Monday, August 31, 2009

You wouldn't treat a dog like this, would you?

Coming possibly soon to a healthcare system near you.

At least if some folks have their way. Healthcare needs some reform but not this.

God forbid.

Prisoners have a better diet than Health Service hospital patients, scientists warn

By Daniel Martin -

Patients in Health Service hospitals are far more likely to go hungry than criminals in jail, scientists warned yesterday.

They say frail and elderly patients do not get the help they need with meals, and nobody checks whether they get enough to eat.

Despite years of Government promises to tackle poor hospital nutrition, food still arrives cold, and patients often miss out because meal times clash with tests and operations.

Helping hand: But nurses say they are too busy to help every elderly patient with their meals

Meanwhile, prisoners are enjoying carbohydrate-rich, low-fat foods which in many cases are better than they would have been eating on the outside.

The Daily Mail has been highlighting the scandal of old people not being fed properly in hospital as part of its Dignity for the Elderly campaign.

Hospital meals are often taken away untouched, because they are either unappetising or are placed out of patients' reach.

The latest figures show 242 patients died of malnutrition in NHS hospitals in 2007 - the highest toll in a decade. More than 8,000 left hospital under-nourished - double the figure when Labour came to power.

The NHS throws away 11million meals every year, and many nurses say they are too busy to help the frail eat.

Earlier this year the Mail revealed that some hospitals spend less on meals than the average prison.

Ten hospitals spent less on breakfast, lunch and an evening meal than the £2.12 a day allocated for food by the prison service. One spent just £1.

Although most hospitals do spend more than £2.12, prisoners end up better nourished than patients, say experts from Bournemouth University. After studying the food offered to inmates and across the NHS, they found patients face more barriers in getting good nutrition.

Professor John Edwards said around 40 per cent of patients were already malnourished when they were admitted to hospital, but their condition did not tend to improve while they were there.

'If you are in prison then the diet you get is extremely good in terms of nutritional content,' he said.

'The food that is provided is actually better than most civilians have.

'There's a focus on carbohydrates, then there's the way they prepare the food, it's very healthy. They don't add salt and there's relatively little frying of food - if you have a burger then it goes in the oven. Hospital patients don't consume enough.

'And from the work we've done we know that people who sit round a table eat a lot more, but this doesn't happen in hospitals.'

His colleague, Dr Heather Hartwell, said fruit and vegetables were given out in hospitals 'but this doesn't mean it's eaten'.

While patients suffer due to a loss of appetite as a result of their illness, they often go hungry because there is no one to help them eat.

'Failure': Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb says standards must improve

Dr Hartwell said once food was prepared, it generally hangs around waiting for porters to transport it to patients. Then it may be left on wards until it goes cold.

'Ward staff also don't actually know how much patients are eating because it is domestics who clear the trays away,' she said. 'This is an example of fragmentation in hospitals that does not necessarily happen in prisons.'

The research found temperature and texture are among the most important factors in patients' satisfaction with food.

It concluded lack of appetite due to a medical problem is probably the main reason for under-nutrition, but said hospitals can make improvements.

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb said: 'It's incredible that so many hospitals are failing to serve healthy meals. If prisons can serve good food then so can hospitals.'

The Department of Health said: 'The majority of patients are satisfied with the food they receive in hospitals, and we are working to improve services further.

'The Nutrition Action Plan, Improving Nutritional Care, outlines how nutritional care and hydration can be improved and highlights five key priority areas for NHS and social care staff to work with.

'We have also introduced the concept of "protected mealtimes" where all non-urgent activity on the ward stops, so that patients can enjoy their meals.'

Hey! What're you doing?

Are we glad yet that we bailed out GM?

Let's wait and see if we get paid back.

GM to form China venture, invest $293 million

By Fang Yan and Edmund Klamann

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - General Motors said on Sunday it has agreed to set up a light commercial vehicle production venture with major Chinese automaker FAW Group, with total investment of 2 billion yuan ($293 million).

The 50-50 joint venture, based in the northeast China city of Changchun in Jilin province, will make light-duty trucks and vans, GM said in a statement.

"For us in China, this is an important complement to the rest of our portfolio," Kevin Wale, president and managing director for GM's China operations, told reporters in a conference call.

The rest of the story:

Second officer involved shooting in 2 days

Another violent crime and another violent criminal down.

Officer wounds suspect

Authorities were investigating the second officer-involved shooting in two days after a patrolman shot a gun-wielding robbery suspect early Sunday at an apartment complex east of San Antonio College.

Officer William Karmen — who has been on the force for a year and a half — was not injured. The suspect, 22-year-old Jesse Ramon, was taken to a local hospital in critical condition.

A third person, who police believe Ramon beat and shot in the chest during a violent robbery involving two other accomplices, was taken to Brooke Army Medical Center, where he later died, according to a police incident report. The name of the victim was not released Sunday.

The rest of the story:

Outsatnding achievement!

What an achievement!

Man o' Law salutes you Nathaniel Buffington.

Scout earns every badge

By Mike Tolson - Houston Chronicle

HOUSTON — If there is an enduring archetype of the Boy Scout, especially one who achieves its highest recognition, for many it comes straight from the brush of Norman Rockwell, who returned again and again to this iconic image of American boyhood.

His Scout is the straightest of straight arrows, a strapping, outdoorsy kid who loves baseball, salutes the flag, rarely gets into trouble at school and enjoys lazy afternoons at the local fishing hole.

Modern Scouting is as diverse as the shifting demographic landscape and as contemporary as the new iPhone application for the Boy Scout Handbook.

The rest of the story:

Bar fight

Looking up Club Exkandalo puts it in Comal County.

Man stabbed at New Braunfels club
Express-News -

A Seguin man was stabbed in the back at Club Exkandalo in New Braunfels early Saturday morning, according to local police.

Victor Ramirez, 28, fled the scene after he was attacked, but his car broke down on Interstate 35, where officers were able to catch up with him. He was then transported to University Hospital in New Braunfels.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Flagrant violation

What will happen to North Korea or to Iran?

Absolutely nothing. They show their contempt of international sanctions placed on them by the United Nations.

Yet we will continue to deal with them as if they will abandon their nuclear weapons research or the attempt by Iran to build one.

They will and then it will be too late.

UAE Seizes North Korean Weapons Shipment to Iran

By Bill Varner -

Aug. 28 (Bloomberg) -- The United Arab Emirates has seized a ship carrying North Korean-manufactured munitions, detonators, explosives and rocket-propelled grenades bound for Iran in violation of United Nations sanctions, diplomats said.

