Connecticut Driver Caught Speeding Blames an Oreo

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Police say a man’s excuse for speeding through a small Connecticut town takes the cake — or, at least, the cookie.

A state trooper who stopped the 1993 BMW says its driver, 28-year-old Justin Vonkummer of Millerton, N.Y., blamed the driving problems on an errant Oreo.

Police say Vonkummer told the trooper that an Oreo had just slipped from his fingers as he dunked it in a cup of milk, and that he was trying to fish it out when he lost control of his car.

The alleged incident occurred last fall in Salisbury, but came to light in Bantam Superior Court this week.

That’s when prosecutors learned Vonkummer had been charged with speeding and driving under a suspended license — not driving under the influence, as a clerk had mistakenly noted in the court records.

Vonkummer’s attorney would not comment. The case is pending

Man With Headache Finds Bullet in Head

Thursday, June 28, 2007
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla Fox News

Honey my head is killing me, either you hit me with your elbow or I think I’m having an aneurisum.

I wonder if this is what Michael Moylan 45, said to his wife April when he woke up at 4:30a.m. with a terrible headache?

She drives him to the hospital

Doctors discover a bullet in his head lodged behind his right ear

Authorities obtained a search warrant for the couple’s home which led to the arrest of Moylan’s wife April, 39, who is being charged with attempted murder.

Evidence indicated Moylan had been shot at close range by someone (hmm, and that would be?)

His wife eventually tells authorities she “accidently” shot her husband. (accidently, close range behind right ear sure sounds like an accident to me…. lol)

How many people can be sleeping, get shot in the head or anywhere and not know it.  This blows (no pun intended) me away. 

Obviously there is more to this than meets the eye which I’m sure will be uncovered as they investigate further.

Moylan did not undergo surgery, but was transferred to a trauma facility and his current condition is not known.

Judge Rules in Favor of Dry Cleaner in $54 Million Lawsuit Over Lost Pants

Monday, June 25, 2007-Judge Rules in Favor of Dry Cleaner in $54 Million Lawsuit Over Lost Pants

Judge loses his pants and his $54 million lawsuit as court rules in favor of dry cleaners.  Not only did Pearson lose his case but he was also ordered to pay court costs of the dry cleaner’s owners.

“A reasonable consumer would not interpret ‘Satisfaction Guaranteed’ to mean that a merchant is required to satisfy a customer’s unreasonable demands” or to agree to demands that the merchant would have reasonable grounds for disputing, the judge wrote.

Reporter’s Notebook: Day 2 of the Case of the $54 Million Pants

Wednesday, June 13, 2007
By Griff Jenkins

It is unprincipled people like Pearson that causes misery for everyone else. How selfish can one person be to think they should be rewarded $54 million dollars for a pair of pants. Totally ridiculous.

WASHINGTON — Day two of the case of the $54 million pants opened much in the same fashion as the trial had begun, with plaintiff Roy Pearson needling specific statutes and interpretations of them, prompting more wasted hours of clarification-seeking from Judge Judy Bartnoff.

On the second day, I wore an equally outrageous pair of Lily Pulitzer pants as on Tuesday’s court date, and I had a better seat —- in the jury box, just feet away from the action.

When Judge Bartnoff came in the courtroom, she caught a glimpse of my pants and smiled. But soon after, Pearson began going back to issues from day one, namely his divorce case, and Judge Bartnoff took charge, dismissing Pearson’s effort to re-try his divorce settlement.

Pearson’s remaining issues over evidence and “settlement demands” prompted Judge Bartnoff at one point to say, “I don’t know what we’re doing at this point … I thought we were talking about evidence?”

After a short break, the cross-examination of Pearson by defense attorney Chris Manning began. Manning proceeded to force Pearson to address his bitter divorce, his financial woes and his first encounter with the Chungs in 2002 which resulted in a compensation check of $150, which Pearson had demanded.

