Trial dates set for couple charged with murder in abuse case

New trial dates have been set for an Arizona couple charged with murder in the 2011 death of a 10-year-old who was padlocked in a plastic trunk for hours.Sammantha Allen is scheduled for a May 8 trial, while her husband, John Allen, is set to be tried on Aug. 7.They pleaded not guilty to charges in the death of Sammantha Allen’s cousin, Ame Deal.Authorities say Deal died after John Allen padlocked her in the footlocker as discipline for having stolen Popsicles.She was left in the plastic box all night and was found dead the next morning.Sammantha Allen is accused of coaching another child to say that Deal was playing hide and seek the night before and that she wasn’t found before everyone went to bed. Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Continue Reading

Trial date set for 2 charged in fatal Howard High assault

A June trial date has been scheduled for two of the three 16-year-old girls charged in the fatal assault of a Howard High School of Technology student last month in Wilmington.Both Zion Snow and Chakeira Wright were set to have a hearing Thursday morning. But after their attorneys waived the arraignment hearings, a trial date was scheduled in Family Court for June 15. The two girls are charged with third-degree criminal conspiracy, which is punishable by up to one year in prison.Snow, Wright and Trinity Carr were charged last week for their involvement in the April 21 assault of 16-year-old Amy Inita Joyner-Francis, who died after she was beaten in the high school's bathroom. State prosecutors have said Joyner-Francis did not die of injuries sustained in the beating, but from a pre-existing heart condition exacerbated by the attack.Carr, who is seen in a video punching Joyner-Francis in the head and chest, is the only one charged with a felony – criminally negligent homicide.Carr has a Family Court case review hearing on May 31. Prosecutors are expected to ask a judge to declare Carr non-amenable to Family Court proceedings so she can be tried as an adult in the Superior Court. If convicted of she faces up to eight years in prison. TIMELINE: Major events in the case STORY: 3 teens charged in death of Howard High School student STORY: Howard student's family questions autopsyInvestigators determined the fight was a planned confrontation in the girls bathroom, but only Carr hit Joyner-Francis, according to a statement by the state Attorney General's Office. The fight was filmed, according to court documents, and shows Carr hitting Joyner-Francis repeatedly in the head and torso area with "what appears to be a closed fist."After Carr leaves, the video shows Joyner-Francis try to stand up, then Joyner-Francis Continue Reading

NYPD stop-and-frisk race case set for 2013 trial date

A 2008 Federal civil rights lawsuit stemming from alleged racial bias in the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy is finally going to trial. Manhattan Federal Court Judge Shira Scheindlin Monday set a March 18, 2013, trial date for the hot-button case which alleges racial profiling in the way the NYPD conducts the stop-and-frisk tactic. “It’s really time to bring this case to some resolution,” Scheindlin said at conference with lawyers for the city and the Center for Constitutional Rights, which brought the lawsuit. She said jury selection would begin a week earlier on March 11, but a lawyer for the plaintiffs Darius Charney said he might ask for a non-jury trial. City attorney Heidi Grossman said the city would not waive its right to a jury. Last May, Scheindlin said there was “overwhelming evidence” that thousands of stop-and-frisks were unlawful in granting the lawsuit class-action status. Last year police conducted 685,724 stop-and-frisks and, according to Charney, nearly 85% of those who were stopped were black or Latino. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Trial date set for Phoenix woman in girl’s 2011 footlocker death

A trial is scheduled to start May 9 for a woman accused of murder in the death of a 10-year-old who was locked in a small trunk overnight in 2011.Sammantha Allen and her husband, John Allen, pleaded not guilty to a murder charge in the case of the death of Sammantha's cousin Ame Deal.Superior Court Judge Teresa Sanders took over Sammantha's case after another judge earlier this month denied Allen's request to postpone the trial.John Allen's trial is scheduled to begin June 27. A pretrial conference also is scheduled Friday in his case.Authorities say Ame died after John Allen padlocked her in the footlocker as discipline for having stolen a Popsicle from a refrigerator in their residence near Broadway Road and 35th Avenue. Her body was found there July 12, 2011.Several motions still remain to be considered in the case, Sanders said in court Monday morning.One motion includes suppressing future conversation between Allen and her husband, John, who also pleaded not guilty to the murder charge.Sanders said she expected to rule on the motions as attorneys finalize the jury questionnaire for the May 9 trial date.Sammantha Allen is charged with four counts of child abuse and one count of conspiracy to commit child abuse, in addition to the first-degree murder charge.Cynthia Stoltzmann, Ame's aunt, pleaded guilty to two counts of child abuse and one count of attempted abuse in the case and was sentenced to 24 years in prison in 2013.Judith Deal, Ame's grandmother, was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2013 after she pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted child abuse.Deal's father, David Deal, was sentenced to 14 years in prison after pleading guilty to attempted child abuse. Continue Reading

