Blog Archives

Baltimore Police Officer Testifies In Own Defense

Officer William Porter, on trial for charges relating to the death of Freddie Gray, took the stand on the first day of his defense. I missed his direct testimony which began just as lawyers at the Supreme Court were wrapping up their arguments in a big affirmative action case. But I arrived at the Baltimore courtroom in time to witness the cross-examination by Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow. Officer Porter impressed me as calm and forceful, and maybe even a little defiant. When Schatzow asked him if “stop snitching” was part of the Baltimore police culture Porter shot back, “Absolutely not. I’m actually offended that you would say something like that.”

The defense was done by the end of the week, and tomorrow closing arguments will be made. Then it will be up to the jury.

Posted in Courtroom Tagged with: ,

The Court Revisits Affirmative Action On Campus

The Supreme Court yesterday heard arguments for the second time in the case of Abigail Fisher, a white student who claims she was denied admission to the University of Texas because of a policy that favored black applicants. Last time the Justices sent the case back to the circuit court, this time Justice Kennedy seemed to toy with the idea of sending it all the way back to the trial court; not likely.

You can read Lyle Denniston’s analysis here.

There’s also a lot of buzz today about Justice Scalia’s remark, “There are ­­those who contend that it does not benefit African ­Americans to get them into the University of Texas where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less­ advanced school, … a slower ­track school where they do well.”

Opinion: White v. Woodall, No. 12-794

He probably meant that black students more often come from high schools where the curriculum is less demanding and may be unprepared for UT’s more rigorous course load. While it sounded racist to some, it’s more likely just Scalia being his bad un-PC self.

 

 

Posted in Arguments, Supreme Court Tagged with: , , , , ,

It Was All About Voting

I prepared the banner you see above for SCOTUSblog because the Court was to hear arguments today in two voting related cases, Harris v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission and Evenwel v. Abbott. But I didn’t expect the trifecta that came with Justice Scalia’s opinion in a Maryland voting redistricting case, Shapiro v. McManus, especially since it was argued just last month. My lucky day.

Anyway, here are the sketches from today’s two argument:

Posted in Arguments, Supreme Court Tagged with: , , ,

A Correction to Yesterday’s Sketches

Yesterday at the trial of Baltimore police officer William Porter I sketched what I believed were the victim’s mother and sister, but when Freddie Gray’s mother broke down sobbing and had to leave the courtroom I realized I had been mistaken. That is not Freddie Gray’s mother in the sketch, though I do think that is Gray’s sister with the white pom pom hat.

Here are the rest of yesterday’s sketches:

Posted in Courtroom Tagged with: , ,

First Freddie Gray Trial Gets Underway

This morning the press gathered in the Media Room before final jury selection.

The jury was empanelled in short order and opening statements were heard. Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby took a seat directly in front of a bench full of sketch artists, but maybe thought that wasn’t such a good idea and moved back a couple of rows just before Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow began his opening statement.

 

Defense attorney Gary Proctor painted the jury a different picture of the defendant, Officer William Porter.

 

With opening statements completed, the State called their first witness, Officer , who trains police on how to identify and respond to possible medical conditions such as Freddie Gray’s.

 

The judge has kept the trial moving swiftly and promises to finish in just two weeks. We shall see.

 

Posted in Courtroom Tagged with: ,

Jury Selection In First Of Freddie Gray Trials

Baltimore City police officer William Porter stood before a courtroom full of prospective jurors as his trial began. Porter is the first of six police officers to go on trial for the death of Freddie Gray.

After some preliminary questions were asked of the jury pool individual void dire moved into chambers so there was not much to sketch, especially as the jurors are not to be identified.

Freddie Gray Trials

Around half-past noon one of the jurors in the back of the courtroom stood up to get the bailiff’s attention. He pointed to the clock above his head, and then to his belly indicating that he felt it was time for lunch. He also motioned that he would like a cigarette break. Lucky for him the court soon adjourned for lunch.

