Friend of slain Texas mom Heidi Broussard is indicted on murder charge

first_imgHarris County Sheriff’s Dept.(HOUSTON) — Magen Fieramusca, the close friend of slain Texas mom Heidi Broussard, has been indicted on a charge of capital murder in Broussard’s death.Fieramusca was initially charged with kidnapping her long-time friend after Broussard’s decomposing body was discovered in the trunk of Fieramusca’s Nissan Versa near Houston on Dec. 19, according to officials.Broussard, 33, and her infant daughter, Margot, had been missing from their Austin home for a week when authorities made the discovery. Margot was found alive and was reunited with her father, Shane Carey, on Christmas Eve.Fieramusca had allegedly been telling people that she was expecting a child, an official told ABC News. Fieramusca’s ex-boyfriend, Christopher Green, told investigators that “he never saw Magen Fieramusca’s bare stomach during the pregnancy,” but he believed she was pregnant with his child, according to court documents. The two still lived together, although they were broken up, the documents said.Fieramusca told investigators she brought her baby home on Dec. 12 — but shortly thereafter, when investigators in Houston showed Green a flyer of missing baby Margot, Green replied, “that’s the baby at my house,” according to Fieramusca’s arrest affidavit.A grand jury on Tuesday returned a capital murder indictment against Fieramusca alleging that she, on or around Dec. 12, did “intentionally cause the death of Heidi Broussard by ligature strangulation, and by asphyxiating Heidi Broussard with a leash.”A second indictment alleged that Fieramusca did “intentionally and knowingly abduct M. Carey, a minor child.”Attorney Brian Erskine, representing Fieramusca, said in a statement after the indictments were handed up that Fieramusca’s defense team has yet to receive any evidence from the government.“Exculpatory and mitigating evidence has a shelf-life, and too many individuals in our criminal justice system have been delayed or denied this information,” the statement said. “We cannot act to fairly and vigorously represent our Client when we start defending her with our hands tied and eyes blindfolded.”Carey, Broussard’s fiance, told ABC News’ Good Morning America earlier this month that he was in disbelief after Fieramusca was arrested for kidnapping.“I want to look at her straight in the eyes and ask her why?” he said of Fieramusca. “That’s all I want to say. There’s no reason for any of this. I believe somebody talked her into it. I mean, from knowing Magen, I would never imagine it.”Fieramusca is expected in court on Feb. 3. Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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California winner of $447M Powerball can claim prize Monday

first_img Published: June 12, 2017 4:58 AM EDT Author: AP Recommended Sanibel man scores a $2 million POWERBALL prize Do you see a typo or an error? Let us know. Powerball jackpot leaps to estimated $625 million and counting California winner of $447M Powerball can claim prize Monday LOS ANGELES (AP) The holder of the sole winning Powerball ticket worth $447.8 million can claim the prize as early as Monday morning, lottery officials said.The ticket matching all six numbers was sold in Southern California, and whoever owns it will claim the 10th largest lottery prize in U.S. history, the California Lottery said in a statement. Lottery officials said the earliest the ticket could be redeemed is 8 a.m., and the winner has one year to claim the prize.The winning ticket was sold at Marietta Liquor & Deli in the small city of Menifee, the California Lottery said in a statement. The store just off a highway caters to retirees who live in the part of Menifee known as Sun City, which was developed as a retirement community in the 1960s. It also is a common stop for motorists passing through the area about 80 miles (130 kilometers) from Los Angeles.Liquor store owner Matthew Alberre said he does not know which of his customers won the jackpot or what his family will do with the $1 million bonus set aside for the retailer that sells the winning ticket.“We’re so blessed for this to happen,” said Alberre, who owns the store with his father.The year began terribly for the family because Alberre’s father was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis.“Starting out the year, it seemed like it was going to be the worst year in the world, and six months later, our store hit the Powerball. We’re very, very grateful for this to happen to our store,” Alberre said.Sun City residents were wondering if they might know the winner.At a breakfast at the local Knights of Columbus organization, Armand Blais said people there hoped the ticketholder lived in their community and would assist their efforts to build a new church.“We’re hoping they’re a parishioner and they’ll bring us a check tomorrow,” said Blais, president of the Sun City Civic Association’s board.Sun City has about 4,700 homes developed for residents age 55 and older. Today, they are part of Menifee, population 89,000, but those living in Sun City still proudly call the community by its original name, Blais said.The homes are clustered around a golf course, and residents join in activities ranging from tai chi and swimming to woodworking and shuffleboard, according to the association’s website.Menifee Mayor Neil Winter said he hoped a local resident bought the winning ticket at the heavily visited store that has sold winners before but never for so much.“There’s a lot of good folks over there, so hopefully one of our Menifee folks won,” he said.The lucky numbers drawn Saturday night were 20-26-32-38-58, and the Powerball number was 3.Powerball spokesman Randy Miller said the estimated jackpot prize is based on a winner choosing an annuity, which pays off over 29 years. The cash prize would be $279.1 million. Both prize amounts would be before taxes are deducted.Before the drawing Saturday night, the jackpot was estimated at $435 million. It had grown because no one had matched all the numbers since April 1.The odds of winning Saturday’s drawing were one in 292.2 million.Powerball is played in 44 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. SHARElast_img read more