Barry Bonds to get his day in court as judge sets March 21 trial date for baseball’s home run king

Home run king Barry Bonds finally has his day in court. Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston accepted a schedule presented by both the prosecutors and the attorneys representing the former Pirates and Giants slugger and set a March 21, 2011 trial date. Bonds, who last played in the majors three years ago when he broke Hank Aaron's home run record, faces 11 felony charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. He testified before a 2003 grand jury that he never knowingly used performance-enhancing drugs.Bonds, 46, was set to go to trial in March, 2009 when Illston ruled that key evidence - including statements made by Bonds' former trainer Greg Anderson and positive drug tests - was inadmissable. This past June a federal appeals court upheld Illston's ruling. In an interesting twist to the case, on Thursday the Senate unanimously approved San Francisco attorney and former federal prosecutor Melinda Haag (a Democrat) to replace Joseph Russoniello as the new U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of California - the same office prosecuting Bonds. But Peter Keane, a law professor at Golden Gate University, said Haag's arrival doesn't suggest a reversal of course."In effect, it would be just opposite. The first thing she would want to do is keep up a high morale, which was a problem under (former U.S. Attorney Kevin) Ryan. She's unlikely to stop one of the office's principal cases, which has some of the top people involved," Keane told the Daily News. "Barry Bonds is a big trophy and I think she would be very hesitant to say, 'Let's chuck it.'" Ryan was nominated by President George W. Bush, but resigned in 2007 when Alberto Gonzales was Attorney General. Russoniello replaced Ryan. Paula Canny, one of Anderson's attorneys, said Haag would not have the final say on whether a federal case should be dropped - that decision would be made by Attorney General Eric Holder.Although he thinks the government "lost a certain degree of momentum" when they appealed Continue Reading

Sides in Barry Bonds perjury case to meet in federal court in San Francisco to determine trial date

The government's perjury case against home run king Barry Bonds was dealt a significant blow last month, when the Ninth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled key evidence was inadmissible.But prosecutors are pressing forward nevertheless, and both sides will meet Friday in federal court in San Francisco to try to determine a trial date.U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston, who has presided over the long-running case, has scheduled an 11 a.m. hearing. Bonds - who socked 762 career homers, but who has not played since 2007 - has pleaded not guilty to charges he lied in 2003 when he told a grand jury that he never knowingly used steroids.After last month's ruling, defense attorney Mark Geragos said he thought prosecutors would ultimately drop the case. Geragos represents Greg Anderson, Bonds' former trainer who has refused to testify against the slugger."At this point, I don't see how the government can proceed," Geragos said then. "It wouldn't surprise me if the prosecutors stood up and dismissed the case." Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Lil Wayne’s trial date set with Ariz. court for cocaine, Ecstasy and handgun found on his tour bus

Rapper Lil Wayne will go on trial next March on felony drug possession and weapons charges he faces in Yuma County, Arizona.The trial date was set during a court hearing in Yuma on Thursday.The case against Lil Wayne, whose real name is Dwayne Carter, stems from his arrest at a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint on Interstate 8 east of Yuma in January 2008. Authorities said they found cocaine, Ecstasy and a handgun on his tour bus.Lil Wayne has pleaded not guilty. His attorney didn't immediately return a call on Thursday.Chief criminal Yuma County Attorney Roger Nelson says his office doesn't offer misdemeanor plea deals on such cases and that's probably one of the reasons why the case hasn't been resolved. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

At long last, trial dates are set in lawsuits by sick World Trade Center rescue and recovery workers