Manning asked Pearson if it made him mad when the dry cleaners lost his pants and Pearson said, “No,” adding, “My temperament, generally, is I don’t get angry.”

That shocked most everyone in the room considering the guy is seeking $54 million in retribution in this case.

The real crux of the cross-examination came when Manning began trying to illicit Pearson’s definition of what is a “reasonable” interpretation of a sign that reads: “Satisfaction Guaranteed”

Manning asked directly, “Is it reasonable to sue someone for upwards of $67 million?” And after several attempts at waffling, Pearson finally answered, “Yes.”

A window into Pearson’s aggressive pursuit of the pants in 2005 came when Manning confirmed with the witness that Pearson had sent a letter to the Chungs demanding $1,150 compensation (despite the Chungs producing the pants that matched the receipt) or else he would “sue them for not less that $50,000.”

Nonetheless, Pearson maintained throughout the cross that he was entitled to “unconditional satisfaction” under the Washington, D.C.’s Consumer Protection Act.

After the cross, the plaintiff rested at which point Manning immediately requested a ruling asking for a “move for judgment as a matter of law on all claims.”

Judge Bartnoff made a partial ruling denying Pearson’s claims with regard to the one sign that read “Same Day Service.” Bartnoff cited a lack of evidence and told Pearson the sign simply meant same day service was an available service at the cleaners — not a guaranteed service every time — particularly when not requested, as in Pearson’s case.

Judge Bartnoff ended her ruling by telling Pearson, “you’re simply reading things into it that just aren’t there.”

But in the matter of the “Satisfaction Guaranteed” sign and the dispute over whether the pants produced were or were not Pearson’s, no closure was reached and the room broke for lunch.

After the break, Manning began his defense calling just three witnesses: a community activist who testified favorably on the contributions of the Chungs to the community; a customer of the cleaners who believed that the Chungs provided “very good service” and said his interpretation of “Satisfaction Guaranteed” meant if the Chungs couldn’t resolve a problem then they should compensate the customer for the cost of the clothing item “and nothing more.” The final witness was the co-owner of Custom Dry Cleaners, Soo Chung.

Mrs. Chung became very emotional and broke down sobbing during her testimony when Manning began to ask about the toll that the case has taken on her business and her life. Judge Bartnoff called for another break, and when the testimony began again, Soo Chung once again began crying, though she was able to answer that she had suffered “economically, emotionally and healthwise too.”

It’s worth noting that the drama was heightened some by the mere fact that the testimony was done through a Korean translator as Mrs. Chung does not speak fluent English. But in the end, Pearson at least had the good sense not to cross examine her.

Closing arguments got a bit heated between Judge Bartnoff and Pearson when things delved into an argument over what Pearson was entitled to in terms of statutory and punitive damages. I’m no lawyer, but I was a little surprised that rather than making a sort of coherent and impassioned plea for his case, Pearson continued citing statutes and cases that proved his claims under the Consumer Protection Act.

Manning’s closing argument was quite different. He painted Pearson as “one man who ruthlessly abused the legal system” and caused enormous harm to his clients. He cited Pearson’s divorce, financial status, history of litigiousness and a “wrath against the Chungs” since 2002. He ended his closing argument saying it is time to “support the idea of common sense… and wake up from the American nightmare created by Roy Pearson.”

When it was over, Judge Bartnoff chose not to issue a ruling from the bench but said a ruling can be expected by the end of the week. The decision didn’t exactly surprise me since Pearson has proved that he is a stickler for technical details, or perhaps Judge Bartnoff just wanted plenty of time to ensure the accuracy of her ruling.

At the press conference with the Chungs immediately following, Manning said he was “extraordinarily happy with how the trial went” in what he described as an “incredibly frivolous lawsuit.”

Pearson again chose to ignore the media.

