Saturday, May 31, 2014

SWAT team throws a stun grenade into a toddler's CRIB during drugs raid leaving him in a coma with severe burns

These drug raids have got to stop

A family is in shock after a SWAT team threw a stun grenade into their 19-month-old son's crib during a midnight drugs raid, leaving the baby in a medically induced coma with severe burns.

Wisconsin mother Alecia Phonesavanh, her husband, Bounkham, and their children including toddler, Bou Jr., were visiting her sister-in-law in Atlanta, Georgia, when police raided the home early Wednesday.

Phonesavanh said officers threw a stun grenade, which landed in the sleeping child's crib.

'It landed in his playpen and exploded on his pillow right in his face,' the distraught mother told WSBTV. 'It's my baby. He's only a baby. He didn't deserve any of this.'

The child was seriously injured and was rushed to Grady Memorial Hospital's burn unit where doctors placed him in a medically induced coma.

'He's in the burn unit. We go up to see him and his whole face is ripped open. He has a big cut on his chest,' Phonesavanh said. 'He's only 19 months old. He didn't do anything.'

A picture shows the charred portable crib. Most photographs of the baby's injuries are too graphic to share though one shows burns all over his face.

Cornelia Police Chief Rick Darby confirmed the raid took place at the home just before 3 a.m.

He said a multijurisdictional drug unit issued a warrant and organized the SWAT operation. It's not clear if any drugs were found in the home during the raid.

Deputies said they bought drugs from the house and came back with a no-knock warrant to arrest a man known to have drugs and weapons, WSB reported. They arrested Wanis Thometheva, 30, during the raid.

Darby told WSBTV that the entire police unit is upset over the incident, which was an accident.

Bou Sr., a musician, wrote of his grief on his Facebook page Thursday morning.

'My friends my heart my mind my soul is fill with sadness right now my son is not doing too good l will need few days to get myself together l will get back and share music with you when we are all feels better keep rocking friends.'

Original report here




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Thursday, May 29, 2014


Tankleff update

I have followed this case for some years. Here is an excerpt from what appeared on this blog in Jan., 2006:

"Martin H. Tankleff was supposed to start his senior year of high school on Sept. 7, 1988. But before dawn, his parents were bludgeoned and stabbed during a rampage in their home on a cliff overlooking Long Island Sound. Within hours he was arrested, based on a confession that was handwritten by a detective, which Mr. Tankleff promptly repudiated and never signed. Still, it sealed his fate. In 1990 a jury convicted him of double murder, and he began serving two consecutive terms of 25 years to life in prison. He appealed, in vain, all the way to the United States Supreme Court."

A New York man who was convicted of killing his parents in 1990 achieved two milestones this year: He obtained a nearly $3.4 million settlement in a suit alleging wrongful conviction, and he graduated from law school.

Martin Tankleff, 42, received his degree from Touro Law Center in a graduation ceremony on Sunday, the New York Post reports. The Associated Press spoke with Tankleff before the ceremony.

Tankleff was released from prison in December 2007 after an appeals court overturned his conviction on the basis of new evidence. New witnesses had said Tankleff’s parents were killed by a man angry over a business dispute. Prosecutors opted not to retry Tankleff.

Tankleff will take the bar exam in August and the next month he will become executive director of a group that works to free wrongfully convicted inmates.

"I look forward to being able to work with people who have been wrongfully convicted," Tankleff said, according to the New York Post account. "I think I understand the system better than anyone else, any lawyer, any judge.

Original report here




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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The State is afraid of its own veterans

In recent years, military servicemen and women—many of whom are decorated—have found themselves increasingly targeted for surveillance, censorship, threatened with incarceration or involuntary commitment, labeled as extremists and/or mentally ill, and stripped of their Second Amendment rights, all for daring to voice their concerns about the alarming state of our union and the erosion of our freedoms.

For example, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) program dubbed Operation Vigilant Eagle tracks military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, and characterizes them as extremists and potential domestic terrorist threats because they may be "disgruntled, disillusioned or suffering from the psychological effects of war."

Unfortunately, as we’ve seen in recent years, the problem with depicting veterans as potential enemy combatants is that any encounter with a military veteran can escalate very quickly into an explosive and deadly situation—at least, on the part of law enforcement.

For example, Jose Guerena, a Marine who served in two tours in Iraq, was killed in 2011 after an Arizona SWAT team kicked open the door of his home during a mistaken drug raid and opened fire. Apart from his military background, Guerena had had no prior criminal record, and the police found nothing illegal in his home.

John Edward Chesney, a 62-year-old Vietnam veteran, was killed by a SWAT team allegedly responding to a call that the Army veteran was standing in his apartment window waving what looked like a semi-automatic rifle. SWAT officers fired 12 rounds into Chesney’s apartment window. It turned out that the gun Chesney reportedly pointed was a "realistic-looking mock assault rifle."

Ramon Hooks, a 25-year-old Iraq war veteran, was using an air rifle gun for target practice outside when a Homeland Security Agent, allegedly house shopping in the area, reported him as an active shooter. Hooks was arrested, his air rifle pellets and toy gun confiscated, and charges filed against him for "criminal mischief."

Although no toy guns were involved in Brandon Raub’s case, his fact scenario is even more chilling, given that he was targeted for exercising his First Amendment rights on Facebook. The 26-year-old decorated Marine actually found himself interrogated by government agents about his views on government corruption, arrested with no warning, labeled mentally ill for subscribing to so-called "conspiratorial" views about the government, detained against his will in a psych ward for standing by his views, and isolated from his family, friends and attorneys.

On August 16, 2012, a swarm of local police, Secret Service and FBI agents handcuffed and transported Raub to police headquarters, then to a medical center, where he was held against his will due to alleged concerns that his Facebook posts were "terrorist in nature." Meanwhile, in a kangaroo court hearing that turned a deaf ear to Raub’s explanations about the fact that his Facebook posts were being read out of context, Raub was sentenced to up to 30 days’ further confinement in a psychiatric ward. Thankfully, The Rutherford Institute came to Raub’s assistance and brought about his release. Even so, within days of Raub being seized and forcibly held in a VA psych ward, news reports started surfacing of other veterans having similar experiences.

A federal judge actually dismissed Raub’s lawsuit challenging the government’s "Operation Vigilant Eagle" campaign and its increasing view of veterans as potential domestic terrorists as "far-fetched." Yet what may sound far-fetched to the courts is a grim reality to Americans who are daily being targeted for daring to exercise their constitutional rights to speak their minds, criticize the government, and defend themselves and their families against over-reaching government surveillance and heavy-handed police tactics.

It’s ironic, isn’t it, that we raise our young people to believe that it is their patriotic duty to defend freedom abroad by serving in the military, then when they return home, bruised and battle-scarred and suddenly serious about defending their freedoms at home, we treat them like terrorists. Then again, perhaps it’s not so much ironic as it is tragic and pathetic—a sad tribute, indeed, to those willing to put their lives on the line.

Original report here




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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Hundreds of documents released supporting innocence of British man locked up for life for murder of business partner and his son - as he claims he's been set up to cover the crimes of a drug cartel

Attorneys for a British businessman who's spent 27 years incarcerated in Florida for a double murder he claims he's innocent of have released details for 53 witnesses and 498 documents they plan to use to convince a judge to order a retrial.

Krishna Maharaj, 75, was sentenced to death in 1987 for the murders of business partner Derrick Moo Young and Young's son Duane in Miami's Dupont Plaza hotel in October 1986.

He was resentenced to life in prison in 2002 and remains in a south Florida prison.

Next Wednesday, his case will receive a full evidentiary hearing from the 11th judicial circuit court of Florida, what attorneys call his best chance in nearly three decades to prove that he was wrongfully convicted.

The Guardian reports the new evidence underlines a huge case for proving Maharaj's innocence.

