November 4, 2011, 11:15 AM ET
by Ashby Jones
The amount of settlement counts:
"In recent days, reports of sexual-harassment lawsuits have dogged the until-now surprisingly successful Herman Cain presidential campaign. And Cain’s people have conceded that they haven’t handled the flare-up with great aplomb.
But let’s pause for a moment to take a look at the law surrounding sex-harassment. As Brent Kendall and I wrote in this WSJ story, people often have many different behaviors in mind when they talk about sexual harassment, and a brief primer on the topic might help clear up a few things.
For starters, in the legal arena, making a successful sex-harassment case often hinges on whether the conduct is pervasive or serious enough to disrupt an employee’s work . . . " Read More
NEW YORK – "Former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn might take legal action in civil court against the hotel maid who accused him of sexually assaulting her in a now-dismissed criminal case and in her ongoing civil suit, one of his lawyers said Tuesday.
Strauss-Kahn, a former French presidential candidate, could file his own claims to counter housekeeper Nafissatou Diallo's lawsuit, "and that's certainly a consideration," lawyer Benjamin Brafman said in an interview with The Associated Press. "Because she did lie, and he has suffered enormous damages as a result of those lies."
A court Tuesday dismissed the attempted-rape and other charges against Strauss-Kahn, who resigned his IMF post, spent five days in jail and then spent about six weeks on high-priced house arrest before being freed from it July 1. The dismissal came after prosecutors said they couldn't pursue the case because of doubts about Diallo's credibility and a lack of other evidence to prove a forced sexual encounter.
Diallo wasn't truthful with prosecutors about several aspects of her life and changed her account of what she did right after when she claims she was attacked, prosecutors said.
Strauss-Kahn's lawyers have long said the encounter at a luxurious Manhattan hotel, though brief, was consensual. But while Diallo's account of it has been recounted in interviews, in her lawsuit and in the now-defunct prosecution, the married Strauss-Kahn doesn't want to detail his version of what happened, Brafman said.
"What happened in that room, so long as we have now confirmed that it wasn't criminal, is really not something that needs to be discussed publicly," Brafman said in the AP interview. "You can engage in behavior that you're not proud of, and maybe some people might consider it inappropriate — it doesn't mean that you committed a crime. And it's not something that you may want to discuss, at the end of the day."
Diallo's lawyer, Kenneth Thompson, didn't immediately respond to an email inquiry about the possibility of Strauss-Kahn filing his own claims in civil court. Thompson has said it's "utter nonsense" to say the encounter was consensual. Earlier Tuesday, he blasted the dismissal of the case, saying prosecutors "would not allow a woman to have her day in court."
Diallo says Strauss-Kahn chased her down in his hotel suite on May 14, grabbed her crotch, propelled her to the ground and forced her to perform oral sex. His semen was found on her uniform, and a gynecological exam found a mark that her lawyer holds up as evidence of an attack but prosecutors say could have resulted from a number of other things.
From the start, Strauss-Kahn's lawyers considered her account implausible, partly because neither she nor Strauss-Kahn had bruises reflecting a forceful attack, Brafman said.
The Associated Press does not usually name people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they come forward publicly, as Diallo, an immigrant from Guinea, has done."
Given that the criminal investigation was dropped, amid questions concerning Ms. Diallo's credibility, Mr. Strauss-Kahn has every right to file suit against her. No one has a right to sexually assault another person. However, no one has a right to file false claims against anyone else either. If either occurs, then that person (s) should be held accountable, either in criminal or civil court.
MIAMI (Reuters) – "State and federal agents cracked down on Tuesday on South Florida pill mills, dismantling what was described as the nation's largest criminal organization involved in illegally distributing painkillers.
Authorities charged 32 doctors, pain clinic owners and workers with illegally prescribing more than 20 million painkillers and reaping more than $40 million in profits from 2008 to early 2010.
The indictment reflects a "multi-pronged attack on those who contribute to illegal diversion of pharmaceutical drugs from the pill mills of Florida to the streets of communities across the United States," said Mark R. Trouville, special agent in charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The clinics wrote prescriptions for large quantities of oxycodone, which authorities said were used by traffickers and addicts.
People "would often travel great distances, as far as one thousand miles or more, with complaints of alleged intractable pain," the indictment states.
Demand for the prescription drugs has grown to epidemic proportions in Florida and other parts of the United States, where dealers can sell a 30-milligram oxycodone pill on the street for $10 to $30 or more, authorities have said.
