The woman at the epicenter of a Texas filmmaker’s crusade against allegedly corrupt police may soon be freed thanks to a federal judge’s decision to vacate her sentence.
Yolanda Madden, who was jailed in 2005 after being convicted of possession of and intent to distribute narcotics, was the reason that Barry Cooper came to Odessa, Texas last December. After being hired to embarrass the local police by Yolanda’s father Raymond, Cooper set up a fake marijuana grow house and baited officers to stage an illegal raid. When they did, police were confronted by an empty house and lots of cameras, with a hand-written poster explaining they had become part of a new reality show called “KopBusters”.
For Yolanda, the stunt was just the beginning of efforts to secure her freedom. Cooper and Madden’s father insist Odessa officers planted the narcotics she was jailed for.
At a Thursday evidentiary hearing, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Junell granted a motion to “vacate, set aside, or correct” Yolanda’s sentence, effectively guaranteeing a new trial and possibly her freedom, according to CBS 7 in Odessa.
Madden has previously lost an appeal before the fifth circuit court. That decision is available here. [PDF link]
“We have proof that neither one of the cops were at where they said they were,” Raymond Madden told the CBS affiliate.
Cooper, a long-time drug officer who turned against prohibition and became an activist, claims Madden’s arresting officers were his former partners.
“The lead investigator, Officer Greg Traveland, claimed he took a verbal confession from Yolanda at the police station when he was actually miles away booking informant, Keith Phillips, into jail,” Cooper wrote on his Web site.
Cooper and Madden’s attorneys allege that to cover his tracks, Traveland then altered Phillips’ booking paperwork to make it appear that a now-deceased officer had brought the man in.
“I know it’s been hard on her to be away from her family but we’re looking forward to getting her smiles and her hugs,” Madden’s grandmother told CBS.
Cooper, who recently helped officers from Combine, Texas arrest a former police chief accused of soliciting minors, said he plans more high-profile stings soon.
This video was broadcast by CBS 7 in Odessa on Dec. 11, 2009.
This video was broadcast by CBS 7 in Odessa on Nov. 25, 2009.
Damning CNN timeline shows how Trump ‘thinks white people matter more than nonwhite people’
CNN's Brianna Keilar on Monday delivered a damning verdict on President Donald Trump's racist attacks on Democratic lawmakers -- and she backed it up with a timeline of the president's bigoted words and actions.
During a segment about Trump’s weekend tweets, in which he told Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) to “go back” to their countries despite the fact that all four are American citizens, Keilar argued that the president's racism is part of a pattern of bigotry that's followed him throughout his life.
"This fits a pattern to the president who has long made it clear that he thinks white people matter more than nonwhite people, even if they're American," she said. "30 years ago he called for the death penalty for the Central Park Five, five minority youths who were falsely accused of rape. Trump [is] still refusing to believe their innocence 16 years after they were exonerated."
MSNBC host says Trump just openly embraced racists: ‘This actually feels different to me’
On Monday, President Donald Trump went on an unhinged rant against Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
In an often rambling question session with reporters, Trump repeatedly told the two Congresswomen to leave America (both are U.S. citizens) if they're so critical of the U.S. and Israel.
MSNBC host Ali Velshi observed that Trump had truly crossed the line and directly appealed to the sentiments of white nationalists.
MSNBC's @AliVelshi: This time "actually feels different to me. This feels like the president really owning the idea that he's saying things that are attractive to white nationalists and racists." pic.twitter.com/vtK1T3GHuU
World hunger on the rise with more than 820 million at risk, UN report says
More than 821 million people suffered from hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition worldwide last year, the United Nations reported Monday -- the third year in a row that the number has risen.
After decades of decline, food insecurity began to increase in 2015 and reversing the trend is one of the 2030 targets of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.
But getting to a world where no one is suffering from hunger by then remains an "immense challenge," the report said.
"The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World" was produced by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and other UN agencies including the World Health Organization.