User-agent: * Allow: / Legal news, political opinion, Satire, and lawyer thinking by Tim Paynter, Attorney at Law: 2010-03-07

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

LMSD SETTLES WITH BLAKE ROBBINS? How many Mike and Ike's should a peeping tom pay?

LMSD Settles with Blake Robbins
...Large sum paid Blake, 
School accepts responsibility, 
Some staff given opportunity to submit resignations, 
class action withdrawn

That would be great news for the community, the school, the administrators and faculty and most of all it would be great for the students!

    TOO BAD IT IS NOT TRUE as far as I know!

I was just thinking to myself...what if they did settle for the benefit of the community?  What kind of settlement could they make?

 Here is a wild duck shot at the proposal:

"Two hundred fifty thousand per Mike and Ike!"

1.  How about $250K per Mike and Ike?  That would be $500,000 bucks for the pair of pill sized candies!  Blake could add another $1,000,000 to that by posing in the next Mike and Ike's commercial!  

With 1.5 Mil in hand, at least Blake's first year at Harvard would be paid...

"Those responsible for the disaster to be given the opportunity to submit their resignations"

2.  Considering the cost and inconvenience to the community and the school, those responsible for the program would be asked to submit their resignations.  

If the school board was advised by counsel, I would fire the legal counsel!  

If the board failed to ask for legal advice, I would fire the school board!

Don't worry about those guys, they might have a new career selling "Hot Tamales" which look a lot like Mike and Ike's but give you really bad heart burn when you eat too many.

3.  The class action suit to be dismissed.  One idea would be to dismiss the class action suit, or limit damages to each member of the class...pun about one half a Mike and Ike's worth per class member instead of two Mike and Ike's worth?  *I am sure if you ask the school board members to do the math for you they will have it at their finger tips!  No doubt they are experts at math by now considering how many sheep they have been counting every night since this disaster hit national news!

Honestly, I don't have a clue what two Mike and Ike's are worth in the hands of an under-aged youth!  The point of view offered is just for fun, no legal opinion is given.  You get to pay the big bucks for that! 
On a more serious note, I do have a question:  
How much is a senior year worth?  A Junior year?  Most of us only get one of each during out lifetimes.    They almost made an exception with me, but that is another story!

My point is, what a shame it is to ruin any high school student's year with such an ugly story.   I think the big kids - those who authorize school web cam computer spying on the little kids - should settle this suit for the benefit of everyone.  Admit your errors, fix what you can, move on!  It took me 45 years to figure that one out!

In the alternative, maybe this isn't such a bad thing after all.  Poor kids get to watch grown up people fight all the time.  Maybe this is a way to give young people in wealthier communities a chance to grow up too fast...too.  

What do you think?   Put your comments here!  Better yet, join the blog and keep up on modern legal issues to help you and yours through life!  Blake Robbins v LMSD, the Pennsylvania school spy cam in lap top computer case, a/k/a what is the value of one Mike and Ike's?                                                                                                                                                                        

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

50% Off Airline Tickets - Buy a book of 5 and save! You won't believe this deal!


If you believe the ad then you might be one of the many people who got hooked by a Loveland, Colorado con man.  Christopher B. Watts, 59, convinced $495,397 worth of people the offer was true.  All they had to do was buy a book of 5 tickets and what a bargain they had!

Most con men are pretty smart about fooling the customer and Watts was no different.  In order to redeem your ticket you had to go through Captain Chris.  That way, the mark had no dealings with the airline which made it harder to detect the fraud.

"He had a retirement package from the airlines"

How did Watts get such great deals?  Well, in some cases he worked for the airlines, or at least in the industry.  He also at times had a retirement package from the airlines in which he got free tickets or highly discounted tickets.

In some cases, the pressure must have been on.  To pacify some clients Watts went into the market and bought tickets at regular prices for his customers.  He then told them they were the discounted tickets instead of market priced tickets.

As a guess, Watts was running short of dough.  In order to come up with enough money to buy tickets he would convince customers to buy additional books using a credit card.  The credit card was used to directly buy tickets for complaining customers.  I guess if the customer isn't happy after getting taken on the first con, the way to handle it is con him again.  Sheesh.