The UAE two weeks ago notified the UN Security Council of the seizure, according to the diplomats, who spoke on condition they aren’t named because the communication hasn’t been made public. They said the ship, owned by an Australian subsidiary of a French company and sailing under a Bahamian flag, was carrying 10 containers of arms disguised as oil equipment.

The council committee that monitors enforcement of UN sanctions against North Korea wrote letters to Iran and the government in Pyongyang asking for explanations of the violation, and one to the UAE expressing appreciation for the cooperation, the envoys said. No response has been received and the UAE has unloaded the cargo, they said.

The UAE and Iranian missions to the UN didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. The Financial Times reported the weapons seizure earlier today.

The Security Council voted on June 12 to adopt a resolution that punishes North Korea for its recent nuclear-bomb test and missile launches through cargo inspections and enforcement of restrictions on financial transactions. The measure calls for the interdiction at seaports, airports or in international waters of any cargo suspected of containing arms or nuclear or missile-related materials going to or from North Korea.

UN Sanctions

Iran is under three sets of UN sanctions for its refusal to halt uranium enrichment, a process to isolate a uranium isotope needed to generate fuel for a nuclear power reactor or, in higher concentrations, to make a weapon.

Iran denies allegations by the U.S. and some of its major allies that it seeks an atomic weapon or the means to build one, insisting the nuclear work is intended to generate electricity.

U.S. President Barack Obama has said the Iranian government must respond by late September to his request for new talks on curbing its nuclear program. Iran last month said work is under way on proposals that may provide the basis for renewed talks.

What hath God wrought?

Words transmitted by Morse when he invented the telegraph.

This is truly remarkable!

What a miracle of science, that we arenow able to actually image and 'see' a molecule.

It also shows me how we deduced and inferred their actual shapes and geometries years ago.

I spent a few semesters in Organic Chemistry classes in college sorting these shapes out with little model kits.

Single molecule, one million times smaller than a grain of sand, pictured for first time

By Claire Bates -

It may look like a piece of honeycomb, but this lattice-shaped image is the first ever close-up view of a single molecule.

Scientists from IBM used an atomic force microscope (AFM) to reveal the chemical bonds within a molecule.

'This is the first time that all the atoms in a molecule have been imaged,' lead researcher Leo Gross said.


The delicate inner structure of a pentacene molecule has been imaged with an atomic force microscope

The researchers focused on a single molecule of pentacene, which is commonly used in solar cells. The rectangular-shaped organic molecule is made up of 22 carbon atoms and 14 hydrogen atoms.

In the image above the hexagonal shapes of the five carbon rings are clear and even the positions of the hydrogen atoms around the carbon rings can be seen.

To give some perspective, the space between the carbon rings is only 0.14 nanometers across, which is roughly one million times smaller than the diameter of a grain of sand.

Textbook model: A computer-generated image of how we're used to seeing a molecule represented with balls and sticks

Textbook model: A computer-generated image of how we're used to seeing a molecule represented with balls and sticks

'If you think about how a doctor uses an X-ray to image bones and organs inside the human body, we are using the atomic force microscope to image the atomic structures that are the backbones of individual molecules,' said IBM researcher Gerhard Meyer.


A 3D view showing how a single carbon monoxide molecule was used to create the image using a 'tuning fork' effect

The team from IBM Research Zurich said the results could have a huge impact of the field of nanotechnology, which seeks to understand and control some of the smallest objects known to mankind.

The AFM uses a sharp metal tip that acts like a tuning fork to measure the tiny forces between the tip and the molecule. This requires great precision as the tip moves within a nanometer of the sample.

'Above the skeleton of the molecular backbone (of the pentacene) you get a different detuning than above the surface the molecule is lying on,' Mr Gross said.

This detuning is then measured and converted into an image.

To stop the tip from absorbing the pentacene molecule, the researchers replaced the metal with a single molecule of carbon monoxide. This was found to be more stable and created weaker electrostatic attractions with the pentacene, creating a higher resolution image.

IBM researchers

IBM researchers Nikolaj Moll, Reto Schlittler, Gerhard Meyer, Fabian Mohn and Leo Gross (l-r) stand behind an atomic force microscope Photo taken by Michael Lowry Image courtesy of IBM Research - Zurich

The experiment was also performed inside a high vacuum at the extremely cold temperature of -268C to avoid stray gas molecules or atomic vibrations from affecting the measurements.

'Eventually we want to investigate using molecules for molecular electronics,' Mr Gross said.

'We want to use molecules as wires or logic switches or elements.'

The score? Police 1 SUV and driver 0

What does this make it? 3 or 4 guys shot by law enforcement when they drive their cars at the officers?

Or start to drive away with an officer having his arm in the vehicle?

Well, good job SAPD in tracking down the suspect who had shot a woman in a drive-by.

Throw the book at him DA Reed!

As SUV drives toward him, cop wounds man
By Robert Crowe - Express-News

A San Antonio police officer shot and wounded a man Saturday who officials said had driven toward the officer, nearly pinning him between two cars.

Police said Robert Valle III, 19, was shot in an arm and taken to University Hospital with wounds that were not considered life-threatening. He was later released and Saturday was being held in Bexar County Jail on a $150,000 bond, officials sad.

The incident unfolded shortly after 1:40 a.m., police said, when a man shot a woman near Northwest 34th Street and Fortuna Court. The man left in a green SUV.

The rest of the story:

Build it and they will sell

My hat is off to Mayor Castro and the city council for pulling this off.

Great news for San Antonio and the surrounding area!

Good work Ladies and Gentlemen!

A new set of challenges at Toyota S.A.
By David Saleh Rauf - Express-News

By the time the first Toyota Tacoma rolls off the production line in San Antonio next year, the Japanese automaker will have invested an estimated $100 million to revamp its sprawling 2.2 million-square-foot assembly plant.

The work starts now.

Toyota executives and engineers already are planning the logistics of what it will take to ensure the San Antonio plant can produce 100,000 Tacomas annually by the target launch of summer 2010. The relocation of Tacoma production to San Antonio will mean about 1,100 new jobs at the plant and possibly hundreds more for suppliers.

The rest of the story:

Can you hear me? Can you hear me now? Then put down the phone!

The new law, HB 55, begins on September 1, 2009.

The signs should be up around then to notify you.

Consider yourself notified.

Put down the phone and save a life.

Cell phone use banned in school zones


The use of cell phones or other wireless devices is prohibited in all school zones in Texas beginning Tuesday. By that time, signs should be posted on all school zone markers indicating the new ban. Hands-free devices, such as earpieces or speaker phones, are exempted from the ban.

