Categotry Archives: Law

by

Paul Tate

7 comments

Categories: Law

Paul Tate, a former Army intelligence officer whose daughter was murdered by the followers of Charles Manson, died on May 18 of congestive heart failure. He was 82.

Actress Sharon Tate was married to director Roman Polanski and eight months pregnant on Aug. 9, 1969 when she and four others (Abigail Folger, Voytek Frykowski, Jay Sebring and Stephen Parent) were killed inside a house she sublet from producer/songwriter Terry Melcher. Manson ordered some of his followers to break into 10050 Cielo Drive in Los Angeles and kill everyone inside.

The high profile case became the focus Paul Tate’s life. The former Army intelligence officer, who spent 23 years in the service, retired as a lieutenant colonel soon after his daughter’s death and launched his own investigation into the slayings. He even went undercover, masquerading as a hippie for four months to come up with leads in the case, but found nothing the police could use in court. Authorities continued their own investigation and arrested Manson on Oct. 12, 1969.

Tate was the first witness called to testify at the trial. Before entering the courtroom, however, he was thoroughly searched because the bailiffs were concerned he’d sneak in a weapon and kill the defendants. Manson was later convicted of masterminding the murders. His followers — Susan Atkins, Charles “Tex” Watson, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten — were convicted of perpetrating them.

Tate’s quest for justice continued until his death. The Texas native and his wife Doris wrote numerous letters to California parole officials that argued against the release of the Manson “family.” In later years, Doris became a victim’s right advocate. She was the first member of a victim’s family to ever speak out at a parole hearing and make a victim’s impact statement in the state of California. When she died in 1992, their other daughters, Patti and Debra, took over the task of keeping Manson’s followers behind bars. Patti died in 2000.

by

Bill Brownell

No comments yet

Categories: Law

bbrownell.jpgBill B. Brownell devoted his entire life to fighting crime.
The Iowa native moved to California with his family when he was 11 years old. After serving four years in the Navy, Brownell became a deputy with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. A back injury sustained on the job caused him to retire from the force in 1968, but the desire to uphold the law and serve the public never waned.
In 1971, Brownell heard his teenagers discuss how easy it was for their friends to buy drugs. He asked why they didn’t notify authorities, and his children said they didn’t want to become known as snitches. Brownell and his wife Miriam recognized this was a genuine fear and responded to it by founding the WeTip crime hotline (800-78-CRIME), a service that allows people to anonymously report crimes or criminals. The Brownells incorporated the service in 1972 and expanded it nationally a decade later. In recent years, they launched two more tiplines (800-47-ARSON and 800-US-FRAUD) and a Website.
When a concerned citizen calls WeTip and tries to leave their name, the connection is terminated because only the unidentified can avoid being subpoenaed to testify in court. WeTip doesn’t use caller ID or cookies to identify tipsters; it assigns code names and numbers in case a reward is offered.
Since the service debuted 34 years ago, more than 420,000 tips have been called in. Information gleaned from the WeTip hotlines have led to 14,558 arrests and 7,387 convictions. More than $500,000 has also been awarded to people who called in with useful information.
Brownell died on May 13 of congestive heart failure. He was 71.
Listen to an Interview With Bill and Miriam Brownell

by

Tunney Hunsaker

3 comments

Categories: Law, Sports

Tunney M. Hunsaker, the part-time pugilist who lost to Muhammad Ali in the boxing great’s first professional fight, died on April 25 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 75.
Hunsaker was a journeyman heavyweight who also served as Fayetteville, W. Va.’s police chief. He had a reputation for being willing and aggressive — and a record of 15 wins, 7 losses — when he fought 18-year-old Cassius Clay at Louisville, Ky.’s Freedom Hall on Oct. 29, 1960. By the end of the sixth and final round, both of Hunsaker’s eyes were swollen shut, and Ali won the fight on points.

