Monday, December 31, 2012

Official in deeply corrupt Chicago still denying wrongful convictions

Why am I not surprised?

Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez claimed that "60 Minutes" misrepresented her in an episode about the wrongful convictions of nine juveniles who falsely confessed. It's important to remember the two cases involving these teenagers that motivated "60 Minutes" to report on the miscarriages of justice in Cook County.

A year after the 1991 rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl from Dixmoor, police, lacking any physical evidence or eyewitness accounts, aggressively interrogated five teenagers until three confessed. Two later pleaded guilty when told that their sentences would be decades shorter if they cooperated. Not surprisingly, in nearly 10 percent of the nation's 301 DNA exonerations, innocent men pleaded guilty to crimes they did not commit to reduce their sentences. According to the confessions, all five teenage boys had unprotected intercourse with the girl, yet astonishingly, none of their DNA was found in her. Instead, the semen recovered from the victim matched a 35-year-old convicted sex offender who had recently been paroled into her community and had no known relationship with her. Prosecutors have not charged the man.

In 1994, a prostitute was raped and strangled in Englewood. The investigation had grown cold until police picked up a boy who may have been selling marijuana. Police interrogated him for two days before he supposedly implicated four teenagers, who were convicted after each falsely confessed to the crime. Again, there were no eyewitnesses and no physical evidence connecting them to the deceased. According to the four confessions, each of the boys had unprotected intercourse with the victim, yet just as in Dixmoor, none of their DNA was present. Instead the DNA profile of the semen matched Johnny Douglas.

On "60 Minutes," Alvarez acknowledges that Douglas, now deceased, was a "bad guy" but claims his background doesn't prove he committed the Englewood crime. Douglas had been convicted of murdering another prostitute by strangulation and assaulting others by attempted strangulation. Indeed, Douglas was tried in a second prostitute murder case in which prosecutors introduced evidence that he was nicknamed "Maniac" and had a modus operandi of strangling prostitutes. A police report from the murder places Douglas at the crime scene and, when interviewed by police, claimed falsely that he "knew nothing." His semen was inside her, yet he claimed to know nothing?

After the "60 Minutes" piece aired, Alvarez criticized the TV news magazine for its portrayal of her in a public letter and in an op-ed in this paper. Incredibly, she never acknowledged in either communication that the young men were innocent and never apologized for the catastrophic loss that they endured of the best years of their lives. Instead, she vehemently fought to maintain the convictions — in Dixmoor waiting eight months to agree to a dismissal, and in Englewood opposing the court vacating the convictions to the bitter end; even after she lost, she persisted in opposing the young men's efforts to secure certificates of innocence. They had to spend needless extra months confined for crimes they didn't commit.

Through her actions, it has become abundantly clear that Alvarez lacks insight into the causes of wrongful conviction, which, incidentally, doesn't bode well for her newly formed conviction integrity unit. In almost 30 percent of the DNA exonerations, false confessions were the primary cause. Juveniles are particularly vulnerable. While the public may have a hard time believing someone could falsely confess, law enforcement has long known that it happens frequently and is trained to look for other evidence to corroborate a confession.

The public should be equally concerned with Alvarez's inability to admit that mistakes were made and that misconduct cannot be ruled out.

The first step to remediating mistakes and misconduct is to admit errors were made. The admission of error is fundamental whether a shuttle crashes, a hospital mishandles a patient in the operating room or an innocent man languishes in prison for a crime he did not commit. If you can't admit error, there is no hope for meaningful improvement or change. The most serious aspect of the way in which Alvarez handled these cases is her utter unwillingness to admit that the convictions of nine teenage boys were tragic failures of the criminal justice system.

Original report here

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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Texas Trooper Being Sued in Irving Body Cavity Search Case has Been Suspended

The officer being sued for a body cavity search has been suspended, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

DPS spokesman Tom Vinger said trooper Kelley Helleson is suspended with pay pending the outcome of the investigation

The Dallas County District Attorney’s Office says the case is being investigated by the office’s public integrity division and will go before a grand jury in January.

Two Irving women are suing two state troopers and the head of their department in federal court, alleging they were subjected to an illegal and humiliating “roadside body cavity search” during a traffic stop.

Angel Dobbs, 38, and her niece, Ashley Dobbs, 24, said the search occurred on State Highway 161 in or near Irving on the night of July 13.

They claim that a female trooper, Kelley Helleson, used her fingers to search their anuses and vaginas — using the same latex glove — while on the side of the road in full view of passing vehicles.

They said David Farrell, a state trooper, had called Helleson to the scene after stopping the women’s vehicle and questioning them about marijuana. Farrell told them he stopped them after seeing them throw cigarette butts out of the window, according to the lawsuit.

He asked for the search because he said the women were “acting weird,” the suit said.

Farrell searched their vehicle for marijuana but didn’t find any, they said. He then tried to “morph this situation into a DWI investigation,” the lawsuit said. Angel Dobbs passed a roadside sobriety test and the women were given warnings for littering, the suit said.

During the search of Angel Dobbs’ anus, Helleson irritated one of the cysts she suffers from, the lawsuit said, causing her “severe and continuing pain and discomfort.”

“Angel Dobbs was overwhelmed with emotion and a feeling of helplessness and reacted stating that Helleson had just violated her in a most horrific manner,” the lawsuit said.

The women also are suing Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, saying he was aware of previous problems and complaints about “unlawful strip searches, cavity searches and the like” yet failed to do anything about it.

DPS spokeswoman Katherine Cesinger said the department does not discuss pending litigation but issued the following statement:

“Following the traffic stop that occurred in July of this year and based on a citizen’s complaint, the Texas Rangers conducted an inquiry surrounding the events, and has since turned the results over to the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office for review.”

A DA’s Office spokeswoman could not be reached for comment.

Scott H. Palmer, an attorney for the women, said the entire incident was caught on video from one of the trooper’s dash-mounted cameras.

“You can see what’s happening clearly,” he said.

Palmer said the Texas Rangers investigated his clients’ complaints but no action was taken against the troopers.

Palmer said the searches were basically a “sexual assault” on the side of the road.

“No one’s ever seen the likes of this,” he said. “We can’t let them get away with it.”

Original report here

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Saturday, December 29, 2012

12,000 Brits WRONGLY branded criminals due to inaccurate police record checks

People branded criminals incorrectly have been paid £1.9 million in redress over the last five years. Nearly 12,000 people have been wrongly convicted according to figures published by campaign group Big Brother Watch.

Figures showed the most common errors involved information being disclosed by local police forces or the police national computer.

In 3,519 cases, the wrong person’s entry on the police national computer was disclosed, BB Watch said.

The figures were obtained from the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB), which recently merged with the Independent Safeguarding Authority to form the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

According to the CRB’s annual report in July, 4.1 million checks were carried out in 2011.

BB Watch director Nick Pickles said: 'Every error has the potential to ruin someone’s reputation and career. 'The fact that thousands of cases have involved information held by local police forces, often never tested in court, shows how dangerous it is to create a culture of safety by database.'

He added: 'The police hold a vast amount of information, from photographs to written notes, and the way forward must be to bring this murky system out into the open and ensure that only information that is absolutely necessary is held.'

BB Watch requested the number of disputed CRB disclosures upheld in favour of the applicant between August 2007 and August this year. The upheld disputes fell under the Department for Education, Independent Safeguarding Authority and the Criminal Records Bureau.

But the highest volume of upheld disputes were as a result of 'local police force information disclosed by the chief officer', the police national computer identification number not belonging to the applicant and the police national computer information being inaccurate.


A mother who applied to help out at her children's school was wrongly branded a violent junkie by a bungled CRB check.

Amanda Hodgson, right, applied for the checks so she could help at break times at the school where her children were pupils.

Weeks later she was horrified to receive a letter from the CRB claiming she was a recovering heroin addict who had assaulted police officers.

'When I first read the letter, I didn't fully understand,' said Mrs Hodgson, 36. 'I couldn't work out why I'd been sent all this information. I was horrified when I realised. I have done nothing wrong.'

The law-abiding mother of two had applied for the post of welfare assistant at the school after staff said she would be perfect for the job. But the Criminal Records Bureau sent her the history of a violent drug addict with the same name and date of birth.

They then told Mrs Hodgson, of Preston, Lancashire, it was up to her to prove her innocence.

The CRB investigated but said they could not be sure she was not the person named in the report.

Mrs Hodgson produced documents to show that she had only taken the surname of Hodgson after she married in 1993, four years after the first offences she was accused of had been committed.

But she was told that even this was not sufficient to prove her innocence. Mrs Hodgson's fingerprints had to be checked against every unsolved crime in Britain to clear her name.

Even then it was weeks before she was cleared for the voluntary work at the school.

Original report here

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Friday, December 28, 2012

Family dog shot dead by police in hunt for escaped criminal despite it being in fenced-in yard

The manhunt for a convicted bank robber who fled a Chicago jail has claimed the life of a family's beloved pet.

Chanette Weaver has said her dog was shot dead by officers searching for Kenneth Conley who escaped from prison last Tuesday using knotted bed sheets.