City and county officials, as well as the Texas Department of Transportation, are rushing to get the signs up as quickly as possible.

The new law, House Bill 55 from this year’s Texas Legislature, amends the transportation code to allow for the citation of drivers in school zones and school crossing zones, but only if the school zone has signs indicating the new law.

“In order for the law to be enforced the city (and TxDOT) have to post signs,” said New Braunfels Police Lt. Michael Penshorn. “It’s a citable offense. The purpose of the law is to keep kids safe in the school zones.”

Greg Malatek of TxDOT said everything should be in place by Tuesday, and if not at the latest by the end of the week.

“We sent out letters to the city and county to make sure they would enforce the law. And we’ve been putting (the signs) up. Our objective is to have them up that first week of September, and try to have it done by Sept. 1,” he said.

TxDOT is responsible for posting signs on state roads, cities and counties oversee the installation of signs on their respective roadways.

The law does not specify what the penalty for violating the ban would entail.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

He'll be judged by a different tribunal now

Well, I guess he couldn't wait for the jury's verdict which acquitted him.

What a tragedy all around for everyone.

The victim and his survivors.

Accused in sex case not guilty, kills himself
By Chad Smith - St.

Shortly after the jury gave its verdict in the case of William Telano Evans on Thursday afternoon, it was clear something was wrong.

In the courthouse hallway, Evans' wife, Peggy, used her cell phone to call her husband, who hadn't returned to court after lunch to hear the verdict.

"They found you not guilty," she said. "Please, please don't do anything."

He never got the message.

Minutes before the jury came into the courtroom around 3:45 p.m., Peggy Evans stood alone in the hallway, hunched over a railing, sobbing.

Then, a few minutes later, the bailiff announced that the jury had reached a verdict on the charge against Evans, 57, a lifelong St. Augustine resident accused of sexually abusing a girl nearly three decades ago.

Evans' attorney, Curtis Fallgatter of Jacksonville, looked around the courthouse for his client, then called to tell him to return to court.

About 20 minutes passed before Circuit Court Judge J. Michael Traynor decided to bring the jury into the courtroom to announce its verdict without Evans.

The jury forewoman passed the decision to the bailiff, who then passed it to the judge, who gave it to the clerk.

She read through the case number, the charge, then the verdict: "Not guilty."

The case came down to not whether Evans had sexually abused the victim, but when.

Under the law, there is no statute of limitations on sexual battery on a victim younger than 12.

Specifically, Evans was charged with sexual battery between the summer of 1980 and Jan. 14, 1983, the day before his accuser turned 12.

If the victim had been 12 or older at the time, the charge would have been lewd and lascivious behavior. And for that offense, the statute of limitations had expired.

The victim, now 38 and living in Virginia, testified that she was in the second grade when she was first abused, making her about 9 or 10.

But the defense argued that she told investigators she remembered it starting around the time her mother had breast-implant surgery in November 1984, when she was 13.

The jury found that there was not enough compelling evidence of her age at the time of the abuse and found Evans not guilty.

The victim's mouth dropped as she heard verdict. She turned to her husband, and asked, "Not guilty?"

After the jurors gave their verdict, the judge thanked them for their service and dismissed them. Shortly afterward, a deputy accompanied them to the elevators. After the jurors were gone, a woman, friend of the victim, walked by Peggy Evans and said, "You next."

The deputy yelled at her and the woman walked away.

After the ruling, Peggy Evans passed by the victim, seated with a victim's advocate, the victim's husband and a childhood friend.

Peggy Evans tilted her head and gave the four a mocking smile. The four looked as each other, and the victim asked them, "Did you see that?"

Mrs. Evans walked out of the courtroom, then returned seconds later to hear the judge order deputies to find Evans and bring him to court.

A couple of minutes later, a bailiff told the judge that Evans' truck was at his house but there was no answer at the door.

Traynor said they could force entry if need be.

"Can you tell them to not let my dog out?" Peggy Evans asked half-jokingly before leaving the courtroom.

About 10 minutes passed, during which the judge said he was considering holding the defendant in contempt of court, when a group of bailiffs barged in and approached the bench.

"Dead body," one said.

"Dead body?" the judge asked.

Deputies arrived at the Evans' home on Stokes Landing Road at 3:55 p.m., just as a 911 call came in from the residence.

Relatives had gone to the house to tell Evans he needed to go back to the courthouse. Instead, they found him dead at the rear of the house.

Fallgatter, the attorney, and family members stood around the yard along with scores of deputies and investigators.

Teary-eyed, Fallgatter said he had eaten lunch with Evans at the cafeteria in the tax collector's office after the court recessed for deliberation.

Evans made no indication he was going to kill himself, Fallgatter said.

But, he said, the five-year legal process had beaten his client down and he couldn't handle spending the rest of life in prison, the rest of his life away from Peggy Evans.

"She's a loyal wife, and she'd stay with him for 25 years if he lived that long. But he wasn't going to do that to her," Fallgatter said. "I just wish he'd talked to me first."

St. Johns County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Chuck Mulligan said at the scene that Evans died from a gunshot wound that was apparently self-inflicted. Mulligan said he did not know what kind of gun was used or whether Evans left any indication he was going to shoot himself.

The prosecutor, Assistant State Attorney Dennis Craig, declined to comment.

A statement from Assistant State Attorney Christopher Kelly said: "Regarding the events surrounding the trial of William Evans, we believe it is paramount to respect the privacy of the family at the present time. The events surrounding the trial and today had a profound effect on all involved. The facts of today's events are still being gathered and it would be premature to comment further." n

Prosecutor Craig had the last word in the trial, and his rebuttal left the five women and one man on the jury with the most damning evidence against Evans, the "apology letter" that he had apparently written to the victim as part of counseling, eight years before he was charged.

Evans' wife, daughter, son-in-law, sister and brother sat on the defense side of the courtroom and listened to Craig read the lurid details.

Peggy Evans hung her head.

The victim cried.

Evans jotted on a notepad, as he had done throughout most of the trial.

The letter, dated April 10, 1996, described how he was "overcome with selfish desires."

After several years of taking advantage of her nightly fear of what might happen and her youthful ignorance about sex, he promised to stop, according to the letter.

"For a while, I kept my promise."

More problems for the Bandera County Sheriff and the citizens of Bandera County.

