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'Arpaio Watch': New ABC series aims to monitor Sheriff Joe

Wow!!! ABS is teaming up with the Spanish language television network Univision to do a TV show to monitor the crimes of Sheriff Joe.


'Arpaio Watch': New ABC series aims to monitor Sheriff Joe

Posted: Thursday, September 27, 2012 1:04 pm

By Brittany Noble, ABC15

ABC News is launching a new series , "Arpaio Watch", aimed at monitoring civil liberties in Arizona and the actions of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

ABC News is partnering with Univision to keep an eye on how the policies of "America's Toughest Sheriff" affect the Latino community, according to a report from TV Newser .

Arpaio faced accusations of racial profiling and discrimination against Spanish speakers during a lawsuit filed in May by the Justice Department.

His routine immigration patrols have also drawn criticism from the Hispanic community, who has accused Arpaio's deputies of systematic profiling and bias.

Read the full ABC News article.

Arpaio Watch: Keeping Tabs on Civil Liberties in Maricopa County, Arizona


Arpaio Watch: Keeping Tabs on Civil Liberties in Maricopa County, Arizona


Sept. 25, 2012

Today we're launching Arpaio Watch, a new series aimed at monitoring civil liberties in Arizona immigrant communities by tracking the policies and practices of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

In the past two decades, no law enforcement figure in America has generated more animosity and fear within immigrant communities than the 80-year-old sheriff, who is infamous for immigration sweeps in heavily Latino neighborhoods in the Phoenix area.

And in recent months, the man once glowingly referred to by the mainstream media as "America's Toughest Sheriff" has come under fire from the feds: A lawsuit filed in May by the Justice Department accuses Arpaio of using racial profiling in his police work, discriminating against limited English speakers in jails and abusing his power as sheriff. In addition, a district court judge will rule in the next few weeks on a similar lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, echoing a designation awarded to him by Rolling Stone, which recently dubbed him "America's meanest and most corrupt politician."

If you're not familiar with Arpaio, here's a crash course. This list is by no means complete:

--Systematic profiling of Latinos: A Justice Department report found that Latinos in the Phoenix area are four to nine times more likely than non-Latinos to be pulled over for traffic violations. The report also presented evidence that the sheriff chose locations for raids based on complaints about Spanish speakers and people with "dark skin," and not based on complaints about crime.

Despite the evidence presented against him in court, the sheriff says it does not add up to profiling.

--Degrading prisoners, including immigrant detainees: One of Arpaio's most trumpeted accomplishments is his Tent City jail, a sprawling outdoor complex that houses more than 2,000 prisoners , where temperatures can reach 165 degrees. All Maricopa County jail inmates are dressed in pink underwear and striped uniforms and have the option to earn back lost privileges by being placed into chain gangs that work on the side of the road. Arpaio believes the gangs will help discourage crime.

--Disregard for women's rights: According to the progressive blog ThinkProgress, complaints in the Justice Department lawsuit "included accusations that Arpaio and his staff forced women to sleep in their own menstrual blood, assaulted pregnant women, ignored rape, and criminalized being a Latino."

--Bias against Mexican immigrants: When writing in his 2008 book about his parents, who came to the U.S. from Italy, Arpaio said that he views Mexican immigrants differently from other groups. Lawrence Downes of the New York Times reports on a section of the book:

"'My parents, like all other immigrants exclusive of those from Mexico, held to certain hopes and truths.' It goes on to state that Mexicans refuse to assimilate and are immigration lawbreakers to an 'astonishing' degree."

In court, Arpaio blamed the passage on a ghostwriter.

--Clamping down on critics: During Arpaio's tenure, no media outlet has been a more outspoken opponent of his policies than Phoenix New Times. So when Arpaio's office ordered the arrests of the paper's owners in 2007 for publishing his home address, it appeared to be in retaliation to their negative coverage. The arrests are cited in the Justice Department complaint and the newspaper owners themselves are also suing the sheriff's office.

--He's a birther: While it doesn't rank up there with the other issues on this list, it's worthwhile to note that Arpaio is a committed birther, even while most conservatives have tried to distance themselves from the movement. In a July publicity event received limply by the media, Sheriff Arpaio's posse said that Obama's birth certificate was "probably" fraudulent.

About the project: The goal of Arpaio Watch is to monitor the effects of Arpaio's policies on Arizona immigrant communities, and to report from the ground up about how immigration raids, disproportionate police stops and a disconnect between residents and law enforement can impact a community.

Stay tuned as Arpaio Watch follows the Arizona sheriff over the weeks and months to come.

Kelly Thomas case: 3rd Fullerton officer charged

This is kind of odd, cops actually being arrested and charged for crimes they committed.

The real question is will they be convicted in court? Sadly juries frequently let corrupt cops go.


Kelly Thomas case: 3rd Fullerton officer charged


SANTA ANA – Ex-Fullerton policeman Joe Wolfe, the first officer to land a blow on mentally ill transient Kelly Thomas during the July 2011 melee that led to his death, has been indicted by the Orange County grand jury.

Wolfe was accused in the indictment with one felony count of involuntary manslaughter and one count of the use of excessive force, the Orange County District Attorney's Office said Thursday.

The panel heard testimony from 10 witnesses and examined 113 exhibits of evidence over three days beginning Sept. 19, before returning an indictment Monday for the officer's role in the July 5, 2011 incident at the Fullerton Transportation Center that was captured on surveillance video, the office said.

If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of four years in state prison.

Wolfe surrendered on $25,000 bail, the D.A.'s office said in a news release. He is scheduled for a pretrial hearing Nov. 2 before Superior Court Judge William Froeberg.

The video shows Wolfe swinging his baton at the back of Thomas' leg, igniting an encounter that was ultimately joined in by six on-duty policemen.

He joins two other ex-Fullerton police officers as defendants in the death of Thomas, a schizophrenic transient who was well-known in the downtown Fullerton area.

Ex-officer Manuel Ramos was charged directly by the Orange County District Attorney's Office last September with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter, becoming the first Orange County lawman to be accused of murder in an incident that occurred while in uniform and on-duty.

Ex-Cpl Jay Cicinelli was charged by the DA's Office at the same time with involuntary manslaughter and assault under color of authority. Both Roman and Cicinelli are out on bail pending a Nov. 30 hearing on a defense motion to dismiss charges.

Since then, the D.A.'s Office said it has actively continued its "investigation and legal review and decided to seek an indictment against Wolfe following extensive legal and factual analysis and development of evidence."

When Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas announced the filing of charges last September against Ramos and Cicinelli, he also said there was insufficient evidence – at the time – to also file charges against Wolfe.

Instead, prosecutors in his office presented evidence – including the surveillance video - to the grand jury this month, which issued the indictment.

Thomas died July 10, 2011, when his life support was turned off five days after the violent confrontation with the six Fullerton officers at the Fullerton Transportation Center when he was beaten and choked.

Ramos and his partner Wolfe suspected Thomas of trying to open doors of parked cars when they approached him as he stood shirtless near a bus bench, according to the surveillance videotape of the encounter that is the focal point of the criminal case.

The video shows Ramos, 39, questioning Thomas for about 15 minutes before things escalated into violence. Thomas, who because of his mental illness had been living on the streets for years, was evasive and profane during the questioning, according to the video.

Wolfe delivered the first blow as the interrogation became heated when he struck the back of Thomas leg with his baton in an apparent take down maneuver, according to the videotape. Ramos then joined the fray and the two officers grappled with Thomas before four other officers – including Cicinelli -- arrived at the scene and piled on, according to the video.

Fullerton Cpl Jay Cicinelli, 42, one of the four responding officers, is seen on the videotape using a Taser to jolt Thomas, and then smashing the device into the struggling man's face.

When filing charges against Ramos and Cicinelli last September, Rackauckas said Wolfe stood several feet away and was searching Thomas' backpack while Ramos' was threatening Thomas.

Ramos triggered the fatal beating, Rackauckas said, when he snapped on a pair of latex gloves and taunted Thomas, "Now see my fists? They are getting ready to f--- you up." Moments later, the fight was on.

But Rackauckas added in September 2011 that he believed the evidence did not show Wolfe was aware of the threat delivered by Ramos.

"Due to the lack of evidence to show knowing participation in an unlawful act, no charges can be filed against Officer Wolfe at this time," Rackauckas said.

Dozens of supporters of Kelly Thomas, however, kept pressure on prosecutors to file charges against Wolfe, often showing up in court and at city council meetings with signs demanding that Wolfe be charged.

"I hope the D.A.'s Office would not succumb to external pressure and continue to review the case in an objective way," Podberesky said earlier this month.

In November, Superior Court Judge William Froeberg is scheduled to hear arguments on a defense motion to dismiss charges against Ramos and Cicinelli.

"I believe that we have solid grounds to have the case dismissed," said defense attorney John Barnett, who is representing Ramos.

Barnett has argued that Thomas was belligerent, profane and combative and provoked the escalation of tension by refusing to identify himself. And he contends in his dismissal motion that Thomas could "have avoided a physical altercation" by complying with Ramos' lawful commands.

