Monday, March 31, 2014

Woman who performed a sex act upon a uniformed British cop wins £6,600 in damages from the Met for the psychological damage it had caused

A woman who performed a sex act on a uniformed police officer has won £6,600 in damages from the Metropolitan Police today.

The 37-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, asked PC James Formby, 34, to kiss her when he attended her home during a patrol in Bromley, south-east London.

But the woman brought a damages case claiming she had been too drunk to consent when she later performed a sex act on the officer, who is not married.

The woman had been to a nightclub before her boyfriend allegedly attacked her in the street.

Formby and another officer attended their home in the early hours 19 September, 2009, and he stayed at the scene when the boyfriend was arrested.

The court heard this week how the woman 'asked Formby to kiss her' before 'removing his kit-belt and performing fellatio on him'.

The woman later insisted she had no memory of what happened until she 'woke up' during the sex act.

The court heard he later sent her a text message saying he wanted to 'do this again', but the woman reported the incident, leading to Formby facing a charge of misconduct in a public office and dismissal from the force.

After the ensuing damages claim came before the Central London County Court this week, Judge Edward Bailey today awarded a total of £6,600 in compensation to the woman for the psychological harm caused by the encounter.

The woman said she suffered from depression, the hair loss condition alopecia and underwent months of counselling after the incident.

The judge also blasted the Met Police Commissioner for fighting the case. Giving his judgment today, Judge Bailey said: 'Both parties flirted but the claimant acted in a very sexualised manner.

'She was an active party in the initiation and commission of the oral sex. At no time did she pull away or ask the officer to desist. 'I conclude that there was consent to the sexual activity that took place.

But he added: 'The more extreme and outrageous the claimant's conduct was the more the officer should have appreciated that here was a woman whose psychological state was such that sexual contact would cause harm.

'It is certainly not commonplace for a woman to throw herself at a man she has just met. For a police officer on duty and in uniform every alarm bell in his head should have been ringing. 'But desire overcame judgement, it should have been the other way around.

'The officer didn't foresee the harm to the claimant but he did not stop to think that having sexual relations with this woman would cause her psychological damage.'

He added: 'I express my disappointment that the Commissioner contested these proceedings. 'This was a publicly-funded case and there can be no doubt that each side has incurred costs well in excess of any sum that any judge could possibly award for the events in question. 'There is no obvious financial reason for contesting the case.

'The defendant (Met Police) has forced the claimant to come to court stand in the witness box and recall, recount and be questioned on an episode of her life that she would dearly like to forget. 'She has had to do this for no obvious good reason.'

Formby, who gave evidence in the trial, maintained he had not taken advantage of the woman. 'She asked me to kiss her and I was a bit taken aback because I was a police officer on duty but on the other hand I'm a single guy,' he said.

'We ended up in the bedroom...She was on the bed, she had no bottom half on but was wearing a corset on the top half.

'We kissed, it was fairly frantic on her part and quite passionate. She was very clear physically about what she wanted to happen.'

The woman, sitting with her publicly-funded legal team, wept during the hearing. She told the court she was angry that Formby had not faced 'a more serious charge like rape'.

But her changing account of the night was severely criticised by the Met Commissioner's lawyer. Jonathan Loades said the woman had presented 'a completely different version of events to that which was originally mentioned to the police'.

He had urged the court to reject a medical report on the woman's drunkeness, after the expert had failed to recognise the woman was 'a chronic depressive for a long time'.

Ruth Brander, for the woman, admitted her client had failed to rebuff the cop.

'It has never been the case the woman said 'no', but the issue is whether the witness had capacity to consent, given the state she was in.

'In terms of the misconduct offence I fully accept that what happened should not have happened.

'What I refuse to accept is that she was drunk or on drugs.'

In 2010, Formby, from Maidstone, Kent, was handed a 20 week prison sentence suspended for two years after he admitted misconduct in a public office.

He was also told to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £1,000 in prosecution and defence costs.

Original report here




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Sunday, March 30, 2014


Iced Tea Drinker Arrested - Urged to Take a "Deal" from Prosecutors

So, it’s a warm day, and you’re standing in a parking lot, drinking a refreshing can of iced tea.

Suddenly, a random dude walks up and demands your beverage. You show him that it is in fact iced tea and that you aren’t publicly intoxicated. He tells you to give him the can and you say no, figuring this stranger can get his own iced tea.

Incidentally, the random dude is a plainclothes police officer. Despite the fact that you’re drinking iced tea, you are flung to the ground and put in a chokehold, because we all know that folks just can’t be drinking iced tea all willy-nilly in a parking lot like that.

This is exactly what happened to rapper Christopher "Xstrav" Beatty, who was handcuffed and arrested by Officer Rick Libero of the Cumberland County Alcoholic Beverage Control Law Enforcement for drinking a can of Arizona iced tea in the parking lot of a liquor store in Fayetteville, North Carolina last April. Luckily for Beatty, a friend was right there, capturing the arrested on his camera.

It’s also important to note that Officer Libero did NOT immediately identify himself as a police officer.

You can watch an interview with clips from the video of Beatty’s arrest below.

One would think that with the entire debacle on video that Beatty’s plight would have ended shortly after this incident. One would be incorrect. Beatty was charged with trespassing and resisting arrest, and is being offered a "deal" by prosecutors. (Is it an election year? This wouldn’t be the first prosecutor to "crack down" for a ridiculous reason in order to win fame and garner votes.)

Let’s be sure we are 100% clear on this.


According to a court document, the deal would punish Beatty with probation and community service on misdemeanor allegations that he was trespassing and resisted a public officer. After a year, the charges would be dismissed and leave Beatty’s record clear of a conviction through an arrangement called a deferred prosecution.

The case is scheduled to be heard in Cumberland County District Court on June 5. District Attorney Billy West said his office has approved the deal.

Beatty said he doesn’t like it. "It would get it dismissed at the end, but I would still have to take responsibility for my actions, and I felt like I did nothing wrong," Beatty said.

Beatty is between a rock and a hard place, which is exactly where the "justice system" wants him.

The deal doesn’t sound like much of a deal. The tea-drinking man would face a year of probation and be required to perform 24 hours of community service. Not only that, Beatty would be required to have a mental health assessment, and as a probationer would be required by law to submit to drug testing and warrantless searches.

His attorney, Allan Rogers, is urging him to take the "deal."

While he feels that his rights were violated, he runs the risk that the judge will see the case differently, Rogers said. A judge could convict, so Rogers recommends that Beatty take the deal.

"This is a compromise resolution that gives us a guaranteed result," he said. "As a lawyer, when you’re representing folks, your goal is to try to get the best possible outcome. … The best outcome is one that we can control, and at this point, he would end up with no conviction."

Original report here




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Saturday, March 29, 2014

If You Don't Want a SWAT Team at Your Door, You Shouldn't Be Drinking Tea

Why did a SWAT team raid Bob and Addie Harte's house in Leawood, Kansas, two years ago, then force the couple and their two children to sit on a couch for two hours while officers rifled their belongings, searching for "narcotics" that were not there? KSHB, the NBC station in Kansas City, reports that the Hartes made two mistakes: Bob went to a hydroponics store in Kansas City, Missouri, with his son to buy supplies for a school science project, and Addie drank tea. It cost them $25,000 to discover that these innocent actions earned them an early-morning visit by screaming, rifle-waving men with a battering ram.

The Hartes, who tried to reassure their neighbors by showing them the search report indicating that nothing was taken from their home, were naturally curious what they had done to attract police attention. But the Johnson County Sheriff's Office would not say, so the Hartes hired a lawyer to help them obtain the relevant records, which according to KSHB is not easy in Kansas because state law favors darkness over sunshine. Eventually the Hartes learned that a Missouri Highway Patrol trooper saw Bob at the hydroponics store on August 9, 2011. Seven months later, state police passed on this hot tip to the sheriff's office, which sprang into action (after a few weeks), rummaging through the Hartes' garbage three times in April 2012. On all three occasions, they found "wet plant material" that a field test supposedly identified as marijuana.

