Friday, December 7, 2007

Judge orders release of Holloway suspect

Borrowed from USA Today

A judge in Aruba ordered the release Friday of the last of three suspects re-arrested last month in the disappearance of American teenager Natalee Holloway, ruling the evidence was not strong enough to continue holding him. The judge ordered Joran van der Sloot, 20, to be freed from jail Friday, according to John Pauly, a communications consultant for Aruba's prosecutors' office.

Van der Sloot was arrested Nov. 21 along with two other suspects, Surinamese brothers Deepak and Satish Kalpoe, who were released from jail last Saturday following a similar ruling.

A statement from prosecutors said the judge found the investigation "has not resulted in more direct evidence than before that Natalee Holloway has died as a result of a violent crime against her or that the suspect has been involved in such a crime."


Prosecutors said they will decide whether to file charges in the case by the end of the month.


Prosecutors say they have evidence that Holloway, who was 18 when she disappeared, is dead.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Cynthia Sommer, convicted of poisoning Marine husband, to get new trial

The appeal included juror misconduct, but the Judge only commented on the ineffective assistance of counsel, citing these reasons why her attorney's efforts did not meet the legal standard required by the Constitution:

"He missed many areas that would have been fruitful for his defense," Deddeh said. "And in missing those areas, I believe he was ineffective."

Those areas included failing to object to controversial evidence about the arsenic test results; failing to call witnesses to debate questionable testimony from state investigators about the ease with which one may obtain arsenic; and failing to counter or investigate testimony that the Marine base where Todd Sommer worked was free of arsenic.

The judge also found that Udell made the crucial mistake of posing questions to witnesses about Sommer's behavior after Todd's death.

Udell testified Friday, before the court's ruling, that he was "scared to death" of the potential consequences his errors might have on his 30-year practice.

He told the judge that his belief in Sommer's innocence had blinded him at trial. "It was a dead-bang winner as far as I was concerned," Udell said, adding that he had not slept since the verdict. "I was stunned. I'm a broken man."

Bloom called Udell a passionate attorney who suffered from "legal glaucoma."