April 18, 2013
What’s That Sound? Court Screeners Find Pet Duck In Bag
Honolulu (AP) Security screeners at a Honolulu courthouse noticed something moving inside a defendant’s bag as it passed through an X-ray machine earlier this week.
After initially refusing to open it, the bag’s owner reluctantly revealed that his pet was inside. When he opened the bag, screeners found a live duck and a bottle of beer, Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Toni Schwartz said.
Deputies told Michael Hubbard that his pet and beverage wouldn’t be allowed inside Circuit Court, so he left. He returned a short while later and asked that deputies look after his belongings while he went inside for an appointment, Schwartz said, adding that visitors are allowed to leave their things outside at their own risk.
Hubbard went to his appointment, while the duck waited outside. Hawaii News Now reports Hubbard has two felony assault cases pending. He couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday.
Schwartz said Hubbard didn’t appear intoxicated. “Everything was peaceful,” she said.
“We recommend people not bring their pets to court,” she said. “Believe it or not this is not an unusual occurrence. A lot of people try to bring their pets to court.”
But those pets are usually dogs. “A duck is unusual,” she said. “I don’t think we’ve come across that one before.”
Judge Holds Self In Contempt For His Smartphone Eruption
Ionia, MI (AP) A Michigan judge whose smartphone disrupted a hearing in his own courtroom has held himself in contempt and paid $25 for the infraction. Judge Raymond Voet has a posted policy at Ionia County 64A District Court stating that electronic devices causing a disturbance during court sessions will result in the owner being cited with contempt, the Sentinel-Standard of Ionia and MLive.com reported.
On Friday afternoon, during a prosecutor’s closing argument as part of a jury trial, Voet’s new smartphone began to emit sounds requesting phone voice commands. Voet said he thinks he bumped the phone, and the embarrassment likely left his face red.
“I’m guessing I bumped it. It started talking really loud, saying ‘I can’t understand you. Say something like Mom,’” he said.
Voet has used a Blackberry mobile phone for years, and said he wasn’t as familiar with the operation of the new touchscreen, Windows-based phone.
“That’s an excuse, but I don’t take those excuses from anyone else. I set the bar high, because cellphones are a distraction and there is very serious business going on,” he said. “The courtroom is a special place in the community, and it needs more respect than that.”
Over the years, the judge whose court is about 110 miles northwest of Detroit has taken phones away from police officers, attorneys, witnesses, spectators and friends. During a break in the trial, Voet held himself in contempt, fined himself and paid the fine. “Judges are humans,” Voet said. “They’re not above the rules. I broke the rule and I have to live by it.”
Crime Doesn’t Pay, Case #714: Cops Follow Prints In Snow
Riverton, WY (AP) Three men have been accused of stealing items that include a samurai sword‚ but according to central Wyoming police the suspects weren’t exactly ninjas.
Authorities in Riverton say they tracked the men down by simply following a series of footprints in the snow leading away from a home where the robbery was reported.
Police Capt. Eric Murphy tells The Riverton Ranger that the tracks led investigators from the victim’s house straight to another house where authorities found three men in their 20s “digging through” stolen property that included several other types of swords.
Police say they also found marijuana and drug paraphernalia in the home late Monday night. They say the suspects were arrested and face various robbery and drug charges.
Belt Buckle Saves Man From Stray Bullet
Philadelphia (AP) A grocery store employee said Thursday that he is thanking God and his belt buckle for saving him from a stray bullet that smashed through the market’s front door.
The bullet lodged in the metal buckle worn by Bienvenido Reynoso, who had only recently started his job at 8 Brothers Supermarket in Philadelphia. “It saved my life,” Reynoso said of the belt. “I keep it for (my) whole life now.”
Reynoso, 38, said he was about to wheel a hand truck outside the market in the city’s Grays Ferry section when he heard gunshots around 4 p.m. Wednesday. He hit the floor.
Surveillance footage shows a man on a bike firing a gun outside the market. One person outside the store was hit in the abdomen and was hospitalized in critical condition, police said.
At first, Reynoso didn’t realize he could have been a second victim. “When I check my body, I don’t see nothing, no blood, nothing,” he said in an interview at his home Thursday. “And I said I’m going to be OK.” Then someone noticed a hole at the bottom of Reynoso’s shirt. That’s when he found the bullet stuck to his belt buckle.
Police took the bullet and shirt as evidence. But Reynoso, the father of a young daughter, got to keep the belt, which he said he got in New York three years ago.
Christian Vinas, 21, was working behind the counter and also dived to the ground when the shooting began. Reynoso had perfect timing in dropping to the floor, he said.
“That has to be God,” Vinas said. “Out of all the places you could get hit in the body, you get hit right there. It was truly amazing.” Police arrested a 24-year-old suspect and charged him with attempted murder and aggravated assault.
Hawaii Fisherman Gets Up
Close WIth Hungry Shark
Waianae, Hawaii (AP) A Hawaii fisherman has an unbelievable fishing tale: a close encounter with a 9-foot shark that jumped dangerously near his kayak. But, he has the video to prove it.
Isaac Brumaghim, 37, was kayak fishing off the Waianae Coast Sunday when the shark sprang up and chomped on the tuna he was fighting to reel in for a tournament.
“He exploded under my kayak, his dorsal hit my kayak,” Brumaghim said Thursday. “It was just like a rush.”
Many thoughts ran through his head: fear, excitement and disappointment at losing a big catch. “The shark scared me,” he said. “But I really needed that fish for my job.”
The next thought after the rush subsided: “I hope I got that on camera.”
He often goes fishing with a camera mounted to his kayak. At home, he watched the footage and posted it online, not expecting it to generate the attention it’s getting.
Reporters nationwide are calling. Many are still skeptical, accusing him of doctoring the footage.
The father of three is still in shock, himself. “I just have to laugh about it,” he said, hoping that the experience at least brings some attention to the growing sport of kayak fishing and Aquahunters, the company he runs.
While he lost the kawakawa, or mackerel tuna, to the shark, he continued fishing that afternoon, later catching an 18-pound kawakawa.
The experience, he said, was a humble reminder of the creatures he shares the ocean with.
“You get the chills when it happens,” he said, “but it never scares me from going in.”
Lithuanian Woman Shares Home With Three Puma Cubs
Klaipeda, Lithuania (AP) A Lithuanian woman says she has been raising three pumas in her three-room apartment after fearing for their lives at the local zoo.
Rasa Veliute, a 23-year-old volunteer at the zoo in Klaipeda, a Baltic Sea port town, says she took the cubs home four months ago after their mother began neglecting them.
The pumas also known as mountain lions or cougars are named Kipsas, Gipse and Kinde. Veliute says they eat a lot of chicken and get along well with her East European shepherd dog.
There is no Lithuanian law barring keeping the animals at home, and the zoo did not object to Veliute’s actions.
But Veliute told reporters Friday that the pumas have grown fast and will likely return to the zoo this summer.