Chicago cop accused of having sex with prisoner

He probably thinks it was OK. After all if you got a badge and a gun, that means you can have sex with any woman you want to. Well at least that what cops seem to think. The rest of us still know it's rape.


Chicago cop accused of having sex with prisoner

By Jeremy Gorner and Rosemary Sobol Tribune reporters

9:20 a.m. CDT, September 28, 2012

A veteran Chicago police officer has been charged with having sex with a prisoner he had promised to release from a West Side lockup, authorities say.

Officer Nelson Stewart, 59, is charged with custodial sexual misconduct, official misconduct and bribery, all felonies, according to Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for the Cook County state's attorney's office.

Authorities said the incident occurred in the lockup at the Harrison District police station, 3151 W. Harrison St., in early June. Stewart was relieved of his police powers that month pending an investigation by the department's Bureau of Internal Affairs.

Sources said DNA samples were taken from the lockup.

Stewart, a 24-year veteran of the department, is scheduled to appear for a bond hearing this afternoon.

Guatemalan President to world: Legalize drugs

I am all for 100 percent legalization of ALL drugs.

But I am kind of confused on why Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina is stepping up his "war on drugs" when he says they should be legalized??


Guatemalan President to world: Legalize drugs

Sept. 25, 2012 01:53 PM

Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS - Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina is advocating the international legalization of drugs even as he is moving to fight narcotics cartels with the biggest military buildup in the Central American country since its long and bloody civil war.

There's no contradiction, the president said in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, a day before he plans to address the U.N. General Assembly.

"We can't take unilateral action, it will be gradual," Perez said, referring to his push for legalization. "Meanwhile, while we're taking these steps, we're not going to let Guatemala become an open corridor for trafficking and consuming drugs."

Perez Molina said he may be the first head of state to propose legalizing drugs before the General Assembly, but the Organization of American States already is studying the idea, with a report due in a year.

"With cocaine and heroin, for example, they're substances that are damaging and addictive," he said. "We would have to regulate the procedures for selling them: a prescription or series of things that would come out of the discussion."

The legalization proposal came just a month after the retired general took office in January with promises of an "iron fist" against crime, and it provoked strong criticism from the United States, as well as intense discussion within Guatemala.

The president said the traditional war on drugs had failed over the past half century, and that the United States' inability to deal with its drug consumption problem left Central America with no option but to promote legalizing drugs in some way.

Meanwhile, to battle Mexican drug cartels that have overrun parts of Guatemala, Perez said he needed military equipment, and put a top priority on ending a longstanding U.S. ban on military aid that was imposed over concerns about human rights abuses during the Central American country's 36-year civil war.

Perez Molina has approved the creation of two new military bases and the upgrading of a third to add as many as 2,500 soldiers. He also signed a treaty allowing a team of 200 U.S. Marines to patrol Guatemala's western coast to catch drug shipments.

He says the measures don't exceed limits imposed on Guatemala's military under the 1996 Peace Accords, which he helped negotiate.

Since the war's end, the military force has fallen by 60 percent, Perez Molina said, and the growth of the civilian police force has not been sufficient to fight the security threat.

"What you saw was an imbalance and parts of the country that were out of control of the state," he said. "Organized crime took advantage of those areas, as well as drug traffickers and criminals and now we're trying to take back that territory."

Mexican drug cartels or their local allies have taken over large swathes of Guatemala and other Central American countries, fueling some of the highest murder rates in the world.

A May 2011 report by the U.S. Congressional Research Service said that 95 percent of all cocaine entering the United States flows through Mexico and its waters, with 60 percent of that cocaine first coming through Central America.

The new Marine operation is the largest in Guatemala since President Jimmy Carter sharply cut U.S. military aid to the country due to concerns over atrocities committed during the country's civil war.

U.S. law says that Guatemala can regain military aid once Secretary of State Hillary Clinton certifies Guatemala's military is "respecting internationally recognized human rights" and cooperating with judicial investigations of former military personnel.

Since Guatemala's civil war ended in 1996, the U.S. has spent $85 million fighting drug traffickers in Guatemala. The level of spending was relatively low, less than $3 million a year, until 2007, when it shot up to $14 million. Last year spending peaked at $16 million, and is budgeted to decline to about $9 million in 2013.

The new operations fall under the Central American Regional Security Initiative, a multinational U.S. effort to fight crime in the region, so officials do not categorize them as direct aid to the Guatemalan military.

"We continue to uphold the military aid ban as well as the Leahy Act which prevents the US from training people suspected of having committed human rights violations," said William Ostick, a spokesman for the State Department's Western Hemispheric Affairs Office.

But he added that "narcotics trafficking is of great concern in the region ... it is clear that interdiction has demonstrable and measurable effects."

Perez said he plans to increase the national police by 10,000, allowing the military to focus on securing the borders and fighting drug trafficking.

No charges for police chief who left gun behind

More of the old "Do as I say, not as I do" from our government masters.

I am sure that if you or me had done this we would have been charged with a crime. But when a cop does it, no, when a police chief does it he isn't charged with a crime.

Personally I don't think the government should criminalize acts of stupidity. So if it were me I would repeal this silly law. I am just pointing out the double standard our government masters have for themselves.


No charges for police chief who left gun behind

Sept. 28, 2012 09:10 AM

Associated Press

YUMA -- A prosecutor will not file endangerment charges against a tribal police chief from southwestern Arizona who left his gun behind after visiting an apartment in Yuma. The gun was found by a 6-year-old boy who pointed it at his father.

Maricopa County Attorney's Office spokesman Jerry Cobb tells the Yuma Sun (http://bit.ly/SpJNfZ ) says no charges were filed against Cocopah Police Chief James Spurgeon because prosecutors felt there was no reasonable likelihood of a conviction.

The case was transferred to Maricopa County after Yuma County prosecutors declared a conflict of interest. The Cocopah tribal police often work with Yuma prosecutors.

Cocopah Indian Tribe spokeswoman Ana Corpus said Thursday that Spurgeon is on an unspecified leave of absence and the tribe is continuing its own internal investigation.

Arizona fines provider of prison health care


Arizona fines provider of prison health care

by Craig Harris - Sept. 28, 2012 11:26 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

The Arizona Department of Corrections has levied a $10,000 fine against Wexford Health Sources Inc., a new private medical-care provider for inmates that is accused of improperly dispensing medicine and wasting state resources.

The DOC called on Wexford to fix staffing problems, properly distribute and document medication for inmates, show a sense of urgency and communicate better with the state when problems occur.

Wexford was fined over the actions of a nurse who caused a hepatitis C scare in August at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis in Buckeye, and for failing to properly report the problem to authorities.

Corrections Director Charles Ryan in a statement said the state's demands, called a cure notification, give the state and Wexford an opportunity to "improve communications and ensure the health care needs of the inmates incarcerated by the State of Arizona are being met."

Ryan was not available to answer questions. Bill Lamoreaux, a DOC spokesman, declined to answer specific questions about the matter.

Wexford was hired after the Republican-controlled Arizona Legislature pushed to privatize inmate health care to save money. The DOC in strongly worded letters to Wexford alleges the company forced the state to use public employees to fix its deficiencies. The amount of wasted tax dollars was not disclosed. Arizona houses close to 40,000 inmates.

Lamoreaux declined to answer if taxpayers were still saving money with Wexford's services.

The Pittsburgh-based company took over inmate care July 1 after winning a $349 million, three-year contract. The company plans to appeal the fine, according to Wexford spokesman Jason Rose. Wexford, in a letter to Ryan, contends the conditions of health care in the state prison system were poor and problems existed prior to privatization.

The Arizona Republic learned of the punishment after filing a public records request Friday. The state on Sept. 21 sent a seven-page letter to Wexford outlining the company's alleged deficiencies, according to documents obtained under the Arizona Public Records Law. The state on Friday notified Wexford it had until Oct. 22 to respond to the notice.

In that letter, the DOC says:

A Wexford nurse on Aug. 17, at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Perryville in Goodyear, improperly administered medication to an inmate by having the inmate "lick the powdered medication from her own hand," instead of putting the medication in a small cup of water.

In August, the state learned that "a significant number of inmates may not have been receiving their medications as prescribed due to expired prescription(s) and inappropriate renewals or refills." The state said Wexford showed a "lack of urgency" to correct the problem, and the state had to deploy staff "to identify inmates in need of medication renewals."

An inmate was found hanging from a sheet in his housing unit in Florence on Aug. 23. The state determined that the inmate had not received his psychotropic medication for the entire month of August, prior to his hanging, and Wexford's failure to deliver the medication was a "significant, non-compliance issue." Records do not indicate if the inmate survived.

On Aug. 27, a nurse hired by Wexford contaminated a vial of insulin, potentially exposing roughly 100 inmates at the state prison in Buckeye to hepatitis C. Another Wexford nurse was aware of the problem Aug. 27, but she did not file an incident report until Sept. 4, violating policy. The state was forced to deploy additional compliance monitoring staff to correct the problem. It said Wexford failed to follow established nursing protocols, mismanaged documents and engaged in inadequate and inaccurate communication.