Ms Weaver has alleged the officers shot dead her six-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback mix Kobi after she put him in a fenced-in yard at about 6.50am on Christmas Eve.

She said a Hazel Crest police officer knocked on her door five minutes later to tell her the dog had died.

Neighbours have said police later asked questions about Conley as they believed he was hiding at a house next to the Weavers.

Ms Weaver told CBS Chicago the police said they had been acting in self-defence when they shot the dog.

'He said "Ma’am, your dog was getting ready to attack one of my officers." And they shot him three times,' Ms Weaver said.

Hazel Crest police has said officers felt they were at risk after the dog tried to attack them on a public path.

Original report here

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Merely being arrested can ruin your life

“You never have a ‘right’ to resist arrest,” insists Des Moines-based attorney Harley Erbe (who is wrong, of course). There are two reasons why Mundanes must immediately submit to “commands” issued by the state’s costumed enforcers, Erbe explains:

“First, officers’ safety is a [sic] paramount consideration. People always think that their arrests are unfair or unlawful; if citizens then had a right to duke it out with law enforcement every time they held that belief then a lot of officers and citizens would be hurt.”

The word “paramount” means “supreme.” Thus Erbe is saying that whenever an armed state functionary decides to abduct you at gunpoint, his safety is always the foremost consideration.

Second, Erbe continues, “the streets are not the time or place for a debate on the legality of an arrest or whether the arrestee has committed a crime. Those are matters to be determined in courtrooms by judges and juries.”

This is a variant of the advice that used to be offered to rape victims: It’s safer to submit than to fight back, because resisting will only make matters worse. It also ignores the fact that merely being arrested is sufficient to ruin an innocent person’s life – or at least to steal a considerable portion of it. This is underscored by the case of Pittsburgh resident Sara Reedy, who was both the victim of a sexual assault and an unlawful arrest.

Eight years ago, Reedy – at the time a 19-year-old expectant mother – was robbed and sexually assaulted at gunpoint while working at a convenience store. When the police interviewed her in the hospital, they refused to believe her account, insisting that she had invented the story in order to cover for the theft of about $600 from the till. Rather than pursuing Reedy’s assailant, the Pittsburgh police detective – who belonged to an agency known to harbor rapists in its ranks – arrested her and charged her with robbery and "false reporting." Although Reedy wasn't prosecuted, she lost her job – and, eventually, her marriage.

Some months later, the criminal who assaulted Reedy was arrested after he forced himself on another victim. The perpetrator eventually confessed to a number of earlier assaults, including the one against Reedy. She spent seven years and a great deal of money seeking redress through the courts, eventually winning a large civil settlement that fell short of adequately compensating her for what she had experienced.

A recent investigation by the Gainesville Sun found that local police agencies make hundreds of entirely unnecessary arrests every year. The victims are arrested without charge, but the arrest is instantly noted in databases that are used for background checks for employment and housing. Even if the victim’s criminal record is expunged, the digital trail cannot be erased.

Many of those arrests are summary punishment for “contempt of cop.” Others are made for cynical reasons related to career advancement within the state’s punitive priesthood.

Officer Jeff McAdams of the Gainesville Police Department, who is president of the Gator Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police, told the Sun that GPD Chief Tony Jones expects his officers to “take control of their zones” – which means making exemplary arrests intended to send a message, rather than led to criminal prosecutions. He also explained that needless arrests of this kind are “encouraged” by supervisors and that building a statistically impressive arrest record is a key to receiving “officer of the month” awards and similar honors.

As defense attorney Craig DeThomasis told the Sun, “We currently live in a world where an arrest destroys somebody’s life.” That’s a small price to pay, apparently, to ensure the safety and enhance the career prospects of the incomparably precious people who compose the state’s enforcement caste.

Original report here

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Australia: Qld. police still trying to justify themselves in Stafford case

As the Appeal court found, the evidence was weak and interpretable as in part a police fabrication. The case hung on a single maggot found in Stafford's car but who knows how the maggot got there? The Lucas inquiry found way back that fabrication of evidence was pervasive in the Qld. police but zip, nothing, nada was ever done about that as far as we can tell

GRAHAM Stafford could again be tried for the murder of schoolgirl Leanne Holland after the Attorney-General ordered an independent review of the evidence against him.

The dramatic announcement late yesterday came two days after the Director of Public Prosecutions said he would not bring Mr Stafford back to court - despite new evidence uncovered in a review by senior detectives.

Mr Stafford spent more than 14 years in jail after a jury found him guilty of the torture murder of the 13-year-old in 1991. But he was released after the Court of Appeal overturned his conviction.

On Tuesday, Police Commissioner Ian Stewart announced a review of the investigation had uncovered enough new evidence to send Mr Stafford back to jail.

But the Director of Public Prosecutions decided it was not in the public interest to order a new trial.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie has the power to retry Mr Stafford over Leanne Holland's murder in an ex-officio indictment - even after the DPP has decided to drop the case.

Yesterday, he said he had secured a former Supreme Court judge and solicitor-general to review the evidence and recommend whether it was in the public interest to try Mr Stafford again. Kenneth Mackenzie, QC, is expected to make his recommendation early next year.

"As I have the power to order the re-trial of Graham Stafford independent of the DPP, I have decided to seek independent advice on the strength of the evidence," Mr Bleijie said.

"Presenting an ex-officio indictment is an important power that has been preserved by legislation."

"Mr Mackenzie will consider whether there are reasonable prospects of obtaining a conviction should the matter proceed to retrial and if a retrial is in the public interest."

On Tuesday, Mr Stafford said he would welcome a new trial as an opportunity to clear his name.

"Because it's taken so long, in a way I've just put it out of my head and gotten on with my life - started a new job, I've made new friends, got a new relationship and (I'm) just really content with my life," Mr Stafford said.

"But obviously at the back of your mind is this and it keeps coming back and it's still not resolved."

The last time an Attorney-General initiated an ex-officio indictment was when the DPP ruled there was not enough evidence to proceed against Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley over the 2004 in-custody death of Mulrunji Doomadgee on Palm Island.

Original report here. (Via Australian Politics)

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Monday, December 24, 2012

British top cop caught up in police lies

Scotland Yard boss Bernard Hogan-Howe was fighting for his credibility last night as senior Tories said he was ‘completely compromised’ by the police ‘stitch-up’ of Andrew Mitchell.

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner flew home from holiday amid claims that he blindly accepted the word of officers in Downing Street who said the former Tory chief whip called them ‘plebs’.

Mr Hogan-Howe was even branded ‘extremely foolish’ by a former director of public prosecutions.

Last month the commissioner – who is expected to be given a knighthood in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours – said the officers had ‘accurately reported what happened’.

But last night he was forced to issue a statement insisting that he would preside over a ‘ruthless search for the truth’ about the ‘Plebgate’ confrontation that led to Mr Mitchell’s resignation.

A policeman involved in the Downing Street fracas was named yesterday in the Mail on Sunday as Toby Rowland. He is the officer believed to have written the official log of the incident.

Another policeman, diplomatic protection officer Keith Wallis, 52, and a man believed to be his 23-year-old nephew Clarence Ng have been arrested amid allegations that the officer posed as a member of the public in order to fabricate evidence against Mr Mitchell.

CCTV footage has also emerged which undermines the claims of the two officers at the gate that members of the public were ‘visibly shocked’ by the confrontation last September.

A friend of Mr Mitchell, senior Tory MP David Davis, warned that unless the police answer key questions about the conspiracy they will demand that the Independent Police Complaints Commission takes the inquiry out of the Met’s hands.

Allies of Mr Mitchell are furious that Mr Hogan-Howe last week claimed the CCTV did ‘nothing’ to challenge the claims of his officers.

Former director of public prosecutions Lord Macdonald said the Met boss was ‘extremely foolish’ and accused him of ‘an arrogance of power’. ‘What exactly does Bernard Hogan-Howe consider is the purpose of having an inquiry into the men he has already exonerated on television?’ he asked.

A chastened commissioner said: ‘The allegations in relation to this case are extremely serious. 'For the avoidance of doubt, I am determined there will be a ruthless search for the truth – no matter where the truth takes us.’

A Yard spokesman conceded that the UK’s most senior policeman now has an ‘open mind’ on the affair.

But a senior Tory MP said many in the party had lost faith in the police.

The MP said: ‘There is widespread concern that Bernard Hogan-Howe has completely compromised his ability to have anything to do with the investigation. He really is in trouble.’

David Cameron used a statement at the weekend to accuse the officers in the spotlight of lying.

No 10 said: ‘The Prime Minister has deep sympathy for Andrew Mitchell after allegations emerged that a serving police officer fabricated evidence against him.

‘The Prime Minister, and Andrew Mitchell, were deeply shocked to be informed that the police were investigating allegations that a serving police officer had lied about the events.’

Nick Herbert, who was police minister until September, warned against the ‘cancer’ of corruption in the force which ‘should not be exaggerated, but must be cut out before it spreads’.

