Archives for posts with tag: marijuana

This convicted murderer petitions for writ of habeas corpus. His official middle name in the court record is Ninja. Habeas denied.

LEMAR NINJA DELVON BROOKS, Petitioner,
v. HENRY STEWARD, WARDEN, Respondent.

Case No. 3:12-cv-00998

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE, NASHVILLE DIVISION

January 31, 2013, Filed

Opinion by US District Judge Kevin H. Sharp.

Petitioner Le’Mar Ninja Delvon Brooks was convicted …March 22, 2001… on two counts of first degree murder by a jury and sentenced to two consecutive life prison terms.
Footnote1: Under Tennessee law, this means that the petitioner must serve one hundred and four years in prison before becoming eligible for parole. (See ECF No. 10-20, at 15:18-19.)

and

CONCLUSION

This case is somewhat troubling precisely because the State’s evidence was scant and contradictory, and the petitioner’s trial counsel clearly did not do all he could have done to call the State’s marginal evidence into question. The fact that a young man was given an effective sentence of 104 years on such slim evidence is further cause of concern. Notwithstanding, it is not this Court’s prerogative to review the evidence, or to second-guess the state courts’ decisions. Rather, this Court must simply consider whether the state court’s adjudication of the petitioner’s claims was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established federal law, or if it involved an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). Under this standard, the petitioner has not established that he is entitled to relief on the basis of any of his claims. The petition must therefore be denied.

This 2010 opinion is the denial of habeas petition for a convicted murderer in a drug-related offense.

KEVIN POTTER, Petitioner,
v.
WILLIE SMITH, Respondent.

CASE NO. 2:09-CV-12049

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN,
SOUTHERN DIVISION

2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103088

Decided August 4, 2010, by U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul J. Komives

Petitioner Kevin Potter is a state prisoner, currently confined at the Ionia Maximum Correctional Facility in Ionia, Michigan. On November 11, 2003, petitioner was convicted of conspiracy to commit first degree murder, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.157a, 750.316, following a jury trial in the Wayne County Circuit Court. On December 9, 2003, he was sentenced to a mandatory term of life imprisonment without parole. Petitioner appealed as of right…

The court quotes the trial evidence from the respondent’s answer (so this is the government version of the facts). Three witnesses refer to a man dressed in black and it seems a neighbor witness Beverly Moore used the description “ninja”:

Scott Klass, an electrician, testified that he heard gunshots on the morning of September 19, 2002 and that he saw a man dressed all in black with a rifle and that he saw a van then come down the street, and the van was similar in style to the picture shown to him by the prosecutor. (TT 11/4/03, pp 61-63). Beverly Moore, who lives across the street from the victim’s family, testified that on the morning in question she saw a van parked in front of the Wright house and she wondered why it was blocking their driveway. (TT 11/5/03, pp 8-9). Ms. Moore heard noises but assumed it was firecrackers, but when she went outside she saw a “ninja” all in black with a gun in his hand. (TT 11/5/03, p 13). Another neighbor, Katherine McFarland, also testified about hearing shots and seeing a man all in black with a big, AK 47 type gun in his hands. (TT 11/5/03, pp 39-40).

The facts of this case also involve cocaine, marijuana, an AK-47, and “fire melted” skin. It seems Potter was dressed in black when he killed Mario Allen, on the steps of Mario’s home as Mario left to appear at his sentencing hearing for a drug related crime (a cocaine sale). It seems Mario’s two co-defendents in the drug sale hired Potter to kill Mario so that Mario wouldn’t show up at the sentencing. Then the co-defendants withdrew guilty pleas and prepared to face trial without Mario’s testimony.

In this instant case, Potter is petitioning the federal government for habeas relief but Magistrate Judge Komives finds no violations of federal law, concluding:

In view of the foregoing, the Court should conclude that the state courts’ resolution of petitioner’s claims did not result in a decision which was contrary to, or which involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established federal law. Accordingly, the Court should deny petitioner’s application for the writ of habeas corpus.

This Magistrate report was adopted by order of District Judge Gerald E. Rosen on September 29, 2010

This 60th NinjaLaw case is the story of Robert Clifton Dameron.

robert clifton dameron

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
ROBERT CLIFTON DAMERON, Defendant.

CASE NO. 5:06CR00047
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, HARRISONBURG DIVISION

2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6610; January 30, 2007, Decided

On January 24, 2007, Dameron plead guilty to “unlawfully, knowingly and intentionally distributing or possessing with intent to distribute, or aiding and abetting in the distribution or possession with intent to distribute, 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine, a Schedule II narcotic controlled substance, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A) and Title 18, United States Code, Section 2.