by

Johnnie Cochran

3 comments

Categories: Law

jcochran.jpgJohnnie L. Cochran Jr., the flamboyant trial lawyer who became a legal superstar after he helped Hall of Fame football player O.J. Simpson beat murder charges in 1995, died on March 29 of a brain tumor. He was 67.
The Shreveport, La., native was the great-grandson of slaves and the eldest of four children. When his family settled in Los Angeles in 1949, he became one of only a handful of black students integrated into Los Angeles High School. Cochran graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, with a degree in business administration. Then, inspired by a love of debate and an admiration for Thurgood Marshall, the Supreme Court’s first black justice, Cochran earned a juris doctorate degree from Loyola University in 1962 and devoted himself to the law.
Cochran spent two years toiling in the Los Angeles city attorney’s office, handling mostly drunken driving and battery cases. He prosecuted comedian Lenny Bruce on obscenity charges, which were dismissed by a judge on First Amendment grounds. In 1966, Cochran formed Cochran, Atkins & Evans and began championing the causes of black defendants. Although his 1972 defense of former Black Panther Elmer “Geronimo” Pratt ended in a guilty conviction, Cochran continued to work on the case for the next 25 years. Pratt’s conviction for murdering a 27-year-old schoolteacher on a tennis court in Santa Monica was reversed on appeal, and in 1997 he was released from prison.
With hopes of changing the system from the inside, Cochran spent the late 1970s working as a Los Angeles County deputy district attorney, but he returned to private practice in 1981. His current practice, The Cochran Firm specializes in personal injury law and employs more than 100 lawyers around the country. Cochran preferred to work on high-profile police brutality cases, and in his office he displayed framed copies of the checks he won for his clients.
For the last two decades of his life, Cochran was best known for representing celebrity defendants. He defended football running back Jim Brown on rape and assault charges, actor Todd Bridges on attempted murder charges, rapper Tupac Shakur on a weapons charge and rapper Snoop Dogg on a murder charge. Cochran also negotiated a multi-million dollar settlement in a 1993 civil lawsuit against pop star Michael Jackson involving allegations of child molestation. But it was the formidable litigator’s legal maneuverings as the leader of Simpson’s “Dream Team” that turned Cochran into a pop icon.
Wearing dapper suits and colorful ties, Cochran thrived in front of the cameras during the 1995 homicide trial. With a flair for the dramatic, he had Simpson don a pair of bloodstained gloves in court. Presumed to be the killer’s gloves, one was found at the crime scene and the other outside Simpson’s home. The former football star appeared to struggle with the gloves during the in-court demonstration, and in his closing argument, Cochran reminded jurors: “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”
By placing blame on law enforcement and using the public’s racial attitudes to raise reasonable doubt, Cochran convinced the jury to find Simpson not guilty in the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald L. Goldman. Simpson was later found liable in a civil trial and ordered to pay the victims’ families $33 million. Cochran didn’t represent Simpson in the civil case.
After Simpson’s acquittal, the National Law Journal named Cochran “America’s Trial Lawyer of the Year.” He became a popular speaker on the lecture circuit, hosted several programs on Court TV and worked as a legal commentator on NBC. Cochran’s antics were also parodied on the TV shows “Seinfeld,” “Saturday Night Live” and “South Park.” In the film “Lethal Weapon 4,” comedian Chris Rock played a police officer with the LAPD. While making an arrest, Rock advised the criminal suspect of his Miranda rights, then noted: “If you get Johnnie Cochran, I’ll kill ya.”
Cochran’s personal life was often as dramatic as his professional one. He married his college sweetheart, Barbara Berry, and had two daughters, Tiffany Cochran Edwards and Melodie Cochran. However, during the couple’s 1978 divorce, court documents revealed that he had cheated on his wife for 10 years and fathered a son with his mistress, Patricia Sikora. In 2004, Sikora ended their relationship and sued Cochran for palimony. The case was settled privately. His second marriage to Dale Mason lasted until his death. Although many in law enforcement disliked Cochran, his son Jonathan later joined the California Highway Patrol.
In recent years, Cochran sued a New York Post columnist for libel and a former employee for defamation. He lost the first case; the second is currently being reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Cochran’s life was chronicled in two autobiographies: “Journey to Justice” (1996) and “A Lawyer’s Life” (2002).
Listen to Tributes From NPR

by

Jack Muller

7 comments

Categories: Law, Writers/Editors

Jack Muller, a retired Chicago police officer who was once known for his uncompromising law-and-order attitude, died on March 11 of kidney failure. He was 81.

Born to Hungarian and Polish immigrants, Muller played football and studied law at the University of Michigan. He dropped out of school to enlist in the U.S. Navy and spent World War II serving in the Pacific theatre aboard the USS Sheldrake as a minesweeping specialist.

Upon his return to the states, Muller joined the Chicago Police Department. As a rookie cop, he was shot in the head during a shootout. The bullet deflected off the police shield on his hat and lodged in his skull, where it remained for the rest of his life.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Muller developed a reputation for his ticketing practices. He patrolled Rush Street on a three-wheel motorcycle and strictly enforced all traffic laws. Fame, fortune and status didn’t matter. If a citizen broke the law, Muller was there to write him up.

“He wrote lots of tickets,” his son Kurt Muller said.
The newspapers loved to write about the honest cop, particularly when he issued tickets to Mayor Richard J. Daley, Cubs broadcaster Jack Brickhouse and mobsters Tony Accardo and Sam Giancanna. When Chicago Sun-Times gossip columnist Irv Kupcinet’s car was illegally parked in front of the Esquire Theatre, Muller had it towed. Even actor Jack Webb couldn’t avoid Muller’s determined pen. While Webb played straight-laced Sgt. Joe Friday on the TV show “Dragnet,” Muller ticketed him for being drunk and disorderly.

But Muller’s actions didn’t sit well with the higher-ups back at headquarters. For doing his job and being a good cop, he was demoted to the cemetery beat. Then, to save face, the city made him a detective. Detectives, after all, don’t write tickets. Unable to turn a blind eye to lawbreakers, however, Muller continued his efforts to rid the city of crime.

In the early 1970s, Muller worked a number of cases involving the theft of high-end tires. His investigation led to the arrest of several high-ranking police officials. For speaking out about the case on the local news, he received a written reprimand from police administrators. Muller fought the disciplinary action all the way to the U.S. Court of Appeals, and won. The reprimand was eventually expunged from his record.

After nearly four decades on the force, Muller retired in 1981. He moved to Benedict Lake, Wis., took up fishing, wrote his autobiography (“I, Pig: Or, How the World’s Most Famous Cop, Me, Is Fighting City Hall”) and won $1.6 million in the lottery. He was also the subject of the biography, “Cycle Cop: The True Story of Jack Muller, the Chicago Giant-Killer Who Feared No Evil,” by Paul G. Neimark.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 19 20