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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

13-year-old has had 75 run-ins with police in Metro Vancouver

METRO VANCOUVER — A 13-year-old boy who slashed a man with a knife because he wouldn’t give him a cigarette has been in court and involved with police 75 times in the past year.
The youth, who has been in and out of foster care, was on probation when the latest attack occurred aboard SkyTrain near Columbia Station, according to the Transit Police Service.
He was charged Tuesday with assault causing bodily harm and assault with a weapon in connection with the attack, which left a 23-year-old Ontario man with severe cuts to his left hand. The man was heading home after watching a Canucks game at a Vancouver restaurant when he refused to give the boy a cigarette and was slashed.
People on the train who witnessed the attack pushed the emergency intercom and requested immediate assistance. As the train came into Columbia Station, people from the train pointed out the youth to a SkyTrain attendant, who got the boy off the train and then called for police. Another SkyTrain attendant began first aid on the victim and then took him to hospital.
Transit police spokesman Tom Seaman said the youth needs help.
“What’s happened in his life to have him blow up so easily and so quickly in anger?” he asked.
The youth, who was being held at the Burnaby Youth Detention Centre, cannot be named because he’s a young offender.
But police say he’s no stranger to them.
At the time of his arrest, the youth was breaching curfew and other probation restrictions, including possessing and owning a weapon, police said. He was convicted on six charges in 2008 and was scheduled to to court on four outstanding issues in Surrey.
Most of the incidents involved violent offences with weapons such as knives, or were alcohol-related, transit police said.
“This young man has been in foster care for a good period of his life,” said Police Chief Ward Clapham.
“It just breaks my heart. On the one hand this is not acceptable, this type of behaviour is a very serious crime. On the other, wow, here’s a 13-year-old, look at his record and the level of violence ... and he continues to slip through the cracks.”
Clapham said the incident underscored the need for the community to pull together. He said he was calling on the 21 municipalities in Metro Vancouver to help people like this boy — either through treatment or jail — before the situation gets any worse.
“This is real, it’s happening more and more often,” Clapham said. “We as police can only do so much. ... No blame, let’s get our heads together and deal with it.”
Ministry of Children and Family Development spokesman Kelly Gleeson would not give details of the youth’s past, or even confirm that he was in foster care, due to privacy concerns.
“That being said, any youth — in care or not — that has repeated dealings with the youth justice system is obviously of concern,” Gleeson said in an e-mail. more

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Brooks County teen arrested for burning 3 cats

Authorities charged a Brooks County teen with aggravated cruelty to animals following the burning death of two cats and the disfiguration of a third.
Brooks County Sheriff Mike Dewey announced on Monday that 17-year-old Cory Ward has been charged with three counts of aggravated cruelty to animals.
Ward is accused in the death of two cats and the disfiguration of a third cat in the area of Eagle Run Trailer Park.
On December 20, 2008, area resident Jim Ragan found two cats that were severely burned.
Both cats were taken to Baytree Animal Hospital.
On December 22, 2008, Mr. Ragan found a third cat that had also been burned and had two broken legs.
Two of the cats were taken to the University of Florida Veterinary Hospital where they later died.
The third cat continues to improve at home with surgery scheduled in the next few weeks.
"After extensive investigation and follow-up on leads provided to us by concerned citizens we were able to solve this case," said Sheriff Mike Dewey. "We appreciate the many individuals who came forward with information and offers to help with the medical costs and the reward money."
Sheriff Dewey quickly condemned cruelty against animals.
"Individuals who commit such heinous acts as the burning of these innocent animals, if not caught and held accountable for these acts may go on to commit more serious crimes in the future," he said.
Aggravated animal cruelty is a felony and carries a penalty of one to five years in prisonand a maximum fine of $15,000 plus restitution.
Currently, medical costs for the treatment of the three cats have totalled almost $16,000.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Hearing begins for teacher in Alex Barton case

ST. LUCIE COUNTY — Teacher Wendy Portillo's attorney said Monday his client admits to making a lapse in judgment, but thinks the loss of an exemplary career is far too great a penalty.
Portillo is appealing her one-year unpaid suspension she got in November for allegedly holding a class poll to see whether then-5-year-old Alex Barton could stay in class. Alex was being tested for a type of autism at the time.
St. Lucie County Schools Superintendent Michael Lannon testified briefly before the lunch break that he considered firing Portillo for the incident, but took into account her 12-year career in the district.
“The younger the child, the more this issue becomes an impressionable one. The learning environment was broken in this particular action,” Lannon said.
Sue Ranew, assistant superintendent of human resources for the district, said she and Lannon had lost respect and confidence for Portillo, along with other students, parents and members of the community. She said parents had requested their children not be placed in Portillo's classroom should Portillo be returned to class.
The hearing is expected to take several days to conclude. Both Lannon and Ranew said they believe Portillo violated the code of ethics several times because of the incident.
“The incident of May 21 was very egregious on the part of Ms. Portillo,” Ranew said. “The amount of notoriety has reduced her effectiveness as an educator in the classroom at this time.”