That includes a book on the case, The Injustice System: A Murder in Miami and a Trial Gone Wrong, written by Clive Stafford Smith of legal support group Repreive.

'Kris Maharaj is so patently innocent that it is unimaginable to me that the state of Florida does not let him go,' Smith said. 'It is a very sad day when the government desperately wants to keep the wrong person in prison, such that they will not even investigate who the real killers are.'

Maharaj claims he was framed for the crime to pull suspicion from Colombian drug cartels.

His attorneys plan to present evidence that the victims were laundering millions for the Medillin drug cartel and that Maharaj was at least 30 miles away from the scene of the crime when the murders took place with at least six people able to account for his whereabouts.

The defense has also found witnesses to support allegations of perjury in some of the key testimony presented by the state during Maharaj's trial.

The witness list also includes investigators and attorneys involved in the case, fingerprints experts, and former Miami police officers.

Also in evidence will be proof of drug dealing and money laundering done by the Youngs, attorneys said.

Judge William Thomas, who ordered the evidentiary hearing, said he would grant a new trial if evidence could be presented of 'such nature that it would probably produce an acquittal on retrial.'

The state's lawyers have argued that most of the defense's new material is hearsay and therefor inadmissible but Thomas said he would decide admissibility during the hearing.

Original report here




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Monday, May 26, 2014

Cop Assaults Air Force Captain for Not Knowing His Neighbor (?)

Capt. Nicolás Aquino attends the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, California, and plans to devote his life to military service. His family fled Paraguay to escape a brutal dictatorship before he was born, and they came to America because of the rights the U.S. Constitution offered.

"That's one of the many factors in terms of why I wanted to serve this country, so I could uphold those ideals, that I could fight, that I could give back to the community and make sure that [my family] can keep those freedoms," says Aquino.

Aquino says he works everyday towards protecting these rights. That, he says, makes his entanglement with law enforcement these past few months even more infuriating.

In December 2013, Aquino was at home when he noticed Sheriff's Deputy Ivan Rodriguez outside his property. Apparently, one of Aquino's neighbors didn't recognize him and called the Sheriff's Department to report a suspicious person. According to Aquino, Rodriguez didn't identify himself and didn't clarify why he was at Aquino's address. After some conversation, Aquino asked if he was being detained, and the officer said yes. The police report claims that Aquino asked this in a "confrontational tone."

"The officer, he appears to have been offended at the idea that a citizen would question his authority or would even ask any questions," says Aquino's lawyer, Steven Liner. "Everything that Nicolás was doing, to me is sort of like textbook 'OK, I'm going to be respectful, I'm going to answer questions, but I'm also going to insist that you answer questions for me, because I am within my rights on my property to ask these questions.'"

Even after Aquino provided his military ID and offered to get his utlity bills to show proof of address, Rodriguez remained unconvinced that Aquino was not a burglar and moved to physically detain him.

"He just grabbed my wrist without any warning, without provocation, put me in a choke hold," says Aquino. "I still have fluid buildup in the back of my right ear, a right head contusion, abrasions and contusions on the elbows, knees, and hip."

The officer then proceeded to put Aquino in handcuffs and search his wallet. He finally concluded that he did, in fact, live there.

"The officer did not apologize. He pulls me over to the side of the driveway and he does basic victim blaming, and he says it was my fault for not knowing my neighbors. He then states that he had wanted to tase me if he had a taser, and he would have shot and killed me if he had drawn his weapon, and he would have been fully justified in killing me," says Aquino.

After the incident, Aquino thought he could put the nightmare behind him. Two months later, however, he was notified that there was a warrant out for him for resisting arrest during the incident. Aquino was dumbfounded but decided to fight back.

"I was not aggressive or confrontational in any way," says Aquino. "Are we supposed to bend over and, excuse my French, just take it? Just because a person is on a power trip and feels that he can bully you into submission?"

Liner says no, citizens need to stand up for their rights. "This is an opportunity for all of us to talk about how it is that citizens have an absolute right to ask questions and that police officers should be respectful and civil and act lawfully, which means not using force unless it is really called for," he says.

Once word got out about the arrest, the public flocked to support Aquino. The DA seemed unconvinced at that point that a jury would side with Rodriguez, and he dropped the charges. This is a victory for Aquino, but the DA still appears to defend the officer's actions. The DA's office declined Reason's request for an interview.

Aquino plans to continue fighting and is filing a civil claim against Monterey County for damages.

Original report here




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Sunday, May 25, 2014


Has Scotland Yard sent the wrong man to the gallows for Somali kidnap? British woman snatched by pirates who murdered her husband says she's NEVER seen convicted Kenyan before

About the last thing Judith Tebbutt remembered was her husband David turning off the lights and getting into bed. Then, she eventually told detectives, they held hands as they drifted off to sleep.

Three hours later her nightmare began. A brutal gang burst into the hut where the Tebbutts were staying at the remote but luxurious Kiwayu Safari Village in Kenya on September 11, 2011. They shot David dead and took Judith hostage. After beating her with a rifle butt, they dragged her to the beach and took her by boat to Somalia, where she was held in primitive conditions for more than six months.

A seasoned team from Scotland Yard’s Counter-Terrorism Command reached Kiwayu two days after her abduction. The evidence given by its leader, Detective Superintendent Neil Hibberd, would later prove crucial in the trial of the only man charged in connection with Judith’s kidnap – Ali Kololo, an illiterate Kenyan woodcutter and gatherer of wild forest honey.

After the 16-month trial ended last year, the British Government treated this as a triumph. ‘Welcome conviction… today of Mr Kololo for his role in Tebbutt kidnap and murder,’ tweeted Neil Wigan, the British Ambassador to Somalia.

But The Mail on Sunday can reveal that if Kenya hangs Kololo, it is likely to be executing an innocent man.

We can disclose that:

Astonishingly, Mrs Tebbutt said that until she was shown photos of Kololo after his arrest, she had never seen him before. She told police she didn’t recognise him being present either when her husband was shot or when she was in captivity.

Kololo was said to be wearing shoes that matched footprints at the crime scene when he was arrested. But the arresting officer told the court that Kololo was not wearing shoes at all – and he couldn’t fit into those that supposedly matched the prints as they were two sizes too small.

The trial was held in a language in which he was not fluent, and for almost all of it he had no defence lawyer. He had to cross-examine witnesses including Mrs Tebbutt and Mr Hibberd on his own.

The conviction is deemed so unsafe it faces a High Court challenge in London, led by Lord Macdonald, a former director of public prosecutions.

The transcript of Kololo’s trial and key statements taken by Scotland Yard detectives have been obtained by this newspaper. The documents show the main reason for Kololo’s arrest was a decision by Kenyan police to quiz anyone seen in the vicinity of the Kiwayu Safari Village.

‘We told hotel workers to arrest anybody seen around the premises and report to police,’ Simon Mutiso, from Kenya’s Anti-Terrorism Police Unit, told the court.

Kololo finally does have a local lawyer, Alfred Olaba, who will be fighting his appeal in Kenya. He said yesterday: ‘There were no clues that led particularly to him. They just took him into custody and then tried to make the evidence fit.’

At his trial, Kololo insisted that he himself had been a victim of crime: deep in the forest, ivory poachers had stolen his shoes and his tools – a power saw and a machete called a panga.

Escaping their clutches, he came across a police vehicle near Kiwayu. He approached it to report the theft and promptly became a suspect – mainly, it seems, because he said he thought the poachers were Somalis.

Kololo and his family are desperately poor. They live in the village of Roka, a few miles from Kiwayu. Kololo’s wife divorced him after the trial so his two sons, aged five and seven, live in a one-room mud-hut with Kololo’s father, Babitu, who is in his 80s and blind.

Babitu said that without his son, the family has almost no income: ‘We depend on help from anyone who comes to visit us.’ Babitu’s elderly wife weaves mats, but could make less than £1 each from selling them.