Florida leads the nation in diverted prescription drugs, according to the Attorney General's Office. Seven people die in the state each day from drug overdoses.
The indictment says that many in the newly charged group were also involved in the illegal Internet distribution of anabolic steroids, and some engaged in wide-ranging violence, including kidnapping, extortion and other crimes against competitors and people they suspected of disloyalty.
The five-count indictment unsealed on Tuesday includes racketeering, money laundering, and wire and mail fraud conspiracy charges. Thirteen of those charged were doctors ranging in age from 36 to 76 who worked at the pain clinics. . . " Read more
One of the keystones of forensic science is DNA testing. DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is the genetic material present in every cell. Each individual has a Unique DNA Profile. There are even a few differences between the DNA of identical twins.
A British scientist, Sir Alec Jeffreys, developed DNA profiling in the 1980s. DNA for profiling can be extracted from samples of human cells found at a Crime Scene, including blood, semen, skin, saliva, mucus, perspiration and the roots of hair, and Profiling can even be carried out on old and dried out samples.
The case of Colin Pitchfork was the first murder conviction based on DNA profiling evidence (there was a previous rape conviction based on this type of evidence).
In 1986, another 15-year-old schoolgirl, Dawn Ashworth, was similarly sexually assaulted and strangled in the nearby village of Enderby, and semen samples showed the same blood type.
Richard Buckland, a local 17-year-old with learning disabilities who worked at Carlton Hayes psychiatric hospital, had been spotted near Dawn Ashworth’s murder scene and knew unreleased details about the body. In 1986, he confessed to Dawn Ashworth’s murder but not Lynda Mann’s.
Using Sir Alec Jeffreys’ new technique, scientists compared the semen samples with a blood sample from Richard Buckland. This proved that both girls were murdered by the same man, and also proved that this man was not Richard Buckland – the first person to be exonerated using DNA. . . Read More
"It comes as no surprise, but going to a college football game at your alma matter is supposed to be fun, even if your team sucks. And generally speaking, Georgia Tech sucks. Okay fine, the team won the ACC title in 2009, but that title was just vacated. Nobody likes a cheater.
But even if your team sucks more than Tori Black, you can still drink the suck away at a pre-game tailgate party. And if you’re heading to a home game at Georgia Tech, you can grab some Chick-Fil-A before the game, too.
And that is exactly what Georgia Tech alum Mary Clayton did before a football game in September of last year. She might not have been drinking before the game, but she definitely wanted to “eat mor chikin,” so she tried to enter the stadium with a chicken sandwich in hand. What started for Clayton as a game to remember turned into a day she’d like to forget, due to an alleged sandwich security strip search….
Chicken sandwich in hand, Clayton was stopped by security as she was rushing to her seat. After being told that she wasn’t allowed to bring the food inside the stadium, Clayton says that she threw it in the trash. When she attempted to get to her seat, she was again stopped by security. WSBTV Atlanta has more information on what happened next:
“People were saying I had a chicken sandwich hidden in the front of my pants,” Clayton said and consented to a search. “I believed at the time a reasonable search was they would pat my pockets down.”
Instead she said a female Georgia Tech police officer took her into a bathroom stall and ordered her to drop her pants.
“She then examined my underwear closely, all the way around, and when she didn’t find anything I was told to lift my shirt and bra and expose myself,” Clayton said. . . " Read More
Article Date: 05 Aug 2011 - 0:00 PDT
" Fatal overdoses involving prescribed opioids tripled in the United States between 1999 and 2006, climbing to almost 14,000 deaths annually - more than cocaine and heroin overdoses combined. Hospitalizations and emergency room visits related to prescription opioid pain medicines such as oxycodone (brand name Oxycontin) and hydrocodone (Vicodin) also increased dramatically in the same period.
Now a report in the August issue of Health Affairs describes a major initiative at Group Health to make opioid prescribing safer while improving care for patients with chronic pain. Health Affairs is the nation's premier health policy journal, and its August issue focuses on substance abuse.
In the Group Health initiative's first nine months, clinicians at the Seattle-based integrated health system developed and documented care plans for almost 6,000 patients - 85 percent of those receiving long-term opioid therapy for chronic non-cancer pain.