At the Goodyear prison, meanwhile, a known case of whooping cough, a reportable infectious disease, went unreported to DOC staff and Wexford's state-level management for 30 days, indicating a "lack of urgency" and a "lack of awareness of the situation's potential seriousness."

"This is more proof that privatization is not saving us money, not providing better services and is not any more efficient," said Caroline Isaacs, program director for the prison watchdog group American Friends Service Committee. "While the state clearly had its problems, just inserting another layer to the bureaucracy is no way to address the problems, and it complicates the matter."

Wexford, in a letter to Ryan, said it believed in being held accountable, but added the DOC "must recognize that the system that was in place less than 90 days ago was extremely weak." Wexford also said 34 people who were previously in state prison management positions were hired by the state as monitors, and that has created a void in "leadership and institutional knowledge that Wexford Health is working hard to fill."

Wexford said those monitors are the same people who allowed the system to get to its current state, and they have interfered with Wexford's efforts to provide appropriate health-care services to inmates.

Before the problems in Arizona, Wexford had issues in other states.

Clark County, Wash., declined to renew a contract with Wexford in 2009 at its county jail and juvenile-detention center after complaints that Wexford was not dispensing medications to inmates in a timely fashion.

And New Mexico terminated a statewide contract with Wexford in 2007 after an audit by that state's legislative finance committee found shortages of physicians, dentists and other prison medical staff, and noted that Wexford had failed to issue timely reports on the deaths of 14 inmates the previous year.

Louisiana death-row inmate Damon Thibodeaux exonerated with DNA evidence

DNA proves the police framed another man for murder.

Louisiana death-row inmate Damon Thibodeaux exonerated with DNA evidence

I suspect this confession was also obtained by using the techniques of the "9 Step Reid Method".

The "9 Step Reid Method" is basically a psychological way of beating the krap out of a suspect with mental rubber hoses until the suspect confesses.

This is one good reason the police and prosecutors should not be allowed to charge people with murder, when a body has not been found. Two Arizona cases are the Baby Gabriel case in Tempe where Elizabeth Johnson is charged with murder and the Glendale case of Jerice Hunter.

Both woman are charged with murdering their children despite the fact that no body has been found in either case.


Louisiana death-row inmate Damon Thibodeaux exonerated with DNA evidence

By Douglas A. Blackmon, Published: September 28

NEW ORLEANS — A little after 4 a.m. on July 21, 1996, Damon Thibodeaux, a deckhand on a Mississippi River workboat, cracked at the end of a nine-hour interrogation and confessed to the brutal rape and murder of his 14-year-old step-cousin, Crystal Champagne.

“I didn’t know that I had done it,” Thibodeaux said at one point, according to a police transcript. “But I done it.”

Before that day was over, Thibodeaux had recanted his confession, telling his court-appointed lawyer that he told police what they wanted to hear in response to threats of death by lethal injection and his grief over the death of his cousin. Nonetheless, Thibodeaux was later convicted of both crimes and sentenced to die.

Now, after more than 15 years spending 23 hours a day in solitary confinement on death row at Louisiana’s Angola prison farm, Thibodeaux is free.

Judge Patrick McCabe — who presided over the original trial in 1997 — issued a sealed order on Thursday vacating the conviction. With Thibodeaux’s release Friday, he became the 300th wrongly convicted person and 18th death-row inmate exonerated in the United States substantially on the basis of DNA evidence, according to the New York-based Innocence Project, which provides legal counsel to prisoners it believes can be exonerated through DNA testing.

Friday’s release was authorized by Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul Connick Jr. after an extraordinary five-year joint re­investigation with defense lawyers concluded that the murder confession was clearly false. Nearly every ostensible fact in the statement didn’t match the crime scene or other evidence. The inquiry found that the sexual assault to which Thibodeaux also confessed — making him eligible under Louisiana law for the death penalty — never occurred.

The Thibodeaux case marks a dramatic mathematical milestone in the use of DNA in law enforcement, but it also signals the opening of a new, more complex phase in the use of such material in attempts to right the course of justice.

When DNA testing was first introduced in the late 1980s, the revolutionary new techniques shattered a widely held view in law enforcement and the public that American courts rarely convicted the innocent. Since then, high-profile exonerations and the increasingly common reliance on such testing have led many to believe that DNA can resolve doubts about almost any questionable conviction.

It’s now clear, however, that there is no DNA evidence in the vast majority of cases. In the first 15 years of DNA testing, almost all exonerations fit a basic pattern in which the defendant was accused of rape, or both rape and murder — because sexual assaults are the crimes in which DNA is most likely to be recovered. Between 1989 and the end of 2007, a total of 214 people were cleared using DNA evidence. In all but 14 cases — more than 93 percent — the alleged crime involved a sexual assault of some kind, according to a review by The Washington Post.

In hindsight, those straightforward, obvious miscarriages of justice were the low-hanging fruit of DNA exonerations. Now their numbers are declining. In their place are convictions such as Thibodeaux’s, in which serious doubts have been raised but little clear DNA or other scientific forensic evidence exists to conclusively prove guilt or innocence. In Thibodeaux’s case, the absence of any incriminating DNA evidence became as powerful an argument for his innocence as any other element of the case.

Of 83 exonerations in the past five years, more than 15 percent didn’t involve rape. As many as a quarter of the cases involved a false confession, in which one or more defendants admitted to the crime under interrogation.

Samuel Gross, an author of a report by the recently created National Registry of Exonerations at the University of Michigan, calculated that based on the proven rate of exonerations among death-row prisoners in the past two decades, U.S. courts appear to have an error rate in capital cases of between 2.5 percent and 4 percent. In June, researchers examining biological evidence from hundreds of Virginia rape convictions between 1973 and 1987 determined that new DNA testing appeared to exonerate convicted defendants in 8 percent to 15 percent of cases.

Applied against the approximately 140,000 prisoners on death row or serving life sentences in the United States, the findings suggest that many thousands of innocent individuals could be in prison for crimes they didn’t commit.

But the odds that many of those convicts will ever be able to prove their innocence through the existing systems of appeals are remote, given the lack of DNA evidence in the majority of cases.

That was largely true for Thibodeaux. In the hours after Champagne disappeared on July 19, 1996, there was no evidence to suspect Thibodeaux. The 14-year-old lived with her mother and other family members in an apartment complex on the frayed blue-collar edges of New Orleans. Her uncle had once been married to Damon Thibodeaux’s mother, making them what the families called “step-cousins.”

In the initial investigation of Thibodeaux, police found no physical evidence linking him to the crime. Since the victim had in fact not been sexually assaulted, there was also none of the DNA typically associated with a rape.

The only strong evidence against Thibodeaux was his confession. He never asked for legal representation. Early in the questioning, a detective asked at least a dozen times whether he had been involved in the killing, according to partial transcripts. “No sir,” Thibodeaux said firmly each time. After denying any involvement in the crime for more than six hours, an almost catatonic Thibodeaux confessed to police just before dawn. Almost every factual assertion he made was plainly incorrect.

“At that point I was tired,” Thibodeaux said, in an interview minutes after his release Friday. “I was hungry. All I wanted to do was sleep, and I was willing to tell them anything they wanted me to tell them if it would get me out of that interrogation room.” He said investigators fed him details of the crime scene. His salvation was that many of those details were incorrect.

The lack of conclusive DNA evidence in Thibodeaux’s case was overcome only through the unusual joint investigation between the district attorney and defense lawyers — during which Thibodeaux, now 38, put his formal court appeals on hold.

The inquiry found glaring contradictions between the confession and physical evidence. New DNA testing conducted on clothing worn by Thibodeaux on the night of the killing and virtually every other piece of evidence established no links to the crime. A DNA profile was obtained from a tiny sample of blood on a piece of wire used to strangle the victim. It didn’t match Thibodeaux. The cost of the reinvestigation was more than $500,000, shared by the defense and prosecution, according to lawyers involved in the case.

Thibodeaux, who plans to move to Minnesota to restart his life, didn’t sound bitter after his release Friday, but rather relieved. “Right now, I’m just adjusting to being not behind bars,” he said, “and not being told where to go, what time to go. Getting used to not having chains on. That’s a novelty for me.”

Lab technicians routinely frame people for drugs?

If you are falsely arrested on drug charges don't plan on getting a fair trial. Over zealous lab technicians routinely cook the books, rig the evidence and help the police frame people.

Yes, this is just one case, but if it happened here it is certainly happening in other places.

Recently I posted a similar article about how lab technicians at the FBI were also helping the police frame people.


Chemist in Mass. lab scandal could see new charges


BOSTON (AP) — A chemist accused of lying about drug samples she tested at a state lab could face additional charges as prosecutors and defense attorneys sift through thousands of criminal cases that could be upended by her actions.

Annie Dookhan, 34, of Franklin, was arrested Friday in a burgeoning investigation that has already led to the shutdown of the lab, the resignation of the state's public health commissioner and the release of more than a dozen drug defendants.