Whistleblower suit accuses Bandera County sheriff

By Zeke MacCormack - Express-News

A former Bandera County deputy claims in a federal whistleblower lawsuit that he was fired in retaliation for reporting “unlawful, irregular and corrupt activities” by Sheriff Weldon Tucker and others.

Scott A. Sharp filed the suit Aug. 18 in U.S. District Court in San Antonio against Tucker and two other sheriff's department administrators — in their official capacities and as individuals — and against the county.

The suit seeks at least $2 million in damages.

The rest of the story:

Rural justice

The trials and tribulations of pursuing justice in rural counties continue.

It is regrettable that the satellite office has to close.

Job cuts proposed to reduce DA office's, need for seizures
By Zeke MacCormack - Express-News

KERRVILLE — District Attorney Amos Barton's bid to curb dependence on seized funds likely means closing a satellite office in Junction and laying off the prosecutor and investigator assigned there.

Barton, who pledged to keep the Junction office open while campaigning last year, called the cuts regrettable but necessary.

“There's not really another option,” he said.

The rest of the story:

Rest in peace

What a wonderful tribute and a reminder to the community about the dangers of driving while intoxicated.

Rest in peace, Anna Marie, rest in peace.

Sign erected in honor of 2003 DWI victim

Published August 29, 2009

On Dec. 6, 2003, Anna Marie Hernandez was hit in a head-on collision with a drunk driver. She was killed.

Anthony Ruiz of Brownsville had a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit.

In 2005, Ruiz pleaded guilty to the crime and was sentenced to 15 years in prison for intoxicated manslaughter and intoxicated assault.

But the Caring Communities Coalition didn’t think that was enough. On Friday, a sign saying, “Please don’t drink and drive. In memory of Anna Marie Hernandez, December 3, 2003,” went up in her honor at the scene of the accident, Interstate 35 near Koehlenberg Road.

That night, Ruiz was traveling the wrong way in a 2000 Eclipse near the exit. Police arrived on the scene at 3 a.m. to find two smashed vehicles surrounded in debris and more than 100 feet apart. A passenger in Anna’s car, Jesse Morales, was seriously injured.

Anna Marie was a valedictorian at South San Antonio High School and had just begun college at the University of Texas — Austin. She was on her way to a bright future, and was heading home that night to surprise her parents.

On Friday, More than 20 relatives came to the ceremony unveiling the sign. It was erected in a joint effort between Caring Communities Coalition and Operation Intervention, a drunk driving awareness program.

Anna Marie’s fate weighed heavily on the hearts of the New Braunfels Police Department, Comal County Sheriff’s Office and Department of Public Safety officers.

Reverend Mark Hinchcliff, chairman of the Caring Communities Coalition, said this was the right story to memorialize.

“The coalition focuses on drug and alcohol related issues, and we were looking for certain issues we could support. We went to the NBPD to identify one,” he said.

For New Braunfels Lt. John McDonald, who was at the scene the night of Anna Marie’s death and notified her family, this event stood out more than any.

“The Caring Communities Coalition came up with the idea. We had first-hand knowledge of this event and worked with them,” he said

Lt. McDonald also informed Gilbert G. Hernandez Jr., Anna Marie’s father, about the memorialization effort.

“I touched base with John McDonald ... and it came up,” he said. “I said that’s awesome, let’s do something.”

Friday, August 28, 2009

Rocky Mountain High

Decriminalization ongoing in Colorado.

Enjoy the song, I always do.

Denver marijuana panel backs $1 penalty on small amounts
The Denver Post

Denver's marijuana policy review panel agreed Wednesday to send a letter to the presiding judge of Denver County Court urging a $1 fine as penalty for possession of marijuana of less than an ounce.

The current fine schedule indicates a $50 fine for such offenses, plus a $100 drug surcharge required by the state of Colorado and a $10 "bureau fee."

Mason Tvert, a member of the panel and the executive director of Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation, which has pushed decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, said state law requires the surcharge and the $10 bureau fee.

He said that if Presiding Judge Marcy Celeste accepts the recommendations, the penalty would still stand at $111.

The ever-widening scandal

Just an ugly trial.

Judge Monica Guerrero, under investigation for other matters as well, taking the stand.

I bet tongues are wagging at the Bexar County Courthouse today.

Southwest tickets trial has judge on witness stand

With the State Commission on Judicial Conduct monitoring a high-profile trial regarding stolen Southwest Airlines tickets, County Court-at-Law No. 7 Judge Monica Guerrero testified Thursday that she obtained eight of them from her former bailiff, but denied he gave her instructions to lie.

Guerrero was one of four luminaries to testify Thursday in a federal trial regarding 5,600 tickets that were stolen from the airline — most of them resold in San Antonio and Houston for $120 each — by Guerrero's ex-bailiff and his wife, a former Southwest employee.

Shortly after the prosecution rested its case Thursday, Guerrero was called as a witness for one of five alleged “brokers” on trial.

The rest of the story:

Ethically correct charging decision

Well, I hope he can put the rest of his life back together.

It isn't easy to do the right thing ethically when you have a murdered victim and justice needs to be done. However, that being said, it isn't right to proceed when you do not have legally sufficient evidence.

Thank you Kevin for doing the ethically correct thing.

Man released from jail after charges dropped
By Craig Kapitan - Express-News

After spending 491 days in the Bexar County Jail, Julius Freeman is a free man.

Prosecutors opted Wednesday to drop a murder charge against the 43-year-old Georgia resident, whose fingerprint was found on a radio used to bludgeon a San Antonio woman a decade ago.

The cold case was revived last year when investigators matched it to him, using a national fingerprint database. Freeman, a self-employed used car salesman in Warner Robins, Ga., was arrested and extradited to Texas last spring.

The rest of the story:

Marking time

Call me old-fashioned in this regard.

We are supposed to be the good guys; when this happens it leads to an erosion of faith in the system and confidence by the public.

Ex-sheriff handed 5 years in prison
By Lynn Brezosky - Express-News

McALLEN — Former Starr County Sheriff Reymundo Guerra was sentenced Thursday to five years and four months in federal prison for helping Gulf Cartel operatives move marijuana and cocaine through his remote border county.

The prison term, set to begin Sept. 28, makes Guerra the second Starr County sheriff in a row to do time and the latest in a line of Rio Grande Valley officials convicted of corruption and abuse of office.

“I’m saddened to see a law enforcement officer who’s indicted like this,” U.S. District Judge Randy Crane said, recalling the recent conviction of Cameron County Sheriff Conrado Cantu. “It is a stain on the badge.”

The rest of the story:

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lookie what I found

Silly me, I thought they were only checking to see if the computers were actually computers and not harboring drugs, weapons, bombs, or incendiary devices.

