Saturday, April 30, 2011

Surviving SWAT teams to empower a real America

A man advocated use of gold and silver as an alternative to America's swiftly depreciating dollar. That made him a "terrorist"

On Valentine's Day this year the home of Walter Reddy was invaded by a Swat Team. The Reddy home is located in an area of Weston, Connecticut which has seen the original modest homes, set on lots of around two acres, which still describes the Reddy home, replaced by mansions, owned mostly by wealthy members of the corporate elite.

The man who filed a police report on Walter is a long time neighbor, Rand McNeil. Rand frequently came over to have coffee with Walter, always inquiring about the possibilities of buying Walter's home. Walter would smile and decline all offers as he poured out another cup of coffee for Rand. Yet on this occasion Rand reported to the police Walter threatened the police – but refused to sign an affidavit.

Then, two Special Agents for the FBI named Walter as a 'person of interest' regarding domestic terrorism.

After being held in handcuffs for hours as his neighbors drove by, staring, Reddy was not charged with a crime, but the judge decided to keep his weapons. There as no evidence of any wrong doing on Reddy's part. Walter was astonished to hear he was supposedly a threat to others, or at least those were the boxes the officials had checked off.

Rand refused to sign an affidavit attesting to the truth of the statements he had made, covertly, to police. The mission, probably to kill Reddy, fizzled, the reason is not discussed in court or in the media but can be surmised, given the evidence.

Sometimes you have to look at the facts not immediately in evidence to see the likely chain of causality. In December 2010 Walter Reddy had a meeting with Stan Crouch of Herbert J. Sims & Co., Inc. The firm is located in Fairfield, Connecticut at 2150 Post Road, Suite 301. The meeting took place in Crouch's tastefully appointed office.

Walter was hopeful this large and ,presumably, respectable firm would want to be involved in the plans he and a group of investors, economists, and activists had worked so hard to organize for the Sovereign State Depository. It was an ambitious plan, but one they believe Americans desperately need today, as the dollar continues to fail.

Across the expanse of polished wood, Crouch's partner, Victor Saul, had sat listening to the plan to provide the states with a way to use units of gold and silver bullion as money. Victor's eyes, bugging out with shock, said, “They are going to kill you.”

Stan Crouch's comment was, perhaps, even more illuminating. “They will send the military to come down on the states.” Walter was incredulous. He asked, “Are you out of your mind?” Clearly, they viewed the world very differently – or understood those in control to different degrees.

“We, the people, have a right to our life, our liberty, and our property.” Said Reddy. “Our property includes gold and silver.” Stan responded, “Gold and silver does not belong to the people. All of it belongs to the Federal Reserve. By the way, I have been down in the basement of the Federal Reserve. I've seen what they have stored there.”

Later, Walter was told by a friend, who is also a broker, that Stan Crouch was closely affiliated with Goldman Sachs. Walter had been told Stan was like-minded, in the cause of liberty, something entirely untrue.

The exchange clarifies the beliefs of of bankers and finance people, such as Stan Crouch. This relatively small and select group believe while ordinary Americans hold precious metals all of this form of wealth really belongs to the Federal Reserve. Your hold on your precious metals is temporary. The FED retains the right to confiscate gold, as happened in 1933 through the order of FDR.

Walter Reddy is an older man, a retired contractor, raised during the tumultuous 60s, he remembers with pride having circulated petitions to ensure passage of the 26th Amendment, giving 18 year olds the right to vote. Young men, then going off to Vietnam, could at least cast a ballot. Walter always votes, remembering the importance of being an active and informed citizen. Today, as he votes, he remembers the men who died and those who returned to harassment and rejection.

Walter has been active in his community, doing volunteer work, for most of his adult life. No product of wealth, Walter Reddy was raised a military brat. He understands the sacrifices servicemen make when they are told they must fight to preserve freedom.

Walter loves his modest home. The stand of pines, over 100 feet in height, borders the property, providing a sense of peace, reminding him of his own life's journey, which has been full of unexpected discoveries. Along with his hands-on work as a contractor, he sees to the plants he raised, watching them grow and prosper, as he wants America to grow and prosper, leaving him time to work to strengthen his community.

One of the organizations to which Walter belongs is the SAR, Sons of the American Revolution. He is proud to be descended from Henry Adams, sharing the same lineage with Sam and John Adams, men to whom freedom and individual rights mattered more than life itself.

Walter studied the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence, for which his ancestors fought, and died, while first a member of the SAR. Understanding that all people, from every culture and place, have the same inherent, God-given rights, Reddy also knows, in his bones, governance must be local to affirm the individual power and rights of all people.

Walter Reddy believes people should use persuasion, not coercion and force, governing through consensus, as was usual in much of New England when the Revolution was fought.

No matter where Walter is, or what he is doing, he carries in his mind the vision of a people who actively affirm their rights through self-governing and benevolence at the local level. Walter is a follower of Christ.

Original report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today. Now hosted on Wordpress. If you cannot access it, go to the MIRROR SITE, where posts appear as well as on the primary site. I have reposted the archives (past posts) for Wicked Thoughts HERE or HERE or here

Friday, April 29, 2011

Are Police Able to Search Your Cell Phone?

Michigan State Police Search Cell Phones On A Massive Scale

Cell phones contain more private information about you and your activities than just about anything else. They keep track of where you are at all times, everyone you call or text, email, social networking, photos, videos, personal files and much more. Would you want strangers to have access to all of this data?

Michigan State Police have reportedly been downloading data from cell phones of motorists that get pulled over for minor infractions like speeding, as if 8 million warrantless requests to Sprint weren’t enough. They use a special piece of hardware to download all of the data on the phone, including information the user has deleted.

What makes matters worse, the MSP are refusing to turn over information about the data they extract, procedures to get the data or why they get data unless a fee of $500,000 is paid. Does anyone know the average ransom paid to Somali pirates?

Violation Of Anyone’s Rights Is A Threat To Everyone’s Rights

Even if you are a completely honest person and think you have nothing to hide, think again. There are over 10,000 recorded laws in the US. Most honest people probably violate the law on a regular basis whether they know it or not.

If the police have access to such huge amounts of data about you, it can reveal violations of obscure, bureaucratic laws that you have never heard of. Or, that data could provide circumstantial evidence wrongly implicating you in crimes you had nothing to do with. That is assuming that no police officer will make improper use of the data. If you have read a single article on CopBlock, you know that abuse is very possible.

Here is what you can do to protect yourself from overzealous police who try to search your phone without cause.

Police Can Search Some Things

The law allows police to do a quick pat down to check for weapons when they stop you. There is not much more that they can do to search you unless your give them permission or they arrest you.

Hopefully you can avoid arrest, but Michigan State Police officers might be very diligent in trying to get you to consent to a search of your phone.

How To Prevent A Search Of Your Cell Phone

The key is to politely refuse their request. One of the best ways to avoid giving consent is to clearly and politely say “ I do not consent to any searches.”

If they are asking, they probably don’t have enough cause to search your phone without your consent. Refusing to give consent alone cannot give police sufficient grounds to search without your consent. If they continue to search your phone, that search will likely be unconstitutional and any evidence obtained as a result of that search will be considered fruit of the poisonous tree and be thrown out.

“I Don’t Consent To Any Searches”

You should learn this phrase well and use it any time an officer asks to search you, your car, your backpack, your house, your wallet, or asks for your cell phone. Just because they ask for a cell phone does not mean that you have to provide it.

Knowing your rights is the best way to protect your private data from overzealous police. But the law and the government can’t always protect you. Here are some ways to have better cell phone security, especially if you plan on encountering law enforcement.

Protect Yourself

Don’t carry a cell phone. This may be useful if you are going to a protest or rally where you expect a heavy police presence, and it may be a good excuse for some people who want to un-tether themselves from the matrix. It probably won’t be practical for every day use or chance encounters with police.

Use a prepaid cell phone. If you buy them with cash and replace them regularly, they will not have a large amount of data on them. The less data available the better.

Regularly wipe your cell phone. Getting rid of old data on a regular basis will also reduce the data available. Every make of phone has a different way to do this so check with your phone company to see how.

Encrypt as much of your phone as possible. This can be very tricky because encrypted emails, secure text messaging, storing encrypted files, and anonymous web surfing are more difficult on your phone than your laptop. You may need a separate application to encrypt each type of data and not all phones are created equal in the security department. Fortunately, the Fifth Amendment protects people from revealing their encryption keys.

Use call forwarding services. This is not foolproof, but using a free or paid call forwarding service can reduce the amount of data stored directly on your phone, adding an extra step the Michigan State Police will have to take to get your data.

File an official complaint with the police department. Complaints about any officer that unjustly takes or searches your phone after you have refused consent may be the kind of record that will help someone successfully sue that officer or the police department in the future for improper conduct.


Michigan State Police are downloading the data on people’s phones on a massive scale. This kind of data mining can be prevented by people who stand up for their rights. Don’t consent to letting a police officer search your phone. Help them to better spend their time protecting people and property from real crime. Learn more ways to protect your private data to protect yourself from overzealous police and lots of other threats.