Such tests are notoriously unreliable, confusing chocolate with hashish, soy milk with GHB, and soap with cocaine, among other hilarious errors that result in fruitless searches, mistaken arrests, and false imprisonment. But the cops did not bother to confirm their field results with a more reliable lab test before charging into the Hartes' home, three days after their third surreptitious trash inspection. When the Hartes starting asking questions about the raid, the sheriff's office suddenly decided to test that wet plant material, which it turned out was not marijuana after all. The Hartes figure it must have been the loose tea that Addie favors, which she tends to toss into the trash after brewing. Field tests have been known to misidentify various possible tea ingredients, including spearmint, peppermint, lavendar, vanilla, anise, and chicory, as marijuana.

Since mistakes like this are pretty embarrassing, the Hartes think Kansas cops would be more careful if obtaining police records were easier. "You shouldn't have to have $25,000, even $5,000," Addie Harte tells KSHB. "You shouldn't have to have that kind of money to find out why people came raiding your house like some sort of police state."

Original report here




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Friday, March 28, 2014

Japan releases world’s longest serving death row inmate because evidence that put him behind bars for 45 YEARS was probably made up

A Japanese court has ordered the release of the world’s longest serving death row inmate because the evidence used against him was likely made up.

Iwao Hakamada, 78, a former professional boxer convicted of the 1966 murder of a family, has spent the last 45 years behind bars on death row, a Guinness World Record – including 30 years in solitary confinement waiting to die.

The court ordered a retrial for Mr Hakamada - who was sentenced to death in 1968 but not executed because of a lengthy appeals process - although the prosecution has four days to decide whether it will appeal the decision.

According to local media, Mr Hakamada was released from Tokyo Detention House for the first time in decades at around 5pm today, Japanese time. Accompanied by his sister, Mr Hakamada, in a yellow shirt, made his way slowly out of the court to a car before being driven away.

Presiding judge Hiroaki Murayama said he was concerned that investigators could have planted evidence to win a conviction as they sought to bring closure to a crime that had shocked the country.

‘There is possibility that (key pieces of) evidence have been fabricated by investigative bodies,’ Mr Murayama said in his ruling, according to Jiji Press.

The court said today that DNA analysis obtained by Mr Hakamada's lawyers suggested that investigators had fabricated evidence.

Blood stains detected on five pieces of clothing, which investigators said were worn by the culprit during the crime, did not match the DNA of Hakamada, and trousers that prosecutors submitted as evidence were too small for Hakamada and did not fit when he tried them on.

Shizuoka District deputy chief prosecutor Takashi Nishitani said the ruling was unanticipated and that prosecutors would discuss whether to appeal to a higher court.

It took 27 years for the Supreme Court to deny his first appeal for a retrial. He filed a second appeal in 2008, and the court finally ruled in his favour today.

There has long been speculation he was innocent, and in 2007 one of the three judges who originally convicted him publicly declared he had thought Mr Hakamada was innocent.

Mr Hakamada initially denied accusations that he robbed and killed his boss, the man's wife and their two children before setting their house ablaze.

But the former boxer, who worked for a bean-paste maker, later confessed following what he subsequently claimed was a brutal police interrogation that included beatings.

He retracted his confession, but to no avail, and the supreme court confirmed his death sentence in 1980.

Prosecutors and courts had used blood-stained clothes, which emerged a year after the crime and his arrest, as key evidence to convict Mr Hakamada.

The clothes did not fit him, his supporters said. The blood stains appeared too vivid for evidence that was discovered a year after the crime. Later DNA tests found no link between Mr Hakamada, the clothes and the blood stains, his supporters said.

But the now-frail Mr Hakamada has remained in solitary confinement on death row, regardless.

His supporters and some lawyers, including the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, have loudly voiced their doubts about the evidence, the police investigations and the judicial logic that led to the conviction.

Even one of the judges who originally sentenced Mr Hakamada to death in 1968 has said he was never convinced of the man's guilt but could not sway his judicial colleagues who out-voted him.

Japan has a conviction rate of around 99 per cent and claims of heavy-handed police interrogations persist under a long-held belief that a confession is the gold standard of guilt.

The decision to grant Mr Hakamada a retrial came as Amnesty International issued its annual review of reported executions worldwide, which showed Japan killed eight inmates in 2013, the ninth-largest national tally in the world.

Amnesty, which has championed Mr Hakamada's cause and says he is the world's longest-serving death row detainee, called on prosecutors to respect the court's decision.

‘It would be most callous and unfair of prosecutors to appeal the court's decision,’ said Roseann Rife, the organisation's East Asia research director. ‘Time is running out for Hakamada to receive the fair trial he was denied more than four decades ago,’ she said.

‘For more than 45 years he has lived under the constant fear of execution, never knowing from one day to the next if he is going to be put to death. This adds psychological torture to an already cruel and inhumane punishment.

‘It would be most callous and unfair of prosecutors to appeal the court’s decision. Time is running out for Hakamada to receive the fair trial he was denied more than four decades ago.

'If ever there was a case that merits a retrial, this is it. Hakamada was convicted on the basis of a forced confession and there remain unanswered questions over recent DNA evidence.’

In an interview last year, Hideko Hakamada, who has spent decades speaking out on behalf of her brother's plight, said she was worried about the mental state of Mr Hakamada, who now 'talks nonsense'

Mr Hakamada's sister, Hideko, 81, who has passionately campaigned for a retrial for decades, thanked dozens of supporters who gathered in front of the court house.

‘I want to free him as soon as possible,’ she told a press conference held shortly after the court announced its decision.

‘I want to tell him, "You did well. You will finally be free",’ she said.

Mr Hakamada seems to have developed psychological illnesses after decades in solitary confinement, Hideko told AFP in an interview last year.

‘What I am worried about most is Iwao's health. If you put someone in jail for 47 years, it's too much to expect them to stay sane,’ his sister said in the interview.

Thursday's ruling underscores Japan's much-criticised closed interrogations, which rely heavily on self-confession.

Mr Hakamada had confessed in a closed interrogation.

Original report here




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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Michelle Byrom gets death penalty for crime son confessed to

A WOMAN is set to be executed for a crime her son confessed to committing. Mississippi’s attorney general has requested that Michelle Byrom be put to death for hiring her son’s friend to kill her abusive husband, Edward Byrom Sr., while she was in hospital, CNN reports.

If the state Supreme Court accepts the execution request, Byrom, 57, will be the first woman put to death in the state in 70 years.

However, Byrom’s advocates say she deserves a stay, chiefly because her son, Edward Byrom Jr, confessed to the 1999 killing in three letters smuggled to his mother, and in another statement to a court-appointed psychologist.

Byrom’s attorneys, who were trying their first capital murder case, never had the confessions entered into evidence, and Byrom Jr. took a plea deal for a reduced sentence, according to CNN.

Authorities allege that Byrom Jr., his mother and his friend, Joey Gillis, colluded to kill Byrom Sr, in order for Michelle Byrom to collect on her husband’s $US150,000 ($162,000) life insurance policy.

Evidence at the trial included a statement from Byrom Jr, who accused Gillis of the shooting and his mother of hiring his friend to kill his father.

But Byrom Jr.’s repeated confessions contradict the prosecution’s trial theory that Gillis pulled the trigger and Michelle Byrom was the mastermind.

In one letter to his mother, Byrom Jr. wrote how he killed his father in a rage after his father called him a "bastard, no good, mistake, and telling me I’m inconciderate (sic) and just care about my self."

After his father hit him, Byrom Jr. retrieved a 9mm handgun, entered his father’s bedroom, opened fire and fled, he wrote in the letter.

The fact that a jury never heard Byrom Jr.’s confessions is a "perversion of American jurisprudence," Warren Yoder, executive director of the Public Policy Center of Mississippi, told CNN.

Former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz Jr. said Byrom should get a new trial.

"The majority of Mississippians support the death penalty because they think that people get fair trials and they think that they have competent attorneys representing them," Mr Diaz told CNN. "In this case, she didn’t have either one."

Original report here




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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

British Police chief who doesn't have a clue: As shredded corruption files storm grows, Met boss tells MPs 'I don't even know what is missing'

The head of Scotland Yard was accused yesterday of failing to get a grip on the 'chaotic' scandal of shredded police corruption files. In a stuttering performance before MPs, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe admitted he did not even know how many documents had been destroyed.

His extraordinary confession comes nearly two months after his officers found that potentially thousands of files from an internal probe were missing.

Written by a senior detective, it reveals officers stole and trafficked illegal drugs, shared rewards cash with informants, faked applications for more payouts, sold confidential intelligence to criminals and accepted bribes to destroy and fabricate evidence.