Many more defendants are expected to be released. Authorities say more than 1,100 inmates are serving time in cases in which Dookhan was the primary or secondary chemist.

"Annie Dookhan's alleged actions corrupted the integrity of the entire criminal justice system," state Attorney General Martha Coakley said during a news conference after Dookhan's arrest. "There are many victims as a result of this."

Dookhan faces more than 20 years in prison on charges of obstruction of justice and falsely pretending to hold a degree from a college or university. She testified under oath that she holds a master's degree in chemistry from the University of Massachusetts, but school officials say they have no record of her receiving an advanced degree or taking graduate courses there.

State police say Dookhan tested more than 60,000 drug samples involving 34,000 defendants during her nine years at the Hinton State Laboratory Institute in Boston. Defense lawyers and prosecutors are scrambling to figure out how to deal with the fallout.

Assistant Attorney General John Verner called the charges against Dookhan "preliminary" and said a "much broader" investigation is being conducted.

Verner said state police learned of Dookhan's alleged actions in July after they interviewed a chemist at the lab who said he had observed "many irregularities" in Dookhan's work.

Verner said Dookhan later acknowledged to state police that she sometimes would take 15 to 25 samples and instead of testing them all, she would test only five of them, then list them all as positive. She said that sometimes, if a sample tested negative, she would take known cocaine from another sample and add it to the negative sample to make it test positive for cocaine, Verner said.

Dookhan pleaded not guilty and was later released on $10,000 bail. She was ordered to turn over her passport, submit to GPS monitoring, and not have contact with any former or current employees of the lab.

Dookhan's relatives and attorney declined to comment after the brief hearing in Boston Municipal Court. Her next court date is Dec. 3.

The obstruction charges accuse Dookhan of lying about drug samples she analyzed at the lab in March 2011 for a Suffolk County case, and for testifying under oath in August 2010 that she had an advanced degree from the University of Massachusetts, Attorney General Martha Coakley said at a news conference.

In one of the cases, Boston police had tested a substance as negative for cocaine, but when Dookhan tested it, she reported it as positive. Investigators later retested the cample and it came back negative, Verner said.

The only motive authorities have found so far is that Dookhan wanted to be seen as a good worker, Coakley said.

According to a state police report in August, Dookhan said she just wanted to get the work done and never meant to hurt anyone.

"I screwed up big-time," she is quoted as saying. "I messed up bad; it's my fault. I don't want the lab to get in trouble."

Dookhan's supervisors have faced harsh criticism for not removing her from lab duties after suspicions about her were first raised by her co-workers and for not alerting prosecutors and police. However, Coakley said, there is no indication so far of criminal activity by anyone else at the lab.

Co-workers began expressing concern about Dookhan's work habits several years ago, but her supervisors allowed her to continue working. Dookhan was the most productive chemist in the lab, routinely testing more than 500 samples a month, while others tested 50 to 150.

One co-worker told state police he never saw Dookhan in front of a microscope. A lab employee saw Dookhan weighing drug samples without doing a balance check on her scale.

In an interview with state police late last month, Dookhan acknowledged faking test results for two to three years. She told police she identified some drug samples as narcotics simply by looking at them instead of testing them, a process known as dry labbing. She also said she forged the initials of colleagues and deliberately turned a negative sample into a positive for narcotics a few times.

"I hope the system isn't treating the evidence against her the way she treated the evidence against several thousand defendants," said defense attorney John T. Martin, who has a client who was allowed to withdraw his guilty plea based on concerns over Dookhan's work.

Dookhan was suspended from lab duties after getting caught forging a colleague's initials on paperwork in June 2011. She resigned in March as the Department of Public Health investigated. The lab was run by the department until July 1, when state police took over as part of a state budget directive.


Niedowski reported from Franklin. Associated Press writer Bridget Murphy contributed to this report.

Lester Pearce faces judicial probe

More of the "Do as I say, not as I do" from our government masters.


Lester Pearce faces judicial probe

Charged with illegally campaigning for his brother Russell

by Gary Nelson - Sept. 27, 2012 10:01 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Former Mesa Justice of the Peace Lester Pearce was formally charged Thursday with violating judicial standards in connection with alleged campaign activities during last year's historic recall election involving his brother.

The state Commission on Judicial Conduct filed the charges and said they will be weighed in a formal hearing for which the date will be announced later.

"The charges relate to several instances where it is alleged former Judge Pearce engaged in political activity on behalf of other candidates," a news release from the commission said.

"Judges are prohibited from making speeches on behalf of another candidate for political office, publicly endorsing another candidate for any public office, and actively taking part in any political campaign other than his own campaign for election, re-election or retention in office."

Pearce is alleged to have campaigned last year on behalf of Mesa resident Olivia Cortes, who is widely believed to have been a sham candidate in the recall election in which Russell Pearce, then the Arizona Senate president, was fighting to stay in office.

Petition-gatherers for Cortes told The Arizona Republic during the campaign that the idea was to siphon votes from Pearce's foremost challenger, Jerry Lewis.

Cortes withdrew from the campaign in October, one day before she was to have been called back into county court to testify in a lawsuit that challenged her candidacy.

Lewis went on to defeat Pearce by 12 percentage points, making the longtime Mesa politician, one of the nation's leading opponents of illegal immigration, the first sitting Senate president on any level to be recalled in this country.

Russell Pearce's effort to return to the Senate hit a brick wall in August when he lost to Mesa businessman Bob Worsley by a similar margin in the Republican primary in District 25.

Lester Pearce, meanwhile, had resigned as justice of the peace after 15 years to run for a seat on the county Board of Supervisors. He, too, lost in the August primary.

The Commission on Judicial Conduct said in its news release that "the maximum sanction involving a former judge is a censure and payment of costs and fees associated with the proceeding."

It alleges that Lester Pearce:

Knowingly accompanied a niece in a car while she gathered petition signatures for Cortes and "may have engaged in direct contact with some individuals for the purpose of advocating against the recall of his brother during his niece's activities on behalf of candidate Cortes."

Spoke on behalf of his brother at a Sept. 15, 2011, Republican Party meeting in Mesa, the minutes of which were later edited to remove those remarks.

The complaint lists four counts against Lester Pearce as a result of those alleged incidents: improper political campaign activities, improper public political statements, abuse of the prestige of judicial office and failure to cooperate with and be honest and candid with the Commission on Judicial Conduct.

Through lawyer A. Melvin McDonald, Pearce filed a response in which he claims to have played no role in his niece's political activities; did not engage people in an effort to influence the campaign; and did not speak on behalf of his brother at the party meeting.

Supreme Court - 4th Amendment is null and void!!!!

I am sure this is one of the reasons the Founders gave us the 2nd Amendment. But I am sure the Supreme Court feels the same way about the 2nd Amendment.


Supreme Court rejects appeal on airport scanners

8:52 a.m. CDT, October 1, 2012

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Supreme Court on Monday refused to consider a Michigan blogger's challenge to the use of full-body scanners and thorough pat-downs of passengers at airport checkpoints.

Jeffrey Corbett complained that the Transportation Security Administration's use of the screening techniques violated passengers' protection against illegal searches under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution

DNA evidence exonerates 300th prisoner nationwide

Ray Krone of Phoenix was the 100th person to be freed from death row after DNA testing proved he was framed by the Phoenix police for murder.

That number is up to 300 today.

I am sure this is just the tip of the iceberg and that tens of thousands, and probably hundreds of thousands of people have been framed by the police for crimes they didn't commit.

I was framed for selling drugs by the DPS. At the time I thought it was a case of mistaken identity, but later I found out it wasn't a case of mistaken identity, I was intentionally framed because they thought I was a dope dealer. That came from the mouths of the pigs that framed me.

I lucked out and didn't get convicted because of a number of circumstances. But I suspect if I had gone to trial I would have been convicted and sent to prison. That is despite the fact that I was innocent.


DNA evidence exonerates 300th prisoner nationwide

By Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times

October 1, 2012

A Louisiana man has been released from death row, becoming the 300th prisoner nationwide to be freed after DNA evidence showed he was innocent.

Of those 300 prisoners, 18 had been on death row, according to lawyers from the New York-based Innocence Project.

"It feels good. I'm still processing it," said Damon Thibodeaux, 38, when reached by phone in New Orleans.

A Jefferson Parish judge overturned his murder conviction Friday and ordered Thibodeaux released after 16 years in prison, 15 on death row. The decision was one of several recent exonerations across the country.

Last Monday, John Edward Smith was released from a Los Angeles jail nearly two decades after he was wrongfully imprisoned in connection with a gang-related shooting. In August, Chicago prosecutors moved to dismiss murder charges against Alprentiss Nash 17 years after he was convicted of a murder that recent DNA tests indicated he didn't commit. Earlier that month in Texas, David Lee Wiggins was freed after DNA tests cleared him of a rape for which he had served 24 years.

Thibodeaux, a deckhand, was convicted in 1997 and sentenced to death after he confessed to the July 19, 1996, rape and murder of his 14-year-old step-cousin, Crystal Champagne, in Westwego, a dozen miles southwest of New Orleans.