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Changing City business models

first_imgMost people would stop short of calling a $10,000 (£6,300) bonus for a one-year-qualified London-based lawyer at a US-headquartered firm a crisis. Indeed, that particular statistic is a modest improvement on 2011. But consider this. In 2007, the bonus at that same firm for a one-year-qualified would have been over $30,000. That is just one small indicator of how a quarter-century of ever-upward growth at the major commercial law firms has been compromised.These figures, from an annual salary and bonus survey by City-based recruiters Edwards Gibson, accompany other data that point to a freeze in London salaries that track US rates. And analysis last year by Royal Bank of Scotland concluded that UK commercial firms were over-lawyered by up to 5%.Hidden positionAs individuals, lawyers in City firms may see their rewards progress upwards – lockstep and merit-based rewards keeping in reasonably close alignment. But the general picture is cause for reflection on the standard business model that firms have employed. As Tony Williams, principal at Jomati Consultants, puts it: ‘A system we all knew and liked delivered above-inflation growth for 25 years – and even with blips, that trajectory was always resumed.’ Notwithstanding the restructuring that took place at many firms in 2009 and 2010, ‘firms haven’t really stood back and asked questions about how [they] deliver what the client wants’, says Williams.According to one analysis, law firms have been reprieved in this regard only because corporate clients are not acting uniformly to adjust their demands on firms’ pricing and resourcing models. However, Williams counsels that the legal sector must not be slow to look at lessons from other sectors: ‘As customers, a manufacturer buying components, or a supermarket buying groceries, demands that costs go down year on year – even though the quality of what’s provided to them may have increased and the supplier also has to invest in innovating new and improved products.’He may not yet be in the majority, but as a corporate client, Bruce Macmillan, senior vice-president, senior commercial legal counsel at Visa Europe, applies this thinking to the purchase of legal services. Putting it bluntly, as a starting point he wants to know the lowest level of competence at which legal work can be done. ‘Show me what features define competent performance in your areas of expertise and then show me what you offer over and above competence,’ he urges. ‘Then I can decide whether to pay extra for your additional service quality features, beyond what I need to pay anyone for competent performance.’What the legal profession tends to do, he says, is to blur those distinctions. But in an increasingly commoditised legal services market, ‘this failure to show that the value you add supports your prices, merely offers opportunities for new players to make you look too expensive’.Shape changersFor clients such as Macmillan, being able to ‘disaggregate’ legal advice in this way pushes legal needs both up and down the traditional City ‘pyramid’ – in cost terms at least. Hence a range of business realignment decisions made by leading commercial firms that have involved farming out ‘non-added value’ work.In April 2011, Herbert Smith Freehills opened a Belfast office, specialising in document management and review, principally for major contentious cases. The Belfast office is partly about process – ‘a highly structured approach to document management and review’ – but also about ‘competitive pricing’, using Belfast’s lower cost base. Just behind was Allen & Overy, opening its ‘Support Services Centre’ in July 2011. Styled by managing partner Wim Dejonghe as the firm’s ‘near-shore support and legal services centre’, the facility enables A&O to ‘serve clients more flexibly, handling the high-value work for them and holding on to work that might otherwise have gone to lower-cost rivals’. The centre kicked off 2013 by adding another 67 staff.In 2000 Baker & McKenzie began the process of moving ‘back office’ tasks to Global Services Manila (GSM). And while arrangements such as the Hogan Lovells’ ‘Mexican Wave’ have been in operation for a while, non-City firms report that such pairings with City firms to keep costs down are becoming more common.Such moves have captured headlines in the business and legal press, but Williams believes this is just the start. ‘Firms are starting to ask, “do we need all of our staff all of the time?”,’ he says. ‘If the flow of M&A work is lumpy – perhaps a firm only needs to retain people to do 85% of the work, knowing that it has ways of calling in extra resource.’ Firms are being ‘experimental’ at the moment, he adds, but more far-reaching decisions will follow as their confidence in new working models increases.Staffing and salary figures for this market indicate that reform of working practices is indeed imperative. The Edwards Gibson research discloses below-inflation salary rises for assistants at UK-headquartered firms for the fourth year running, with a fifth year predicted for 2013. And the bottom of the firm ‘pyramid’ is on some counts narrowing – turning the pyramid into more of a diamond at some practices. Edwards Gibson partner Scott Gibson notes: ‘There was almost no external newly qualified market for August and September qualifiers. It appeared that many firms had fewer lawyers qualifying, on account of a reduction in trainee places being offered. This is likely indicative of a continued overall reduction in lawyers at the newly-qualified level in commercial law firms.’ To make matters worse, there was also an increase in redundancies at the PQE seven-and-over level in larger City and magic circle firms.These findings would seem to support the arguments made by US lawyer-economist Michael Trotter in his provocative book Declining Prospects: how extraordinary competition and compensation are changing America’s major law firms. He believes the very largest corporate law firms are wedded to an unsustainable business model that is designed around support for the massive overheads such firms have acquired. Though his arguments are based on the New York legal market, the parallels are clear. This model, he argues, embodies inaccurate assumptions about a close link between the highly leveraged legal teams and profitability. ‘There is no correlation between the size or leverage of the top 200 US firms and their average profits per partner,’ Trotter concludes.According to this argument, what huge, highly leveraged teams on top pay have created is a system where the most experienced lawyers are effectively focused on management, and on the marketing that will win the lucrative instructions that can support those teams and their rewards. Targets for billable hours are now so high that they have contributed to poor career satisfaction for lawyers working to them.The rewards themselves are a problem, Trotter concludes. As incentives, they have attracted an oversupply of firms and lawyers working to the New York model. Current market conditions cannot support such oversupply, rendering the model at best unstable, he contends. The result has been dramatic law firm failures like the collapse of Dewey & LeBoeuf last year. Dewey, Trotter claims, ‘was caught short by fundamental changes in the dynamics and economics of the top end of the legal profession’.Solid or declining?The top-252012 was ‘another tough year’ for the upper quartile, the PwC Law Firms Survey concluded. Although 82% of firms who took part had increased fee income in the previous year, mergers and lateral hires were part of the explanation. That figure could not reflect ‘absolute growth’, it stressed.‘Firms remain a long way short of performance levels at the peak of the market back in 2008,’ the report found. In real terms, average top-10 UK fees per partner fell 22% between 2008 and 2012, while profits per equity partner dipped 24% – even though there has also been a 6% fall in equity partners in that time.Firms in the top-11-25 experienced an even greater drop in PEP – 31% on 2008 figures in real terms, even though equity partner headcount was down 20% over the same period.PwC did however strive to be positive: ‘Against a difficult backdrop, 2012 can be characterised as a solid year in the legal sector.’Source: PwCFalling down?Trotter notes there is ‘client resistance to increasing costs’. Certainly, commercial firms confirm to the Gazette that the dire state of the economy has led clients to be more demanding in service negotiations – and this in turn has prompted law firms to be more creative. ‘Clients have become more aggressive on price,’ the managing partner of one top-20 firm tells the Gazette, ‘and many take a much more direct interest in how deals are staffed’.The same managing partner notes the consensus that ‘there are too many lawyers in London – but at all levels’. That view is supported by PwC’s annual law firm survey for 2012. ‘Firms remain a long way short of performance levels at the peak of the market back in 2008,’ the survey report notes. ‘In real terms, average top 10 UK fees per partner have fallen 22% over that period… and average PEP is down 24%.’ There has been a 20% reduction in equity partner headcount since 2008.Squeezed middleAssistants see salaries and bonuses fallWhile non-partners continue to see their salaries increase year on year, that is in large part down to their progress up their law firm’s lockstep, according to recruitment consultancy Edwards Gibson’s annual survey, published this month.That reality masks a fall in real-terms rewards at each level. For the fourth year running, this research showed below-inflation salary rises for assistants at UK-headquartered firms. In those same firms at each level, there was also a fall in bonuses for the second year running.The news was better for US-headquartered law firms in London, where bonuses increased by more than a third on 2011 – averaging between $10,000 for a one-year PQE lawyer, and $50,000 for a seven-year PQE.However, bonuses at these same firms were over $30,000 and $60,000 in 2007.Source: Edwards GibsonSo why the continuing mismatch between numbers and demand? Some Gazette interviewees who preferred not to be identified described the sense of ‘obligation’ to try and take on lawyers who have trained with them. Others allude to their experience of rebuilding teams at great expense, having cut too far and too fast in previous downturns. In other cases, firms are bidding low for work, knowing that although they are simply ‘buying turnover’, it is at least keeping teams together.It should be re-emphasised that clients who have disaggregated each part of their instructions to make decisions about the precise resourcing of each component part are in a minority. ‘There isn’t an across-the-board rejection of very junior lawyers being used on matters,’ one international senior partner contacted by the Gazette notes. ‘If it is reflected in the bill, they may want to know why you brought three lawyers to a meeting where one would have done, but their demands are mostly at the levels of seeing greater efficiencies reflected in price, and wanting the certainty of fixed or predictable pricing.’ It is, the managing partner notes, more pertinently a case of law firms themselves driving the disaggregation of services in response to pressure on fee margins.Williams advises firms to get used to the idea that, in all other areas of activity, the corporates that instruct leading commercial law firms look for further efficiencies year on year. But there will always, he says, be ‘bet the company’ matters where the outcome, not the fees, is the priority for the client. ‘If there is going to be a significant impact on the share price, if a regulator may fine you hundreds of millions, if the executives could go to jail – then that remains at the high-value end,’ he stresses.For work that does not fit into that category, however – not a £500m merger, but an acquisition worth £50m, for example – the pressures are real and growing. One possibility is that firms who do not start to respond to such challenges will find clients looking to do the work themselves. As Gibson concludes: ‘In the latest figures available, there was a 12% increase in the number of solicitors with practising certificates working in commercial roles in-house – it is clear that in-house constitutes the greatest ongoing competition to law firms for legal talent.’last_img read more