Yesterday Keith Vaz said a full parliamentary inquiry into the 'structure, governance and culture' of the Met would be launched by the home affairs committee.

The Labour MP, who chairs the Commons panel, said Sir Bernard had yet to get a grip on the issue of the 'chaotic' filing operation and his answers were not reassuring.

He pointed out the Met chief had personally learned of the 2001 shredding operation on February 4 and it was now March 25. In his evidence Sir Bernard also told MPs:

He had not read the full report on the police investigation into corruption;

The files may have been destroyed for data protection reasons;

He has not asked two of his predecessors, Lord Stevens and Lord Blair, why the files were destroyed.

Revelations that the documents, gathered under Operation Othona, were destroyed came in Mark Ellison QC's review of the Stephen Lawrence investigation, published on March 6.

Sir Bernard was asked repeatedly if the shredding was malicious and corrupt. He could only reply: 'Did the shredding happen? It seems like it did. The question is about the motivation for the shredding. 'There is an innocent one – it is a normal process of weeding and getting rid of documents – and there is a malicious one. What we have to establish is which one it is.'

Asked what is missing, he said: 'I just don't know – that is what we are going to have to have an investigation to discover.'

Sir Bernard said the shredding is now believed to have taken place in 2001 – not 2003 – as originally thought. A female officer had come forward with details of the destruction of the files, which was carried out when Sir Bernard was an assistant commissioner.

Sir Bernard, who told Mr Vaz it was a 'nonsense' to think that an inquiry was needed, insisted the Met was in good shape.

But MPs were left exasperated by Sir Bernard's failure to answer a series of key questions.

They included whether the documents might have been shredded to comply with human rights law and data protection. Asked repeatedly if this was the case, he could say only that: 'It is entirely possible'.

There was astonishment when Mr Vaz asked whether Sir Bernard had read three key reports into possible corruption in the Met. He replied that he had read only part of one of the dossiers and had not seen the other files.

Mr Vaz also asked Sir Bernard if he had seen the devastating 2012

memo written by Detective Superintendent David Hurley that summarises the destroyed files. Mr Vaz said: 'Could I ask have you seen the memo written by Hurley?' Sir Bernard replied: 'I haven't.'

Mr Vaz said: 'Sir Bernard, normally I find you very reassuring, I'm afraid I don't think we're reassured at the moment.'

Disturbing questions now remain over whether corrupt officers undermined the inquiries into the murders of Stephen Lawrence and private eye Daniel Morgan in 1987.

Stephen's parents Doreen and Neville have long feared that corruption played a part in the years of police failings over his racist murder in 1993.

Mr Morgan's family believes the same network of officers shielded those behind the axe killing of the married father of two.

Yesterday Sir Bernard told MPs that the Met shouldn't be involved in any future corruption investigation into a former detective called John Davidson, who worked on both murder inquiries.

But he indicated that he is considering whether a sixth investigation should be started into the unsolved murder of Mr Morgan, who was said to have been preparing to expose police corruption when he was killed in a South East London pub car park.

Mr Ellison's report found that an undercover police officer was working within the 'Lawrence family camp' in the late 90s as evidence was being taken for the judicial inquiry led by Sir William Macpherson into Stephen's death.

Mr Ellison found there is evidence to suspect Mr Davidson acted corruptly. It is claimed that he had links to Clifford Norris, the gangland boss father of David Norris, one of the two men who were finally convicted in 2012 of the teenager's racist murder.

It is also claimed that Mr Davidson had links to the failed investigation into the death of Mr Morgan in Sydenham.

Mr Davidson disputes the allegations and has always denied them.

Original report here




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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Naomi Oni accuses Scotland Yard of 'incompetence' for believing she poured sulphuric acid over her own face...even though CCTV clearly showed her being stalked by her attacker

A woman who was left scarred for life after being attacked with sulphuric acid has accused Scotland Yard of incompetence, saying police initially claimed she had poured it over herself.

Naomi Oni, a Victoria's Secret shop assistant, was left with severe burns on her face and chest in the incident in Dagenham, east London, in 2012.

Her former friend, Mary Konye, 22, who disguised herself in a Muslim veil before throwing the acid, was jailed for 12 years last week.

Miss Oni told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that police were slow to act on information she gave them about the attack.

She said it almost felt like she had 'been accused of lying', adding that she had suffered 'pain and backlash for her (Konye's) actions and other people's incompetence'.

The Metropolitan Police said they considered all lines of inquiry in the early stages of their investigation.

Miss Oni said officers were incompetent 'to kind of accuse me of doing it to myself, when I've said somebody has followed me from my workplace to my home'.

'I even got told that they watched the CCTV footage and they saw no-one following me,' she said. 'We've all seen the CCTV footage. There was a person in a veil following me. 'Why was this not found in the beginning? 'Nobody has answers to tell me.'

She added that she has no idea where the rumour came from initially, but she overheard people talking about it.

Today she told Sky News: 'I've had people approach me and even say "oh, she did it to herself".

'I've been through a whirlwind that most people couldn't imagine happening. I've been embarrassed time and time again.'

'I remember when I had my first surgery when they had to remove my dressings and when I saw my face after the surgery I was just in bits. I was devastated.

'And I remember her phoning me and just crying to her and was like "who could do this to me? I’d never even wish this on my enemy".

'I was just crying and crying and crying. And she was just listening, saying "don’t cry, its going to be ok".'

It was argued in court that Miss Oni was trying to find fame by disfiguring herself, inspired by a similar incident in which model and TV presenter Katie Piper was partially blinded and had more than 100 operations to rebuild her face after she was badly disfigured in an acid attack in 2008.

But she said the reason she had searched for the case on the internet was that she had seen a documentary on Miss Piper and found it 'a moving and touching story'.

She said: 'If that has been found on my laptop, I don't see what that has to do with someone wearing a veil coming to attack me.'

Miss Oni described the moment she discovered her friend was the one who attacked her.

She said: 'I couldn’t eat for days. I almost didn't believe it when the police told me it was her. I didn’t want to believe it. It didn’t make sense.

'I even asked, I said "oh my God did she send somebody to come after me?" And they just looked at me like "No, you still don’t get it. She IS the person under the veil".

'And I just cried and cried and cried. When I told my mum I was literally in shock. I couldn’t speak for days.’

She added: 'Emotionally and psychologically I'm scarred. I'm traumatised, I'm constantly turning my back to see who's behind me. It's messed me up - inside and out.'

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: 'All lines of inquiry were considered in the early stages of the investigation.

'The investigation was detailed and complex and officers had a duty to explore every avenue of inquiry and retain an open mind about the circumstances.

'They carried out numerous actions including door-to-door inquiries, leaflet drops, searches, interviews and forensic analyses.

'The CCTV evidence took some time to collate and analyse but then clearly showed a veiled suspect trailing the victim before the attack. 'Konye was arrested as the investigation progressed.'

In a victim impact statement read out to the court last week, Ms Oni said she was now 'paranoid and scared' about being outdoors alone and admitted having suicidal thoughts.

It was now a 'battle to get by each day' after being permanently disfigured, she added.

She has suffered permanent scars to her leg, chest, stomach and arms and was almost blinded in one eye.

She faces further reconstructive surgery and must wear a silicon face mask which makes it difficult to breathe, the court heard.

Original report here




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Monday, March 24, 2014


BEWARE: No-Knock SWAT Attacks

Gun owners beware. Squirt gun owners, that includes you. If a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team SUSPECTS you of crime, you may receive a late-night visit from an armed SWAT team.

That’s right, an armed and militant SWAT team could trot right through your front door as you slumber this summer. No-knock warrants are increasingly used by military-style police units, like SWAT teams for drug raids. Unfortunately, SWAT teams can obtain these warrants too easily from judges and consequently do not always perform sufficient due diligence. As a result, tens of thousands of decent, law-abiding American citizens are surprised every year by a no-knock visit when the SWAT team gets it wrong.

While we do not know the exact number of wrongful No-Knock SWAT invasions, a 2006 article by Cato Institute policy analyst put the number at 40,000 a year! We must rally together and use our freedom of speech to protest such an atrocity.

Think about it: When a SWAT team invades the wrong home in the middle of the night, as happened in the case of Tracy Ingle in 2008, the results can be bloody. SWAT team members barreled through Ingle’s main door and bedroom window under the cover of darkness. Understandably, Ingle thought he was being robbed and attempted to exercise his natural right to self-defense by reaching for what The New American describes as "a non-working gun."

