Perry’s God: Short On Backpacks and Pencils | Common Dreams



Perry’s God: Short On Backpacks and Pencils | Common Dreams



Cody Vandenberg’s lawyer calls for dismissal for 1995 attempted murder case /Video

Cody Vandenberg’s lawyer calls for dismissal for 1995 attempted murder case
Key piece of evidence lost, Meier says
Paul Srubas
Green Bay Press-GazetteFiled Under
Local News
Purchase Image ZoomCody Vandenberg, left, appears Friday in Brown County Circuit Court in Green Bay for a pretrial conference with John Pray of the Wisconsin Innocence Project. / Photos by H. Marc Larson/Press-Gazette

Related Links
Cody Vandenberg freed from jail
A man who spent 14 years in prison before having his attempted murder conviction thrown out is facing a new trial that his attorney wants dismissed because important physical evidence has been lost over the years.

Cody Vandenberg, 46, is scheduled for a jury trial Aug. 15 in Brown County Circuit Court on charges of robbery and attempted first-degree intentional homicide involving the 1995 stabbing of Blake Renard in a Bellevue trailer home.

Vandenberg was freed from prison about a year ago when the state Court of Appeals overturned his 1996 conviction.

Vandenberg served 14 years in prison but was freed when the University of Wisconsin Law School Innocence Project called attention to new evidence in the case.

Based on the Innocence Project argument, the court of appeals ruled that a new jury should hear testimony that wasn’t brought out at Vandenberg’s original trial. That includes evidence that Renard had a high blood-alcohol level at the time of his stabbing and may have therefore been unreliable in identifying Vandenberg as his attacker.

The new evidence also must include testimony from Larry Pearson, a co-defendant in the case, who had testified for the state in Vandenberg’s original trial after receiving immunity. Pearson originally identified Vadenberg as the perpetrator but later allegedly admitted to being Renard’s attacker.

Vandenberg had a brief hearing Friday, during which defense lawyer Rick Meier said he planned to move for dismissal of the case. Meier said important physical evidence in the case apparently has been lost through the years and Vandenberg shouldn’t have to defend himself without it.

After the hearing, Meier said he couldn’t specify the evidence he believed to be missing but said even something as seemingly insignificant as a discarded cigarette butt could contain DNA evidence that would bolster Vandenberg’s argument that he wasn’t present when the stabbing took place.

After the hearing, Deputy District Attorney Dana Johnson said his office still was assessing what evidence may have been lost and what remains.

Judge Donald Zuidmulder scheduled a hearing for Wednesday on Meier’s motion.

The possible disappearance of key evidence is just one of the hurdles facing prosecutors in resurrecting a 16-year-old case. At the time of Vandenberg’s release, District Attorney John Zakowski said he expected the case to be especially tough because of the passage of time.

„Memories fade,“ he said. „But we believe the right thing is to proceed, because the jury was correct in finding Vandenberg guilty.“

— psrubas@greenbaypressgazette .com and follow him on Twitter @PGpaulsrubas.

Six Officers Suspended After Murder Of Homeless Man Video

BREAKING – Six Officers Suspended After Murder Of Homeless Man – (VIDEO)
by Judy M.
August 4, 2011

Six Fullerton police officers, involved in the deadly beating of a homeless mentally ill man, have been placed on involuntary administrative leave.

On July 5, these six officers brutally beat 37-year-old Kelly Thomas, a reportedly “gentle” man, so ferociously that he slipped into a coma and later died.

The Murder Of A Homeless, Unarmed Man

It began when the police in Fullerton, California, responded to reports of a man trying to break into cars, and soon they made contact with Mr. Thomas. At the end of the altercation, Mr. Thomas, 37, lay unconscious and severely beaten, and he was taken to a hospital. Pictures of him at the hospital show his face swollen, bruised and bloody. He was taken off life support and died five days later.

You can see a photo of Kelly Thomas photo taken at the hospital before he died by clicking here. Be warned, though, that this photo is pretty horrible.

Beaten So Badly, His Own Father Did Not Recognize Him

Kelly Thomas’ father, a retired Orange County police officer, did not recognize his own son when he went to watch him die at the UC Irvine Medical Center.

From The Los Angeles Times:

Thomas’ father, a retired Orange County sheriff’s deputy, has asserted that officers used excessive force to subdue his son, who was unarmed, slight and of medium height.

After seeing his son’s injuries and talking with witnesses, Thomas told the Register his son “was brutally beaten to death.”

“When I first walked into the hospital, I looked at what his mother described as my son … I didn’t recognize him,” Thomas said. “This is cold-blooded, aggravated murder.”

Thomas, citing witnesses, said officers hit his son with the butts of flashlights even after he stopped moving.
He said his son was probably off his medication and didn’t understand officers’ commands.

A spokesman for the Orange County Coroner’s office declined to discuss the case but said an autopsy of Thomas had been completed and the results forwarded to investigators.

The case was initially hushed up, but as more information has surfaced, including a couple of videos, public outrage has grown.

Angry Fullerton Residents Demand Resignation Of Police Chief

At a Fullerton City Council meeting on Tuesday, August 2, hundreds of angry residents jammed into the overflowing council chambers, assailing their elected officials, criticizing police for the death of Thomas, calling the Police Department corrupt, demanding the resignation of the police chief as well as the recall several council members.

On Wednesday, in response to the increasing chorus of public criticism, the department issued a terse statement: “This was tragic for our community. We are in the midst of an investigation.”

Still, what exactly happened on the night of July 5 remains the subject of multiple investigations, and to date the police have not offered a clear report of what occurred, with the Orange County district attorney’s investigation continuing. The FBI is now also involved in an investigation.

Take Action

Please click here to sign our petition telling Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas to thoroughly investigate and prosecute the officers involved in the death of Kelly Thomas.

You can see video from the night of the fatal beating here:

Read more:

NOTMILK – NYC Triathlon Tragedy Update

NOTMILK – NYC Triathlon Tragedy Update
Von: Robert An: notmilk
Datum: Mo., 8. Aug. 2011, 18:49

Thirteen days before the New York City Triathlon, I made thed
decision not to compete. I reported that swimmers were in danger:

Today, the second swimmer who participated in the New
York City Triathlon lost her life.

Today, I spoke with the widow (Nadia) of the man who lost his
life swimming in a much-polluted Hudson River. Today, I
also spoke with Grace of the NYC Medical Examiner’s office.

The day before the New York City triathlon, many Notmilk
readers called me an fanatical alarmist and unsubscribed
from the Notmilk letter. I had warned of a microorganism
which thrives in the presence of phosphates in enormous
feces spills which the Hudson river had recently suffered.

The day before the New York City Triathlon, I wrote:

I stood alone when I wrote that milk was not safe to drink.
All of the not-so-wise experts believed otherwise.

I stood alone when I reported that genetically engineered
milk was different than the milk it replaced.
All of the not-so-wise experts believed otherwise.

I stood alone when I warned that post-9/11 New York City
air was not safe to breathe and would sicken people.
All of the not-so-wise experts believed otherwise.

Today I again stand alone with deep sadness and regret
for two fellow athletes who needlessly lost their lives.

Robert Cohen