18 December 2009

Ellis sentenced to 6 years in child abuse case

This caught my eye this morning...but because of what the judge said to this animal!  The bold text below is what I’m talking about...

I only wish that he had gotten a longer sentence, but then again maybe six years is all that is needed....if he is telling the truth that he has been threatened, then six minutes may be all it takes!

Ellis sentenced to 6 years in child abuse case

by R.J. Cooper
Friday, December 18, 2009

Zachery Ellis tried to minimize and shed doubt on his guilt in the abuse of his child a month too late. He’ll be heading to prison on a six-year sentence as a result.

Last month, when he pleaded guilty to felonious child abuse, Mr. Ellis, 21, admitted squeezing his 7-week-old son until he heard a pop. The defendant also said he jerked the child’s legs.

When Mr. Ellis and his wife took the baby to the hospital, the visit revealed the child had spiral fractures in three limbs, three broken ribs, a bruised spleen and tearing on the inside of his mouth. In November, Mr. Ellis testified that he did not believe his wife was responsible for any of those injuries.

At his sentencing hearing Thursday, Mr. Ellis claimed he didn’t believe he caused the spiral fractures. While he still acknowledged squeezing the child in frustration, when Judge Weldon Judah asked the defendant if he broke the infant’s ribs, Mr. Ellis replied, “I’m not sure if I did or not.”

In his sentencing assessment report, the defendant claimed he took the blame for his wife, according to assistant prosecutor Pam Blevins. Ms. Blevins also told the court the defendant hadn’t shown any remorse for his actions or claimed full responsibility.

Public defender Stephen Williams attempted to negotiate his client’s seemingly contradictory statements. The defense attorney said his client simply was implying his wife could’ve been responsible for some of the injuries, but he also took responsibility for his abusive actions.

“He feels terrible about this,” Mr. Williams told the judge. “There is not an excuse for what happened.”

Judge Weldon Judah seemed empathetic to Mr. Ellis’ plight at the plea hearing, giving the defendant every opportunity to withdraw his guilty plea. The judge, at that time, also rejected the plea agreement for a five-year sentence.

On Thursday, the judge once again appeared sensitive to Mr. Ellis’ situation, saying he believed the defendant did feel remorse and wasn’t ready to be a parent.

But the empathy stopped there. The judge told the defendant, “You can’t do the things you did. You can’t treat a child like a dog.” Mr. Judah then handed down a six-year sentence — one more year than either the prosecution or defense requested. The maximum punishment on a class C felony is seven years.

Mr. Ellis, who is a convicted sex offender, told the court he feared for his safety in prison since someone split his head open at the county jail and told him they would be waiting for him in the Department of Corrections. Mr. Judah responded, ”Unfortunately, that’s one of the hazards of (committing criminal actions).”

Mr. Ellis’ son was in the courtroom for the hearing and appeared healthy. The Department of Social Services placed the child in family custody.

R.J. Cooper can be reached

at rjcooper@npgco.com.

stjoenews.net | Ellis sentenced to 6 years in child abuse case

Second search warrant served at Powell home


2nd search warrant served at Powell home

December 17th, 2009 @ 5:10pm

WEST VALLEY CITY -- Police in West Valley City have served a second search warrant at the home of Josh Powell, the husband of missing woman Susan Powell.

Detectives finished serving the warrant late Thursday afternoon. West Valley police Capt. Tom McLachlan said he doesn't know what prompted investigators to go back to the home, but they recovered a few items that they believe will help in this case.

McLachlan did say that Josh Powell's status as a person of interest has not changed; he is not considered a suspect at this time.

Susan Powell's family: 'We're not surprised'

Earlier in the afternoon, Susan Powell's family held a press conference in their home state of Washington to say they are saddened but not surprised that her husband has been named a person of interest in the investigation. They said it gives them cause for concern.

Susan Powell's parents, pictured at Thursday press conference in Washington.