Completely disregarding Ingle’s natural and constitutional rights to self-defense (2nd Amendment); private property (4th Amendment) and right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty (4th, 5th and 6th Amendments)—the SWAT team fired at Ingle over nine times—pummeling his chest, calf, arm and hip and shattering his leg bone.

It wasn’t until afterward that the SWAT team thought to verify Ingle’s identity by asking him if he was the criminal they were looking for named "Michael." When they realized Ingle was not "Michael" but "Terry," they rushed him to the hospital.

We certainly have many good and conscientious law enforcement officers in the United States. However, it is completely unjust and unethical for a team of law enforcement officers to storm into our homes and blast bullet holes through any moving shadow. Using this irresponsible method of "law enforcement," a SWAT team could also accidently kill many innocent bystanders such as children, spouses or even pets who happen to live at the same house as the suspected criminal.

58 percent of Americans favor legalizing marijuana, according to an October 2013 Gallup report. The number of Americans who favor legalization has risen steadily as more Americans witness the failure of the "War on Drugs." The combination of violent Mexican drug lords and unethical American drug cops (think Eric Holder) has been a recipe for disaster. Besides performing better due diligence, there’s another solution to preventing wrongful No-Knock SWAT invasions. If we were to legalize drugs, we would see a decrease in the narcotic crime rate. Legitimate business owners would eventually put the drug cartels out of business by reducing their profit margins.

How many more "Fasts and Furious" scandals are we willing to endure where we lose the lives of U.S. Border Patrol agents like Nicolas Ivie and Brian Terry? How many more chronically ill patients must be deprived of natural and effective treatment for their cancer or multiple sclerosis? How many more Terry Ingles need to wake up in the middle of the night to a spray of SWAT bullets? How many more Americans need to endure needless pain and bloodshed before we recognize the constitutional right of states to legalize drugs? One more American is one too many.

Speak up and tell your elected representatives to defend your 2nd, 4th, 5th and 6th Amendment rights. Say no to No-Knock SWAT Team invasions.

Original report here




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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Britain's SFO goofs again

The Serious Fraud Office has suffered a further embarrassment after a it was blamed by a judge for the collapse of a £40m bribery trial.

Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith accused Britain’s fraud busting agency of "mismanagement" in its case against Victor Dahdaleh, the businessman and Labour party donor.

The SFO had accused the Jordanian-born metals magnate of paying almost £40m in bribes between 1998 and 2006 to former managers of Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) in return for contracts worth more than £1.8bn with companies in which he had an interest.

Opening the case last November, the SFO’s lead counsel said the case was "about corruption... on a very large scale".

But the trial collapsed within weeks, despite Mr Dahdaleh admitting he had made payments to Alba managers – though claiming they were "custom and practice" in Bahraini culture and had been approved by a royal family member.

The case fell apart after the SFO’s key witness, Australian national Bruce Hall, changed his evidence and one of its lawyers admitted that it had "delegated" its investigation in Bahrain to Akin Gump, a US law firm.

Akin Gump was already representing Alba in a civil lawsuit against Mr Dahdaleh in the US, raising a clear conflict of interest – a situation exacerbated by the refusal of two of its lawyers to testify in the SFO case.

Giving judgment in a related case, Mr Loraine-Smith said the SFO had relied to an "extraordinary extent" on Akin Gump, adding: "The fact of delegation to a law firm acting in a foreign jurisdiction, with interests in direct conflict with the defendant’s, was bound to result in very real complications."

He added that "there’s not doubt" that the refusal of one of Akin Gump’s lawyers, Mark MacDougall, to attend the trial "led the SFO to bring these proceedings to a conclusion. It was discourteous to this court, no doubt about it, but [Mr MacDougall’s] primary duty was to his client in the USA."

An SFO spokesperson said: "No aspect of this investigation was delegated.

"It is a routine feature of cases where third party companies have legal representation for those lawyers to act as an intermediary between the prosecuting authority and the company in question. In this case we told Akin Gump exactly what material we wanted and we have no reason to believe that they did anything other than provide it to us.

"However, we are aware of the criticisms that were made of our handling of the investigation into Mr Dahdaleh’s case and will be studying the ruling carefully with a view to identifying any lessons that can be learnt."

Original report here




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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Crooked British cop loses the lot

A corrupt detective who made more than £1 million by selling drugs he was meant to be destroying will only have to pay back an amount equating to a quarter of his ill-gotten gains.

Nicholas McFadden, 39, while a detective constable at West Yorkshire Police, helped himself to heroin, cocaine and cannabis that had been confiscated from criminals and sold it on the streets for more than £600,000.

However, a confiscation hearing held at Leeds Crown Court today was told how he made a total of £1,102,204.31 from his crimes.

Nicholas McFadden has to hand over all of his assets - totaling £250,000

He used the dirty money to lavish gifts on both his wife and ex-fiancee and fund his extravagant lifestyle - including buying an orangery.

In April 2013, he was sentenced to 23 years behind bars and was yesterday ordered to pay £257,052.08 - the total value of all the assets available to him.

McFadden, who decided to stay in his cell while the hearing took place, was given six months to pay the amount and warned that, if he defaults, three years will be added to his jail term.

During last year's trial, the jury heard that the disgraced policeman and his accomplice, his brother Simon, 42 - who was sentenced to 16 years behind bars - made so much money they 'did not know what to do with it'.

His colleagues had noticed that he purchased a private number plate for his car, began to wear designer clothing and an expensive wristwatch and talked about gifts he had bought his wife.

His ex-fiancee, policewoman Tanya Strangeway, with who he had rekindled a 'strong relationship', also received gifts of a bundle of £20 notes, totaling £10,000, and a £10,000 Audi car.

Police found tens of thousands of pounds stuffed in bags in the pair's houses

McFadden lied to colleagues about his new-found wealth, claiming it came from an insurance payout his wife received after battling cancer.

Police first became aware of his suspicious activity in the middle of 2011, when his bank alerted them to the fact that he had deposited a total of £30,000 in small payments over three months.

When police arrested him at work in October 2011 they searched his Ford Focus and found £6,000 in cash. A search of the home he shared with his wife Clair, a deputy head teacher, and child, in Castleford, West Yorkshire, revealed £19,755 in cash stuffed into bags and a further £157,560 in the garage.

When police searched his brother Simon’s home, that he shared with his wife Karen - who pleaded guilty to money laundering and was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for 12 months - and teenage son, they found mobile phones containing messages about drug deals, as well as expensive paintings, a bundle of cash in a gravy boat and an expensive wristwatch.

The jury heard Nicholas McFadden had taken the drugs from a hold which contained those recovered from three major drugs operations. He then siphoned off his share in the destruction procedures of these drugs or while they were being transported by officers.

McFadden told police after his arrest he had made money by running an illegal business selling steroids and claimed to have found up to £500,000 in a house from a drug dealer’s secret cash stash. He also told detectives he had found bags of cash in a ditch by the M62 motorway.

He had £430,000 in cash and his brother had a further £160,000 which could not be traced to any legitimate source.

Simon McFadden had spent 'extravagant' amounts in the casino and on designer clothes. He also bought his wife Karen a personalised number plate for her Mazda MX5 sports car which read M2 SXY.

Debt collector Simon splashed out on paintings and indulged a bizarre passion for ‘expensive sausages’.

He claimed he had won at the casino in what he called 'an extremely good run of luck' when he had actually lost more than £8,800.

Both Simon and Karen McFadden had confiscastion hearings, although Simon chose not to attend.

The court heard Simon benefited to the tune of £694,678.15 and had available assets of £41,419.06. He must pay that back within six months or he will see 18 months added to his sentence.

Karen benefited by £83,582.93 and has available assets of £28,237.81. She has to pay it back within six months or she we will receive a 12 month jail term.

Originally a special constable, Simon McFadden joined the police as a probationer in 2000, later serving in the specialist drugs team at Killingbeck police station before moving to Holbeck and then the Organised Crime Group in 2007 as a detective.

Sentencing him in April 2013, Judge Tom Bayliss QC said: ‘We as a community are entitled to expect the very highest standards from our police officers.

'Without that ability to trust our police, society cannot function properly. You undermined that trust. 'Your motive was simple greed.'