Posted in Courtroom Tagged with: ,

The Subway Guy Goes To Prison

The former spokesman for the Subway chain of sandwich shops sat in an Indianapolis courtroom Thursday morning waiting for the ax to fall on life as he knew it. Once worth fifteen million, Jared Fogle, who became famous for losing over 200lbs on a diet of Subway sandwiches and exercise, was about to plead guilty and be sentenced on charges related to his predilection for kiddie porn and young prostitutes.

After he entered his plea Jared’s lawyers called two witnesses. The first witness, a Canadian psychiatrist, testified by phone that Fogle exhibited “mild pedophilia”, a diagnosis which does not exist in U.S. according to the defense’s second witness, Dr Rick May.

The government then put a detective on the stand to read from some of Jared’s text messages where he was seeking to procure juveniles for sex. “Did you find some young girls or boys?” Fogle texted to an 18 year-old prostitute saying he would pay $400 for someone 16 or younger, more if their age could be documented.

The government and defense then sparred over the extent to which “the Subway guy” was culpable in the harm he caused and the danger he remains to children. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven DeBrota said Fogle did nothing to stop the child pornography created by his partner-in-crime and director of The Jared Foundation, Russell Taylor, but rather participated “enthusiastically”.

When it was the turn of the defense, Jeremy Margolis, argued that Jared “traded a horrible food addiction for a horrible sex addiction.” He said Fogle has seen the “crashing and burning of his life” but is committed to getting well.

Then it was Jared’s turn to address the court.

“Where do I even try to begin, your honor? For most of my adult life, I’ve been in the spotlight, trying to be a positive role model for others,” Fogle said. “I became dependent on alcohol, pornography and prostitutes” he continued, apologizing to his victims as he wiped away a tear.

Judge Tanya Walton Pratt went beyond the prosecutions recommendation of twelve and a half years saying, “the level of perversion and lawlessness exhibited by Mr. Fogle is extreme,” imposing a sentence of 188 months.

In this last unfinished sketch Jared Fogle is seen removing his jacket, tie and belt before marshals handcuff him. He blew a kiss and waved to friends and family members before being led out of the courtroom.

Jared Fogle Plea & Sentencinga

Posted in Courtroom Tagged with: , , , , ,

Class-Action and Tainted Assets

Umbrellas on the Supreme Court plaza yesterday morning, while inside I sketched two arguments.

The first argument, Tyson Foods v Bouaphakeo, concerned Iowa slaughterhouse workers and whether they could meet the test for a class-action lawsuit.  Lyle Denniston reports on it here.

In the second argument, Luis v. U.S., Sila Luis, who bilked Medicare for tens of millions of dollars and had her assets frozen, wants to be allowed to use the “untainted” portion of her frozen assets to pay for her Sixth Amendment guaranteed lawyer of her choice. SCOTUSblog’s Amy Howe has the story here.

Posted in Arguments, Supreme Court

A Common Theme?

The week before last – time flies, I’ve been busy – I went on the road to cover two hearings a few hundred miles apart though in some ways alike. Both defendants were at one time coaches, and both are suspected of sexual relations with young boys.

In Chicago former House Speaker Dennis Hastert pleaded guilty to a felony charge of concealing large withdrawals of cash. By doing so he avoided a trial and possible testimony from the victim he was paying off.

The next day, in Bellefonte, PA, former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky appeared in court as his lawyer sought to challenge the grand jury investigation that led to the charges of child sexual abuse of which Sandusky was convicted in 2012.

 

 

Posted in Courtroom Tagged with: , , ,

Redistricting and Three-Judge Panels

A dazzling fall morning on the Supreme Court plaza as spectators line up for oral arguments.

One of those arguments, Shapiro v. McManus, was about whether a lawsuit challenging Maryland redistricting should be decided by a three-judge panel. It’s a bit technical and I won’t attempt to explain. The New York Time’s Adam Liptak reports on the argument here.

Be sure to read to the end of Liptak’s article for the exchange between Maryland Assistant Attorney General Steven Sullivan and Justice Scalia on the topic of “little green men and extraterrestrials”.

Posted in Arguments Tagged with: ,
BasicIllustratorFileLetter—CS
2013_Blawg100Honoree_300x300
TWITTER @courtartist

Blog Updates

Enter your name and email below to receive blog updates via email.