"We have law enforcement background in our family. We know what that means, and we believe the police would not have made that determination without having good reason," said family friend and spokeswoman Shelby Gifford.

The family held a press conference Thursday afternoon in their home state of Washington. They said they want to keep Susan Powell's name and face in the media.

Gifford also pointed out that the family knows Susan Powell is an exceptional mother and would not have agreed to the camping trip Josh Powell said he took with his boys Sunday, Dec. 6.

"We know that Susan is an excellent mother and would not have tolerated her children being taken out of the home after midnight to go camping in dangerously cold conditions," Gifford said.

The family said 20 detectives from the West Valley City Police Department are working the case full-time. Susan Powell's father, Charles Cox spent a few days in Salt Lake City to meet with those investigators.

On Thursday, Cox said he thinks his daughter is still alive.

"I have nothing to say she isn't, other than the facts, the time she's missing; and as a father, I can't give up the hope that she's alive," he said.

Family members would not talk about a notebook investigators seized. Susan reportedly kept that notebook at work and wrote about threats made against her.

Brother-in-law describes Josh Powell as 'different'

Josh Powell's brother-in-law, Kirk Graves, appeared on NBC's Today Show Thursday morning.

Meanwhile, West Valley police said Thursday that Josh Powell has not been responsive to investigators and has not come in for a full interview. That has, in part, raised questions for Josh Powell's own family.

In an interview with NBC's "Today Show" Thursday morning, Kirk Graves, the husband of Josh Powell's sister, expressed the family's wishes for Josh Powell to be more helpful with the investigation.

"We wish he would do everything necessary to help us find Susan," Graves said. "We understand his desire to get an attorney. We wish that attorney would advise him to be a little more assertive and focus on what is good for Susan right now."

Graves also said his brother-in-law could be controlling and was an "interesting person" with a "different" personality.

When Graves was asked if he thought Josh had anything to do with Susan's disappearance, he said he has carefully avoided analyzing the question.

"There are too many emotions, too many family members. I just pray no," said Graves.

During another network interview, Graves said, "I wouldn't be surprised if he [Josh Powell] gets arrested in the next seven days."

"I don't know if I really have a response," McLachlan said. "It's very, I don't want to say shocking, but I've just been informed of that, and I'm very surprised that he would say that. I don't know what his basis is."

But McLachlan did say Josh Powell is definitely a person of interest in the case.

"He was the last one to see Susan," McLachlan said.

West Valley Assistant Police Chief Craig Black said there are no plans, at the moment, to arrest Josh Powell.

Police: Son of missing woman backs up camping story

Earlier in the day Thursday, West Valley police said Susan Powell's eldest son told them they went camping the night his mother disappeared. It backs up a claim by Josh Powell that he took his two children camping in Tooele County and they slept in the family's van.

McLachlan said police are analyzing the boy's comments, which came out of an interview at a local children's justice center.

Investigators haven't been able to thoroughly check the remote area along the Pony Express Trail where Josh Powell said they stayed, but McLachlan said there was no obvious of camping activity.

Police have served a search warrant at the family home and have also searched the van. McLachlan said they've recovered some items of interest that are being processed, but he said police are still pursuing many possible avenues in the case.

Police are still frustrated that they haven't been able to further interview Josh Powell.

"There are many people who have made comments about his activities and actions that don't put him in a positive light," McLachlan said. "The way to get beyond that is to have him come in and talk to us."