Original report here




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Friday, March 21, 2014

Chief Mark McBride: The Crime Lord of Idaho Falls

"I don’t know why there would be [one]," replied Idaho Falls Police Chief Mark McBride when asked if his department would apologize to Victor and Delosanto Madrigal and their family. "Just because a person is found not guilty doesn’t mean the officers were wrong."

Actually, Chief McBride, that is precisely what this acquittal means, given that the charges in question were contrived by your officers to justify their own criminal behavior – and the only "evidence" supporting them was police testimony that the jury correctly determined to be entirely implausible, if not outright perjury.

The Madrigal family, which suffered greatly as a result of the privileged criminality of the IFPD, has filed notice of a $279,500 lawsuit against McBride’s department.

The Madrigal brothers, along with their elderly mother, Maria; a pregnant mother named Letty Hernandez, and a next-door neighbor, were criminally assaulted by members of McBride’s department during a full-fledged police riot last August 31. The police invaded the Madrigal home following a noise complaint called in by a distant neighbor who had a long history of hostility toward the family. This occurred at the end of a child’s birthday party that was held on a Saturday evening during the Labor Day weekend.

None of the immediate neighbors complained about the noise. Chantal Meek, whose home abuts the Madrigals’ house, later told the local newspaper that she wasn’t at all disturbed by the birthday party. She was severely perturbed, however, after two Idaho Falls Police Officers thrust their way into her home with guns drawn. The officers, who had been summoned by a call for "backup," went to the wrong address. That home invasion was part of a general mobilization in which at least a dozen police vehicles were dispatched to shut down the entire block.

All of this happened, once again, because of a noise complaint phoned in by someone who lived a block and a half away.

Rather than knocking on the Madrigals’ front door and politely requesting that the family hold it down – which is how civilized people behave – McBride’s minions invaded their back yard and needlessly escalated the encounter.

As a cellphone video of the incident documented, after being informed that he would receive a citation for "disturbing the peace," Victor complained about his treatment by the local police. Officer Clark Lund, dispensing with any pretense of professionalism, sneered: "If you don’t like it, you know how to leave."

Victor and his brother Delosanto (also called Dindo) are natives of the Dominican Republic. They are naturalized, and gainfully employed, citizens of the United States. Lund’s taunt had unmistakable undercurrents of ethnic animosity – an attitude that would become overt once the brothers had been taken to jail.

After flinging that insult at Victor, Lund announced he was leaving – then called for backup and grabbed his Taser. He turned back and demanded that Victor provide identification. That demand was unlawful; it was a deliberate provocation. Yet Victor moved to the house to obtain his driver’s license. A few seconds later, Lund bellowed, "You’re under arrest" and barged into the home, flinging aside a pregnant woman and tasering Dindo in the back before he and two other officers threw an unresisting Victor to the ground.

While Victor and Dindo were handcuffed, one of the officers shoved their elderly mother. As Victor instinctively rose to protect her, his head brushed against the arm of Eric Rose, one of the officers restraining him. That act was described as "assault on an officer," a charge that entailed a potential five-year prison term. Victor was also charged with "resisting and obstructing" and disturbing the peace.

Earlier this month, a jury quickly acquitted Victor on all counts. Shortly thereafter, Idaho Falls City Attorney Randy Fife dropped all charges against Dindo.

The tort claim filed on behalf of the Madrigal family – hopefully the first of several that will be generated by the IFPD’s rampage – describes how the officers who kidnapped Victor and Dindo collaborated with the Feds to torment them once they were in jail.

"After the incarceration, Officer Rose … [contacted] federal officials asserting that Mr. Madrigal was possibly an undocumented alien and should be considered for deportation," recounts the tort claim. This subjected Victor to "unfounded suspicion" and an unwarranted "investigation by the federal government."

More importantly, it was an act of conscious malice rooted in deliberate dishonesty: Victor Madrigal, as the IFPD knew, has an Idaho driver’s license. Lying in official reports appears to be standard operating procedure at Chief McBride’s department.

Officer Rose lied in his report by claiming that Victor had "head-butted" and "grabbed" him. Under oath, all of the witnesses for the prosecution – that is, the officers who collaborated in the assault and abduction – admitted that Victor was handcuffed and couldn’t have assaulted Rose.

Officer Lund, the instigator of this episode, "testified at trial that Mr. Madrigal had the right to not provide [his] identification and that such [a] choice by Victor did not constitute obstructing or resisting," continues the claim. He also admitted that Victor "entered his home and sat on his sofa awaiting the resolution of the events" and "did nothing to stop the officers from completing the investigations."

Those admissions against interest demonstrate that on the night of August 31, Clark Lund became a serial offender.

Under Idaho statutes (18-703), Lund committed an "illegal arrest," a misdemeanor. Every subsequent act of violence Lund committed constituted an "unnecessary assault by an officer" (18-706), an offense punishable by a $5,000 fine and a one-year term behind bars.

By barging into the home without invitation or cause, Lund committed criminal trespass (18-7008). In the melee Lund precipitated, serious damage was done to the family’s furniture; this was "malicious injury to property" (18-7001).

The tort claim specifies that $2,000 in property damage was inflicted on the Madrigal home; this means that Lund’s actions were a felony punishable by a term of one to five years, and a $1,000 fine. Since Lund’s objective was an unlawful "taking" – that is, the abduction of Victor Madrigal – his forcible entry was an act of burglary (18-1401), which has a prescribed penalty of one to ten years in prison.

Under Idaho law, Lund’s act of shoving a pregnant woman constitutes aggravated battery (18-907), an act for which he could face a term of up to 15 years in prison. (He might also be liable to prosecution under the "Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.") The act of shooting Dindo with a Taser was an assault with a deadly weapon (18-910), another felony with a 15-year prison term attached to it.

Lund, Rose, and their comrades conspired to commit kidnapping, defined in Idaho law (18-4501) as seizing or confining a person "without authority of law, to be secretly confined or imprisoned within this state"; and false imprisonment (18-2901), "the unlawful violation of the personal liberty of another." In the course of that conspiracy, Lund and Rose committed perjury (18-5401), for which they should confront a prison term of one to fourteen years.

The whole affair was a "riot" (18-6401), as defined in the Idaho Code: "[An] action, use of force or violence, or threat thereof, disturbing the public peace … if accompanied by immediate power of execution, by two (2) or more persons acting together, and without authority of law, which results in (a) physical injury to any person; or (b) damage or destruction to public or private property; or (s) a disturbance of the public peace…."

According to Chief McBride, the conduct of his underlings on that evening was the very distillate of sober professionalism.

After the Idaho Falls Post-Register published a story in which some of the Madrigal family’s neighbors criticized the actions of the IFPD, Chief McBride was given space on the op-ed page to retail anonymous gossip depicting the family as a menace to the "community."

That sophomoric little essay recapitulated the conscious lies composed by McBride’s subordinates, adding, as theatrical filigree, the claim that the anonymous accuser "never reported any of [the Madrigals’] parties because of fear of retaliation."

Because of the assault on their home, and the resulting negative publicity, the Madrigals were nearly evicted by their landlord. This means that they suffered "public hatred, contempt, [and] ridicule" as a result – in part – of McBride’s dishonest published account of the incident. This comports with the definition of "Criminal Libel" in the Idaho State Code (18-4801), an offense that carries a $5,000 fine and a six-month jail sentence.

If McBride were a conscientious administrator, he would fire Lund, Rose, and probably several other officers, and file charges against them. If he were any part of a man, he would apologize to the Madrigal family and formally retract the defamatory remarks he published about them. Given the opportunity to do so, he retreated into sullen, adolescent petulance, defiantly owning his libel and the legal responsibility for the crimes committed against that family.

Mark McBride’s formal title is "chief," but his actions reveal him to be the capo of a criminal syndicate – one whose actions are going to inflict considerable damage on the tax victim population in Idaho Falls. It would be entirely reasonable for other victims – such as Mrs. Hernandez (who was berated and threatened with arrest when she called the IFPD to protest the abuse she suffered) and Chantal Meeks – to file tort claims of their own. Allowing McBride to remain in his position could prove cost-prohibitive for Idaho Falls.

Since McBride clearly lacks the dangling anatomy to do what is necessary, the onus is on City Attorney Randy Fife to file charges and prosecute the chief and his fellow perpetrators. In a letter to a local resident, Fife – perhaps unwittingly – acknowledged that there are abundant legal grounds for such a prosecution.