The recommendation of Magistrate Judge B. Waugh Crigler, January 30, 2007, was that “the court accept the defendant’s plea of guilty to Count One and adjudge him guilty of that offense”. And “sentencing hearing hereby [was] scheduled for May 24, 2007 at 9:30 a.m. before the presiding District Judge in Harrisonburg.”

The defendant was informed that the maximum statutory penalty provided by law for the offense with which he is charged, in the case of Count One, is life imprisonment, a fine of $ 4,000,000, and a period of supervised release. The defendant was further informed that Count One has a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years imprisonment.

The sentence was 120 months (10 years, see this later habeas petition) but his obituary states “Robert Clifton Dameron, 37, of Afton, passed away on Saturday, January 28, 2012.” The obit doesn’t say how he died. It does note “He was preceded in death by his stepfather, Jerry Dameron.” Jerry’s obit from Spetember 15, 2011 states he died, age 61, at a hospital but again no cause of death is stated. This death is particularly relevant because the defendant’s ninja motorcycle was purchased by and registered to the stepfather.

THE GOVERNMENT’S EVIDENCE

The defendant waived his right to have the government’s Factual Summary read in open court and had no objection to the Summary. The Factual Summary having been filed in open court, the evidence presented therein regarding the offense charged is as follows:

On October 26, 2005, a Waynesboro police officer observed a black Ninja motorcycle speeding (55 mph in 35 mph zone). The officer pursued motorcycle with emergency lights flashing. The motorcycle accelerated and attempted to flee. A pursuit ensued. The motorcycle became boxed in by another car at an intersection. The officer ordered the driver (Dameron) off the bike at gun point. The defendant’s drivers licence [sic] was suspended and he was an habitual offender. The defendant said the motorcycle was registered to his father. The police officer notified the defendant that he was under arrest for eluding, reckless driving and being a habitual offender. As the officer examined the motorcycle, he noticed a pouch attached to the gas tank. Visible through a clear plastic window was registration and insurance information. The officer unzipped the pouch to get the information, and saw a drug smoking device containing residue. A further search of pouch revealed 526.64 grams of a substance containing methamphetamine, digital scales, packing material, 29.27 grams of cocaine and 28.8 grams of marijuana. The Officer also recovered $ 2,561.00 on the defendant’s person. The defendant’s stepfather testified before the grand jury that he purchased the motorcycle for the defendant, but kept the motorcycle registered in his (the step-father’s) name, at the defendant’s request. Stephanie Dumont, who lived with the defendant, testified before the Grand Jury that no one, other than the defendant, drove the motorcycle. The defendant’s brother, Scotty Dameron, testified before the Grand Jury that the defendant was the only person to use the motorcycle, except on one occasion. Two additional witnesses testified before the Grand Jury that they had purchased methamphetamine from the defendant in the past year. The methamphetamine was sent to the DEA lab and tested positive for methamphetamine, weighing 526.64 grams.

The defendant was subsequently arrested on May 21, 2006. A Nelson County Sheriff observed the defendant operating his motorcycle (the same motorcycle as on October 26, 2005) in a reckless manner, with the front tire coming off the pavement. The Officer pursued the defendant with his lights flashing. The defendant disappeared into a side street. Dispatch advised the officer that a citizen (a retired State trooper) had called in and said the motorcycle and driver were hiding behind a house near the street. The officer went to the house and found the defendant standing next to the motorcycle. The officer patted the defendant down and asked if there was anything in his pants that would stick or cut him. The defendant said no. The officer then located a hypodermic needle in the defendant’s pocket. Officers also recovered a black pouch strapped to the motorcycle. Inside, the pouch, officers recovered several hypodermic needles and a few grams of a detectable amount of methamphetamine. On the way to jail, the defendant slipped out of his handcuffs, and tried to get out of the patrol car. He was unsuccessful.

FINDINGS OF FACT

Based on the evidence presented at the plea hearing, the undersigned now submits the following formal findings of fact, conclusions and recommendations:

1. The defendant is fully competent and capable of entering an informed plea;

2. The defendant is aware of the nature of the charges and the consequences of his plea;

3. The defendant knowingly and voluntarily entered a plea of guilty to Count One of the Indictment; and

4. The evidence presents an independent basis in fact containing each of the essential elements of the offense to which the defendant is pleading guilty.

He was then sentenced to 120 months and habeas petition denied February 18, 2010. And now he’s dead; just five years after the guilty plea and 10 year sentence. I really wonder how he died, and was he still in federal prison?

In a 1998 opinion about suppression of statements made to police officers while in police custody after requesting an attorney. The Court decided that defendant’s statements made to police were admissible.