Original report here

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

New evidence suggests crooked Miami cop pinned double-killing on man who has spent 26 YEARS behind bars

A British millionaire racehorse owner who was once an acquaintance of the Queen was framed for a horrifying double murder by corrupt Miami detectives working for Colombian drug barons, according to documents filed in court last week.

The Mail on Sunday has learned that lawyers acting for Kris Maharaj, 73, who has spent the past 26 years in a series of Florida prisons, have obtained sensational new testimony from Miami Police Department sources directly involved in the 1986 investigation.

These sources – whose identity we cannot reveal as they fear for their safety – say the deliberate framing of Maharaj was not an isolated example, but part of a system which continued for years.

They have given details, which the lawyers have corroborated, of other brutal killings carried out by the drug cartels, where police framed more innocent victims in order to shield their criminal paymasters.

Their allegations now form a central argument of legal documents launching a fresh appeal. These also contain copious, corroborated evidence that the victims of the murders – Derrick Moo Young and his son Duane – and some of the key prosecution witnesses were close to the top of the multi-billion-dollar cocaine trade, which had a virtual stranglehold over Miami’s justice system at the time.

Three days into Maharaj’s 1987 trial, the judge, Howard Gross, was arrested after being filmed accepting a $6,300 bribe from law enforcement agents posing as drug dealers. Yet the trial continued with the same jury and another judge, and Maharaj was convicted and sentenced to death. He spent 16 years on death row, before an appeal court heard other new evidence and commuted his sentence to life in 2002. His earliest release date is 2040, when he would be 101.

Last night Maharaj’s wife, Marita, also 73, who has stood by her husband since the day of his arrest and lives in Fort Lauderdale, near the geriatric prison where he is being held, revealed that he almost died last year from the flesh-eating bug necrotising fasciitis, which destroyed much of his left leg.

She said: ‘For three months I heard nothing from him, and had no information from the prison. I didn’t know whether he was alive or dead.’

It was only when Maharaj’s lead lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, of the charity Reprieve, insisted on seeing his client that Mrs Maharaj discovered what had happened. ‘When I finally saw him, he was in a wheelchair and looked like a prisoner in Nazi concentration camp. He is now recovering. Thankfully, they are going to let me visit him on Christmas Day.’

Maharaj, who had never been in trouble with the law before, always seemed an unlikely perpetrator of a ruthless, execution-style double killing.

Born in Trinidad, he emigrated to Britain in 1960, and lived at first in Peckham, South London.

After working for a time as a lorry driver, he built up business importing exotic fruit which made him a multi-millionaire.

His lifestyle was opulent, and over the years he owned 24 Rolls-Royces, one with the personalised numberplate KNM 1. He had celebrity friends such as the wrestler Mick McManus, and, as a prominent member of the Lord’s Taverners, gave generously to charity.

He and Marita married in 1974, and had four children. That year one of his many horses, King Levanstell, beat a favourite owned by the Queen in the prestigious Queen Alexandra stakes at Ascot.

By the 1980s he was diversifying his business interests, and together with Derrick Moo Young, ostensibly a respectable businessman, invested in property in Florida. However, he discovered that Moo Young was embezzling, and had stolen $440,000 from him. At the time of the murders, Maharaj’s civil lawsuit to recover the money was pending. The dispute, according to the prosecution at his trial, provided his motive.

It was shortly after noon on October 16, 1986, that a maid at Miami’s downtown Dupont Plaza hotel noticed a red liquid spreading across the hallway carpet on the twelfth floor. It was coming from beneath the door of room 1215. Worried it might be blood, she called security.

A security man, Jorge Aparicio, knocked on the door and, later, said a man told him that everything was ‘fine’. Aparicio went back ten minutes later and, this time, there was no reply.

Unlocking the door, he found the body of Derrick Moo Young, 53, who had been shot six times, on the floor near the door. Duane, 23, was kneeling at the foot of the bed. He had been shot through the head at close range with a single bullet. Maharaj has always insisted he was 30 miles north in Fort Lauderdale at the time of the murders, meeting friends and later having lunch at a favourite restaurant. Seven witnesses initially supported his alibi, but one of them, Tino Geddes – supposedly an innocent Jamaican journalist – changed his story at the trial, claiming he had been induced to lie by Maharaj.

For reasons that have never been satisfactorily explained, Eric Hendon, Maharaj’s trial defence lawyer, presented no evidence on his behalf at all, not even calling the other six alibi witnesses. Traced recently by Stafford Smith and a Florida-based colleague, Ben Kuehne, all continue to say they were telling the truth.

Maharaj’s fingerprints were at the murder scene. But the reason, as he told police when he was first interviewed, was that he had been in room 1215 at the Dupont Plaza earlier in the day, having been asked to attend a business meeting about a newspaper he owned. But the man he was supposed to meet did not show and, after waiting, Maharaj left, hours before the killings.

All this, the new appeal documents say, was part of an elaborate strategy to frame Maharaj, which had been set in motion even before the murders. According to new evidence cited in the appeal filing, the man Maharaj was supposed to meet, who had also booked the room, was himself involved in the drug trade.

Further fresh evidence also shows that in the days before their deaths, this man was in frequent telephone contact with the Moo Youngs – presumably to lure them to their deaths.

Having taken on Maharaj’s case in 1994, while he languished on death row, Stafford Smith and Kuehne began a rigorous investigation, in which new disclosures casting doubt on the verdict have continually been thrown up. This was sufficient by 2002 to persuade a judge to quash Maharaj’s death sentence, though not his convictions.

Earlier this year, Stafford Smith published a book about the case, titled Injustice and, since then, still more extraordinary revelations have come to light.

Some concern the Moo Youngs. Portrayed at the trial as almost penniless, with just $20 in their bank accounts, in reality, they controlled funds worth billions, derived from their real business – laundering drug money on a massive scale.

Granted access by a court to police files which were hidden from the trial, Stafford Smith discovered that they had multiple front companies. One, known as Cargil SA, was registered in the Bahamas at the office of a notorious drug cartel lawyer, F. Nigel Bowe. He represented Colombian drug baron Carlos Lehder, co-founder of the notorious Medellin cartel, who was extradited to America and convicted of a huge drugs conspiracy in 1987.

More here

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

TV researcher, 24, forced to unmask pervert caller herself after 18 months of torment during which lazy British police ignored pleas for help

The worm concerned. Another sexually frustrated Muslim by the look of it

She was left distressed and frightened after being plagued by a phone pest for more than 18 months. But when Sophie Daysh turned to the police, they told her they were powerless to help because the caller had withheld his number.

Eventually the 24-year-old TV researcher turned detective herself to expose the stalker who rang her all hours of the day and night.

Yesterday, after father-of-two Abdul Rafiq, 43, was ordered to pay her compensation, Miss Daysh condemned police for failing to take action. She said: ‘This whole affair has had a great impact on my life for all the wrong reasons. 'This has been very frightening – I have been woken up, kept awake and often left tired for work. ‘I am now very reluctant to answer calls from unknown numbers.

'I was frustrated the police were unable to help, and I just couldn’t deal with it any more. It had been happening for a long time.’

Magistrates in Manchester were told Miss Daysh began receiving the calls in May last year while she was living in London. Initially they were mainly silent but they became malicious and sexual in content and she often heard a man groaning down the receiver.

The caller also began using her nickname – Casper – and an automated voice was used to deliver disturbing messages such as: ‘Play with me Casper.’

‘The calls would vary,’ said Miss Daysh. ‘Some would be totally silent, no matter how long I stayed on the phone. 'Other times there would be heavy breathing, which was pretty grim. I also had voicemails left with the same sorts of messages. It was really frightening.’

Worried and upset, Miss Daysh called the Metropolitan Police who told her they couldn’t help because the culprit had withheld their number.

But Matthew Siddall, prosecuting, said: ‘That was untrue. They could have done something. Miss Daysh has been done a great disservice by the Metropolitan Police.

‘The calls were malicious but became sexual in their nature. Voicemails included groans which Miss Daysh had said sounded like a man carrying out a sex act while on the other end of the phone.’

Miss Daysh turned sleuth after getting 25 calls, mostly silent, in just 15 minutes one day and tracked down a company, Ambushcall, that could unmask the caller. After paying the firm £24.99, she was able to alert staff at the company when she got another nuisance call and they emailed her back with the number.

The information about the caller was then handed over to Greater Manchester Police who arrested Rafiq on suspicion of making the calls.

It emerged the office worker had got hold of her number when he had shown her around a property in Manchester when she was flat-hunting.

Rafiq, who alternates between his house in Ilford, Essex, and another in Rochdale pleaded guilty to harassment but claimed he had only made calls on a single day.

He was ordered to pay £500 compensation, complete 200 hours' unpaid work and was banned from contacting Miss Daysh under a restraining order. He was also handed a 12-month supervised community order and ordered to pay £85 costs.

Suzanne Ludlow, defending, said Rafiq who is suspended from his job, had shown ‘regret and remorse’ for his actions. The court was told that Rafiq’s wife is expecting their third child and he said he ‘deeply regretted any distress he caused the aggrieved party’.