This seems a bit much.

ACLU sues DHS over laptop searches

Chloe Albanesius -

The American Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday sued the Department of Homeland Security in an effort to uncover documents related to laptop searches at the border.

"The ACLU believes that suspicionless searches of laptops violate the First and Fourth Amendments," the group wrote in the suit, filed in a New York District Court.

In July 2008, the Customs and Border Protection agency within DHS published formal guidelines for laptop border searches that gave CBP officials permission to search laptops and electronic devices at the border. Court cases on the topic have generally found that citizens should have diminished expectations of privacy when re-entering the country because the U.S. has a right to protect itself and control what crosses its borders.

Critics of the policy claim that laptop searches are an invasion of privacy – a personal computer holds a lot more information than a suitcase full of clothes or briefcase full of paperwork. What's to stop CBP from copying the contents of your computer and keeping it on file indefinitely, they have argued

As a result, the ACLU wants to know exactly what types of data the government has collected. The organization first filed a Freedom of Information request in June 2009, but after some back and forth between the ACLU and DHS, the ACLU said that it had "exhausted the applicable administrative remedies" and that "DHS and its components have wrongfully withheld the requested records from the ACLU."

The ACLU wants DHS to hand over the documents, waive any fees associated with document recovery, and pay the organization's costs and attorneys' fees.

"Traveling with a laptop shouldn't mean the government gets a free pass to rifle through your personal papers," Catherine Crump, staff attorney with the ACLU First Amendment Working Group, said in a statement. "This sort of broad and invasive search is exactly what the Fourth Amendment's protections against unreasonable searches are designed to prevent."

The issue is currently under debate in Congress as well. Rep. Eliot Engel, a New York Democrat, introduced a bill in January that would impose stricter rules on border laptop searches. Sen. Russ Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat, introduced similar legislation in September 2008, and said recently that he plans to re-introduce that bill.

"The ACLU intends to participate in ongoing debates over the pending congressional legislation," the ACLU said in its suit.

In May 2009, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano told Feingold and the Senate Commerce Committee that the department was in the process of reviewing its laptop search policy, but could not provide an exact date on when the revamped policy would be ready.

24 hours

One day's worth of arrests from August 25th to August 26th, 2009

Busy little folks these defendants be.

Matters of public record
The Herald-Zeitung

Betty Amaro, 44, New Braunfels, motion to provoke probation / possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.

Roth Alexander Fischer, 25, Seguin, possession of a controlled substance penalty group 1, possession of a controlled substance penalty group 3, possession of a controlled substance penalty group 3.

Pedro Miranda Flores, 32, San Antonio, driving while license invalid.

Rosalinda Gonzalez-Martinez, 24, San Antonio, no driver’s license, no insurance, hold for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Patricia Govia, 31, Kyle, theft of property between $20,000 less than $100,000, no insurance, wrong, fictitious, altered license plate, failure to identify giving false information.

Clifton Edward Grantham, 26, Dale, no driver’s license, failure to maintain financial responsibility.

Bernardo Carrion Gutierrez, 18, New Braunfels, burglary of a habitation.

Brandy Hood, 37, New Braunfels, public intoxication.

Karene Nichol Klepac, 27, New Braunfels, speeding.

Miguel Angel Loyola-Sanchez, 21, New Braunfels, no driver’s license, no insurance, hold for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Danielle Catherine Lyons, 18, Seguin, possession of a controlled substance penalty group 1, possession of a controlled substance penalty group 3, possession of a controlled substance penalty group 3.

Carrie Lynn Onken, 22, New Braunfels, assault by contact/family violence.

Giovanna Yvette Plante, 21, New Braunfels, failure to appear / speeding.

Domingo Ramirez, Jr., 26, New Braunfels, unlawful restraint expose to serious bodily injury, assault causes bodily injury.

Mario Alberto Reveles, 36, New Braunfels, public intoxication.

Andrew Victor Rosales, 25, New Braunfels, criminal trespass with a deadly weapon, assault by threat/family violence.

Thomas Jeremiah Speer, 31, New Braunfels, possession of marijuana.

Joseph Ollie Thayne, 27, New Braunfels, violation of probation / driving while intoxicated.

Henry Villareal, 37, New Braunfels, driving while intoxicated.

Teens caught

Great work finding these folks.

We'll take it from here.

Five students arrested in school arson


Five high school students were arrested Tuesday for their suspected involvement in two burglaries of Canyon High School between Aug. 1 and Aug. 8.

Two 16 year olds and two 15 year olds, all male, were arrested by investigators on charges of at least one count of burglary of a building, which is a state jail felony.

The only person who is not a minor in this case, Adam Beers, 18, of New Braunfels, was arrested on charges of one count of burglary. All five were students at Canyon High School at the time of the burglaries; one of the 15-year-olds since transferred to a school in San Marcos.

An initial arson investigation into a trash can fire at the school gymnasium Aug. 8 revealed the gym had been vandalized and burglarized. Fire investigators worked almost three weeks interviewing witnesses and suspects. With the help of New Braunfels Police Department, the investigators made the arrests after a search of one of the suspects’ residence revealed exercise clothing, bags and electronic equipment belonging to the school gym.

Beers and three of the teenagers were additionally arrested on charges of arson, a second-degree felony. The 15-year-old from San Marcos was not charged with arson.

“We believe we have arrested everybody involved in the arson and the burglaries,” said Patrick O’Connell, fire marshal for the New Braunfels Fire Department. “(The investigators) did an excellent job and did some really solid police work.”

"Normal" life doesn't include meth labs

Thank you Steven Harkins for your good work on behalf of the citizens of Comal County and this Great State of Texas.

'This is my last chance at a normal life'


The owner of a Bulverde methamphetamine lab could spend the rest of her life behind bars.

Colleen Ryan’s sentencing hearing began Wednesday in Comal County District Court after the 50-year-old pleaded guilty earlier this week to manufacturing meth at her rural home off Farm-to-Market Road 1863 in late 2007.

Her punishment could range anywhere from probation to 99 years, or life in prison, for the first-degree felony count of manufacturing between four and 500 grams of a controlled substance, according to the Comal County District Attorney’s Office.

Ryan took the stand to plea for leniency Wednesday from District Court Judge Gary Steel.

“I have no conscious desire to use drugs or associate with people that do,” said Ryan, who was also charged for possessing heroin at the time of her arrest. “This is my last chance at a normal life, and I hope I get to take it.”