Judge Tries Suing Pants Off Dry Cleaners has reduced his damange to $54 million

Published: June 13, 2007

And so the trial begins.  This is the latest update from my previous post of The man who sued his dry-cleaner for $65,500,000

WASHINGTON, June 12 — Roy L. Pearson Jr. wanted to dress sharply for his new job as an administrative law judge here. So when his neighborhood dry cleaner misplaced a pair of expensive pants he had planned to wear his first week on the bench, Judge Pearson was annoyed.

So annoyed that he sued — for $67.3 million.

The case of the judge’s pants, which opened for trial in a packed courtroom here on Tuesday, has been lampooned on talk radio and in the blogosphere as an example of American legal excess. And it has spurred complaints to the District of Columbia Bar and city officials from national tort reform and trial lawyer groups worried about its effect on public trust in the legal system.

“I don’t know of any other cases that have been quite this ridiculous,” said Paul Rothstein, a professor of law at Georgetown University. The trial, laced with references to inseam measurements, cuffs and designer labels, got off to a rocky start. Judge Judith Bartnoff of District of Columbia Superior Court limited Judge Pearson’s last-minute bid to broaden aspects of his case and cut short his efforts to portray himself as a “private attorney general” championing the rights of every Washington consumer.

“You are not a we, you are an I,” Judge Bartnoff said in one of several testy exchanges with Judge Pearson, 57, who is representing himself. “You are seeking damages on your own behalf, and that is all.”

Later, while recounting the day he says the cleaners tried to pass off a cheaper pair of pants as his, Judge Pearson began to cry, asking for a break and dabbing tears as he left the courtroom.

The lawsuit dates back to spring 2005. Mr. Pearson, a longtime legal aid lawyer, was appointed to a new job as a District of Columbia administrative law judge.

Judge Pearson says in court papers that he owned exactly five suits, all Hickey Freemans, one for each day of the workweek. But the waistlines had grown “uncomfortably tight.” So he took the suits to Custom Dry Cleaners, in a strip mall in gritty northeast Washington, for alterations.

When the owners, Korean immigrants who came to America in 1992, could not find one pair of pants, Judge Pearson demanded $1,150 for a replacement suit. The owners did not respond; he sued.

Using a complicated formula, Judge Pearson argues that under the city’s consumer protection law, the owners, Soo and Jin Chung and their son, Ki Chung, each owe $18,000 for each day over a nearly four-year period in which signs at their store promised “Same Day Service” and “Satisfaction Guaranteed.” In opening statements, Judge Pearson cast himself as a victim of a fraud on a historic scale, perpetrated by malicious business owners who had no intention of delivering on those promises.

“You will search the D.C. archives in vain for a case of more egregious or willful conduct,” he told the court. He called a series of witnesses who complained of rude or unresponsive treatment at Custom Dry Cleaners.

The defendants’ lawyer, Christopher Manning, told the judge that his clients were the victims. He characterized Judge Pearson as a man embittered by financial woes and a recent divorce, who had nursed a grudge against the Chungs since a spat over a different pair of pants in 2002.

“The plaintiff has decided to use his intimate knowledge of the District of Columbia laws and legal systems to exploit non-English-speaking immigrants who work in excess of 70 hours per week to live the American dream,” Mr. Manning says in court papers.

Mr. Manning said there was no mystery about the whereabouts of the pants: They have been hanging in his office closet for a year. Judge Pearson, however, has said those are “cheap” knockoffs the Chungs had substituted for his pinstriped Hickey Freemans.

He has rejected three settlement offers, the latest, in March, for $12,000. Last week, Judge Pearson revised a few claims and lowered his damages request to $54 million.

Judge Pearson’s future as an administrative law judge is in limbo. His two-year term expired on May 2, and a judicial panel has yet to decide on his reappointment.

In the meantime, Judge Pearson remains on the city payroll as an attorney adviser to the Office of Administrative Hearings, at a salary of $100,512.

Wendy’s Manager Shot Over Chili Sauce

For the record, please note Wendy’s limits the number of chili packets to a customer!!

