Friday, October 24, 2014

Chief of Appeals Shares Experiences With UMass Students

A small group of Journalism students gathered with their professor in their 4 o'clock class to listen to Thomas Townsend discuss his experiences as Assistant District Attorney and Chief of Appeals. 

Townsend, who is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, returned to his place of undergraduate studies to enlighten the 11 students on the study of law and how it can be applied in appeals court. Townsend became Chief of Appeals in 2011. He discussed cases he has seen throughout his term that range from murders to child rape. 

Because Townsend deals with hundreds of cases a year, when one student asked how the more harrowing cases affect him he said, "you develop a sense of detachment."

Townsend talked a lot about how laws have been shaped throughout history, particularly focusing on the differences in regulations state by state. Massachusetts he said, "if measured by individual freedom would probably come out the #1 state." 

Townsend took the time to break down the legal system for the students and it's different branches, also educating the students on the newest agenda of the U.S. Supreme Court: The 2nd Amendment.

Townsend's expertise and knowledge was not limited to just the Journalism 300 class, he later spoke at a legal panel in Isenberg School of Management that night. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

ADA Townsend enlightens Journalism 300 class

Assistant District Attorney Thomas Townsend grasped the attention of Mary Carey and her Journalism 300 class on Tuesday, while revisiting some of his most difficult cases.

Townsend, a University of Massachusetts Amherst class of 1994 alumnus, discussed his role as Chief of the Appeals Court in the Northwestern District Attorney's office. He fielded questions regarding past cases and common law from the class, sparking an insightful discussion.

ADA Townsend delved into the process a case goes through before reaching the appeals court. After a ruling is made on a case, a defendant can apply for an appeal. The purpose of an appeal is to bring it to a higher court.

Townsend provided the class with three of his previous cases. He addressed one involving a murder of young boy by speed boat. A horrific accident where an intoxicated speed boat driver crashed into a father and son fishing.

Townsend was asked how he endures such serious and violent cases. "You develop a sense of detachment," he said.

Townsend also cleared up confusion with common laws all citizens deal with. In Massachusetts a motor vehicle operator cannot be asked to exit their vehicle by a police officer simply because of a violation. "In terms of individual freedoms, Massachusetts is number one," he said.

Asst. District Attorney Townsend pays visit to journalism class

Thomas Townsend, the assistant district attorney and chief of appeals in the Northwestern District Attorney’s office, visited Mary Carey’s Journalism 300 class at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, on Oct. 21. 

A former UMass graduate himself, Townsend spoke about the history of the appeals court in the United States, provided insight on numerous laws in Massachusetts, and gave several examples of noteworthy cases he has taken over the years, ranging from manslaughter to first-degree murder.

By working with such noteworthy cases, Townsend is often forced to see the darkest acts men and women are capable of committing, such as rape and murder. When asked about how he deals with such brutality on a regular basis, he responded, “you develop a sense of detachment.”

Townsend further explained the individual freedoms Massachusetts state laws protects and gave some legal advice to students before he departed, such as how to decide between a jury or judge trial. 

Asst. District Attorney Townsend meets with journalism students

Assistant District Attorney Tom Townsend, chief of the Appeals Unit in the Northwestern District Attorney’s office, spoke to Mary Carey’s Journalism 300 class on Tuesday about Massachusetts law, his job, and his interaction with the media.

Townsend discussed “common law”, a model for law taken to America from Great Britain that created the foundations for the Massachusetts and Federal constitutions. He explained the differences between statutory and federal jurisdiction in cases and how states and the federal government differ. For example, Massachusetts was the first and only state to require police interrogations to be recorded and reviewed.

Townsend then discusses a bit about one of his cases, a boating death case where the operator was drunk and high on drugs. When asked how he copes with such tragic cases, Townsend said “you develop a sense of detachment,”
In regards to media, Townsend said he is often misquoted. Instead, he sends them a brief of the case and tells reporters “Quote from the brief,”

Townsend informs journalism class about Massachusetts's law

11 journalism students and their professor gathered around the circular table in the overheated classroom on Tuesday to listen to Thomas Townsend share his experiences as Assistant District Attorney and Chief of Appeals.

Townsend is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1994, and began his position as the Chief of Appeals for the Northwestern District Attorney’s office in 2011. He shared with student’s information about Massachusetts’s laws and the different branches of work in law. Townsend had shared with students what the Massachusetts Appeals Court is and about the changes through history that lead up to how law is shaped today.

