Monday, February 29, 2016

Exonerated of murder, a Kentucky man looks to prevent wrongful convictions

Imagine spending over a decade in prison for a crime you didn’t commit. For Kerry Porter that is his reality.

“There’s no closure or answers,” Porter said. "I can’t get to the answer as to why I was made to do 15 years for a murder they knew or should of known I didn’t do.”

In 1998, Porter was convicted of killing Tyrone Camp, a 35-year-old Louisville truck driver, on Dec. 27, 1996.

Porter was sentenced to 60 years in prison. He served 15 years before untested DNA evidence exonerated him in 2011.

“I told them I didn’t do it. I heard about it on the streets and this is all I know about it,” Porter recalled.

But Porter's plea of innocence wasn’t enough. The police had an eyewitness who picked Porter out in a lineup.

Porter’s case is not unusual; 72 percent of wrongful convictions involved one or multiple mistaken witness identifications, according to data from the National Innocence Project.

Today, a new piece of legislation might be the key to keeping other innocent people out of prison.

Rep. Johnny Bell, D-Glasgow, has proposed a new bill that would impose stricter laws on the use of eyewitness identification.

House Bill 387, which is also known as the Eyewitness Identification Reform Act, provides procedures for witness identification and implements checks and balances for law enforcement agencies that administer lineups.

“When I hear of things like Mr. Porter -- that is what encourages me to move forward,” Bell said. “We’ve all heard about different things that take place in these lineup situations, maybe putting a thumb over someone that needs to be picked.”

Among other things, the bill would require lineups to be conducted by a police officer who is unfamiliar with the case in an effort to prevent coercion. Or the administrator of a photo lineup can know who the suspect is, but they would not know where the suspect would be placed in the photo array when it is shown to a witness.

Bell said it is all about getting it right.

“Once you take a substantial portion of someone’s life you can’t give that back," he said. "You can compensate them in monetary ways, but what would a person take for a year of their life or 10 years of their life. I mean, for me personally there is no amount of money that I would trade for my time or my freedom.”

House Bill 387 is currently in the Judiciary Committee. Bell told WKYT he thinks the bill will make it through the house and he is hoping it can pass through to the Senate.

For his part, Porter wants to make sure no one else is wrongly convicted. He will be watching this bill closely.

“My only satisfaction was one day I had a little light that shined through that dark cave. That one day I'm going to make these people eat their words and that was my drive,” Porter said.

Original report here

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

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Wrongful convictions in Arkansas

Plea bargaining abuse

Research proves that wrongful convictions are happening now more than ever before, and while there is no concrete documentation of wrongful conviction in Arkansas, it is still happening.

Through the eyes of a mother, watching the time pass can be hard. Sharon Cornice explained, “It’s been really rough for me.”

Seconds turn into minutes, minutes to hours and then days into years. Twelve to be exact. It was July 15, 2003 that Cornice’s son, Ralph Crutchfield, was placed behind bars.

Crutchfield was charged with aggravated robbery and sentenced to 30 years. His family said he was the victim of a wrongful conviction. Cornice asked, “Why would you give somebody 30 years when there’s no physical evidence?”

For years, Cornice has been gathering evidence from the case. The initial police report, a police lineup and pages of transcripts are all documents that Cornice believes point to her son’s innocence. The problem is, Crutchfield pled guilty in court.

“The attorney said you won’t be able to ever get out. It scared Ralph. So, Ralph pleaded guilty,” said Cornice.

“If they go to trial, they can be convicted even if they’re innocent, and the punishment could be three, four, five even 10 times higher than the sentence they will serve if they plea bargain, even if they’re innocent,” Professor Joshua Silverstein at the William Bowen School of Law said.

Silverstein explained to THV11 the incentive of people who often consider to avoid the risk of losing a trial. He continued, “The legal system is run by humans, and humans are flawed. So, there are always going to be mistakes in the legal system.”

While Arkansas keeps no documented running tally of wrongful convictions in the state, data shows more people are being convicted of crimes they didn’t commit than ever before. A report released by the University of Michigan’s National Registry of Exonerations points to 2014 as the highest year for proven wrongful convictions of innocent people. In 2014, the national record high reached 125 people proven innocent after wrongful conviction. Approximately 47 of the 125 exonerated pled guilty to crimes they were later proven to never have committed.

Silverstein explained, “The problem isn’t particular individuals acting in bad faith. That’s not what the problem is. The problem is with the rules, lack of resources and human imperfection.”

While law critics scrutinize systemic problems, Cornice continued her fight, hoping to prove his innocence. “I know that one day my son, he’ll get out of there.”

THV’s request to interview Ralph Crutchfield at Cummins Unit was denied due to his clemency petition before the governor.

Original report here

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

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Shocking video emerges of police officer 'punching a man in the face' after three officers tackled him to the ground - as onlookers scream in horror

Shocking footage has emerged appearing to show a violent arrest by police where a man is held down and repeatedly punched in the head.

The video was recorded on Valentine's Day in Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast in Queensland, and shows a man with his hands in his pockets being pushed to the ground, pinned down, and then elbowed and hit by police officers.

Women can be heard screaming  in horror as the graphic incident unfolds and leaves the man spitting blood onto the footpath.

The man being punched tells people to record the incident and the person filming reassures him they have captured the incident on camera.

The man at the centre of the video will appear in the Southport Magistrates Court on Friday, and intends to plead not guilty to charges of assault, obstructing police and public nuisance, according to 7 News.

A Queensland Police Spokesman told Daily Mail Australia police were conducting inquiries into the incident, but could not comment further.

No formal complaint has been laid over the incident, which some have labelled as evidence of police brutality in the Gold Coast

The man, a 21-year-old, had been at a 21st birthday party when a group he was with were stopped by police, The Courier Mail reported.

His relative was arrested, prompting him to ask what would happen or where he would be taken, according to reports.

When he gave police his name - Paul Folasa, according to the Gold Coast Bulletin - at their request, the officers responded angrily, friends claimed.

A relative and a friend of the 21-year-old Folasa, from Woolridge, QLD, will also appear in court in Southport on Friday.

Their lawyer reportedly intends to seek an adjournment so discussions with police can take place

Original report here

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

Friday, February 26, 2016

Church caretaker 'died after he was arrested by seven police officers, bound in handcuffs, leg restraints and a face mask then left in a police cell'

Police worldwide are very bad at dealing with the mentally ill but there is no excuse for a total disregard of their health and welfare

This is the shocking moment a mentally-ill churchgoer was bound in handcuffs and leg restraints before being left motionless in a jail cell when police strapped a belt across his face, a court heard.

Schizophrenic Thomas Orchard was put in restraints and had an 'emergency response belt' put across his mouth after being arrested by seven police officers following a public order incident.

Shocking CCTV footage released today shows the 32-year-old being left motionless on the floor of a police cell at Heavitree Road Police Station in Exeter, Devon, after the arrest in October 2012.

Mr Orchard, a schizophrenic, suffered a cardiac arrest 12 minutes after being left by police officers and died a week later in hospital from brain damage and asphyxia, the court heard.

Experienced custody sergeant Jan Kingshott, 44, and civilian detention officers Simon Tansley, 38, and Michael Marsden, 55, are now on trial accused of unlawful act manslaughter.

The trio, from Devon and Cornwall Police, also face accusations of gross negligence manslaughter. They all deny the charges.

Dramatic CCTV footage of Mr Orchard's treatment in police custody was shown to the jury when the case was opened in court last month, but only released today following a challenge by the press.

A series of videos show the moments Mr Orchard was arrested in Exeter city centre over a public order incident, marched from the van into the station in restraints, and carried around the station.

One harrowing piece of footage shows him being carried face-down in the 'emergency response belt', before being dropped and left motionless on the floor of his cell.

The final video shows him surrounded by officers and police staff who are holding him face down on the floor, before they finally remove the 'emergency response belt' and leave his police cell.

The belt was put across his mouth and nose for five minutes while he was in a prone position, interfering with his breathing, a jury at Bristol Crown Court was told.

Opening the case, prosecuting, Mark Heywood QC said: 'The damage that caused his death had occurred following his arrest by police on suspicion of a public order offence in central Exeter.

'At the roadside he was dealt with by a total of seven police and support officers. 'He was taken from there on that day, in physical restraints, to the local custody unit.

'There he was dealt with by a total of six trained police officers and detention unit staff, again while in physical restraints throughout.

'In fact, Mr Orchard was ill and suffering from a relapse of his mental illness, of long-standing paranoid schizophrenia.

