Catching up!

After being on the road last week, here’s catching up:

First, Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi (or Qaddafi, or Quadaffi, or Khadafy, or whatever his name was) is dead.  I predicted that when he was finally cornered, he wouldn’t go the suicide route as Adolf Hitler did, and apparently, Gaddafi didn’t do that.  I predicted that he’d try to stick around for a big spectacle trial like Saddam Hussein did, and in fact, Gaddafi reportedly begged his captors to keep him alive.  They didn’t listen.  Good riddance.  But the public desecration of Gaddafi’s body after the fact points out something else I’ve said repeatedly:  a lot of the thugs in the Middle East, regardless of which “side” they claim to be on, really aren’t as devoutly religious as they’d have us believe.  Consider this:  non-Muslim American servicemen and women were more respectful and observant of Islamic tradition in disposing of Usama Bin Laden’s body earlier this year than the Libyan “freedom fighters” have been in disposing of Gaddafi’s body.

Speaking of religion, the Archbishop of the Catholic diocese in Kansas City, Missouri has been charged with a misdemeanor for failing to report a reasonable suspicion that a child or children had been harmed by sexual abuse after learning that one of the priests in the diocese had child pornography on a personal computer.  As a licensed health care provider in Missouri, I’m subject to the same mandated reporting law that the Archbishop allegedly disobeyed, and as a lawyer also, I find it deeply disturbing when any mandated reporter simply blows off the duty that the law imposes upon us to serve as protectors of children.  I feel sorry for the children whose abuse likely continued while the Archbishop was sitting on the information, and I feel sorry also for the Catholic Church, which is full of good people who didn’t need another bad apple to dishonor their institution.  The Archbishop, if guilty, has no business leading any institution in which the welfare of children is a concern and should relinquish his leadership position in the Church immediately.

Thankfully, no children were hurt in Ohio when an eccentric guy with a long history of legal and financial troubles released his many dangerous and exotic pets, including mountain lions, tigers, and bears, into a residential community before apparently killing himself last week.  Sadly, most of the animals had to be shot by police, and only a few were able to be captured and relocated to a zoo.  It seems like the release of the animals was one final antisocial act of disdain/defiance of society from a guy who consistently wanted to reap the benefits of participating in society without assuming any of the accompanying responsibilities.  From reports of the condition in which his body was found, it looks like one of the big cats got to him before the police did, but rather than poetic justice, it looks more like the guy was dead by his own hand before he became a tiger toy.

Surprise, surprise, “actress” Lindsay Lohan (I always put the “actress” in quotes because I’m not sure it’s really still accurate to call her an “actress” — when was the last time she acted in anything?) was in trouble with the law last week…again.  Apparently Lohan didn’t complete some community service work that was a condition of her release the last time she was in front of a judge.  After telling this latest judge how “hard” she’s been working, Lohan’s still on the streets while awaiting an upcoming hearing at which it will be determined whether she’ll get yet another — I think this would be like her 20th — chance or whether she’ll finally go to jail, where she should’ve gone, for her own good and everyone else’s, back after chance number one.  In the meantime, she’s been assigned to do community service at a new place — timely here in the Halloween season, a morgue — and guess what?  She was 45 minutes late to her first shift!  If this woman doesn’t go to jail for a significant period of time now, then the California state justice system is a complete and utter joke (as if we didn’t have enough data to reach that conclusion already).

Speaking of California justice, the manslaughter trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, personal physician to the late singer Michael Jackson is dragging on and on in Los Angeles.  Last week, we heard from what’s supposed to be the last prosecution expert, who testified that there’s no plausible way Murray told the truth about the amount of the surgical sedative propofol he gave to Jackson to help him sleep.  The expert testified that postmortem toxicology indicates that Jackson had a far greater amount of propofol in his body than Murray had reported when the singer went into fatal respiratory, then cardiac arrest.  This week, we’re expecting to finally start hearing the defense.  Murray’s attorneys reportedly no longer plan to argue the possibility that Jackson somehow dosed himself with propofol (assuming that’d matter, considering that it apparently indisputably was Murray who negligently brought the propofol into Jackson’s home), so at this point, it will be fascinating to hear exactly what the defense is going to be.

And finally, the “Baby Lisa” case continues to develop here in the Kansas City area.  Early last week, I spoke with local media about the introduction of a high-profile defense attorney into the case.  It’s likely that the new lawyer will be dealing with the media on his clients’ behalf from now on, which means we probably won’t see any more incriminating interviews with the parents.  Other than his ability to handle the media, though, I’m not sure how much this high-profile lawyer, who once represented Joran van der Sloot (the prime suspect in the disappearance of American teen Natalee Holloway in Aruba), really adds to the case.  Primary attributes of a defense lawyer are competence, diligence, and good working relationships with the folks in the prosecutor’s office.  This out-of-town guy may be competent and diligent, but he’ll probably have to get the relationship piece from competent and diligent local counsel, which begs the question as to why the high-profile dude is here at all.  Personally, I think that some high-profile attorneys spend time on cases like this one essentially as a marketing strategy for their practices, but I could be wrong here.  In any case, he may end up working harder than he bargained for on this one.  Since his arrival in K.C., police have executed a search warrant at the parents’ home, which reportedly included cadaver dogs that alerted to the recent presence of a dead human body in the parents’ bedroom.  At the same time, though, two or three witnesses apparently have told police that they saw a man walking with an infant in his arms not far from the parents’ home on the night when “Baby Lisa” disappeared.  Descriptions of this mysterious man and infant differ, and I’m not sure that the father’s even been ruled out (yes, despite his supposedly having been working the night shift that night, for the very first time), but local police say that they’re taking the reports seriously and chasing down every lead, both inside and outside of the home.  Yes, it’s still possible that this was an abduction by a stranger, but it’s kind of like what I said in the outrageous case of a drunken Michigan “father” who made his nine-year-old daughter attempt to drive him home last week (I talked about it by phone on Tuesday’s Prime News on HLN) — whenever a parent has been intoxicated with a child in his/her care and tells the world that his/her intoxication had “nothing to do” with how much he/she loves the child, I don’t buy it.


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