US v Thornton
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff, v. ERVIN JUNIUS THORNTON II, Defendant.
CRIMINAL NO. 97-50021-01
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN, SOUTHERN DIVISION
17 F. Supp. 2d 686

Decided – September 1, 1998

Opinion by Honorable Paul V. Gadola:

Defendant Ervin Junius Thornton II has filed a motion to suppress his alleged out of court statements made to a law enforcement officer. Defendant argues that these statements should be suppressed at trial due to a violation of his Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights. On July 23, 24 and August 18, 1998, this Court held an evidentiary hearing on defendant’s motion to suppress. For the reasons set forth below, this Court will deny defendant’s motion to suppress out of court statements.

Explaining:

According to [police lieutenant] Koger’s testimony, Thornton’s statement included the following assertions: that he had been paid $ 10,000 by Jewell Lamont Allen and Tederick Jones for the murder of David Strickland; that the reason for the murder was that Strickland had been indicted and Jewell Lamont Allen was afraid he would talk; that the weapon he used was a nine-millimeter and that Tederick Jones (“Teddy”) conducted surveillance during the murders; that the clothing he wore was a black “ninja-outfit;” that he was involved in drug trafficking; and that he had purchased drugs from Allen.

And:

Defendant further revealed that the weapon he used was a 9 millimeter handgun and that Tederick Jones (“Teddy”) conducted surveillance during the murders. He further admitted he was involved in drug trafficking and that he had purchased drugs from Allen, as well as that the clothing he had used was a black ninja outfit.

What is a black ninja outfit? Is it difference than a black outfit? And should it be hyphenated or not? This Opinion writes it both ways (“ninja outfit” and “ninja-outfit” and it doesn’t really explain what makes the outfit ninja, except that it was used in surreptitious surveillance during a murder-for-hire and related to drug dealing (marijuana and cocaine). The court also can’t decide how to write the gun’s description, “9 millimeter” or “nine-millimeter”. But as with “ninja face masks“, “black ninja hood“, and “ninja pants“, I wonder what is actually being conveyed by this adjective except conclusions of criminal behavior.

Meanwhile, the defendant, Thornton, was convicted at trial and lost his subsequent appeals (See 99-1275). The Supreme Court also denied cert in 2000 (531 U.S. 1179), and a recent 2006 motion for relief of judgment based on claims that evidence should have been suppressed at trial was denied for being untimely and without merit (Thornton v USA, 97-50021).

NinjaLaw blog is primarily briefing “ninja” in Federal Court opinions but today a brief report of some ninja news.

First, Ninja Squirrels spotted in Florida:
ninja squirrels

Across the country, Reuters reports, “Ninjas Rob Medical Marijuana Deliveryman in California” :

The masked ninjas confronted the deliveryman outside an apartment building in West Covina, Calif., about 20 miles east of Los Angeles, KNX radio reports. The ninjas used white batons called tong fa to intimidate the deliveryman, who dropped his bag of marijuana and cash and ran off, police said.

The ninja robbers remain on the loose.

tonfa

Meanwhile on the other side of the world, there are “ninja” but don’t dare call them “assassins” – “Iran suspends Reuters over female ninjas headline”:

Officials in Tehran have suspended the bureau of the international news agency Reuters after one of its headlines described Iranian female ninjas as assassins.

Iran’s ministry of culture and Islamic guidance has also asked all Reuters’s 11 staff in Tehran to hand back their press accreditations and stop working for the agency.

Acknowledging its error, Reuters reported that its headline “Thousands of female Ninjas train as Iran’s assassins” had been corrected to read “Three thousand women Ninjas train in Iran”.

The BBC writes on the Iran-Reuters-Ninja story:

The BBC’s James Reynolds, who himself reports from London, says the few journalists who are still allowed to work in the country [Iran] now find that a single word out of place can cost them their credentials.

And once again Ninja Squirrels:
ninja squirrels

US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit decided US v Collins and US v Streeter in a consolidated opinion filed, June 29, 1990. At issue was the validity of the police officer’s search and also of the court’s sentencing. The Court here decides that the search and police conduct were proper but vacates the sentence of defendant Collins because of a misapplication of the Drug Quantity Table. His case is remanded for resentencing.

United States of America, Appellee, v. Ernest R. Streeter, Appellant. United States of America, Appellee, v. Robert Jay Collins, Appellant
Nos. 89-5217SD, 89-5247SD
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE EIGHTH CIRCUIT
907 F.2d 781

Despite finding no police misconduct the Court refers to D.E.A. as ninja:

a search warrant was served upon the Collins residence, and an arrest warrant was served upon Collins by four D.E.A. agents dressed in black fire-proof “ninja” outfits.

This particular case has been criticized, distinguished and superseded in subsequent cases; there is continuing dispute over how to weigh whole marijuana plants and federal sentencing guidelines.

But this case is an important case for NinjaLaw because it reveals two common language functions of “ninja” in Federal Court opinions. First, it describes attire. Second and more interestingly, it describes law enforcement personnel. Both of these attributes are trends we will see again in future NinjaLaw cases.