'Even so, the combination of force and physical restraints used on him on the day of his arrest, coupled, says the prosecution, with a complete failure to enquire and so to realise his true condition and also to observe him closely and directly, led together to him being starved of oxygen to the point of cardio-respiratory arrest.

'He died because force was used to restrain him, mostly in a prone, face down, position, and in addition a large webbing belt was put across his face in the course of those events.

'Together - you may think obviously - these things interfered with his ability to breathe. 'The situation continued for over five minutes. Deep within a police station, while he was bound.

'At the same time, no one of those directly responsible took sufficient care to see that he was breathing properly - or even perhaps at all towards the end of those events.

'Instead, he was left in a locked cell, under more remote observation for a further twelve minutes until his true condition was discovered. 'By then, it was too late.'

He added: 'The three defendants in your charge are those directly responsible for his detention at the police custody unit, for implementing and directing the use of force that I last described at the police station, and for the application of the webbing belt about his head at the same time. 'The Crown says that by those actions unlawfully caused his death.

'Each of them denies that what he individually did, or did together, was unlawful and that any unlawful action of his resulted in Mr Orchard's death.'

Bristol Crown Court heard 'placid and quiet' Mr Orchard had suffered with mental health issues since his teenage years. He was admitted for mental health care in hospital five times between 2004 and 2009, and at the time of his death was living in supported housing in Exeter.

On the day of his arrest on October 3, his health had deteriorated, and after going to church for communion he attacked a man in the city centre. After 999 calls were made, seven officers - none of them on trial - were involved in his arrest for allegedly using threatening words or behaviour, the jury heard.

Witnesses said he was attempting to bite the officers, and the jury saw CCTV of him being forced to the ground, put in restraints, and carried to a van.

Mr Heywood QC added: 'Four [officers] are involved. 'He was picked up and carried in that way but one of them stood at his head and held it in both his hands in what is the classic preferred trained for movement of someone of this kind.

'It makes a lot of sense. It is simple and usually used, and above all trained as a technique. The question arises why it was not used later.'

Mr Orchard arrived at Heavitree Road Police Station at around 11.18am, where 'experienced' custody sergeant Kingshott was in charge. Mr Heywood said Mr Orchard remained in restraints for a total of 22 minutes.

He added: 'For a significant part of the restraint time at the custody unit he also had a webbing belt, known by its full names as an Emergency Response Belt applied over the whole of or part of his face, including at times - perhaps the majority of that - on his nose and mouth.

'Once released from restraint in the cell he made little or no movement. When the cell was entered 12 minutes later, he was in cardiac arrest.

'Although cardiac function and respiratory effort were restored by advanced intervention, he died in hospital on Wednesday 10th October 2012.

'The cause of death was given as severe hypoxic-ischaemic brain damage, prolonged cardiorespiratory arrest following a violent struggle and period of physical restraint including a prolonged period in a prone position and the application of an Emergency Response Belt across the face resulting in asphyxia.'

Original report here

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

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The shocking moment a woman 'shoplifter' is slammed to the ground by Florida cop and left in a pool of blood from her gaping head wound

The big brave cop was clearly gratuitously violent in smashing up a tiny woman but it is always a big risk to disobey a police command

A police officer wrestled a woman to the ground and slammed her head before she was finally arrested for shoplifting.

Dramatic body cam video shows Tiffany Tebo getting flung towards a wall outside Bealls Department Store in Wesley Chapel, Florida, on Friday after authorities confronted her about stealing a pair of shoes.

At one point, the deputy's hand can be seen around her neck, and the situation escalates, leading to Tebo bleeding severely from her head.

Speaking after the incident, Tebo, who had to get four staples put in her head, told WTSP: 'I'm all bruised up and banged up everywhere. He didn't need to do any of that.'

But Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco spoke on behalf of the unnamed deputy and defended his actions. He told WTSP: 'We're trying to put handcuffs on her, she's trying to fight. I know people will say she's tiny but a lot of tiny people cause harm.'

The body camera footage shows the deputy approaching Tebo with a member of the store's loss prevention team.

They ask her for the merchandise she didn't pay for, and she can be heard saying: 'I bought the shirt.'

The man then says she didn't pay for a pair of shoes, and when the deputy tells her to put her hands behind her back, she pleads with the officer instead of complying with his orders.

He grabs hold of her arm and throws her towards the wall, saying: 'Stop resisting me.' Tebo, meanwhile, can be heard saying: 'Oh my god, okay! Please! Ow! I'm not going to do anything,' as she is wrestled to the ground.

While Tebo screams: 'Please you can have the shoes,' the deputy has one of her arms behind her back.

But the situation escalates and the deputy can be seen grabbing her hair and slamming her head to the ground, leaving splatters of blood on the bricks.

She is already sitting on the ground when he draws his taser and points it directly at her

She is visibly distressed and tells the officer to take the shoes and let her go, while he screams at her to get on the ground and turn over with her hands behind her back.

When she flips on her stomach, a trail of blood can be seen running from her head down her back.  He continues to bark orders at her, and she cries, saying: 'I can't!'

About two minutes into the confrontation, Tebo is covered in blood and the deputy finally gets her into handcuffs.

He calls an ambulance and tells her: 'No, you don't resist! You talk after. You don't negotiate with me.'

As they wait for medical personnel to arrive, he walks over to his car and gets a towel to hold against her bloody head.

She is still crying, and the deputy can be heard saying: 'Stay there, relax. I want you to get taken care of first. That was completely avoidable. You just had to listen to me. I wasn't trying to be mean.'

Original report here

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

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Australia: Did Victoria's police set up an innocent man?

They would be capable of it and being suspected of killing a cop is not a good place to be

VICTORIA’S corruption watchdog is investigating police conduct leading up to the conviction of Jason Roberts for the 1998 shooting murders of police officers Sergeant Gary Silk and Senior Constable Rod Miller.

The Herald Sun can reveal that investigators from the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission have conducted a secret probe into the conduct of at least four police officers who were involved in the murder probe.

A major part of the investigation is believed to centre on the changing of a police statement that is said to have cemented the prosecution case that two gunmen were in a Hyundai the two officers stopped in Cochranes Rd, Moorabbin, on August 16, 1998.

This contradicts the evidence of an eyewitness who drove by as the shootings occurred, who told Lorimer investigators she saw only one man beside the Hyundai.

The Lorimer investigation ran for over two years and identified Bandali Debs and his daughter’s boyfriend, Roberts, as the culprits.

Lawyers for Roberts, who has always maintained his innocence, are preparing to submit a petition to Attorney-General Martin Pakula to reopen the case.

Evidence has also emerged casting doubt on Roberts’ involvement. It includes witness statements and the interpretation of material from listening devices, telephone intercepts and new information from Roberts himself, who denied being at the scene.

Roberts was the subject of a homicide re-examination of his case almost three years ago, findings of which were not made public.

Roberts was interviewed and police travelled to NSW to interview Debs over several days. Other witnesses, including Lorimer police, were also interviewed.

Lawyers for Roberts, who along with Debs is serving a life sentence for the murders, have been working for several years on what they argue are shortcomings in the evidence against him.

Prosecutor Jeremy Rapke, QC, put it to the Supreme Court trial jury that Roberts was hidden in the car and shot Sgt Silk, who was checking the passenger side registration.

The Herald Sun understands the forensic evidence of the sequence of shots is consistent with there being only a single gunman.

It is likely to be put to the Attorney-General that Debs alone shot both policemen, shooting Sen-Constable Miller before walking around the Hyundai and killing Sgt Silk, and that he then exchanged shots with Sen-Constable Miller before using a second gun to shoot Silk again.

Debs, of whose guilt there is no doubt, has refused to shed any light on what happened that night.

Police have been told that he had promised to confess and exonerate Roberts if both of them were convicted.

Roberts has spent 17 years in jail and is in a maximum-security prison.

An IBAC spokesman said: “For legal and operational reasons we cannot comment.”

Victoria Police said that it was unaware of the IBAC investigation.

Original report here

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

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

This Landlord Had $250,000 Seized Because Too Many Residents Got Married

In yet another egregious case of civil asset forfeiture abuse, Michigander John Gutowski was forced to spend years fighting the government to reclaim over $250,000 in seized assets.

Even after dropping criminal charges against him, prosecutors refused to return his property unless he agreed to let them keep $15,000 of his hard-earned money.

