November 14, 2012

Charles Oliver: What’s a bad check here or there?

Charles Oliver

— Last week, Detroit voters elected convicted felon Brian Banks to the state assembly with 68 percent of the vote. Banks, a Democrat, had eight convictions for credit card fraud and writing bad checks between 1998 and 2004, but he insists he has turned his life around.

Meanwhile, Cook County, Ill., voters re-elected Judge Cynthia Brim despite the fact that she has been barred from entering the courthouse without a law enforcement escort. A judicial panel suspended Brim after she allegedly shoved a deputy and threw keys at him. A court-appointed psychiatrist testified she was legally insane at the time. Brim, a Democrat, received 63.5 percent of the vote.

And in Mesa, Ariz., Holly Solomon has been charged with aggravated assault and domestic violence after chasing her husband around a parking lot and striking him with an SUV. Solomon was reportedly upset that her husband did not vote in the general election and blamed him for the re-election of President Barack Obama.

Flagstaff, Ariz., police Cpl. John Tewes got a call from another officer who’d accidentally struck and injured a dog with his cruiser. On arriving at the scene, Tewes followed department policy and contacted animal control to pick up the dog, right? Umm, no. Tewes decided that the best thing to do would be to put the animal out of its misery. So he followed department policy and shot the animal, right? Umm, no. He says he was concerned about firing a weapon in a residential area. So he decided to strike the dog’s head with his baton and kill it. He struck it repeatedly. But the dog still lived, so he started jumping on the dog’s head to crush its skull. That went on for several minutes before Tewes changed course again and decided to choke the dog with a metal cable. It took him several tries but finally, some 20 to 30 minutes after he first attempted to kill the dog, Tewes succeeded in choking it to death. Prosecutors says Tewes will not face animal cruelty charges.

The Manatee, Fla., sheriff’s office has charged Joseph Nicholas Harris with employing two unlicensed telephone sales people at his air conditioning business, a third-degree felony. Harris faces up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine if convicted. Last year, Republican state senators blocked a bill that would have removed licensing requirements for telemarketers and a number of other professions including interior designers, hair braiders and ballroom dance instructors.

Caroline Cassin suffers from cystic fibrosis and could die unless she receives a new drug called Kalydeco. The manufacturer has offered to provide the drug for free for a limited time. But officials at Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham, England, refuse to administer the drug. They say it would be unethical to give her the drug under the deal, only to stop treatment when it ends. The National Health Service has not yet approved the use of the drug.

Charles Oliver is a staff writer for The Daily Citizen. Got a suggestion for It Couldn’t Happen Here? Email it to him at