This was just too funny not to post and also one that I thought should belong in a book of “craziest crimes”.

MIAMI, Fla. (AP) — A manager at a fast-food restaurant was shot several times in the arm early Tuesday trying to protect the chili sauce, authorities said.

A man in the Wendy’s drive-through argued with an employee because he wanted more of the condiment, police said. The worker told the customer that restaurant policy prohibited a customer from getting more than three packets.

The man insisted on 10, reports said. The employee complied, but police said the customer wanted even more.

The manager came out to speak to the man, said Miami-Dade police spokesman Mary Walter. The customer then shot the manager, who was taken to a hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.

The customer fled in his vehicle with a female passenger, authorities said.

Kidney-donor TV show a hoax, producers admit

POSTED: 5:38 p.m. EDT, June 1, 2007

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (Reuters) — A Dutch reality television show in which a supposedly dying woman had to pick one of three contestants to whom she would donate a kidney was revealed as an elaborate hoax on Friday.

The show, which the broadcaster had said aimed to focus attention on a shortage of donor organs in the Netherlands, was condemned by Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende before broadcast Friday night and sparked controversy worldwide.

Identified only as “Lisa,” the 37-year-old woman who had been said to be suffering from a brain tumor was to base her selection on the person’s history and conversations with the candidates’ families and friends.

In the last minutes of the program, she was revealed as a healthy actress and producers stunned viewers by saying “The Big Donorshow” was a hoax.

The contestants were also part of the deception, although all three are genuine kidney patients.

“Their life is bitter reality,” the host said after revealing the deception, just at the moment at which Lisa was to have stated her choice.

Dutch Education Minister Ronald Plasterk hailed the show as a “fantastic stunt” and an intelligent way to draw attention to the shortage of donor organs.

Heated debate expected

The show is expected to set off heated debate between those who believe reality television has gone too far and others who believe the publicity was generated for a good cause.

Producers apologized to viewers and said they hoped “outrage” over the show would turn into anger over the lack of organs for transplant.

Viewers in the Netherlands were asked to give advice via text messages in the 80-minute show, and appeals ran throughout for people to donate their organs.

Early in the show Lisa was shown selecting three people from 25 candidate profiles who matched her blood group.

“It feels like playing God,” said a fraught-looking Lisa. “Think of it as playing Santa Claus,” replied the show’s host.

The show had set off a storm of criticism, both at home and abroad, though some kidney patients said ahead of the show that they approved of it because it drew attention to their plight.

Balkenende had said the show was detrimental to the whole business of organ donation and it would do the reputation of the Netherlands no good abroad, Dutch news agency ANP said.

Dutch embassies received complaints from people expressing their shock over the show.

Public broadcaster BNN, which came up with the idea, said it wanted to draw attention to the growing shortage of organ donors in the Netherlands.

“Money has never been part of this thing, and no money will be made from this,” said BNN Chairman Laurans Drillich.

Callers to a local radio station had suggested the whole thing could be a hoax by BNN to build up its ratings.

Going once, twice, three times, Oops, not legal – Man offers to sell wife for $50 – CNN.

Said he needed the money.   Hmm, I wonder if $50 is the price for wives in Brazil?  Anyway, this article cracked me up, not only because of someone trying to sell their spouse but at such an outrageous price, NOT! 

If I were his wife, I would be out the door faster than he could say $50 and I wouldn’t bother packing.  How humiliating for her. 

• Brazilian authorities demand removal of Internet advertisement
• Man praised wife but said “I really need the money”
• Not clear if advertisement was a joke, Estado news agency reported

POSTED: 12:29 p.m. EDT,
May 5, 2007  —

The government has ordered an Internet auction site to remove an advertisement in which a Brazilian man offered to sell his wife for about $50.

The Secretariat of Public Policies for Women announced late Friday it had ordered Mercado Livre, partially owned by eBay Inc., to remove the ad and warned it was violating a law banning the offer or sale of “human organs, people, blood, bones or skin.”