What was the crime in question? In 2013, federal authorities arrested John Gutowski and charged him with conspiring to commit marriage fraud. The crux of the case against him: Too many marriage applications were being filed by immigrant residents living in apartment buildings he owned.

An immigrant himself, Gutowski frequently leased his apartments to fellow Eastern European immigrants who asked for his help with affordable housing. But the government alleged that he was actually helping them to find Americans willing to marry them so that they could remain in the country.

Apparently, the evidence did not develop as prosecutors hoped, and they were eventually forced to drop the charges against Gutowski. But they held on to the $250,000 in assets they had seized, alleging that the funds were the illicit proceeds of his sham marriage operation—the very same operation prosecutors had just acknowledged they lacked sufficient evidence to prove existed in the first place.

This is a distinguishing feature of civil asset forfeiture—no criminal charges or convictions are necessary to permanently strip citizens of their property. In a civil forfeiture case, a person’s property is on trial, with the government needing to demonstrate by only a preponderance of the evidence (that is, that it is slightly more likely than not) that the property was used in, or was the result of, a crime.

It is the owner’s burden, meanwhile, to disprove this, a difficult proposition that amounts to requiring the owner to prove his or her own innocence. This differs radically from criminal law procedures that Americans are familiar with, where the burden of proof always rests with the government.

And what’s worse, under federal law and most state laws, the very law enforcement agencies that seize and forfeit property get to keep and spend the proceeds. This gives them a direct financial incentive to seize property, even under highly questionable circumstances.

For property owners, winning forfeiture cases is exceedingly difficult and, like this case, can take years to resolve. In the meantime, the unfortunate owner has to endure the hardships associated with the loss of his savings, vehicle, or whatever other property has been taken.

These two facts combine to create a situation in which prosecutors can offer “settlements” that promise the quick return of some of the seized assets in exchange for letting the government keep a portion of it. In many cases, even wholly innocent owners often have little choice but to accept the deal, cut their losses, and try to move on with their lives.

That is exactly what happened to Gutowski. On what basis did federal prosecutors believe they were entitled to Gutowski’s money?

In response to questioning, the U.S. attorney in charge of the office that handled the matter, Barbara McQuade, said, “Based on the facts of this case, we determined that a small percentage of the funds seized should be forfeited.” She could have saved a few words and said that she just wanted it.

Here, it is almost crystal-clear that the government was more intent on making sure they walked away with some sort of “win” (and some cash) than it was in ensuring that justice was done.

Cases such as this one highlight the abusive potential of civil asset forfeiture laws and make clear the necessity of reforms at the state and federal level. The Heritage Foundation’s Meese Center has outlined nine commonsense measures to rebalance a skewed forfeiture system in its recent report, Arresting Your Property.

Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico, and other states have all passed reforms of varying sorts, and at least 21 others are considering reforming their civil asset forfeiture laws. Federal legislation has also been proposed.

Oklahoma is one of the more recent states to put forward legislation, with State Senator Kyle Loveless, R-Oklahoma City, proposing the Personal Asset Protection Act. This act would require a criminal conviction, raise the standard of proof, and ensure that proceeds from forfeited property are not directly returned to law enforcement agencies.

The fight to reform civil asset forfeiture is far from over. Cases such as Gutowski’s continue to occur with alarming frequency, and it is long past time to stop that.

Original report here

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

Monday, February 22, 2016

British cop fired for kicking handcuffed man's tooth out was already under being investigated for another alleged assault in cell

The cowardly little worm concerned

A disgraced former police officer sacked for kicking a handcuffed man in the face was already under investigation for another alleged assault inside a police cell.

Sergeant Mark Cooley kicked Daniel Rogan so hard during an arrest at a flat in Stechford, Birmingham, that he lost a tooth and needed hospital treatment, in August 2013.

Sgt Cooley was later sacked for the violent attack after a disciplinary hearing found him guilty of gross misconduct.

However, it has now emerged that he was already under investigation for an earlier alleged incident inside a police cell.

Peter Wood, 29, claims he was kicked by the officer at Stechford police station, after he was arrested over an allegation that he had breached an ASBO in June 2013.

Mr Wood, from Stechford, received a letter from West Midlands Police's Professional Standards Department last week telling him that the officer has been sacked and the case will only reopen if he is reinstated.

It added that Sgt Cooley is appealing both the finding and outcome of the misconduct panel which led to his sacking.

Mr Wood says no further action was taken against him after his arrest. He added: 'I suffered bruising all over my body. I had no idea that he had been sacked for kicking someone until I received the letter.'

A West Midlands Police spokeswoman said: 'Sergeant Cooley was to appear before a misconduct hearing following an incident that occurred on June 23, 2013. The hearing was scheduled to take place on a date to be fixed.

'In October 2015 Sgt Cooley appeared before a misconduct hearing on another matter and was dismissed from the force without notice.  'As a result of the officer's dismissal this case has now been finalised, in the event that ex-sergeant Cooley appeals the decision and is successful we will re-open this case.'

The panel found that Sgt Cooley kicked Mr Rogan while he was being held down by other officers in handcuffs.

They also found him guilty of aiming a second kick at his face as he was being carried handcuffed down the stairs minutes later by four officers.

Police Constable Nicola Lea, who has since tendered her resignation from the force, claimed to have witnessed the two kicks aimed at Mr Rogan.

Original report here

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

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Indiana: City Threatens $2500 Fines for Challenging Traffic Tickets

Lawyer sues traffic and parking courts in Indianapolis, Indiana over threatened $2500 penalty for contesting a ticket in court

Motorists who receive minor parking or traffic tickets in Indianapolis, Indiana are being threatened with fines of up to $2500 if they attempt to take the ticket to court.

A local attorney with the firm Roberts and Bishop was so outraged by what he saw in Marion County traffic court that he filed a class action suit yesterday seeking to have the practice banned as unconstitutional.

"The deck is stacked against the motorist," lawyer Paul K. Ogden wrote. "To penalize that person for seeking justice seems wrong. I know it is done for the purpose of discouraging baseless challenges to tickets and clogging the docket, but in the process you are also penalizing people who have a legitimate defense and want a chance to present it to the court."

The city made explicit the threat of additional fines for challenging parking tickets in a November 30 press release announcing a deal between Indianapolis and a private firm, T2 Systems, to hand over operations of a parking ticket court to increase municipal income.

"Using Six Sigma process improvement strategies, it is estimated that under this program the city may collect an additional $352,000 to $520,000 in parking citation revenue over the next 12 months," the city press release stated. "If citations are not paid prior to their scheduled hearing, the city may request a fine of up to $2500 per citation. Upon receiving a judgment for an unpaid citation, individuals responsible could be subject to collections actions or having their vehicle registration suspended."

In traffic court, Judge William Young has been making good on the threats by routinely siding with police officers in disputes and imposing fines of up to $500 on anyone who challenges a moving violation ticket, no matter how minor, and loses. Those who pay without going to court do not face this extra fine.

"Unfortunately what you have happen a lot of times is that judges aren't particularly worried about whether what they're doing may be violating the law as the odds of someone ever appealing a $400 traffic ticket is remote," Ogden wrote. "I see it all the time. Trial judges flouting the law knowing they are unlikely to ever be challenged on an appeal because the litigants can't afford it."

Ogden is specifically representing three motorists affected by court policies. Toshinao Ishii received a ticket for driving 63 MPH in a 55 zone in February. Had he paid the ticket without challenge, the fine would have been $150. After Judge Young sided with the police officer in court, Ishii was fined $550. Motorist Matthew Stone was told by his doctors not to wear a seatbelt over his chest as it could damage his cardiac pacemaker. He received a $25 ticket for wearing his seatbelt "improperly." After reading that he would face a $500 fine, Stone gave up his intention of challenging the citation. Adam Lenkowsky, who did not receive a ticket, attempted to attend a traffic court proceeding on September 23, 2009. He was barred from the court, despite the state constitutional requirement that court proceedings be open.

Ogden argues the court's practices in the first two cases violate the excessive fines clause of the state constitution as well as the clause requiring that "all penalties shall be proportioned to the nature of the offense."

Original report here

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

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Australia: Police sexual assault not investigated

Owner of 24 Hour Locksmiths Brisbane is siding with Tony Fitzgerald and Independent Commission Against Corruption, David Ipp, for the establishment of a federal anti-corruption agency with the powers of a standing royal commission after what he calls the most repugnant display of police abuse of powers against an employee of his 24 Hour locksmith business in Brisbane

On February 5 2015 one of our senior tradesmen locksmiths was doing a routine call to a customers home for a locksmith service. After completing the job in Keeling Street Coopers Plains, our locksmith was met by a police car screeching around the corner with lights flashing. Our locksmith was ordered to place his hands on his car and was searched.

