THE WONDER OF DOGS … TOBY II HEARING TONIGHT @ 7 p.m. … PRETRIAL HEARING IN NILAN-MOORE CASE SET FOR TOMORROW (OR IS IT?) … THE LEGAL DEFINITION: WHAT IS A PRE-TRIAL HEARING (YOU WILL BE SURPRISED)
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY, MARCH 20, 2012) — Having made it through the non-existent “winter,” we can now move to the pursuits of spring, when young men’s fancies turn to dog walks.
WE BELIEVE IN DOG
The Berkshires’ own Josh Billings put it best: “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”
Fact: The average dog is a nicer person than the nicest person. Dogs hold nothing back, give always of their all, and — unlike people — have no puzzling need to mix love with hate and top it with guile.
We see it every time a man throws a tennis ball and the dog, rapt with attention in the utter delight of play, runs for it as if the Morlocks are chasing. We see it in the eyes, always the eyes — open, honest, gentle, innocent, and wise — a look not to be seen in any other set of peepers on earth. It arrests us every time our eyes lock onto a gaze from a glance with a canine buddy.
The following is from the website beingstray.com.
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The Wonder of a Dog’s Loyalty
When I look at this photo, I wonder:
. . . how did this dog and her companion become separated?
. . . what did they endure?
. . . how did one survive and one not?
. . . when did they become separated?
. . . how did they find each other again?
. . . how long will this dog mourn there on her grave?
. . . will she die of a lonely heart?
. . . will she be allowed to leave on her own?
. . . does her human companion know she is there?
This photo shows the closeness between two sentient beings that we all hope for in our lives. It’s pure and simple; it’s heartfelt. To me, this photo shows something wonderful about someone I never even knew.
Bless them both.
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Parks Commission Hearing at 7 p.m. tonight, Room 203, City Hall — Your Presence is Kindly Requested
This is what were talking about when we mention Toby Moore. Look at this little guy. Look at his eyes.
Toby stood faithfully by the unconscious body of Peter Moore on the night of Dec. 8, 2011. Most of us know the sad story, where the original accused crime, as bad as it is, has been outdone in immorality by the attempt at its coverup.
Tonight, at 7 p.m., Room 203 in city hall, the Pittsfield Parks Commission will have the easiest vote in its history. Ken Ramsdell, acting on behalf of all the good, honest, decent citizens of Pittsfield, has petitioned the commission for the use of Kirvin Park on April 15 for the Toby II Dog Walk (see yesterday’s PLANET for a recap on the odd circumstances under which the city of Pittsfield forced Ramsdell to get a permit for the event).
Ladies and gentlemen, for Toby Moore, for Leao, for all the lovely dogs, and for all the lovely people of Pittsfield who are fed up to here with poison politics that have been oozing from the Body Politic like a runny, infected wound — make a showing tonight.
Spread the word. Invite a friend … or two or three.
Stand up and be counted. Please support Ramsdell for going out on the limb for you. Show him you’re with him, and show the GOBs you’re not going to be pushed around any more.
PRETRIAL CONFERENCE IN NILAN-MOORE SET FOR WEDNESDAY … OR IS IT? THE PLANET HAS INQUIRED
On Wednesday, a pretrial conference is scheduled in the Nilan-Moore Case. There are a million questions here: Does that mean the judge threw out attorney Tim Shugrue‘s motion for dismissal because of “missing documents” (his “The Dog Ate My Homework” defense)? … Will Meredith Nilan make her first public appearance in connection with her multiple criminal charges? … If so, we she express any remorse for the events of the evening of Dec. 8, 2011? … Will it be open to the public … Will it even take place?
On Wednesday, we should know a bit more. FYI, THE PLANET has asked the relevant questions of the Worcester County DA’s office (assistant DA Joe Quinlan is representing We The People). We shall report anything we hear. As for the Pittsfield courts, the total communications blackout continues. From sources inside the courthouse, we hear that Clifford Nilan and “No Show” Speranzo have threatened anyone who “leaks” stuff to the press.
Well guess what: What happens in the courts is THE PEOPLE‘s business. A court employee who shares public information with the press should be commended, not threatened with a life sentence in Siberia. You can’t “leak” information that the public already owns. Anyone who insists otherwise is incorrect and acting in an illegal manner. And the press represents THE PEOPLE. Or is giving out something as simple as the time of a pretrial hearing the compromise of some great, State Secret.