In other cases, Watts used proceeds from checks from one customer to buy tickets for another.

Of course, schemes like this eventually come to an end.  There just isn't enough money to pay for all of the tickets, especially since customers were paying reduced prices and the con man got stuck at market price.  Eventually the FBI got wind of it and opened an investigation.  Watts was indicted and found himself in need of a good criminal lawyer.

"That is how much time Captain Chris
gets to spend time in the Penn"

The plea bargain made on may 9th, 2009, calls for Watts to pay back the money he stole.  Too bad for the customers, that won't happen for four years.  That is how long Captain Chris gets to spend time in the Penn according to the sentence handed down last Friday march 5th, 2010 by Judge Blackburn.   

Let's hope he doesn't pull the same deal with his fellow inmates.  They won't take a con like this lightly.  But then, if his con skills are really good, maybe he can sell a few tickets to the guys doing life! 

"He will be supervised when he gets out, just in case he goes to crime school"

Watts will spend plenty of his senior years in the pokey.  He will be nearly 70 years old when he rolls out of the Holiday Inn for cons.  He will be supervised when he gets out, just in case he goes to crime school while a guest.  I doubt they have a swimming pool or hot tub in prison so he will have to find something to occupy his time.  

“This case proves the age-old adage, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is,” said U.S. Attorney David Gaouette.

“This sentencing demonstrates the FBI’s continuing commitment to aggressively investigate complex financial crimes, especially when 90 victims are targeted by an individual,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge James Davis.

There is always one in the crowd.  In case you misunderstood, the advertisement is not for real, no tickets are being sold.  It is merely a headline to give you an idea of what an ad might have looked like.  I don't know and please don't call looking for discount tickets to Vegas.
Christopher Watts of Loveland, Colorado, sold books of airline tickets to unsuspecting travelers.  At least 90 people got hooked, and finally, so did Christopher, who will spend serious time thinking about what he has done.  If you get an offer for free room and board that looks like it came from the cross bar motel, you might want to think twice before sending your hard earned green-backs.  

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

16 year old teen from Manlius NY guilty first degree sexual abuse , rape of 14 year old, "No" means "No" in rape accusation

Brilliant Teen goes from
Don Juan to
Convicted Felon
for First Degree
Sexual Abuse

Anthony J. Mussi, 16, of 4621 Brookhill Drive S., in Manlius, New York, near Syracuse, has his life turned upside down after dates with two girls landed him in jail on rape charges. 

Both incidents began "with some consensual activity" According to the District Attorney on the case, Cindi Newtown.  Each girl claims at some point 'full speed' ahead changed to 'stop now'.  Mussi failed to respect the victim's change of heart and found him self in hot water.

It all began around May 28th of 2009 when a 14 year old girl came forward claiming she had been raped by Anthony.  After an investigation by the State Police Computer Crimes Unit and the State Police Bureau of criminal Investigation, Anthony Mussi was arrested  The charges were first degree rape and endangering the welfare of a child.

Anthony's get out of jail free card was not free.  He was arraigned in the Town of Clay Court and remanded to the Onondaga County Justice Center jail on $25,000 cash bail or $50,000 bond. You can bet he was a happy cat when he was released from jail.

"Anthony did go farther, all the way to home base!"

Too bad for Anthony Mussi.  His life was hell and about to turn into Hades.  Shortly after his release on the first rape charge, a 15 year old girl came forward claiming he had raped her, too, after seeing the report of the first girl on the news.  Her story was the same as the prior victim's, that consensual activity began around 2:00 a.m. in a parking lot on Electronic's Way near Liverpool, New York, but then Anthony was told the girl did not want to go any further.  Anthony did go farther, all the way to home base.

Anthony was arrested again on June 6th, 2009.  This time bail was set at $100,000 or a $50,000 cash bond.  That made the total 'get out of jail' money in the two cases $150,000  in bail, or $75,000 cash bond.  Most bondsman charge between 10% to 15% of the bond amount, so if Mussi was bonded the cost to bond was over $45,000.  The cost for cash bail was $75,000.  A bond reduction hearing failed, the judge refused to reduce bond for a boy who was accused of raping under-age girls two times.