His locksmith car was searched, but the officers on the scene were not happy at that! They called in more officers, and more officers and even more officers! They all came and searched the tradesman’s car in search of something? Our locksmith asked over and over, what they were doing and what they were looking for and got no response from Tamryn Ellingworth, the officer who appeared to be in charge. More then 7 officers were called in to search our locksmiths car!

This went on for over two hours out the front of our clients home. Our locksmith asked the police if this had anything to do with the client, which the police answered no.

The police called in a police dog and put it through our locksmith car! Our locksmith asked them not to put the dog in the car, but they didn’t listen.

The police took sensitive business records from the locksmiths car, still with no explanation. They then attempted to hack our locksmiths phone!

After this horrendous ordeal, they then called in another officer from the Mount Gravatt police station to sexually assault our locksmith! This happened in the middle of the street in suburban Coopers Plains.

After our locksmith had been raped, he was then privately photographed, by police and told he was put onto a list! Our locksmith believes this to be an unofficial list kept by police. Some sort of dark list of people the police are out to get.

At the end of this police threatened my locksmith and left. When returning to his locksmith car, he found all the electrics in the car not operating. The police had pulled out wiring from under the dash, making indicators and the dash board not work.

Outraged, of what happened to our employee, while on his day to day job, a complaint was made the very next day at the Mount Gravatt police station.

Now you would think that sexual assault in company by a group of armed police officers would be taken seriously. Alas, the police to our knowledge have never investigated this brutal attack by their own force. Even after making a complaint to the CMC, our employee has heard no response from the police.

It would seem the police take assault, sexual assault, deprivation of liberty, searching without reasonable suspicion,searching without a warrant, destruction of property by police, theft of business records, theft, no respect of dignity, causing maximum embarrassment, exposing our naked locksmith in a public street, not giving a reason for searching, detention on the street for over 2 hours as not serious. Whether it is that they don’t take rape of a man serious? Or whether it is because it was by a pack of police officers, we do not know?

My employee has after many months of leave, finally returned to work, although still not able to work in the same capacity he is slowly recovering. He relates his attack by police as a gang attack like you would see in a war zone in parts of Africa. A gang of thugs raping helpless civilians.  He can not be sent to any jobs where police may be present for fear of being assaulted again.  He says he can now relate to rape victims who are not taken seriously by police.

By the way.  This was all taking place at the time of a notorious car chase of a stolen car from Sunshine Coast to NSW, where the NSW police stopped the car as soon as it crossed the border.   Why couldn’t the QLD Police stop the stolen car?  Well, I would not believe the official story.  Most of the police on duty at the time were with our locksmith performing this illegal search and assault!   Mount Gravatt was the best place on the Pacific Motorway to stop the stolen car.  The lanes go from 4 to 2.  Of course they had a more serious master criminal at large, yes a locksmith performing his work!  Great work coppers!

This is why we are backing the establishment of a federal anti-corruption agency. The police are not capable of investigating, when their own officers are involved in a crime.

Original report here

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

Does the Church of England have any regard for basic justice?

Peter Hitchens writes on the matter below.  It's another case from Britain where the uncorroborated words of an accuser will be automatically believed if the accusation is of a sexual nature. Such an odious practice has in recent times led to the to the hounding of many innocent and distinguished men by the British police.  

Fortunately for the accused in this case, he was was dead. When the accuser came forward maligning the saintly Bishop Bell, however, the Church of England promptly paid up, without any judicial process.  Is it any wonder that the British police don't accept innocence until proven guilty when the Church of England doesn't accept it either?

The deep injustice done to the late Bishop George Bell, publicly pilloried on the basis of unproven abuse charges, continues. This great and saintly man has been robbed of his name and reputation by the Church that ought to treasure him. Instead, it has sparked a Stalinist campaign to erase his memory.

When criticised, its bishops seek (rather revoltingly) to hide behind the anonymous accuser, who of course must be treated with kindness and sympathy. This fails to conceal their own confusion. Today I can reveal that a very senior figure in the Church, involved in the actions that have done so much damage to George Bell’s good name, has written to a complainant: ‘You will note that at no point have I stated that Bishop Bell was guilty.’ This follows a similar statement in the House of Lords by the Bishop of Durham, which I reported last week.

How strange, then, that several newspapers and the BBC have somehow got the idea that he is guilty. Who told or briefed them that this was so?

Lambeth Palace has clumsily tried to unsay the Bishop of Durham’s words, issuing a garbled mass of piffle in his name, in which he appears to contradict himself.

Odd that this happened only after I publicised his speech here. These flapping prelates should not think this matter is anywhere near finished.


Friday, February 19, 2016

British TV personality says he's been cleared of latest sex assault allegations - but claims his life has been ruined

Another case showing why the identity of an accused person should not be made known unless and until they are convicted of an offence

Mr Leslie, whose life was all but destroyed by two similar allegations in 2003 and 2004, for which he was never convicted, is now campaigning for anonymity for those accused until they are convicted.

He said: 'This has been thrown out, but it might still be difficult for me to pick up the pieces and resume my career, but my accuser will retain her anonymity. It's a tragedy for me,' reports Marcello Mega for the Sunday Mirror.

Mr Leslie added: 'While I am glad to be cleared I have served a hefty punishment for a that never was. The damage to my parents and to me is incalculable.'

The former This Morning presenter described his accuser as a friend and explained how it was her who asked if she could go home with him.

Mr Leslie, who once dated Catherine Zeta-Jones, said he had spent his last few pounds on a bottle of champagne for them both, and she had paid for their taxi home, where they had sexual contact, he admits.

In a detailed account he gave to his solicitors, he said that they fooled around, she kissed him softly, and she even remarked on how comfy his bed was after the awards night at Usher Hall on November 19.

Mr Leslie, who first thought she was out of his league, says they even embraced and kissed as she left, she put her number in his phone and he said he hoped he would see her again.

When he was told to go home when he arrived at work the next day, because of 'a complaint', he assumed he may have made a bad joke that offended someone at the office.

He then explained how he was later dragged out of bed by police officers, put in handcuffs and taken to the police station, where he as held for ten hours.

The former presenter said his mother had been 'in pieces' throughout the whole ordeal, and the first thing he did when he was told the charges were dropped was to drive to his parents' their home and tell them it was over.

Mr Leslie says that he has been told to pick his possessions up from the police station tomorrow and that he expects to receive official paperwork later this week.

His solicitor Mark Harrower had spoken to the taxi driver who took them home, he said, and he had testified to the fact that she seemed compos mentis.

Another taxi diver, who picked her up in the morning, also told him that she did not seem at all distressed.

But he believes he was stupid to let his guard down after being rocked by similar allegations in the 2005 that wrecked the TV career in which he once earned £350,000 a year as the presenter of This Morning.

Mr Leslie, who made his name presenting Blue Peter, was 'outed' as the alleged rapist of Ulrika Jonsson in 2003, but was never charged.

The next year, he was accused of sexually assaulting a 23-year-old, but walked free from Southwark Crown Court, London, after the Crown Prosecution dropped the case.

But five years later he faced fresh accusations of rape. This time his accuser claimed to have been attacked in 1995 when she was in her early 20s. In the end, the case never reached court.

By this time, a sex tape of him and former girlfriend Abi Titmuss having a threesome had emerged, as well as photographs of him taking cocaine.

Although he was never convicted of any of the sexual offences, the allegations effectively ended his TV career, and he had had to start again on radio in Edinburgh, where he lived a more modest lifestlye.

He now lives in a three-bedroom bungalow, as opposed to the sprawling £5.5million luxury home in London he once owned, and his disk jockey job didn't pull in nearly the same ratings.

However, his contract was not renewed in December following the allegations, and there is now now guarantee it will be offered again.

He added: 'It took me so long to get another chance, and it was going well. I wouldn't have thrown it away lightly and I'm devastated that I let my guard down on what was a really happy occasion.'

Police Scotland have not formally admitted that this current probe is over, and a recent statement says they 'continue to investigate' the report. But Mr Leslie expects an announcement to be made officially by the end of the week.

Original report here

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

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Rough justice in Australia

Why can't the bureaucrats at ICAC make a public apology and offer compensation?  They just cannot admit that they got it wrong

He was once  one of the highest-ranking and most respected emergency managers in the state. He has more than 30 years' crisis and fire rescue management experience and has overseen the response to some of the biggest disasters in the state.