The advertisement was no longer visible on the site Saturday.

It was posted by a man who gave his name as Breno and said: “I sell my wife for reasons I prefer to keep short … I really need the money.”

The described his wife physically and listed her qualities as a homemaker and companion. He reportedly said she was 35 and “worth her weight in gold.”

The Estado news agency said it wasn’t clear if the ad was meant as a joke. It said Mercado Livre told it the ad hadn’t been noticed earlier because of the large number of products offered on the site — nearly 1 million.

There was no answer Saturday at phone numbers for Mercado Livre or its public relations agency.

Source: CNN.COM

For the right price you can book your jail cell to an upgrade

“I find this quite interesting if you live in California. According to this article if you are booked for committing a crime that is considered relatively minor yet society deems the debt necessary to be paid in jail there is a way for those who have the money to spend their time with a bit of class. Check out these rates, something you might want to keep in mind the next time you happen to find yourself having to find a room at your county “hotel” as you serve/pay your debt to society.”

For $82 a Day, Booking a Cell in a 5-Star Jail

Published: April 29, 2007

Nicole Brockett is serving her sentence for drunken driving in a pay-to-stay cell at the jail in Santa Ana, Calif.SANTA ANA, Calif., April 25 — Anyone convicted of a crime knows a debt to society often must be paid in jail. But a slice of Californians willing to supplement that debt with cash (no personal checks, please) are finding that the time can be almost bearable.

For offenders whose crimes are usually relatively minor (carjackers should not bother) and whose bank accounts remain lofty, a dozen or so city jails across the state offer pay-to-stay upgrades. Theirs are a clean, quiet, if not exactly recherché alternative to the standard county jails, where the walls are bars, the fellow inmates are hardened and privileges are few.

Many of the self-pay jails operate like secret velvet-roped nightclubs of the corrections world. You have to be in the know to even apply for entry, and even if the court approves your sentence there, jail administrators can operate like bouncers, rejecting anyone they wish.“I am aware that this is considered to be a five-star Hilton,” said Nicole Brockett, 22, who was recently booked into one of the jails, here in Orange County about 30 miles southeast of Los Angeles, and paid $82 a day to complete a 21-day sentence for a drunken driving conviction.

Ms. Brockett, who in her oversize orange T-shirt and flip-flops looked more like a contestant on “The Real World” than an inmate, shopped around for the best accommodations,

“It’s clean here,” she said, perched in a jail day room on the sort of couch found in a hospital emergency room. “It’s safe and everyone here is really nice. I haven’t had a problem with any of the other girls. They give me shampoo.”

For roughly $75 to $127 a day, these convicts — who are known in the self-pay parlance as “clients” — get a small cell behind a regular door, distance of some amplitude from violent offenders and, in some cases, the right to bring an iPod or computer on which to compose a novel, or perhaps a song.

Many of the overnighters are granted work furlough, enabling them to do most of their time on the job, returning to the jail simply to go to bed (often following a strip search, which granted is not so five-star).

The clients usually share a cell, but otherwise mix little with the ordinary nonpaying inmates, who tend to be people arrested and awaiting arraignment, or federal prisoners on trial or awaiting deportation and simply passing through.

The pay-to-stay programs have existed for years, but recently attracted some attention when prosecutors balked at a jail in Fullerton that they said would offer computer and cellphone use to George Jaramillo, a former Orange County assistant sheriff who pleaded no contest to perjury and misuse of public funds, including the unauthorized use of a county helicopter. Mr. Jaramillo was booked into the self-pay program in Montebello, near Los Angeles, instead.

“We certainly didn’t envision a jail with cellphone and laptop capabilities where his family could bring him three hot meals,” said Susan Kang Schroeder, the public affairs counsel for the Orange County district attorney. “We felt that the use of the computer was part of the instrumentality of his crime, and that is another reason we objected to that.”

