Monthly Archives: November 2010

Horry County Power Women Lunch at Jail

The Conway Chamber of Commerce sponsors a monthly Women’s Power Luncheon.  From the Sun News:

Networking and bonding with someone who thinks more like you do is easier. Men bond on a golf course and talk about sports, not emotions, said Kelly Cauble, who initiated the luncheons. Women naturally weave emotions into their bonding rites.

This month’s lunch was held at the county jail last week. The women toured the J. Reuben Long Detention Center. Speakers included an undercover police officer, a prosecutor and a magistrate judge – all women.

Horry County Sheriff’s Capt. Susan Safford, a 20-year veteran, said murders in Horry County were so rare when she began her job that jail workers knew the details of each one. Now, she continued, the jail houses 40 people charged with murder and she knows none of the details.

By the way, that’s Paula Gardner in the center of the picture.

J. Reuben Long has received a lot of attention lately. A major addition was recently completed.  The jail is now more secure and bond hearings are held more efficiently. Unfortunately, the jail now holds more people and the “if you build it, they will come” syndrome will eventually take over. It will soon exceed maximum capacity, again.

I’m glad the women toured the jail. No doubt they were shown the new security features, courtrooms and told about bail hearings. I‘m sure they were told that the jail primarily houses two types of inmates: Those sentenced to serve ninety days or less and those waiting for trial. I hope they were also told that the majority of the inmates have been waiting for their trial for months. Some have already waited for years. Some of these inmates are innocent. Most of them will wait much longer before they are taken to court.

Again, I’m glad the women toured the jail. Maybe the next tour could be a look into why it takes the state so long to take these cases to trial.

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Thanksgiving 2010

Today promises to be a very busy day and for that, I am thankful.  My plan this morning was to simply link to last year’s post and wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

I’m thankful for:

  1. The officer who remembers the oath when he testifies;
  2. The prosecutor who remembers that justice, not a conviction, is the goal;
  3. The judge who follows the law; and
  4. The defense lawyer who does not poach clients at any cost.

That was last year and I’m still thankful for those few people.

As I typed those words though, I felt compelled to write a few more.  I’m thankful for criminal defense lawyers who fight the good fight every day.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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Stony Brook begins renovations of Joe Nathan Field

Stony Brook Director of Athletics Jim Fiore announced earlier this month that renovations of Joe Nathan Field are underway. The first phase of the project is expected to be completed in March 2011.

From the College Baseball Daily:

The renovation of our baseball facility is another tremendous step for our athletics department, Fiore said. The Stony Brook baseball program has consistently been one of the finest in the Northeast region, and it will now have a home that will be reflective of all its success.

Congratulations to the Stony Brook Baseball Program.  They do have a fine baseball team up there. I saw them play in the Coastal Carolina Regional last year. They represented well and eliminated a good N.C. State team.

I think it’s great that some schools are making an effort to improve baseball facilities. It’s good for the game, the student athletes, the schools and the community.  Baseball is a sport that a small college or university can compete with the traditional powers, regardless of size. Coastal Carolina has proven that year in and year out. It is time though for Coastal to build a new baseball stadium. It is time for our players to have a home that is “reflective of all its success.”

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Daniel Bowman – 77th Best Player

The College Baseball Blog is continuing with its top 100 countdown of the best players in college baseball. Dan Bowman was recently named the number 77 player. Congratulations to the Coastal Carolina Junior outfielder.

Last season Bowman played right field. Although his batting average was .279, he came on strong at the end. He had 15 homeruns and 63 RBI. He played his summer ball in the Cape Cod League and was selected to the All-Star game. I expect great things from him this upcoming season.

Bowman is the second Coastal player named in the top 100 this year. Scott Woodward was picked earlier.

The top 100 countdown is entertaining. But remember that’s all it is. After all, only 100 players will be listed. A lot can happen before Opening Day and a lot can happen during the season. It’s almost anyone’s guess who will be the best players in college baseball.

Coastal had two players selected in last year’s top 100. Rico Noel was not one of those two. He turned out to be one of the team’s best players.

I’ll keep reading the countdown. Maybe Coastal will have another player named; maybe not. Maybe it will be like last year.

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Illegal search warrant results in a $100K jury verdict

It started out as a rent dispute in an unrelated landlord tenant case. It ended up with a $100,000 jury verdict against a police investigator in a § 1983 action for an unreasonable search.

The tenant won the rent dispute case based on landlord’s failure to prove ownership of the property.  The tenant then reported the case to the police alleging fraud. Denise Balinski, an investigator for the Detroit Police Department, conducted an investigation.

During this investigation, Balinski learned that Myabrooke Properties had previously purchased the property for $1 and later sold it for $90,000. Ronald Ellison was the President and owner of Myabrooke Properties. It appears that Ellison made a pretty good deal. It appears that Balinski thought it was too good. Even though she knew that Ellison had already sold the property, she wanted the documents. From the court opinion:

Defendant then requested that he bring her documents proving this transaction, and refused to answer when Plaintiff inquired about the reason for the investigation. Plaintiff subsequently ignored further phone messages from Defendant repeating her request for the documents, and never provided them to Defendant.

We know what happened next. Investigator Balinski then obtained a search warrant for Ellison’s home. Here is what the court said in affirming the verdict against Balinski:

In any case, even assuming the existence of probable cause as to the occurrence of a crime, the affidavit failed entirely to establish a nexus between the material to be seized and the place to be searched. The affidavit did not state how Defendant came to know that MyaBrooke Properties was located at the residence, or, more critically, why documentation of an allegedly fraudulent mortgage might with a fair probability be found there. Given these rather stark defects in the affidavit, a reasonable jury could conclude that Defendant lacked probable cause when she applied for the warrant to search Plaintiff’s residence.

It’s worth mentioning that the court rejected Balinski’s claim of immunity. It’s also worth mentioning the court upheld an additional award of $102,480.00 in attorney’s fees to Plaintiff.

H/T: Fourth Amendment.com

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Veteran’s Day

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