But Steven Pearce, highly decorated former deputy commissioner of the State Emergency Service, lost his position and had his life ruined during an investigation by the beleaguered anti-corruption watchdog ICAC - even though he has been cleared of any wrongdoing.

Now he is seeking compensation and acknowledgement for the pain and suffering endured by him and his family.

"There has never been any public acknowledgement from ICAC or the government that all of the allegations of corruption made against me were intensively investigated, in four separate inquiries, and all found to be unsubstantiated," Mr Pearce told Fairfax Media.

"I also deserve a public apology that I have never done anything corrupt."

Mr Pearce was the subject of an ICAC inquiry after allegations that he had misused an SES credit card and inappropriately dealt with two contracts. The allegations were made against him by his then fellow SES deputy commissioner Tara McCarthy.

He was suspended from his position while the ICAC investigated; the ICAC eventually made no findings of corrupt conduct against Mr Pearce.

The ICAC referred the matter to the Public Service Commissioner, who cleared him of any corrupt conduct. Ms McCarthy was sacked in May 2013, sparking an ICAC investigation into then SES commissioner Murray Kear.

Mr Kear resigned after ICAC found him corrupt for sacking a whistleblower and allegedly failing to investigate corruption allegations against Mr Pearce.

Last week, he faced a committal hearing into the charges against him. Mr Kear has pleaded not guilty.

In late 2014, he quietly returned to work after an internal announcement to staff that there were no findings of corrupt conduct against him.

However, he had been back at work less than a month when he was told he would have to compete for his job, which he had held for five years, in a merit selection process.

He was then told he was unsuccessful in reapplying for his job although he was asked to stay on last year and during the NSW storm and flood crisis, and lead the management response until it was over.

It has since been deemed the biggest such response in NSW history.

Lawyer Rick Mitry said he has been instructed to proceed with a  damages claim against the government.

"He and his family have been traumatised by the events of the last couple of years,"  Mr Mitry said.

Mr Pearce said his case had been aggravated by the fact that the ICAC had named him on its website as being investigated, and it was "front page news", but it has never been reported publicly that he had been cleared.

"My family and I suffered substantial public humiliation, emotional and financial trauma," he said.

"Never did the system look after me and I was crucified publicly and professionally."

A spokeswoman for the ICAC said that the only jurisdiction the commission has was to make corrupt conduct findings.

"Further information on what the allegations were, the findings and recommendations can be found in the investigation report and associated material on the website," she said.

Original report here. (Via Australian Politics)

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

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

At last! Police officer and PCSO jailed over death of disabled man whose calls they ignored

A policeman and a community support officer have been jailed for failing to prevent the murder of a disabled man who was beaten to death by his neighbours after calling for help 12 times in a day.

PC Kevin Duffy and PCSO Andrew Passmore were found guilty of misconduct in a public office in connection with the death of Bijan Ebrahimi in Bristol three years ago.

The 44-year-old murder victim was killed and set alight by neighbours who wrongly thought he was a paedophile, after police ignored his complaints that he was being threatened.

Duffy, 52, was today sentenced to 10 months in prison at Bristol Crown Court while Passmore, 56, was jailed for four months.

Bristol Crown Court heard that Duffy saw Mr Ebrahimi, an Iranian refugee, as a liar and a nuisance, disregarding his repeated calls in the days leading up to the murder in July 2013.

Passmore was found to have lied by telling murder detectives he had patrolled outside Mr Ebrahimi's home for an hour when it had actually been a few minutes.

The two men were convicted by a jury in December, and were both dismissed by Avon and Somerset Police last month.

Mr Ebrahimi's death is currently being investigated by the police watchdog, while more than a dozen officers and staff face disciplinary proceedings.

Judge Neil Ford QC told the pair that he was jailing them 'with a heavy heart' and suggested that Mr Ebrahimi's death could partly be attributed to 'wider failings in the police'.

He said: 'I cannot go behind the jury's verdicts and it is with a heavy heart that in each of your cases I take the view that only a custodial sentence is appropriate. 'It doesn't seem to me a proper consequence of your wrongdoing that the sentences need be long. 'You have already suffered greatly. You have already lost your careers and in each of your cases there is genuine justification for mercy.

'You must not bear the responsibilities for the wider failings in the police which were beyond your control.'

He accepted that the murder victim was 'not an easy man to deal with', but told Duffy: 'You regarded Mr Ebrahimi as a nuisance and someone who could not be wholly trusted.'

The judge added that Passmore had 'no need' to lie about his patrol and said that it was not just 'an innocent mistake'.

Members of Duffy's and Passmore's families gasped and exclaimed 'Jesus Christ' as the sentences were passed.

Ian Stern QC, representing Duffy, told the court his client's action had 'no consequences' in Mr Ebrahimi's death, adding: 'He has lost his good character, his employment and a significant financial sum for him and his family.

'He is a broken man and he will not work obviously in the areas in which he has hitherto worked and the public will be all the more poorer for that.'

Michael Borrelli QC, for Passmore - a former soldier - said his client was the carer for his elderly mother and stepfather and suffered from low IQ and memory problems.

During their seven-week trial, jurors heard how Mr Ebrahimi dialled 999 to report that Lee James had come into his flat and headbutted him.

James wrongly believed that Mr Ebrahimi had filmed his young children, when he had actually been gathering evidence of anti-social behaviour.

When police arrived at the scene they found a mob outside the refugee's home, while James shouted: 'Paedo! I'm going to f****** kill you.'

Instead of dealing with the vigilantes, police arrested Mr Ebrahimi for breaching the peace and held him in the cells overnight.

After he was released, he made 12 calls to the non-emergency number 101 and was told that Duffy would visit him but refused to speak to him on the phone.

Mr Ebrahimi told one officer: 'My life is in danger. Right now a few of my neighbours are outside and shouting and calling me a paedophile. I need to see PC Duffy.'

Duffy told a supervisor: 'He should be told in no uncertain terms that I will speak to him at my convenience. It's Mr Bijan Ebrahimi. He's well known to me and I won't be taking any calls from him.'

He asked Passmore to conduct a 'bit of a foot patrol' around Mr Ebrahimi's home at about 8.40pm.

Passmore later told murder detectives that he had spent 40 minutes on foot patrol on the estate and a further 20 minutes on the adjoining streets.

The jury convicted him of lying about this, accepting the prosecution's allegation that he simply drove up and down in his police car for just two to three minutes.

Mr Ebrahimi was murdered three days after his arrest, and just an hour after his final call to police.

PCs Leanne Winter, 38, and Helen Harris, 40, were acquitted of misconduct in a public office during the same trial as Duffy and Passmore.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is expected to publish its investigation findings into Mr Ebrahimi's death at the conclusion of all disciplinary proceedings.

In a statement today, Avon and Somerset Police said: 'Firstly, it is important to acknowledge that at the heart of this case is Bijan Ebrahimi's family who have had to endure protracted legal and procedural processes. They have done this with the utmost dignity and composure.

'Our sole aim is to fully understand the circumstances around Mr Ebrahimi's treatment by our police officers and staff in the days leading up to his murder.

'We are at the beginning of a series of misconduct hearings and meetings involving 15 members of staff and officers.

'It's crucial that these disciplinary proceedings are allowed to progress to their final conclusion without prejudice now that the criminal case has come to an end.

'As a consequence, we're unable to comment any further to avoid any prejudice to the disciplinary matters.

'The gross misconduct hearings involving police officers will be held in public at Police HQ in Portishead in line with national guidance, and further details will be published five working days before they are due to begin.'

Original report here

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

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Dutchman wrongly jailed for rape is freed after TWELVE YEARS in a Spanish prison after the killer  admitted to carrying out the sex attack

The Spaniards obviously hated to admit that they got it wrong.  Do you have to have the real perpetrator confess before you are exonerated in Spain?

A Dutchman wrongly accused of a rape committed by British killer Mark Dixie has been freed after more than 12 years behind bars in Spain after his conviction was overturned.

The Spanish Supreme Court today quashed Romano van der Dussen's conviction for the attack carried out in August 2003, and ordered his immediate release from jail where he was wrongly serving a 15 year sentence.

The court's decision came eight months after Mark Dixie, 44, who is serving life for the savage murder of Sally Anne Bowman in south London in 2005, admitted raping a Spanish woman in a drink and drug-fuelled rage in the popular resort of Fuengirola in August 2003.