The Massachusetts Appeals Court comes into play when a defendant appeals to bring their case to a higher court. “Unless it is a first degree jurisdiction,” Townsend added.

Townsend also informed the class of different laws that have helped structure law today. He discussed how it was not until 1963 that is had became required for a defendant to have an attorney appointed to them if they needed one.

As the Chief of Appeals, Townsend often sees cases that deal with drugs, alcohol, rape and death. When asked about the cases that Townsend faces, he replied, “you develop a sense of detachment.”

Townsend also spoke at a legal panel in Isenberg School of Management later that night. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Asst. District Attorney Townsend Explains Mass. Law with Students

Assistant District Attorney Thomas Townsend spoke to students Tuesday
before speaking at a legal panel later that night. Photo by Cade Belisle 
Assistant District Attorney and Chief of Appeals for the Northwest District Thomas Townsend visited Mary Carey’s Journalism 300 class on Tuesday.

Townsend is a University of Massachusetts alumnus and has for almost twenty years worked in district attorney offices. He shared some of his insights into the law with the students. Topics ranged from the very beginning of Massachusetts law, which he explained pre-dates the United States Constitution, to recent court cases involving various degrees of murder.

When asked about state specific legal rights Townsend gave some examples such as illegal police instructions and said, “in terms of individual freedoms Massachusetts is number one.”

Townsend told the journalism students about his experience with reporters and how he often was misquoted in articles. He explained that misquoting happened so much he began sending reporters written quotes to use via his legal briefs. Overall, Townsend said that the media focuses on the appealing parts of cases and not the important legal matters, which is of course his specialty.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Karyssa's obituary

Very interesting! I didn't realize he had been in the Army and was married with two kids when he died. Some wordiness and AP Style errors -- see dates and times. Well organized and written overall.

Rock Legend Jimi Hendrix Never Forgotten
By Karyssa Youngs

James (Jimi) Marshall Hendrix, 27, of 23 Brook Street, London, UK, died Friday, Sep. 18, 1970, due to unconfirmed drug-related circumstances.

On Nov. 27, 1942 in Seattle, Washington, Jimi was brought into this world by his parents,

After dropping out of Garfield Highschool at the age of 17, Jimi enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1961, where he served on the 101st Airborne Division of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, until his discharge in 1962 because of an injury. I DIDN'T REALIZE HE HAD BEEN IN THE ARMY His passion for playing music, however,

Jimi’s success as a musician was at only it’s WHEN IN 1966, when he met Chas Chandler, who inspired him to move to London as part of The Jimi Hendrix Experience where he became a rock icon alongside his talented band members, Noel Reding and Mitch Mitchell.

Jimi had set a legendary bar in the rock world that would not be fully recognized until after his death. The awards given to honor his great achievements include an NME Award for Most Missed in 1976, a Grammy Lifetime Achievements Award in 1992, and two Grammy Hall of Fame Awards in 1999 and 2009.

Jimi left his spouse, Eva Sundquist; his two children, Tamika Laurice James-Hendrix, and James Daniel Sundquist; his father, James Allen Hendrix; and his four siblings, Leon, Joseph, Kathy, and Pamela Hendrix. Jimi was predeceased by his mother, Lucille Jeter.

The funeral was held October 1, 1970 at 1PM

Donations in memorial contribution for the Jimi Hendrix Park Foundation can be sent to PO Box 58152 Seattle, Washington 98138.

Austen's FAKE obituary

Interesting choice of subjects, Austen. "Pan's Labyrinth" is really unforgettable, I think. Nice job, overall, but lots of AP style points to review. Don't forget: commas and periods always INSIDE quotation marks. There are several instances in here in which you jam together two ideas in one sentence when they would be better expressed if each had its own sentence.

Austen Rioux
16 October 2014
Journ 300

Guillermo del Toro (1964-2014) FAKE OBITUARY

Agoura Hills, CA

Born on Oct. 9, 1964 in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, del Toro was an accomplished film director, screenwriter, and novelist, and the son of Guadalupe del Toro and Federico del Toro. I WOULDN'T JAM HIS ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND PARENTS INTO THE SAME SENTENCE

Del Toro lived much of his early life in Guadalajara, where he first gained his passion for film while playing with his father’s old Super 8 camera. He would go on to film and produce ten INSIDE QUOTATION MARKS!! Del Toro found his niche in the bizarre and frightful, weaving fairy tale and historical stories with influences of horror to amass his fan base.

