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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Defense rests its case in Taser death trial in Winnfield

I couldn't MAKE THIS STUFF UP if I tried!!!

One of today's "expert witnesses" in the manslaughter trail against former Winnfield, Louisiana Police Officer Scott Nugent was Dr. Jeffrey Ho. According to the publication, Mother Jones, Taser International pays Dr. Ho to conduct studies and testify — he got $70,000 during one 12-month stretch (see Mother Jones - Taser's Delirium Defense) - it's a fascinating read. According to sources, Dr. Ho got a ride to the Canadian Braidwood Inquiry, where he admitted he is not a heart specialist, in a Taser jet. Ho also admitted some of his research was co-authored by a former Taser employee who has no medical expertise. Ho is apparently a shareholder in Taser International and some of his research is funded by the company.

According to the news report that follows (see below), the expertise of today's other "expert witness", Dr. Charles Wetli, is sudden death caused by "sickle cell trait". In an article called "Is excited delirium killing coked-up, stun-gunned Miamians?" Dr. Wetli was described as the world's leading expert on excited delirium. Another article said that Wetli is paid to testify as an expert on the "excited delirium" syndrome in "four or five" cases each year, often to defend the police ... Wetli, who said he does not fully understand how excited delirium causes death, said he has cited it "once or twice a year," mostly in police custody deaths. So, in the case of Barron Pikes, it seems Dr. Wetli avoided the very controversial "excited delirium" defense in favour of the "sickle cell trait" defense. WTF??

And then we have the rest of the merry band of Taser-friendlies who have had input into this trial:

Jerry Glas, one of the attorneys defending former Winnfield Police Officer Scott Nugent against manSLAUGHTER, represents Taser International.

"Expert witness" Mark Kroll, Taser shareholder, serves on the corporate board of Taser and has been paid more than $800,000 over the past three years as he has been used as a witness in cases involving Tasers

"Expert witness" Hugh Calkins is a paid consultant for TASER International and sits on one of their Boards.

Taser International is apparently paying for their appearance at the trial.

Renowned New York City medical examiner Michael Baden testified that Pikes, 21, died from cardiac arrest suffered from the repeated Taser shocks. "He was healthy. He was Tasered. He died," Baden testified. "There was no other reason for his death."

October 28, 2010
By Bret H. McCormick, The Town Talk

WINNFIELD — Scott Nugent’s defense team called its final two witnesses to the stand today, Oct. 28, and then rested its case as the former Winnfield police officer’s manslaughter trial nears its end.

Defense attorney Jerry Glas called two more experts in his attempt to paint reasonable doubt in the minds of jurors that Nugent’s repeated use of a Taser led to the Jan. 17, 2008, death of Barron “Scooter” Pikes.

Dr. Jeff Ho, an emergency medicine expert who studies the effects of Tasers on the human body, testified that he’d “never heard” the theory proposed by the prosecution’s star witness, forensic pathologist Michael Baden, who testified earlier that the Taser’s electrical current could have traveled through blood vessels to Pikes’ heart and caused cardiac arrest.

Forensic pathologist Charles Wetli, whose specialty is sudden death caused by sickle cell trait, also provided testimony that attempted to discredit Baden.

Wetli concluded that it wasn’t the “eight or nine” Taser drive stuns administered by Nugent that led Pikes’ death, but rather the fact that Pikes suffered from sickle cell trait.

The prosecution and defense will make their closing arguments beginning at 9 a.m. Friday, Oct. 29, in the Winn Parish Courthouse before Nugent’s fate is left in the hands of the jury. If convicted, he would face up to 40 years in prison.

1 comment:

Alison Beil said...

If Taser International's CEO's and well-paid "experts" don't have any "sickle-cell" traits, why not test Wetli's theory by surprising them all with some real "medical" experience? Jolt them quick as they jump off their jet to run into the next State court with "eight or nine" shocks each. Then maybe they'll feel and think differently about how well they can testify to being "subdued" - provided they have assured us it's non-lethal amperage. They could be the research subjects for subjugation to the big nanny-goat state.

That's what might assure me as a Canadian that the War of "independence" justice and liberty for all has not always been about greed and slavery and capital punishment. After more than two centuries all that seems to have changed is the blending of some racial lines in the corporate demagogy.

If a suspect's uncontrollable reflexes don't appear perfectly still and compliant - like playing dead before they press the trigger, they seem to press it, call the effect "excited delerium" and continue pressing it like playing a video game. That's whats on U-Tube. And USA Judges think that's just as reasonable, as it was to give Taser International a US Patent license for something "generally useful" to society decades ago.

I'd like to know if any US officer who has ever filled in Taser International's multiple guess training test actually got the physics questions right - if one of them could calculate how many amps they could pump into someones body with each 50,000 volt cycle, because I get the impression they think they are superior intellects even if they get those couple questions wrong - like they are sure they didn't suffer any brain damage in masochistic practice sessions firing one shock into each other as though they were having a Police fraternity party.

And when did the hippocratic oath for psychiatric health care
change to "do as much harm as you want without any criminal charges"? Who forgot to tell the psychiatric medical officers that they are supposed to clean the patient's skin with alcohol, and only use sterile needles injecting patients - not filthy darts?

The statistics you are gathering here at least suggest we have a few intelligent lawyers, doctors and judges in Canada. We evidently have a few elite RCMP who know how to articulate the words "We're sorry" - if not the Miranda warning. The estimates here in Canada are it now costs more than $1000 a week to keep one inmate in jail - we have to pay for heated cells in the winter, not air-conditioning like all the resorts around Disney World where oil spilled. It really is lot cheaper for us to show suspects a door off our streets into a "safe house" where they can inject themselves. If we weren't pressured to spend billions fighting the war on drugs building stealth fighter jets we might be able to build a lot more habitats for humanity in some of the starving communities of Nations that paid their UN dues.