Original report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today. Now hosted on Wordpress. If you cannot access it, go to the MIRROR SITE, where posts appear as well as on the primary site. I have reposted the archives (past posts) for Wicked Thoughts HERE or HERE or here

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Off-duty cop caught on tape punching woman in the face at an Atlanta pancake restaurant

She had come into the IHOP for a late-night coffee with friends. But Cynthia Freeman left in handcuffs after a scuffle broke out between her and an off-duty police officer who then punched her in the face.

The incident, which happened at around 4.30am on Sunday, at the IHOP in Buckhead, Atlanta, was captured on video and later plastered over YouTube.

The videos have since been taken down from the website and the incident is being investigated by Atlanta Police.

However the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that several of the videos posted on YouTube showed the officer, whose name is not known, shouting at a woman sitting in the corner of a booth near the door of the restaurant.

He is seen lunging at her while a woman wearing a black dress tries to separate them. The officer then appears to slap the second girl who hits him back before he punches her in the face.

He then pulls her onto the floor and handcuffs her, left, while her friend Roberta Caban, right, claimed the officers wouldn't tell the girls why they had been arrested

A second officer, also not named, then gets involved apparently trying to separate the pair. The first officer can then be seen pulling the woman across the table and onto the floor. He then lies on top of her while trying to put handcuffs on her wrists.

Seconds later a female officer appears to hold back the crowd while the handcuffed woman is led out of the restaurant.

Freeman and three others were arrested. Freeman was charged with obstruction of justice, criminal trespass and simple battery, according to her attorney Bobby Aniekwu. Aniekwu is also representing two of the other women involved in what he considers to be a case of 'excessive force.'

He added that there was a 'great likelihood' they would start litigation proceedings.

Freeman's friend Roberta Caban told Channel 2 Action News the police officer went overboard. She and her girlfriends had gone to the IHOP to get coffee when the police officer told her to be quiet, she said.

The Atlanta Police Department said in a statement: 'The matter has been referred to our Office of Professional Standards to determine whether department policies and procedures were followed. 'Further comment at this time would not be appropriate.'

Original report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today. Now hosted on Wordpress. If you cannot access it, go to the MIRROR SITE, where posts appear as well as on the primary site. I have reposted the archives (past posts) for Wicked Thoughts HERE or HERE or here

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Local tyranny is also the most intense

Local zoning laws, local code enforcement, and local property rights issues are the areas where the government’s tyranny is both the most petty and most oppressive. Petty neighbors will unleash the power of government against those with whom they have a personal dislike.

Such is the case with a man from Littlerock, CA. In a case of selective enforcement, where many properties are undoubtedly in some code violation, the county has chosen to ignore neighbors with those violations and concentrate only on him.

He has the County of Los Angeles threatening him with criminal charges for two reasons. The first is that he collects classic cars. Many of them do not operate, and apparently it is against county code to maintain inoperable vehicles on ones property. It is not a matter of whether or not these cars are properly registered, it is only a matter of these cars being inoperable.

The second is a public service he has been performing for the desert communities in the eastern side of northern Los Angeles County. He collected trash that people dump in the along the sides of the road and sorts through it to separate the recyclables from the trash. There is nothing in county code against doing that, so he thought it was allowed. According to representatives from the county, there is nothing in county code allowing that, so they say it is forbidden.

One would think that cleaning up the illegal dumping would be a valuable public service in the eyes of the county. To add further insult, he has been cited with violation of existing code provisions for home based occupations (020.070.035, which permits home based occupations).

When he first aroused the wrath of the county they merely suggested he put up a privacy fence so that his collection would not be an eyesore. He did that, and thought his ordeal was over. But merely following the advice of county code enforcement was not enough, and they determined that he was engaged in an illegal use of his property.

In a negotiation with representatives of the county, he was given 45 days to remove all inoperable vehicles. His lawyer protested that he would need 90 days. The county threatened him with criminal charges unless he agreed with the 45 day time frame. If he does not complete the removal in 45 days the county will likely press forward with the criminal charges.

Moreover he was threatened with being declared incompetent or a "hoarder," and threatened with having a "receiver" assigned to him at his own expense. This receiver would have the county come in with a crew of workers and trucks to clean everything off the property. To pay for this a special tax would be assessed against him that would try to pay this bill off in three years, and if he is unable to pay the expense then the county would place a lien against his property for unpaid taxes that would authorize the county to sell his property at auction.

There seems to be a definite trend with the county harassing elderly property owners with sanctions that ultimately result in seizing their land. They seek those who have the least resources to fight back and harasses them to the point where they are unable to resist any further, breaking them physically, mentally, and financially.

This fight has drained the meager resources of this man from Littlerock, and he has discovered that there is precious little separation of powers in Los Angeles County. There is little in the way of accountability or appeal. This is local tyranny at its finest and worst.

Original report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today. Now hosted on Wordpress. If you cannot access it, go to the MIRROR SITE, where posts appear as well as on the primary site. I have reposted the archives (past posts) for Wicked Thoughts HERE or HERE or here

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Why do police have to act like Nazi stormtroopers?

Just the thought that they might have the wrong guy should cause them to show that politeness for which British police were once famous. And the basic principle that a man is innocent until found guilty in a court of law should also guide them. But it often does not

Lying on his family room floor with assault weapons trained on him, shouts of "pedophile!" and "pornographer!" stinging like his fresh cuts and bruises, the US homeowner didn't need long to figure out the reason for the early morning wake-up call from a swarm of federal agents.

That new wireless router. He'd gotten fed up trying to set a password. Someone must have used his internet connection, he thought.

"We know who you are! You downloaded thousands of images at 11:30 last night," the man's lawyer, Barry Covert, recounted the agents saying. They referred to a screen name, "Doldrum." "No, I didn't," he insisted. "Somebody else could have but I didn't do anything like that." "You're a creep ... just admit it," they said.

Law enforcement officials say the case is a cautionary tale. Their advice: Password-protect your wireless router.

Plenty of others would agree. The Sarasota man, for example, who got a similar visit from the FBI last year after someone on a boat docked in a marina outside his building used a potato chip can as an antenna to boost his wireless signal and download an astounding 10 million images of child porn, or the North Syracuse man who in December 2009 opened his door to police who'd been following an electronic trail of illegal videos and images. The man's neighbor pleaded guilty April 12.

For two hours that March morning in Buffalo, agents tapped away at the homeowner's desktop computer, eventually taking it with them, along with his and his wife's iPads and iPhones.

Within three days, investigators determined the homeowner had been telling the truth: If someone was downloading child pornography through his wireless signal, it wasn't him. About a week later, agents arrested a 25-year-old neighbor and charged him with distribution of child pornography. The case is pending in federal court.

It's unknown how often unsecured routers have brought legal trouble for subscribers. Besides the criminal investigations, the internet is full of anecdotal accounts of people who've had to fight accusations of illegally downloading music or movies.

Whether you're guilty or not, "you look like the suspect," said Orin Kerr, a professor at George Washington University Law School, who said that's just one of many reasons to secure home routers.

Experts say the more savvy hackers can go beyond just connecting to the internet on the host's dime and monitor internet activity and steal passwords or other sensitive information.

A study released in February provides a sense of how often computer users rely on the generosity - or technological shortcomings - of their neighbors to gain Internet access.

The poll conducted for the Wi-Fi Alliance, the industry group that promotes wireless technology standards, found that among 1,054 Americans age 18 and older, 32 per cent acknowledged trying to access a Wi-Fi network that wasn't theirs. An estimated 201 million households worldwide use Wi-Fi networks, according to the alliance.

Experts say wireless routers come with encryption software, but setting it up means a trip to the manual.

The US government's Computer Emergency Readiness Team recommends home users make their networks invisible to others by disabling the identifier broadcasting function that allows wireless access points to announce their presence. It also advises users to replace any default network names or passwords, since those are widely known, and to keep an eye on the manufacturer's website for security patches or updates.

People who keep an open wireless router won't necessarily know when someone else is piggybacking on the signal, which usually reaches 300-400 feet, though a slower connection may be a clue.

For the Buffalo homeowner, who didn't want to be identified, the tip-off wasn't nearly as subtle.

It was 6:20 a.m. March 7 when he and his wife were awakened by the sound of someone breaking down their rear door. He threw a robe on and walked to the top of the stairs, looking down to see seven armed people with jackets bearing the initials I-C-E, which he didn't immediately know stood for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

"They are screaming at him, 'Get down! Get down on the ground!' He's saying, 'Who are you? Who are you?'" Covert said. "One of the agents runs up and basically throws him down the stairs, and he's got the cuts and bruises to show for it," said Covert, who said the homeowner plans no lawsuit. When he was allowed to get up, agents escorted him and watched as he used the bathroom and dressed.

The homeowner later got an apology from U.S. Attorney William Hochul and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent in Charge Lev Kubiak.