Woman accused of having sex with 12-year-old boy

DAYTON - The Montgomery County Prosecutor’s office has approved a rape charge against a 55-year-old woman who allegedly had sex with a neighborhood 12-year-old boy on her birthday.
Gloria J. Murphy, 55, of 5440 Rawlings Drive, was arrested at 8 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 30, by Dayton police after the boy notified an adult he had sex with Murphy, according to police.

Gloria Murphy, 55
The encounter happened late Wednesday, Jan. 28 — Murphy’s birthday — and lasted into the early hours the next day, Patrick Welsh said.
Murphy did not force the boy to have sex, but since the he is younger than 13, it is considered rape, Welsh said.
Police are not releasing any more details to protect the child, Welsh said. Murphy is in jail on $25,000 bond and is expected to appear in court on Feb. 9 at 3:30 p.m.
A background check found Murphy has no previous arrests or criminal conviction in Montgomery County.

Arrest Warrant Issued for Jason Caffey Over Unpaid Child Support Claims

Chicago Bulls forward, stands accused of failing to pay child support. The child support payment battle for Caffey has been going on since 2007. Jason Caffey is said to have ten children, with eight different women. Caffey attempted to seek a court order from a bankruptcy judge, to protect him from child support lawsuits from mothers. Per reports, it is alleged that Caffey owes more than $200,000 in unpaid child support.Jason Caffey, a former basketball player, has played for Chicago Bulls, Golden State Warriors and Milwaukee Bucks. During his basketball career, it is reported that Caffey had multi-million dollar playing contracts.Lorunda Brown is a mother of Jason Caffey's six year old son, the arrest warrant is in direct connection with her lawsuit against Caffey for unpaid child support and unpaid legal fees.Unpaid child support woes are not news in the sports world.

In recent months, several high profile athletes and former multi-million contract holders have been accused of failing to pay child support.Evander Holyfield, former heavyweight boxing champion, has been accused of failing to pay child support. This claim came after reports that Holyfield Atlanta mansion was in risk of foreclosure. The $10 million Atlanta mansion Holyfield owned was on the auction block due to non-payments and his child's mother accused him of failing to pay two months of child support.

Matt Leinart, an Arizona Cardinal's quarterback, has also had child support battles in recent past. July of 2007, Leinart and his ex-girlfriend went to court to battle out child support payments and accusations over who does more of parenting for the former couples son.Brynn Cameron originally claimed to require $30,000 a month for her son with Leinart. Matt Leinart however challenged her claims and a judge ordered him to pay $15,000 a month instead. The former couple has also had additional court visits in order to hash out a custody agreement. Leinart wanted a judge to permit him more time with his son and custody arrangements. more

State cracks down on late payments

A new central database could allow the Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office to more effectively pursue enforcement measures for outstanding child support debts, including the suspension of hunting, fishing and driver’s licenses.As part of a new pilot program unfolding in eight Indiana counties, the Child Support Division of the Prosecutor’s Office will cooperate with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, using the database to enforce suspensions of recreational licenses.The License Suspension Statute, which allows the Child Support Division to suspend driver’s licenses to enforce payments, has been on Indiana’s books for years. The statute also permits the suspension of recreational licenses, but until recently there was no way to enforce the suspensions in an organized fashion, said Bill Welch, deputy prosecutor and supervisor for the Child Support Division.Before, if the court suspended a hunting or fishing license, nothing could prevent the offender from simply getting a new one, Welch said. The new database allows the Department of Natural Resources to keep track of license suspensions statewide.Gov. Mitch Daniels announced Phase I of the pilot program in October 2008. Modeled after successful efforts in Maine, Washington, Tennessee and Mississippi, the goal of the program is to increase the state’s child support collections, according to a press release from the governor’s office. The first phase used the statewide child support computer system to target the most extreme cases, in which non-custodial parents owed at least $25,000 and hadn’t made payments for a year or more. The governor’s office estimated this applied to about 4,000 cases in the eight participating counties.The implementation of Phase I made little difference in child support payments in Monroe County, Welch said, because almost all of the offenders were either already facing felony charges, were incarcerated for other reasons or already had their licenses suspended. Of the 50 Monroe County cases extracted in Phase I, only five didn’t involve these issues. Four out of five reached an agreement with the Prosecutor’s Office.“The actual effectiveness of that program in getting child support paid was very limited, but what it did allow us to do was work out the bugs,” Welch said.By the end of January, the Child Support Division was scheduled to proceed to Phase II, which targets cases with lower debts. Welch said the computer singled out about 175 cases for Phase II.The Child Support Division has reviewed each case and will soon send out letters advising offenders that their driver’s and recreational licenses could be suspended if they do not contact the Prosecutor’s Office.“If they contact us at any point in that process, the license suspension stops because we would much rather have the child support than suspend anybody’s license,” Welch said. “The person has lots of chances.”Welch said suspending driver’s licenses could be counterproductive if it prevents the offender from getting to work, but the suspension of recreational licenses provides incentive to start making payments. “It does work. There have been occasions where we have threatened to take the license and get a court order and they have, in fact, come up with the money to pay their child support,” Welch said.The Department of Child Services estimated that in 2008, Indiana collected $580 million in current and overdue child support payments, a $45 million increase from 2007. more