Group Health's initiative was implemented well before the White House Office of Drug Control Policy, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Drug Enforcement Administration announced a national action plan in April 2011 to stem the epidemic of prescription drug abuse. Scientists from Group Health Research Institute are evaluating the initiative's effects on care, hoping Group Health's experience can help guide national efforts.
Use of prescription opioids has increased sharply since the 1980s. Excluding people with cancer and those in end-of-life care, about 4 percent of U.S. adults now use prescription opioids long term. Pharmaceutical industry advocacy and education have fueled increased opioid prescribing for chronic non-cancer pain - despite limited scientific evidence supporting the drugs' long-term effectiveness for chronic non-cancer pain.
In January 2010, Group Health Research Institute Senior Investigator Michael Von Korff, ScD, and colleagues published the first-ever study on overdose risk by dose among patients receiving prescribed opioids for chronic non-cancer pain. That study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, linked higher risk of fatal and nonfatal overdose to higher daily dose prescribed. His research also showed that Group Health, like other health systems nationwide, had been prescribing more opioids for chronic non-cancer pain over time - a twofold increase from 1997 to 2005.
Group Health launched a major primary care-based initiative to enhance opioid prescribing safety later in 2010. Led by Group Health Medical Director of Primary Care Claire Trescott, MD, the initiative aims to standardize use of opioids for chronic non-cancer pain, without creating undue restrictions on clinically appropriate opioid prescribing."
By James Vicini James Vicini – Wed Aug 3, 4:13 pm ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – "Authorities said on Wednesday they have dismantled an online bulletin board allegedly used by 600 people around the world to trade graphic images and videos of child sex abuse.
More than 70 people have been charged in connection with the private site, which was called "Dreamboard" and gave members varying access to the material. Board members who molested children themselves getting the most coveted "Super VIP" access to pictures and videos, they said.
"To put it simply, we have charged that these individuals shared a dream -- to create the preeminent online community for the promotion of child sexual exploitation," Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters. "But for the children they victimized, this was nothing short of a nightmare."
U.S. officials called it the largest prosecution of people who participated in an online child exploitation enterprise operated for the purpose of promoting child sexual abuse, disseminating child pornography and evading law enforcement.
The bulletin board, created in 2008, folded in the spring of this year when members became aware of the U.S. government's investigation, Justice Department officials said.
The 600 members of Dreamboard offered to trade images and videos of infants and children 12 and younger, contained in some 27,000 posts, the authorities said.
"The nature of this crime is abhorrent. These are some of the most disturbing images I think you will ever see," Holder said, adding that some victims were in obvious pain and crying.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said digital media recovered from those arrested in the United States included more than 1 million images of child pornography.
Of those charged in the United States, 43 have been arrested in this country and nine foreign nationals have been arrested overseas, including accused bulletin board administrators located in Canada and France, the officials said.
The board's three other administrators have yet to be identified and authorities were seeking to identify other members and the victims, they said. About one-third of the members were in the United States and the rest were overseas.
Arrests also took place in Denmark, Ecuador, Germany, Hungary, Kenya, the Philippines, Qatar and Serbia, among other countries.
"The dismantling of Dreamboard is another stark warning to would-be child predators who think they can trade in child pornography," said John Morton, director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which conducted the investigation. . . " Read More
By DON THOMPSON, Associated Press Don Thompson,
Associated Press – Wed Aug 3, 7:13 pm ET
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – "A state senator said Wednesday he wants to change California law so prisoners like the sex offender who was paroled before taking Jaycee Dugard captive for 18 years would have a tougher time getting out of prison.
The proposal by Sen. Ted Gaines aims to undo a 2008 California Supreme ruling that requires the parole board to consider more than the original crime when deciding whether a prisoner is released.
Gaines and El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson said the board currently pays too much attention to mental health evaluations, and inmates like Phillip Garrido can fool psychiatrists.
Garrido was on parole after serving time for rape when he kidnapped Dugard in 1991.
"Release is the rule rather than the exception" under the state Supreme Court ruling, Pierson said at a public hearing at the state Capitol. "The burden has shifted."
Gaines, a Republican who represents the South Lake Tahoe area where Dugard was abducted, said the board has granted parole to more than 1,300 prisoners serving life terms since the high court ruling. That amounts to 42 percent of all paroles granted to life-term inmates since 1978.