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Grayling secures MPs’ backing for JR reforms

first_imgThe government has passed its controversial reforms to judicial review through the House of Commons after two late concessions.Lord chancellor and justice secretary Chris Grayling this evening secured MPs’ votes in favour of his proposed changes to the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill.The vote came after Grayling made a late offer to give judges the final decision on whether to grant judicial review, and for judicial committees to decide at what financial level individuals who fund cases will have to be identified.But lawyers on the government benches took Grayling to task on his concession allowing judges to grant judicial review where there is an ‘exceptional public interest’.Former attorney general Dominic Grieve and former solicitor general Edward Garnier both decided not to vote with the government, with Garnier describing the public interest clause as ‘moderately nonsensical’.The bill will now pass back to the House of Lords, which has already voted against Grayling’s plans twice before. Unless they defy constitutional convention, peers are now almost certain to approve the legislation.The government wants to change current judicial review rules to make third-party interveners liable for costs and to prevent judges from granting permission for JR even if the public authority has acted unlawfully, if the outcome would have been the same had they acted lawfully.During the debate in the commons, the lord chancellor told MPs his new concessions should address the concerns of peers and retain the original aim of the proposals.‘The bill protects public bodies against cases brought on a technicality,’ he said. ‘[The reforms] don’t undermine the core purpose of judicial review. [But] public bodies are effectively blackmailed in judicial review. This bill stops campaign groups using them to string out the process.’Labour, while welcoming the concessions, continued to oppose the legislation as a whole.Shadow justice minister Andy Slaughter said the concessions were the ‘bare minimum’ the justice secretary thought he could get away with and would lead to satellite litigation with further delays and costs.Grayling will hope for a smoother passage in the Lords for his bill, after seeing peers vote to block it last month following the justice secretary’s admission he had misled parliament during the commons debate.He told the commons tonight that he had ‘mixed up “likelys” with “exceptional circumstances”’.last_img read more

