In this week’s Justice is Served, we discuss the arrest of New York real estate scion Robert Durst for the 2000 murder of his friend, Susan Berman, in Beverly Hills. Durst was the subject of a six-part HBO documentary, titled The Jinx, which revealed new evidence that could be key to a conviction. Watch our take on whether such evidence will be admissible in court and whether Durst will finally be convicted after decades of suspicion in the disappearance of his wife, Kathie Durst, the murder of his friend, Susan Berman, and the murder his neighbor, Morris Black. He was acquitted of murdering Black in Texas in 2003. We also discuss what role the HBO documentarians will play in court.
In this week’s Justice is Served, we discuss the release of the video showing Suge Knight’s fatal hit and run. Knight ran over two men in a parking lot outside of Tam’s Burgers in Compton, killing Terry Carter. The video shows Knight’s truck pull up, Cle Sloan approaches the vehicle, attacks Knight through the driver’s side window, then Knight backs his car into reverse, clipping Sloan and knocking him down. Knight then puts his truck in drive and mows down Carter, who had been standing in the parking lot, killing Carter. Knight’s defense will likely be that Carter and Sloan, security for the “Straight Outta Compton” NWA biopic filming, pulled out their guns and attacked him, so his only way to save himself was by running them over. However, while Knight’s decision to initially put his car in reverse may fit that story, the prosecution will likely argue he could have then fled and driven down the street to safety instead of gunning it and driving back into the parking lot. Another crucial part of the video is at the end, when it appears as if someone removes a handgun from Sloan’s waistband. If Sloan was pointing a gun at Knight, that would boost his self-defense claim.
We also round up the latest legal news, including the police shooting death of Tony Robinson, an unarmed black teenager, in Wisconsin, the $7.3 million verdict against Robin Thicke and Pharrell for trademark infringement, the latest Bill Cosby accuser to come forward, Chris Brown’s legal drama with the mother of his child and more.
In this week’s Justice is Served, we discuss the latest legal news, starting with Governor Jerry Brown’s decision to deny parole for former Mexican Mafia member Rene Enriquez. Enriquez has been in prison since 1989 for committing two separate murders. In 2002 he began working with law enforcement as a source on the Mexican mafia prison gang. He has served as an expert witness in multiple trials and often speaks at law enforcement seminars. Gov. Brown denied his release, in part because his release would pose a security threat to himself, his family and his parole officers.
We also discuss the latest in the Aaron Hernandez murder trial, including the judge’s decision to allow the victim’s sister to testify that her brother, Odin Lloyd, texted her shortly before his death. However, the judge barred her from testifying to the content of the text (“I’m with NFL.”) or her reaction to the text. In other legal news, Eddie Ray Routh, the who killed “American Sniper” Chris Kyle and his friend, Chad Littlefield, has been found guilty of murder. The jury rejected the defense’s claim that he was not guilty by reason of insanity. Finally, the Department of Justice has concluded there is not enough evidence to bring a civil rights claim against George Zimmerman for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
In this week’s Justice is Served, we discuss the latest rape allegation made against Bill Cosby, this time by a woman who says she was drugged by Cosby at a party at the Playboy mansion when she was 18 years old and woke up to him masturbating over her and sucking her toes. Chloe Goins and her attorney held a press conference in front of the LAPD headquarters last week, stating her case, if filed, would fall within the statue of limitations for rape cases in California since it happened six years ago. The LAPD says it is now investigating her claims and will decided whether to recommend the DA file charges. However, Cosby’s attorney says his client was not even in town the night of the party and that Goins’ claim is meritless. Meanwhile, Cosby performed in Denver over the weekend to an applauding audience, despite protests outside.
We also discuss the discovery of a photographic lineup of mugshots of young black men used for sniper target practice by South Florida cops, the likelihood of success of a special appeal for the defendant profiled in the podcast Serial, the latest rape allegations against an Uber driver and what the company should do to protect its’ customers, and the restoration of 111 of Joe Paterno’s football wins by the NCAA after the organization revoked the wins in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. To weigh in on these topics, leave your comments below and tweet me @MariFagel.
In this week’s Justice is Served, we discuss the fallout after back-to-back lack of indictments in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases. Both were unarmed black men killed by police; both cases were heard by grand juries who decided against indictments for the cops who killed them. In the weeks since the protests, have we learned from these cases and will the justice system move forward or repeat the same mistake? The next case we will be following is the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. Cops saw him with a “gun” in the park and immediately shot him before realizing the gun was a fake, a toy he was playing with. The killing was caught on video surveillance. Will that case see the same fate as Brown and Garner or will prosecutors get an indictment from the grand jury, or not use a grand jury at all?
We also discuss whether law schools are treating the debate over Brown and Garner too sensitively, coddling law school students upset by the lack of indictments rather than encouraging open debate. Both Columbia Law School and UCLA Law School sent their students emails allowing them to postpone finals if the Brown and Garner stories caused them too much emotional distress to focus on exams. In addition, a first amendment professor at UCLA who asked an exam question regarding Michael Brown’s stepfather’s comments “burn this bitch down” ended up apologizing for the question and agreeing not to grade it. Weigh in on this story and the others discussed in the comments section below, and be sure to tune into Justice is Served every Wednesday.