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Florida judge sets June start date for George Zimmerman murder trial
Oct 17, 2012, - 0 Comments

NBC News

A Florida judge has set June 10, 2013 as the start date of the murder trial of George Zimmerman.

Zimmerman, 29, a former neighborhood watch volunteer, is charged with second-degree murder for shooting and killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26.

Zimmerman claimed self-defense in the case and has pleaded not guilty.

Attorneys in the case said they estimate the trial will last three weeks, and Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda said he expected the jury selection would take longer than the trial itself, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Read More

Bin Laden driver’s conviction overturned by U.S. appeals court
Oct 16, 2012, - 0 Comments

A federal court Tuesday threw out the terrorism conviction of Osama bin Laden’s former bodyguard and driver, ruling that he was improperly prosecuted before a military tribunal for a war crime that did not exist at the time he was accused of having committed it.

The unanimous decision by a three-judge appeals panel came in the case of Salim Ahmed Hamdan, who authorities say met bin Laden in 1996 at an al-Qaeda training camp.

Hamdan was tried in 2008 before a military commission at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He was acquitted of conspiracy but convicted of material support of terrorism; he was sentenced to 5 1/ 2 years in prison and released in 2009 to his family in Yemen.

In seeking to overturn his conviction, Hamdan argued that material support of terrorism was not considered a war crime under international law when he was accused of aiding al-Qaeda. In a 28-page ruling, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit agreed. Read More

South Africa Hip-Hop Star Convicted of Murder
Oct 16, 2012, - 0 Comments

By RODNEY MUHUMUZA Associated Press

A court in South Africa found a hip-hop star guilty Tuesday of the murder of four schoolchildren in a drag-race crash that had victims' families worried that wealth and fame would get the accused off easy.

Molemo Maarohanye, best known by his stage name Jub Jub, faced charges of murder and attempted murder stemming from a March 8, 2010 drag race in which he and his co-accused drove cars that ploughed into a group of schoolchildren, killing four and seriously injuring two. The crash happened in Soweto, not far from the magistrate's court where they would be charged.

A magistrate ruled that the men had been driving under the influence of drugs, finding both guilty on four counts of murder and on two counts of attempted murder. Read More

Del Norte DA accused of corruption on trial
Oct 15, 2012, - 0 Comments

By PAUL ELIAS Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO—Attorney Jon Alexander overcame methamphetamine addiction, a stint in jail and a suspended law license to win election as Del Norte County's district attorney.

But soon after assuming office in January 2011 and receiving a slew of positive publicity, including a cover story in The California Lawyer magazine, new troubles for the recovering addict cropped up. He is now fighting for his professional life.

On Monday, the California agency responsible for licensing lawyers convened a two-week trial in San Francisco before a State Bar judge, who will consider seven allegations of corruption against Alexander. State Bar officials believe it's the first time disciplinary charges have been filed against an elected district attorney while in office.

Alexander faces disbarment. Alexander's attorneys declined to make an opening statement after state bar prosecutor Donald Steedman's brief opening remarks laid out the seven State Bar charges.

They stem from three separate incidents. Alexander is charged with making a $14,000 loan to a probation officer preparing probation reports for two of his clients when he was a public defender, receiving a $6,000 loan from a defense attorney then dismissing charges against the attorney's client, and improperly discussing a case with a drug defendant without her lawyer present. Read More

Sean Dugas, crime reporter, ID'ed as body found encased in cement
Oct 13, 2012, - 0 Comments

Sean Dugas, a former crime reporter for The Pensacola News Journal, was ID'ed as the body found buried in a Georgia backyard encased in concrete in a plastic container. 

Dugas, 30, had been missing since August 27, CNN reported. He was identified by a forensic pathologist using dental and facial bone CT scans and surgically implanted dental hardware serial numbers, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution

"It's a little hard to wrap your head around it," said Kris Wernowsky, who sat next to Dugas for about three years while working at the Pensacola News Journal, the Associated Press reported. "I've worked there for so many years and covered many things in Florida. You never would have thought you would go to a website and click on a story about someone you know. ... It's heartbreaking." Read More

MS-13 First Gang To Be Designated 'Transnational Crime Organization'
Oct 12, 2012, - 0 Comments
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10/12/2012 RTT News
Mara Salvatrucha, the Los Angeles-based street gang notorious for its subcultural moral code and violent acts of retribution, has become the first gang to be designated a "transnational crime organization" by the U.S. Treasury Department.

The gang, also known as MS-13, boasts around 8,000 members in the U.S. and over 30,000 worldwide, with the heaviest concentrations found in L.A., San Francisco and the Washington, DC/Maryland area.

The Treasury designation will allow the federal government to freeze assets of MS-13 members at will for the gang's involvement drug trafficking, kidnapping, human smuggling, sex trafficking, murder, assassinations, racketeering, blackmail, extortion, and immigration offenses. Read More

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