Garrido pleaded guilty to kidnapping and raping Dugard while she was locked in a backyard compound at his home in the Northern California city of Antioch.. . " Read More
Article Date: 31 Jul 2011 - 0:00 PDT
If you suffer traumatic brain injury, your risk of having a stroke within three months may increase tenfold, according to a new study reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.
"It's reasonable to assume that cerebrovascular damage in the head caused by a traumatic brain injury can trigger either a hemorrhagic stroke [when a blood vessel bursts inside the brain] or an ischemic stroke [when an artery in the brain is blocked]," said Herng-Ching Lin, Ph.D., senior study author and professor at the School of Health Care Administration, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University in Taiwan. "However, until now, no research had been done showing a correlation between traumatic brain injury and stroke."
It is the first study that pinpoints traumatic brain injury as a potential risk factor for subsequent stroke.
Traumatic brain injury occurs when an external force such as a bump, blow or jolt to the head disrupts the normal function of the brain. Causes include falls, vehicle accidents, and violence.
In the United States alone, approximately 1 in 53 individuals sustain a traumatic brain injury each year, according to 2004 statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Worldwide, traumatic brain injuries are a major cause of physical impairment, social disruption and death.
Using records from a nationwide Taiwanese database, researchers investigated the risk of stroke in traumatic brain injury patients during a five-year period. The records included 23,199 adult traumatic brain injury patients who received ambulatory or hospital care between 2001 and 2003. The comparison group comprised 69,597 non-traumatic brain injury patients. The average age of all patients was 42 and 54 percent were male.
During the three months after injury, 2.91 percent of traumatic brain injury patients suffered a stroke compared with only 0.30 percent of those with non-traumatic brain injury - a tenfold difference.
Stroke risk in patients with traumatic brain injury decreased gradually over time, researchers said:
Stroke risk among traumatic brain injury patients with skull bone fractures was more pronounced than in traumatic brain injury patients without fractures, researchers said.
During the first three months, those with skull bone fractures were 20 times more likely to have a stroke than patients without skull bone fractures. The risk decreased over time.
Furthermore, the risk of subarachnoid hemorrhage (bleeding in the area between the brain and the thin tissues that cover the brain) and intracerebral hemorrhage (bleeding in the brain caused by the rupture of a blood vessel) increased significantly in patients with traumatic brain injury versus non-traumatic brain injury patients. . . " Read More
PHILADELPHIA – "A monsignor who is the only U.S. church official ever charged with transferring pedophile priests to unsuspecting parishes will be tried alongside four priests accused of rape, a judge ruled Friday.
Common Pleas Judge Lillian Ransom denied most of the pretrial requests made by Monsignor William Lynn, two current priests, a former priest and a former Catholic schoolteacher. The men wanted their cases to be tried separately and asked for many of the charges against them to be dismissed.
Lynn, 60, the lynchpin of the case, is charged with conspiracy and child endangerment for allegedly transferring priests he believed to be pedophiles. Lynn, who served as secretary of clergy from 1992 to 2004 under former Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, is the only U.S. church official ever charged in the sex-abuse scandal for his administrative actions.
The four others are charged in the same criminal case with raping boys in their care. Three of them are accused of raping the same child, starting when he was a 10-year-old altar boy in 1999, according to a scathing grand jury report released in February that faulted the church for knowingly harboring priests who sexually abused children.
The Rev. Charles Engelhardt, 64, and former priest Edward Avery, 68, are accused of raping the boy in the church sacristy. Prosecutors say former sixth-grade teacher Bernard Shero, 48, raped him during a ride home from school. The fourth defendant, the Rev. James Brennan, 48, is accused of raping a 14-year-old boy in 1996.
The judge on Friday dismissed only the conspiracy charges involving Shero, saying prosecutors failed to prove he was in collusion with Avery and Engelhardt. She also rejected the defense attorneys' requests for access to the mental health records of the two accusers, who are now grown men.
Lynn's attorney, Thomas Bergstrom, objected to the judge's refusal to dismiss felony child endangerment charges against his client and his refusal to separate his trial from the others, saying the monsignor had no children under his supervision and therefore cannot be guilty of endangering them. Bergstrom asked the judge for certification to appeal to a higher court, which she denied.
If found guilty of the two charges, Lynn could be sentenced to up to 28 years in prison.
David Clohessy of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a victim advocacy group, praised the judge's actions.