Invoking the pernicious doctrine of "qualified immunity," Fife informed the resident that "Peace officers do have certain privileges and exemptions directly related to lawful execution of their jobs that other citizens do not have (such as being able to utilize force, carry weapons and other equipment not generally available to the public, being able to view or process information not generally available to the public, etc.) Where they step beyond those activities, they are subject to civil and/or criminal liabilities, prosecutions, and punishments." (Emphasis added.)

That "privilege," note carefully, depends on "lawful execution" of a peace officer’s duties. As Clark Lund admitted on the witness stand, he had no lawful cause to enter the Madrigals’ home, let alone assault and abduct Victor and Dindo. Ergo, that invasion and everything done by Lund and his comrades as a result was criminal. As Fife admitted, "There is no particular immunity or special privilege granted to a peace officer in Idaho if he or she were to commit a crime."

Attention, Mr. Fife: The foregoing paragraphs offer a template for the necessary indictments. You’re welcome.

Original report here


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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Recovering From a Punitive Panic

Two encouraging moves toward ameliorating the injustices inflicted by mandatory minimums

When he was 26, Douglas Ray Dunkins Jr. received a mandatory sentence of life without parole for participating in a Fort Worth crack cocaine operation. If that business had involved cocaine powder, the mandatory minimum would have been 20 years, and Dunkins would be free by now. Instead he is middle-aged man condemned to die behind bars for an offense that violated no one's rights.

In 2010 Congress sought to ameliorate this sort of injustice by reducing the arbitrary sentencing disparity between the smoked and snorted forms of cocaine. But the Fair Sentencing Act, which passed almost unanimously, did not apply retroactively, so thousands of nonviolent offenders like Dunkins continue to serve prison terms that nearly everyone now agrees are excessive.

Last Thursday the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would allow prisoners like Dunkins to petition for resentencing under the new rules, and the Justice Department announced that President Obama, who so far has shortened the sentences of nine crack offenders, would like to issue more such commutations. These simultaneous moves by the legislative and executive branches suggest that, nearly three decades after Congress created draconian crack penalties, some of the lives wrecked by that punitive panic may yet be salvaged.

The Smarter Sentencing Act, introduced by Sens. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) last July, was approved by a vote of 13 to 5, with three Republicans—Lee, Ted Cruz (Texas), and Jeff Flake (Ariz.)—joining all 10 Democrats to advance the bill. In addition to making the 2010 sentencing changes retroactive, the bill would cut the mandatory minimums for certain drug offenses in half and loosen the criteria for the "safety valve" that allows some defendants to escape mandatory minimums.

The Durbin-Lee bill does not go as far as the Justice Safety Valve Act, introduced last March by Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Pat Leahy (D-Vt.). That bill would make mandatory minimums effectively optional by allowing judges to depart from them in the interest of justice.

The Smarter Sentencing Act is nevertheless a substantial improvement. The Drug Policy Alliance calls it "the biggest overhaul in federal drug sentencing in decades," while the American Civil Liberties Union describes it as "the most significant piece of criminal justice reform to make it to the Senate floor in several years."

On the same day the Senate Judiciary Committee approved this sentencing reform bill, Deputy Attorney General James Cole, in a speech to the New York State Bar Association, said Obama, who has barely used his clemency powers so far, would like to issue more commutations. Cole said the president is especially interested in "low-level, nonviolent drug offenders" who "would likely have received a substantially lower sentence if convicted of precisely the same offenses today."

There is no shortage of such prisoners. Families Against Mandatory Minimums estimates that 8,800 crack offenders in federal prison could qualify for shorter sentences under the revised rules. So far Obama has used his clemency power to help 0.1 percent of them.

Cole asked the lawyers in his audience to help find commutation candidates and prepare their petitions. The ideal candidate, he said, is "one who has a clean record in prison, does not present a threat to public safety, and who is facing a life or near-life sentence that is excessive under current law." The president also is interested in "petitions from first-time offenders or offenders without an extensive criminal history."

Cole's talk of more commutations is welcome but puzzling. Obama has received nearly 9,000 commutation petitions since taking office. Are we to believe that so far just nine of them have proven to have merit? Why is Cole scrounging around for applicants instead of digging into the enormous pile of existing petitions?

Obama's lackadaisical approach to commutations highlights the need for congressional action, which the administration (to its credit) supports. Such legislation has the potential to free a lot more people who do not belong in prison.

Original report here




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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Missouri Keeps Man Behind Bars Seven Years After He Finished His Sentence, Waiting for Permission to Detain Him Indefinitely

Macon Baker is not a sympathetic character. At the age of 18, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports, "He got caught sticking his hand in the pants of a 5-year-old girl playing in a yard." He pleaded guilty to sexual abuse, got probation, and underwent treatment. More than a decade later, he was arrested for molesting the 7-year-old daughter of close friends. That time he was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Although he completed his sentence at the end of 2006, he remains behind bars in what the Post-Dispatch calls "a different kind of limbo."

Baker is not officially a prisoner. Nor is he considered a patient, although the state has repeatedly tried to make him into one by committing him to "a secure state mental institution called Sex Offender Rehabilitation and Treatment Services, or SORTS." Under Missouri law, that kind of transfer requires the unanimous approval of a jury after a civil trial. So far two juries have deadlocked on the question of whether Baker qualifies as a "sexually violent predator," meaning he suffers from a mental defect that makes him apt to commit more sex crimes if he is released. Now the state is trying again, so Baker continues to reside in a local jail more than seven years after he was supposed to be released. The Post-Dispatch calls him a "detainee," which aptly brings to mind someone indefinitely held without charge in a place where the ordinary rules of American justice do not apply.

You may well think a 10-year sentence is too short for a child molester. The prosecution thought 25 years would have been appropriate. But that is not the sentence Baker got, and now the government wants a do-over. It is using quasi-medical, pseudoscientific language to flout the rule of law by changing Baker's 10-year term into the equivalent of a life sentence, served in a prison disguised as a hospital. (As you might expect given the incentives involved, people committed to facilities like SORTS are almost never deemed to be "cured," so they are almost never released.) Worse, it looks like the state can keep Baker behind bars for the rest of his life even without a jury's permission. It just has to keep asking.

How is all of this possible in a country where even the most loathsome defendant has a constitutional right to due process, where we do not punish people twice for the same crime or retroactively extend their sentences? It turns out the Supreme Court sees nothing wrong with preventively detaining people after they have completed their sentences, provided the government pays lip service to psychiatry.

In the 1997 case Kansas v. Hendricks, the Court ruled that a state law authorizing civil commitment of sexually violent predators was not punitive and therefore did not violate the Constitution's Double Jeopardy Clause or its ban on ex post facto laws. It also concluded that commitment procedures established by Kansas satisfied the requirements of due process. Writing for the majority, Justice Clarence Thomas said the law's criteria, which refer to scientific-sounding terms such as "mental abnormality" and "personality disorder," would "limit involuntary civil confinement to those who suffer from a volitional impairment rendering them dangerous beyond their control." Thomas added that the "lack of volitional control, coupled with a prediction of future dangerousness, adequately distinguishes [sexually violent predators] from other dangerous persons who are perhaps more properly dealt with exclusively through criminal proceedings."

That perhaps speaks volumes. According to Justice Department data, 64 percent of local jail inmates, 56 percent of state prisoners, and 45 percent of federal prisoners have "mental health problems." I suspect an awful lot of them have behaved in ways that might reasonably give rise to "prediction[s] of future dangerousness." If that's all it takes to lose your freedom forever, the constitutional exception carved out for sex offenders may eventually swallow a big chunk of our criminal justice system. At that point the idea that people should be imprisoned only for crimes they have already committed, as opposed to crimes they might commit in the future, will seem positively quaint.

Original report here




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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

British cop, 39, admits exposing himself in a supermarket, corner shop and POLICE STATION

A former police officer has today admitted exposing himself inside a supermarket, a corner shop and even his own police station.

Motorbike officer David Salsbury, 39, deliberately exposed his genitals in a way likely to cause 'distress and alarm' to the public, a court heard.

Salsbury committed his first offence inside the police station in Brixham, Devon, on June 16, 2012 when he unzipped his police-issue leathers and exposed himself in the building’s lobby.

