In recent years, conservative politicians have found themselves prosecuted not for the types of crimes elected officials committed in the past like theft, bribery and nepotism, but instead for nebulous sounding activity, the kind where it is difficult to understand why exactly something was wrong. It has proven easy for Democrat prosecutors to convict each "ham sandwich" victim, because the laws have become so vast, vague and complex that the public – including those serving as jurors – cannot understand them.
On January 7, former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, a conservative Republican once considered a leading contender for President, was sentenced by a judge to two years in federal prison. A jury found him guilty of 19 counts of honest services wire fraud, obtaining property under color of official right, and extortion under color of official right in September for accepting more than $177,000 in loans and gifts from Jonnie R. Williams, the head of a dietary supplements company, who was later invited to the governor's mansion and his cabinet. McDonnell's wife Maureen was convicted of similar charges and will be sentenced later this month. McDonnell repaid more than $120,000 to Williams in 2013, before he was indicted, but prosecutors didn't care.
Federal District Court Judge James R. Spencer could have sentenced McDonnell to community service, but instead threw the book at him. Tellingly, it came out in December that McDonnell had opposed the appointment of Spencer's wife 18 years ago to the Virginia State Supreme Court during a partisan battle in the state legislature. McDonnell nominated someone else instead, and Margaret Spencer never made it onto the State Supreme Court, instead becoming a Circuit Court judge in Richmond. Judge James Spencer was appointed to the bench by Reagan, but it is reported that he and his wife are both Democrats. At a minimum, Judge James Spencer should have recused himself from the case. McDonnell plans to appeal, and it is inconceivable the appellate court would not throw out the decision in part based on that glaring and offensive conflict of interest. more >>
A Christian activist who filed a complaint against a Colorado bakery for refusing to make two cakes protesting against homosexuality has denied asking for the confections to include the phrase "God hates gays."
Recently Azucar Bakery of Denver had a complaint filed against them before the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Regulatory Agencies for refusing to make the cakes.
Bill Jack, founder of the Christian group Worldview Academy and the one who filed the complaint, told The Christian Post that he never wanted the phrase "God hates gays" put on any of the cakes he requested. more >>
In a move that many onlookers saw as inevitable, the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland this week formally asked its embattled Bishop Suffragan, Heather Cook, to resign from her post in light of ongoing criminal proceedings launched against her by local authorities for the fatal DUI incident that took the life of 41-year-old married father of two, Thomas Palermo.
"At our meeting on January 22, 2015, we, the members of the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, agreed unanimously that you are no longer able to function effectively in the position of Bishop Suffragan given recent events. Therefore, we respectfully call for your immediate resignation from the position of Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of Maryland," noted a one-page letter from the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland.
"The Standing Committee arrived at this decision after significant and prayerful discernment, and with due and proper consideration for the best interests of the diocese and its people. We continue to hold you in our prayers," the letter ended. more >>
Texas executed Robert Ladd, 57, after appeals to spare his life due to diminished mental capacity all failed.
Ladd received a lethal injection of pentobarbital, said that the drug was stinging his arm, and then took deep breaths before snoring and passing away 27 minutes later. Before receiving the drug, he addressed the sister of his victim, Vickie Ann Garner.
Marissa Alexander, the woman jailed in Florida after firing a warning shot at her abusive ex-husband, was released from jail on Tuesday after consenting to a plea deal.
Alexander, 34, was first sentenced to 20 years in prison after reportedly firing a shot in the direction of her abusive ex-husband during a 2010 argument. Two children were in the home, leading to her arrest. She faced another 60 years in prison after being charged with three counts of aggravated assault but reached a plea deal in Nov. which would allow her freedom after the three years she already served in prison.
Her case drew national attention, as her ex-husband was known for being violent, abusive, and had previously threatened Alexander's life. He had entered her home without permission, and Alexander fired the shot to scare him away, not to injure or harm him. Women's rights activists took up the cause and petitioned for her release. more >>
A liberal Saudi blogger who was sentenced to endure 1,000 lashes for "insulting Islam" has been temporarily reprieved from his 50 weekly lashings after a board of doctors ruled his body is incapable of taking any more lashings in the near future.
After sentencing 31-year-old Raif Badawi, who operated the a blog called "Free Saudi Liberals," to 10 years in prison, 1,000 lashings and fining him about $266,060 for "insulting Islam" in his writings, the Saudi government has received international pressure for doling out such extreme punishments to someone who simply wrote on his own views and opinions.
The sentence of 1,000 lashes by a cane was arranged for Badawi, a father of three, so that he receives them in increments of 50 every Friday during the course of 20 weeks. But after receiving his first set of 50 lashes on Jan. 9 in the city of Jiddah, Badawi had not been subjected to the punishment in the two following weeks. more >>