According to testimony from Comal County Sheriff’s Office Deputy James Leal, authorities gathered evidence from garbage outside Ryan’s home at 4520 Farm-to-Market Road 1863 for six months before a drug task force, made up of members of multiple law enforcement agencies, raided the compound on Dec. 7, 2007.

They discovered numerous ingredients for cooking meth — including large amounts of cough medicine and noxious chemicals, as well as small quantities of the drug.

She was taken into custody along with two other men found at the scene — Ricardo Riojas and Jeff Hardy — both of whom were arrested for lesser charges of drug possession.

Ryan said she used meth on and off since 1983. Assistant District Attorney Steven Harkins asked that her extensive criminal record be taken into account Wednesday, which includes previous convictions for burglary, credit card fraud and meth possession that date back to the late 1970s.

The hearing ended Wednesday with Ryan’s testimony. Harkins said the next phase of her punishment hearing, and likely her sentencing, is scheduled for early October.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Going under cover


Knicking the knickers was he?

Police investigating missing underwear arrest town's mayor

A town's mayor has been arrested after a number of women reported that their underwear was disappearing from their knicker drawers.

By Andy Bloxham

Ian Stafford, 58, was arrested after women in the area called police to report knickers repeatedly disappearing from their homes.

One woman was so peturbed she installed a hidden camera in her bedroom, which recorded a semi-naked man rifling through her drawers and putting on her underwear before performing a sex act.

Investigations later revealed a collection of knickers, allegedly matching those reported stolen, at the home of the mayor.

He was arrested on suspicion of burglary and bailed.

Mr Stafford, who works as a handyman and gardner, has now resigned from his post in Preesall near Fleetwood,Lancs.

A fellow councillor has taken over the chain of office.

A spokesman for the town council confirmed that as a result of Mr Stafford's arrest he had stood down.

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said an investigation into stolen underwear had taken place in Preesall and a suspect was currently on police bail after being questioned.

You buy on the sly then fly

Still a mess and getting worse.

Cops giving differing accounts of SW ticket purchases

The line of people called in for questioning in 2006 at the Secret Service offices was a sign that something wasn't quite right with the Southwest Airlines tickets that originated from a Bexar County court bailiff and his wife.

But few, if any, thought much of the fact the tickets came from the woman — a Southwest employee at the time — and not from the airline itself.

Even the cops. Three of them with the Bexar County Sheriff's Office and the San Antonio Police Department testified Tuesday during the federal trial delving into 5,600 stolen Southwest Airlines tickets.

The rest of the story:

What a dumb bell


He expected to be rewarded for not hiding or telling the truth after killing his wife with barbells?

He wanted to hear "Such a good boy?"

It sounds like his 35 years only was a pretty good deal for someone who killed his wife.

Husband gets 35 years for barbell blugeoning

An Atascosa man who fatally beat his common-law wife with a barbell and dumped her body in a trash heap outside their home last year was sentenced Tuesday to 35 years in prison.

Rudy Llamas Jr.'s voice was feeble as he stood before state District Judge Mary Roman in shackles and an orange jail outfit.

“I want to say I'm sorry for what happened,” he said. “I didn't hide and I didn't lie (about the killing).

The rest of the story:

What was the brother talking about? Never mind he doesn't know either.

A lot of Rodney King things are happening in New Braunfels?


Nobody got beaten here.

Morning police standoff ends quietly

At 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, people lined up on the sidewalks of Becker Street to witness a standoff between one of their neighbors and police.

New Braunfels Police responded to a 911 call at 2412 Becker St. After a brief standoff with no shots fired, Domingo Ramirez, Jr. exited the residence and was arrested.

“A female subject left the residence and called from outside ... we asked him to come out and he refused. After a short standoff we were able to persuade him to come out,” said Lt. Michael Penshorn of the New Braunfels Police Department.

“He’s been taken into custody ... he did not have any weapons.”

Ramirez, 26, was arrested on charges of assault, a Class A misdemeanor, and unlawful restraint, a third degree felony.

Two children were in the house at the time, a 4-month-old and a 2-year-old. They were examined on the scene by EMS and Child Protective Services, and then handed over to their grandparents.

The adult victim in the incident was taken to Christus Santa Rosa Hospital — New Braunfels and treated for minor injuries.

Ramirez was booked into Comal County Jail Wednesday morning.

One man identifying himself as Ramirez’s brother, Abraham Ramirez, said the police were overreacting.

“These cops blow everything out of proportion,” he said. “A lot of Rodney King things (are) going on in New Braunfels.”

Neighbors said they were surprised to see so many officers on their street.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

No, look over here, not at the man behind the curtain

So much for President Obama's promise to not dwell on the past.

Hey! Attorney General Holder what about the voter intimidation abuse suit dropped against the Black panthers in Philadelphia?

Is that just the Chicago way? If so, why isn't a little torture of terrorists also the Chicago way?

Oh wait, maybe this is just to distract the media and public attention away from the rapidly failing health-care bill.

Prosecutor to Probe CIA Interrogations
Attorney General Parts With White House In Approving Preliminary Investigation
By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer

In appointing a prosecutor to investigate alleged CIA interrogation abuses, including episodes that resulted in prisoner deaths, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Monday shook off warnings from President Obama to avoid becoming mired in past controversies.

Holder said that he realizes the move is controversial but that it was the only responsible course to take.

The decision does not reflect a sharp division between the Justice Department and the White House, government officials said, given the limits of the preliminary review and the respect that Obama says he maintains for the role of an independent attorney general. But it could mark the beginning of a painstaking inquiry that tests the boundaries of the Justice Department's discretion and its ability to evaluate incomplete evidence collected on the world's battlegrounds.

The rest of the story:


The death that will not go away.

Michael Jackson's of course.

Good luck 'proving' it was done intentionally.

Michael Jackson's death ruled homicide

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Los Angeles County coroner's finding that the death of Michael Jackson was a homicide could mean criminal charges for his doctor, who told investigators that he administered a mix of powerful drugs to treat the pop star's insomnia hours before his death.

The homicide ruling was based on forensic tests that found the anesthetic propofol combined with at least two sedatives to kill Jackson, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press on Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the findings have not been publicly released.

While the finding does not necessarily mean a crime was committed, it means more likely that criminal charges will be filed against Dr. Conrad Murray, the Las Vegas cardiologist who was caring for Jackson when he died June 25 in a rented Los Angeles mansion.

The rest of the story:

Organized Thriller in Philippines prison:

Bad behavior punished

55 years for attempted murder.