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Nigerian troops kill 4 gunmen in northern state

first_imgNigerian military troops salute Nigeria’s President during his visit to troops on front lines of Boko Haram conflict, on November 28, 2018, in Maiduguri as part of a military staff annual conference. – Nigeria’s President urged troops to show more commitment in fighting Boko Haram despite scores of losses in a recent assault as he visited the key northeastern city of Maiduguri. (Photo by Audu MARTE / AFP) (Photo credit should read AUDU MARTE/AFP/Getty Images) Nigerian military troops. (Photo by Audu MARTE / AFP/Getty Images)Four gunmen were killed when Nigerian troops carried out a raid on a suspected hideout of bandits in the northern state of Kaduna, a military spokesman said on Thursday.The operation, which was carried out on Wednesday, is in continuation of the “sustained offensive against armed bandits and other criminal elements in the country,” said John Enenche, a defense spokesperson.He added that troops also recovered one rifle and dominated the general area with aggressive patrols in search of the fleeing bandits.Recently, Kaduna has been experiencing a series of bandit’s attacks that have led to the loss of lives and properties.Following the development, the Nigerian air force in August deployed additional special forces to southern Kaduna.Related Nigerian police kill eight gunmen in crossfire Nigerian troops kill 110 bandits: officialcenter_img Nigerian northern state confirms one case of Lassa feverlast_img read more

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Man United ask player to wait, reserve transfer lined up in…

first_imgTwo days ago we covered a claim from Mundo Deportivo that Manchester United had called Barcelona and asked for time to formalise a proposal for Yerry Mina. The Colombian defender has been considered surplus to requirements at Barca since not long after he joined the club, and even his good World Cup hasn’t managed to change that.On Monday, Sport, another Catalan newspaper, report Manchester United have now also asked Mina and those who represent him for a little time.That’s because they’re working to get first choice Harry Maguire from Leicester City. As Sport have it, Maguire won’t push out of the Foxes and Manchester United’s €50m has been declined because Leicester want €70m.Mina is said to be the back-up option should getting the England defender prove too difficult this summer. Sport push the potential price for Mina up to €40m, which would have been beyond Barca’s wildest dreams a few months ago and is perhaps still unrealistic.The Catalan newspaper claims that should Jose Mourinho manage to get Maguire, then Leicester City themselves will move for Mina.by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksTrending TodayForge of Empires – Free Online GameBuild a Beautiful City and Play With Your FriendsForge of Empires – Free Online GameUndoRaid: Shadow Legends | Free DownloadEven Non-Gamers Are Obsessed With This RPG Game (It’s Worth Installing!)Raid: Shadow Legends | Free DownloadUndoPremier Diamond BoutiqueHong Kong’s first lab-grown diamond empirePremier Diamond BoutiqueUndoDating.comThe Most Handsome Men In Hong Kong On This Dating SiteDating.comUndoStanChart by CNBC CatalystDigitization in Banks Is No Longer About Efficiency, but Business Resilience. Don’t Get Left Behind.StanChart by CNBC CatalystUndoInstant Voice TranslatorGenius Japanese Invention Allows You To Instantly Speak 43 LanguagesInstant Voice TranslatorUndoCNBC InternationalSingapore’s Freelancers Find New Income During the Coronavirus Pandemic.CNBC InternationalUndoKeto减肥1個簡單的妙招一夜「融化」腹部贅肉(今晚試試)Keto减肥UndoCNN with DBS BankWhat Banks Did To Help Corporations Mitigate Future CrisesCNN with DBS BankUndolast_img read more

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