Leaving One-Child Behind By Michelle Chen
Display Cases By Laura Longhine
Uneasy Riders By Paul Wachter
Not Bloody Guilty By Dana Mulhauser
The Prudent Jurist By William H. Simon
Cases & Controversies
Cases & Controversies
WHEN BRUCE WILLIS, JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, AND SHARON STONE signed on to star in the forthcoming movie "Alpha Dog," it was described as a thriller based on the life of Jesse James Hollywood. Hollywood was accused of running an after-school drug cartel that made the 20-year-old the envy of his Los Angeles neighborhood. When a rival ran afoul of Hollywood in 2000, he allegedly ordered the murder of the rival's stepbrother. After the killing, Hollywood remained on the lam for four years, earning celebrity status as the youngest fugitive among the FBI's Most Wanted.
Hollywood was captured last March and pled not guilty, and his lawyers have since cried foul about how fully prosecutors have cooperated with the filmmakers in the effort to dramatize the young man's life. James Blatt, one of the lawyers, says that the film is likely to debut before the trial opens in Santa Barbara. He claims that, by telling the story from the prosecutors' point of view, the film will keep Hollywood from getting a fair trial. Blatt, who has seen an early cut of the movie, said, "It certainly casts my client in a very negative light."
Prosecutor Ronald Zonen, who is credited as a consultant on the movie, was so keen to assist the filmmakers in recreating the scene of the crime that he allegedly walked them through the underbrush where the murder supposedly took place. In September, the defense filed a motion asking the court to remove the prosecutor. The team accused him of misconduct for handing over documents, tapes, and photos that are part of the evidence in the case. "What's next," Blatt wondered, "prosecutors actually making their own movies and screening them before trial?"
A Date, in Court that is
FOR 15 YEARS, WILLIAM CAREY PEPPERED A NEW HAMPSHIRE WOMAN with gifts and requests for a date. All it got him were felony stalking charges filed earlier last year. But the former guidance counselor has since come up with a plan to get the woman to see him: He sued her for libel and slander.
The nonrelationship began a decade ago when the two were graduate students at the University of New Hampshire. While they never dated, Carey remained devoted. He allegedly referred to the woman as his wife and started sending her unwanted packagessome with nude drawings of her. In 2001, she told authorities that Carey was stalking her. But despite orders barring him from contacting her, he is said to have continued his campaign until his arrest. He was scheduled to go to trial in November, facing up to seven years in jail.
From behind bars and subject to a court-issued no-contact order, Carey filed a federal lawsuit against the woman, accusing her of engaging in a campaign to ruin his career. Carey has asked the woman to answer a host of personal questions, ranging from whether she considers herself a feminist to whether she has AIDS. The woman may be compelled to answer if the parties can't reach a settlement. Carey has said he's interested in talking about a deal.
Huck Finn, Felon
THE FIRST THING WILLIAM JONES JR. THOUGHT when he stumbled upon the body of a buddy in 2002 was that his friend was drunk and had passed out on the ground. That is, until Jones kicked his pal's foot and realized his friend was dead. He thought it best not to report the body to the police, and, though he wasn't implicated in what turned out to be the man's unsolved murder, a jury in Boone County, Mo., found Jones guilty of the felony of abandoning a corpse and sentenced him to four years in jail.
There is literary precedent for Jones's inaction: In Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the title character and his friend Jim find the body of a man who's been shot in the back and left for dead. The two cover the body with some rags and continue their journey down the Mississippi River. "If Huck Finn and his friend Jim were real 21st-century Missourians," the Missouri Supreme Court wondered in 2002, "might they be facing a D felony for abandonment of a corpse?"
"Yes," might be the prudent answer after a recent Missouri appeals court decision overturning Jones's conviction. The court found that Jones didn't have a duty to report the body because he wasn't related to or living with the dead man. In Twain's Adventures, however, though Jim concealed the fact from Huck, the dead man was revealed to be Huck's father.