Babitu is sure his son is innocent: ‘I cry thinking of him and the pain and hardship he is suffering. All we can do is pray. But we are happy that good people have come to be his lawyers.’

In his trial testimony, Kololo claimed he was tortured. As well as beating him, he said police ‘pulled my private parts’ which had made him incontinent. Police denied this, but when he was first due in court in Lamu, two hearings had to be adjourned because he needed hospital treatment.

Kololo said at his trial: ‘They wanted me to admit I had witnessed the killing of the white man and kidnapping of the white woman.’ He did not confess.

Enter the Yard's finest

Neil Hibberd arrived in Kiwayu two days after Kololo’s arrest, accompanied by six detectives. They were later joined by a ballistics expert, a crime scene manager, a photographer, a blood spatter analyst, and a fingerprint specialist.

By now, their Kenyan colleagues were suggesting that Kololo’s role had been to guide the gang to the ‘banda’, the hut where the Tebbutts were staying. Surprisingly, perhaps, the Yard team did not interview Kololo, though if the Kenyan theory was true, he presumably must have had vital clues to the gang’s whereabouts and identity.

In any event, the Yard’s 21st Century expertise was to have little impact: there was no forensic evidence linking Kololo to the crime.

But although he failed to come up with any evidence, Mr Hibberd’s stature as a senior Yard officer meant his opinions carried huge weight. Before the trial started, he set down a formal, written statement, which was later read out in court. Its influence was enormous: when Judge J.M. Munguti delivered his final judgment, he closely echoed both the reasoning and the language of Mr Hibberd’s account.

In Mr Hibberd’s view, the critical piece of evidence was a pair of ‘Tanga shoes,’ a type of plastic sandal. According to Mr Hibberd, distinctive Tanga footprints were found leading from the beach where the gang landed their boat to the bandas. ‘These appear to be the shoeprints of someone searching the bandas for potential victims,’ he said.

He added in his statement: ‘Kololo was arrested wearing Tanga shoes. It is extremely unusual to find these at the resort. None of the staff are allowed to wear these shoes. All of the suspects in the boat [with Mrs Tebbutt] were barefooted.’

Mr Hibberd went on: ‘Tanga shoes are predominantly worn by Somalians and are not allowed to be worn at Kiwayu Safari Village. To have a set of Tanga footprints at the resort is highly unusual and significant.’ He repeated these claims in court.

Apart from the lack of forensic evidence, the prosecution faced a further difficulty. Interviewed by police after her release, Mrs Tebbutt, of Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, was clear the gang had turned the lights on when they burst in. But when detectives showed her photos of Kololo, she said: ‘Prior to seeing these images, I had never seen this man before. He was not one of the men who took me out of the banda, who were present on the boat or held me during my time in captivity.’ It was possible there had been someone else present grappling with her husband, but if so, she had not seen him.

There is no legal aid in Kenya other than for defendants charged with murder, and Kololo was ‘only’ charged with robbery with violence and kidnapping. A lawyer arrived to represent him at one hearing, but did not bother to speak to him.

For the whole of the prosecution case, dragged out over months, Kololo had no lawyer. Moreover, he is not fluent in Swahili, the language in which the trial was conducted. He asked repeatedly for an interpreter to translate into his mother tongue, Boni – but was refused.

Mr Olaba said: ‘A totally uneducated man, he was forced to cross-examine witnesses speaking in a language he did not fully understand. To make matters worse, Mr Hibberd and Mrs Tebbutt gave evidence in English, which he doesn’t know.’ Their evidence was translated into Swahili.

So what of the Tanga shoes? They were produced in court as an exhibit, but none of those who first came into contact with Kololo when he emerged from the forest mentioned them. And as for Mr Hibberd’s claim that they were worn mainly by Somalis, several witnesses said they were common in Kenya.

Mr Hibberd admitted they did not bear Kololo’s fingerprints. If they were tested for his DNA, this was never mentioned. Nor were there any photos of the footprints.

Astonishingly, Corporal Geoffrey Loldoss, the Kenyan officer who arrested Kololo, told the court that the defendant ‘was not wearing any shoes’.

Almost at the end of the trial, Mr Olaba agreed to represent the defendant for free. Aware that the shoes were too small, he asked Kololo to try them on. Mr Olaba said yesterday: ‘He couldn’t get into them at all, much less walk.’

It was all to no avail. On July 27 last year, the judge convicted Kololo and decreed he ‘suffer death, as provided by law’.

Death Row, Mombasa

Scotland Yard and the Foreign Office have agreed to respond to the pending High Court action by June 4. The action, brought by the human rights charity Reprieve, asks the court to issue a statement saying the involvement of UK authorities was unlawful because Kololo’s trial was an abuse of natural justice, and – because he faced a death sentence – a breach of guidelines that say British police may offer only ‘limited assistance’ when a suspect faces such punishment.

Scotland Yard refused to comment on the case. The Foreign Office said the Met’s help followed ‘assurances from the Kenyan authorities that UK assistance would not directly or significantly contribute to a violation of human rights and/or international humanitarian law’.

But Reprieve’s Maya Foa said: ‘I fail to see what assurances they can have been given when he was facing what amounted to a mandatory death sentence, and a farce of a trial.’

Meanwhile, Kololo languishes on death row at the notorious Shimo la Tewa maximum security prison in Mombasa. One source said: ‘Shimo la Tewa is one of the worst places in Kenya. Just its name instills fear when prisoners are told they are to be moved there.’

Kenya has not carried out an execution since 1987, but Mr Olaba pointed out this policy could change with the government or shifting political whims.

The Mail on Sunday approached Mrs Tebbutt via publishers Faber and Faber, where her husband was finance director and which published her account of her ordeal, A Long Walk Home. A spokesman said she could not make any comment.

Mr Olaba said: ‘A favourable judgment from the court in London would help Kololo enormously. It could tip the balance. Ultimately, it could save his life.’

Original report here.

Senior Yard officer Hibberd seems to be real scum



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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Pa.'s wrongful conviction law blocks justice in old cases

Once upon a time, state legislators established the post conviction relief act petition, to correct a miscarriage of justice for the wrongfully convicted. Then in 1996, legislators enacted a new law placing a time frame on justice.

I was wrongfully convicted as an accomplice to 3rd degree murder, aggravated assault and conspiracy. For the past 25 years I have been obtaining evidence of manipulation, deceit and false evidence submitted by the prosecutor, who also conspired with its only eyewitness to commit perjury. But because of the new enacted laws, there is no longer a corrective process available to me in the courts.

Some legislators realized this miscarriage of justice and in 2011 introduced a Senate bill removing the timeframe on justice for innocent prisoners. But sadly, the bill has not passed, so the innocent remain in prison.

Expecting admission of guilt in parole release decisions penalizes innocent prisoners for failing to accept responsibility for crimes they did not commit. Power without justice is brutal.

FRANCIS O'NEILL, State Correctional Institution-Huntingdon, Smithfield Twp., Huntingdon Co.

Original report here




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Friday, May 23, 2014

Federal Court Essentially Nullifies 2nd and 4th Amendments!

The last time I checked, this was still the United States of America. And in America, the Bill of Rights is supposed to protect us against government tyranny and overreach.

The Second Amendment says that the "right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" and the Fourth Amendment prohibits the police or any government agent from seizing and searching your person or property without just cause or a warrant.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals just essentially negated both of those protections!

In a unanimous decision, the Seventh Circuit Court ruled that law enforcement officers are not required to present a warrant or charges before they forcibly enter a person’s home, search it, and begin confiscating residents' firearms as long as they believe it is in their best interests.

Stop what you're doing and read that last sentence again... The Seventh Court has ruled that police can violate your 2nd and 4th Amendment rights by breaking into your house and stealing your firearms as long as they believe it is in your "best interest."