Magistrate John Wood said: ‘This was a particularly nasty crime and it must have been a worrying and upsetting time for Miss Daysh.’

The Metropolitan Police declined to comment on the case.

Original report here

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Female Texas cop caught on tape giving two women aggressive body cavity search during routine traffic stop... and 'using the SAME gloves on both'

Two Texas women are suing after state troopers subjected them to a humiliating and invasive 'roadside body cavity search' that was caught on video.

Female trooper Kellie Helleson is seen in the footage aggressively searching the private parts of Angel Dobbs, 38, and her niece, Ashley Dobbs, 24, in front of passing cars.

The women, who claim the trooper used the same rubber glove for both of them, were initially stopped by Helleson's colleague David Farrell on State Highway 161 near Irving after he saw one of them throw a cigarette butt out the window.

Farrell can be heard in the disturbing video questioning the pair about marijuana though he failed to find any evidence of the drug in the vehicle. However, he requested the women be searched after allegedly claiming they were 'acting weird.'

The lawsuit states he then tried to 'morph this situation into a DWI investigation,' according to the Dallas Morning News.

Angel Dobbs passed a roadside sobriety test and the women were given warnings for littering.

Angel Dobbs said Helleson irritated an anal cyst she suffers from during the search, causing her 'severe and continuing pain and discomfort.'

The suit said: 'Angel Dobbs was overwhelmed with emotion and a feeling of helplessness and reacted stating that Helleson had just violated her in a most horrific manner.'

The two women are also suing the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Steven McCraw, who they claim ignored previous complaints about 'unlawful strip searches, cavity searches and the like.'

The Dobbs' lawyer Scott H. Palmer said the shocking incident, which was filmed on one of the trooper's dash-mounted cameras, was a roadside 'sexual assault.'

He said the Texas Rangers investigated his clients' complaints but failed to take any action against the troopers.

'You can see what's happening clearly,' he told the Dallas Morning News of the video. 'No one's ever seen the likes of this. We can't let them get away with it.'

Original report here

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Australia: Police coverup of bungled prosecution

THE mother of a murder victim is furious Queensland police won't honour a promise to come clean about a failed investigation of the brutal 1999 killings.

Despite 12 years of police work and DNA evidence, police failed to secure convictions against two men accused of the killings of Ann-Maree Kropp and her partner Christopher Nancarrow at Springbrook on the Gold Coast.

The men were found to be not guilty, with no clear evidence of motive presented at the month-long trial in October 2011.

Police promised the Kropp family in January that the findings of an internal review into what went wrong "will be conveyed to you in due course".

But although the QPS has completed its probe, it has made no attempt to contact the family.

"We've heard nothing," Shirley Kropp, Ann-Maree's mother, said. "They've totally ignored us. It's just not good enough. I just wonder what they're trying to hide."

Mrs Kropp said she had heard through the Queensland Homicide Victim Support Group there had been errors in DNA sample collection.

It had also been a mistake to compel testimony from a forensic specialist who was experiencing psychological distress.

"They've got off blind because they stuffed up," she said.

But the QPS could not confirm the findings. It would say only that "a review of the of verdict" in the case "reinforced the Queensland Police Service's ongoing commitment to continuous improvement in terms of the investigation of serious crime".

A retired detective who initially worked the case said in 2011 that "police politics" had wrecked the investigation.

Paddy Fenely, a former Gold Coast CIB officer, said he had found promising lines of inquiry suggesting the murdered couple had been recruited by a drug ring linked to Nomads bikies planning to supply methamphetamine to truck drivers in Murwillumbah.

But the investigation was transferred to another unit.

Under changes to Queensland's double jeopardy laws last year, murder cases can be reopened if "fresh and compelling" new evidence emerges.

Assistant Commissioner Mike Condon, who took over the investigation in 2007, said last month no further arrests should be expected and no one was being sought for questioning.

Original report here

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Britain's top cop loses libel battle

What a clown! Is he London's best and brightest?

Taxpayers face a bill of up to £25,000 after Britain’s most senior policeman admitted defeat in his libel battle with one of Scotland Yard’s former top officers.

Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe has reached an out-of-court settlement with former counter-terrorism chief John Yates over a memo he sent in April to the Home Office, Foreign Office and senior and middle-ranking Met officers.

As revealed by the Daily Mail in October, Mr Yates, who resigned as an assistant commissioner in July last year in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal, was livid when he heard what had been written.

Now Mr Hogan-Howe’s force has agreed to make a £2,500 donation to a charity of Mr Yates’s choice. It has also agreed to pay his legal costs – expected to top £20,000 – and circulate a memo correcting Mr Hogan-Howe’s remarks.

Friends of Mr Yates said that, but for ‘foot-dragging’ by the Met, the dispute could have been resolved months ago – saving the taxpayer tens of thousands of pounds.

At the time of the memo, Mr Yates was senior policing adviser to the Bahrain government.

During a demonstration about human rights abuses outside the Bahrain embassy in London, he rang Scotland Yard’s press bureau from the Middle East to ask if protesters had climbed on to the roof. He also asked who was in charge of policing.

Mr Hogan-Howe was informed and emailed the memo referring to Mr Yates.

The exact wording is unclear but Mr Yates instructed libel lawyers. Last night the Met confirmed the legal dispute had been settled. Mr Yates said: ‘I am pleased that this matter has been resolved.’

Original report here

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Australia: NSW cop spared jail over Perth nightclub sex assault, but fined $7500

A DECORATED NSW police officer who sexually assaulted a young woman on a dance floor during an assignment to protect world leaders in Perth has been spared prison but is set to lose his job.

Ian Ronald Sleigh, 45, wept openly in the dock after he was convicted of sexually assaulting the 22-year-old daughter of a WA policeman he had met last October while in the state to work at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

Having drunk eight full strength beers on an empty stomach at the Elephant and Wheelbarrow nightspot in Northbridge, Sleigh put his hand up the skirt of the young woman before roughly groping her genitals.

The shocked woman immediately told other police in the pub what had happened, and Sleigh was arrested and initially charged with sexual penetration without consent. That was replaced with a sexual assault charge, to which Sleigh pleaded guilty to on Monday.

Justice Bruce Goetze today fined Sleigh $7500 - an amount he said would go to the victim - but spared him a prison term, which he said would have been made doubly hard by his position as a police officer and convicted sex offender.

"You have suffered a severe amount of public humiliation ... which in your case has been amplified by reason of your position," Justice Goetze said. "Prison is a penalty of last resort, and in my view this offence does not require a term of imprisonment. "It is not an easy decision but that is the one I have come to."

Justice Goetze said the assault had left the young victim emotionally traumatised and needing ongoing counselling.

The court was also told - notwithstanding her family link to the police - that her view of the force had been changed by Sleigh's assault.

Earlier, Detective Inspector Peter McKenna, Sleigh's commanding officer in the Manning/Great Lakes area on the NSW mid-north coast, told the court his former colleague had been suspended without pay following his guilty plea. He now faces the almost inevitable consequence of losing his job of 13 years.

Det Insp McKenna said while the force had been shocked and disgusted by Sleigh's conduct, he still had supporters within the police, and had been retained on desk duties while waiting for the case to come to court.

"He is disgusted with himself as to what has happened, and the flow-on effects to himself, his family and the NSW police," Det Insp McKenna said. "I can't emphasise how out of character this is.

"But my expectation is that he will be dismissed. The impact on the community is going to be immense."

The court heard Sleigh had been forced to sell his house to pay for the legal fees incurred during the case, and his teenage son had been teased and was undergoing counselling. Sleigh also had been physically ill through the stress of the case.

Sleigh said nothing as he left court.

Original report here. (Via Australian police news)

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Satirist of drones arrested by NYPD

New York City police arrest artist who created drone satires ...

Last week, The New York Police Department (NYPD) arrested Essam Attia, an artist who had designed and surreptitiously placed satirical posters dealing with the NYPD's potential use of pilotless drone aircraft.

Attia and a team posed as maintenance workers who routinely replace advertisements in plastic cases at bus stops and other public locations. The posters simulated NYPD public service announcements and depict drones firing missiles at fleeing civilians. One of the posters says, "NYPD drones: Protection when you least expect it." An NYPD logo appears at the bottom of the image.

In what amounts to a political vendetta against Attia for daring to criticize the police, the artist has been charged on 56 criminal counts, including grand larceny, possession of stolen property and a weapons charge for possession of an antique, unloaded .22 caliber handgun.

The NYPD appears to have put some effort into hunting the artist down. Officers were seen dusting the poster-boxes for fingerprints in September, shortly after the posters began to appear.

Free-Market Analysis: There are two problems with the arrest of Essam Attia. The first is that the police apparently went out of their way to arrest him. Thus the NYPD is applying the law unequally.

The second problem is that what Attia is doing is satire and is thus a legally protected activity.

There is another graver problem, as well, which has to do with the culture that propounded the arrest to begin with. The officers, especially the senior officers that gave the go-ahead, probably know the charges won't stick. But the idea is to intimidate.

