May 28th, 2014
12:25 PM ET

U.S. Marine Held in Mexico Prison Scheduled for Court Wednesday

A U.S. Marine and Afghanistan war veteran held in a Mexico prison for nearly two months will make appearance in court Wednesday, his mother told CNN's "New Day.

Jill Tahmooressi said her son, Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, accidentally crossed into Mexico with three personal firearms - all bought legally in the U.S.

The 25-year-old had intended to drive to meet friends in San Ysidro, California, on March 31, and was moving from Florida to California in the hope of settling, getting a job and continuing treatment he had just begun for post traumatic stress related to his two combat tours.

With all his possessions in his truck, Tahmooressi drove across the border. When he realized his mistake, his mother said, he dialed 911 and asked the operator to help him. No help came, Jill Tahmooressi said. Her son first encountered Mexican customs agents, she said, and he believed they understood that he'd made an innocent error. They seemed to be getting an escort car to help him, she said.

But the officers with the Mexican military interfered, she told "New Day," and her son was arrested.

"He is relieved that he'll be able to go before the judge and explain precisely how he made that accidental wrong turn and ended up in the dilemma that he's in right now," she said.

MORE on CNN.com

Posted by ,
Filed under: Interview • News • Videos • World News
May 5th, 2014
01:11 PM ET

Judge Under Fire For Rape Sentence, Implying Victim Was Promiscuous

She could have sentenced him to 20 years in prison after he admitted to raping a 14-year-old girl in her high school.

Instead, a Texas judge gave the defendant a 45-day sentence and probation after implying that the victim was promiscuous.

Judge Jeanine Howard told The Dallas Morning News that she based the sentence, in part, on medical records indicating that the girl had had three sexual partners and had given birth.

She told the newspaper that the victim "wasn't the victim she claimed to be" and said the defendant, 20-year-old Sir Young, "is not your typical sex offender."

Critics fear the decision could discourage other victims from reporting rapes.

"We're certainly concerned about the message that's being sent to victims of sexual assault," said Andrea Moseley, chief prosecutor for the Dallas County District Attorney's Office.

"We expect that our victims will be protected and that their reputations will be protected and that they will feel safe in coming forward and reporting these crimes."

But it wasn't just the sentence that drew criticism; it was the type of community service Young was also sentenced to.

Young, who was a schoolmate of the victim's when the rape occurred in 2011, was ordered to serve 250 hours of community service at a rape crisis center. The center later said he was not welcome there.

"Just having a criminal defendant in the office could be a triggeringaffect for many of our clients," Bobbie Villareal, director of the Dallas Rape Crisis Center, told CNN affiliate WFAA. "It's just not appropriate."

Young's defense attorney, Scottie Allen, told CNN's "New Day" on Monday that he felt the sentence was "fair and appropriate" given the circumstances, and he agreed with Howard that his client wasn't a normal sex offender.

"What we have here is an 18-year-old high school student who was very talented, very gifted," Allen said, adding that Young had scholarship offers from a "couple of universities."

Allen further claimed that the victim had agreed to have sex with Young, just not on campus, and "upon making this bad judgment, he admitted that he proceeded over her objections to stop, and he admitted that to the police."

"We don't think that he qualifies as your typical sex offender. This is not somebody who has preyed on some young kids or unsuspecting people."

HLN reached out to the judge for comment, but she has recused herself from the case.

A new judge will oversee the case moving forward, including a motion filed by prosecutors to add more restrictive requirements to Young's probation.

The victim told WFAA she was devastated by the sentencing.

"I was shocked that a judge, someone that I trusted with this case, would go behind my back, would go and find records and make these allegations that she knows nothing about," she said.

Meanwhile, Young is serving his 45-day jail sentence. If he compiles with the terms of his probation, he won't have a conviction on his record.

 

 

Posted by
Filed under: News • Videos
December 5th, 2013
11:53 AM ET

FSU Quarterback Jameis Winston Will Not be Charged in Case of Alleged Rape

UPDATE: FSU's Jameis Winston will not be charged in rape case, prosecutor says.

Asked why no charges would be filed, State Attorney Willie Meggs said, "We have a duty as prosecutors to only file ... charges if we have a reasonable likelihood of a conviction."

He added: "We did not feel we could meet that burden."

SEE BACKGROUND:
The state attorney assigned to Heisman Trophy hopeful Jameis Winston's rape case says he is holding a 2pm news conference Thursday to announce his findings, CNN's John Berman reports.

The case began in December when the woman, a student at the Tallahassee university, reported she had been sexually assaulted. A month later she accused Winston of the alleged rape.

Winston did not have consensual sex with a student at Florida State University, despite claims to the contrary by the football player's lawyer, the family of the accuser said Friday.

"To be clear, the victim did not consent. This was rape," according to a statement released by the accuser's family.

The release of the statement came a day after Winston's attorney, Tim Jansen, told reporters the sex was consensual and that his client's DNA was found on the clothing of the woman, who nearly a year ago said she was raped.

ESPN, which first reported the DNA development, said the Florida crime lab determined that the possibility it was someone else's DNA would be one in 2.2 trillion.

HLN Legal Analyst Joey Jackson said on "New Day" Thursday "I would think if there was going to be an arrest, that's what the focus would be instead of a press conference. But what it comes down to, is as any rape case does – is the issue of consent."

See more at CNN.com.

Posted by
Filed under: Interview • News • Videos