The Nazis made this argument as they loaded Jews into rail cars. The Soviets made the same "best interest" argument when they shipped their political opponents to camps in Siberia. Every despotic and tyrannical regime that trampled on its citizens' rights claimed that it was in their best interest. And now a US Circuit Court has decided the same.

My "best interest" is for government to get the hell out of my life!

Tell Congress that the 7th Circuit's ruling is unacceptable and they MUST protect our 2nd and 4th Amendment rights from these activist judges!

The case in question is Krysta Sutterfield vs. City of Milwaukee. According to court documents, Ms. Sutterfield was receiving attending therapy sessions to get over a traumatic incident in her life. During one of her visits to the therapist, she made the tongue-in-cheek comment that she was going to go home and "blow her brains out." After she left the office, her therapist called police.

Two hours later, the police arrive at Ms. Sutterfield's home. They knock on the door and ask to come inside, which she adamantly refuses to allow. After repeatedly asking the officers to go away and refusing to unlock the door, the police forced their way into the house. Ms. Sutterfield was tackled to the ground and handcuffed while the police searched her home. They found a pistol and a BB gun, which were both seized for "safe keeping."

We are able to know so much about what went on in the house because Ms. Sutterfield actually called 911 to try to get the belligerent officers to leave her property. The entire exchange is captured on audio recording, and it couldn't possibly be any clearer that the police violated her 2nd and 4th Amendment rights!

Without ever having seen or met Ms. Sutterfield, the police officers drafted a Statement of Emergency Detention by Law Enforcement Officer, giving them the authority to detain her and seize her property. Milwaukee Law allows for police to make these judgement calls and take individual citizens into custody until a mental health professional deems them to be competent. But they must have a real reason to suspect the individual is in danger.

Ms. Sutterfield filed a lawsuit against the City of Milwaukee for clear constitutional violations, and even though the Court agreed that the violations were profound, it ruled on behalf of the City. Judge Llana Rovner, writing for the court, decided that the search and seizure was acceptable because there was "no suggestion that (police) acted for any reason other than to protect Sutterfield from harm."

Is that the benchmark necessary for constitutional violations to be acceptable? Government thugs just need to be acting in your "best interest" and then all constitutional rights go out the window? Believe it or not, the court ruling actually gets worse.

"Even if the officers did exceed constitutional boundaries," the judge writes, "they are protected by qualified immunity."

Well that's just wonderful! So it doesn't matter if a police officer violates your rights as long as he has your "best interests at heart," but even if he or she is found to have violated your rights, they are protected by qualified immunity.

With this single court ruling, the Seventh Circuit has given police and government officials Carte Blanche to do whatever they want! More than 25 Million people live under the Seventh Circuit's jurisdiction, meaning with the stroke of a pen, these judges just essentially nullified constitutional rights for 13% of all Americans!

These ruling have a tendency to spread. Neighboring courts will look to the Seventh Circuit for guidance when they are confronted with similar rulings. The only way to ensure that this decision is not made the law of the land is for Congress to intervene and protect our Constitutional rights from these activist judges!

Original report here




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Thursday, May 22, 2014

U.K.: Police watchdog probe into another six officers for failing to act on information about paedophile Lostprophets singer Ian Watkins BEFORE he tried to rape a baby

Six more police officers are being investigated over claims they could have stopped paedophile rock singer Ian Watkins before he abused two babies.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is probing whether staff at three police forces failed to act because the ex-Lostprophets frontman was famous.

The watchdog has served gross misconduct notices on three South Yorkshire Police officers, two Bedfordshire Police officers and a South Wales police officer as part of its ongoing inquiries.

One officer from South Wales Police was issued with the same warning last year, taking the total now under investigation to seven.

Singer Watkins is currently serving a 35-year prison term for a string of child sex offences.

Described as a 'committed' paedophile, he used his fame to seduce young fans who allowed him to abuse their babies.

After his trial it emerged that police were allegedly warned of his child porn obsession four years before he was jailed.

Ian Watkins detective says case was one of worst in his career

Three independent IPCC investigations are ongoing into the on the response of South Wales Police, Bedfordshire Police and South Yorkshire Police to allegations that Watkins was abusing children.

The commission is investigating complaints around the handling of three reports made to South Yorkshire Police between March and May 2012 which contained allegations against Watkins with potential evidence.

A sergeant and two constables from this force have now been served with notices advising them that their conduct is subject to investigation.

The IPCC said it is also investigating Bedfordshire Police's handling of information from a member of the public who reported an allegation of child abuse against Watkins in October 2012. A sergeant and a constable have also been served with the notices.

The South Wales Police detective constable, who was attached to the Child Protection Unit, is the second officer from the force to be investigated.

IPCC commissioner Jan Williams said: 'We are making good progress with our three independent investigations and as result of our inquiries IPCC investigators have served notices on six further officers as part of the ongoing investigation - three from South Yorkshire Police, two from Bedfordshire Police and a second from South Wales Police.

'Arrangements are being made to interview the officers in the coming weeks.

'We have now conducted two interviews with a detective sergeant from South Wales Police about his actions in relation to information about Ian Watkins. We anticipate he will be interviewed again in the near future.

'We are continuing to gather and analyse information in all three investigations in order to establish what steps were taken by police in response to the allegations made against Ian Watkins, whether he could have been brought to justice sooner and whether his celebrity status had any impact on those investigations.'

The commission said it has received a substantial amount of documentation from the three forces which is being analysed by investigators.

Original report here




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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Disgusting Police Behaviour in QLD, Australia

Email from a member of the public

This incident didn't happen to me but to my elderly parents.

My father is 69 years old. He was driving along with my 65 year old mother. When they came to a red light they stopped and an unmarked police car stopped next to them. When the light changed my dad drove off knowing he had to merge and did so safely in front of the unmarked police car.

The car followed my parents for maybe 30 seconds before turning their lights on and signaling for my father to pull over. There was a male police officer and a female police officer. The male approached my father's car on the drivers side and was extremely abrupt and rude, accusing my father of speeding. My father denied this saying that he most definitely did not speed. The male police officer proceeded to tell my father that he was going 80 km/h in a 60 km/h zone. This was incorrect as the entire road is 80 km/h the whole way.

Again my father denied that he was speeding. My father asked for the male officer to give him his name twice and both times the officer refused. My mother who was sitting in the passenger seat leant over and assured the officer that my father had not been speeding. The officer replied by telling my mother to shut up and sit back in her seat.

My mother is a petite lady and was quite shaken after being spoken to in such a manner. Again the male police officer was telling my father he had been speeding and indicated that he had "everything he needed" to give my father a ticket. My father, at this point somewhat offended on my mother's behalf asked if this had anything to do with him taking off faster than the police car at the traffic light, to which the male officer became quite irate to the point the female officer, who had stayed by the police car, called out for the male officer to just leave it and to 'let's go'.

After a few threatening words to the effect of the male police officer watching my dad from now on, he finally went back to his police car and they sped off.

As you can imagine when I was told by my mother what had happened I was absolutely disgusted with the way my parents had been treated. This is how the police chooses to conduct themselves? It is no wonder that no one trusts the police to do the right thing anymore. I myself have had bad experiences too where I was belittled and made to feel like I wasn't even a worthy human being for them to treat right.

The QLD Police force has to start looking at who they give the badge to because I think the power goes to some officers' heads and they treat us civilians almost like cattle to be pushed around and intimidated. Something needs to be done!

Via email


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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Innocent Chinese man sees marriage offers flood in after being cleared of murder

A man who was wrongfully convicted of rape and murder has been flooded with marriage offers after getting thousands of pounds of compensation.

Wang Benyu, 60, received 1.5 million Chinese Yuan (£142,000) in compensation from the Chinese government after spending nearly two decades in prison for a crime he did not commit.

Mr Wang, who was a farmer, always maintained his innocence over the crime committed on December 15 1994.

