Colorado Theater Shooter Trial Is So Important

by Diane Dimond on April 27, 2015

James Holmes Shortly After His Arrest

James Holmes Shortly After His Arrest

So here comes another headline grabbing criminal trial. James Holmes, now 27, stands accused of murdering 12 and wounding 70 others in a mass shooting at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater in July 2012. Opening statements in the capital murder case are set for Monday.

Ho hum, you say? I beg to differ.

This trial is massively important for anyone who wants to understand what [click to continue…]

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Cookie Cutter Justice Isn’t Justice

by Diane Dimond on April 20, 2015

Kevin Rojano Nieto Will Spend Ten Years in Prison

Kevin Rojano Nieto Will Spend Ten Years in Prison

Conservative leaning friends are going to tell me I’ve gone off the deep end. My more liberal minded friends are going to tell me I just don’t get it.

But let me make it clear – one thing I am not is soft on pedophiles. That said, the case of Kevin Rojano-Nieto epitomizes to me how misunderstood our criminal justice system is and how mandatory sentencing guidelines were doomed from the get-go.

The backstory:  Veteran Superior Court Judge M. Marc Kelly of Orange County, California knows a bad guy when he sees one. [click to continue…]

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Revenge on Purveyors of Revenge Porn

by Diane Dimond on April 13, 2015

Superior Court Judge William Gill

California Superior Court Judge David Gill

Can I get a high-five and a hallelujah for the California judge who recently sentenced cyber-criminal Kevin Bollaert to 18 years behind bars? Finally, at least some of the smarmy creatures who psychopathically roam the dark corners of the internet are being brought to justice.

Every indication is that laws and punishments are slowly but surely catching up with these creeps.

Bollaert, 27, is one of those repulsive human beings who made money off the pain of others by posting so-called “revenge porn,” sexually suggestive photographs exchanged between lovers and then used to humiliate when the relationship soured. [click to continue…]

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Jodi Arias Before Turning to Murder

Jodi Arias – Seen Before Resorting to Murder

In the summer of 2008, Jodi Arias stabbed her boyfriend nearly thirty times, slashed his throat, shot him in the head and left him in the shower of his Mesa, Arizona home. Eleven days later, the attractive 28-year-old was arrested and the public became transfixed by her case.

Nearly seven years after the vicious murder Arias has yet to be sentenced on the finding that she is guilty of the first-degree premeditated murder of Travis Alexander. Two separate juries have deadlocked on whether she should be executed for the crime.

Now, under Arizona law, the death penalty is off the table and later this month a judge will finally announce her sentence – likely life in prison. [click to continue…]

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Paternity Fraud Begs the Question: Who’s the Daddy?

by Diane Dimond on February 23, 2015

The Justice System Has to be Fair - to Everyone

The Justice System Has to be Fair – to Everyone

There is a lot of unfairness in the world.  The American justice system stands ready to counter that, right?

Not so fast.

When it comes to men and allegations of paternity women have a decidedly upper hand. Whatever the woman claims in court most often becomes fact. And once a court has ruled on paternity and established child support it can be next to impossible change. Not even if a DNA test excludes the man from any possibility of parenthood. [click to continue…]

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Getting Our Act Together on the Death Penalty

by Diane Dimond on February 2, 2015

lethal-injectionManonTablewAttendant

This is What the Death Penalty Looks Like

If we, as a nation, are going to allow the execution of convicted murderers, rapists and traitors can’t we get our act together about how to take their lives?

Back in 2010, European countries began a movement to abolish the death penalty around the world.

European pharmaceutical companies began to refuse to sell any anesthetics to the U.S. that could be used to facilitate an execution. And that left our prisons, in the more than 30 states that carry out the death penalty, without easy access to the medications needed to kill the condemned. [click to continue…]

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Shut Up About Sex Accusations? No Way!

by Diane Dimond on January 12, 2015

Don't Shut Up About Sexual Abuse

Do Not Shut Up About Sexual Abuse

      ~ Special breed of predator uses influence and power to escape justice ~ 

One reader wrote to tell me to, “Shut up! (and) butt out” of the sex scandal involving comedian Bill Cosby.

Jason S. wrote to say I was “reprehensible” for trying, “someone in the court of public opinion,” even though nearly 30 women have come forward to accuse Cosby of various degrees of sexual assault. The last three surfaced earlier this week as I read my hate mail.

Madge DeFee and S. Freeman said I was just trying to embarrass Mrs. Cosby by writing an open letter to her last week. In it I suggested that when she declared her husband was the victim she was not facing the truth about Bill’s past bad extra-marital behavior. [click to continue…]

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Don’t Waste a New Year’s Wish on World Peace

by Diane Dimond on December 29, 2014

World Peace - Sadly, Not in Our Lifetimes

World Peace – Sadly, Not in Our Lifetimes

Don’t bother wishing for world peace in the year ahead. It is never going to happen.

There will always be pockets of turmoil and terrorism. Innocents will continue to lose their lives in places like Syria, Pakistan, South Sudan and, yes, here in the United States – in the violent, gang controlled neighborhoods we’ve ignored for too long.

For 2015, I’m going to wish for smaller miracles, things that could actually happen if we could only find the resolve to fix our problems.

I hope in the coming year law enforcement officers find themselves in fewer circumstances [click to continue…]

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Rembrandts of the Courtroom

by Diane Dimond on July 14, 2014

Charles Manson Nearly Caused a Mistrial

Charles Manson Nearly Caused a Mistrial

Okay, show of hands. How many readers have actually sat inside a courtroom and watched a trial? Having been assigned to cover countless high-profile trials over the years I have to admit I relish it.

I love going to courthouses with their stately facades and imposing corridors. And inside it’s like watching a big vat of human soup. We all get stirred up together in a courthouse. The poor, the middle-class, the rich. People seeking justice, people in big trouble with the law, people whose families are falling apart. The process is fascinating to watch.

Inside courtrooms where the most-watched trials take place there is a group of unsung regulars that I have never written about – professional courtroom artists. Whenever I can I try to get a seat next to one of them. Watching them work is a treat. [click to continue…]

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