The teenager caught one heck of a good break or he had one heck of a good attorney.  In December of 2009, under a plea agreement, Anthony plead guilty in December of 2009 to a lesser charge of first-degree sexual abuse which satisfied both cases.  In pleading guilty, he admitted subjecting a 14-year-old girl to sexual contact by force on May 28, 2008.

Assistant District Attorney Cindi Newtown said the plea deal allowed the prosecution to avoid having the victims to be forced to testify at trial. It also allowed the prosecution to block Mussi from getting youthful offender treatment which would have removed the felony conviction from his permanent record and sealed the case file.  Without youthful offender treatment, Mussi will be required to resgister as a convicted sexual offender for the rest of his life, Newtown said.

"His chances of rehabilitation were likewise reduced"

The big tragedy in this case is the blocking of Anthony's ability to obtain youthful offender treatment.  While his sentence may have been dramatically reduced, his chances of rehabilitation were likewise reduced.  It is a typical prosecutorial mistake to confuse the need for punishment with the need for rehabilitation.  Considering Anthony is still a child under the law, such blocking will affect his chances of rehabilitation.  Since he is due for release in two years, the prosecution traded having the youth listed as a sexual offended in lieu of giving him the chance to get help.
Manlius, New York
Near Syracuse New York

Before the construction of the Erie Canal, Manlius was a large business point along the Cherry Valley Turnpike and Seneca Turnpikes. Since the traveling of goods passed through Manlius on these turnpikes, that every other structure along the highways were taverns. Between Manlius and nearby Chittenango, New York, there were only about six or seven public buildings.[1] Most of this stretch of the Seneca Turnpike is now New York State Route 173.

For twenty years, Manlius was the biggest trade center in Onondaga County, with what is now Syracuse, New York a swamp at the time.[1] Into the early 20th century, its St. John Military Academy was a respected private school for young men.  Excerpts from Wikpedia.

Photograph Manlius Library

If Anthony decides to live in Manlius after his release, he will have to register as one of three sexual offenders who live in the area.  Most sexual offenders avoid Manlius as it has a low rate of registered sexual offenders as a percent of population.
Anthony's lawyer James McGraw said Anthony is a "brilliant student" and a "very good athlete" who should be able to put his life together after serving his prison term.

County Judge Joseph Fahey told Mussi he faces a very long life if he doesn't learn what is appropriate and inappropriate in terms of his interaction with woman.

The sentencing had been postponed to today to allow Anthony to complete school at a private boarding school in Massachusetts.

Every one has sex problems.  That includes Anthony J. Mussi.  He has a lot to learn about how to treat a woman and when "no" really means "no".  If he had been a year older, he would have faced much more severe penalties.  A sentence of 15 to life is not unheard of in the State of Colorado. I am not sure what the sentencing guidelines are in New York State. 

The issue in front of every judge in a case like this is what do we do with 16 year old boys who commit forceful sexual acts.  Are they to become throw-away children?  Do we send them to prison for the majority of their lives, or in some cases, all of their lives?  Or do we let them know life is going to get a lot tougher if they can't clean up their act, hand them a severe sentence and pray they get the message?

In this case, Judge Fahey was obviously convinced Anthony Mussi has value to society.  Dropping two first degree rape charges and allowing him to plead to a lesser felony charge was a coup for defense lawyer James McGraw and for the youth.  Anthony could have spent most of his life reflecting upon two sexual exploits that changed the lives of three people, Anthony and two younger girls.  Young boys are sexual targets in prison and Anthony will need to learn to fight to protect his sexual integrity and his personal safety.  If he survives two years in prison, he will face a lifetime registering as a sexual offender, and thanks to Syracuse D.A. Cindi Newtown, Anthony won't have the benefit of youthful offender treatment.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Robbins v LMSD and teacher admits making child porn with boy

Teacher admits making child porn with
15 y.o. male student
LMSD remains mum
A teacher admitted to making child pornography with a 15 year old student today, according to the FBI.  Some of the videos were made in school class rooms.  Others were made in each of the teacher's' two private homes.