On that night his room-mate at a hostel for farm workers in Baotou, Li Yanming, raped and killed a girl he had brought back to their room.

At first, Li threatened to kill Mr Wang if he reported the crime to police, and when he refused he knelt down and cried to beg Wang to keep it secret - to which Mr Wang agreed.

But his friend disposed of the body and then fled, leaving Mr Wang in the frame for the crime.

Mr Wang was sentenced to jail for rape and murder, narrowly escaping a death sentence in November 1996.

He spent his time in a brutal prison where he ate bad food, did forced labour and expected to die behind bars, never seeing his family again in Baotou city in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

He never stopped pleading his innocence but said: 'I resigned myself to prison life. I resigned myself to dying in jail.'

But in 2012, Li was caught in the capital Beijing for other crimes and confessed that he had raped and killed the girl in 1994.

In September 2013, Wang's judgement was changed to harbouring Li, and his sentence was reduced to three years imprisonment.

Recently, Mr Wang received compensation for the years of wrongful imprisonment.

Authorities also treated him to a meal in a restaurant and gave him a flat to live in for free.

Married when he was sentenced and the father of a child, his wife divorced him when he was convicted of rape and murder.

Now he has decided that he would like another wife - and the marriage proposals are flooding in.

He said drily: 'I am saddened that it has less to do with me and more with my money. I think I will rather stay single.'

Original report here


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Monday, May 19, 2014

After a wrongful conviction, an education

As the band members tuned their instruments in the gymnasium at Inver Hills Community College, Koua Fong Lee put the finishing touches on his wardrobe, an impeccable ensemble, from the bright yellow tie to the neatly pressed graduation gown to the polished brown wing tips.

Lee’s wife, Panghoua, helped put the tassel on the mortarboard as their four children stood by, holding bouquets of flowers. As always, Panghoua was by his side.

Commencement at Inver Hills was the culmination of Lee’s American dream quest, or perhaps just the beginning in what has already been a tragic and heroic life.

Lee, 36, came to the U.S. from a refugee camp in Thailand in 2004 with little money and little grasp of English.

Less than four years ago, Lee landed in prison, convicted in 2008 of criminal vehicular homicide for a 2006 crash that killed three people. Lee’s Toyota accelerated wildly into traffic and smashed into another vehicle. He said the Toyota’s gas pedal stuck, and he couldn’t stop it. But a jury convicted him and he was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Then drivers across the country began reporting similar problems with Toyota cars, and the Minnesota Innocence Project took up Lee’s case with the help of St. Paul and Texas attorneys. After Lee spent three years in prison, a St. Paul judge decided there was enough evidence that Lee deserved another trial. The prosecutor decided to drop his case. Lee was a free man, and his criminal charge was erased.

It has been a difficult journey since then, as Lee got reacquainted with his wife, and his young children, who didn’t quite understand why he had disappeared for so long.

"Koua is an inspiration," said Julie Jonas, managing attorney for the Innocence Project. "He has come such a long way since his exoneration in rebuilding his life as a father, husband and student."

"His journey toward graduation has been demanding," Jonas said, "but Koua was born to overcome challenges and he does it all for his wife and four children. We couldn’t be more proud of him on this special day."

Waiting for commencement to begin, Lee said prison was so hard on him that it was too painful to describe. The worst part, he said, was that Panghoua had their fourth child while he was behind bars and couldn’t be there.

"When the accident happened and I was in prison, I felt like all my dreams just broke," said Lee.

When he was released, Lee said he just wanted to spend time with his young children, who barely got a chance to know him. While studying, he’s been able to make more of a connection, though "I still feel they don’t trust me as much as they trust their mom."

"When we came to the U.S., my wife and I had a dream to get a higher education and get a good job," said Lee. "We are doing it for the kids. … I am setting an example for my children."

Lee got his degree in social work, and said he chose the program to give back.

"When we were in the [refugee] camp in Thailand, we saw many people come to help us," Lee said. "I want to be a social worker and help all the people who can’t help themselves."

Panghoua also said they want to return the help they got from a wide cross-section of the community, from the lawyers on the case, to "all the people — people we didn’t know — who have made a huge impact in our lives."

Panghoua said the kids, aged 6 to 12, still don’t quite understand what their dad went through. "I tried to protect them from it, but they have tried to figure it out from the news." She intends to explain the events when they are old enough to understand.

Asked if he’s mad at the justice system, Lee said "that’s difficult to answer. When they took me into prison, I felt in my mind that something wasn’t right for me and my family. After all I’ve been through, I never thought I would end up in prison."

The Legislature passed a bill this session that would compensate people such as Lee, who served time behind bars after being wrongly convicted. But that law was far from Lee’s mind Thursday as he prepared to collect his degree.

"He was always afraid that he would never be a success," said Panghoua. "But he’s always been a good man and a good father. When he was in prison, I was hopeless, but I tried my best to always be there for him and told him to be positive because something good was going to come. I am very, very proud of him."

Original report here




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Sunday, May 18, 2014

'She’s Just a Child': 9-Year-Old Taken Away in Cuffs After Fight at Boys & Girls Club

When the officers came to her home, the 9-year-old girl was still wet from running through the neighborhood sprinkler. She wore flip flops, a pink towel and a swimsuit. The officers took her away wearing handcuffs.

Her mother’s response said it all: "She’s just a child."

Yes, you read that correctly: Police officers in Portland, Ore., handcuffed a 9-year-old-girl and took her to the station in a police car. They photographed and fingerprinted her and detained her for nearly an hour before her mother arrived.

Her "crime"? Getting in a fight with another kid—a fight that took place nearly a week beforehand and ended with apologies on all sides.

According to The Oregonian newspaper, this all started with a scuffle on a basketball court at the Boys & Girls Club on North Trenton Street in Portland’s New Columbia neighborhood. Witnesses told police the 9-year-old got in the middle of a dispute between two other girls who had been arguing because one tattled on the other for drawing on a desk. The 9-year-old later ended up in a fistfight with one of the other girls outside the club. Both girls apologized to each other. The 9-year-old was sent home and suspended from the club for one week.

Done and done, right? Wrong. After receiving a call from the mother of the other girl involved in the fight, police arrived at the 9-year-old’s home to investigate. Finding the 9-year-old’s statements "inconsistent" with witness reports, the officers took her into custody, accusing her of fourth-degree assault.

What were these officers thinking? Departmental policy mandates that juveniles taken into custody for any Class A misdemeanor "shall" be fingerprinted and photographed at the forensics division. Police consider those under age 18 to be juveniles and fourth-degree assault is a Class A misdemeanor.

Assault is a serious crime. But the fact of the matter is that kids fight, even though they shouldn’t. Usually, no one gets hurt and no lasting harm is done. According to reports, this wasn’t an exception. Staff members found no obvious injuries on any of the girls.

Indeed, the experience of the arrest seems to have caused more lasting harm than anything else. One year later, the 9-year-old has transferred to another school because of teasing about the incident and has been in counseling since last June. "She is a different child," said her mother, LaToya Harris.

Harris is determined to ensure nothing similar happens again in Portland. When she filed a complaint with the police department, the Independent Police Review Division found the officers violated no departmental policies. Undeterred, she told her story to the Citizen Review Committee, which hears complaints of alleged officer misconduct against Portland police. Now, concerned citizens are demanding changes in departmental policy.

Kids shouldn’t be cuffed and taken to the station every time little fists fly. Years ago, handcuffing a 9-year old after an incident like this would have been unthinkable—everyone would have forgotten about it in a week. We look forward to seeing changes in departmental policy that give officers more discretion to treat squabbles between kids with the gentle touch they require.

Original report here




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Saturday, May 17, 2014

Wrongful conviction lawsuit settled for $5m

Shawn Drumgold spent 14 years locked away, unfairly convicted in the slaying of a girl felled by gunfire while she chatted with friends in Roxbury more than two decades ago.