"The Catholic church isn't some loosely-knit hippie commune. It's a rigid, secretive, tightly-knit institution," he said in a written statement. "So when crimes happen, it's disingenuous for church officials to pretend that everyone involved is disconnected from one another. . . " Read More
"A jury should decide whether a school bus service is liable for dropping a 13-year-old girl off at the wrong bus stop, exposing her to harm from a man who had sexually abused her, the Iowa Court of Appeals has ruled in an unusual wrongful-death case.
Donnisha Hill's tragic death has resulted in murder convictions for her abuser, David Damm, and the man he hired to kill her. With the appeals court's decision, it could also lead to a damages award for her parents against the bus company, First Student, Inc.
On Oct. 27, 2006, a First Student driver allowed Donnisha to get off the bus at an intersection near Damm's car dealership in Waterloo, Iowa, rather than take her to a stop near her house where her mother could see her. Damm picked Donnisha up and took her to meet his friend, Bruce Burt, who later beat her to death with a small sledge hammer.
A Black Hawk County judge cut short a jury trial of the wrongful-death lawsuit last year, finding that First Student did not need to protect Donnisha from “any and all possible harm” resulting from contact with Damm and her murder was not within the “range of harms risked by the defendant's conduct.”
Police were investigating the abuse allegations at the time of the murder. The identifiable risk, First Student argued, was not that Damm would have Donnisha killed, but that he would again sexually abuse her.
But the appeals court said the risk did not have to be so specific to be within First Student's “scope of liability.” “The plaintiffs presented evidence that First Student was aware Donnisha's bus route was changed for her overall safety in general, not just to prevent further sexual abuse,” it noted in sending the case back for a new trial.
“[T]he risk that made First Student negligent was the general risk that Donnisha would come in contact with and be physically harmed by Damm,” the court concluded.
Donnisha's parents found out Oct. 11, 2006 that she was having sex with Damm, a neighbor. After calling the police and keeping her out of school for two weeks, her mother asked First Student to change her bus route to one closer to home. . . " Read More
Many adverse events can be prevented, providing what a patient safety expert calls "humongous opportunities for improvement."
By Kevin B. O'Reilly, amednews staff. Posted April 18, 2011.
"One-third of hospital patients experience adverse events and about 7% are harmed permanently or die as a result, according to a study that detected patient safety problems at a far higher rate than other methods.
The study, in April's Health Affairs, echoes two reports issued in November 2010 that showed rates of adverse events hovering near 25% among hospitalized Medicare patients nationwide and at 10 North Carolina hospitals.
The findings draw attention to the safety troubles that have lingered in U.S. hospitals in the 12 years since the Institute of Medicine's headline-grabbing report "To Err is Human." The study cited research estimating that up to 98,000 patients die each year due to preventable medical errors.
"This is one of the best studies that now gives us a sense of how much harm is happening to patients in American hospitals," said Robert Wachter, MD, chief of the medical service at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center, who was not involved in the research. "There is a tremendous amount of harm befalling patients who are admitted to hospitals and humongous opportunities for improvement."
To judge from a survey released March 31, patients are scared of medical mishaps. Nearly 60% of adults polled by the Consumer Reports National Research Center believe medical errors are common in hospitals, and nearly half said serious harm is common. Nearly 80% of patients said they feared contracting an infection in a hospital, 71% were worried about medication errors and 65% were scared of surgical mistakes. . . " Read More
DENVER – "An Oregon man suspected of raping a 22-year-old woman at Denver International Airport was charged Tuesday with one count of sexual assault.
Noel Bertrand, 26, of Portland, was accused of assaulting the woman just after midnight April 12 on the floor of a concourse. Two airport employees on the tarmac saw the incident through a window and intervened, authorities said.
The woman's family members said they were shocked to hear that Bertrand was only charged with one count. Several messages seeking comment from family lawyer Patrick Ridley were not immediately returned.
The Associated Press does not use the names of people who report being sexually assaulted unless they agree to be identified. The AP also isn't identifying family members to protect the woman's identity.
Bertrand was being held on $50,000 bond and was due in court Thursday, when a public defender could be named to represent him.
He could face a sentence of up to 12 years in prison if convicted, but he would have to qualify for parole to be released and could end up imprisoned for life even after completing his term.
The victim's family members said the woman had missed a flight and decided to spend the night at the airport. A man struck up a conversation at a restaurant, then followed the woman to a spot where he sat next to her and tried to kiss her, according to her family.