The girl was last seen alive by her family when she left their Westwego apartment to go to a nearby Winn-Dixie grocery store. When she failed to return, her parents alerted police and a search ensued.

Her body was discovered the next evening under a bridge, her pants pulled down, a wire ligature around her neck; she appeared to have been strangled. That night, detectives began interrogating potential witnesses, including Thibodeaux.

After a lengthy interrogation, Thibodeaux confessed to raping and murdering Crystal, a confession that became the primary basis for his conviction in October 1997.

He unsuccessfully appealed his conviction in 1999, arguing that he was coerced into giving a false, unrecorded confession after being interrogated for nine hours by Jefferson Parish sheriff's investigators. He also said that there was insufficient evidence to convict him and that he did not receive a fair trial.

"This is a tragic illustration of why law enforcement must record the entire interrogation of any witness or potential suspect in any investigation involving a serious crime," said one of Thibodeaux's attorneys, Steve Kaplan of the Minneapolis firm Fredrikson & Byron.

In 2007, Thibodeaux's legal team persuaded Jefferson Parish Dist. Atty. Paul Connick to reinvestigate the case, sharing half the cost, which ran into hundreds of thousands of dollars. DNA testing showed that Thibodeaux was not the killer and that Crystal had not been raped.

"District attorneys now recognize that the system doesn't always get it right and many, like Dist. Atty. Connick and his team, are committed to getting to the truth," said Barry Scheck, co-director of the Innocence Project, which also represented Thibodeaux. The case highlights the importance of California's Proposition 34, which would repeal the death penalty, on the November ballot, Scheck added.

Thibodeaux, who said he felt "great sympathy for the Champagne family" and hoped Crystal's killer "is found and tried," said he was grateful the district attorney was willing to reexamine his case.

"A lot of prosecutors, when they see a case like mine, they just turn away from it and say, 'We tried it in court, that's it,'" he said.

Louisiana pays those wrongfully convicted $25,000 for each year they were held in error for up to a decade. [Big stinking deal!!! That is a lousy $68 a day, or $2.85 for each hour spent in prison. Those crooked government b*stards don't even pay them the Federal minimum wage]

Thibodeaux plans to live in Minnesota, which he heard had a good reintegration program for former inmates.

After he walked out of prison, Thibodeaux said, he took the first step toward that new life, inhaling a deep breath of "free air."

"It's probably the best breath I've ever had," he said.


County Attorney pursuing civil enforcement action against AG Tom Horne

The only thing that is almost certain is that cops and politicians are almost always above the law and get away with almost all the crimes they commit.

"Officials said that civil penalties are being pursued because there was not a sufficient basis for filing criminal charges" - I translation - "I don't want to send a fellow politician to prison"

You hear that line every time a prosecutor doesn't want to charge a pig with a crime. I remembers when a News 12 Helicon caught a some phoenix pigs beating up a Mexican who stole a car, and that is the line the prosecutor gave us.


County Attorney pursuing civil enforcement action against AG Tom Horne

Stems from possible violation of campaign finance laws; fines up to $1.5 million possible

by Yvonne Wingett Sanchez and Craig Harris - Oct. 1, 2012 10:35 AM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne violates campaign finance laws and gets into a hit an run accident The Maricopa County Attorney's Office is initiating a civil enforcement action against Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne and Kathleen Winn, one of his political allies, alleging they violated state campaign finance laws.

County Attorney Bill Montgomery alleged at a 10 a.m. news conference that Horne actively directed fundraising by an independent expenditure committee and communicated strategy with Winn, who worked for the committee, during the final weeks of 2010 campaign for attorney general.

It is illegal for candidates to communicate with independent expenditure committees.

Officials said that civil penalties are being pursued because there was not a sufficient basis for filing criminal charges and state statutes specifically allow for civil handling of such matters.

Montgomery said the law allows civil penalties of up to three times the cost of illegal literature or advertisements disseminated during the time of illegal activity. The independent expenditure committee raised more than $500,000 in the final weeks of the 2010 campaign from the Republican State Leadership Committee and individual donors. The money paid for television advertisements advocating against Felecia Rotellini, Horne's Democratic opponent in that race.

The County Attorney intends to issue an order requiring compliance by the independent committee and the Tom Horne for Attorney General campaign committee, followed by an order assessing a civil penalty.

In August, the county attorney initiated a separate civil enforcement action against the Committee for Justice and Fairness, an independent expenditure committee that paid for a commercial advocating against Horne's candidacy and which failed to register with the Arizona Secretary of Office . Oral argument in that matter is scheduled for Oct. 8.

The findings came after an 11-month investigation by the FBI and county investigators. Secretary of State Ken Bennett determined there was reasonable cause to believe Horne and Winn violated civil statutes governing independent expenditure committees, Montgomery said at his news conference.

According to the county attorney, the independent expenditure campaign raised more than $500,000 run ads to beat out Horne's Democratic challenger.

The investigation also uncovered evidence of a misdemeanor vehicle hit-and-run incident, which was referred to the City of Phoenix for review.

The FBI and the Maricopa County Attorney's Office have been investigating whether Horne and Winn, improperly colluded with Horne on an independent expenditure committee when he was running for office.

Horne, a Republican, said late Sunday he was unaware of any announcement that may involve him. He said he likely would issue a written statement following any such announcement. He has previously denied any wrongdoing.

Two of Horne's employees -- one a longtime state investigator -- have accused him of communicating with an independent expenditure committee during the 2010 election as it raised money to run negative ads against Horne's Democratic opponent. State law prohibits coordination between candidates and independent expenditure committees. Those who violate laws governing independent expenditure committees can face stiff financial penalties.

Horne's employees alleged he communicated regularly with Winn, chairwoman of the Business Leaders for Arizona, as she solicited money from Horne's brother-in-law in California and GOP supporters across the Valley.

In June, state criminal investigator Margaret "Meg" Hinchey said she had obtained information that Horne collaborated with the independent expenditure committee. Hinchey turned witness statements and other evidence over to the FBI, which began an investigation in January.

FBI special agents have been gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses over the course of several months. The FBI shared information with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, which issued subpoenas.

A separate complaint filed with the Arizona Secretary of State's Office by another Horne employee and former political ally alleged Horne helped funnel $115,000 from his brother-in-law to the committee and promised a job to Winn as a reward for her work on the committee. Horne has vehemently denied the allegation, and points out he first offered Winn's position to someone else.

Horne, the state's No. 3 GOP official, can continue to serve as Arizona's top prosecutor and provide legal advice to agencies.

Horne is among numerous Arizona elected officials to face state or federal investigations since 2008. That list includes the Gov. Jan Brewer, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, Rep. Ben Arredondo, D-Tempe, former Arizona Rep. Richard Miranda and former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas.

Previously, Horne has said that Winn, in December 2009, filed paperwork to create Business Leaders for Arizona to oppose Thomas, who ran against Horne in the primary election. Horne said that although Winn filed the paperwork, there was no independent expenditure during the primary.

She volunteered for Horne's campaign before the primary. When the primary was over, Horne has said, Winn told him she was withdrawing from his campaign to conduct an independent campaign "on her own initiative" in the general election.

Horne has said he had no knowledge that Winn approached his sister for a contribution to that independent campaign.

The large contribution came in late October 2010, as Horne and his Democratic opponent, Felecia Rotellini, were in a tight race. Business Leaders for Arizona, headquartered at Winn's Mesa home, raised $512,500 in nine days to fund anti-Rotellini TV ads through Tempe-based Lincoln Strategy Group.

Independent campaigns are created to eclipse the contribution limits imposed on a candidate's own campaign, which are capped at $840 in the attorney general's race.

The independent committee, however, could raise far more from individual sources.

State campaign-finance records show Lincoln Strategy Group spent nearly all the money raised by the BLA on the attack ads.

During a June 29 interview, Horne spokeswoman Amy Rezzonico told The Arizona Republic that Winn was known for her energy and determined style she brought to the job. Rezzonico said Horne is "deeply loyal" to Winn because of her work on the independent expenditure committee. Rezzonico said Horne would not have won his bid for attorney general had it not been for Winn.

"Kathleen was under fire with people, meaning, you know, she wasn't that popular with some people," Rezzonico said. "She was overzealous in her job. She kind of got into everybody's business and that was annoying to people."

"However, we knew, I mean, in Tom Horne's close circle, that Kathleen had done a good job for Tom Horne. She went off, she did an independent expenditure for him, and he's deeply loyal to people such as that, that do such things ... Tom was deeply fond of her."

The uncivil politics of prosecution


The uncivil politics of prosecution


Mon, Oct 01 2012

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne violates campaign finance laws and gets into a hit an run accident Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said there were not sufficient legal grounds to pursue a criminal case against Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne and Kathleen Winn, General Director of Community Outreach for Horne’s office, over alleged campaign finance violations that occurred when Horne was running for office in 2010.

So Montgomery is pursuing a “civil enforcement action.”

Although, this being politics, “civil” seems like an oxymoron.

