National District Attorneys Association. Newsclips. November 1, Michigan Senate OKs curbs on elected county officials suing each other

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1 National District Attorneys Association Newsclips November 1, 2013 Today s Clip Headlines Cobb DA spearheads animal abuse unit (Georgia) Doctor used as expert in DUI trials charged with perjury (Georgia) Tenn. lawyer demands to be called 'Captain Justice' Arsonist heads to prison minus 'snitch' shirt (New York) Florida wants to reopen prisons to house more inmates Michigan Senate OKs curbs on elected county officials suing each other License-plate scanners on cop cars: Crime-fighting tool or invasion of privacy? (Michigan) Court battle over NJ sports betting heads for another round today Swallow s attorney blames lost s on state switching tech systems (Utah) Clip Synopses and Links The Marietta Daily Journal Cobb DA spearheads animal abuse unit In an attempt to streamline and bring expertise to felony animal abuse cases, Cobb District Attorney Vic Reynolds has created a new unit in his office.

2 Sherwin Figueroa and Theresa Schiefer, who both joined the District Attorney s Office earlier this year, will now be a part of the Animal Abuse Unit. They will prosecute all cases where animal cruelty is the main charge, regardless of the superior courtroom the case is assigned to, in addition to their regular cases, at no extra cost to the taxpayer, Reynolds said. I m very much in support of this, Reynolds said. The last couple of (animal abuse cases) we ve seen have been pretty brutal, and we want to get out in front of this thing while we can and we want folks to know that when you commit this type of crime here, there s going to be some consequences for it. His office prosecuted five felony aggravated cruelty to animal cases in 2011 and 2012 and, so far in 2013, there have been two cases indicted. ABC27.com Doctor used as expert in DUI trials charged with perjury A Georgia doctor presented as an expert witness in field sobriety tests has been charged with perjury and false statements in three DUI cases in Lancaster and Lebanon counties. Dr. Joseph Citron, 68, of Atlanta, faces similar charges in Dauphin, Centre and Clinton counties where he presented the same testimony regarding his qualifications, prosecutors said Friday. Citron, when asked about his qualifications and training while under oath during a March 2012 trial in Lancaster County, told the court he had been invited to join the faculty of the Georgia Public Safety Training Center and had trained police officers in the area of standardized field sobriety testing for approximately 10 years, District Attorney Craig Stedman said. Citron also testified that in 2000, the governor of Georgia asked him to join a program called "Drunk Busters" in which he went around the state and reviewed field sobriety testing with police departments. Stedman said an investigation by Lancaster County detectives, with the assistance of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, found that Citron was never invited to join the training center's faculty and was never used to teach sobriety testing to police, but was a guest lecturer who spoke about eye injuries during a first responder course at the center's fire academy.

3 The USA Today Tenn. lawyer demands to be called 'Captain Justice' When prosecutors in Williamson County tried to ban a defense attorney from referring to them as "the government" in court, defense attorney Drew Justice had a demand of his own: From now on, call me "Captain Justice." A war of words broke out in an attempted aggravated burglary case in Williamson County Circuit Court between prosecutors and Justice, who is defending one of two people in the case. In May, fed up with Justice referring to prosecutors as "the government," Assistant District Attorney Tammy Rettig filed a motion to ban Justice from using the term in trial. "The State has noticed in the past few years that it has become commonplace during trials for attorneys for defendants, and especially Mr. Justice, to refer to State's attorneys as 'the Government,' " she wrote in her motion. "The State believes that such a reference is used in a derogatory way and is meant to make the State's attorney seem oppressive and to inflame the jury." The Times Union Arsonist heads to prison minus 'snitch' shirt Convicted arsonist Lawrence Ahrens Jr. apparently wanted to make a statement when he strolled into court with a white short-sleeve T-shirt with "Snitches Get Stitches" splashed across the back in bold letters. He looked incredulous when, just before taking a break at Thursday's sentencing, the judge ordered him to remove the shirt, which had a red stop sign above the word "Snitching" on the front. Yet the 33-year-old Rotterdam man, who gave the shirt to a male friend to wear in court, remained silent when Visiting Schenectady County Judge Michael Coccoma asked him if he wanted to address the court before sentencing for firebombing the home and vehicle of his former girlfriend's new boyfriend last year in Rotterdam. Ahrens, who was represented by attorney Cheryl Coleman, replied: "I have nothing to say, your honor."

