Texas judge interrupts jury, says God told him defendant is not guilty

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 2:44 PM

Texas Judge Says God Told Him Defendant is Not Guilty

Comal County judge said God told him to intervene in jury deliberations to sway jurors to return a not guilty verdict in the trial of a Buda woman accused of trafficking a teen girl for sex.

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Judge Jack Robison apologized to jurors for the interruption but defended his actions by telling them, “When God tells me I gotta do something, I gotta do it,” according to the Herald-Zeitung, in New Braunfels.

The jury went against the judge’s wishes, finding Gloria Romero-Perez guilty of continuous trafficking of a person and later sentenced her to 25 years in prison. They found her not guilty of a separate charge of sale or purchase of a child.

Robison, who also presides in Hays County, did not respond to a message left with his court coordinator, Steve Thomas, who said the case is pending.

The Herald-Zeitung reported that Robison recused himself before the trial’s sentencing phase and was replaced by Judge Gary Steele. The defendant’s attorney asked for a mistrial but was denied.

Robison’s actions could trigger an investigation from the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, which has disciplined Robison in the past.

In 2011, the commission slapped Robison with a private reprimand for improperly jailing a Caldwell County grandfather who had called him a fool for a ruling Robison made in a child custody case involving the man’s granddaughter.

The reprimand, the commission’s harshest form of rebuke, said Robison “exceeded the scope of his authority and failed to comply with the law” by jailing the man for contempt of court without a hearing or advance notice of the charge.

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Police, FBI search for missing 5-year-old Kansas boy

Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 9:53 AM

Kansas Police Searching For Missing 5-Year-Old

Police, along with the FBI, are searching for a missing 5-year-old boy in Kansas. 

Lucas Hernandez was reported missing Saturday evening. He was last seen at 3 p.m. in his bedroom by his stepmother, after she took a shower and fell asleep, KAKE reported.

Police were called more than 3 hours later, at 6:15 p.m., to alert them he was missing.

As of Sunday, an Amber Alert was not issued because there was no indication that he was abducted, KAKE reported.

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A relative of Lucas told KSN, “He’s a bright little boy. He loves school. He loves his dad, his stepmom and his siblings. We just want him home safe, and if you have any information, anything about Lucas, please bring him home safely.”

But a great aunt of Lucas’ said they were worried about him, The Wichita Eagle reported.

Sally Rasmussen told the paper that she called the Kansas Department for Children and Families last year. His great grandmother, Jeannie Houchin, said that she was told that there was an investigation launched by the child protection agency, but the department didn’t confirm the women’s allegations The Eagle reported.

Police searched Lucas’ home and neighborhood using K-9 units, but didn’t find anything. They also went door-to-door asking neighbors if they noticed anything, The Eagle reported.

The FBI has sent its Child Action Rapid Deployment team to help find Lucas, KAKE reported.

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Ohio sheriff: I will offer free conceal, carry class to teachers

Published: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 7:24 PM

WATCH: Florida Teacher Speaks Out About High School Shooting

Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones said Sunday he will take steps to bolster local school safety by training those who work there.

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Jones posted to social media that his office will offer free conceal-and-carry classes to a limited number of teachers in Butler County. He also said training on how to react during school shootings would be provided.

He said the details would be coming soon online at the Butler County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.

Jones said Saturday he has “been saying this for years” as he tweeted a Fox News story that Polk County, Florida, Sheriff Grady Judd said it would be a “game changer” to allow some handpicked teachers to carry firearms in the classroom.

Jones, in a video posted Thursday, urged local schools to act now to improve school security in the wake of the mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school on Wednesday.

He said local schools should stop doing fire drills and allow armed former police and military veterans into buildings to help protect students.

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Republican mega-donor issues ultimatum on assault weapons

Published: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 6:29 PM

WATCH: President Trump Addresses the Nation After Florida School Shooting

Al Hoffman Jr., a North Palm Beach real estate developer and major Republican donor, is cutting off donations to candidates who do not support a ban on assault weapons, according to a report in the New York Times.