According to a press release by the FBI, the teacher was asked to tutor the student on a 1 on 1 basis. Somehow the discussions between the two drifted to the topic of sex.  The boy reportedly asked the teacher if he could find a girl.  The idea was for the three to have sex together, a menage a trois.

"The boy said he knew he was being video taped"

The teacher never got around to finding the girl.  The boy and the teacher engaged in sex anyway.  The boy was also filmed in sexual acts by himself.

Talking about girls and sex is a trick pedophiles use to lure young boys into sexual relationships.  Apparently, the boy, who was only 14 when the relationship began, fell for the ploy.

The boy said he knew he was being video taped during his sexual exploits.

In contrast, students at Harriton Senior High School in the Lower Merion School District of Pennsylvania did not know the camera was rolling in the lap top spy cam scandal.  We don't know what the pictures taken by one of two administrators will show. 

In that case, students were issued Apple lap top computers without being told the built in web cam could be secretly activated, even when the student was in the privacy of his own home.  Presumably, LMSD officials anticipated times when the cameras would certainly show students in unflattering circumstances, or possibly worse, when both boys and girls were dressing or in the process of their own version of learning about the birds and the bees. 

The scandal came to light when 15 year old Blake Robbins was called on the carpet while eating Mike and Ikes candies.  Harriton Vice Principal Lyn Matsko broke the news to Blake that they had photos of him downing prescription drugs.  Unfortunately for the administration, they don't know the difference between Mike and Ike's, a fruity candy that comes in oblong sizes, and prescription medications. 

"One hopes this opposition is not a means of grabbing headlines"

The Robbins family brought a class action law suit that threatens to cut the student body and the community into two camps, pro and con.  A parent's organization, the LMSD Parents, opposes the class action law suit and is lobbying against the Robbins.  One hopes this opposition is for the benefit of the students and not as a means of grabbing headlines from the international press the incident has generated.

LMSD said it planned to activate the spy cameras only when a computer was reported missing. They thought it would be a great way to catch criminals by having the thief's mug shot along with his mitts on the goods. We don't have an explanation for why Blake's computer web cam was activated.  He had not reported his lap top missing.  Nor do we have an explanation why the school used their secret photographs to nail what they claim was a suspected drug dealer if their only goal was to recover stolen lap tops.  The LMSD story and the facts don't appear to jibe.

If we put the two cases together, a teacher who violated a student, and a school district which violated community trust, the obvious question is posed:  Which of the two incidents is more egregious?  In the former case, a teacher had sex with a 15 year old boy who knew the camera was rolling.  In the later case, school administrators knew they were taking photographs of students, at least some of which were sure to amount to child pornography, and their victims had no idea they were posing for the silver screen. 

It is a losing argument to say in the student-teacher case the child was having sex and in the Lower Merion School District case the students would simply be photographed, at times, probably without clothing.  If enough secret photographs were taken, the school administration should rationally have expected they would catch some students in the process of sexual relations, either with themselves or with another student, or perhaps, even with an adult.

Well maybe the lap top spy cam idea wasn't so bad after all.  Yes it was.

On the other hand, both cases represent a violation of the confidence we put in people of trust.  Sadly, in both cases it was school staff.  In one case a sick teacher and in the other case one sick school board.  That is my point of view.  LMSD Parents might disagree.

The minimum sentence for teacher Scott Christopher Howe who had sex with a boy from Cedar Lee Middle School in Bealton, in Fauquier County, Virginia is 15 years.  We don't know what the minimum sentences for members of the LMSD school board and school administrators will be if they are convicted, since no one has yet been indicted.  The school's continued refusal to accept responsibility, which requires more than a simple admission the event took place, is not likely enough to deter an investigation by the FBI.
I remain optimistic the warring parties in the Harriton Senior High School community, the LMSD, the Robbins, and especially the students and faculty, can put this ugly incident in perspective and move on.  For a young boy from the Cear Lee Middle School in the Fauquier County School District in Virginia, and for Scott Christopher Howe, it is too late.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Amo el canto del zentzontle Robbins v lmsd Pennsylvania computer web cam

Pennsylvania school computer web cam case
LMSD using lap top spy cams to peer into private lives...
Blake Robbins v. Lower Merion School District

what are you going to do about it?
I promised you a poem and a translation...