Now, the City of Boston has agreed that it should pay a price for Drumgold’s errant incarceration. The city is giving Drumgold $5 million to settle his wrongful conviction lawsuit in the murder of Darlene Tiffany Moore, the 12-year-old killed nearly 26 years ago. It is believed to be the largest such settlement in the city’s history.

Drumgold has already received his check from the city. He has set money aside for the college education of his two children and living expenses for his family, and he is considering attending college, said Rosemary C. Scapicchio, the Boston attorney who has pursued the civil litigation in federal courts since 2004.

"It is a vindication,’’ Scapicchio said Wednesday of the decision by the administration of Mayor Martin J. Walsh to settle the litigation by Drumgold, who was not available for comment. "He spent 15 years in jail for a crime that he didn’t commit.’’

In addition to the $5 million settlement, the city has spent more than $2.7 million in legal fees on the Drumgold case. The fear of continuing costs factored into the city’s decision to settle, a spokeswoman for Walsh said.

"Due to the inherent risk of a jury trial, the city decided to settle the case at this point in time," spokeswoman Kate Norton said.

Drumgold was 24 when he was convicted of first-degree murder for the killing of Moore, whose death was blamed on a feud between street gangs that exploded into gunfire on the summer night of Aug. 19, 1988. Moore was sitting on a mailbox when she was struck by bullets fired by two masked men who authorities said were aiming for a suspected gang member standing nearby, according to court records.

Drumgold took the stand at his Suffolk Superior Court trial and testified he was not near the shooting scene, and he had a friend testify in support of his alibi. The office of Newman Flanagan, then Suffolk district attorney, built the case largely on eyewitness testimony.

Drumgold was sentenced to life without parole and was still behind bars in 2003 when The Boston Globe reported that Boston police had been told that a key eyewitness suffered from brain cancer at the trial and that another witness claimed police fed him details about the murder.

The office of Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, which had inherited the case from Flanagan, effectively vacated Drumgold’s conviction on the grounds that his trial was legally flawed — but without declaring that Drumgold was an innocent man who had been wrongly convicted.

No one has been charged since the Drumgold prosecution for the murder of Moore.

Mary Adams, a friend of Moore’s mother, Alice, who died in 1994, said Alice Moore wanted justice for her daughter and always hoped that the men who killed her child would someday be behind bars. At the same time, Adams said, Alice Moore would never approve of the imprisonment of an innocent man.

"She wanted the guilty party to be accountable,’’ Adams said. "But she wouldn’t want an innocent person to be punished.’’

Adams knows Drumgold and his family and said she is convinced he was wrongly convicted. The city, she said, should pay him everything he asked for. "He spent a lot of wasted time in prison,’’ Adams said. "That’s the least they can do.’’

One year after his release from prison, Drumgold sued Francis "Mickey" Roache, who was Boston’s police commissioner at the time of the Moore shooting, and three Boston police officers who investigated the murder. In 2009, a US District Court jury found that police withheld evidence but deadlocked on the question of whether it was the reason for Drumgold’s conviction. A mistrial was declared.

A new jury heard the case in 2009 and ruled in favor of Drumgold, awarding him $14 million — $1 million for each year he spent in prison. But that verdict was overturned by the First Circuit Court of Appeals in 2013 when a majority ruled that the trial judge gave improper legal instructions that may have influenced their verdict in Drumgold’s favor.

Scapicchio said the legal struggle continued until this year, when Walsh’s administration agreed to have a mediator resolve the matter, which he did in April. Scapicchio said Drumgold accepted the lower figure of $5 million because he believed it was a fair offer that would end the litigation.

"This is the first time that there was enough money on the table to talk about resolving’’ the lawsuit, said Scapicchio, who, along with co-counsel Michael W. Reilly, will collect $1.6 million in fees. "Five million dollars is a lot of money to walk away from.

"I am very confident that if we tried the case again, we would have gotten another [favorable] jury verdict," Scapicchio said. "But Shawn’s been waiting 10 years for his case to get resolved. I think he got to the point where he just didn’t want to wait any longer.’’

Scapicchio said the settlement is the largest payout from a Boston agency for a wrongful conviction, surpassing the $3.2 million paid to Stephan Cowans, who was exonerated by DNA testing from having any role in a nonfatal shooting of a Boston police officer. Cowans spent six years in prison before testing showed that a fingerprint was not his and that the DNA found on other evidence was not a match.

Cowans was shot to death in his home in Randolph in 2007.

Original report here




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Friday, May 16, 2014

Australia: Eastman inquiry wraps up

Eastman is a bit of an oddball but he was convicted on nothing more than supposition and bad forensic science. The cop was involved in a deal with the Riverina mafia which fell apart. So it was probably the mafia that potted him. The cops didn't want that to become known however so they fitted up poor silly old Eastman for the crime. There has always been extensive disquiet about his conviction

The Eastman inquiry has ended, amid calls for his murder charge to be quashed and a miscarriage of justice declared.

The inquiry has been considering the conviction of David Harold Eastman for the murder of Australian Federal Police (AFP) Assistant Commissioner Colin Winchester in 1989.

Inquiry head Justice Brian Martin will now prepare a report for the Supreme Court, which will have the final say.

In his final submissions Eastman's lawyer Mark Griffin QC urged Justice Martin to take a strong line in his recommendations.

"The fact is there have been significant failures that cannot be excused," he said.

"To let the (conviction) stand is to countenance a gross miscarriage of justice."

"You can make a report to the full court which corrects the record."

"You can make a conclusive finding that there was a miscarriage so the defects, flaws and failures... can be remedied."

Forensic case against Eastman put in doubt by inquiry

The most important development in the inquiry was the systematic demolition of the forensic case which was key to his conviction.

Forensic scientist Robert Collins Barnes was forced to admit he may have misled earlier hearings about some of the evidence.

His methods and record keeping were also roundly criticised.

In her summing up, counsel assisting the inquiry Liesl Chapman said: "The opinions he expressed at trial were seriously flawed and there is a question about his reliability and veracity."

Mr Griffin urged Justice Martin to deliver an adverse finding about Mr Barnes, as well as police and prosecutors in the case.

He also raised concerns about police tactics, which involved listening devices to record Eastman talking to himself at home.

"You should reflect your disapproval of that conduct ... there needs to be some admonition," Mr Griffin said.

But lawyers for the DPP and police told the inquiry even without the forensic evidence the guilty verdict was supported by an overwhelming circumstantial case.

AFP counsel Lionel Robberds outlined that case.

Eastman had been a suspect because he had made threats against Assistant Commissioner Winchester, after he had failed to secure his help in having an assault charge dropped.

Eastman believed the police should not have charged him, but should have charged the other man involved.

Mr Robberds said Eastman had increasing frustration over his failure to be reinstated in the public service.

David Eastman's legal battle timeline

"He knew the case was going to ruin him for life," he said. "If it went ahead and he was convicted that would be the end of it all."

He said one witness had suggested he had stalked the premises where the crime took place.

And, Mr Robberds told the hearing, despite being one of the most intelligent people on this earth, "In less than 12 hours, he said he did not remember where he was."

Mr Griffin also raised concerns that police should have considered the alternative theory that mafia figures were involved in the killing. He told the court today there was a body of evidence suggesting some mafia figures had a strong motive for the murder.

He says that theory is a counterbalance to the prosecutions circumstantial case.

In her summing up, Ms Chapman told the hearing she disagreed with police that they had done a thorough investigation of the alternative hypotheses. The inquiry has considered some of the mafia evidence in secret.

Among the issues Justice Martin must now consider is whether the collapse of the forensic case justifies a miscarriage of justice finding.

He will also be considering whether there should be a retrial.

Mr Griffin has urged against that idea. "The prospect of there being a retrial is just so remote as to not be feasible. The prejudice in conducting a retrial would be extreme," he said.