Why is the NYPD in the business of intimidating artists who want to express legitimate concerns? Well, from the standpoint of dominant social themes, we can make an educated guess.

The larger dominant social theme is that authorities know best. The subdominant theme is that people ought not to mock authority. Here's some more from the article:

"In a video interview posted on in September, Attia—his voice disguised and face hidden—said that he posted the images "to create a conversation about the deployment of drones in American airspace. We have to remember that right now, internationally, they are being used to kill people. They're armed: they shoot missiles. We're fighting an illegal war in Pakistan and no one seems to want to talk about it."

A US Army veteran who served as a geo-spatial analyst in Iraq, Attia added, "We know some [police] departments in Texas have them. It's only a matter of time before New York has them. ... Weaponized drones used to kill American citizens coming to New York City? I'm not sure I'm cool with that."

In February, Congress approved legislation that would allow 30,000 drones in American airspace by 2020. Predator drones, the same aircraft that the US military uses in Pakistan and Yemen, already patrol the US-Mexican border and were used last year by police in North Dakota. The environmental Protection Agency has reportedly been using drones to spy on cattle ranchers in Nebraska.

The sheriff's office in Alameda County, California, was recently forced to suspend the purchase of a surveillance drone after a public outcry.

In New York City, a memo released under the Freedom of Information Act earlier this year revealed discussions between the NYPD and the Federal Aviation Administration in which the NYPD stated it was "investigating the possible use of UAV's [unmanned aerial vehicles] as a law enforcement tool."

Conclusion: The arrest and intimidation of the courageous Attia is unfortunately no coincidence or mistake. It is likely part of a deliberate policy to reduce individual freedoms and the ability of the state to police itself.

Original report here

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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Senior British police inspector sacked after posting a picture of his genitals on Facebook

A long-serving senior police inspector has been sacked after posting a picture of his genitals on Facebook. Inspector Daemon Johnson - who had served Northamptonshire Police for 25 years - was fired after shocked officers spotted the explicit photo online.

The experienced officer also sent inappropriate emails and made lewd comments to female members of staff it emerged today.

He was sacked for gross misconduct following an investigation by Northamptonshire Police's professional standards department.

Confirming that an officer had been sacked this week, Superintendent Jan Meagher said: 'We can confirm that an officer appeared before a misconduct hearing in relation to allegations of inappropriate comments to female staff, misuse of the force email system and improper behaviour.

'The matters breached the standards of professional behaviour namely "discreditable conduct" and "equality and diversity".

'The panel decided that the most appropriate outcome was dismissal.

'We expect the highest standards from our officers and staff. 'We will take robust action in cases where we find the standard expected has not been upheld.

'As with all disciplinary hearings, every officer has a right to appeal.'

Johnson is not the first in the UK to be sacked or forced to resign because of Facebook indiscretions.

One officer from Cheshire resigned in October 2010 after being accused of harassing a former partner on Facebook.

And earlier this year four officers from the same force as Inspector Johnson were banned from using Twitter after being caught sending inappropriate messages to each other.

The officers, who were among more than 40 police officers and staff who have been tweeting about their jobs over the past few months, were told to leave the website because they breached force rules.

It came after HMIC inspectors visited the force over this summer to look into how officers were using Twitter and later made recommendations.

At the time a force spokesman said: 'We expect the highest standards from our officers and staff at all times and this is reflected in procedures regarding the use of social media across the force.'

Original report here

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Video shows cop fatally shooting man ELEVEN times outside his home - but the officer was CLEARED of any wrongdoing

The cop appeared to know the suspect by name, so that may be exculpatory. He would be justified in being nervous of someone he knew as a gang-banger with a violent record

Graphic footage of a police officer shooting a man eleven times outside a suburban home - killing him - has been released a day after the officer was cleared of wrongdoing.

Attorneys for Ernesto Duenez Jr., 34, showed the video, which was recorded by a camera in the cop's patrol car on June 8, 2011, at a press conference in Oakland, California on Wednesday.

It shows police waiting for Duenez, who was wanted in connection with a domestic violence incident that day, to arrive at a friend's home. They swoop on the home once he arrives in a pickup truck.

Duenez, a passenger in the truck, can be seen climbing across the seats and opening a door as Manteca police officer James Moody runs towards the vehicle with his gun pointed.

Police have claimed the officer saw a knife in the man's right hand and feared he might throw it or charge at him in the frantic, fast-paced exchange. Duenez's family's attorney says he was unarmed.

On the video, Moody is heard shouting: 'Drop the knife now!' and 'Hands up! Hands up, Ernie! Don't you move, Ernie, don't you move or I'll shoot you!'

The officer is seen firing 13 bullets in 4.2 seconds as Duenez moves to get out of the car.

He was shot 11 times - once in the head, eight times in the body and twice in the extremities - and four were while he was on the ground. He died of gunshot wounds to his chest and abdomen.

On the video, a bullet wound can be seen in Duenez's back as he rolls around on the ground clutching his chest.

His wife, Whitney Duenez, then runs from the home, screaming at the police officer, who tells her to stay back. She runs to her wounded husband and sobs over his body.

The video also shows that it was not until after more officers arrived on scene and attempted to move Duenez that they realised his foot was caught in the seatbelt, the Manteca Bulletin reported.

The video was obtained by John Burris, an Oakland attorney who filed a wrongful-death federal lawsuit against Manteca Police and Moody in July, through the discovery process in the case.

He released it at the news conference a day after the San Joaquin County district attorney's office decided that Moody had been legally justified in shooting the man.

Police said they later found an eight-inch 'throwing knife' with a four-inch blade in the bed of the truck. Moody, who has been on the police force for 12 years, had believed he was in danger, the San Fransisco Chronicle reported.

And video experts for the district attorney's office said it did look as though Duenez had a knife in his hand at the start of the footage. Yet they lost sight of it and did not know how it ended up in the bed.

He had allegedly been involved in a domestic disturbance that day with his wife and witnesses claimed he was carrying the knife and was known to carry a gun, but none was found at the scene.

Burris said that Duenez had not been armed and was trying to surrender. He added that even if there was a knife 'he made no aggressive movements toward the officer'.

The attorney said he has asked the U.S. Justice Department to open an investigation and pursue murder charges against 40-year-old Moody.

'We have communicated to the Department of Justice that this man should be prosecuted for murder,' Burris said. 'He should be held accountable just like anyone else would be held accountable when they engage in this kind of barbaric conduct.'

In the report, the district attorney said Duenez was a gang member who served three prison sentences for drug, stolen vehicle and assault with a deadly weapon charges. Burris added that the man was in violation of his parole.

Burris added on Wednesday: 'This family seeks retribution. They want this man prosecuted for this conduct and I’m certainly going to do whatever we can with the Department of Justice as well as the US Attorney’s office to see if we can make that happen.'

Duenez's mother, Rosemary Duenez, 58, said at the news conference that she wanted to release the video after she realised police 'would never deliver us justice'.

'People need to see what happened,' she said, the Chronicle reported. 'They need to know what we see, and what we're fighting for.'

Manteca Police would not comment on the shooting due to the lawsuit. Moody has returned to active duty.

Original report here

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Friday, December 14, 2012

London Police pay £15,000 settlement to teenage rape victim for 'shocking' failings which saw alleged attacker acquitted

And they put more effort into fighting the payout than they did in prosecuting the rape -- real charmers. Clearly no penitence at all, despite what they say

The Metropolitan Police are to pay a £15,000 settlement to a teenage rape victim for 'shocking' failings which saw the alleged attacker acquitted.

The alleged attacker of the 15-year-old girl was acquitted when the police lost evidence in what a trial judge branded a 'disgrace'.

Scotland Yard today admitted failings in the 2005 rape investigation as it agreed an out of court settlement with the young victim and accepted that officers were told to put car crime first.

An investigation led to four officers being reprimanded and a shake-up of sexual offence teams after it emerged officers had been told to make car crime a higher priority.

The girl's family took legal action, claiming her human rights had been breached, but have now agreed to settle for a reported £15,000.

Her mother complained to the BBC that the force fought 'really dirty' against the claim. She said: 'Had they put the same amount of effort into investigating my daughter's rape, I reckon he would probably have been found guilty.'

'To be honest the way they fought it was really dirty and I just think they should have just held their hands up and said, "we're sorry".'

Detective Chief Superintendent Mick Duthie, who heads the Met's Sapphire sexual offences unit, conceded that rape was not taken sufficiently seriously at the time. But he insisted that the subsequent shake-up had significantly improved its response.

The case had been handled by an 'inexperienced, untrained, poorly-supervised, under-resourced' team, he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. He said: 'I have reviewed the investigation again recently and it is shocking. The trial judge said it was a disgrace and I don't disagree.

'I want to reassure you that the Met now take rape as an extremely serious offence, it is a priority for us,' he said - accepting that officers were previously told to put car crime first.

'Now dedicated staff, dedicated officers, dedicated lawyers - we work in partnership with all out partners across the criminal justice process to make sure that all victims receive justice.

'This case was in 2005 - and that is seven, eight years ago. I am confident that those sort of mistakes that happened then will not happen now.'