Court documents say Bertrand hit the woman in the eye and choked her by her shirt collar as he threw her to the floor and assaulted her. . . " Read More
LOS ANGELES – "The doctor charged in the death of Michael Jackson tried to change his story about his actions involving the pop star, telling his own experts in the upcoming trial a different story than he told police, prosecutors said Monday. Deputy District Attorneys David Walgren and Deborah Brazil filed a motion asking a judge to bar new claims made by defendant Dr. Conrad Murray. They said he apparently made the new assertions in conversation with two doctors who will testify on his behalf in the case. The accounts were revealed in letters from the experts, Dr. Paul White, an anesthesiologist, and Dr. Joseph Haraszti, a psychiatrist and hospital director. Prosecutors believe Murray spoke to the experts after a preliminary hearing in January that focused on his statements to police after Jackson's death in June 2009. The motion quoted Murray as telling the experts he left Jackson's bedroom to make a phone call, even though he initially said he left Jackson to go to the bathroom.
LOS ANGELES – "The doctor charged in the death of Michael Jackson tried to change his story about his actions involving the pop star, telling his own experts in the upcoming trial a different story than he told police, prosecutors said Monday.
Deputy District Attorneys David Walgren and Deborah Brazil filed a motion asking a judge to bar new claims made by defendant Dr. Conrad Murray.
They said he apparently made the new assertions in conversation with two doctors who will testify on his behalf in the case.
The accounts were revealed in letters from the experts, Dr. Paul White, an anesthesiologist, and Dr. Joseph Haraszti, a psychiatrist and hospital director.
Prosecutors believe Murray spoke to the experts after a preliminary hearing in January that focused on his statements to police after Jackson's death in June 2009.
The motion quoted Murray as telling the experts he left Jackson's bedroom to make a phone call, even though he initially said he left Jackson to go to the bathroom.
Experts also said Murray claimed to have experience using propofol — the powerful anesthetic that killed Jackson — as a sedative, even though Murray didn't make such a claim in police interviews. . . " Read More
For a review, check out my initial report/opinion on Michael Jackson's death in archive pages to the left.
"The question in the title of this post is prompted by this fascinating article from the Denver Post headlined "DA Chambers offers bonuses for prosecutors who hit conviction targets." Here are the details:
Eighteenth Judicial District Attorney Carol Chambers has created an unusual incentive for her felony prosecutors, paying them bonuses if they achieve a predetermined standard for conviction rates at trial. The threshold for an assistant district attorney to earn the average $1,100 reward: Participate in at least five trials during the year, with 70 percent of them ending in a felony conviction. Plea bargains or mistrials don't count.
Chambers, whose office handles prosecutions in Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties, said she set up the standard to encourage her team to meet minimum requirements in line with statistics in comparable jurisdictions. The bonus pool, which comes from an office surplus, and the use of standards to determine who gets part of it are similar to incentive compensation used in private industries.
"It is hard to find performance standards by which to measure trial attorneys," Chambers wrote in response to questions submitted by e-mail. "This is the standard I think best meets the need to have a performance standard that attorneys know and can be aware of and that does not in any way encourage any outcome in any specific case."
But other Colorado district attorneys say they neither typically award bonuses nor tie performance evaluations to a conviction goal. . . " Read More
Friday, March 25th 2011, 4:00 AM
"Gruesome photos of a battered 4-year-old girl. Autopsy reports showing she was drugged. Twine used to tie her to a bed.
Prosecutors seeking homicide convictions for the two child welfare workers assigned to protect Marchella Brett-Pierce have several pieces of dramatic evidence - but the most damning are a few bogus computer entries.
Experts say caseworker Damon Adams' alleged attempt to cover up his failure to monitor Marchella could be a silver bullet for prosecutors.
Adams, 36, is accused of never visiting Marchella's Brooklyn home despite glaring warning signs - and fudging computer records to show he checked in on her in the months before she died.
What authorities described as record tampering shows that Adams "had an understanding of the nature of his failure to act and the potential consequences for it," said Paul Gentile, a former Bronx prosecutor. "That takes the DA a significant distance to proving his case."
"The false entry indicates that he knew that he blew it," said Shapiro. "That's the key." Read More
March 19, 2011
The case against the drug company was developed with the help of former Lakers player Lucius Allen and his wife, Eve, who worked for Bristol-Myers and provided access to the basketball team, according to a lawsuit made public Friday. Doctors and family members were invited to Lakers Dream Camps arranged by the company, the lawsuit said.