A pretty harsh sentence for some pretty harsh behavior. he will have to do 1/2 of the sentence before he could even be considered eligible for parole.

Which means he'd be around 78 years old before he could get parole. Essentially he received a life sentence.

Man gets 55 years for shooting wife, son
By Craig Kapitan - Express-News

A San Antonio man who caused an hourslong police standoff two years ago after shooting his wife and beating his teen son with a baseball bat was sentenced Monday to 55 years in prison.

Richard Earl Lozano, 51, will have to serve at least half of the sentence before being eligible for parole. Debra Guevara, who divorced Lozano after the Oct. 3, 2007, attack, was hospitalized for about a month with a shattered femur and a collapsed lung.

The rest of the story:

Jurors also sentenced Lozano to 20 years in prison for grazing his son with a bullet during the same attack, although the sentence will be served concurrent to the 55 years he got for shooting his wife, attorneys said.

Annnd they're off!

The election season is heating up.

Local attorney to run for JP #1


Attorney Thomas Clark threw his name into the ring Monday morning, challenging Judge William Schroeder for the Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 position.

If elected to the Justice of the Peace post, Clark would hear criminal and civil cases, Class C misdemeanor cases and review warrant affidavits. The Justice of the Peace also presides preside over small claims civil suits, foreclosures, evictions, contract disputes and officiates marriages.

Clark graduated from New Braunfels High School in 1987 and Texas A&M University in 1991. Clark graduated from South Texas College of Law in Houston in 1996.

Clark chose law, following in his father’s footsteps.

His father, Judge Fred Clark, is a former Comal County Judge and Comal County Court at Law Judge.

Over the years, Thomas Clark has served as deputy tax assessor-collector for Harris County, Assistant District Attorney in Caldwell County and worked in the Bexar County Criminal District Attorney’s Office.

In 2002, Clark left the public sector and opened a private practice in New Braunfels on West San Antonio Street.

In contrast to his days working in criminal prosecution, Clark specialized in matters of civil and criminal defense.

Throughout his legal career, Clark said he tried over 100 jury trials and participated in the legal proceedings in over 45 courts throughout Texas in state, federal and municipal courts.

Clark has been a member of the Texas State Bar Association since 1997, and is a member of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, the Comal County Bar Association and has served as the youth exchange officer for the New Braunfels Rotary Club.

Clark’s main focus in his campaign is combating truancy.

“I believe one of the biggest challenges facing our community will be the number of young people that choose to abort their education and drop out of school,” Clark wrote in his announcement for candidacy. “Statistics show that dropout rates continue to rise despite efforts to enlist the community to embrace our disadvantaged youth and encourage them to continue to pursue an education.”

Monday, August 24, 2009

*Snip*....wahhhh....Mazel Tov!

Everybody becomes Jewish?

Oy vey!

Officials Weigh Circumcision to Fight H.I.V. Risk
By RONI CARYN RABIN - New York Times

Public health officials are considering promoting routine circumcision for all baby boys born in the United States to reduce the spread of the spread of H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS.

The topic is a delicate one that has already generated controversy, even though a formal draft of the proposed recommendations, due out from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by the end of the year, has yet to be released.

Experts are also considering whether the surgery should be offered to adult heterosexual men whose sexual practices put them at high risk of infection. But they acknowledge that a circumcision drive in the United States would be unlikely to have a drastic impact: the procedure does not seem to protect those at greatest risk here, men who have sex with men.

Recently, studies showed that in African countries hit hard by AIDS, men who were circumcised reduced their infection risk by half. But the clinical trials in Africa focused on heterosexual men who are at risk of getting H.I.V. from infected female partners.

For now, the focus of public health officials in this country appears to be on making recommendations for newborns, a prevention strategy that would only pay off many years from now. Critics say it subjects baby boys to medically unnecessary surgery without their consent.

But Dr. Peter Kilmarx, chief of epidemiology for the division of H.I.V./AIDS prevention at the C.D.C., said that any step that could thwart the spread of H.I.V. must be given serious consideration.

“We have a significant H.I.V. epidemic in this country, and we really need to look carefully at any potential intervention that could be another tool in the toolbox we use to address the epidemic,” Dr. Kilmarx said. “What we’ve heard from our consultants is that there would be a benefit for infants from infant circumcision, and that the benefits outweigh the risks.”

He and other experts acknowledged that although the clinical trials of circumcision in Africa had dramatic results, the effects of circumcision in the United States were likely to be more muted because the disease is less prevalent here, because it spreads through different routes and because the health systems are so disparate as to be incomparable.

Clinical trials in Kenya, South Africa and Uganda found that heterosexual men who were circumcised were up to 60 percent less likely to become infected with H.I.V. over the course of the trials than those who were not circumcised.

There is little to no evidence that circumcision protects men who have sex with men from infection.

Another reason circumcision would have less of an impact in the United States is that some 79 percent of adult American men are already circumcised, public health officials say.

But newborn circumcision rates have dropped in recent decades, to about 65 percent of newborns in 1999 from a high of about 80 percent after World War II, according to C.D.C. figures. And blacks and Hispanics, who have been affected disproportionately by AIDS, are less likely than whites to circumcise their baby boys, according to the agency.

Circumcision rates have fallen in part because the American Academy of Pediatrics, which sets the guidelines for infant care, does not endorse routine circumcision. Its policy says that circumcision is “not essential to the child’s current well-being,” and as a result, many state Medicaid programs do not cover the operation.

The academy is revising its guidelines, however, and is likely to do away with the neutral tone in favor of a more encouraging policy stating that circumcision has health benefits even beyond H.I.V. prevention, like reducing urinary tract infections for baby boys, said Dr. Michael Brady, a consultant to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

He said the academy would probably stop short of recommending routine surgery, however. “We do have evidence to suggest there are health benefits, and families should be given an opportunity to know what they are,” he said. But, he said, the value of circumcision for H.I.V. protection in the United States is difficult to assess, adding, “Our biggest struggle is trying to figure out how to understand the true value for Americans.”

Circumcision will be discussed this week at the C.D.C.’s National H.I.V. Prevention Conference in Atlanta, which will be attended by thousands of health professionals and H.I.V. service providers.

Among the speakers is a physician from Operation Abraham, an organization based in Israel and named after the biblical figure who was circumcised at an advanced age, according to the book of Genesis. The group trains doctors in Africa to perform circumcisions on adult men to reduce the spread of H.I.V.

Members of Intact America, a group that opposes newborn circumcision, have rented mobile billboards that will drive around Atlanta carrying their message that “circumcising babies doesn’t prevent H.I.V.,” said Georganne Chapin, who leads the organization.