In a statement, Scotland Yard said: 'In November 2010 the MPS received a claim which stated that the MPS had been in breach of its positive duty under article three by not carrying out an effective rape investigation.

'There are points of law and processes that are gone through with any legal claim received by the MPS (Metropolitan Police Service).

'We are aware of the victim's comments of distress at the legal proceedings, and that some legal arguments may have appeared insensitive to the victim, but that is not the intention of the MPS.

'Following the legal arguments there were discussions with the victim's solicitor with regard to settlement and we came to a mutual agreement on an amount.'

A spokesman declined to discuss the size of the settlement.

Original report here

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Appalling British judge

A judge who told a burglar that stealing from homes took 'a huge amount of courage' before setting him free has been formally reprimanded.

Judge Peter Bowers admitted he could be pilloried for sparing Richard Rochford from prison at Teesside Crown Court when he made the comment in September.

David Cameron got involved in the outcry that followed saying that burglars were cowards, not brave, and their crimes were 'hateful'.

Following an investigation, the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice have upheld complaints about the judge’s comments and issued him with a reprimand after his remarks 'damaged public confidence in the judicial process', the Office for Judicial Complaints said.

They believed the use of the word courage was a 'serious error of judgement' and 'offensive' to those who have been victims of a burglary, according to a letter from the OJC to one of the complainants, radio presenter Nick Ferrari.

Judge Bowers told an offender who raided three homes in five days: 'It takes a huge amount of courage, as far as I can see, for somebody to burgle somebody’s house. I wouldn’t have the nerve.'

Handing 26-year-old Richard Rochford, from Redcar, a suspended 12-month term, the judge said: 'I’m going to take a chance on you', the Evening Gazette newspaper reported.

After acknowledging the trauma burglary victims face, the judge explained he would not jail Rochford, who had quit drugs since the February break-ins. He was given a two-year supervision order with drug rehabilitation and 200 hours’ unpaid work, with a one-year driving ban.

Following the case, Mr Ferrari, who presents the LBC 97.3 breakfast show, sent a written complaint to the OJC after he was contacted by thousands of listeners venting their anger at the judge’s remarks.

He said: 'These comments appear to praise this individual even though he was found guilty of his crime. In addition to this the sentence seems to reward this man for his behaviour rather than punish. 'He could have been jailed for two-and-a-half years but instead he was given a suspended 12-month jail sentence.

'The comment and the sentence has upset and angered my listeners, many of whom have been victims of burglaries.'

Following the decision to reprimand the judge, the OJC replied: 'Whilst His Honour Judge (HHJ) Bowers regrets his use of the word ‘courage’ the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice believe that this was a serious error of judgment and offensive to those who have been victims of a burglary.

'They also believe that HHJ Bowers’ conduct has been damaging to the respect of the judicial process. For this reason, HHJ Bowers has been issued with a formal reprimand.'

Announcing the decision, an OJC spokesman said: 'His Honour Judge Peter Bowers has been issued with a reprimand following complaints about remarks he made during his sentencing of a burglar at Teesside Crown Court.

'The Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice considered his comments to have damaged public confidence in the judicial process.'

Original report here

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cop spills all on West Australian police

SEXIST, racist and trigger happy. A former police officer has written a graphic account of life as a Perth cop in a new book that claims to blow the whistle on what really goes on behind the blue line.

The book, written under the pseudonym "Officer A" and called The Crime Factory, details several years the author spent in the WA Police after coming over in 2006 as part of a recruitment drive to lure British cops.

The book contains accusations of racism, brutality, bullying and binge drinking.

"Policing in Western Oz was like policing in the 1970s in the UK, but more violent, racist and sexist, and the cops had free use of guns and Tasers," it said.

Officer A, who worked in WA until early 2008, said local cops were trigger happy especially when it came to Tasers.

The chapter about his arrival in Perth is called: "Welcome to Hell". "I'd quickly learnt that in Australia you were much more likely to be shot dead by a cop than get eaten by a shark," he said.

"A significant minority of officers tasered anybody that pissed them off, which was usually anyone with a different skin colour. "I saw two officers attack a pair of harmless sailors. They were a bit drunk but were completely inoffensive."

He also recounts how his then wife who also came over to work in the force was sent out to execute an arrest warrant on a potentially violent criminal just moments after she told her manager she was pregnant.

The book alleges senior police made it clear the recruits were just a "doctor's quick fix". "The local cops hated us," the author says.

The book traces Officer A's career in WA, starting out at a suburban police station before winning a transfer to a secretive intelligence division as a "covert officer" rounding up informants to take out the "baddest guys in the country".

He resigned in 2008 following an incident at a Perth pub, where he says a drunken officer verbally abused him, then returned to Britain to work for the Surrey police force.

A WA Police spokesman said: "The claims in the book about policing in WA are hard to fathom and probably say more about the author than they do about WA Police. "There is nothing in the book that gives WA Police any concern."

He said that between 2006 and 2009, 657 overseas officers were recruited in a "highly successful international recruitment campaign". Just over a quarter of those recruits have since quit.

Last night, The Sunday Times spoke with the author of The Crime Factory who admitted to having a nervous breakdown after his return to the UK which he claims insiders were trying to use to discredit his book.

The breakdown led to a 2010 incident in which he made a drunken phone call from his police station to a colleague claiming that he was going to shoot himself. It caused the station to be stormed by police.

He was fined 500 pounds, but the court heard that during his police career he had won several awards. "I had a breakdown," he said. "It happens. Prior to that I had an excellent service record."

He said the book had been a steady seller.

Original report here. (Via Australian police news)

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Predators with impunity

If resisting arrest is a crime, does a woman have the right to resist a sexual assault by a police officer?

Last May 5th, Magdelena Mol, a young wife and mother from Burbank, Illinois, went to a nearby village called Justice to visit a friend. Shortly after midnight, Mrs. Mol called a taxi and went to a street corner to wait for her ride. A few minutes later, a police officer named Carmen Scardine drove by, then stopped in the middle of the street and ordered Mol to get into his car.

Although Scardine demanded identification from Mol and called the dispatcher to run her name, he never explained why he had taken her into custody. When the taxi arrived a few minutes later, the officer ordered the driver to leave. He then drove the terrified young woman to a secluded area and sexually assaulted her.

On the following day, Mrs. Mol filed an official complaint, which was upheld by the Justice Police Department. She has filed a lawsuit against the department and the Village of Justice – but there is no record that Scardine has been charged with a crime, or even subjected to official discipline.

"As far as I know, he’s still on the force," stated a dispatcher for the Village of Justice Police Department (which is no stranger to corruption) when asked about Carmen Scardine’s status on November 21.

The facts asserted by Mrs. Mol in her lawsuit aren’t in dispute. Why wasn’t her assailant prosecuted for sexual assault? If Scardine had been charged with that crime, he may have been able to claim that the victim had consented to the act – because she didn’t resist. Of course, if she had resisted, she most likely would have been prosecuted for resisting arrest or even aggravated assault on a police officer – assuming that the victim survived the officer’s attempts to "subdue" her.

Pittsburgh resident Sarah Smith had an experience very similar to that of Magdelena Mol. One morning several years ago, Smith was in a minor traffic accident with a man on a motorcycle. Smith had let her liability insurance lapse, and she was driving on an expired license, so she was probably already in a state of panic when Pittsburgh Police Officer Adam Skweres arrived. Smith’s unease catalyzed into terror when the officer pulled her aside and offered to let her traffic violations slide as part of a carnal transaction.

Officer Skweres told Smith that "he could make it look like [the accident] was my fault or he could give the driver a ticket for failure to obey signs," she recalled in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The price of a favorable assessment would take the form of unspecified sexual favors, and Skweres quite generously promised that what he would demand of Smith would not be "as bad as what would happen to me in jail." Such a deal!

On the other hand, if Smith put up a fight, Skweres warned, she would be arrested for resisting arrest, handcuffed, and then raped in the back seat of the police car. Before the officer could make good on his threat, the situation changed, and he agreed to let the terrified young woman go – but only after gesturing to his gun and warning her that "If you say anything about this I'll make sure you never walk, talk, or breathe again."

Smith reported the incident to the Pittsburgh Police Bureau. Complaints were filed by two other women endured nearly identical threats from Skweres (one of whom, a woman embroiled in a child custody dispute, was told that she could purchase a favorable recommendation to the child welfare bureaucracy in exchange for oral sex). The uniformed predator was allowed to continue patrolling the streets – and to collect his $57,000 annual salary – until last February 17, when he was arrested for sexually assaulting a young woman in her home six days earlier.

The victim in the February 11 assault was a woman whose boyfriend was in jail. After asking the victim if she was wearing a wire, and turning on the kitchen faucet to conceal any potentially incriminating noises, Skweres explained the nature of the transaction: He would "help" her boyfriend in exchange for sex. After forcing the traumatized woman to service him, the cop cleaned himself up with a paper towel and left.

Skweres was as predictable as he was persistent. Last December, he had paid a similar visit to Melissa Watkins, whose boyfriend was also in jail. She was alone with her young daughter when the cop materialized to proposition her.