But this wasn't a case of officers rushing into the wrong house. Court filings show exactly what led them there and why.

On February 11, an investigator with the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees cybersecurity enforcement, signed in to a peer-to-peer file sharing program from his office. After connecting with someone by the name of "Doldrum," the agent browsed through his shared files for videos and images and found images and videos depicting children engaged in sexual acts.

The agent identified the IP address, or unique identification number, of the router, then got the service provider to identify the subscriber.

Investigators could have taken an extra step before going inside the house and used a laptop or other device outside the home to see whether there was an unsecured signal. That alone wouldn't have exonerated the homeowner, but it would have raised the possibility that someone else was responsible for the downloads.

After a search of his devices proved the homeowner's innocence, investigators went back to the peer-to-peer software and looked at logs that showed what other IP addresses Doldrum had connected from. Two were associated with the State University of New York at Buffalo and accessed using a secure token that UB said was assigned to a student living in an apartment adjacent to the homeowner. Agents arrested John Luchetti March 17. He has pleaded not guilty to distribution of child pornography.

In Germany, the country's top criminal court ruled last year that internet users must secure their wireless connections to prevent others from illegally downloading data. The court said internet users could be fined up to $126 if a third party takes advantage of their unprotected line, though it stopped short of holding the users responsible for illegal content downloaded by the third party.

The ruling came after a musician sued an internet user whose wireless connection was used to download a song, which was then offered on an online file sharing network. The user was on vacation when the song was downloaded.

Original report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today. Now hosted on Wordpress. If you cannot access it, go to the MIRROR SITE, where posts appear as well as on the primary site. I have reposted the archives (past posts) for Wicked Thoughts HERE or HERE or here

Monday, April 25, 2011

OR: Jury awards $82k to woman arrested for seeking police business card

A Multnomah County jury awarded a 33-year-old woman $82,000 Thursday, saying they wanted to send Portland police a message: Hand over a business card the next time a citizen asks for one.

Several jurors who spoke to The Oregonian after the verdict in Multnomah County Circuit Court said police weren’t dealing with an urgent or dangerous situation on the evening of Feb. 13, 2009 — when Shei’Meka Newmann questioned what she thought was an unnecessarily rough arrest of a fellow MAX rider. It would have taken only a few seconds for an officer to hand Newmann a card, jurors said.

“I think that police need to be reminded that it’s part of their job to de-escalate and defuse situations,” said juror Chris Bolles. Instead, jurors say police overreacted to Newmann’s queries.

After Newmann saw Officer Aaron Dauchy pull a 29-year-old black man off the train and handcuff him on the ground, she asked him why the man was under arrest. Dauchy asked her why it was her business. She responded that she was a concerned citizen, to which Dauchy replied he didn’t have to tell her unless she was the man’s attorney. Newmann then asked Dauchy’s partner, Officer Jim Sandvik, for a business card. But he refused, took her ID, then said he planned to exclude her from TriMet.

Newmann testified said that she said she’d be fine because she can drive her car to work. And that when she stepped toward the officer to read the name off his uniform and jot it down on a piece of paper, Sandvik struck her in the upper chest. He also twisted her arm so hard she thought it was going to break, before handcuffing her, she said.

She was taken to jail and released early the next morning with no money, cellphone or shoelaces.

Sandvik, however, told a very different story. He said Newmann was screaming, angry and demanding — and had approached him from behind as he was trying to deal with four drunken men. Sandvik also said Newmann ignored repeated lawful orders to get back.

Deputy City Attorney Jim Rice argued that officers have a legitimate reason to tell civilians to stand back when they approach from behind — there’s a risk the civilian might grab an officer’s gun or stab the officer from behind. “If people don’t comply ... there is a consequence,” Rice said. What’s more, Rice said, “You don’t have a right to a card when you want it. You have a right to the card if it doesn’t impede law enforcement.”

Jurors, however, said they watched minutes of TriMet video, which showed multiple officers standing around doing nothing much.

Newmann also testified that she never saw Sandvik talking to four drunken men.

Part of her testimony was backed up by Officer Paul Valdez, who testified Newmann was polite and didn’t do anything that could be considered interfering with an officer, which was what she was charged with doing.

Rice argued that Newmann had a distorted view of what happened that night: For one, video didn’t show Officer Dauchy pulling the man off the train as roughly as Newmann described. That man has been arrested 117 times — mostly for minor misdeeds such as not paying MAX fare or disorderly conduct — and he wasn’t supposed to be riding MAX that night because he had been excluded.

Newmann’s attorney, Greg Kafoury, said he understands the police officers’ “incredible frustration” with such a repeat low-level offender. And that despite the city’s argument that Newmann overreacted to what she saw, “it doesn’t really matter. She has a right to ask for a card,” Kafoury said. Kafoury said the disrespectful treatment of Newmann doesn’t do much to help relations between the young black community and police.

The criminal case against Newmann was dismissed when Sandvik didn’t show up to court. He said he had a migraine headache.

Newmann said she was hesitant to sue but did so because the students she mentors encouraged her to stand up for what is right.

Newmann was bounced between eight group and foster homes as a pre-teen and teen. She graduated from Benson Polytechnic High School as a star varsity athlete with a 3.8 GPA. She’s been a foster mom and taught Sunday school. She also has worked as the mailroom administrator at Wieden+Kennedy for years. In 2007, she was given the mayor’s Spirit of Portland Award for her volunteer work with Jefferson High School students during her lunch breaks.

Her attorneys — Kafoury and his son, Jason Kafoury — describe Newmann as an upstanding citizen who has a passion for helping disadvantaged youth and young adults. After her arrest, her reputation suffered when some church members gave her the cold shoulder and parents pulled their children away from her.

“It takes great courage for a citizen to stand up to the power of police,” said Greg Kafoury. “But aside from Shei’Meka’s integrity, we salute Officer Valdez” and other officers who could have testified for the city but didn’t.

The jury found 10-2 that police committed battery against Newmann, and that she was falsely arrested and maliciously prosecuted.

Original report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today. Now hosted on Wordpress. If you cannot access it, go to the MIRROR SITE, where posts appear as well as on the primary site. I have reposted the archives (past posts) for Wicked Thoughts HERE or HERE or here

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Coverup over lazy British cops

Police have been accused of a cover-up over two officers who allegedly drove off from a brutal assault saying: ‘It isn’t our shout.’

Insurance broker Peter Cox, 34, was left blind in one eye after he was knocked unconscious by a gang of youths. His jaw and nose were also broken as the thugs stamped on his head. But as paramedics were treating Mr Cox in New Romney, Kent, two police officers allegedly pulled up but then swiftly drove off.

It was five hours before the next police officer arrived at the scene in August 2009. Later, five men were arrested but released because of a lack of evidence.

Despite two investigations spanning almost 18 months, Kent Police say they have not been able to identify the officers who drove off.

Yet Mr Cox, who was walking home with cricket team-mates when attacked, claims the force has admitted only three patrol cars were in the area that night. ‘The police have tried to cover their tracks,’ he said. ‘First they tried to claim the officers were from a different force and then they claimed there were no electronic trackers in the cars.’

Kent Police said: ‘Numerous inquiries were conducted force-wide to identify the officers involved. Despite all the efforts, they have not been identified. ‘This was an isolated incident from which lessons have been learned.’

Original report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today. Now hosted on Wordpress. If you cannot access it, go to the MIRROR SITE, where posts appear as well as on the primary site. I have reposted the archives (past posts) for Wicked Thoughts HERE or HERE or here

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Something's Rotten in Texas: Negligence by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles Has Led to at Least Two Murders in the Past Five-and-a-Half Months

What does it take for them to keep habitual black criminals in jail?

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles has abdicated its responsibilities, by variously letting bad men out early, and permitting them to remain free, in spite of the convicts violating their parole. Its members now have the blood of at least two good men on their hands in the past six months alone.

Up in heaven, Samuel Irick and Donald "Donnie" Frye III are getting acquainted. The reasons those two solid citizens' loved ones are without them are because the men allegedly crossed paths with a couple of less than solid citizens who had no business being free. Good Samaritan Sam Irick, 24, was murdered on November 7, coming to the aid of San Antonio mother of three Mrs. Amberley Wait, 44, who was being robbed while waiting on line outside a Houston Chevron station convenience store in the predominantly white area of Bellaire, allegedly by Anthony Ray Ferrell, 39, who is charged with having then murdered Irick, shooting him in the abdomen.

Career criminal Anthony Ray Ferrell had repeatedly violated his parole, but the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles refused to revoke his parole and return him in jail, and instead placed him in a no-security halfway house, from which he had walked away, during the month prior to allegedly murdering Sam Irick.

On April 11, it was Donald "Donnie" Frye III's turn to suffer the tender mercies of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, in what my reader-researcher David in TN tells me is called a "follow home" murder. That night Frye, 41, a resident of Atascocita, a well-to-do suburb just outside of Houston, drove to a Redbox video outlet, to return a DVD. Unbeknownst to him, a group of felons followed him home. They confronted him in his driveway, demanded his BMW, and shot him dead, with one saying that Frye hadn't turned over his keys quickly enough to suit them.