That is why many of the questions raised at Montgomery’s Monday press conference over the Horne case seemed to revolve around politics, rather than prosecution, often focusing on the possibility that Montgomery, Horne and, to a degree, Secretary of State Ken Bennett, all Republicans, are seen as potential rivals in future state elections.

Montgomery dismissed that idea.

He said that we must take politics out of issues like this.

He said that in spite of his investigation of Horne that he expected the county attorney’s office and the attorney general’s office to have a “good working relationship.”

You hope so.

But people aren’t robots. They can’t just switch off their emotions. And the jobs of attorney general and county attorney are elected positions. They’re politicians as well as prosecutors.

And in any dual relationship like that politics usually wins.

Maybe this will be an exception.

However, before you call me or write the answer is…. no, I don’t want to bet on it.

Montgomery declines to call on Horne to resign


Montgomery declines to call on Horne to resign


Mon, Oct 01 2012

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne violates campaign finance laws and gets into a hit an run accident The highest law enforcement official in the state (that would be Tom Horne) -- a guy who prosecutes people who break the law -- broke the law.

This, according to the second highest law enforcement official in the state (that would be Bill Montgomery) -- a guy who also prosecutes people who break the law.

It's just that he won't be prosecuting anybody this time.

Montgomery this morning announced that Horne knowingly tromped all over campaign finance laws, in order to defeat Democrat Felicia Rotelini in the 2010 attorney general's race. He worked with and even directed the spending of money in an independent expenditure campaign, which is a distinct no-no under Arizona law.

There's just not much anybody can do about it.

Montgomery plans to tell Horne that his committee must repay the money or face a penalty of up to $1.5 million.

But that penalty applies only to the committee, not to Horne.

In other words, no harm, no foul.

So to recap, if you're a candidate you can get one of your pals to start an independent campaign and then get your other pals to give as much money to that campaign as they wish, and THEN you can direct how all that glorious money is spent.

It's called cheating your way into office.

I asked Montgomery if he planned to call on Horne to resign. It seems obvious that you can't be enforcing laws against other people if you don't follow them yourself.

To my surprise, Montgomery declined to call for Horne's resignation.

How you can hold a press conference to announce a blatant violation of the election law by the attorney general of the state and then not call for that same attorney general to resign is just beyond me.

Then again, this is Arizona politics we're talking about.

Documents detail Horne fender-bender

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne is the guy who wants to jail medical marijuana users. I wonder why, is it to create a smoke screen for all the crimes he commits. Like hit and run accidents or not following campaign finance laws???

Of course while I disagree with many of those campaign finance laws, that's not the issue. The government expects us serfs to obey the laws and Tom Horne should be expected to obey the laws he forces us to obey.


Documents detail Horne fender-bender

by Yvonne Wingett Sanchez - Oct. 1, 2012 07:50 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne violates campaign finance laws and gets into a hit an run accident It may not be a campaign-finance allegation that Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne is remembered for. It might be the March 27 hit-and-run fender-bender he was involved in while driving with a female employee to her home -- a collision witnessed by two FBI special agents who were tailing Horne when the accident occurred.

Documents obtained by The Arizona Republic through a public records request detail the crash. Maricopa County Attorney's Detective Mark Stribling wrote an April 19 memo describing how FBI agents Brian Grehoski and Merv Mason watched the accident happen.

Stribling wrote that agents saw Carmen Chenal, a longtime Horne confidante and employee, leave the Attorney General's Office during lunch hour, get into a vehicle and drive to a downtown Phoenix parking garage. Horne then left the office and drove his gold Jaguar into the same garage.

Horne and Chenal then left the garage with Horne driving the vehicle originally driven by Chenal, Stribling wrote. Chenal was in the passenger seat.

"Horne was now wearing a baseball hat and he drove to Carmen's residence where Horne backed into a white Range Rover," Stribling wrote. "Horne and Chenal then drove away, parked in a parking garage and both walked into residential area where Chenal lived."

The FBI turned its evidence over to the Phoenix Police Department on Monday. The city's review of the case is ongoing. A police spokesman said striking an unattended vehicle is a low-level misdemeanor that could result in a fine.

Horne on Monday said he didn't believe there was any damage when he bumped the vehicle.

"I didn't think there was any damage or I would have been happy to stop and pay for it," Horne said. "I stand ready to pay for the damage."

When asked who he was with at the time of the crash, Horne said he couldn't recall: "It was last March, I have no idea."

Reporter Craig Harris contributed to this report.

County Attorney: AG Tom Horne broke law


County Attorney: AG Tom Horne broke law

Stems from possible violation of campaign finance laws; fines up to $1.5 million possible

by Yvonne Wingett Sanchez and Craig Harris - Oct. 1, 2012 10:21 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne violates campaign finance laws and gets into a hit an run accident Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, the state's top law-enforcement official, deliberately broke campaign-finance laws during his 2010 bid for office by coordinating with an independent expenditure committee, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery concluded after a 14-month investigation.

At a news conference Monday, Montgomery said investigators found e-mails and phone records showing Horne, a Republican, was intimately involved with Business Leaders for Arizona, which raised and spent more than $500,000 to run TV ads blasting Horne's Democratic opponent, Felecia Rotellini, in the closing days of the tight race.

"There were contemporaneous e-mails and telephone conversations on how much money was expected from this particular source of funds, and what ... needed to be the message, concerns over the content of the commercial in production, and active communications about why maybe some of the messaging needed to be changed," Montgomery said.

Such committees, which unlike candidates can accept unlimited donations, are supposed to operate independently of candidates and their campaigns.

Montgomery, whose office worked with the FBI, said he will not pursue criminal charges because a civil statute was more applicable.

Montgomery, a Republican, said the investigation also uncovered evidence of a misdemeanor vehicular hit-and-run involving Horne. Records obtained by The Republic show Horne was under FBI surveillance at the time of the accident, which occurred as he drove an employee, Carmen Chenal, to her residence in downtown Phoenix. That case has been referred to the Phoenix Police Department for review.

Horne said Monday that he is not guilty and that investigators got the timing and the facts wrong. He said he has no plans to resign, noting many national politicians have paid fines for civil campaign-finance violations.

"The evidence will show that we did not coordinate (campaign-finance activities)," Horne said.

The political implications for Horne, considered a 2014 gubernatorial contender, remain unclear. Some political observers said Montgomery's findings could damage Horne's aspirations for higher office -- particularly if he does not disprove them.

Horne and Kathleen Winn, a top Attorney General's Office employee who ran the independent campaign, could face civil penalties under that statute. However, Montgomery said he believes the civil sanctions allowed by the law are inadequate. He plans to lobby state lawmakers in the next session to strengthen campaign-finance laws.

Horne and Winn first will be allowed to return to donors the amount of money that exceeded campaign-contribution limits. If they refuse, they could face up to $1.5 million in civil penalties -- three times the amount spent by the independent expenditure committee on ads blasting Rotellini.

Montgomery first said Horne and Winn would not be held personally liable but later changed his position, saying the law allows individuals to be held liable. Montgomery also theorized the independent expenditure committee could be responsible for repaying the money. That committee as of last month had $8.18, according to public records filed with the Arizona Secretary of State's Office.

FBI Agent James Turgal, whose office initiated the investigation, would not talk in detail about his agency's role. He said investigators conducted the inquiry and turned the file over to the U.S. Attorney's Office. A spokesman for that agency said it is not investigating Horne.

Independent committee

Independent campaigns are created to bypass donor-contribution caps imposed on candidate campaigns. In the attorney general's race, for example, donors to the Horne or Rotellini campaigns could contribute only $840 each.

In December 2009, Winn created Business Leaders for Arizona to raise money to oppose former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, a Republican who opposed Horne in the 2010 primary. Horne has said that although Winn filed paperwork, there was no independent expenditure during that primary.

Winn volunteered for Horne's campaign in the primary. When it was over, Horne has said, Winn told him she was withdrawing from his campaign to conduct an independent campaign "on her own initiative" in the general election.

State campaign-finance records show her committee raised large contributions in late October 2010 as Horne and Rotellini were running neck and neck. The committee, headquartered at Winn's Mesa address, raised $512,500 in nine days to fund anti-Rotellini TV ads through Tempe-based Lincoln Strategy Group, a political-consulting firm.

Contributions included a $115,000 donation from Horne's brother-in-law in California and $350,000 from the Republican State Leadership Committee, a Virginia-based organization whose goal is to elect Republicans to statewide office. Montgomery said Horne may not be required to repay the donation from his brother-in-law.

Horne beat Rotellini by 3 percentage points. Following his victory, Horne hired Winn as his director of community and outreach.

In July 2011, Horne assigned Margaret "Meg" Hinchey, supervising special agent in the attorney general's criminal division, to internally investigate whether an employee was leaking information about his agency to the media. During that probe, Hinchey uncovered allegations that Horne and Winn coordinated campaign activities. The next month, the information was turned over to the FBI, which started an investigation and asked the County Attorney's Office to assist with interviews and obtain subpoenas.