Judge thanks Eastman for his good behaviour during inquiry

Justice Martin wrapped up today's hearing with a personal message to Eastman who has been watching the inquiry from a room at Canberra's jail. He thanked him for not interrupting. He also acknowledged Eastman's troubled history with losing confidence in his lawyers and sacking them.

Justice Martin told Eastman he had been very lucky to have Mr Griffin to represent him.

The Supreme Court will decide the final outcome of the inquiry based on recommendations from Justice Martin.

But it may still all be academic.

The court is still considering a challenge to the inquiry's establishment.

Mr Barnes has asked Justice Martin to delay handing his report to the court until that ruling is delivered. Justice Martin says he is still considering the request.

It is not known when there will be a decision on that or the future of Justice Martin's report.

Original report here. (Via Australian Politics)


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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Judge makes it official: America is a Police State

In April the Tenth US Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled that the police have a legal right to stop, search and arrest anyone anywhere anytime for committing or not committing a crime or doing or not doing anything right or wrong.

All that's required of a cop is to invent a pretext.

According to a Huffington Post article a person can be arrested for "driving with your hands at the ten-and-two position on the steering wheel at 7:45 PM, taking a scenic route and having acne."

Cindy Lee Westhoven of Tucson, Arizona had been doing all of that; thereby fitting the profile of a person who smuggles undocumented immigrants and drugs (neither of which would be a crime in a libertarian society).

So you'd better not drive while wearing a business suit because that fits the profile of a white collar criminal.

And don't drive in a baseball cap and a team jersey because that fits the profile of a carjacker.

And whatever you do don't look up or down or left or right or straight ahead, scratch your nose, smile or frown or drive safely because that fits the profile of someone who is guilty of something trying not to look guilty of something.

The Police State is upheld by the federal courts because they're run by judges who are nothing more than politically connected public bureaucrats, who were typically bought and paid for by politicians, who got their educations in taxpayer-funded public schools and public universities and were trained in public judicial systems and have never lived in the real world.

Judges think "civilization" begins and ends with "The Law" which is anything the politicians and the lawyers say it is. If the masters who yank their chains say the Police State is "The Law" then it's "The Law."

Once little people with little minds get just a little taste of that magical government power they go mad with it. Judges and cops are no exceptions.

Cindy Lee Westhoven's mistake was speaking to the border control agent who stopped her as though he was a normally intelligent being not overdosed on a power high.

"I thought you were going to let me go," she told the Majestic and All Powerful Law Tyrant. "Do you think I'm hauling illegal aliens?"

Bam! Suspicion! Confession! Probable Cause! Arrest!

The lesson she learned the hard way? Never talk to the cops!

It's chaos. There's a total Police State out there.

Original report here




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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

David Camm to seek $30M for wrongful conviction

Ever since he was released from prison last year, David Camm has said "Indiana owes me."

Now he’s going to court with a bill in hand — $30 million — for what he alleges was malicious prosecution following his arrest and imprisonment in the fatal shootings of his wife and two children in September 2000.

In a tort claim notice dated April 16 and hand-delivered to Floyd County officials late last week, lawyer Garry Adams of Louisville wrote that Camm will seek the damages for his wrongful convictions, the trauma he suffered while held in prison and his past and continuing loss of income and emotional well-being.

The notice is required by Indiana law before suing public officials and was sent to the Floyd County commissioners, Floyd County Council and the Indiana Political Subdivision Risk Management Commission.

It names former Prosecutor Stan Faith and four former employees who worked in office — Jacque Vaught, Tony Toran, Mark Henderson and Emily Fessel.

Also identified are current Floyd Prosecutor Keith Henderson, deputy Floyd prosecutor Steve Owen, former investigator Wayne Kessinger, and two men who were hired by Faith to work the crime scene and analyze forensic evidence — Robert Stites and Rod Englert.

A second tort claim notice will be sent to the Indiana State Police within the next two months identifying specific employees who may be targeted in a single lawsuit due by late October, a year after Camm’s acquittal in the fall of 2013, Adams said.

Camm, who was a state trooper but left the agency about four months before he reported finding his wife Kim, 35, and the couple’s children Brad, 7, and Jill, 5, fatally shot in the the family’s garage in Georgetown.

Camm insisted he was innocent, but prosecutors and police said evidence at the crime scene and on his clothing showed he was responsible. The case captured national attention as Camm was tried twice, only to have both convictions overturned.

Appellate judges ruled that Faith had unfairly prejudiced the jury by offering evidence of several extra-marital affairs. In the second reversal, judges found that the state’s assertions that Camm had molested his daughter before she died were also highly prejudicial and speculative.

Police linked Charles Boney of New Albany to the murders before the second Camm trial, and Boney is now serving a 225-year sentence.

Boney testified in Camm’s third trial in Boone County last year that he heard Camm shoot his family when he went to the Georgetown home to deliver a handgun Camm had arranged to buy. Defense lawers said Boney fabricated the story to hide his role.

During Camm’s third trial, which ended in an acquittal, Camm’s lawyers blamed a biased, inept, even corrupt, initial investigation for Camm’s arrest. In court last fall, Camm’s first defense lawyer Michael McDaniel alleged that Faith withheld information that linked a gray prison-issued sweatshirt found at the crime scene to Boney.

Faith has said McDaniel is lying and defended investigators for working to identify the sweat shirt’s owner. Contacted about the tort claim on Monday, Faith said he hasn’t seen the document and couldn’t comment.

The claim is based on federal Section 1983, which allows people to sue for violations of constitutional rights. Adams declined to detail the allegations, saying that the complaint "will really have the whole story."

Henderson, when asked for comment, said through an employee that he has forwarded the claim to the Indiana Attorney General’s Office, which represents county prosecutors in such cases.

Original report here


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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Wrongly convicted black man freed from jail after 34 YEARS

A man wrongfully convicted of killing a New Orleans woman in 1979 has been released from prison after prosecutors acknowledged serious police misconduct.

Reginald Adams has spent the past 34 years in jail after being convicted of killing Cathy Ulfers, the wife of a New Orleans police officer.

He claims he only confessed to the crime because police had given him drugs and alcohol and then subjected him to a four-hour interrogation.

‘I'm just ready to go. Trying to build me a life. After 34 years, I don't even know how to use a cell phone,’ Reginald Adams told WWLTV following his release on Monday.

Prosecutors have now acknowledged that his confession was inconsistent with the physical evidence.

The Innocence Project New Orleans reached out to the district attorney's office last week after discovering a supplemental police report linking two other suspects, a weapon and stolen jewelry to the murder.

On Monday, District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro dropped the murder case, apologizing to Adams both personally and for the misconduct of police and prosecutors who oversaw the case.

‘If he had been in possession of the supplemental report that was concealed from his attorneys, he would have likely been acquitted,’ said Cannizzaro.

Assistant District Attorneys Ronald Bodenheimer and Harold Gilbert prosecuted the case based entirely on the confession and claimed that the murder weapon was never recovered.

Cannizzaro said, Bodenheimer and Gilbert ‘were fully aware of the additional suspects as well as the recovery of the murder weapon and other physical evidence and that their handling of this case amounts to intentional prosecutorial misconduct.’

The cases against the two suspects linked to the murder were dropped by the district attorney at the time. Both people have since passed away.

Original report here




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Monday, May 12, 2014

Widow's fury at British police who said her husband's cycling death was an accident just 15 MINUTES into their investigation

The widow of a cyclist who was killed in a country lane two years ago is still battling police - accusing them of making a catalogue of errors when they investigated his death.

Richard Jordan was 67 when he was involved in the incident near Ashford, Kent, but police were not told about the crash for 30 hours, by which time he had died and the scene had been cleared.

When they finally did investigate Mr Jordan's case, they said there was 'no third party involvement' - after just 15 minutes.

That was before they knew a couple who dialled 999 were heard arguing during the call about whether their car had hit him.