Doctors also were treated to tickets and luxury suites for Lakers games, and received pointers, balls and autographs from some of the team's most famous players, the suit alleges.
New York-based Bristol-Myers vowed to fight the case. "Bristol-Myers Squibb believes this lawsuit has no merit and the company will defend itself vigorously," it said in a statement.
The California lawsuit was originally filed in March 2007 by Michael Wilson, a former Bristol-Myers employee. It was sealed until last week when a judge granted a request by the state Department of Insurance — which joined the suit — to make it public.
The case is the latest major legal action against Bristol-Myers over fraud accusations. In 2007, it paid $515 million to settle allegations by the federal government and other states that it used a kickback scheme to defraud the Medicare and Medicaid insurance programs. . . " Read More
I am opposed to violence, whether it's displayed by adults or children. I've always believed that violence is never the answer.
When raising our own family, I never, ever laid a hand on either of my kids, never cussed or screamed at them, like I've seen so many other parents do. I swore I would never do that and I kept my promise.
However, when it comes to bullies, sometimes, the only way to get through to them is for people to stand up to them and teach them a lesson or two.
Whether adult or child, bullies are cowards who pick on those they feel can't defend themselves. Did you ever see a bully go after someone he knows can defend themself? No way. They wouldn't take the chance of being humiliated in front of their peers.
I was also bullied terribly, back in seventh grade, by a tough cookie of a classmate, and her even tougher, bigger, older sister. I often thought they both could have tried out for the football team. Often the bullying occurred, in the hallway, or in class, right in front of teachers, who just stood there watching.
I tried ignoring it. I even went to the guidance counselor. That didn't help. In fact, the bullying got worse once everyone knew. Why do they think kids never tell the grown ups? Finally, when she threatened to punch me one day in class, I'd had enough. Even though my skinny knees were knocking, and I knew she could pulverize me, I stood up to her.
I stood up, raised my fists, and threatened to hit her back. Was it the right thing to do? Probaby not. We both got sent to the principal. Soon afterwards, her sister caught up with me and slammed me into a locker. Again, right in front of teachers.
But, hey, at the time, it was worth it because I'd stood up for myself for the first time in my life and it felt good. As for my classmate, she never bullied me again.
It's something I'll never forget. Constant bullying is something that stays with you forever. I think that's one reason why I later became a forensics nurse. To do whatever I could to help put a stop to such senseless violence.
Many years later, when we were a grown, I happened to run into the older sister in a store. We stood there, with our kids, and chatted for while. She looked like any other mother holding her baby on her hip. Not the pulverizer I remembered.
Surprisingly, she brought up her bullying past. And she actually apologized to me for her behavior way back then. Just goes to show people can change if they really want to.
In this video, which has gone viral across the web, one young bully, Richard Gale, after repeatedly taunting and punching Casey Heynes, a larger victim, finally got what was coming to him.
I know I'll probably get slammed on here for this. I'm sorry to have to say that but I believe it's true. Normally I would not advocate it, but sometimes, there comes a point when kids should have a right to defend themselves - within reason, of course.
In these days of kids bringing knives and guns to school, caution and cool heads are needed. It's a shame that appropriate intervention by teachers or administration didn't happen before it got to this point.
However, in this case, the victim finally stood up for himself, did what he had to do to get the bully off his back, without really hurting him, then walked away.
The victim showed enormous restraint considering the circumstances. Of course, the news media is reporting that the bully's mother is now demanding an apology from the victim who stood up to her son. Hmmm. And we wonder why her son is a bully?
Hopefully, Richard Gale has learned an important lesson which will stay with him throughout his life. And maybe, just maybe, sometime down the road, this young bully will also have the guts to apologize to his victims too.
"On Oct. 21, officials at a chain of mental healthclinics in Miami were charged with making $200 million in fraudulent claims for group therapy sessions that authorities said were unnecessary or never provided.Medicare scams like these are rampant, costing taxpayers billions of dollars every year. But the schemes are not always so ambitious.
"Thieves may simply offer unsuspecting patients medical supplies and equipment they do not need, or do not qualify for, to collect Medicare numbers, said Julie Schoen, director of the California Senior Medicare Patrol, part of a federally financed antifraud program that operates in every state. . . " Read More
Certified Forensics Nurse Examiner and Independent Consultant