Saturday, October 2, 2010

Cecil ponders tense Hume-Conley case:
past imperfect; but future perfect? Well...

by Tom Nadeau

Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Thomas M. Cecil listened for three hours Friday to Elk Grove City Councilman Patrick Hume and his former flame Constance Conley bitterly complain in excruciating detail their on-again, off-again love-hate affair.

When they were finally done accusing, denying and being unable to recall, Cecil said he would rule by Oct. 8 on if the politically active Conley and Hume must remain apart.

Their rocky relationship had lasted about five years – years marked alternately by break-ups and make-ups and break-ups again.

During one especially acrimonious estrangement Hume obtained a stay-away order that barred Conley from contacting him. In that same interim Hume, 38, took up with a new girlfriend, one Lisa Lent.

At the same time, however, Hume and Conley blatantly ignored the stay-away court order and attended political events and fund-raisers together, Conley’s attorney Paige Minor Hibbert elicited through questioning.

“Hundreds and hundreds” of phone calls, emails, text messages ensued, Hume and Conley admitted, under questioning by Hume’s attorney, Ronald James Peters.

The nasty details … Read more »

Monday, September 27, 2010

Cole gets 14 years for killing Malmstrom

by Tom Nadeau

A Yuba County judge sentenced Todd Allen Cole Jr. Monday to 14 years in state prison for the 2009 manslaughter of Scott Malmstrom.

Cole was tried for first-degree murder in the gruesome stabbing murder, but the jury hung. He was to be retried in People v. Cole, #09-469, but agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter.

Malmstrom was found dead July 2009 in his apartment in the 1400 block of North Beale Road, East Linda. He had been stabbed some 17 times.

Crime called 'disgusting, horrible' .. Read more »

Sparks certiorari decision delayed a week

by Tom Nadeau

It appears the US Supreme Court will not know, yea or nay, whether it will consider the writ of certiorari recently filed by Dustin William Sparks for one more week, his defense attorney told a Yuba County Superior Court judge today.

Defense Attorney Justin Scott said information posted on Monday indicated the high court justices were still weighing its next step in Sparks v. California, USSC #10-5165 and did not expect to have a final answer until Oct. 4.

Further action nixed for one week ... Read more »

US Supreme Court may act on Sparks

by Tom Nadeau

The public may learn today whether the US Supreme Court will consider Dustin William Sparks’ request that it overturn a disputed lower court ruling that he can be tried for murder in the shooting deaths of two men in September 2005.

The California Supreme Court opined earlier this year (#S164614) that Sparks could be tried for the deaths of Scott Davis and Christopher Hance, even though Michael Huggins already had been convicted of killing the men while Sparks was elsewhere.

The two died during an attempted medical marijuana robbery in Olivehurst, a suburb of Marysville.

Huggins claimed self-defense. He was charged with first-degree murder. A Yuba County jury convicted him of voluntary manslaughter.

Sparks was one of several named accomplices. He had planned to enter the Hance property with Huggins, but backed out at the last minute, Sparks later said.

The Yuba County District Attorney’s Office claims Sparks was “vicariously liable” for the killings and could be tried for first-degree murder, despite the previous jury verdict that Huggins was guilty only of voluntary manslaughter

The defense argued that the state Supreme Court had long ago prohibited “felony-murder prosecution on the ground of vicarious liability collateral estoppel as recognized by [a previous ruling in] People v. Taylor.

Stopping estoppel? ... Read more »