Now Mr Jordan's widow Sue, 66, claims that she will never know how her husband died and is calling for the investigation to be reopened.

She is fighting her case at the Independent Police Complaints Commission after an internal report - seen by MailOnline - confirmed a clutch of 'administrative' failings by officers.

Retired BT engineer Mr Jordan suffered a 7ins fracture to his skull when he crashed on November 24, 2011 near his home in Old Wives Lees, Kent.

He was taken to hospital where he was ruled unfit for surgery and died later the same day.

But paramedics did not tell police and they only found out 30 hours after the crash, by which time the scene had long since been cleared.

Fifteen minutes after being told and before they interviewed any witnesses or visited the scene, police said no third party had been involved - a decision the force now admits was wrong.

It took them another four days to take a statement from the driver of the car who dialled 999, who was one of the two main witnesses.

Mr Jordan's family, who insisted his injuries were so severe that he must have been hit, lodged an internal complaint with Kent Police.

But they had to wait until an inquest recorded his death as an accident before receiving a reply.

Other findings of the 11-page report include:

Forensic evidence was lost when a bag containing Mr Jordan's clothes was left open.

Officers seized Mr Jordan's bicycle but not the car whose occupants dialled 999, which had a dent on the front.

The officer who made this decision was not a fully qualified forensic collision investigator at the time.

The car was declared a write-off six months after the bike crash, and police only found out because Mr Jordan's family checked its status online.

Mr Jordan's children Neil, 46, Emma, 43, and Paul, 40, claim that they have repeatedly been denied answers by police over the last two years.

His widow said: 'We feel angry and helpless and I will not stop until we get some form of justice.

'Every day I relive that day and I just can't get it out of my head. Because we have no answers and we can't piece together what happened. I can't let it go. It's taken over my life.

'They gave us the tape of the 999 call 10 minutes before the inquest started. Our barrister didn't really have a chance to look at it. The whole result seemed cut and dried before we walked in.'

His son, Neil, added: 'The report has shown them up for what a shoddy investigation they carried out.

'We've complained to the Kent police commissioner and our local MP. All through the two and a half years I've been completely at a loss as to why so many people have treated us so badly.

'The police just haven't listened to us. In my mind all the facts point to him being hit. They completely failed to do some basic policing and it makes you wonder what else could have not been picked up.

'It has been a catastrophe for the family. It's bad enough losing anyone through natural causes but to be denied closure for so long is awful.

'I'm still so angry. It's been the overriding emotion throughout the whole period - we're frustrated at not being listened to.'

Mr Jordan, who was married to Sue for 44 years, took up cycling after his children bought him a bike for his 50th birthday.

The pensioner who was wearing a helmet was cycling a route he took five times a week when he crashed.

Robert Weatherby from nearby Chilham, who was driving his girlfriend Justine Staley to work, told the inquest that he pulled over onto a verge to avoid hitting Mr Jordan on a hill and dialled 999.

The distressing call, played in court and heard by MailOnline, featured the couple arguing over whether they hit the cyclist.

Switching between the operator and his girlfriend, Mr Weatherby said: 'He just completely lost control... No, he didn't touch us at all, we didn't hit him at all.'

Miss Staley is heard saying: 'The back end of the bike hit us', to which he replied: 'No it didn't, we didn't hit him at all. He came off and then we hit the bike, we went over the bike. That was what happened because he just absolutely lost it.'

She told the inquest Mr Jordan was cycling at high speed with a 'fixed' impression on his face, so may have been suffering a medical episode.

Police only listened to the 999 call for the first time more than a month later, and decided not to re-interview the driver or passenger.

The coroner ruled the death was an accident and told the couple, who were never arrested or accused of any offence, that they should not feel in any way responsible for what happened.

In their complaint Mr Jordan's family alleged officers had neglected their duty and had been 'rude and condescending' to them when they raised concerns.

The report also exposed failings in the way records were kept.

While the report was written, an officer came forward to say he had checked the dent on the car and decided it did not match the damage to Mr Jordan's handlebars.

Yet this was not disclosed in the police's original documents, the report said, and only came out when the report was compiled more than a year later.

The force admitted the family felt there had been a 'breakdown of communication' - partly because there was a lack of liasion officers - but said many of their claims were not borne out.

It did, however, admit the officer who said there was no third party involvement 'prejudged the outcome' without testing other theories properly.

'Although hampered by the lack of an effective audit trail... most relevant lines of enquiry have been followed although the recording of the rationale behind a number of decisions and actions has been shown to be unsatisfactory,' the report said.

However, it added: 'There is no evidence to indicate the outcome of the inquest into Richard Jordan's death would have been any different'.

Three officers received 'management action' over the investigation, the report says, but the family have not been told what that was.

The South East Coast Ambulance Service has since changed its policy to tell police immediately whenever a cyclist is hit.

Otherwise, the family claims, no one has been properly held to account for the police failings.

A force spokesman told MailOnline: 'Kent Police is sympathetic to the family of Mr Jordan for their loss.

'A full investigation into the incident in November 2011 was carried out by officers from our Serious Collision Investigation Unit and the findings were submitted to the coroner, who recorded a verdict of accidental death.

'Following a complaint received, Kent Police has carried out a full review of the original investigation, and a copy of this report has been sent to Mr Jordan's family, who have now contacted the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

'The review's conclusion was that the investigation was carried out correctly. However, Kent Police notes that there are administrative areas which can be learned from and added to procedures in our best practice guide.

'We are satisfied that the officer who investigated the family's complaint made contact with the family on a regular basis, over and above that which is required.'

The family have since referred their complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Original report here




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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Cop T-Bones Passing Car, Driver Charged With DUI After Being Honest

Last February Joseph Quilles, a deputy sheriff with the Milwaukee Sheriff's Department, T-boned 25-year-old Tanya Weyker's car while he was turning at a stop sign, breaking her neck.

Cops who arrived at the scene started questioning Weyker about whether she had been drinking (she admitted to having a couple of sips from a friend's drink earlier in the day) and whether she was on prescription pills (she admitted being prescribed Vicodin after having her wisdom teeth pulled out but said she hadn't taken any in a week).

The injuries precluded Weyker from blowing a breathalyzer or taking a field sobriety test. One deputy said he could smell alcohol and that her speech was slurred and her eyes were red. Weyker explained she was crying. Results from a blood test came back less than a month after the crash and showed Weyker to have been sober. A few months later a drug test came back clean as well. Nevertheless it took nearly a year for prosecutors to decline to press charges, while the county spent the time sending letters to Weyker pressuring her to pay for the damage caused in the accident, for which the county blamed her.

Cops may have kept trying to pin the accident on Weyker despite the overwhelming evidence she was completely sober during the crash were it not for a video. But it didn't come from the dashcam. Fox 6 in Milwaukee explains:

In his official report, Deputy Quiles wrote that he stopped at the stop sign and looked both ways before pulling out. He told a Milwaukee police officer that he never saw any headlights, even though Weyker's Camry had lights that come on automatically.

The truth might never have surfaced were it not for video from a nearby airport surveillance camera. It shows what investigators say is Deputy Quiles' squad car traveling west on Hutsteiner Avenue, then continuing onto Howell without making a complete stop, as Quiles claimed in his report. The Sheriff's Office knew about the video just two days after the crash. But no one told Weyker.

After being informed that this video existed, Quilles admitted to internal affairs investigators that his original report was wrong and that he rolled through the stop sign. He was suspended for nine days for the traffic violations but has actually not returned to work since. He's maxed out injury pay and is seeking permanent disability from his injuries in the crash.

Weyker, meanwhile, is still waiting for the county to pay her medical bills, which could pass $1 million. Wisconsin state law caps claims against government to $250,000, and Quilles reportedly eventually admitted fault in the crash. Weyker is also suing the deputy who arrested her.

Original report here




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