Little by little, THE PEOPLE are going to find out. As hard as anyone tries to put an illegal gag order in place, it won’t work. The old days are gone. Cyberspace lets anyone with information share it with anyone else in an untraceable way. The GOB has been the last to catch on to this new invention called The Internet. Al Gore‘s invention, my friends, has wrested control of the information flow from the GOB hands and put it into the hands of … anybody with a computer.
Answers to Some Relevant Court Questions
Here, we share answers to some other questions about court proceedings. We have reasons for these.
What if someone threatens or tries to intimidate me into dropping charges that have been filed? Such a person is obstructing justice and may be guilty of a felony offense called “retaliation.” Call the law enforcement agency which investigated the case originally or contact the assistant criminal district attorney who is handling the case in my office. Do so as soon as possible so that the threats can be documented and action taken to prevent reoccurrence.
Not that were suggesting that intimidation has and is occurring, mind you. Here’s another one:
What happens at trial? In a trial, the criminal district attorney presents the case for the State, attempting to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime as charged. The defendant may present his or her side of the case, or may present no case at all. The jury (if one has been impaneled) or the judge must decide whether the State’s case has been proved by legally-sufficient evidence. If the defendant is found guilty, our law provides for a second stage of trial at which the defendant’s punishment, within the range authorized by law, is fixed by either the jury or a judge. The defendant is permitted to determine whether he wants his punishment set by the judge or a jury.
As for a pre-trial hearing, we present this from The Free Legal Dictionary by Farlex. THE PLANET shares this useful information so that all of us are on the same page of understanding after (if … when) the Meredith Nilan defense presents its next step:
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PRETRIAL CONFERENCE — A meeting of the parties to an action and their attorneys held before the court prior to the commencement of actual courtroom proceedings.
A pretrial conference is a meeting of the parties to a case conducted prior to trial. The conference is held before the trial judge or a magistrate, a judicial officer who possesses fewer judicial powers than a judge. A pretrial conference may be held prior to trial in both civil and criminal cases. A pretrial conference may be requested by a party to a case, or it may be ordered by the court. Generally, the term pretrial conference is used interchangeably with the term pretrial hearing.
A pretrial conference may be conducted for several reasons: (1) expedite disposition of the case, (2) help the court establish managerial control over the case, (3) discourage wasteful pretrial activities, (4) improve the quality of the trial with thorough preparation, and (5) facilitate a settlement of the case.
Pretrial conferences are conducted in criminal cases to decide matters that do not inquire into the defendant’s guilt or innocence. Under rule 17.1 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, pretrial conferences for criminal cases may be conducted to promote a fair and expeditious trial. In practice, federal and state courts use the pretrial conference in criminal cases to decide such preliminary matters as what evidence will be excluded from trial and what witnesses will be allowed to testify.
In a civil pretrial conference, the judge or magistrate, with the help of the attorneys, may (1) formulate and simplify the issues in the case, (2) eliminate frivolous claims or defenses, (3) obtain admissions of fact and documents to avoid unnecessary proof, (4) identify witnesses and documents, (5) make schedules for the submission of pretrial briefs and motions, (6) make rulings on motions submitted before the conference, (7) set dates for further conferences, (8) discuss the possibility of a settlement, and (9) discuss the consolidation or management of large, complex cases. After the conference, the judge or magistrate issues an order reflecting the results of the conference, and the order controls the future course of the case.
Generally, the substance of a pretrial conference for a criminal case is the same as that for a civil case. At the conference the judge or magistrate may make rulings on motions, eliminate repetitive evidence, and set schedules. If a preliminary issue arises after the pretrial conference, a party may request a special pretrial hearing with the court to address the issue. (This special hearing marks the distinction between pretrial hearing and pretrial conference, when such a distinction is made.) In the alternative, the parties may address such an issue in court on the first day of trial, out of the presence of the jury.
All cases are guided by procedural rules that allow parties to obtain relevant evidence from other parties. The process of turning over evidence is called discovery, and the rules that apply to obtaining evidence are called discovery rules. In civil cases, discovery refers to the right of either party to obtain evidence from the other, but in a criminal case, discovery generally refers to the right of the defendant’s attorney to have access to information necessary to prepare a defense. Discovery issues are a common topic in pretrial conferences. Discovery orders that were issued prior to a pretrial conference may be reviewed for compliance at a pretrial conference, and new discovery orders may be issued after a pretrial conference.