Frye's wife and young daughter found him dead in the driveway, at 1 a.m. Frye leaves behind his wife and three children. He was a vice-president at shipping giant DHL.

The first suspect arrested in the Frye robbery-homicide, Giovanni Mora, 18, is already a veteran hoodlum. He started off his adult criminal career with a drug conviction--no details have yet been published--advanced to aggravated robbery with a gun and, according to Harris County (TX) law enforcement and prosecutors, has now graduated to capital murder.

Mora told police he and an unidentified accomplice followed Frye home because they wanted his car, according to court documents.
One of them allegedly shot Frye because he didn’t turn over his keys quickly enough. Fingerprints on Frye's car led them to Mora.

But why was Mora a free man, to begin with? At the age of 17, he was convicted of aggravated robbery with a gun, already his second criminal conviction, but sentenced to only two years in prison, and paroled last December, after serving but one year. That would be the same Texas Board of Parole and Pardons that has the blood of Good Samaritan Samuel Irick on its hands.

Anthony Ray Ferrell and Giovanni Mora enjoy the presumption of innocence. If found guilty of capital murder, they are liable to receive a sentence of death or life in prison. Although Texas has in recent years executed more convicted murderers than any other state, one should assume nothing. After all, it takes only one racist black juror to sabotage the trial of a black felon.

Update: On Monday, Click2Houston/WPRC reported: "Two more men have been arrested in connection with the death of a man whose body was found in the driveway of his Atascocita home. Bobby Dean Jones, 18, and Bruce Lee Taylor, 29, have been charged with capital murder. Giovanni Mora, 18, was charged with capital murder last week. Harris County prosecutors have yet to reveal whether they will seek the death penalty in the Frye case."

These cases positively stink of racism. The defendants, all of whom are black, were free due to criminal justice affirmative action by the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole, while the victims in these cases are all white.

It's high time for an inquiry into the conduct, or rather misconduct, of the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole.

Original report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today. Now hosted on Wordpress. If you cannot access it, go to the MIRROR SITE, where posts appear as well as on the primary site. I have reposted the archives (past posts) for Wicked Thoughts HERE or HERE or here

Friday, April 22, 2011

Michigan: Police Search Cell Phones During Traffic Stops

A blatant breach of the 4th Amendment

ACLU seeks information on Michigan program that allows cops to download information from smart phones belonging to stopped motorists.

The Michigan State Police have a high-tech mobile forensics device that can be used to extract information from cell phones belonging to motorists stopped for minor traffic violations. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan last Wednesday demanded that state officials stop stonewalling freedom of information requests for information on the program.

ACLU learned that the police had acquired the cell phone scanning devices and in August 2008 filed an official request for records on the program, including logs of how the devices were used. The state police responded by saying they would provide the information only in return for a payment of $544,680. The ACLU found the charge outrageous.

"Law enforcement officers are known, on occasion, to encourage citizens to cooperate if they have nothing to hide," ACLU staff attorney Mark P. Fancher wrote. "No less should be expected of law enforcement, and the Michigan State Police should be willing to assuage concerns that these powerful extraction devices are being used illegally by honoring our requests for cooperation and disclosure."

A US Department of Justice test of the CelleBrite UFED used by Michigan police found the device could grab all of the photos and video off of an iPhone within one-and-a-half minutes. The device works with 3000 different phone models and can even defeat password protections.

"Complete extraction of existing, hidden, and deleted phone data, including call history, text messages, contacts, images, and geotags," a CelleBrite brochure explains regarding the device's capabilities. "The Physical Analyzer allows visualization of both existing and deleted locations on Google Earth. In addition, location information from GPS devices and image geotags can be mapped on Google Maps."

The ACLU is concerned that these powerful capabilities are being quietly used to bypass Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches.

"With certain exceptions that do not apply here, a search cannot occur without a warrant in which a judicial officer determines that there is probable cause to believe that the search will yield evidence of criminal activity," Fancher wrote. "A device that allows immediate, surreptitious intrusion into private data creates enormous risks that troopers will ignore these requirements to the detriment of the constitutional rights of persons whose cell phones are searched."

The national ACLU is currently suing the Department of Homeland Security for its policy of warrantless electronic searches of laptops and cell phones belonging to people entering the country who are not suspected of committing any crime.

Original report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today. Now hosted on Wordpress. If you cannot access it, go to the MIRROR SITE, where posts appear as well as on the primary site. I have reposted the archives (past posts) for Wicked Thoughts HERE or HERE or here

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Watch the Watchmen

John Stossel

I believe in the right to privacy. Yet I can think of someone who deserves very little privacy -- a policeman making an arrest. Unfortunately, in some states it's a crime to make a video of a policeman doing just that. People recording police have been threatened, detained or arrested. Some were jailed overnight.

That's wrong. Police work for the public, they're paid with tax money, and most importantly, they have tremendous power. They've got the legal right to pull guns, detain us, lock us up and, in some cases, shoot us. The potential for abuse is great. So it's a good thing that modern video cameras are now so commonplace. Any abuse of police power in a public place is likely to be recorded. Why should that be a crime in some states?

I asked Radley Balko, an editor at Reason magazine who keeps an eye on issues like this: What's happened to the people who were arrested for videotaping cops at work?

"In most of these cases, the people aren't actually prosecuted," Balko said. "The charges tend to get dropped before these cases get to trial -- I think because the people prosecuting these cases and the people who make the laws don't want the laws to actually get challenged. But it's a night in jail."

On what charge? "In states that have these two-party consent laws, they rely on the old wiretapping laws. The claim is that police officers have a right to privacy while they're on the job in public exercising some pretty powerful responsibilities that we give them. I think that claim is ridiculous."

He says some authorities now claim that people who record the police while being arrested are "interfering with arrest or ... refusing to obey a lawful order, if they tell you to turn the camera off and you don't."

How does it interfere with the arrest? "It's a ridiculous argument. But here's the thing: You may not go to jail for these charges. But they're going to take your camera, going to arrest you, you're going to be handcuffed, put in the back of a squad car. And nothing is going to happen to the police officers who illegally arrest you -- usually."

Occasionally a cop caught abusing his power is arrested or fired. But that's rare.

In Maryland, motorcyclist Tony Graber got in trouble for recording a cop who pulled him over for speeding. Graber didn't know it was cop. He was just a guy in plainclothes with a gun. The cop eventually identified himself.

"Graber didn't get arrested until he posted that video on YouTube," Balko explained. "Once he posted it ... the state police raided his home -- came into his home early in the morning, guns drawn -- confiscated a bunch of computer equipment, held him and his parents at gunpoint, arrested him. He spent several nights in jail. He had felony charges hanging over his head until the case finally got to court."

Fortunately, a state judge threw out the charges and wrote a strong opinion: "Those of us who are public officials and are entrusted with the power of the state should not expect our actions to be shielded from public observation."

He ended by asking, "Who watches the watchmen?" -- a question Plato raised in "The Republic." Good for the judge. But Balko points out that no one punished the authorities who abused their power. "The prosecutor who charged him, the cops who raided him and arrested him -- they were all wrong about the law and did real harm to him, and none of them are going to suffer any consequences."

Most police officers told us that they're fine with cameras, and some were happy they were recorded when they were vindicated of misconduct charges thanks to a video made by a bystander. The cops who object tend to be problem cops.

That little phone with a camera is a good thing. Now it's even a weapon against tyranny.

But, Balko added, only if the laws "ensure that we can continue to use it that way."

Original report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today. Now hosted on Wordpress. If you cannot access it, go to the MIRROR SITE, where posts appear as well as on the primary site. I have reposted the archives (past posts) for Wicked Thoughts HERE or HERE or here

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

400 NYPD cops could be charged for ticket fixing

A major ticket fixing scandal is rocking the NYPD, and as many as 400 cops could face bribery and larceny charges for making tickets disappear in exchange for gifts, according to a report.

"This is huge," a source told the New York Post. "That's a lot of cops all in one shot. I've never heard of something like that before, this many police officers charged in one period."

The investigation was reportedly started by accident. Apparently the owner of a barbershop not far from the 43rd Precinct in the Bronx called his police officer son to see about fixing a ticket. Unbeknownst to the officer, the telephone was being tapped by Internal Affairs officers who were investigating local drug trafficking.

Sources told CBS affiliate WCBS that union delegates were among those asked to fix the tickets. Among the cops under investigation, more than two dozen face potential felony charges, while another 10 could face lesser charges like obstruction of government administration.

Sources also told the station that although the case began in the Bronx, prosecutors in at least two other boroughs have pieces of the probe.

Internal Affairs probers pulled summonses issued by 12 Bronx precincts last September. Records were also reportedly pulled at precincts in other boroughs.

After the probe began the NYPD instituted a new electronic tracking system for summonses, making it tougher to fix tickets.