Columbus man headed to prison for not paying child support

Failure to pay child support will send a Columbus man to prison.
Andre B. Phillips, 31, pleaded guilty to one count of criminal non-support Wednesday in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court. Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Mack Anderson said at one point Phillips owed $4,900 for the care of one child.
Judge Charles Cooper sentenced him to eight months in prison and ordered him to pay the arrearage. Phillips told Cooper he wanted to go prison and get his sentence “over and done with” even though it would create a hardship for him.
“The situation is, it got me messed up,” he said. “My wife is disabled. I was her caretaker. I know I have a son. I have eight children and I do the best to take care of all eight children,” Phillips said. “I feel like I’m being shafted but I got to do what I got to do to be home with my wife.”
Also Wednesday, Curtis Adkins, 31, of 411 Rear Third Ave., Chesapeake, pleaded guilty to one count of deception to obtain a dangerous drug.
Adkins is accused of getting one prescription for oxycodone and then going back a second time and telling the doctor the first prescription had been destroyed in a fire when in fact that was not the case.
Cooper sentenced him to four years community controlled sanctions under intensive supervised probation (CCS/ISP), also known as probation, and ordered him to successfully complete a rehabilitation program at the STAR Criminal Justice Center.
Brandi Beckleheimer, 21, of Ashland, Ky., was sentenced to four years CCS/ISP after a recent guilty plea to a theft from the elderly charge.
Judge D. Scott Bowling also ordered her to pay $2,200 restitution within the next two months. Beckleheimer was a home health care worker who was accused of stealing from an elderly client.
John R. Lindbeck, 66, of 503 Third St., South Point, admitted he violated his probation after he was caught drinking. Bowling sentenced him to four years in prison. Lindbeck was on probation for an earlier domestic violence conviction.
Ernest S. Stapleton, 28, of 3032 S. Fourth St., Ironton, admitted he violated his probation by failing to report to his probation officer as requested. Cooper sentenced him to nine months in prison.
Stapleton’s attorney, Derick Fisher, said Stapleton was not going to make excuses for violating his parole but pointed out part of the problem was that Stapleton was homeless for a period of time and had been ill.
“He wants to face the music,” Fisher said. He asked that Stapleton be allowed a brief furlough so he could spend time with his infant son before being sent to prison.
But Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Mack Anderson pointed out that while he has sympathy for a new father wanting to spend time with his child, Stapleton got into trouble by not cooperating with authorities.
Cooper denied the furlough request but said a family visit at the courthouse could be arranged.
Stapleton was on probation for earlier arson and vandalism convictions.

County suspends all bench warrants

Indianapolis - Arrest warrants have vanished for thousands of deadbeat parents as a result of a new court policy.
Vicki Sadler and her daughter are awaiting $9,000 in back child support. But last week, the bench warrant for the father's arrest was wiped off the books - along with 4,000 others.
In Marion County, deadbeat parents who skip court no longer face the threat of jail.
"It's more than frustrating. The system itself is frustrating. It's unbelievable," Sadler said. "And then to find out they're untouchable."
"It's going to make it more difficult, there's no question about that," said John Owens, Chief Deputy Prosecutor for Child Support.
Owens' office deals with 72,000 open cases in any given month. Back in 2005, his office rolled out it's "Top Ten Most Wanted" on outstanding warrants. But now, even the worst of the worst can walk free because of a new policy.
"There could be some improvements," said Marion County Court Administrator Glenn Lawrence.
He said the warrants were suspended to allow no-shows the chance to explain why. He also said the county recently settled a case in which a defendant was denied due process.
"They might put them in jail and not bring them immediately before the court," Lawrence said. "So we felt it best to go ahead and do a blanket expungement [sic] of those outstanding - whatever they were - bench warrants."
Marion County's Civil Division says it would typically get between 12 and 15 bench warrants a day for delinquent parents failing to show up in court. But that all stopped abruptly about a week ago.
"Immediately, we had to recall and do away with all of the warrants we had in file and try to run them up around the state of Indiana to notify the sheriffs not to serve our warrants, because they were no longer active," said Marion County Sheriff's Department Capt. Norman Buckner.
Now, the courts can only order what's called a "body attachment".
"It's not really an arrest. It's a notice to bring them before the court," Lawrence said.
The challenge is finding the deadbeats during court hours. With the warrants erased, traffic stops will no longer show police the individual is wanted. more

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