Story compiled with information from Sandra Yi, Shara Park, Sam Penrod, Marc Giauque, Paul Nelson and Andrew Adams

ksl.com - 2nd search warrant served at Powell home

17 December 2009

Judge Reverses Parental Alienation Ruling After Warshak Admits He Hadn’t Met Children



Judge Reverses Parental Alienation Ruling After Warshak Admits He Hadn’t Met Children

Setback for PAS  pushers.  No wonder Warshak is pushing it so hard, along with the other Whores of the Court that make a very nice income off of this. They  chase after the blood money in family courts.  From the Law Times:

Judge reverses parental alienation ruling
Controversial trend continues because opposing parents lack funds: lawyer

By Heather Capannelli | Publication Date: Monday, 09 November 2009

In another case underscoring the controversy over parental alienation workshops, Justice Thea Herman of the Ontario Superior Court struck down part of an arbitrator’s award earlier this year that would have removed two teenage boys from the custody of their father and sent them to Texas. The decision follows a series of judgments in which Ontario courts have ordered a change in custody and sent the custodial parent along with the children to participate in the workshop.

In S.G.B. v. S.J.L., the court set aside part of an award concluding that the workshop was in the best interest of the boys because the arbitrator relied too heavily on an assessment of them prepared by Richard Warshak, who admitted he hadn’t met them personally.

In his testimony and written evidence, the psychologist and author explicitly declined to make recommendations with respect to the children because he had never observed them before.

Yet the arbitrator ordered that the remedy was “necessary for the children in this case and completely consonant with their best interests.” Herman, however, decided that in making such a finding, the arbitrator’s order amounted to a “fundamental error.”

Another issue arose prior to the hearing when the father asked the arbitrator to order an assessment to determine the appropriateness of the workshop for the children.

The arbitrator declined to do so, instead relying on his own experience as a custody and access assessor. But Herman rebuked that decision, saying “the arbitrator’s experience can only be brought to bear on the evidence. The arbitrator cannot create evidence.”

In addition, Herman said the arbitrator failed to consider the psychological impact the workshop would have on the younger boy. He suffered from Klinefelter syndrome, a genetic disorder that, among other things, caused a language delay.

The facts of the case were as follows. The applicant, the father, and the respondent mother entered into the arbitration to help resolve issues surrounding their two sons L.B. and J.B., aged 17 and 14 respectively. The parents had been divorced since May 1999 and since then, the mother experienced an estranged relationship with both of her children.

After several attempts to resolve disputes about custody, access, and raising the children, both parents agreed to what turned out to be an unsuccessful arbitration in August 2007.

The proceedings were due to continue on Nov. 20, 2007, but the father brought a pre-hearing motion to prevent the arbitrator from making an order that might result in the children leaving the province given that the mother had been in consultation with Warshak for several years despite the fact that he had never met the boys. The motion was denied.

The arbitration took place in February and March 2008 and, based on Warshak’s report that the children were suffering irrational alienation towards their mother, the arbitrator awarded sole custody of both children to her and ordered that they participate in the workshop to help to restore their ties with her.

Logistically, this meant no contact with their father for the three months that the boys were in the program. Once the workshop concluded, communications could resume as long as those in charge authorized them.

The order also allowed the mother to use transporting agents to take her children to the workshop in Texas if they were unwilling to go on their own volition.

“The work of Dr. Warshak has been submitted for peer review so it’s not as controversial as the media hype may lead some to believe,” says Jaret Moldaver, counsel for the mother. “Dr. Warshak has successfully worked with children who have been alienated, and in cases where conventional approaches don’t work, it’s the only viable option to save the child from abuse.”

A larger issue, however, is that often these cases come down to a battle of costly expert evidence, says the father’s counsel, Jan Weir.

“My concern is that in most of these cases, it appears that one parent has the financial means to retain high-end counsel and experts like Dr. Warshak, but the other parent seems to have modest means and never retains an expert, meaning that they can’t lead evidence against the findings or methodology of Dr. Warshak.”

A week at the workshop costs about US$40,000.
According to Warshak, parental alienation syndrome is “a child’s unjustified campaign of denigration against, or rejection of, one parent, due to the influence of the other parent combined with the child’s own contributions.”

It is recognized as a form of emotional abuse that happens when parents get so caught up in their own problems that they lose sight of their children’s needs.

In an interview in 2008 with Maclean’s magazine, Warshak said the workshop “teaches children how to stay out of the middle of adult conflicts and how to maintain a compassionate view toward each parent” and that it helps the child “recapture a major part of his identity.

When the child no longer feels the need to pledge allegiance to one parent by rejecting the other, that’s enormously liberating.”

But Weir says the test in law for admissibility of expert evidence is whether it’s generally accepted by the profession. That’s because courts don’t interpret the evidence of experts on their own. “Is this a method that’s generally accepted by the profession at large?” says Weir.

“This kind of evidence is getting in because the parents who are on the receiving end just don’t have the funds to retain an expert to say that it’s not, that it’s untested.”


Women in Crime Ink: Your DNA frightening? Could Be

I found this to be very interesting!  Please visit Women in Crime Ink for more interesting articles and posts!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Your DNA frightening? Could Be

by Kathryn Casey
Imagine being Dr. Jim Fallon, a Fulbright Scholar and professor emeritus in neuroscience at the University of California - Irvine. He set out to find out if psychopathic killers have certain biological traits that will show up on brain scans. When he finished his testing, he found the signs in a member of his own family.
The article about Fallon that caught my attention ran in the November 27th edition of the Wall Street Journal under the headline: What's on Jim Fallon's Mind? A Family Secret That Has Been Murder to Figure Out. On his bio, Fallon says: "I am interested in the neural circuitry and genetics of creativity, artistic talent, psychopathology, criminal behavior, and levels of consciousness."
Over the years, Fallon has analyzed the brains of more than 70 murderers. His interest in looking into the minds of dangerous criminals comes from an honest curiosity. The 62-year-old scientist started out by trying to assess his relatives' risk of developing Alzheimer's, which killed his father. The hitch was that his father came from a rather unusual family. Early ancestors included Thomas Cornell, who in 1673 who was hanged for murdering his mother. (The WSJ describes this as one of "the first recorded acts of matricide in the Colonies.") There were others, seven men suspected of murder on Fallon's family tree, and, it appears, one infamous female. It turns out that Professor Fallon is a distant cousin of Lizzie Borden. Yes, that Lizzie Borden. (Are there others?) To be fair, let's remember that Borden was acquitted of killing her parents with an ax. Although many, including our own WCI historian, Laura James, believe Borden was the culprit.
Anyway, it appeared there could be some particularly interesting genes floating around in Fallon's family. Thus, perhaps, it wasn't surprising that Fallon decided to look for evidence of violent traits by comparing the family brain scans with those he'd collected of the violent criminals he'd been analyzing.
Through his research, Fallon had found that violent offenders' scans often displayed areas of diminished activity in important areas of the brain, including the section thought to monitor self-control. You may remember that awhile back on WCI, I reported on different theories regarding why certain folks become violent criminals. Fallon's work suggests a three-pronged explanation for violence: a combination of genetics, brain damage, and childhood trauma. What Fallon was testing for was evidence in the scans of the presence of factor number one, what one might call "violent genes." The most accepted one, MAOA, is the so-called "warrior gene."
When Fallon examined the brain scans of his family, he found the abnormalities he'd noted in killers in one member. And the scan that was on the screen that day was of his own brain.
Yup, Jim Fallon discovered that his brain scan suggested he'd inherited the genetic risk factors he'd documented in dangerous psychopaths. On the scan, the areas of his brain involved in social adjustment, aggression and impulsivity, the orbital cortex, which lies just above the eye sockets, appeared dark or turned off. For Dr. Fallon, that moment must have been chilling.
So how did Dr. Fallon end up a respected scholar instead of a serial killer? Here's the final paragraph from the WSJ article: "Dr. Fallon thinks that one vital factor may have prevented him from becoming a killer. 'I had a charmed childhood,' he says. 'But if I'd been mistreated as a child, who knows what might have happened.'"
Interesting, don't you think?

Women in Crime Ink: Your DNA frightening? Could Be