Saturday, March 24, 2007

Pot County Confidential UPDATE

The Omaha World Herald reports this day that the trouble Jeff TeKippe, former assistant county attorney in Pottawattamie County, was in has increased by several orders of magnitude.

It is alleged that he was using the Pot County evidence crib as his personal drugstore. It was reported that the AG's office has added six more counts of theft and another felonious misconduct count for falsifying evidence. There is a first degree theft charge in there, and the total is 297 gm of cocaine and 37 gm of marijuana went missing on his watch. According to the story Jeff checked out the evidence in a drug case and returned it, and it was found that flour had been substituted for the nose candy.

Although my time in prosecution was short, and I didn't know Jeff, all I've got to say about the subject is words that a very wise man once told me: "This is going to get worse before it gets better."

Vaya con Dios, Jeff. You're going to need all the help you can get.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Recanting Witnesses Do Not Swing Prison Gates Open

State v. Anderson, No. 06-1212 (Iowa Ct. App. Mar. 14, 2007).

Anderson was convicted of sex abuse and burglary. He was accused of breaking into an apartment, roughing up the female occupant, and then raping her. After her initial testimony, it seems the victim found out how much punishment Anderson was facing, and then attempted to recant her testimony.
In her letter to the court the victim stated that she'd been under the influence of several medications, had been scared of being prosecuted for perjury, Anderson lived in her apartment, they had consensual sex, and that she was used by the Waterloo PD to frame Anderson and put him away.

At a hearing on the letter the victim reiterated these claims, and the court heard from an investigator who related that the victim has cooperated with police and told them substantially what she'd testified to. She then said on the second day of trial that she was going to change her testimony because of the potential length of the sentence, and was told in no uncertain terms that she'd be courting perjury if she did so.

The district court, after hearing the evidence, found that the victim had made two statements that were consistent with her testimony at trial, and that witnesses to the events had also made recorded statements that supported the first version of events.

The Court of Appeals found that recantations are viewed with deep suspicion. A person convicted of a crime should not be given a new trial unless the court is satisfied that the testimony of a material witness was false or mistaken, and unless a jury might reach a different conclusion without such testimony. The trial court, in the view of the Court of Appeals, was in the best position to assess the testimony given.

Juvenile Adjudicated As A Felon Remains So

State v. Moore, No. 06-0661 (Iowa Ct. App. Mar. 14, 2007)

Moore was charged as a felon in possession of a firearm and appealed, arguing that Iowa Code sec. 724.26 was inapplicable to him as he was no longer a juvenile adjudicated as a felon, having reached the age of majority. In particular he points to language in the statute that says in part "who is adjudicated as a felon" and Moore argues that since he is not under adjudication the statute cannot apply to him.

The Court of Appeals differed, finding that to read the statute as Moore would have it would frustrate the purpose of the legislation. It would be inconceivable that a prior adjudication could not be used to support a prosecution of an adult under 724.26.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Long Overdue Recognition For Iowa Officer

It is reported in today's Los Angeles Times that Officer Walter Kesterson of the Los Angeles Police Department is up for that department's highest award, the Medal of Valor.

Kesterson and his partner responded to a radio report of an armed holdup at a movie theater near 43d and Avalon Boulevard. As he identified himself, one suspect drew a pistol and shot Kesterson in the chest. Kesterson returned fire and killed the two robbers before he died of his wounds. It was later determined that the two robbers had murdered Vernon, California patrolmanRichard Pennington.

All these events took place on February 4, 1946.

Officer Kesterson was born in Belvidere, Iowa.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Quebec Cops Hard Hit By Second Shooting Death

Laval, Quebec lost a second brave officer Friday as Constable Daniel Tessier, a 42 year old father of two, was shot and killed in an early morning drug raid.

It wasn't too long ago that the folks in Laval lost another brave officer, this time Constable Valerie Gignac, a 25 year old policewoman who was investigating a noise complaint.
In this war there are no borders and no flags, and nobody's safe. Our hats are off to the good folks of Quebec and the loss of these good people.
Stay safe out there.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Involuntary Statements Void Forgery Conviction

State v. Pierce, No. 06-0409 (Iowa Ct. App. Feb. 28, 2007).

Pierce tendered a counterfeit $100 bill at a Dollar General store in Story City and police were summoned. Pierce accompanied the officer to city hall where she was mirandized and interviewed. Over a period of a few hours Pierce gave several different versions of how she acquired the phony Franklin, cried, and stated she wanted to be with her children. Another officer was summoned, another fake Franklin was discovered at the store, and the interviewing officer told Pierce that she would probably have lesser charges or even no charges if she told the truth about how she obtained the bills. Pierce gave another statement about how she obtained the bills and was charged with forgery.

Pierce moved to suppress her statements to police as not being voluntarily given.

The court agreed, holding that Pierce's statements were not voluntary because they were improperly induced by statements the officer made and the circumstances under which they were made.

Nigerian Scam Yields Strange Results

State v. Reynolds, No. 06-0344 (Iowa Ct. App. Feb. 28, 2007)

This case answers the question "Who in the heck is 'tessy4love00' and why is she sending me money?"

Reynolds took six postal money orders for $950 each to the US bank. An employee told him that they were suspicious looking and would be held, and Reynolds returned an hour later, retrieved the money orders and deposited them at the Central States bank in Muscatine. Reynolds took $5,600 in cash. Reynolds deposited $2000 in his US Bank account and was again advised that the money orders were part of a scam. A few days later Reynolds deposited another group of money orders at CSB. A month later Reynolds cashed two Travelers Express money orders, all at CSB.

It was determined that the money orders were all counterfeit and Reynolds was arrested.

Reynolds explained that he had an online relationship with someone called 'tessy4love00' and that the arrangement was that this person would send him money orders, he was to cash them, and send the money to her so she could come to the United States. He never did.

Reynolds was tried and convicted of theft and forgery and sentenced to prison.

Reynolds objected to the admission of bank records and testimony of a bank employee under the hearsay rule, and this formed the basis of his appeal.

The court found that both records and testimony were acceptable as evidence under the business records exception to the hearsay rule and affirmed the trial court conviction.

As a point of information, a peek at Mr. Reynolds' file in Muscatine County reveals an extraordinarily litigious man with numerous attempts at prosecution that resulted in dismissals.

They got you on the one that mattered, Brian. Welcome to felony country.