4 The judge imposed a sentence of 15 years behind bars on the second-degree arson and firstdegree criminal possession of a weapon counts to which Ahrens pleaded guilty in August. The penalty also includes a five-year stay-away order of protection that will take effect when Ahrens is released from prison. The sentence also requires him and his three accomplices to share in making $2,671 in restitution to the two victims. The man whom Ahrens targeted was in court Thursday but did not speak php Tampa Bay Times Florida wants to reopen prisons to house more inmates A year after Florida closed several prisons to save money, the state says it must reopen some of them because of projections of a growing inmate population. The Department of Corrections wants the Legislature to appropriate $59 million to open nine shuttered facilities next year from Miami to the Panhandle, including two prisons, five work camps and two re-entry centers. The prisons, in Raiford and Polk City, were closed in July 2012 and were touted by Gov. Rick Scott as good-news, cost-cutting steps in the budget. The new request is based on a July forecast from the state Criminal Justice Estimating Conference showing that even as the crime rate continues to drop, new admissions to the prison system are rising. They are projected to increase by 2.7 percent next year and 1.4 percent the following year, requiring more than 1,000 new prison beds. The current inmate population is about 101,000. Scott, who's seeking re-election in 2014, recently asked state agencies to cut spending by $100 million, but the prison system alone wants $124 million more next year, including money for more officers, new buses and vans, the food service system and an electronic timekeeping system.

5 Detroit Free Press Michigan Senate OKs curbs on elected county officials suing each other Countywide elected officials will have a harder time suing each other under a bill passed Thursday by the state Senate. The bill, passed on a 29-8 vote, would require that any future lawsuits be handled by the state Court of Appeals and make the appeals panel consider the county s ability to pay when coming to a judgment. It would also give the elected officials 60 days to file a lawsuit after a budget has been approved or 90 days if the two county officials are in the midst of mediation. The bill is aimed directly at Wayne County, where both the prosecutor and Circuit Court have sued the county commission and Executive Robert Ficano when their budgets have been cut. Similar lawsuits also have been filed in Midland and Schoolcraft counties. After the House approves technical changes made to the bill in the Senate, it will move to Gov. Rick Snyder for his signature. Detroit Free Press License-plate scanners on cop cars: Crime-fighting tool or invasion of privacy? The four small cameras blend in with the overhead lights on top of Macomb County Sheriff s Deputy Derek Elsey s patrol car. But the little infrared devices can do big things capturing the license plate numbers of passing cars and continuously running them through a database, letting Elsey know if there is a hit on a possible stolen car or wanted suspect. While license plate readers aren t standard equipment for law enforcement agencies, their use is growing in Michigan and in other states. Grant money often helps agencies buy the systems, which can cost $10,000 to more than $20,000. The readers can be affixed to vehicles, bridges, overpasses and at border crossings With millions of plates being scanned and often stored in databases across the country, the growing use of the readers has some civil libertarians and privacy proponents worried about potential abuse, such as tracking a spouse or ex-lover or even tracking the movements of a political opponent.

6 There are also questions about how effective the devices are and worries about the lack of data retention policies by the agencies using license plate readers a concern that at least one Michigan lawmaker wants to address through proposed legislation to regulate the devices and limit the amount of time collected data can be kept. North Jersey.com Court battle over NJ sports betting heads for another round today Another major court action is expected Friday in the battle over whether the state can implement a law allowing sports betting at the state s horse racing tracks and Atlantic City casinos. The state Thoroughbred Horsemen s Association on Thursday said it will petition to the full 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear a three-member judicial panel s decision to uphold a 1992 federal law banning sports betting in all but four states Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon. The association added in its notification to the Philadelphia-based court that the reasons will be detailed in a petition to be filed by Friday by principal partner Governor Christie. The NCAA, NFL and three other major professional sports leagues last year sued the governor in a so-far-successful effort to prevent implementation of a state law that would permit such gambling at the state s horse racing tracks and Atlantic City casinos. The panel s support for a lower-court ruling in September that maintained the ban came with a partial dissent from Judge Thomas Vanaskie, who split with the majority on the specific issue of whether the sports-betting ban falls under impermissible commandeering by the federal government in forcing states to take certain actions. nd.html The Salt Lake Tribune Swallow s attorney blames lost s on state switching tech systems A lawyer for Utah Attorney General John Swallow said his client did not intentionally delete s pertinent to investigations into alleged misconduct, chalking up the missing information to a computer glitch stemming from a state government-wide change in systems.

7 House investigators discovered in September that an unknown number of electronic records apparently were deleted and are attempting to retrieve the missing information. The fact that certain s were somehow lost in translation and may have been deleted, John didn t have anything to do with that, and a number of times he has attempted to recover them," Swallow s attorney, Rod Snow, said Thursday. "There may have been stuff lost [House investigators] wanted to see, but my view of this is it s just a fishing expedition. That s what happens when you start in 2013 and ask for s back to 2009." Sources close to the attorney general s office told The Salt Lake Tribune that investigators have asked to copy computer hard drives in the office, including Swallow s, and have had access to the office s servers in an attempt to find out who deleted what and when. The answer to those questions could have major implications for a criminal probe being conducted by Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill, Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings and the FBI. Upcoming Courses To see a full list of our upcoming courses, their dates, summaries and registration forms, please visit Member Benefits New NDAA membership benefits available: Need Case Assistance? NDAA can help. Send a message to NDAA s prosecutor assistance address and we will get your request to one of our program specialists or out to prosecutors around the country.

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