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Entries in Attorney (4)

Friday
Oct282011

Baby Lisa: Interviews with Brothers Canceled, Attorney Dismissed

Find Lisa Facebook Page(KANSAS CITY, Kan.) -- An overnight shake-up in the search for missing Missouri 11-month-old Lisa Irwin canceled interviews with her two half-brothers and forced one of the family's attorneys off the case.

Baby Lisa's 5 and 8-year-old brothers had been scheduled to sit down with child specialists Friday for interviews about the night Lisa disappeared and to have DNA samples collected, but those interviews were abruptly called off Thursday night by the Irwin family's attorney Joe Tacopina.

Tacopina said he would call police next week and reschedule the interview, according to ABC News' Kansas City affiliate KMBC. Attorneys will reportedly still allow DNA samples to be taken from the boys' cheeks.

Parents Deborah Bradley, 25, and Jeremy Irwin, 29, had denied investigators access to the boys in recent weeks. Child specialists spoke to the boys on Oct. 4, the day after Lisa's disappearance, but investigators have not had access to the boys since then.

Investigators hoped to "bring them back to see if they remember anything that might be able to help find their younger sister," Kansas City Police Department spokesman Darin Snapp told ABC News.

The boys were reportedly sleeping with Bradley in her bed the night that Lisa disappeared and may have heard noises in the house.

ABC News also learned that the family's Kansas City attorney Cyndy Short was forced off of the legal team overnight, for unknown reasons. Short did not respond to ABC News' request for comment, but her office said she is preparing a statement.

On Thursday, Short canceled a scheduled media tour of the Irwin home and a news conference hours before the events.

"That last few weeks have been exhausting to everyone working on behalf of the Irwin family. It has exhausted Lisa's parents and her friends and family," Short said in a statement. "Therefore, the consensus is we all need a rest until next week."

Baby Lisa has been missing since the night of Oct. 3, and her parents maintain that she was kidnapped from her crib. Police have investigated nearly 1,000 tips and leads, but have not named any suspects.

An anonymous benefactor is offering a $100,000 reward for her safe return or the conviction of whoever took the little girl.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jul132011

Loophole Allows Alleged Rapist to Watch Child Porn

Comstock/Thinkstock(TACOMA, Wash.) -- Alleged child molester Weldon Marc Gilbert of Washington State, accused of raping young boys, will watch hundreds of child pornography videos this week while he sits in jail -- the same footage police found in his home -- because he's acting as his own defense attorney.

A judge approved Gilbert's request based on a previous Washington Supreme Court ruling that allows a defense attorney to review evidence against a client.

But officials said this is the first time a defendant has been granted that kind of access.

On Wednesday, Pierce County prosecutor Mark Lindquist told ABC News he's gearing up for a fight.

"In my 16 years as a prosecutor, this is one of the most absurd and maddening results I've ever heard of, and this is the first time I'm aware of this happening in Pierce County," said Lindquist. "We don't have to turn over the guns used as evidence for a defendant…and it's absurd that we have to turn over the child porn as evidence."

Gilbert, who appears in several of the videos, was charged with child rape, child molestation and sexual exploitation of a minor in 2007 after the older brothers of two alleged victims called police.

A former United Parcel Service pilot who goes by his middle name, Marc, he had allegedly lured the boys to his Lake Tapps home after providing coveted trips in his sea-plane, boat or helicopter. Witnesses said Gilbert, 50, would give the boys alcohol and spank their bare buttocks. In several cases, prosecutors said, Gilbert allegedly engaged the teens in masturbation and other sexual acts.

Detectives searched Gilbert's home and found a stash of videotapes and DVDs depicting 250 scenes involving 40 individuals, including one of a boy who was 12 years old. The officers also found a cassette tape on which Gilbert allegedly described his spanking fantasies, in addition to sex toys, paddles, blindfolds, spanking devices and two handguns, among other items.

Lindquist is planning to appeal the judge's ruling that allows Gilbert to review the child pornography, and he said he's also going to the legislature.

"This is a law that needs to be fixed," he said.

This year, however, the Washington State legislature failed to pass House Bill 1001, which was sponsored by 12 representatives and would allow alleged victims of sex offenders to be questioned by a court-appointed attorney in cases in which the alleged sex offender represented himself or herself in a criminal prosecution. It would prevent accused sex offenders from questioning their alleged victims. Opponents of the bill argued the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution gave all criminal defendants the right to confront witnesses.