Two years later Dixie raped and murdered model Sally Ann Bowman, near her home in Croydon, South London.

Dixie made the confession to Dussen's lawyer in Durham prison in June last year. A DNA test in Holland later confirmed Dixie's link to the crime.

Dussen, 42, was arrested in Fuengirola shortly after that attack and two others, which he always denied, and was later convicted and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment.

Dixie's DNA was found at the scene of one of the attacks, but never traced by Spanish police. No DNA from Dussen was found at any of the crime scenes.

After his confession to lawyer Rachel Imamkhan, Dixie made a written three page statement which was lodged with the Spanish Supreme Court.

But Dussen had to remain in prison until the court accepted his appeal against conviction.

He had been convicted of all three of the sexual attacks in the resort and was identified by just one of the victims.

The Supreme Court judges heard during the appeal that the Dutchman bore a similar appearance to Dixie and there were only two years difference in their ages.

Last year, Dixie admitted to raping one of the women but claimed he could not remember if he carried out the other two attacks because he was high on drugs at the time.

In June, murderer Dixie confessed to one of the rapes and gave a saliva sample at HMP Frankland in Co Durham which was matched to DNA found on the first victim. Spanish police confirmed the match in a report in August.

Prosecutors at Romano's trial said the same man must have committed all three rapes, which took place within two hours of each other in the early hours of August 10 2003.

One woman was punched, thrown to the floor and raped in a terrifying 15-minute ordeal. She spent four days in hospital and suffered severe psychological problems.

Minutes later a second woman was punched in the head, thrown to the floor and sexually assaulted. The attacker fled with her Nokia mobile phone and 120 euros in cash.

The third victim was attacked a few hundred yards away; punched in the head, thrown to the floor, sexually assaulted and beaten.

Romano, now 42, was jailed for a total of 15-and-a-half years - despite the fact DNA found on the first victim did not match his - after being picked out of photographs in police files.

Romano's lengthy fight to clear his name had already suffered a series of setbacks.

Spain's Supreme Court turned down an appeal against his 2005 sentence the following year and refused to admit an appeal in July because it was 'premature.' despite long-standing evidence linking Dixie to at least one of the attacks and pointing to Romano being the victim of a miscarriage of justice.

Ms Imamkhan, legal director of PrisonLAW which specialises in overturning miscarriages of justice, said after meeting him: 'Mark Dixie confessed that in 2003 he was living in Fuengirola and he remembers committing a rape that Romano van der Dussen has been convicted of.

'He also stated that he is sorry that another person has been in prison for such a long period of time for that rape.

'A new analysis of DNA evidence carried out at the National Forensic Investigations Agency has also confirmed that Mark Dixie carried out that rape.

Sally Anne Bowman was raped and murdered near her home in Croydon in September 2005 soon after Dixie, from Streatham, south London, returned to the UK from Spain. The teenager was stabbed seven times and raped while she lay dead or dying.

Dixie was arrested the following year by chance after a fight in a pub, and was linked to the gruesome killing through his DNA.

He was jailed for life - and told he must serve a minimum of 34 years - in February 2008 after a trial at the Old Bailey.

Original report here

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

Monday, February 15, 2016

Texas Newspaper Threatens to Publish Police Officers’ Names, Addresses in Retaliation for Shooting of Unarmed Man

Two articles below.  It would seem that the man above was a  victim of the very poor relations between blacks and the police.  When approaching black suspects, police are on hairtrigger alert for hostility. That sometimes means that split-second decisions are seen as needed to ensure officer safety.  Since the Left -- from Obama down -- are always stirring up black hostility to the police, the problem may well get worse before it gets better

A Texas newspaper threatened to publish the names and addresses of all San Antonio police officers after the fatal police-involved shooting of a 36-year-old man last week, Fox News reported.

The publisher of the San Antonio Observer compared police officers to sex offenders whose personal information is published to protect the public, and to the Ku Klux Klan, saying they’ll do anything they can “to protect their identities for fear of being brought to justice.”

According to San Antonio Police Department Chief William McManus, Antronie Scott, who was wanted for felony warrants, was being followed by undercover officers. As he exited his vehicle, an officer asked him to show his hands, and when Scott quickly turned around, an officer fatally shot him once in the chest. McManus said the investigation found that Scott was unarmed and holding a cell phone at the time he was shot, KENS 5, a local TV station, reported.

"Like Ku Klux Klansman with hoods, (officers) do everything they can in order to protect their identities for fear of being brought to justice," Stephanie Zarriello, publisher of the weekly tabloid, told KEN5, a local TV station.

"So, in light of these facts, we at the San Antonio Observer Newspaper Group are looking into the future prospects of publicizing the names and addresses of all San Antonio Police Department officers in order to protect our community," she said at the news conference.

"Just as the names and addresses of sex offenders are publicized in order to protect the public from their wicked behavior, we feel that our community has the right to the exact same level of protection," Zarriello said.

Original report here

Witness gives his account of Antronie Scott shooting

KENS 5 spoke to a man who claims he witnessed the shooting death of Antronie Scott. He said he was told by SAPD not to discuss anything while they investigate, so he wouldn’t talk on camera, but he did say the entire ordeal was “devastating to see.”

Police said they had 36-year-old Antronie Scott under surveillance for two felony warrants, for drug and firearm possession.

“All you heard was a shot, you didn’t hear anything like, ‘Get out of your car with your hands up,’” said Todd Ridley, who lives at the apartment complex where the shooting happened.

Ridley said he came out of his apartment to see the aftermath of the shooting.

SAPD said Scott got out of his car and turned toward officer John Lee. The officer said he feared for his life and fired one shot at Scott. Officer Lee said he thought Scott had a gun in his hand, but it was actually a cell phone.

Now that the dust has settled, neighbors are not happy with how it all ended. “There's other ways they can apprehend anybody, even if they are under investigation," Ridley said. "Apprehension is easy, they train for that."

“If worst comes to worst, they do have tasers. They don't want to use them?” Shannon DesJardin asked.

While those neighbors only saw the aftermath, KENS 5 did come across a man who claims he saw the entire incident. He said he was told by authorities to not discuss the case, but he told us off camera:

“I would've have done the same thing [as officer Lee].”

“[Scott] made an aggressive move toward the officer.”

SAPD Chief William McManus said there’s no dash cam or body camera video, just audio. SAPD does have body cameras on the way, with the first cameras to be deployed around February 21, to bike patrol and park police. Then the east substation will get cameras, with full implementation early next year.

Original report here

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

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Canada: Crazy woman falsely accuses man

The revenge of a rejected woman, apparently.  Another case of strange prosecutorial judgment in bringing the matter to trial.  Is a mere accusation enough to go to court?

Sometime today, if the world according to Lucy DeCoutere unfolds as it should, Marie Henein will get some flowers.  They’ll be from DeCoutere, of course, with a note maybe saying, “You kicked my butt yesterday; can we hang soon?”

This — sending flowers to and love-bombing those who have hurt you, not to mention handed your ass to you on a platter — is what DeCoutere would have Ontario Court Judge William Horkins believe she does, that it’s her thing to be particularly nice to people who are mean to her.  She calls this “flattening out my negative.”

It was, as it turns out, just this Thursday, shortly before she stepped into the witness box, that DeCoutere for the very first time told Toronto Police and Crown prosecutors Mike Callaghan and Corie Langdon that after Ghomeshi allegedly choked her and slapped her hard in the summer of 2003, she sent him flowers when she got back home to Halifax.

Through one sworn police statement, 19 media interviews and four press releases she issued in the 16 months since the scandal involving the former CBC host broke, DeCoutere had never before mentioned the flowers, or a plethora of other things, such as her repeated attempts to meet Ghomeshi in what could be fairly called her pursuit of him.

Only in Henein’s cross-examination Friday did that timing become clear; DeCoutere, being a capable actor (she starred on Trailer Park Boys), had mentioned it in her examination-in-chief so smoothly it sounded as though she’d always been up front about it.

And as the judge learned, there was even more to it than that.

DeCoutere was love-bombing the 48-year-old Ghomeshi too, in the weeks and months after the purported assault.

It was on July 4, 2003 that DeCoutere claims Ghomeshi, while she was at his house, suddenly kissed her, put his hand on her throat and cut off her air, and slapped her hard three times across the face.

But the next day, she emailed him, told him he was “literally changing my mind — in a good way I think” and challenging her, then said, “You kicked my ass last night and that makes me want to f— your brains out. Tonight.”