E-mail evidence

Typically, Secretary of State Ken Bennett's office investigates campaign-finance violations and recommends to the Attorney General's Office whether to pursue charges. That recommendation is needed for a prosecutor to take action, according to Bennett.

However, because the FBI's long involvement in Horne's case, it wasn't until last month that federal agents and the County Attorney's Office met with Bennett's staff to discuss why action should be taken against Horne.

Bennett provided Montgomery with an official letter Sept. 20, recommending that Montgomery pursue civil charges against Horne, Business Leaders for Arizona and Winn. The letter states that e-mails that are part of the evidence "unquestionably demonstrate Attorney General Horne actively seeking funds for the IE committee." An Oct. 27, 2010, e-mail from Horne to Winn says: "Try again for the hundred k (sic)."

Winn two days later raised $100,000 from Horne's brother-in-law, Richard G. Newman, a California businessman.

Bennett's office on Monday released an Oct. 20, 2010, e-mail exchange between Winn and Brian Murray, a consultant to Winn's committee. The records note that while Winn was discussing strategy with Murray via e-mail, she also was on the phone with Horne. That same day, Winn began raising money for the committee, campaign-finance records show.

Murray confirmed he cooperated with the FBI inquiry but had no comment on the allegations.

Winn said Monday that law enforcement treated her unfairly. She said thatinvestigators did not interview her for her side of the story and that she "never coordinated" with Horne. "It just never happened," she said.

Investigators are misreading her communications with Horne , she added. She was advising him on a complicated real-estate transaction, not details of the independent expenditure committee, she said.

"The people that conducted the investigation have phone logs and several e-mails that are disconnected," she said. "I'm glad I'm not in Salem, and I'm glad I'm not in the witch trials, because that's what it feels like today."

Political reactions

Political reaction was swift. Though Republicans generally would not comment on the record about a fellow Republican, the Democratic Party and its elected officials called on Horne to resign.

Rotellini called the charges a stain on the Attorney General's Office, noting the race was decided "by precious few votes."

"The attorney general will have his day in court, as he should," Rotellini said. "But the fact that Tom Horne needs to have a day in court is shameful. This goes well beyond politics. It goes to the core of the meaning of the office."

John J. "Jack" Pitney Jr., a government professor at Claremont McKenna College in Southern California, said any allegation against a law-enforcement official undermines public trust.

"A conviction is far more damaging," Pitney said. "But even an accusation like this could give rise to future attacks, so it's very damaging. ... The personal and political image is very difficult to undo."

Republic reporters Mary Jo Pitzl and Michael Kiefer contributed to this article.

More on this topic

About the Arizona Attorney General

Salary: $90,000

Fiscal 2013 budget: About $102.7 million

Number of employees: About 900 in nine divisions.

Duties: Voters elect the attorney general to a four-year term, and he serves as the chief legal officer for the state. The office represents and provides legal advice to state agencies and enforces civil rights and consumer-protection laws. It prosecutes some financial and illegal-drug crimes. The office handles all felony conviction appeals.

Q&A on the Horne case, its ramifications


Q&A on the Horne case, its ramifications

by Craig Harris and Yvonne Wingett Sanchez - Oct. 1, 2012 10:27 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Attorney General Tom Horne was accused Monday of breaking campaign-finance laws. He said he will not resign.

Question: What's the issue?

Answer: Horne is accused of coordinating with an independent campaign committee to help him win the 2010 election. Such coordination is illegal .

Q: What's the penalty?

A: Donors, who gave $512,500 to Business Leaders for Arizona committee, must be repaid. A fine of three times the expenditures, or roughly $1.5 million, could be assessed if he does not repay.

Q: Who pays?

A: It could come from Horne; Kathleen Winn, a current Attorney General's Office employee who ran the independent committee; the 2010 campaign committee; or a new committee.

Q: How did the FBI get involved?

A: An investigator working for Horne notified the FBI of possible illegal activity, which prompted the investigation.

Q: How did Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery get the case?

A: The FBI took the case to Montgomery because it involved state statutes, and the Attorney General's Office had a conflict of interest.

Misconduct allegations against Horne: A timeline


Misconduct allegations against Horne: A timeline

by Craig Harris - Jul. 1, 2012 11:24 AM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne violates campaign finance laws and gets into a hit an run accident The Arizona Republic has constructed a time line of developments in Attorney General Tom Horne's case based on interviews, public records and documents in a $10 million defamation and retaliation claim filed against the state by Margaret "Meg" Hinchey, a former special agent in Horne's office.

Dec. 23, 2009: Business Leaders for Arizona, an independent expenditure campaign, is registered with the Arizona Secretary of State's Office. Kathleen Winn, a Horne supporter who would later be hired by his office, is the founder and makes the initial $100 contribution to the fund.

Oct. 20-29, 2010: Business Leaders for Arizona raises $512,500 in the final 10 days of a heated campaign. Nearly all the money is used to run negative ads against Felecia Rotellini, Horne's Democratic opponent for attorney general. Among the donors: Horne's brother-in-law, who contributes $115,000.

July 7, 2011: Horne picks Hinchey, a veteran investigator, to conduct a confidential internal investigation. The Republic has been told the probe was launched to determine if anyone leaked information to the media about Horne hiring into the office Carmen Chenal, a longtime Horne confidante whose law license had been suspended.

July 11-21, 2011: After getting access to an e-mail account of the person suspected of being the news leak, Hinchey discovers the employee was engaged in outside employment while being paid by the state.

Aug. 3, 2011: Hinchey is told of other possible criminal violations, including a grant application with potentially fraudulent information that may have been submitted to Gov. Jan Brewer's office.

Late summer 2011: Concerned about prior alleged criminal violations being "explained away," Hinchey reports the new allegations to the FBI.

Sept. 27, 2011: Amy Rezzonico, Horne's spokeswoman, "spontaneously" discloses to Hinchey that independent expenditures occurred for Horne, at his direction, during the 2010 campaign. It is illegal for a candidate for political office to be involved with an independent expenditure campaign. Horne has since denied involvement.

Sept. 29, 2011: Hinchey again is told about the grant-related fraud and the campaign finance allegations by an assistant attorney general.

Sept. 30, 2011: Hinchey reports allegations of illegal campaign-finance violations to the FBI.

Dec. 12, 2011: Hinchey learns that Deputy Attorney General Rick Bistrow and Horne discussed with Criminal Division Chief James Keppel whether or not they could destroy Hinchey's internal investigation file or "wipe her computer of all related documents." Keppel told them they could not.

Dec. 13, 2011: Hinchey provides outside law enforcement authorities a disc containing her investigative records, based on concerns her office records may be destroyed.

Jan. 11, 2012: The FBI contacts the Arizona Secretary of State's Office, seeking records about Horne's campaign and an independent expenditure committee operated by Winn. After the election, Winn had been named community-outreach and education director for the attorney general. Bistrow tells Hinchey her investigation is "suspended" and she is to take no further action.

Feb. 3, 2012: Horne and Bistrow tell Keppel that Hinchey "can't be trusted." Bistrow asks Keppel if he thinks Hinchey would notice if her case-file notebook was to go missing from her office. Keppel says she would.

Mid-February 2012: Horne tells Assistant Attorney General Steven Duplissis that Hinchey may have been having a personal relationship with Rotellini, whom Horne had defeated to become attorney general. Hinchey's attorney recently told The Republic that no such relationship ever existed. According to Duplissis, Horne asks if Hinchey was a registered Democrat and involved in Rotellini's campaign. Rotellini, who is divorced, tells the newspapers she never had a personal relationship with Hinchey.

March 20, 2012: Horne and Bistrow tell Keppel that Hinchey cannot be trusted because she went to the FBI to report "alleged baseless criminal activity" by Horne, related to campaign finance issues.

Late March 2012: Keppel resigns amid disagreements with Horne over the handling of Hinchey's investigation and other matters.

March 23, 2012: Hinchey's attorney writes Horne demanding an end to a "smear campaign" against Hinchey. Horne personally answers, saying there was no campaign and no investigation into Hinchey.

April 2, 2012: Horne publicly denies being involved in an independent expenditure committee that ran TV ads attacking Rotellini at the close of the 2010 campaign. Don Dybus, an assistant attorney general and Horne supporter, alleges Horne illegally collaborated with the independent expenditure committee to raise campaign funds, that he promised a job to Winn, and that he helped funnel money to the committee from his brother-in-law.

June 7, 2012: Hinchey files $10 million notice of claim against Horne, Bistrow and state of Arizona.

June 29, 2012: Bistrow tells The Republic he did not engage in a cover-up or attempt to destroy records that potentially show criminal activity as suggested in the claim. Rezzonico also denies allegations that she told Hinchey that independent expenditures had occurred for Horne during the 2010 campaign.

October 1, 2012: The Maricopa County Attorney's Office initiates a civil enforcement action against Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne and Kathleen Winn, one of his political allies, alleging they violated state campaign finance laws. Officials said that civil penalties are being pursued because there was not a sufficient basis for filing criminal charges and state statutes specifically allow for civil handling of such matters.