Original report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today. Now hosted on Wordpress. If you cannot access it, go to the MIRROR SITE, where posts appear as well as on the primary site. I have reposted the archives (past posts) for Wicked Thoughts HERE or HERE or here

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Gravely injured man accused of murder

Convicted on speculation

Smart, ambitious and successful, Volpato was a pharmacist and three-term City Council member in Carlsbad when he became the suspect in one of New Mexico's most famous cases — the murder of Volpato's wife, Elaine.

Her relatives stood by Volpato through his two murder trials, convinced of his innocence and angered at the state's tactics. At the same time, many of Volpato's friends turned against him. "The betrayal is what bothers me most," Volpato said. "When I start talking about this, I realize there's still some bitterness."

Ask Volpato if he had any flaws, and he lists them without hesitation. He says he was a womanizer, a drinker, a gambler. But he also says he was innocent of the murder charge against him.

He and a business partner operated two pharmacies in Carlsbad. In addition to offering prescriptions and sundries, one of their drugstores housed a methadone clinic for heroin addicts.

In that era before 24-hour drive-through service by pharmacy chains, Volpato would open his Corner Drug Store at all hours to fill prescriptions. "We ran nine other pharmacies out of business by offering that kind of service," he said.

The night of the crime, he took a call at home from a man who said he needed medicine for a kidney infection. Volpato agreed to meet the man at the Corner Drug Store to fill the prescription. This also was the site of the methadone clinic. Elaine, not feeling well, said she would ride along with Volpato and pick up a few items at the store.

Once inside, Volpato said, he soon realized they had been ensnared by a criminal. The man who had called was a robber, not a customer.

The thief had at least one accomplice and maybe two, Volpato said. The second man was sort of a lookout.

Volpato said it was the man who had called about a prescription who pulled a gun and demanded drugs.

Volpato kept the methadone in a safe. He said he thought he would open it, give the thief what he wanted and life would go on after a harrowing night.

Volpato said his wife, who was 36 years old, tried to run when she saw the gunman. The robber opened fire. Four bullets hit Elaine and two others struck Volpato. Wounded in the upper chest and the hand, he still had the strength to dial the police department for help.

An air ambulance flew Volpato to a hospital in Dallas. It was there, in the emergency room, that he said he learned Elaine was dead. His chest wound was serious. "I was clinically dead in that hospital," he said.

Never a religious man, Volpato said he had a conversion while recovering. If there is a God, he said, he needed strength. Volpato said a white glow filled his hospital room, and he committed himself to being a better man, a man of God.

Infidelity in a small town

He had cheated on Elaine many times. She knew it. Soon the police did too. Volpato would have been a suspect in his wife's death, no matter what. His infidelity heightened police interest in him. They searched every inch of Volpato's store, seeking clues about the shootings. They found no gun.

Nonetheless, police developed a theory in which there were no intruders, no thieves after methadone. There was only Volpato. Unfaithful to his wife and perhaps unwilling to lose his big riverside house and money in a divorce, Volpato himself killed Elaine, the police concluded.

But a grand jury declined to indict Volpato. Months passed but nobody was arrested in Elaine's murder.

Then police said they found a breakthrough clue. A broken board behind the safe might have been the spot where Volpato stashed the gun after killing his wife, staging the robbery and shooting himself. The state charged him with first-degree murder in 1981.

He went on trial that fall. Volpato was 44 years old, and he had a hometown lawyer by his side. He said he thought about hiring Leon Taylor of Albuquerque, the state's most storied and successful defense attorney. But Volpato thought that bringing a legal gunslinger like Taylor to Carlsbad might make him seem guilty. An innocent man should not need an extraordinary lawyer imported from the big city, he reasoned.

Looking back, Volpato said not hiring Taylor was a terrible mistake.

Prosecutors made hay out of Volpato's infidelity, though they backed away from earlier claims that money was a motive for him to kill. Elaine Volpato, with a congenial heart defect, had only a $1,000 life insurance policy that her father had bought her when she was a little girl.

The state purported to have science on its side. An FBI agent testified that bullets found in Volpato's home could have been from the same batch as those used in the murder.

"Hocus-pocus junk science," Volpato says. This so-called "bullet-lead analysis" has since come under attack as an unreliable investigative tool that has sent innocent people to prison.

Volpato's gun disappeared after the killing, another strike against him in the circumstantial case brought by prosecutors.

He knew he was in trouble as he studied the jurors. Volpato braced himself for the worst. Jurors convicted him of first-degree murder, and the judge sentenced Volpato to life in prison. He would be eligible for parole after 30 years.

Volpato hired Leon Taylor to handle his appeal, a process that went on for 41 months. Volpato served his time in the Penitentiary of New Mexico south of Santa Fe. Deadly riots had rocked the prison the year before Volpato arrived.

Taylor, now retired in Arkansas, was one of America's more famous defense lawyers by the time Volpato became his client. Taylor handled 384 murder cases in his career, which included time as a prosecutor.

First Taylor said he remembered little about defending Volpato. But then he revealed that Volpato's case inspired him to write a novel called "Tortured Justice." He is seeking a publisher. "It's fiction, but clearly and unequivocally it exonerates Johnny Volpato," Taylor said.

In real life, after four failed appeals, Taylor convinced the New Mexico Supreme Court to grant Volpato another trial based on evidence the defense said had been concealed. New witnesses said they saw three men lurking at the Corner Drug Store and then heard what they thought was a car backfiring. This backed up Volpato's story about a trio of robbers.

Taylor, concerned about negative publicity in Carlsbad, got Volpato's retrial moved to Albuquerque. A tiger in the courtroom, Taylor got in a videotape of Volpato recounting the crime while under sodium pentothal, sometimes called truth serum. But he kept Volpato off the witness stand. In mock cross-examinations in Taylor's office, Volpato did not come across well, Taylor said. "He wasn't an especially good witness. Some people are, some people aren't."

But, Taylor said, his belief in Volpato was unwavering. Taylor said the evidence showed Volpato could not have shot himself, that he could not be guilty.

This time, a jury acquitted Volpato. For many it was not a question of reasonable doubt. During polling of the panel, one female juror said Volpato was an innocent man.

Free again, he did not return to Carlsbad. Instead, Volpato moved to Raton, where his brother owned a pharmacy. For a time, Volpato said, he thought of living in a box canyon with only a dog for companionship. As it turned out, he re-entered society in seamless fashion.

Volpato married again and later returned to politics, winning a seat as a Colfax County commissioner.

Original report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today. Now hosted on Wordpress. If you cannot access it, go to the MIRROR SITE, where posts appear as well as on the primary site. I have reposted the archives (past posts) for Wicked Thoughts HERE or HERE or here

Monday, April 18, 2011

Feds: Pattern of misconduct by New Orleans police

New Orleans police officers have often used deadly force without justification, repeatedly made unconstitutional arrests and engaged in racial profiling, the Justice Department said Thursday in a scathing report.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu called the report sobering but not surprising, given the highly publicized problems laid bare after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The mayor had requested the review shortly after taking office in May 2010 and said many of the problems outlined in the report were exposed after Katrina but existed long before the storm devastated the low-lying city on the Mississippi River.

The report found that the department has long failed to adequately protect New Orleans residents because of numerous shortcomings, including inadequate supervision and ineffective methods of taking and investigating complaints.

The report's release comes as one former police officer awaits sentencing for a federal manslaughter conviction in a post-Katrina shooting and as others await trial in the separate killings of unarmed civilians. Justice Department officials made no mention of the active criminal cases in their report.

"Even the most serious uses of force, such as officer-involved shootings and in-custody deaths, are investigated inadequately or not at all," the report said, referring frequently to the department by its acronym NOPD. "NOPD's mishandling of officer-involved shooting investigations was so blatant and egregious that it appeared intentional in some respects."

It said poor recruitment, bad training, ignorance or disregard of policies that often are unclear contributed to a lack of confidence and even a distrust of the police. That, in turn contributes to a violent crime problem that police have found difficult to control, the report said.

The report says internal investigations are conducted by field supervisors who lack training and that discipline had been meted out inconsistently. These and other problems "render NOPD's system for investigating and responding to allegations of officer misconduct ineffective at changing officer behavior or holding officers responsible for their actions."

Mary Howell, a civil rights lawyer who has frequently represented victims of alleged police misconduct, agreed with the findings. "You cannot fight crime with a brutal and corrupt police department," she added. "We have had it for years and we have paid dearly for that."

Landrieu and his hand-picked police chief, Ronal Serpas, said reforms already are under way and they welcomed the report. "There's nobody in this room that is surprised by the general tenor and tone of what this report has to say," Landrieu said at the news conference with Serpas and Justice Department officials, including U.S. Attorney Jim Letten. Landrieu reiterated a pledge that policy changes and practical reforms would be adopted as a result of the report and enforced by a federal court order he plans to seek jointly with the Justice Department

Serpas, a New Orleans native who served in the department under another reform-minded chief, Richard Pennington, in the 1990s, said policies Pennington put in place improved practices at a time of reported corruption and acts of violence by officers. But he noted Pennington left a decade ago and now a federal court order overseen by a judge would ensure a new round of reforms sticks.