Now, this is fairly unequivocal stuff, not requiring vast amounts of interpretation one would have thought, but DeCoutere equivocated nonetheless.

“OK,” she said.

“Mr. Ghomeshi and I never had sex … this makes me look like I had an interest in him romantically … no way was it ‘I-liked-it-when-you-choked-me,’ no way. I wrote the email. I don’t remember writing it, but regardless Mr. Ghomeshi choked me with no consent … slapped me with no consent. This doesn’t change the fact that he assaulted me.”

After a bit of back and forth, Henein said, “What happened was, there was no sexual assault.  “You had an evening and the next day you wanted to f— his brains out.”

“I remember being attracted to Mr. Ghomeshi,” DeCoutere said, “but it doesn’t change the fact that women can be assaulted by men and still…”

Henein was marching back to the witness box again, another document in her hand, the tapping of her heels on the floor the only sound in the room.

It was the 25th time this day she made that terrifying little walk. This was exhibit No. 37; the first exhibit of the day was No. 12.

“Do you remember the love letter you sent?” she asked.  She handed DeCoutere the six-page, handwritten original, dated July 9, 2003, five days after Ghomeshi allegedly choked and slapped her.

She confirmed it was her handwriting. She had no memory of writing it, she said, but clearly, she had done.

When she penned it, she was back home in Halifax, safe and sound.

DeCoutere stands by sex assault allegations against Ghomeshi: 'There is no right or wrong way to cope'

It’s a chick’s letter, with TMI in the modern lexicon, confessional and self-analytical, the written equivalent of ‘what are you thinking about?’

It began with an ode to old-fashioned letters, and then told the tale of their ‘relationship,’ from first spotting him at a Banff conference, his popularity, her trip to Toronto just to see him, and, a few lines without any noticeable irony, “We hooked up for dinner and you totally knocked me out. No wonder I couldn’t eat anything. You scared the hell out of me. Either because you were reading my mind or asking me to read it for you.

“I mean, really, what on Earth could be better than lying with you listening to music & having peace. Nothing.”

On and on it went. “I loved spending time with you this weekend. You are hilarious. And I really loved seeing you becoming progressively more relaxed (with) me.”

DeCoutere concluded, “Jian. You’re great. And I want to know more, have more easy times with you because it is so very rare — right?… I am sad we didn’t spend the night together…”

And then, the last line, the line Henein had DeCoutere herself read aloud, “I love your hands.”

“So,” DeCoutere began.

“It (the assault) never happened,” Henein said flatly.

“Oh, it happened,” said DeCoutere.

“You love his hands; you tell him you want to f— his brains out,” Henein snapped. “You never told the police, the Crown, you were never going to tell His Honour until it was shown to you.”

“I never told His Honour until now,” DeCoutere said.

There was a brief re-examination, during which DeCoutere tried to explain the letter. “Yes, this letter exists,” she said. “It does say, it’s very candid, there’s no untruth in this letter… The last line is me pointing love to the very thing he used to hurt me (his hands) …This letter exists. I totally forgot about it. I guess I wanted to forget about it.”

But it wasn’t her “negative” she had flattened; it was her narrative.

Original report here

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

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Mario Woods update

The death of this drugged-up crim has got a lot of attention, unfortunately, so this latest update should be of interest

The stabbing victim of the poster for for Black Lives Matters at the Super Bowl has broken his silence to tell of his own ordeal.

The death of Mario Woods, who was shot by police in San Francisco in December, was thrust onto the world stage when Beyoncé's backup dancers held up a sign demanding 'justice' and making a black power salute.

But now the man whose stabbing set in motion the chain of events which ended with Woods being shot has gone public to tell Daily Mail Online what really happened.

Marcel Gardner, who is under a police witness protection order, decided to break his silence to tackle claims that Woods, 26, had not stabbed anyone before his death.

Gardner also made clear that he does not condone the police shooting, but said that it was right for the full truth to be known.

Gardner, 26, was attacked and stabbed minutes before Woods, also 26, was cornered by police and shot 21 times.

Until now little had been revealed about how Woods stabbed a man and had been high on drugs.

Gardner told how Woods, who was carrying a kitchen knife, circled his car 'like a shark' and appeared to be high on drugs when he launched his stabbing attack, wounding Gardner in his left arm.

Activists in the Hunter’s Point neighborhood of San Francisco had questioned whether Woods had in fact been involved in a knife attack as police had not identified the victim.

But Gardner, an unemployed technical engineer, has a stab wound in his arm and is certain it was Woods who had attacked him.

Woods had convictions for armed robbery and possession of a firearm. He had been released early from a seven-year prison sentence.

Gardner, who is open that he was smoking drugs at the time of the attack, and that he would not normally co-operate with the police - says that he is clear that Woods was his assailant.

On the afternoon of December 2 Gardner said, he was with two women, one of them a mother who had her child with her, who had met for the purposes of smoking weed.

He said he did not know their names and has not been able to trace them since. 'I had just met the women who wanted to smoke some weed with me,' he said.

'I was chilling in my car and looking at my iPad, looking for jobs and playing videos.

They were in the car and - Woods admits - 'high' when a man who seemed 'agitated and just a little bit paranoid' approached the car.  'He was just muttering and then in one minute he started zoning in on the car. I couldn't make out what he was saying,' he said. 'He was shouting and screaming and said: "You had better get away from here…this is my block."

'Then he started circling the car like a shark and the girls began tripping out. 'They were on their phones and one girl was talking to her babydaddy and about what he was going to do and I guess he heard it.'

The man seemed to become more agitated, Gardner said, adding: 'He pulled the door open and I pushed the door back and got out of the car.

'I was thinking that if he is this aggressive, he could just bust a window and go Marilyn Manson on me and poking me [stabbing with the knife] and I would have no chance.

'I asked what was going on, but he already had the knife out.  'He ran up on me and tried to swing on me towards my chest and neck area. Most of the time I was trying to dodge his movements with the knife.

'I tried to land a punch and I felt a nick in my arm. I didn't realize anything until I started feeling this leaking sensation down my elbow.  'My shirt just turned red and I could see the blood coming out.

'I was looking around for something to knock the knife out of his hand as I knew now I was down to defending myself with one arm.

'There were some construction workers watching, but nobody came to help. It went on for two to three minutes.

'He was saying "I am going to poke the s*** out of you" as he came for me. Then he said: "If you hit me again I am going to poke you again."'

Gardner ran into an alley, while one of the girls drove the car away.

'My arm was going limp and I had no strength on my arm whatsoever. I thought I might bleed out and tried to tie a noose around it with my jacket,' he said.

'Blood was gushing out and the ladies were screaming "Oh my god, oh my god."'

Gardner got back into the car, he said. 'He jumped out in the middle of the street with the knife in his hand. The girls were screaming like lunatics.'

Gardner managed to drive away and went straight to San Francisco Hospital for treatment with the women and baby on board..

Meanwhile, his attacker was encountered by armed police four blocks away and cornered. Someone else had called 911.

Videos of the incident captured on cellphones have been posted online and handed to police officers investigating the shooting.

They show the officers circling the suspect who has his back to a wall and is walking adjacent to it.

Officers say they shot beanbag rounds and used pepper spray to try to arrest Woods, but he failed to drop the knife.

The officers opened fire with their guns and he was killed on the spot.

The officers are Winson Seto, Antonio Santos, Charles August, Nicholas Cuevas and Scott Phillips and none have been reprimanded and have returned to work.

Gardner said a short while after arriving at hospital, police officers emerged to question him about the attack on him.

'I had to go the hospital because I was passing out and I kept thinking about my kids and that I get to see them again.

'I didn't call the police and my only contact with them was when we were at the hospital.

'I began to realize something was wrong when more and more police came to the hospital.

'I didn't know anything about Mario being shot. They kept asking me if I knew the guy who stabbed me and if I knew his face and what he was wearing and I kept saying "No, No."'

He got eight stitches into the wound on his left arm. He drove away from hospital unaware that his attacker had been shot 21 times and that the cell phone video of his last moments was already circulating on the internet.

At 1.30 the next morning, a friend showed him the video on the internet and he immediately recognized Woods as the victim. 'My jaw dropped. I said "whoa…that's the dude who stabbed me".'

Gardner added: 'I am a black man and I didn't want to see another black man get gunned down, especially in my neighborhood.'