Amo el canto del zentzontle
Pájaro de cuatrocientas voces
Amo el color del jade
Y el enervante perfume
de las flores
Pero amo más a mi hermano
el hombre.

English translation, best I can do

Love the song of the mockingbird,
the bird of 400 voices.
Love the color of jade
and the aromatic
perfume of the flowers.
but love most of all
your brother,
your fellow man.

Loving your friends makes you human. 
 Loving your enemies makes you grow.

Do your battle, folks. 
That is what most of the nation expects of you.

The rest of us have higher expectations.

You can't fix the blow-hards, they aren't going to listen.  All you can do is put in your part, talk to those who don't want to end a senior year in battle, that will be several senior years in battle!  

Those who are leaders know what I am talking about. 

Let me teach you some French...a lot of adults fucked up this world.  It is time to hear from the next gen.

My French was never that great anyway...

Best regards to Blake J. Robbins, faculty and administration from the LMSD, those in the community affected by the Herriton Senior High School  - Pennsylvania lap top computer web cam case...

Uncle Tim from Texas

A message to students and faculty of Herriton Senior High, LMSD, Pennsylvania web cam s

This too, shall pass...

How do you want it to end?

I was incensed when I heard about the Blake J. Robbins v. LMSD case.  A Pennsylvania school district using a computer web cam to spy on students in the privacy of their own homes?  You knew they and their parents would be in a state of undress at times?  And none of you stopped to pause and question, "is this right?"

My anger is gone.  So, too will the international attention be gone.  The nation will focus on other problems leaving your community to fend for itself, or tear it's self apart.

What will it be?

Reconciliation begins with each person.  Is it time to admit errors and move along?  Is it time to start working on re-building trust?  Are you the future leaders of the nation?

Or is it the fate of your community to spend the next several years in destructive division?  Neighbor against neighbor, student against student, families, students, faculty that have been friends for years doing battle?  In this case, battle does not have to be overt...just leave the coals in the fire...

I personally think someone made some huge judgment errors.  Peering into the private homes of students right in front of the noses of their parents - just because they are students - was a violation of the things we hold dear in our constitution.  However...what will a continued battle do?

Which of the two evils is greater?  The trampling of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, or the shredding of the community afterwards?

I don't have the answers.  To all concerned, this too, shall pass! 

Life may be hell right now, especially for school administrators and faculty.  You will get through it.  Good things will likely come from this.  Those who are in crisis think their crisis is the worst.  You can always find some one suffering more!

The question is, will you all help each other, or will the blow-hards win?  The problem with national attention is community egos rise.  The so-called community leaders rush in looing for their chance at the limelight.  Everyone retreats to their corner.  No one can back down, heck, someone might see! 

Not enough people are willing to do what is best for the greater good, your community, your shcool, the nation.  Are they?

Solutions to problems like these come from within.  Your hearts will tell you what the solution is.  Those who ignore their hearts will grow angrier as each day passes.  They will justify their anger by driving a wedge down the spine of your wonderful community. 

Is that what you want?

Those who listen to their hearts will start forgiving, start looking for solutions, start working for unity.  Settle this suit and let's move on!

Let me give you a poem that has always hit home for me.  Perhaps it applies, perhaps not.

Amo el canto del zentzontle
Pájaro de cuatrocientas voces
Amo el color del jade
Y el enervante perfume de las flores
Pero amo más a mi hermano el hombre.

Can't read it?  Translate it.  Go to your Spanish dictionary.  It will mean more to you that way.  But if you are not willing to do that, google the first phrase and I bet you will find it in my next blog!

Dios te bendiga,