Serpas said he has already dismissed officers for violations of department policy. He is seeking more authority from the City Council and the city's civil service board to promote officers to key managerial positions.

The 115-page report and 16 added pages of recommendations outlined a myriad of problems. The report said lethal force by police included the firing of guns at moving cars, risking hitting the driver and turning the car into an uncontrolled weapon. It also said inadequately trained dog handlers couldn't keep their dogs from biting suspects who were complying or trying to comply with police orders.

It also said department practice and policy led to the "under-investigation and under-enforcement" of laws protecting women from violence, adding there was evidence of police harassment of gays and lesbians.

And the report raised questions of racial bias. "NOPD use of force data also shows a troubling racial disparity that warrants a searching inquiry into whether racial bias influenced the use of force at NOPD," the report said. "Of the 27 instances between January 2009 and May 2010 in which NOPD officers intentionally discharged their firearms at people, all 27 of the subjects of this deadly force were African-American," the report stated without specifying if any — or how many — were fatally wounded.

A review of "resisting arrest" reports documenting use of force over the same period found blacks were the subjects 81 out of 96 times.

Original report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today. Now hosted on Wordpress. If you cannot access it, go to the MIRROR SITE, where posts appear as well as on the primary site. I have reposted the archives (past posts) for Wicked Thoughts HERE or HERE or here

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Putting Prosecutors Above the Law

The Supreme Court has again upheld the principle that prosecutors are above the law. Connick v. Thompson is the newest peak into the gross corruption of American criminal justice, and a reminder of what government power means.

John Thompson was convicted of armed robbery in 1985 in New Orleans. Then he faced a murder trial, and knowing his robbery conviction would come up if he testified, he waived the opportunity. He was convicted and sentenced to death. He sat in prison for eighteen years, including fourteen on death row.

But he was innocent. The prosecutors in both cases had withheld evidence. They had a blood sample that later proved his innocence in the robbery. They had a report of eyewitnesses describing the murderer as six-foot tall with close-cropped hair. Thompson was 5’8’’ with a large Afro. What’s more, the state’s witness in the murder trial happened to fit the description of the killer.

Much later, facing terminal illness, one prosecutor admitted to another in the DA office about the blood evidence. They both hid the truth for years.

Then the truth surfaced. Thompson’s robbery conviction was overturned and his execution stayed a month before his scheduled death. A new trial exonerated him for the murder.

Withholding exculpatory evidence violates the Constitution, according to Brady v. Maryland (1963). But the Supreme Court ruled in Imbler v. Pachtman (1976) that individual prosecutors are fully immune to civil suits for courtroom wrongdoing, even when it leads to death sentences for the innocent. Two years ago, the Court extended this principle to supervising prosecutors in Van de Kamp v. Goldstein.

And now, in a 5–4 ruling, the Court has essentially immunized the entire municipality, overturning Thompson’s successful lawsuit against New Orleans District Attorney Harry Connick Sr. for poorly training prosecutors in their obligations under Brady.

The questions facing the Court: was there an actual “pattern” of Brady violations that should have prompted the lead D.A. to better train his prosecutors, and was poor training the cause of the injustice?

In his concurring decision, Antonin Scalia said that the travesty “was almost certainly caused not by a failure to give prosecutors specific training, but by miscreant prosecutor Gerry Deegan’s willful suppression of evidence he believed to be exculpatory, in an effort to railroad Thompson.”

If the conservatives are right that the D.A. office is not liable, Thompson is just out of luck. Those most personally responsible can’t be touched. Forget fines or damages. A couple of his prosecutors still practice law.

The doctrine of “sovereign immunity”—the indemnity of officials who commit even intentionally criminal behavior on the job—underlies much of government’s malfeasance. It’s implicit in America’s regulatory state, its military policies, all the way up to the White House.

But nothing is more despotic than the precedents that shield prosecutors from any recourse in a wide range of bald injustices.

Conservatives sometimes argue that the federal judiciary should not fuss over the rights of the accused and convicted, “coddling” criminals and undermining local courts and police. But should the Supreme Court repeatedly reward prosecutorial misconduct? Is this not judicial and prosecutorial tyranny?

Our society is overly litigious. People sue cigarette and fast-food companies, neglecting their own personal responsibility. They sue employers for firing them illegally, when such decisions should be a matter of contractual liberty. We are a culture of would-be victims. But Thompson is the real deal.

Nobody will pay for his ordeal. State criminality is above the legal standards that apply to the rest of us. This is the real nature of government—the right of state agents to do what would be criminal if done by common people. Confiscating money by force is “taxation” for the government; when you or I do it we call it “theft.” What is “monetary policy” when done by the state is called “counterfeiting” if done privately. And when prosecutors knowingly hide evidence and doom an innocent man to death, it is not called attempted murder or even false imprisonment. It is an injustice for which no one’s head must roll.

Perhaps somewhere the rule of law thrives. But thanks in part to the Supreme Court, it’s missing in America’s courtrooms.

Original report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today. Now hosted on Wordpress. If you cannot access it, go to the MIRROR SITE, where posts appear as well as on the primary site. I have reposted the archives (past posts) for Wicked Thoughts HERE or HERE or here

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Vindictive West Australian cops still targeting the innocent victim of their own corruption

They framed Mickelberg to get a conviction many years ago but still appear to hate him for his role in exposing their corruption. The two cops principally concerned in the original fraud are now dead but an entirely justified foul smell still hangs over the entire force -- materially assisted by subsequent corrupt prosecutions (such as the Mallard case) that have not led to significant disciplinary action against the cops concerned

THE man wrongly jailed for the 1982 Perth Mint Swindle has been acquitted in the West Australian Supreme Court of stealing a $16.80 roll of tape from a hardware store.

Ray Mickelberg was found guilty by a Perth magistrate in August 2010 of stealing a roll of orange 30-metre tape from a Bunnings hardware store in Innaloo.

Mr Mickelberg had used three strips of tape to repackage a box for a ceiling fan he had opened to inspect the item while at the Bunnings store.

Although he was originally charged with the theft of the $309 ceiling fan, Magistrate Giuseppe Cicchini dismissed the charge, but convicted the 64-year-old over the theft of the tape.

Mr Mickelberg, who represented himself, successfully appealed the conviction in the WA Supreme Court on Friday, with Commissioner Kevin Sleight finding he had an 'honest claim of right" over the tape. It meant Commissioner Sleight agreed that although Mr Mickelberg used the tape while it was still the property of Bunnings, he did intend to pay for the roll.

Commissioner Sleight said the issue of honest claim of right was not raised by Mr Mickelberg or the prosecutor during the case, so it was not considered by the magistrate. "Therefore, I conclude that Mr Mickelberg did not receive a fair trial and accordingly an injustice has occurred," he said in his judgment.

Mr Mickelberg, who along with his brothers Peter and Brian were framed by detectives and wrongly convicted in 1983 of stealing more than $650,000 in gold bullion, said the "ludicrous" charge showed that WA police were still after him. "That's why this state has got such a shocking track record of miscarriage of justice," he told reporters. "Every citizen realises if you stand and fight in this state you will be hunted down, just like I have been.

"If it hadn't been my name at Bunnings that day I wouldn't have been charged, it's as simple as that, but (police) saw a chance to get back at me and they took it."

In the original trial, Magistrate Cicchini found that the prosecution's key witness, Bunnings security guard Ian McKeagg, was not a "witness of truth", lacking reliability and credibility.

Mr Mickelberg said Bunnings and WA police would have known Mr McKeagg's evidence was perjured and said he would launch legal action against the hardware chain as well as the security guard. "It's my turn to use the judicial system against those who falsely accused me and I put Bunnings on notice," he said. "They might be a large corporation worth hundreds of millions, but I'm coming after them and I'm coming after them with force. They will pay for what they did to me."

Original report here. (Via Australian police news)

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today. Now hosted on Wordpress. If you cannot access it, go to the MIRROR SITE, where posts appear as well as on the primary site. I have reposted the archives (past posts) for Wicked Thoughts HERE or HERE or here

Friday, April 15, 2011

Australia: Racing identity assaulted by NSW police, court finds

A racing identity was the victim of a brutal police assault, but he was the one to face charges and perjured police evidence, a Sydney magistrate has been told.

Tom Hughes Junior, barrister for Benedetto Forbello, was applying for his client's legal costs after a magistrate found him not guilty of four charges today.

Mr Forbello, 41, had been charged with offensive language, resisting arrest, hindering police in the execution of their duties and assaulting police following an incident outside the Royal Oaks Hotel at Double Bay in April last year.

In the Downing Centre Local Court, Mr Hughes said CCTV footage revealed Mr Forbello had been "jumped upon" by seven or eight police officers while his hands were cuffed behind his back.

He described photographs of the consequence of "that brutal assault" as "sickening" and said the attack included a policewoman "gratuitously and disgracefully" kneeing Mr Forbello in the groin.

