By Robert A. Vella
Here are additional updates on three more high-profile court cases which made the news this week:
From the Miami Herald – 1 of 2 indictments against Rick Perry tossed out:
AUSTIN, Texas – One of two felony indictments against former Texas Gov. Rick Perry was tossed out Friday, giving the Republican presidential candidate a potentially huge legal victory in the face of flagging polling numbers for the 2016 race.
The 3rd Court of Appeals in Austin sided with Perry’s high-powered legal team, stating in a 96-page ruling that the charge of coercion of a public servant essentially constituted a violation of the former governor’s free speech rights.
Perry was indicted last August on the coercion charge and a separate charge of abuse of official power, which wasn’t affected by the ruling.
The voided coercion charge carried a maximum 10 years in prison, while the abuse of official capacity has a maximum prison sentence of 99 years.
At the start of the year, a group of 57 Native Americans students from the Lakota tribe were taken to a minor league hockey match in Rapid City, South Dakota to celebrate their academic achievements. But what started as a field trip to reward the students quickly turned into a nightmare, when a group of drunk men in an executive suite dumped beer on their heads and yelled “go back to the Rez!”
Seven months later, only one of the perpetrators faces criminal charges. His trial begins today, and if found guilty he will be convicted of disorderly conduct and fined $500 — avoiding hate crime charges, a jury, and jail time.
In the spring of 2014, a Habersham County SWAT team executed a no-knock raid on the home where 19-month-old Bou Bou Phonesavanh was asleep with his family. It was 2 A.M. and agents broke through the door, tossing flashbang grenades, one of which landed in Bou Bou’s crib, leaving him critically injured and permanently disabled.
Police found no weapons, no drugs and no charges were ever filed.
Habersham deputy sheriff Nikki Autry, working with the multi-agency Mountain Judicial Circuit Narcotics Criminal and Suppression Team, was indicted on four counts of criminal civil rights violations, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.