More than seven years after the World Trade Center attack, a judge has at last set the first trial date for suits filed by sick rescue and recovery workers. Check your calendar. Are you free in May 2010?At that point, almost nine long, painful, wasteful, unnecessary years will have passed since 9/11 - and only a handful of the thousands of suits will be marked for jury selection. Will this legal torture never end? Will the people who served their country and paid with their health never catch a break? The fault does not rest with the court. Federal Judge Alvin Hellerstein is driving hard to force this mass litigation through the funnel of his docket. Last week, he spelled out how from among 9,000 cases, involving 387 diseases and more than 200 defendants, a few will be selected for trial. It's both a magnificent exercise in case management and a powerful mechanism for forcing settlements. And it proves the point once more: Congress and President Obama must reopen the Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund so the claims of all the injured can be paid speedily and at far smaller legal cost. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Judge schedules April 2 trial date for Michael Vick on state charges

SUSSEX, Va. - A judge on Tuesday scheduled an April 2 trial date for jailed Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick on two state felony dogfighting charges. Vick's lawyer, Lawrence Woodward, requested a jury trial during the 5-minute session. The suspended NFL star did not attend the hearing in Surry County Circuit Court. Vick is being held at a Warsaw, Va., jail after surrendering on Nov. 19 to begin serving time for a federal dogfighting conspiracy conviction. Vick faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced Dec. 10 in the federal case. The two state charges - beating or killing or causing dogs to fight other dogs, and engaging in or promoting dogfighting - also are punishable by up to five years in prison each. The court also set trial dates of March 5 for co-defendants Quanis L. Phillips and Purnell A. Peace and a May 7 trial for Tony Taylor. Vick's lawyers have indicated they will fight the state charges on the grounds he can't be convicted twice of the same crime. Vick and three co-defendants pleaded guilty to the federal charge in U.S. District Court in Richmond. In an Aug. 27 plea agreement, Vick admitted bankrolling a dogfighting enterprise and providing gambling money, as well as helping to kill six to eight dogs. Ten protesters from the animal-rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals stood outside the courthouse holding placards with pictures of injured dogs and the messages "Report Dogfighters!" and "Dogs Deserve Justice." The dogfighting operation known as Bad Newz Kennels operated since 2001 on Vick's 15-acre spread in Surry County. A drug investigation of a Vick relative led authorities to the property, where they found more than 50 pit bulls and equipment commonly used in dogfighting. Vick was suspended indefinitely by the NFL without pay, and he lost several lucrative endorsement deals. Also, an arbitrator has ruled Vick should repay the Falcons nearly $20 million in bonus money. Continue Reading

Barry Bonds pleads not guilty to latest BALCO charges; trial date set for March

Home run king Barry Bonds fought his way through a throng of television cameras Friday as he entered the Phillip Burton federal courthouse in San Francisco and entered a not guilty plea to a revised indictment, the latest chapter in the government’s perjury case against the 43-year-old unemployed slugger. U.S. District Judge Susan Illston - the judge who has presided over all of the BALCO trials, including the government’s recent successful prosecutions of cyclist Tammy Thomas and track coach Trevor Graham - set a trial date of March 2, 2009. Bonds, the most prominent of the BALCO defendants, is accused of lying under oath during his 2003 BALCO grand jury testimony, when he claimed he unknowingly took steroids. Bonds appeared briefly before U.S. Magistrate Judge Bernard Zimmerman Friday to enter the plea. Bonds faces another battle, too: The 43-year-old slugger has not been able to catch on with another team after the San Francisco Giants decided not to bring him back after last season. Bonds spent the past 15 seasons of his 22-year big league career with the Giants, breaking Hank Aaron’s home-run record with his 756th home run on Aug. 7 of last season. He has said he wants to play again, but one baseball executive told the Daily News Friday that he doubts any team would want to take on Bonds’ baggage. “I haven’t heard any clubs talking about him. And you’ve got all the surrounding issues with him,” the executive said. “I don’t know if a club would want to deal with everything that’s around him.” Bonds faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each of the 14 counts of making a false statement. He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and an additional $250,000 fine for the one count of obstruction of justice. In March, Illston agreed with Bonds’ lawyers and dismissed the original five-count indictment the government had handed down last November, Continue Reading