He also said there were "21 identifying incidents of perjury" committed by one of the officers, who denied he had supplied his statement to other officers.

Magistrate Geoffrey Bradd will hand down his decision on the cost application next month.

SOURCE. (Via Australian police news)

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today. Now hosted on Wordpress. If you cannot access it, go to the MIRROR SITE, where posts appear as well as on the primary site. I have reposted the archives (past posts) for Wicked Thoughts HERE or HERE or here

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Stormtroopers and Child-Snatchers

Ariana Goldboldo, a mentally handicapped 13-year-old, was abducted from her home at gunpoint on March 24. Her captors have systematically poisoned her through injections of a dangerous psychoactive drug. There is also reason to believe that Ariana, who has reportedly tested positive for an STD, has been molested during her time in captivity.

Ariana's mother, Maryanne, made a valiant but futile effort to protect her daughter. As a result, she may end up in prison. If this happens, Ariana almost certainly won't survive.

Godboldo, a college dance instructor, had attempted to school her daughter at home, but eventually decided to place the youngster in a local government school. This meant that the girl would have to undergo a government-dictated suite of vaccinations.

Shortly after receiving the injections, the girl experienced severe side-effects, including behavioral problems she hadn’t previously experienced.

When Godboldo consulted with local health and welfare officials, she was told that her daughter would have to receive regular injections of Risperdal, supposedly to counteract the effects of the other government-mandated vaccinations. This is a bit like prescribing cancer to treat diabetes. Among the documented side-effects of that drug are tardive dyskinesia (difficulty with basic motor skills) and severe emotional problems – including suicidal thoughts. When Godboldo’s long-suffering child began to display those symptoms, the mother refused to continue with the injections.

The local "child protection" bureaucracy – which, like all other agencies of its kind, subscribes to the totalitarian assumption that children are the property of the state – decreed that Godboldo was "in denial about her daughter's mental health issue."

There's no evidence that Godboldo disputed the seriousness of her daughter's condition; as Ariana's primary caretaker, she understood it very well. She had very reasonable doubts about the competence of the therapeutic officials who were forcing Ariana to undergo injections of a potentially lethal drug. But it is impermissible for parents to entertain such reservations about the wisdom of those clothed in the purported authority of the State, or to resist their prescriptions, whatever their efficacy.

Sure, Ariana might die or be driven irretrievably mad as a result of government-mandated treatment – but this was a decision for the Anointed Ones to make, and for parents to accept with proper docility. Accordingly, the CPS authorized itself to "liberate" Godboldo’s daughter in order to continue poisoning her with Risperdal injections. A small team of government kidnappers – CPS workers and Detroit Police officers – materialized on Godboldo’s doorstep, demanding that she surrender the child.

"They broke into my home illegally in an effort to take my daughter," Godboldo recalls. "They had no documentation that said they were allowed to enter my home."

Godboldo, acting on her natural authority as a parent to protect her child, refused to let the kidnappers take her daughter.

When Godboldo refused to let CPS take her daughter, a home invasion team – led, appropriately, by a veteran of the Iraq occupation, Lt. Michael Nied – forced its way into the home. Nied claims that Godboldo fired a gunshot that sprayed him with drywall residue and made his little heart quiver. He and his fellow heroes retreated and called in a "barricaded gunman situation." A ten-hour siege then ensued.

Prudential considerations aside, Godboldo would have been within her rights to gun down the kidnappers, had she possessed the means to do so. She hadn't committed a criminal offense, and the police didn't bother to bring along one of those cunning little permission slips judges reflexively issue any time police want to invade a home. In moral and legal terms they were no better than any other gang of armed intruders.

Eventually a paramilitary SWAT team – complete with automatic weapons, armored personnel carriers, and helicopters – was dispatched to surround Godboldo’s home. The mother eventually surrendered and was put in jail on a $500,000 bond. Although Maryanne was released on bail, her daughter remains in the custody of her abductors, undergoing forcible injections of a drug that is slowly destroying her body and mind – and, quite possibly, being subjected to sexual violation as well.

Godboldo can take a small measure of comfort in the fact that Ariana – unlike Aiyana Jones, who was murdered by a Detroit SWAT team in a gratuitous raid staged for a "reality TV" program a year ago – is still alive. But the risk to that child increases with every minute she remains in the custody of Michigan's child "protection" service.

Last year, Detroit ABC affiliate WXYZ presented a detailed report on the murder of 10-year-old Johnny Andron, a child suffering from epilepsy and cerebral palsy who was seized by the state and starved to death in what was referred to as a "foster care facility." Johnny's mother Elena, a single parent, devoted most of her free time to caring for her wheelchair-bound son.

After she lost her factory job, Elena made the tragic error of seeking "help" from the child "welfare" system, which makes a federally subsidized profit each time it steals a child from his parents. Johnny was made a "temporary ward of the state," a judicial designation that was tantamount to a death sentence. The same was true of Elena's parental rights, since the same ruling placed her on a central registry of "abusive" and "neglectful" parents. She was placed inside the hamster wheel of government-approved "parenting classes" taught by profiteering busybodies who've attached themselves like boxcars to the federal gravy train.

For months, Elena struggled to find and keep a new job while dutifully attending classes that did nothing but clutter her schedule. During the same period she watched her son, who had been a hefty child but – considering his disabilities – a healthy one, slowly waste away through deliberate criminal neglect.

Infuriated that her child was being tortured to death through starvation, Elena dared to complain. This action was taken as evidence of her unsuitability to be a parent. She was summoned to court and informed by a black-robed functionary that she wouldn't be permitted any further visits with her son. She had no further contact with Johnny, and no updates on his status until a representative of the criminal syndicate that had taken him hostage announced to her that he had died.

Mike Ratte nearly lost his seven-year-old son into Michigan's foster-care gulag after mistakenly allowing the child to take a sip from a beverage called Mike's Hard Lemonade during a Tigers game in 2008. Ratte, a professor of archeology at the University of Michigan, didn't know that the product contained alcohol. Since the sign advertising the drink described it only as "Mike's Lemonade," Ratte assumed that it was a badly overpriced soft drink.

Leo took a sip of the beverage, immediately found it distasteful, and place the bottle on the floor near his bleacher seat. Shortly before the game ended a Comerica Park security guard waddled over, picked up the bottle, and asked Ratte if his son had been drinking from it.

Although Reed was puzzled by the question, he replied in the affirmative. His puzzlement mutated into alarm when he was told that the "lemonade" was actually an alcoholic drink. The guard demanded that Ratte and his son remain seated while a scrum of his buddies assembled to escort them to a police substation located in the stadium.

When questioned by the police, Ratte admitted – once again – that Leo had taken a swig of the drink, repeating as well his insistence that this was an innocent mistake. Anybody burdened with even a particle of common sense would recognize this as the truth. If Mike Ratte were perversely determined to get his son drunk, would he do so in public? If questioned about this, would such a person admit that his son had sampled the forbidden libation?

Anybody capable of making an EEG needle twitch would recognize that this was an honest mistake, not a crime. (Another Michigan family recently had a similar but scarier experience, due to a mix-up at an Applebee's restaurant.) This was made all the more obvious when an exam confirmed that Leo wasn't intoxicated. But this didn't prevent the police from doing what they are programmed to do in such circumstances, which is to use any available pretext to kidnap the child.

"Class has something to do with the fact that the child was only in care for two days," points out Don Duquette, a law professor at the University of Michigan and director of the university's child advocacy center said. "If you're not sophisticated, the system isn't set up to give you very much of a chance to work against the ritual that's ordinarily done."

The "ritual" Duquette refers to is a form of bureaucratic child sacrifice: Families are destroyed, and children are abused under the color of supposed government authority, in order to placate the demands of the tax-feeding class. That ritual can commence at any time, for any reason. And any family can be selected as sacrificial victims. All that is required is the conjunction of an anonymous complaint and a willing bureaucrat. I write those words as a father who has confronted that prospect face-to-face.

As described in a civil complaint filed on behalf of the family, Mike and Leo were forced to take an ambulance ride to a nearby hospital, where Leo was forced to endure a blood test that confirmed the absence of alcohol in his body. While his son was being needlessly bled and perforated, Mike was taken to a separate room and questioned by Officer Celeste Reed of the Detroit Police Department's Child Abuse Division. This wasn't an investigation; it was a dilatory maneuver. Reed was simply waiting until the child-snatchers had worked out the details of the abduction.

When she finally acknowledged to Ratte that she and her comrades were going to steal his son, Reed played the Nuremberg Defense card, blaming a superior who was "pushing this case to impress her new boss." Once Leo was in custody, however, Reed took the initiative, perjuriously claiming in her report that officers had "observed [Leo] to be intoxicated."

Leo was sequestered from his family and put into temporary foster care while the CPS bureaucracy labored to find some way to make their abduction permanent. The "referee" assigned to the case announced that she would keep it open for a week. However, Mike and his wife – unlike most of the families victimized by the child-snatchers – were people of means and influence. With the help of a capable attorney they were able to free their son after a mere two days' captivity.