With interests beyond the world of film, del Toro found personal interest in comic books and video games, to which he has made production contributions -- I WOULD BREAK UP THE SENTENCE HERE> (and) HE owns a separate home to accommodate his collection of movies, comic books, and props. His most critically-acclaimed work, “Pan’s Labyrinth”,

Del Toro leaves behind his wife Lorenza Newton, the two of which/WHOM were former high school sweethearts while they attended the Guadalajara School of Sciences.< THIS SENTENCE ISN'T GRAMMATICAL. I'D BREAK IT INTO TWO SENTENCES He and Newton had two daughters, Marisa and Mariana, all of whom shared a home in Agoura Hills. Del Toro’s parents also currently live in the United States following their uprooting< WERE THEY FORCIBLY UPROOTED? WORD CHOICE IS CONFUSING from Guadalajara in Mexico.

Calling hours are on Friday from 5 p.m. to midnight. The funeral will be held on Sunday at the Panteon Nuevo Guadalajara cemetery in del Toro’s birthplace in Guadalajara, Mexico at noon, followed by the burial at the same location.

Memorial contributions may be made to the City of Hope cancer research center at their website at

Andrew's FAKE obituary

Nice job with this, Andrew. It would be interesting to hear whether he really did follow through and devote his life to AIDS prevention, research and finding a cure. My impression is that he did, right? A couple of AP Style points to review, including putting TV shows in quotation marks.

Inline image 1

Photo courtesy of Alex Brandon/AP


Earvin “Magic” Johnson (1959-2014)

Earvin “Magic” Johnson, 55, of Dana Point, CA, died NOT REALLY-FAKE on Thursday Oct. 16, 2014, after suffering an unexpected heart attack.

Born in East Lansing, MI

Magic attended Michigan State in his hometown of East Lansing where he was the point guard of the basketball team. He led the Spartans to the 1979 NCAA tournaments where they won the national championship, defeating Indiana State. Despite originally planning to get a degree in communication studies to become a broadcaster, INTERESTING! Earvin Jr. enter the 1979 NBA Draft where he was selected first overall by the Los Angeles Lakers.

Magic endured

Prior to the 1991-92 season, Magic was tested for HIV and held a press conference on Nov. 7, 1991, where he would announce his retirement. During his speech he dedicated his life to fight the disease and to find a cure. Magic started the Magic Johnson Foundation to help HIV victims and in 1992 became a member of the National Commission on Aids.AIDS IS AN ACRONYM, SO IT'S ALL CAPS 

Magic leaves behind his wife of 13 years, Earlitha “Cookie” Kelly. He had two sons, the oldest Andre Johnson, was born to Melissa Mitchell and was raised by her and visited Magic in the summers when he wasn’t playing basketball. Magic and Cookie had one son together, Earvin III, who is a star on the show Rich Kids of Beverly Hills. INTERESTING! REMEMBER, TV SHOWS GO IN QUOTATION MARKS The couple also adopted a daughter, Elisa, in 1995. Magic was one of ten children leaving behind his brothers and sisters Quincy, Larry, Michael, Pearl, Lois, Kim, Evelyn, Yvonne, and Mary. 

Calling hours for Magic will be held on Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The funeral will be held on Tuesday at 9 a.m. from the O’Connor Mortuary of Laguna Hills, CA. followed by a burial at the Mission Cemetery in San Juan Capistrano, CA.

Memorial contributions can be made out to the Magic Johnson Foundation and can be made on the

Richie's FAKE obituary

Very interesting, Richie. If I ever knew anything about Bismarck, I'd forgotten it. Now, I know he was one of the all-time masters of 
realpolitik. Some AP Style points to review, including that commas and periods always go INSIDE quotation marks. A few sentences that
need to be tweaked so they can stand alone. Don't be a stranger to commas.
Otto Eduard Leopold COMMAor as he is more commonly referred to as Otto Von Bismarck 1 COMMA (April 1815 – 30 July 1898) has died of natural causes at his Hamburg estate in the district of Friedrichsruh at the age 73.  
Bismarck, known widely by the nickname “Iron Chancellor”, COMMAS AND PERIODS ALWAYS INSIDE QUOTATION MARKS was considered to be the undisputed master of the real politick game played of his era CAN YOU BRIEFLY EXPLAIN WHY? (I SEE YOU DO BELOW.)and for his central role in the unification of Germany under Prussian rule.  He notably served as Prussia’s Minister President and later as Chancellor in the newly formed German Empire. 
Few of his era could follow the swiftness (that) WITH WHICH Bismarck changed policy or opinion for the sake of power and stability.  During his early career FOR EXAMPLE< HE SWITCHED (by switching )from the declining Liberal Party to the Catholic Center PartyCOMMA despite his deep hatred of Catholics.
With his potionPOSITION safe at homeCOMMA Bismarck rapidly instigated, through a series of diplomatic insults and posturing, three wars against Denmark, France, and Austria.  INCOMPLETE SENTENCE( MAKE IT PART OF THE SENTENCE BEFORE IT< PRECEDED BY A COMMA)>The end result of which was expanded German borders, the forcing of the once great house of Hapsburg to come to heel, and undisputed Prussian domination of the German Empire.  
From his point of power COMMABismarck over saw
Bismarck was forced to resign when Emperor Wilhelm II took power and desired a complete change in German policy. 
He died with the title The Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg which shared by his modern descendants, despite the mockery that came of having a title without the land.  Such was the humor of Wilhelm II.  
Left behind are wife Countess Marie von Bismarck-Schönhausen and son Herbert, Prince von Bismarck.
The family requests no memorial fund and the funeral specifics have been kept private on request of the family. 


Interesting, Lauren. I didn't know anything about her. I was curious to hear what the favorite line was for which she won an award. Well written, overall. Be sure to use AP style for TV and movie titles.

Amanda Bynes (1986-2014)

Los Angeles ADD THE STATE, USING AP STYLE- Amanda L. Bynes, 28, of Los Angeles, diedNOT REALLY/FAKE OBIT Thursday, October 16, 2014 due to injuries sustained in a car accident.

Born in Thousand Oaks, California on April 3, 1986, she was the daughter of Rick and Lynn (Organ) Bynes.

INCLUDE INFO ABOUT WHERE SHE WENT TO SCHOOLAmanda began her acting career at the tender age of 7 when she appeared in a Nestle’s candy commercial. From there the actress used her skills and talent to land a position on Nikolodeon where she became the star of her own skit-based series The Amanda Show. USE AP STYLE FOR TV SHOWS AND MOVIE TITLES - PUT THEM IN QUOTATION MARKS Amanda starred in her first big screen film at 15 when she appeared in the 2002 movie Big Fat Liar.  During her adolescent years she earned notoriety by starring in other top-grossing blockbusters such as What I Like About You and She’s The Man. Amanda’s career took a favorable turn WORD CHOICE/ONE MIGHT GATHER FROM TOOK A FAVORABLE TURN THAT WORKING IN THEATER WAS BETTER THAN IN TV AND MOVIESwhen she landed a major supporting role in the film adaption of the popular musical Hairspray.  The movie and its cast received multiple award nominations, including Best Acting Ensemble in 2007 at the Critics Choice Awards.

Before Hairspray, Amanda had received many awards including Favorite Movie Actress in 2003 for her role in What A Girl Wants and Favorite Television Actress in 1994 and again in 1999 for role on The Amanda Show at the Kids’ Choice Awards. Amanda was also nominated for Best Line from a Movie in 2010 for her part in Easy A at the MTV Movie Awards and even Favorite Female Movie Star in 2006 at the Kids’ Choice Awards in Australia. DEFINITELY INCLUDE WHAT THE BEST LINE WAS!

Following her success, Amanda faced a period of difficult times later in life. She was actively receiving treatment to improve her mental heath and was aggressively working toward living a normal and happy life.BY DOING WHAT?

Amanda is survived by her parents, Rick and Lynn (Organ) Bynes; her brother, Tommy Bynes; and her sister, Jillian Bynes.

Calling Hours are Saturday from 3 to 7 p.m. WHERE? The funeral will be held at 10 a.m. on Monday from the Griffin Family Funeral Chapel of Thousand Oaks followed by a burial at 11 a.m. at the Olson Cemetery, also in Thousand Oaks.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Foundation for Addiction Research, and mailed to P O Box 5742 Carefree, AZ 85377.