Criminal defendants enjoy more procedural protections than do civil defendants, and the judge or magistrate must be careful to protect those rights. Generally, no criminal defendant who has requested assistance of counsel may be required to attend a pretrial conference without an attorney. No admissions made by the defendant or the defendant’s lawyer during the conference may be used against the defendant in a trial unless the admissions are written and signed by the defendant and the defendant’s attorney.
The judge or magistrate assigned to the case can choose to hold a pretrial conference, but the denial of a pretrial conference may be an unconstitutional denial of due process rights. For example, in a criminal case, a defendant has a due process right to a pretrial hearing when the defendant claims that a prosecutor has breached a plea agreement (United States v. Ataya, 864 F.2d 1324 [7th Cir. 1988]).
Criminal defendants must raise some issues before trial in a pretrial motion. Pretrial motions are specific requests for favorable orders from the court on particular issues. Under the Uniform Rules of Criminal Procedure, a set of model rules written by the American Law Institute and adopted by many jurisdictions, a defendant should lose the opportunity to raise the following issues if they are not raised prior to trial: defenses and objections based on defects in the indictment or formal charging instrument; requests regarding discovery, or disclosure of evidence; requests to suppress or exclude from trial potential testimony or other evidence; requests for severing the trial in cases involving codefendants; requests for the dismissal of the case; and requests for transfer of the case to another jurisdiction.
Similar requirements are imposed on prosecutors. The prosecution must tell the defendant prior to trial of its intention to use certain evidence, such as evidence obtained as a result of a search or seizure, wiretap, or other Electronic Surveillance mechanism; evidence culled from a confession, admission, or statement made by the defendant; and evidence relating to a lineup, show-up, picture, or voice identification of the defendant (Uniform Rules of Criminal Procedure 422(a)(1)).
Pretrial proceedings vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In some jurisdictions courts have bifurcated the pretrial conference into dispositional conferences and trial management conferences. In St. Paul, Minnesota, for example, the district court schedules a trial management conference to discuss administrative aspects of the case, such as scheduling. The courts also schedule a dispositional conference in which the parties may discuss the possibility of a plea bargain or settlement. If no agreement between the parties is forthcoming at the dispositional conference, the case proceeds to trial, and the court schedules no further meetings between the parties until trial. The parties are, nonetheless, free to continue negotiating, and they also may request a special pretrial hearing if an issue arises after the conference but prior to trial.
The first pretrial conference in the United States was held in Michigan in 1929. Over the years, as courts became more crowded, the pretrial conference became more important. Pretrial conferences save valuable time for courts and jurors by narrowing the focus of the trial and resolving preliminary matters. They also assist the court in the fair and impartial administration of justice by facilitating discovery and reducing the element of surprise at trial. Pretrial conferences are so important in civil cases that a court may order litigants to appear at a pretrial conference and impose fines on them if they refuse to appear (G. Heileman Brewing Co. v. Joseph Oat Corp., 871 F.2d 648 [7th Cir. 1989]).
Carlson, Elaine A. 1992. “Rule 166 Pretrial Conferences, Masters and Private Agreements: Revitalizing Old Tools to Meet Today’s Needs.” South Texas Law Review 33.
Masciopinto, Tony J. 1990. “G. Heileman Brewing Co. v. Joseph Oat Corp.: Expanding Rule 16’s Scope to Compel Represented Parties with Full Settlement Authority to Attend Pretrial Conferences.” DePaul Law Review 39.
Miller, Frank W., Robert O. Dawson, George E. Dix, and Raymond I. Parnas. 1991. Prosecution and Adjudication. 4th ed. Westbury, N.Y.: Foundation Press.
Parness, Jeffrey A., and Matthew R. Walker. 2002. “Thinking Outside the Civil Case Box: Reformulating Pretrial Conference Laws.” University of Kansas Law Review 50.
Richardson, Elizabeth C. 1992. Civil Litigation for Paralegals. Mason, Ohio: South-Western Thompson Learning.
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Remember, Parks Commission meeting tonight, 7 p.m., Room 203, City Hall, for TOBY II. Be there, for Toby Moore, the Moore Family, Ken Ramdsell, pet lovers, and all who respect goodness, decency, and honesty in life.
I HEAR A NOISE APPROACHING LIVE // LIKE ANGRY BEES MOVED FROM THE HIVE // AGAINST THEIR TIME, OUT OF FLYING // IT IS THE PEOPLE, MOVING AGAINST TYRANNY, TO SEE IT DYING … or … THE NEW DAWN IS ARISING.
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.