"He locked my front door and everything, he said, `so no one could bother us,'" Watkins told the Post-Gazette. Unzipping his uniform trousers, Skweres offered the same arrangement: He would "help" Watkins' boyfriend in consideration of sexual services. Watkins – despite being utterly terrified – refused.

"There's a man with a badge and a gun in front of you, trying to proposition you," she recalled. "You don't know which way it's going to go."

Four alleged victims have testified against Skweres in a preliminary hearing last March. Since that time, a fifth woman has filed a criminal complaint against him. While he refuses to characterize his accusers as liars, the former police officer insists that he always carried out his duty "with integrity and honesty" and maintains that he is "absolutely" innocent of the charges against him.

Displaying the capacity for self-preoccupation typical of the tax-feeding class, Skweres protested that his arrest and prosecution have "turned my life upside down." An Army reservist who served in Iraq, Skweres was initially rejected by the police academy when a psychologist found him unsuited to police work, but he was awarded a slot following an appeal to the civil service commission. Reports of his predatory behavior began surfacing about eighteen months after Skweres joined the force.

As of 2008, there were roughly 600,000 state and local police officers in the United States. If former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper is correct, at least 30,000 of them are active sexual predators.

On-duty sexual predation by police officers "happens far more often than people in the business are willing to admit," Stamper warns in his memoir Breaking Rank: A Top Cop's Expose of the Dark Side of American Policing. "My cautious guess is that about 5 percent of America's cops are on the prowl for women. In a department the size of Seattle's that's sixty-three police officers. In San Diego, 145. In New York City, 2,000. The average patrol cop makes anywhere from ten to twenty unsupervised contacts a shift. If he's on the make, chances are a predatory cop will find you. Or your wife, your partner, your daughter, your sister, your mother, your friend."

The targets of opportunity for a predatory police officer could also include your troubled teenage son – a grim fact illustrated by the case of former Idaho police officer Ruben Delgadillo.

Shortly after Delgadillo graduated from the Idaho Police Academy, the Governor’s Task Force on Children at Risk held a conference to examine how to deal with child predators. That event included specialized training for school resource officers. Delgadillo, who was assigned to be a school resource officer in the Caldwell School District, would have attended some of those sessions and probably took detailed notes.

In 2008, Delgadillo was assigned to be a school resource officer at Vallivue High School. As a member of the school suspension board, he encountered a troubled freshman named Brennan Nicholson. After a suspension hearing, Delgadillo met with Nicholson and his mother and suggested that he could mentor the young man. This allowed him to make practical use of the instruction he had received regarding the vulnerabilities of at-risk teenagers.

The officer lavished attention on the boy. Eventually he persuaded the youngster to spend the night at a house he shared with his supervisor, Sergeant Mike Larimer. During those sleep-overs Delgadillo repeatedly molested the teenager. Larimer was aware of the crimes and did nothing to intervene. When the victim finally disclosed what was happening, Delgadillo initially claimed that the acts had been consensual; after all, the youngster hadn’t resisted.

According to Nicholson’s lawsuit, the victim initially "did not report Delgadillo because was in fear he would be retaliated against if he did not allow the abuse, because Delgadillo and his roommate, Larimer, were `the police’…. Delgadillo told [Nicholson] that he had ties to gangs, intimidating Brennan into remaining silent."

Delgadillo was eventually prosecuted and was sentenced to a term of three to ten years in prison for felony injury to a child. However, District Judge Thomas Ryan retained jurisdiction over the case, which meant that Delgadillo was released on probation after serving only a year in the Canyon County Jail. This arrangement was made after Delgadillo tearfully expressed fears of what would happen to him in prison as a former police officer and convicted child molester.

The most significant advantage wielded by uniformed predators is not their physical size or even their arsenal; it's their ability to criminalize even the most tentative act of resistance on the part of their potential victims. As Gregory J. Babbitt, assistant prosecuting attorney for Michigan’s Ottawa County, admitted during oral argument before the state supreme court last October, under most "resisting and obstructing" statutes a police officer who sexually assaults a prisoner can press charges if the victim puts up physical resistance.

Babbitt was representing the state of Michigan in the case of People v. Moreno, which examined the question of whether a citizen has a legally protected right to resist an unlawful search or unjustified arrest by a police officer. Associate justice Michael Cavanaugh asked Babbitt if a female inmate who put up a struggle while being sexually assaulted during a body search could be charged under the state’s "resisting and obstructing" statute.

"Technically, you could do that," Babbitt admitted, hastily insisting that "as a prosecutor, I wouldn’t do that." Rather than putting up physical resistance and thereby risking criminal prosecution, he continued, the victim should simply endure the assault and then file a civil complaint after the fact.

If a woman being sexually assaulted by a police officer could be prosecuted for resisting, "what is left of the Fourth Amendment?" Cavanaugh asked Babbitt.

With an indifferent shrug, Babbitt replied, "Well, life isn’t perfect." From his perspective it is simply unacceptable for a mere Mundane to "make the determination as to whether the police officers [are] acting properly or not."

Like most members of the state’s punitive caste, Babbitt maintains that there is never a situation in which a citizen can physically resist a police officer. "We can’t have individuals ... making that decision in the heat of the moment," he insisted, even if that means leaving women like Magdelena Mol – and terrified teenage boys like Brennan Nicholson – at the mercy of sociopathic predators in government-issued costumes.

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, December 10, 2012

Film Permit and Other Phony Demands on Bloggers and Documentary Film Makers

Politicians learned decades ago that they could tax and regulate certain filmmakers. The problem is that too many bureaucrats and cops don’t know or understand the law.

The First Amendment absolutely protects anyone involved with news or opinion publishing and broadcasting. That of course includes those publishing and posting various forms of media on the web. They cannot regulate home video projects not intended for profit either.

The permit laws can only apply to commercial projects such as entertainment films or commercials.

If you’re gathering news video or B-roll and some officious jerk demands to see your film permit you can tell him it’s at the very top of the Bill of Rights. If he still has questions tell him to visit his local library to read a copy. Of course you should tell him your gathering news material but you need not tell him anything about the news story your working on.

They may even try to bully you to obtain a permit and liability insurance but there is no truth to that unless of course you’re not doing news. Stand tough and be sure to shoot video of any official jerks that you can use in court should a bogus arrest is attempted or made.

The rub here is you cannot gather news with the interruption by ignorant public officials. The ACLU is more than happy to represent you especially if you have proof of the suppression of your rights on video.

Never ever yield to demands that you delete video or surrender media cards or tape. If you gather video of a crime the cops and prosecutors have a right to use legal process to obtain a copy your video.

Nobody has the right to force you to turn off your newsgathering camera. If they don’t want to be seen they can either avoid you or put bags over their heads. Nobody has the right to assault you or grab your property. Should they do that it is a crime in every jurisdiction.

You do need to be aware that owners of private property such as malls can force you to leave their premises. They have authority under trespassing laws. Government property that is open to the public can’t prevent you from newsgathering. The exception is in courthouses and that can only become a matter of Contempt of Court, not trespassing.

In most places such as shopping malls it's best if you can slip in shoot the video before you're discovered. They can only take action against you after you fail or refuse to leave their property. Some malls will give you permission for personal video or certain other reasons. Don’t ask for permission until they have approached you. Again a film permit is just not required for newsgathering.

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, December 09, 2012

Cop Forces Disabled Woman Off the Road For Going Two MPH Over the Limit

Reason 24/7 features a story on a cop in Florida who carried out what is called a P.I.T (Precision Immobilization Technique) maneuver on a speeding car back in October. The maneuver is commonly used by police to stop reckless drivers who pose a serious danger to others on the road.

However, in this instance the driver was 62-year-old Sandra Silasavage, who was driving her 2008 Ford Expedition at 57mph on a stretch of road with a 55mph speed limit. Deputy Sean Freeman of the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Department, who forced Silasavage off the road, claims that he saw her hunched over the wheel and did not slow down when he turned his blue lights on. Silasavage claims that she did not see the lights.

Silasavage might have been hunched over because of a horse riding accident from decades ago that broke her back. Her spine is permanently bent and twisted, she requires a cane to walk, and has a morphine pump implanted in her spine. Freeman evidently thought Silasavage dangerous enough to force her off the road, total her car, and put her in hospital. She has been charged with fleeing and eluding and possession of four oxycodone pills without a prescription. The Sheriff’s Office maintains that Deputy Freeman’s use of the P.I.T maneuver was acceptable.

Understandably, Silasavage is upset:

"I was so angry. I could not believe he did that while I was trying to pull over," Silasavage said. "I can't understand it. He said he was concerned we were close to a construction site, but that's another four miles farther west."

Inmates thought the charges laughable:

"It's ludicrous," Silasavage said. "Fleeing and eluding? Ridiculous. Just take a look at me. Are you kidding? The inmates at Rock Road all fell about laughing when they heard what I'd been charged with. I was sitting in a wheelchair."

The case has yet to go to court.