Although the group’s members oppose circumcision on broad philosophical and medical grounds, Ms. Chapin argued that the studies in Africa found only that circumcision reduces H.I.V. infection risk, not that it prevents infection. “Men still need to use condoms,” Ms. Chapin said.

In fact, while the clinical trials in Africa found that circumcision reduced the risk of a man’s acquiring H.I.V., it was not clear whether it would reduce the risk to women from an infected man, several experts said.

“There’s mixed data on that,” Dr. Kilmarx said. But, he said, “If we have a partially successful intervention for men, it will ultimately lower the prevalence of H.I.V. in the population, and ultimately lower the risk to women.”

Circumcision is believed to protect men from infection with H.I.V. because the mucosal tissue of the foreskin is more susceptible to H.I.V. and can be an entry portal for the virus. Observational studies have found that uncircumcised men have higher rates of other sexually transmitted diseases like herpes and syphilis, and a recent study in Baltimore found that heterosexual men were less likely to have become infected with H.I.V. from infected partners if they were circumcised.

Oh no, you did..n't

<==== Outed blogger

Its just like middle school or high school with lawyers and lawsuits and courts and everything!

Those 'hos and skanks.

Outed blogger Rosemary Port blames model Liskula Cohen for 'skank' stink

Sorry seems to be the hardest word for the blogger who anonymously scorned a model as a "ho" and a "skank," igniting a legal and media maelstrom.

Speaking out for the first time since a court order forced Google to reveal her identity, blogger Rosemary Port tells the Daily News that model Liskula Cohen should blame herself for the uproar.

"This has become a public spectacle and a circus that is not my doing," said Port, whose "Skanks in NYC" site branded the 37-year-old Cohen an "old hag."

"By going to the press, she defamed herself," Port said.

"Before her suit, there were probably two hits on my Web site: One from me looking at it, and one from her looking at it," Port said. "That was before it became a spectacle. I feel my right to privacy has been violated."

The pretty 29-year-old Fashion Institute of Technology student added that she's furious at Google for revealing her identity, so much so that she plans to file a $15 million federal lawsuit against the Web giant.

"When I was being defended by attorneys for Google, I thought my right to privacy was being protected," Port said.

"But that right fell through the cracks. Without any warning, I was put on a silver platter for the press to attack me. I would think that a multi-billion dollar conglomerate would protect the rights of all its users."

In her suit, she'll charge Google "breached its fiduciary duty to protect her expectation of anonymity," said her high-powered attorney Salvatore Strazzullo.

"I'm ready to take this all the way to the Supreme Court," Strazzullo said. "Our Founding Fathers wrote 'The Federalist Papers' under pseudonyms. Inherent in the First Amendment is the right to speak anonymously. Shouldn't that right extend to the new public square of the Internet?"

"I feel proud to live in a country where you're not persecuted for your opinions," Port said. "That right has to be protected.

"Even though people are now taking shots at me on the Web, I believe those people have a right to their opinions - and their anonymity," said Port, who is slated to appear on ABC's "Good Morning America" tomorrow.

A Manhattan Supreme Court judge forced Google to unmask Port, rejecting Port's claim that blogs "serve as a modern-day forum for conveying personal opinions, including invective and ranting" and shouldn't be regarded as fact.

The surprising decision, though, seems to have only increased the bad blood between the two women, who knew each other from Manhattan's fashion scene and reportedly quarreled after Cohen badmouthed Port to her ex-boyfriend.

It wasn't Miller time

She still wanted to be caned?

Why, if she wants to set an example for other Muslims, would she have drunk a beer anyway?

Something seems a bit screwy, don't it?

Ok, never mind, the caning is merely postponed for Ramadan.

Malaysia woman gets caning reprieve

A Malaysian Muslim woman who had been sentenced to be caned for drinking beer in a hotel has been granted a reprieve until after Ramadan, religious official have said.

Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, 32, had been expected to face six strokes of the rattan cane after her conviction by an Islamic sharia court.

Early on Monday she was taken from parent's her home in Malaysia's Pahang state in preparation for the sentence to be carried out.

But in a surprise announcement, hours later an official from the state of Pahang's Islamic Affairs department said Kartika had been freed on orders from "higher authorities".

"The warrant cannot be executed," Sharafuddin Zainal Ariffin, head of enforcement for the state of Pahang's Islamic Affairs Department, told reporters after Kartika was returned home.

However officials later confirmed that the sentence had not been cancelled, but would be carried out after the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, which ends in the third week of September.

"The punishment has not been cancelled, it was postponed because of Ramadan," said Pahang state Executive Councillor for Religion, Missionary Work and Unity, Mohamad Sahfri Abdul Aziz.

Kartika had earlier been taken into custody for transportation to a prison near Kuala Lumpur, where she had been expected to be lashed six times with a rattan cane.

But after moving a short distance the vehicle halted for at least half an hour before turning around and returning to the house.

Badaruddin Ahmad Bustami, an Islamic department official, said prison representatives had suddenly informed department authorities who took custody of Kartika that they "cannot accept her", without giving any reason.


The former part-time model, who had earlier told Al Jazeera that she had accepted the sentence and asked to be caned in public as an example to other Muslims, had at first refused to get out of the van when told she was being released.

"I am speechless but I'm not getting out of the vehicle, I want to know what my status is. I want a black and white statement from them," she told reporters from inside the van.

Her father, Shukarno Mutalib, said the about-face could reflect badly on Islam.

"We had already accepted the punishment," he said. "My daughter wants the sentence to be done. I'm afraid that people will make fun of the religion.

"Don't make my daughter a toy to play with."

Human rights group Amnesty International had condemned the sentence, and Malaysian pressure group Sisters in Islam told Al Jazeera that the caning was "still unjust" despite the decision to postpone the sentence until after Ramadan.

"We are hopeful that the whipping sentence will be withdrawn," said Hamidah Merican, executive director of Sisters In Islam.

Nightclub raid

Kartika was convicted in July by a sharia court after state religious authorities caught her drinking alcohol when they raided a hotel nightclub.

The former nurse turned part-time model would have been the first woman in Malaysia to be caned by the authorities.

Malaysia, which has large Chinese and Indian communities, uses a dual-track legal system where sharia courts can try Muslims for religious and moral offences under Islamic law.

Alcohol is widely available in the country but is forbidden for the majority Muslim community, who make up just over half the population.

Muslims can be fined, jailed for up to three years or given six strokes of the cane for drinking alcohol, but prosecutions are extremely rare.