The kidnapping of Leo Ratte occurred because his father made a trivial mistake involving a government-restricted mood-altering substance that inflicted no measurable harm on the child.

By way of contrast, Elena Andron and Maryanne Godboldo have been traduced as "neglectful" parents because they sought to preserve their handicapped children from state-sanctioned harm. As a result, Elena's son Johnny is dead, and the same people responsible for that atrocity will quite possibly kill Ariana unless Maryanne is able to rescue her from the child "protection" system.

If Maryanne goes to prison, her daughter will die. At present, her prosecution on assault charges is being held in abeyance pending a ruling from the Michigan State Supreme Court in a case "that will determine if residents have the right to defend themselves from police officers entering a home without proper authority," reports the Detroit News.

Embedded in this delay is a critical admission by the prosecution – namely, that Godboldo is correct in claiming that the CPS raid was conducted without legal authority. Unfortunately – albeit predictably – the Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled that it is, in all circumstances, a "felony" for a Mundane to obstruct or resist the aggressive violence of a police officer acting without lawful authority.

In a 1999 ruling (People v. Wess), the Michigan Court of Appeals, citing the state legal code, admitted that citizens had a right, explicitly protected by state statute, "to use such reasonable force as is necessary to prevent an illegal attachment and to resist an illegal arrest." However, in the dicta of that ruling the court all but begged for either the legislature or the state Supreme Court to change the law:

"We share the concerns of other jurisdictions that the right to resist an illegal arrest is an outmoded and dangerous doctrine, and we urge our Supreme Court to reconsider this doctrine at the first available opportunity.... we see no benefit to continuing the right to resist an otherwise peaceful arrest made by a law enforcement officer, merely because the arrestee believes the arrest is illegal. Given modern procedural safeguards for criminal defendants, the `right' only preserves the possibility that harm will come to the arresting officer or the defendant."

The line about "procedural safeguards" is unfiltered codswallop, of course – but remember it, because we'll return to it anon.

In 2002, the Michigan state legislature modified the relevant section of the state code (MCL 705.81d) by removing the clause recognizing the common law right to "use such reasonable force as is necessary to prevent" an unlawful arrest (that is, an armed kidnapping) by a police officer.

In a 2004 ruling (People v. Ventura) that dealt with a self-defense claim against an unlawful arrest, the Court of Appeals, in a perfectly nauseating display of mock humility, proclaimed that "it is not within our province to disturb our Legislature's obvious affirmative choice to modify the traditional common-law rule that a person may resist an unlawful arrest."

Of course, the legislature made that "choice" after being invited to do so by the same Court of Appeals.

In the 2008 case headed for the state Supreme Court (People v. Moreno), the Appeals Court observed that "we find no reference to the lawfulness of the arrest or detaining act" in the statute, which "states only that an individual who resists a person the individual knows or has reason to know is performing his duties is guilty of a felony."

As the Michigan Court of Appeals acknowledged, the Common Law recognizes an unqualified right to resist an unlawful arrest. The Constitution – for whatever it's worth – reinforces that right by placing due process impediments (such as the necessity of obtaining search warrants) on the ability of armed hirelings in government-issued costumes to inflict themselves on their betters. But the Court of Appeals – like every statist body of its kind – insists that the costume trumps the Common Law and the Constitution.

Now let's return to the notion that the right to resist arrest has become "outmoded" because of the "procedural safeguards" that supposedly protect criminal defendants. In the Moreno case – the one bound for the Michigan Supreme Court – the "criminal" act of resistance was a demand that police get a search warrant before entering a home, and then closing the door when the police refused to leave. The trial court agreed that Moreno acted within his rights by refusing to permit police to invade his home illegally. The position taken by the state Court of Appeals is that merely uttering the phrase "Not without a warrant" can be construed as grounds for arrest, and that any physical act intended to prevent that illegal arrest constitutes a felony.

Ariana Godboldo has never been charged with a crime; neither had her mother, until she engaged in a heroic but doomed effort to protect her child from an assault on their home that the prosecution now tacitly admits was unlawful.

As Elena Andron and countless other parents have learned, there are no procedural safeguards for parental rights or the individual rights of children once the CPS intervenes.

The federally subsidized child "protection" universe is a joint production of Lenin, Kafka and Salvador Dali in which power means everything, facts and law mean nothing, and the contours of "reality" are warped in the service of self-enraptured bureaucrats.

Unless a parent is a person of means and influence, like Mike Ratte, active resistance may be the only way to keep his child or children from disappearing into the CPS Archipelago once the family comes to the attention of the child-snatchers. Ideally, this would mean pro-active measures to conceal a targeted child, or to provide for the child's escape in the event the child-nappers arrive.

As the abduction of Ariana Godboldo demonstrates, the child "protection" apparatus is literally at war with American parents, and police are prepared to murder any parent determined to keep his children out of the hands of those who can drug them, starve them, and molest them with impunity.

Original report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today. Now hosted on Wordpress. If you cannot access it, go to the MIRROR SITE, where posts appear as well as on the primary site. I have reposted the archives (past posts) for Wicked Thoughts HERE or HERE or here

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

It doesn’t matter what “the law” is

In one of the more memorable passages in Orwell’s 1984, Winston Smith contemplates the inevitable doom that will follow from the first entry which he is preparing to make in his diary. The act was not illegal, he reflected — there were no laws in Oceania — but its discovery would nevertheless result in ten years in a forced labor camp.

If your tastes tend more to the lowbrow, there’s that great line from National Lampoon’s “Vacation”: “It ain’t illegal. Hell, I oughta know — I’m the sheriff!”

We see an increasing number of instances in the United States and the “Free World” in which citizens can be punished without any specific legal pretext.

To take one example which has been around for a while, there is no written law against carrying large amounts of cash on one’s person, nor any specific statutory definition of the threshold at which the amount of money one carries becomes a criminal offense. Nevertheless, anyone stopped by a police officer and found to be carrying thousands of dollars in cash will be presumed a drug trafficker of some sort, and their money seized according to the usual procedure of “civil forfeiture.”

When ballot measures to decriminalize or liberalize marijuana laws clear all the hurdles and are voted into law, as often or not the cops just quietly ignore them. For example, last October Los Angeles County, California Sheriff Lee Baca baldly stated that he would continue to arrest pot users even if Proposition 19 (which would have legalized it) passed. Baca’s “argument” was that it is still criminalized by federal statute, and that federal law supersedes state law.

Even as explained by the state’s own pet jurists, of course, this was utter nonsense. The functionaries of a state are not bound to enforce federal law. The practical effect of a measure legalizing pot, had it passed, would simply have been to tell the feds to enforce their own law. It would have withdrawn California’s state and local cops from the enforcement effort and dismantled the whole apparatus of interjurisdictional drug task forces. But none of that matters. Because if a cop wants to enforce a “law” badly enough, he’ll make one up.

Just about every week, Radley Balko reports on someone being arrested for filming cops, on the pretext that they’re “hindering apprehension,” “interfering with police business,” or “violating the wiretap laws,” or some such bull-hockey. Never mind that there’s no actual law criminalizing the act of recording public functionaries performing public duties in a public place, or that there’s even a law on the books specifically exempting such activity from the wiretap statutes.

If you’re willing to fight it out before judges or police commissioners, for weeks or months, you may or may not get a decision overruling the cop’s actions. But in the meantime you’ve had your camera (and maybe your nose) smashed, spent time in a holding cell, had your name dragged through the dirt, and maybe lost your job. And meanwhile, the cops just keep on doing it anyway. I mean, seriously, they can kill innocent people and wind up on paid administrative leave pending a wrist-slap, so how worried do you think they are about breaking a camera and roughing up some dirty effing hippie?

As I write, functionaries within the US national security apparatus are busily looking for any pretext on which Julian Assange — an Australian citizen — can be extradited from the United Kingdom. All three are ostensibly countries which share the common law tradition’s procedural protections of the accused, and which pay a great deal of lip service to the “rule of law.”

Yet nobody can state, in anything resembling clear terms, a plausible explanation of just what law Assange is supposed to have violated. Treason? He’s not a U.S. citizen. Espionage? If publishing classified documents leaked by someone else is a crime, please explain the difference between Wikileaks’ publication of the leaked diplomatic cables and the New York Times’ publication of the Pentagon Papers. So far they’ve failed to torture Bradley Manning into testifying that Assange suborned the leaked documents from him.

But if one expedient doesn’t work, they’ll try something else. The law doesn’t really matter. If the spooks, cops and prosecutors want to get somebody bad enough, they’ll come up with a bespoke “law” to tailored to their needs. The custom manufacture of pretexts is a cottage industry for them.

In practice, the law is whatever they say it is.

Original report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today. Now hosted on Wordpress. If you cannot access it, go to the MIRROR SITE, where posts appear as well as on the primary site. I have reposted the archives (past posts) for Wicked Thoughts HERE or HERE or here