A spokesman for the Fullerton jail said cellphones but not laptops were allowed.

While jails in other states may offer pay-to-stay programs, numerous jail experts said they did not know of any.

“I have never run into this,” said Ken Kerle, managing editor of the publication American Jail Association and author of two books on jails. “But the rest of the country doesn’t have Hollywood either. Most of the people who go to jail are economically disadvantaged, often mentally ill, with alcohol and drug problems and are functionally illiterate. They don’t have $80 a day for jail.”

The California prison system, severely overcrowded, teeming with violence and infectious diseases and so dysfunctional that much of it is under court supervision, is one that anyone with the slightest means would most likely pay to avoid.

“The benefits are that you are isolated and you don’t have to expose yourself to the traditional county system,” said Christine Parker, a spokeswoman for CSI, a national provider of jails that runs three in Orange County with pay-to-stay programs. “You can avoid gang issues. You are restricted in terms of the number of people you are encountering and they are a similar persuasion such as you.”

Most of the programs — which offer 10 to 30 beds — stay full enough that marketing is not necessary, though that was not always the case. The Pasadena jail, for instance, tried to create a little buzz for its program when it was started in the early 1990s.

“Our sales pitch at the time was, ‘Bad things happen to good people,’ ” said Janet Givens, a spokeswoman for the Pasadena Police Department. Jail representatives used Rotary Clubs and other such venues as their potential marketplace for “fee-paying inmate workers” who are charged $127 a day (payment upfront required).

“People might have brothers, sisters, cousins, etc., who might have had a lapse in judgment and do not want to go to county jail,” Ms. Givens said.

The typical pay-to-stay client, jail representatives agreed, is a man in his late 30s who has been convicted of driving while intoxicated and sentenced to a month or two in jail.

But there are single-night guests, and those who linger well over a year.

“One individual wanted to do four years here,” said Christina Holland, a correctional manager of the Santa Ana jail.

Inmates in Santa Ana who have been approved for pay to stay by the courts and have coughed up a hefty deposit for their stay, enter the jail through a lobby and not the driveway reserved for the arrival of other prisoners. They are strip searched when they return from work each day because the biggest problem they pose is the smuggling of contraband, generally cigarettes, for nonpaying inmates.

Most of the jailers require the inmates to do chores around the jails, even if they work elsewhere during the day.

“I try real hard to keep them in custody for 12 hours,” Ms. Holland said. “Because I think that’s fair.”

Critics argue that the systems create inherent injustices, offering cleaner, safer alternatives to those who can pay.

“It seems to be to be a little unfair,” said Mike Jackson, the training manager of the National Sheriff’s Association. “Two people come in, have the same offense, and the guy who has money gets to pay to stay and the other doesn’t. The system is supposed to be equitable.”

But cities argue that the paying inmates generate cash, often hundreds of thousands of dollars a year — enabling them to better afford their other taxpayer-financed operations — and are generally easy to deal with.

“We never had a problem with self pay,” said Steve Lechuga, the operations manager for CSI. “I haven’t seen any fights in years. We had a really good success rate with them.”

Stanley Goldman, a professor of criminal law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, has recommended the program to former clients.

“The prisoners who are charged with nonviolent crimes and typically have no record are not in the best position to handle themselves in the general county facility,” Professor Goldman said.

Still, no doubt about it, the self-pay jails are not to be confused with Canyon Ranch.

The cells at Santa Ana are roughly the size of a custodial closet, and share its smell and ambience. Most have little more than a pink bottle of jail-issue moisturizer and a book borrowed from the day room. Lockdown can occur for hours at a time, and just feet away other prisoners sit with their faces pressed against cell windows, looking menacing.

Ms. Brockett, who normally works as a bartender in Los Angeles, said the experience was one she never cared to repeat.

“It does look decent,” she said, “but you still feel exactly where you are.”