Regardless, judges can limit the questions the defense is allowed to ask. In this case, Lindquist said, Gilbert's questioning would be "highly limited" because the judge has already restricted the defense's ability to directly question the alleged victims.

Gilbert can, however, ask questions indirectly. The judge would have the authority to strike any questions found unnecessary or improper.

In the meantime, Gilbert will be watching the footage with the private investigator he hired. The rest of the inmates at the Pierce County Jail will not be able to see the porn because Gilbert and his private investigator are required to view the footage in a private interview room.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul072011

Exclusive: Casey Anthony's Attorney Gains Public Recognition

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Just a few months ago Jose Baez was a scrappy, unknown lawyer practicing in South Florida.

Now, after a jury acquitted his client Casey Anthony of murder charges in one of the more riveting crime stories in years, Baez is one of the most celebrated attorneys in the country.

"After I heard 'not guilty,' I had a moment,'' he told ABC's Barbara Walters in an exclusive interview.  "I thought, 'My life is going to start to change.'"

And it did in a flash.  On a trip Wednesday that took him through Orlando's airport and then Newark Airport, fellow travellers recognized and cheered Baez, holding up newspapers with his face on the front page and hailed, "Jose."

The security agent who checked his ID in Orlando's airport turned to colleagues and said, "Oh my God, that was Jose Baez."  His flight attendant recognized him, too, and leaned over to offer congratulations.

Some in the press have dubbed Baez the next "Juannie Cochran," putting a Latino spin on the name of the colorful attorney who successfully defended O.J. Simpson.

Casey Anthony said in jailhouse visits with her parents that she found Baez through referrals from fellow inmates.  During the trial, Baez had to listen as the prosecution played jailhouse tapes of Casey Anthony's parents and her brother questioning her decision to hire him.

During the six weeks of testimony in the Anthony trial, Baez was ceaselessly second-guessed by trial watchers and the media.  Baez had only been practicing for three years and had tried one death penalty case before he was hired by Casey Anthony, though he has handled five murder cases.

"I've never had anyone convicted of first degree murder," he points out.

When the jury acquitted Anthony of all of the most serious charges, convicting only on four counts of lying to authorities, Baez hugged his client.

"I was ecstatic for Casey.  I was happiest after I heard the first 'not guilty,' because at that point I had saved her life," he told Walters. "The other 'not guiltys' were a bonus."

Asked by Walters if the verdict meant justice for Caylee, he said, "Caylee would never have wanted her mother to suffer this way.  And Caylee certainly would never have wanted her mother to die."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun302011

Despite Cash Stash, Bulger Gets Paid Defense

WCVB-TV BOSTON(BOSTON) -- Notorious fugitive James "Whitey" Bulger, captured last week as authorities seized $822,000 cash hidden in the walls of his rent-controlled apartment in Santa Monica, Calif., has been assigned taxpayer-financed lawyers to defend himself against 19 murder charges.

After Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler in Boston ruled that the alleged former South Boston mob boss is entitled to taxpayer-funded counsel, attorneys J.W. Carney and his law partner, Janice Bassil, were appointed to represent Bulger, 81, who eluded capture as a fugitive for 16 years.

"I find at this time that the defendant is unable to retain counsel," Bowler said, adding there will be a review down the road to determine if Bulger should repay those attorney fees.

Bowler's ruling came after U.S. District Chief Judge Mark Wolf ruled that the 1994 indictment on racketeering charges against the alleged former South Boston mob boss can be dismissed as the government requested, allowing federal law enforcement to focus its case against Bulger on 19 murder charges.

"It is in the public interest that this case be dismissed," Wolf said.

The issue of just who was going to represent Bulger and how the lawyers were going to be paid sparked outrage among Bulger's victims. Bulger himself taunted Judge Bowler last week when he said he could fund his own defense if the feds just gave back his $822,000.

However, legal observers, including Boston defense attorney Anthony Cardinale, said Bowler's ruling made sense.

"He has said he doesn't have enough money to pay for a lawyer," Cardinale told ABCNews.com. "It's as simple as that. And this is the kind of case that requires a lawyer with very specific qualifications and abilities and manpower....The guy deserves the best defense that can be given to him, even though he is a monster. Now, if his financial statement later turns out to be false and he does have money hidden around, well, then he could be charged with perjury. But that's the least of his problems."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio