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United States Attorney News
Plea deal for drunk driver who crashed boat and killed a soon-to-be wed man
A plea deal had Richard Aquilone pleading to lesser charges and getting just a probation for the death of Jijo Puthuvamkunnath.
Puthuvamkunnath was to be married in a few weeks but he never got to tie the knot as he got killed when a drunk Aquilone rammed his boat with his yacht.
The impact was so great that Puthuvamkunnath's boat was split in two.
Aside from the probation, Aquilone will also be made to serve the community for 250 hours.
Marc Agnifilo, New York criminal attorney defending for Aquilone, said his client has expressed regret for the loss that he has caused the Puthuvamkunnaths.
Judge denies third trial for man convicted of murder
Nicholas Christopher Ferro was denied a third trial for the death of Marques Butler in 2009.
Ferro's first trial had ended in a hung jury. In his second trial, he was convicted of murder in the second degree last September.
However, he had asked for a third trial with Miami attorney Carlos Gonzalez pointing out several things, the main of which is that the charges should not have been murder in the second degree because of the scant amount of time that Ferro and Butler have known each other before the incident happened.
According to Ferro's defense, a murder in the second degree charge would require that the perpetrator and victim are familiar with each other thus the need for a time requirement on how long they have known each other basing on the murder laws of Florida.
However, the judge said the amount of time is not required.
With Ferro's demand for a third trial denied, a life imprisonment sentence looms for him.
Cop gets two months for shooting trainee during an exercise
William S. Kern, a Baltimore Police instructor, was handed a 60-day jail stay, for shooting Raymond Gray, a police recruit, while they were doing exercises.
Kern, who has been in service for 19 years, told the court during his trial that he had brought a live gun to the exercises and he had accidentally used it instead of the training weapon.
Gray was hit in the head and was blinded in one eye when Kern fired his gun through the window to show the recruits the danger of lingering near the door, the window or the hallway.
Kern said that he brought his gun to the training for the safety of the recruits because the facility where they were having their exercises is not secure.
Baltimore defense attorney Shaun F. Owens had argued for Kern's release saying that his client's eventual dismissal from the service would already be enough of a punishment.
Kern is on a 60-day suspension while the Baltimore Police conducts an investigation within its ranks.
Gray's family, who expressed dissatisfaction with the sentence, has also filed a civil lawsuit in relation to the incident and is being represented by Baltimore litigator A. Dwight Pettit.
Former prosecutor sentenced to 10 days for wrongful conviction
Ken Anderson, the former District Attorney of Williamson County, was meted with a 10-day jail term after the judge accepted his no-contest plea for the charge of contempt of court.
The charge steamed from the wrongful conviction of Michael Morton who was found guilty for the murder of his wife in 1986 and was sentenced to life imprisonment.
However, in 2011, Morton's conviction was overturned using DNA as proof that he did not kill his wife.
In the light of that development, Anderson, who had prosecuted Morton's case, was scrutinized and was determined to have erred when he withheld evidence which would have been beneficial for Morton's defense.
Aside from the short jail stay, Anderson will also have to give up his license as a lawyer and as part of the plea bargain, he will also be disbarred for five years.
Austin attorney Eric Nichols, however, pointed out that there will be no conviction for Anderson on any criminal charge.
Morton, for his part, said he is more than happy with the result because all he wanted was for Anderson not to practice law anymore to prevent what happened to him from happening to anyone else again.
Anderson was also fined and made to do community service.
Jury clears King of Pop's concert promoter of negligence
A jury rejected a negligence lawsuit brought by Katherine Jackson, the mother of Michael Jackson, against AEG Live LLC, the This is It concerts promoter of the King of Pop.
Katherine Jackson's lawyers claimed that the promoter erred when it failed to verify if Dr. Conrad Murray was qualified when it hired him as the singer's doctor.
AEG denied the allegation but said that Murray was hired by Michael Jackson himself.
Murray is already serving a jail sentence for the death of the popstar.
Los Angeles lawyer Marvin S. Putnam, AEG's lead defense counsel, said the jury made the right decision.
The Jackson lawyers had pointed out that the promoter was only after its own profits thus it did not bother to make sure that Murray was a qualified physician.
Putnam and his defence team claimed Murray's hiring was the singer's choice and that if their client had known about what Murray and Jackson were up to they would not have gone on with the series of concerts.