He then exposed himself again four months later on October 14, 2012 at a Co-op supermarket and on the same day at a convenience store while he was off-duty.

The court heard Salsbury was a serving officer in Devon and Cornwall Police when he carried out the three offences.

However, after his arrest in March last year he resigned from his job and his wife divorced him in September.

He initially claimed the exposures happened accidentally as he was adjusting his clothing and was due to stand trial at Exeter Crown Court today.

Instead he pleaded guilty to three charges of exposing himself in a way which was likely to cause alarm and distress, under section 66 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

He denied a further allegation that he exposed himself at the Pets at Home shop at Newton Abbot on October 26, which is not being pursued by the prosecution and will lie on file.

At a previous hearing prosecutor Sonia Croft said: 'When he unzipped his motorbike leathers he did them all the way down.'

David Sapiecha, defending, today said that Salsbury may have committed the offences because of post traumatic stress disorder suffered as a result of his policing career.

He said admitting the offences had been 'the most difficult decision in his life'.

Mr Sapiecha: This was not a cynical attempt by him to avoid justice; it has been probably the most difficult decision of his life and one which he has had tremendous problems over.

'He has resigned from his position and is now divorced and is concerned with regard to contact with his children.

'There is evidence from his doctor that he has suffered from depression and post traumatic stress disorder with regard to events he witnessed and dealt with in his former position.'

Judge Jeremy Griggs adjourned sentence until May and ordered a psychological report.

He told the defendant: 'It’s an unusual case. On your plea of guilty you have been convicted of the first three charges.'

Salsbury, of Kingskerswell, Devon, was released on unconditional bail ahead of sentencing on May 2.

A source said after the hearing: 'He has lost everything.'

Original report here




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Monday, March 17, 2014

Cop Who Fatally Shot Wii Controller-Wielding Teen Had Been Fired Before

Three weeks ago, Beth Gatny, a police officer in Euharlee, Ga., fatally shot 17-year-old Christopher Roupe after he opened the door for cops. According to the family and some witnesses the teenager was holding a Wii controller (which is a white stick, more or less) when he was shot once in the chest. Police claim Roupe was holding a handgun, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has not yet completed its report on the incident.

Gatny remains on paid leave. Now, 11 Alive, the NBC affiliate in Georgia, reports that Gatny, who has been employed with Euharlee police for less than a year, had been fired from her last job:

Gatny worked at the Acworth Police Department for 10 years prior to that and personnel records indicate that she was written up and suspended a number of times for various infractions.

In a timeline, her supervisors say she "refused to follow orders" on everything from filing paperwork to carrying her walkie talkie.

Other details:

Gatny was involved in four car accidents in two years.

In 2007, she reportedly "left her duty belt, along with her weapon..with a civilian employee" while she had her picture taken with someone.

In 2008, while confronting three suspects, she fired her service weapon. An internal investigation found the suspect was trying to remove his backpack. She was convinced he was going for a gun, but a fellow officer said he never thought the suspect was armed.

Internal Affairs concluded she should not be punished because the initial call for service said the suspects could have been armed.

We’ve covered many police officers with the type of records and background that ought to, by common sense alone, end their law enforcement careers and preclude them from future employment as police officers. I’ve suggested zero tolerance for cops.

Every time an irresponsible gun owner does something stupid or someone commits a prominent enough crime using a gun, the incident is used by anti-gun activists to challenge the notion that individuals have the right to arm themselves for self-defense. Yet the right to a gun is heavily restricted. A prior felony, for example, led to a 20 year sentence for a Philly man who shot his gun into the air.

In the meantime, when former law enforcement officers are involved in acts of "gun violence," their background is often not highlighted. For example, the Florida man who shot a fellow moviegoer for texting in the theater was a retired police officer, but it didn’t stop this anti-stand your ground editorial cartoon from using the incident to draw a broader point.

Yet, even in states like New York with restrictive gun laws, politicians have carved out exemptions not just for law enforcement but former law enforcement, like the Florida man who fatally shot a texter.

Police officers around the country are pushing back against the NFL’s no guns rule, not because they believe we all have the right to bear arms, but because they believe they do. How sick is that worldview?

Beth Gatny shot and killed a 17-year-old boy. She should be presumed innocent in a court of law until proven guilty, a right that needs to be preserved for all accused. But Gatny isn’t enjoying those rights right now, but privileges carved out for her and other police officers around the country, in union contracts often signed by local government officials long out of power.

Earlier today, for example, I wrote about a Baltimore cop who choked his girlfriend’s puppy to death and then sent pictures of the dead dog to her. He admitted as much, and has been charged with animal cruelty. But he, too, remains employed with the police department. Unlike Gatny, he is suspended without pay until he is convicted. But the fact that a police officer can choke a puppy to death and admit it, or shoot a 17-year-old in the chest after he opens the door, or brutally beat a homeless man to death, and expect to keep their jobs until they have their "due process" is a perversion of the term.

Being fired by a police department is not the same as being treated as a guilty person, it would be an acknowledgement that police officers are held to an extremely high standard because government has decided to give them costumes, guns, badges, and the wide discretion to use them. In too much of the United States, that higher standard simply doesn’t exist.

Beth Gatny and Alec Taylor, the puppy-choker, and every other cop with obviously poor character ought to be fired, and the police departments and municipalities that employ them should have that power. Only then will it not be Orwellian to call them "public servants."

Original report here




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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Police officer caught on camera punching woman suspect three times in the head avoids prison after judge hears 'she bit him and said she had Aids'

A policeman was caught on CCTV repeatedly punching a suspected woman shoplifter in the head. James Kiddie attacked Sarah Reed after she was detained by security staff at Uniqlo in Regent Street, London.

But despite being convicted of assault yesterday the 45-year-old constable escaped with just a community order.

The shocking camera footage shows the married father-of-two grabbing his 30-year-old victim by the hair and lifting her out of a chair, while another camera captured him punching her three times as she lay in a corridor trying to shield herself.

Kiddie was convicted of assault last month and was today sentenced to a 12 month community order, requiring him to undertake 150 hours of unpaid work.

The father-of two had been called to the Uniqlo branch, after Ms Reed was held by security guards in November 2012, the court heard. CCTV footage showed him removing his overcoat and jacket before searching the woman's handbag.

He was then seen forcing her back into a chair, before appearing to grab her hair with both hands, ripping off her hat and dragging her to the floor.

The pictures show him hitting her on the head as she lay on the ground, before leaning on her neck until back-up arrived.

Kiddie claimed Ms Reed, a drug user, had bitten him after telling him she was infected with the AIDS virus.

During the trial last month Kiddie had told the court that his strikes against Ms Reed were 'half power' and he had not wanted to hit her.

He had claimed the woman was ‘snarling like a dog’ and bit him after telling him ‘I’ve got AIDS and I bite tramps like you.’

Pointing to the CCTV footage, Kiddie had said: ‘She is now biting into my index finger and she’s telling me she’s got the AIDS virus.’ ‘I didn’t want to break a lady’s nose... I didn’t want to hurt her somewhere that is going to damage,’ he said.

Scotland Yard said fellow officers who had viewed the CCTV footage had been concerned by the level of force used by Kiddie during the arrest and had reported the incident to the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS).

Prosecutor Rupert Kent told the court that Kiddie had no previous convictions, but the Met officer had two previous disciplinary findings of 'incivility' against him on his police record.

He was investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission for deploying CS Gas during a UK Uncut protest on Oxford Street in January 2011.

Mr Kent also pointed out that it was Ms Reed who was initially charged with assault upon her attacker.

His defence counsel, Ben Brandon, told the court he would be dismissed from the Metropolitan Police as a result of the court’s findings.

Mr Brandon said the punches aimed by Kiddie had lasted a 'split second' and only one, in effect, had 'really made contact'. He said being bitten had come as a 'complete shock' to Kiddie.

He added that Kiddie had spent 12 years in the Met 'serving the people of London' and now faced losing his job.

‘Twelve years as a police officer gone in an instant - as a result of a momentary lapse of control,' said Mr Brandon.

Original report here




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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Scientist claims his father didn't shoot dead his own boss and should never have been imprisoned for 20 years on the infamous Devil's Island

A British-based scientist is seeking a pardon for his late father who spent 20 years imprisoned on infamous Devil’s Island for a crime he says he didn’t commit.