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, December 08, 2012

Don't become disabled in Florida

Disabled daughter dies just hours after state takes her from mom. Once they grabbed her, the daughter screamed in pain until she could scream no more

Even after Marie Freyre died alone in a nursing home 250 miles from the family in North Tampa that loved her, Marie's mother had to fight to bring her home.

In March 2011, state child protection investigators took 14-year-old Marie from her mother, Doris Freyre, claiming Doris' own disabilities made it almost impossible for her to care for Marie, who suffered from seizures and severe cerebral palsy. But a Tampa judge signed an order that Marie be returned to her mother, with in-home nursing care around the clock.

Florida health care administrators refused to pay for it, although in-home care can be demonstrably cheaper than care in an institution. Child welfare workers ignored the order completely.

Two months later, Marie was strapped into an ambulance for a five-hour trip to a Miami Gardens nursing home, as her mother begged futilely to go with her.

Marie died 12 hours after she arrived.

"Since the state of Florida took custody of my daughter, I would like the state of Florida to bring me back my daughter," Freyre, 59, said at a May 9 court hearing, 12 days after her daughter died.

"They kidnapped my daughter. She was murdered," said Freyre. "And I want my daughter back."

The last days of Marie Freyre, chronicled in hundreds of pages of records reviewed by the Miami Herald, are a story of death by bureaucratic callousness and medical neglect. The episode sheds significant light on an ongoing dispute between Florida health care regulators and the U.S. Department of Justice. Though the state claims that the parents of severely disabled and medically fragile children have "choice" over where their children live and receive care, federal civil rights lawyers say Florida, by dint of a rigged funding system, has "systematically" force-fed sick children into nursing homes meant to care for adults — in violation of federal laws that prohibit discrimination against disabled people.

Civil rights lawyers are asking the state to allow a federal judge to oversee Florida's Medicaid program, which insures needy and disabled people. It pays as much as $506 a day to put a child like Marie in a nursing home, but refuses to cover lesser or similar amounts for in-home care.

Late Friday, state health regulators wrote their final letter to the Justice Department in response to a deadline. The state, they wrote, "is not in violation of any federal law" governing the medical care delivered to needy Floridians, and cannot "agree to the demand … that a federal court take over the management of Florida's Medicaid service-delivery system."

Without doubt, Marie Freyre was a fragile, sickly child. Born with cerebral palsy and fluid surrounding her brain, Marie had a shunt in her skull to drain the fluid and suffered from life-threatening seizures. One of her hips was permanently displaced, causing sometimes excruciating pain. Marie could smile, though she could not speak.

Doris Freyre — who worked at a family store in Puerto Rico before becoming disabled herself— cared for her daughter well for 14 years, and Marie had suffered no seizures in recent years, records show.

"Doris spent every day of 14 years of her life giving everything she had to Marie, guaranteeing that Marie lived as healthy and wonderful a life as God allowed her," said the family's Tampa lawyer, Peter Brudny.

But in March 2011, one of the family's in-home nurses reported several concerns about Doris Freyre's parenting of Marie to the Department of Children and Families, setting in motion a disastrous chain of events. Hillsborough Circuit Judge Vivian Corvo began a hearing on the case on March 30, 2011, by praising Freyre for her care of her daughter.

Corvo wanted to help Freyre — not punish her. The greatest challenge was Freyre's own health: Freyre suffers from six herniated discs, as well as carpal tunnel syndrome in her wrists.

"The doctor told me to do surgery," Freyre said in court. "I told him no, because I have to take care of my daughter."

Freyre had asked the Agency for Health Care Administration to provide her with 24-hour nursing aides. As it stood, Freyre had a gap between midnight and 7 a.m. where she needed help to reposition Marie and change her diapers. "It's not easy," Freyre told the judge. "I'm human."

But AHCA administrators refused to pay for the additional hours. Corvo wanted to know why. "This is a nonverbal child, with all of these issues," the judge said. "Why would this mother not qualify for 24-hour care?"

From the beginning, state child protection administrators wanted to send Marie to a nursing home. Freyre's attorney suggested such a move could kill her.

"With this type of child, when you institutionalize them," attorney Steve Zucker said, "they never do well. And I'm very concerned."

"Can the (state) do better than this?" he asked the judge.

At the end of the hearing, Corvo required child welfare administrators to do better. She wrote an order that Marie be returned to her mother, with additional nursing care through the night.

It was an order the state simply ignored.

Records show state child welfare workers disregarded Corvo's order that Hillsborough Kids, which was under contract with the DCF, pay for the extra nursing hours while caseworkers looked into additional dollars from Medicaid.

Two weeks later, the state Attorney General's Office and Hillsborough Kids appeared before a different judge, Emily Peacock. AHCA, which runs Medicaid, had refused again to pay for 24-hour care, a lawyer said. With no permanent solution in sight, the state said, a nursing home was the only option.

"The best placement for the child right now is a … nursing home where she can get that 24-hour supervision and care that she needs," said Angeline Attila, an assistant attorney general.

The new judge, who never asked why the state ignored a prior judge's order, agreed — though she granted Freyre the right to visit with her daughter all she wanted. But even that kindness proved meaningless.

A DCF review of Marie's death said the only nursing home willing to take her was Florida Club Care Center in Miami Gardens.

At first, the state Attorney General's Office, which was representing Hillsborough Kids, asked that the long trip be delayed so lawyers could seek permission from a judge to move Marie.

But they were under significant pressure to get Marie out of Tampa General Hospital, where she was placed after child protection workers took her into state care. Records show the hospital complained bitterly that it was losing money on her care. A hospital social worker, records say, "was adamant about the child leaving the hospital today."

So, at 11:30 a.m. April 25, 2011, workers at Tampa General Hospital loaded the teen onto a stretcher in a private ambulance — as her mother and grandfather begged them to stop. Even as caseworkers were packing Marie's belongings, her grandfather was frantically filing hand-written emergency motions in court to delay the trip, Brudny said.

Doris Freyre, case notes say, "stated that no one knows my child like me," and that Marie's dislocated hip would cause her great pain if she were strapped to a stretcher for hours. She added: "If something happens to my daughter I am holding all of you responsible for it."

Freyre had no car — and the private ambulance refused to allow her to join Marie — so Marie made the trip to Miami-Dade County alone.

Records show the two ambulance workers refused to take Marie's seizure drugs with them; under the company's policy, they were not allowed to administer medications in any case. According to a report detailing Tampa General Hospital's care of Marie, the hospital neglected to ensure she was properly hydrated before she left. During her five-hour ambulance ride, she was given no water or food.

A September 2011 investigation by AHCA of how Tampa General discharged Marie to the nursing home faulted the hospital for a number of violations, including failing to ensure the child had enough fluids and was properly medicated. The hospital's lack of "concern" for Marie, the report said, left her "in danger."

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services placed the hospital under the status of "Immediate Jeopardy" following the review, the highest penalty under federal health regulations, said an AHCA spokeswoman. The following October, the federal agency removed the designation after Tampa General implemented a corrective action plan. AHCA also is seeking to fine the hospital $5,000 in the case, and a hearing is scheduled for Jan. 14.

Marie arrived in Miami Gardens the way she left Tampa: screaming. AHCA records for the next 12 hours mention only four notations in the nursing home file, and two of them document Marie "screaming."

By 5:40 a.m. April 27, 2011, Marie was described as having "labored" breathing. Five minutes later, she was unresponsive. The AHCA investigation concluded she had been given none of her life-sustaining anti-seizure drugs, required three times each day.

Marie was pronounced dead at 6:54 a.m. Cause of death: heart attack.

Two weeks later, on May 9, 2011, Doris Freyre appeared one last time before a judge in Tampa — Peacock, who declared herself "terribly sorry" for Freyre's loss.

"I don't accept your excuse," the mother replied. Freyre said she was in court to get her daughter's body back from the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner's Office. With no trust left for state officials, Freyre was seeking a private autopsy.

"It's the mother's position that the (state) had the child removed without proper authorization," said her attorney, Laguerra Champagne. "She objected to the child being physically removed from Hillsborough County and transported to Miami. No court hearing was held and, unfortunately, we're here today, dealing with a dead child instead of a living child."

Attila, the prosecutor who, weeks earlier, had fought so hard to get Marie to the nursing home, no longer wanted to discuss the matter. She told Peacock that a child welfare judge had no "jurisdiction" over a dead child and prosecutors would file a court motion saying so.

"Not to seem insensitive; I understand the mother is quite frustrated and I understand that she's grieving," Attila said, "but the information that she's providing to the court is moot at this point in time."

Despite Attila's protestations, Freyre had the last word.

"I had her for 14 years — cared (for) and loved her," Freyre said. "And you have her … in prison, in the hospital, without going out in the sun, without being with other people, in prison.

"Then, in (12) hours, you took her down to Miami and she died," Freyre added. "And I want the truth of this to come out. I want justice."

Marie's body remained in storage for nine months while the medical examiner's office completed its autopsy, and Freyre held a memorial with no body.

In the end, Marie's body was cremated in Tampa. Her ashes then were sent to Puerto Rico for a private family funeral.

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