An autopsy report released last night showed Woods had suffered 21 gunshot wounds and had marijuana, methamphetamine antidepressants and cough medicine in his system,

The cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds and 27 bullet casings were recovered from the scene.

San Francisco Police Department said its officers had opened fire on Woods 'fearing serious injury or death'.

Original report here

Original defense for Serial's Adnan Syed was 'crippled' by omission of witness who could have provided an alibi for him

The original defense of Adnan Syed, the convicted killer at the center of popular podcast Serial, was crippled by the omission of an alibi witness, it was argued in court on Friday.

Asia McClain, now known as Asia Chapman, would have been 'critical' to Syed's first trial if she had been contacted by his original attorney, David Irwin, a legal expert for the defense, said.

Syed was 19 when he was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his high school ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee, whose body was found in a wooded park in Baltimore.

Now 35, Syed is using new evidence uncovered by Serial to prompt the appeals court to grant a hearing on the possibility of a new trial.

Syed's attorneys are asking for a new trial on the grounds that his original attorney, Cristina Gutierrez, proved ineffective by failing to contact Chapman.

Chapman, a former classmate, testified Wednesday that she had a conversation with Syed at the library during the time prosecutors say Lee was killed.

Irwin said Gutierrez's failure to contact Chapman 'was well below the minimum required' for an attorney defending a client and that it was her duty to investigate all possible alibi witnesses.

'If you have a credible alibi witness, that's the best defense you can have,' he said.

Just a year after Syed's conviction, Gutierrez was disbarred in connection with other cases and her failing health due to the effects of multiple sclerosis.

Deputy Attorney General Thiru Vignarajah on Thursday tried to poke holes the testimony of Chapman, who wrote two letters to Syed shortly after he was imprisoned in 1999.

'I'm not sure if you remember talking to me in the library on Jan. 13 but I remembered chatting with you,' she wrote in one. 'I have reason to believe in your innocence.'

Chapman wrote that she contacted the library, which is next to their high school campus, and that they had a surveillance system. McClain also told Syed that she was trying to reach his attorney.

'If you were in the library for a while, tell the police and I'll continue to tell what I know even louder than I am,' she wrote.

'My boyfriend and his best friend remember seeing you there too.'

Vignarajah questioned how Chapman knew certain details about Syed's case that she mentions in the letter and whether she had written the second one weeks after she said she did, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Chapman said the information solely came from rumors and information she heard being shared at their high school and not, as suggested by Vignarajah, from a search warrant.

She also shot down the claim that Syed had sent her a letter from jail and asked her to type it, saying she had never even heard of the allegation.

Irwin called Chapman a 'fabulous' witness who would have 'changed the ballgame' had she testified at Syed's original trial.

Also on Friday, an investigator testified that he located 41 possible alibi witnesses for Syed, but only four told him they were contacted by the original defense team for the 2000 trial

Sean Gordon testified that out of 83 potential alibi witnesses, he was able to reach 41. Of those, he said, only four said they were contacted by Gutierrez and none were asked to testify.
Baltimore Circuit Judge Martin Welch ruled on Friday that Syed should be allowed to introduce the testimony of a potential alibi witness

Judge also said he should be allowed to introduce evidence that calls into question the reliability of cellphone tower data

Syed's attorneys are asking for a new trial on the grounds that his original attorney, Cristina Gutierrez, proved ineffective by failing to contact Chapman

Testimony also has focused on cellphone tower data that prosecutors used during Syed's first trial, claiming it placed him at the scene where Lee's body was found in 1999.

Gerald Grant, a communications forensics expert, testified in Baltimore City Circuit Court that jurors should have been told that AT&T cellphone records used to place Syed at the site were flawed.

The AT&T engineer who testified in the original trial was not aware that outgoing phone calls were reliable but incoming calls were not, Grant said.

A sheet accompanying the faxed records included that disclaimer but was misplaced or overlooked.

Meanwhile FBI Special Agent Chad Fitzgerald testified, the prosecution's first witness, argued that the cover sheet is of no consequence and that testimony given at Syed's trial by AT&T radio frequency engineer Abraham Waranowitz was true.

Fitzgerald's testimony contradicted an affidavit that Waranowitz wrote last year that says if he'd known about the cover sheet his testimony would have been different.

On Friday afternoon Fitzgerald said he stood by the validity of the original data presented at trial.

But during cross-examination Syed's attorney Justin Brown asked how two calls contained in the data - one traced to Dupont Circle in Washington and another traced to Baltimore - could have been made just 27 minutes apart when it would be nearly impossible to travel the distance in that time.

Fitzgerald said in order to answer he'd need more information. 'It would cause me to do more research,' he said.  Testimony will continue Monday.

Original report here

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

Friday, February 12, 2016

London's top cop discovers natural justice

Automatically believing uncorroborated allegations is brain-dead.  People are to be presumed INNOCENT until proven guilty

Police officers will no longer automatically believe sex abuse claims from the off, says Met chief as he battles to defend his reputation over Lord Bramall probe

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said his officers had been 'confused' by guidance to believe allegations made to them

Police officers must be 'good investigators' when presented with allegations of sexual abuse and not simply believe them, the Met Commissioner has said.

Amid a firestorm over controversial investigations into public figures including the war hero Lord Bramall, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said there was a 'great danger' in allegations being believed from the outset.

The embattled police commissioner has repeatedly refused to apologise for investigations into historic claims against Lord Bramall and the former Tory home secretary Lord Brittan, who died before it was concluded he had no case to answer.

But he has launched a judge-led inquiry to look into how the Metropolitan Police handled the accusations and today questioned guidance on how allegations are treated.

Sir Bernard told the BBC: 'I think we have really got hung up on this word belief, it's confused officers, and my point would be we of course have to be empathetic, we want people to believe we are going to listen to them.

'We want to be open minded about what they tell us and then what the suspects tell us.  'And then we have got to test all that evidence.

'There is a great danger at the moment with the advice that is around that perhaps there is a tendency to think we will always believe any complaint that is made. 'That's not wise for any good investigator.'

Scotland Yard was forced to admit last year it had made a mistake when a senior officer described a key witness - known only as 'Nick' - as 'credible and true' when it launched a murder investigation.

Det Supt Kenny McDonald used the phrase in 2014 as the force announced an investigation the alleged killing of three young boys linked to a suspected VIP paedophile ring at the Dolphin Square apartments in Westminster, said to have been active in the 1970s and 1980s.

The probe, known as Operation Midland, led to a series of dawn raids and arrests of public figures - including the 92-year-old Lord Bramall, Lord Brittan, and former MP Harvey Proctor.

But the Met was later forced to admit that without Mr McDonald's declaration of belief in the witness 'we would not have investigated in the way we have'.

Sir Bernard has defended his force and insisted it has a duty to look into serious allegations when they are made.

He added: 'If we get this wrong, between not just the police but society, lawyers, etc, people won't come forward.

'Surely what we all want to happen, particularly a child today, wants to feel confident someone isn't going to hang them out to dry and that their background will be looked into if they make an allegation.

'So we have got to get this right. I think Sir Richard's work will help us with that and I know he is keen to try and develop a code of practice with others to see whether there's not something we can on these very difficult cases.'

An NSPCC spokesman said warned the new policy would be a 'serious bar' to victims coming forward to the police.

He said: 'At a time when people have at long last found the confidence and courage to report these crimes, it would be a tragedy to bring this progress to a juddering halt.

'Victims of sexual abuse have the right to be believed just as much as anyone reporting a burglary or physical assault. Police officers should have an open mind and execute the normal tests and investigations to verify the veracity of what is being alleged.

'Telling those who have been sexually abused they will no longer be automatically believed seems to be a panic measure which could have an adverse effect on a crime the Government has classified as a 'national threat'.'

Sir Bernard has also repeated his belief that suspects should not be identified until they are formally charged with an event.

Lord Bramall last week added to calls for the Met to address the way it responded to such allegations.

He said: ‘They said the allegation was I had abused an under-age male 40 years ago.

‘I just don’t see how a level-headed policeman could have believed a word of it without corroboration, which he didn’t bother to get.  'It was I that had to prove I couldn’t have done it.

Ten months after police raided the home of Lord Bramall and later interviewed the 92-year-old under caution, Scotland Yard said he would face no further action.

Sir Bernard today defended how the raid on Lord Bramall's home was carried out, insisting many officers were required to search large properties - suggesting large numbers of papers need examining and many nook and crannies could hide evidence.

The evidence against the field marshal was so weak detectives did not even bother sending a file to the Crown Prosecution Service.

Original report here