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Hoffman said he would urge other Republican donors to support an assault weapons ban, according to the report. Hoffman announced the ultimatum in an email to half a dozen Republican leaders, including Jeb Bush and Gov. Rick Scott. Hoffman has donated millions of dollars to Republican candidates and causes over the years.

A critic of President Trump, Hoffman supported Jeb Bush during the 2016 presidential campaign and donated more than $1 million to Right to Rise, a super PAC that supported Bush’s brief candidacy, according to the report.

“I will not write another check unless they all support a ban on assault weapons,” Hoffman wrote in the email. “Enough is enough.”

The loss of Hoffman’s support could be especially harmful to Scott, who is considering a Senate bid this year. Republican Rep. Brian Mast also will not see any donations from Hoffman if he does not support new gun legislation, according to the report.

Hoffman, who has a history of speaking his mind, has threatened to cut donations before. In an interview with the Palm Beach Post in 2013, Hoffman said he would be reluctant to raise money for candidates who do not support “reasonable” gun control. The same year, Hoffman wrote a letter to former House Speaker John Boehner, urging him to also support gun measures.

Hoffman, a former Republican National Committee finance chair and ambassador to Portugal, further rankled Republicans in 2013 when he said President Barack Obama was right on gun issues, Hoffman made the comment after most Senate Republican and a few red-state Democrats blocked legislation to expand background checks for gun buyers.

Hoffman alluded to past mass shootings in his email after the deaths of 17 students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last week. He said future gun massacres are inevitable without government intervention, according to the New York Times report.

“If we go from Orlando to Las Vegas, and now Parkland, you just have to know that there are others around the country just dreaming about staging another mass murder.”

Republican lawmakers in Florida have pushed back on gun control initiatives, despite the state being the site of the 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando -- the second-worst mass shooting in U.S. history that left 49 dead. Only the October shooting at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas claimed more lives, with 58 killed.

The day after the Parkland shooting last week, Senate President Joe Negron said his interest would be focused on improving school safety and access to mental health treatment – not restricting gun laws.

“My focus is on making sure that lawful citizens who are obeying the law and entitled to their constitutional rights have appropriate access to firearms,” Negron said.

Although several gun bills were introduced during the state’s ongoing legislative session, the only one likely to pass -- HB 1419 and its companion SB 1048 -- expands the rights of a licensed person to carry a concealed weapon inside a church or other house of worship.

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Florida sheriff pushes for 'game changer' program to arm teachers

Published: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 7:50 PM

Shooter Reportedly In Custody In Florida High School Shooting

Sheriff Grady Judd in Polk County, Florida, went on the news Saturday to talk about the so-called “Sentinel Program” as a possible legislative response to mass shootings like the one that happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last week, that left 17 dead.

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Judd called the program a “game changer” by arming select educators whose backgrounds have been vetted thoroughly, who have been psychologically evaluated and trained in weapons more intensely than law enforcement by state standards.

The sheriff argued that the solution is not something he wants, but it’s something that must happen.

“We have got to wake up, wake up and understand that we have to have … specially trained people that have concealed firearms that can run to the threat and protect our children,” he said.

“Do you know that there is gun control on every campus in Florida -- and, I would submit, across the United States -- that you can’t bring a gun on campus. And no one does, except the crazed person, the active shooter. There has to be a line of defense,” Judd said.

“There’s no absolutes in life, but I can tell you this: At least two coaches were killed standing in front of and trying to protect kids. Don’t you believe it would be a game-changer if they had a gun to defend the children?”

Students and parents have responded to the mass shooting perpetrated by Nikolas Cruz by calling for stricter guns laws in Florida.

Many participating in the #NeverAgain campaign seem to agree that they don’t want to arm teachers, but want “genuine, lasting change.”

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