Friday, October 24, 2014

Stop the Insanity- Mental Health Awareness and Current Inadequate Policies Should be Our Biggest Concern

Accused White House fence jumper to get mental health screening
By Evan Perez, CNN

Washington (CNN) -- A federal judge on Tuesday ordered a full mental competency screening for Omar Gonzalez, who is accused of jumping the White House fence, after a disputed initial examination found him not competent for trial.

U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer expressed concern that the initial mental exam, ordered by a magistrate judge, was done before she had a chance to hear a legal motion by the defense disputing whether the magistrate had the authority to order it. David Bos, the federal public defender representing Gonzalez, objected to any examination in the first place because he says Gonzalez is fit for trial.

The 60-minute initial mental examination of Gonzalez at the District of Columbia jail came as a surprise to the judge and to both the government and defense. But the result, finding Gonzalez not competent, can't be ignored, Collyer said in court Tuesday.

Bos told the judge: "There is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Gonzalez is competent to stand trial." Nonetheless, he withdrew his objections and agreed to allow his client to undergo a fuller competency examination to try to undo the results of the initial examination.

The judge delayed arraignment for Gonzalez on new charges the government filed against him last week. Gonzalez was arrested in September after he allegedly jumped the White House fence and sprinted into the executive mansion, setting off concerns about Secret Service security procedures.
He was found with a folding knife and told a Secret Service agent "that he was concerned that the atmosphere was collapsing and needed to get the information to the President of the United States so that he could get the word out to the people," according to an agent's affidavit filed in court. His family has said Gonzalez, an Iraq War veteran, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and paranoia.

The incident came amid a series of disclosures about Secret Service lapses that cost the agency's director, Julia Pierson, her job. Collyer said that during the initial examination, the mental health screener found Gonzalez did understand some parts of the proceedings. The judge suggested that Gonzalez's mental issues, which she didn't describe more fully, could be resolved with medication.
The judge also raised concerns that the government's handling of previous unrelated cases could mean it will take some time for Gonzalez to be examined at a federal Bureau of Prisons facility. She gave one example of an unnamed defendant who sat at the District of Columbia jail for months before anyone noticed he hadn't received the tests that were ordered. The problem, she said, was that sequestration has cut resources for the Bureau of Prisons and finding a bed can take time.
Collyer ordered the mental health screening to be done in 30 days and set a new hearing for December 3 at 10:30 a.m.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Reality TV Star sentenced to 15m in federal prison for mortgage fraud

Teresa Giudice: Shocked by prison sentence

By Breeanna Hare, CNN

Teresa and Joe Giudice are both headed to prison. On October 2, Joe was sentenced to 41 months in prison by a New Jersey federal judge. Teresa was sentenced to 15 months. The "Real Housewives of New Jersey" couple<a href='' target='_blank'> pleaded guilty March 4 to multiple federal fraud charges,</a> including conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and lying on mortgage and loan applications.

(CNN) -- As "Real Housewives of New Jersey" star Teresa Giudice faces a 15-month prison term that's set to start in January, it's no surprise she's also been dealing with "sleepless nights."
The reality star and her husband, Joe Giudice, were sentenced Thursday to serve time after pleading guilty in March to numerous federal fraud charges. Teresa Giudice will serve a 15-month sentence. Joe received a 41-month sentence and also faces the possibility of deportation since he's not a U.S. citizen.

On Monday night, both Giudices sat down with Bravo's Andy Cohen for the first part of an interview featured on Cohen's "Watch What Happens Live." When Teresa Giudice was asked about her reaction to the October 2 sentencing, she could hardly find the words to express how it has affected her, and how she fears it will affect her family.
"I was so nervous. ... At one point, I couldn't even move my fingers," Giudice recalled. "My nerves were shot. I've had sleepless nights. I was shocked. It was very unexpected. I don't even know what to say."

In March, the reality housewife and her husband pleaded guilty to hiding assets from bankruptcy court and conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud, among other charges.
In hindsight, Teresa Giudice says, she's learned a lesson.

"I do need to read things before I sign them. I do need to understand things before I sign them," she told Cohen. "I'm a trustworthy person, and sometimes I take what other people say and I just believe them and I trust them. I can't do that anymore; I've got to make sure I fully understand something."
Giudice is expected to begin her sentence on January 5; once she's served her time, her husband is expected to begin his own stretch. The sentences were staggered to ensure the couple's four daughters have a caretaker.

Being away from her kids, Giudice told Cohen, is what scares her most about prison -- more than the lockup itself.

"I just think about my daughters," the 42-year-old said. "That's all I think about. I just want to make sure that my daughters are OK."

According to Giudice, their eldest, Gia, 13, has become her support system.

"She was being strong for me, I could tell," Giudice said. "She was like 'Mommy, don't worry, I'll be there. I'll help Daddy with the girls; that'll prepare me for when I'm a mom.' That broke my heart when she said that."

She said she has only one request of Joe: "All I said to my husband was, 'All you have to do is take care of our daughters,'" she said. "'That's all I ask. You've got to do what I do.'"