Bashir Saoudi, who has lived in Britain since his teens, said his father Kaci died in 1990 with a murder conviction still to his name, and wants the French government to overturn it.

Mr Saoudi was imprisoned in 1933 in a French penal colony on the notorious island, off the coast of South America, and stayed until the prison was closed in 1953.

The Algerian-born man was thrown behind bars alongside his two cousins after he was accused of shooting dead his own boss.

In fact one of his cousins was guilty of the crime - but Mr Saoudi refused to tell the truth because he didn’t want to see one of his own family face the guillotine.

As a result of his silence he was condemned to incarceration and spent 20 years battling starvation, yellow fever and hard labour before he was freed in 1953 when the French were forced to close the prison.

He returned to Algeria and held a respected position in public office before dying at the age of 83 in 1990.

His son, aged 58, has now called for him to be officially pardoned after vowing to prevent his father’s name going down in history as a convicted killer.

Mr Saoudi Jnr, a computer scientists from Cambridge, has provided all the information for a book about his father written by Scottish crime writer Michael J Malone called The Guillotine Choice.

He said: 'My father did not want to point the finger at his cousin. 'In those days the French would have chopped off his cousin’s head, and my father could not stand that. He did not want his cousin guillotined so he kept quiet.

'My father was an incredible man and he is an inspiration to all of us - he managed to survive the most unimaginably horrific conditions. 'Not only did he survive, but he kept his dignity, and I am so proud of him for this.

'But he should never have been convicted in the first place. The French government convicted my father purely because he would not reveal who the real guilty man was.

'The French had no proof whatsoever that he was guilty and this is a terrible miscarriage of justice.

'In honour of my father’s name, I am now asking that the French government does the right thing and overturns his conviction, preferably while my mother is still alive. 'He was innocent, and I want to get the French people to reconsider.'

Mr Saoudi had the number 51240 tattooed on his arm and survived an horrific transportation on a packed prison ship before arriving on Devil’s Island off French Guiana.

France imprisoned more than 80,000 men there and the odds of survival were massively stacked against them.

The island prison was the setting for the book Papillon by Henri Charrière. It is, supposedly, a true account of how he and a friend escaped the prison by jumping into the sea holding sacks of coconuts for floatation.

Mr Saoudi Jnr added: 'Devil’s Island is Hell on Earth. It’s a place where 90 per cent of prisoners died in their first year.

'They were thrown in the jungle to make roads, and they worked under some incredible conditions. If they weren’t killed by yellow fever, they were killed by starvation.

'There were many ways you could die, and only the very, very strongest survived. The reason why he survived is because he was young, and he was sharp.

'He survived because he was destined to survive. I really believe that, because to come back from yellow fever is not easy.'

Mr Saoudi Jnr arrived in England from Algeria when he was just 17 and began to study computer science in Huddersfield, Yorkshire. He married here and had three children before divorcing and moving to Scotland.

Ten years ago Michael J Malone came to his café in the Scottish town of Ayr and snapped up an opportunity to pitch his father’s story.

The novel, called The Guillotine Choice, will be published on 13 March.

Original report here




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Friday, March 14, 2014

He’s 18 and Spent 13 Days in Jail for a Pocketknife in a School Parking Lot — and The Story Only Gets Crazier From There

Enrolled in an Ohio vocational-technical school, Wiser was taking Firefighter 2 and EMT courses to bolster his dream of future public service.

"Last year, I completed the law enforcement course," the 18-year-old told The Huffington Post. "I received several certifications, including the National Terror Defense certification from FEMA, the Terror Recognition certification and (certification as an) Emergency Vehicle Operator."

Wiser also joined the Army, enrolling the Future Soldiers program, and was scheduled to ship out in August. After his planned military service, he figured he’d embark on a career as a police officer or firefighter.

But Wiser’s big dreams of public service are on hold. In fact, he’s now enduring a nightmare.

It all started Dec. 12 when administrators at Ashtabula County Technical and Career Campus (A-Tech) in Jefferson, Ohio — about 60 miles northeast of Cleveland — questioned Wiser after an alleged tip regarding videos uploaded to Wiser’s YouTube account. Among the clips are reviews of video games and merchandise, home defense tactics, and an interview with a local police officer.

"The principal said he had reason to believe I had weapons in my vehicle and needed to search it," Wiser told the Huffington Post. "He made me empty out all my pockets, and the vice principal grabbed me and patted me down very forcibly. It was somewhat awkward. Then they took my car keys. I told them what was in my car and said, ‘Don’t be alarmed.’"

Wiser added that he didn’t give school officials permission to search his vehicle, nor was there a warrant to perform the search. But they cited the school handbook as their warrant, he said, adding that they denied his request to call an attorney.

And what did they find inside Wiser’s vehicle? A folding blade pocketknife, a stun gun and two Airsoft guns.

Airsoft is a game akin to paintball in which participants shoot each other with round non-metallic pellets, and Wiser said he had plans for an Airsoft game after school. The stun gun was for self-defense, he said, adding that the pocketknife was part of his EMT kit.

"My stun gun was locked in the glove box," Wiser told the Huffington Post, "and the knife was in my EMT medical vest. I bought it at K-Mart and have it as part of my first responder kit for cutting seatbelts."

Wiser was arrested and jailed for illegal conveyance of a weapon onto a school ground, a Class 5 felony.

Harold Specht, the chief assistant prosecutor at the Ashtabula County prosecutor’s office, said the charge is related only to the pocketknife.

"I was in jail for almost 13 days," Wiser told the Huffington Post. "The first bond hearing I went to was on December 15. The judge ordered me [to be] held on a half million-dollar bond, pending a psychological evaluation. I did that and passed. They found I was not suicidal, homicidal or a threat to anybody. My attorney brought it up in front of a different judge, who let me out on a $50,000 bond and an ankle monitor. I was released from jail on Christmas Eve."

Given his school’s locale, Wiser doesn’t understand all the hubub over his pocketknife — nor the wide-ranging fallout from its discovery.

"There are kids at my school all the time who get caught with knives and are suspended," he told the Huffington Post. "My school is very rural, and people carry knives. I can accept the fact that there was a lapse in judgment, and I can accept a punishment, but I have already been expelled from both the tech school and my home school." Jerome Brockway, the A-Tech superintendent, declined to discuss the case.

And since Wiser’s felony charge, he said the Army discharged him pending a not-guilty verdict or dropped charges without prejudice.

That’s not all. If the felony charge sticks, things could get way worse.

"If I am convicted of a felony, I’m never going to be a police officer. I’m never going to be a fireman. I’m never going to be in the military," he added. "I won’t even be able to be a janitor. I’m 18 years old, and this is going to ruin my entire life."

If all of the knocks against Wiser weren’t enough, he added that the conditions of his bond prohibit him from contact with his grandfather, who is dying from cancer.

"The one judge I went in front of told me to remove any firearms from my parents’ house and put them at my grandpa’s house," Wiser said. "The next judge freaked out about me even knowing what a gun is and put a no-contact order against me and my grandparents. My grandfather is dying right now, and I am not allowed within 500 feet of him."

There was a petition on that demanded Wiser’s charges be reduced to a misdemeanor, and within 48 hours, it attracted 1,349 signatures. But Wiser said he asked that the petition be closed, which it was.

"The court threatened to hold sanctions against me and my lawyer," Wiser told the Huffington Post. "I guess the prosecutor was upset because his inbox had been flooded with emails as a result of the petition."

Specht said he’s aware "there’s a load of people out here that just think we’re the devil because we’re allegedly ruining this young kid’s life," but he insisted that’s not the case and that the felony charge is justified and there are no plans to reduce the charge.

"There are all these school occurrences where people are shot, people are killed by other students," Specht said. "We see it every day … so we don’t take these things lightly. … We have to be sure that we don’t have a potential for something like that to happen here."

Wiser said he’s offended by Specht’s characterization.

"I was enlisted in the Army and went to school to be [a] police officer and fireman," he said. "Why are they trying to paint me as a potential school shooter? I never had any intentions of hurting a soul."

Wiser’s attorney, William Bobulsky, did not return calls for comment from the Huffington Post.

Wiser is scheduled to appear in court again on April 1 for a pretrial hearing. A jury trial is tentatively scheduled for June 11.

"Never in my life did I think this would happen," Wiser said. "I dedicated my life to public service, and now a four-inch pocketknife could ruin everything."

Original report here




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