Sources: Notice of claim, The Arizona Republic

Why no call for Tom Horne's resignation


Laurie Roberts' Columns & Blog

Arizona Republic Columnist

Why no call for Tom Horne's resignation?


Mon, Oct 01 2012

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne violates campaign finance laws and gets into a hit an run accident Holy Fiesta Bowl, here we go again. Only this time it’s far worse than a few dozen junketeering legislators who got away with thumbing their noses at annoying laws that require them to pay for their own football tickets. It’s worse than wondering who’s paying for our leaders’ fabulous five-star weekend getaways – something they’re supposed to disclose but so often it slips their minds.

This time, it’s the attorney general of Arizona, the top law enforcement officer in the state who is accused of violating campaign finance laws. Basically, Attorney General Tom Horne is accused of cheating his way into office, only don’t look for anyone to suggest that he ought to have to forfeit that office.

This, after all, is Arizona, where the rugs in the hallways of power bulge like the San Francisco Peaks, given all the stuff swept underneath the things.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery on Monday announced a “civil enforcement action” against Horne and Kathleen Winn, who ran a supposedly independent campaign that raised and spent more than $500,000 on ads attacking Democrat Felecia Rotellini in the waning days of the November 2010 election.

At that point, Horne was out of cash in a close race and there was only one way to raise big money quickly: an independent campaign, where there are no limits on what a donor can contribute.

In just 10 days, Winn’s Business Leaders for Arizona raised $513,000 for last-minute attack ads.

Montgomery says that Horne was involved both in collecting that money and in designating how it should be spent – a definite no-no under Arizona law.

Both Horne and Winn are adamant that they did nothing wrong, with Horne calling the allegations “totally false.”

Montgomery, however, says he’s got the goods – phone records that show Winn engaged in e-mailing directions about the “independent” campaign while on the phone with Horne.

“This isn’t acceptable,” Montgomery said. “This isn’t acceptable to me as a citizen in this state and it isn’t acceptable to me in the capacity that I hold as county attorney.”

It isn’t acceptable but it apparently isn’t unacceptable enough that Montgomery would call for Horne’s resignation.

Or look further into how Winn came to be hired as Horne’s community-outreach and education director.

Or get to the bottom of what happened once Horne took office and a veteran investigator stumbled upon evidence of his involvement in the independent campaign. That investigator has claimed that Horne and a top aide engaged in a coverup and attempted to destroy records that might have showed criminal activity.

None of that, however, is under investigation by Montgomery – or anyone else, apparently.

And blatantly violating campaign finance laws in order to get yourself elected is evidently not a crime in Arizona.

Shocking, I know.

Montgomery, during his press conference, said that the Legislature needs to overhaul campaign finance laws. Of course, post Fiesta Bowl Fiasco, he said the same thing about the need for tighter laws governing disclosure of gifts and you know what happened on that. (Nothing, that would be.)

This time, however, Montgomery says he plans to lobby for tougher penalties, though he wasn’t specific on what he would be seeking.

So here’s a suggestion.

If you’re a candidate and you blow by campaign finance limits by having your pals give big money to an independent campaign in the final 10 days of a race…

… and then you direct how all that glorious money should be spent on attack ads against your opponent ….

… and you win with not even 52 percent of the vote….

Then you’re a cheater under ARS 16-Don’tYouDare and if you do, you’ve got to go.

It seems obvious, after all, that you can't be enforcing laws against other people if you don't follow them yourself.

But Montgomery declined to call for Horne's resignation while he’s pursing civil enforcement.

“I think it’s incredibly important for me to avoid … calling for the elected official in question to do anything else,” he said. “What’s important for me to do at this point in time is to make sure that the civil enforcement action goes forward.”

How you can hold a press conference to announce a blatant violation of the election law by the attorney general of the state and then not call for that same attorney general to resign is beyond me.

Then again, this is Arizona politics we're talking about.

Was Rotellini robbed by Horne?


Was Rotellini robbed by Horne?


Mon, Oct 01 2012

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne violates campaign finance laws and gets into a hit an run accident Tom Horne beat Democrat Felecia Rotellini in the 2010 race for the state attorney general job by a few percentage points.

So, given what County Attorney Bill Montgomery says about the shady financial dealings that Horne is alleged to have participated in during the campaign does that mean Rotellini was robbed?

Short answer: Yes.

At least that’s how it looks.

So, how does Rotellini, who spent more than a decade in the AG’s office going after bad guys, feel about all this? zI’ll let her tell you.

She issued a statement Monday that reads:

“The 2010 Attorney General’s race was decided by precious few votes. While there’s no way of knowing if that election might have ended differently without the boost provided by TV ads paid for with hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal donations, I do know this: Tom Horne stands accused of breaking the law, as determined by an FBI investigation and the Republican Maricopa County Attorney. The Attorney General will have his day in court, as he should. But the fact that Tom Horne needs to have a day in court is shameful.

“An Attorney General accused of breaking the law by his fellow law enforcement officials undermines the credibility of AG’s office and hurts the State of Arizona. This goes well beyond politics. It goes directly to the core attribute of the job: The ability to prosecute wrongdoers on behalf of the people of Arizona.

“You can’t stand accused of breaking the law and meanwhile defend the law. Attorney General Horne should be as ashamed of his alleged conduct as we, the people of Arizona, are disappointed in it.

“Let me also say this: As a career prosecutor, I know how hard resources are to come by in a world where you’re faced with investigating and prosecuting homicides, rapes and massive fraud. I very much appreciate the hard work and diligence of the FBI and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and the courage of all the witnesses who came forward in this case. Again, they’ve proven that no one in Arizona is above the law.

“Thank you.”

So, were WE robbed?

Short answer: Yes.

Some tie Horne case, Citizens United fears


Some tie Horne case, Citizens United fears

by Ronald J. Hansen - Oct. 1, 2012 10:26 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne violates campaign finance laws and gets into a hit an run accident As a legal matter, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne is accused of violating campaign-finance laws that were on the books long before the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling.

But as a practical matter, the case may play into fears that corporations have used the 2010 decision to thwart democracy, some election lawyers said.

On Monday, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery sought to fine Horne's campaign for what he deemed improper coordination with groups that are required to operate independently of candidates. Such collaboration has long been illegal under Arizona law.

Records show the independent groups relied on corporate donations, a funding source not permitted until the groundbreaking Citizens United case. Horne narrowly defeated Felecia Rotellini in 2010 to become the state's top law-enforcement officer.

In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court held that corporations and labor unions could spend directly and in unlimited amounts to influence elections, but only through independent groups.

For months, Washington, D.C.-based liberal advocacy group People for the American Way has cited the Horne case as a troubling example of the impact of that decision.

"That election really does show the dangerous impact of Citizens United," Paul Gordon, legislative counsel for the group, said Monday. "The fact is that most of this was corporate money. That's why it made such an impact. If you had some individuals putting in some money, it wouldn't have been nearly as much money."

But others said corporate money wasn't the issue.

"I don't think (the Horne case) has a whole lot to do with Citizens United," said Paul Eckstein, a Phoenix attorney who specializes in election law. Instead, it was the coordination between a candidate and an independent committee, he said.

While not seeing an impact in Horne's case, Eckstein takes issue with the ruling. The Citizens United decision assumes that campaign contributions can corrupt politicians and must be limited while independent expenditures are outside candidates' control and don't need limits, he noted.

Sheriff traveling 62 mph before crash, report says

Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever died in a car crash. He was driving drunk with a BAC of .291. More of the old 'do as I say, not as I do' from our government masters Was Coconino County Sheriff's Office Larry Dever speeding??? Probably!!!

He also wasn't wearing his seat belt which is another violation of Arizona law.

Looks like more of the good old "Do as I say, not as I do" BS from our government masters. They expect us to obey the law to the letter but they routinely disobey the same laws they enforce on us with an iron fist.


Sheriff traveling 62 mph before crash, report says

Oct. 1, 2012 05:09 PM

Associated Press

FLAGSTAFF -- The former Cochise County sheriff had been traveling at 62 mph along a dirt and gravel road in northern Arizona when he lost control of his vehicle and died.

A report released Monday by the Coconino County Sheriff's Office says the black box in Larry Dever's vehicle also shows that the seat belt was unbuckled.

Dever was on his way to meet family members for a camping and hunting trip at White Horse Lake on Sept. 18 when his pickup rolled.

The U.S. Forest Service road he had been driving on near Williams has no speed limit. Under state law, motorists are to drive at a speed that's reasonable and prudent on Forest Service roads without posted limits.

The medical examiner's office says his death was accidental and caused by multiple injuries.

Judge Rules That Mass Arrests at a 2004 Protest Were Illegal

Wow the wheels of justice, or should I say injustice turn rather slowly. It has taken 6 stinking years for the courts to say these arrests were illegal and unconstitutional.

I guess the bottom line is that even if the American courts pretend to be fair it will take them years to treat you fairly.


Judge Rules That Mass Arrests at a 2004 Protest Were Illegal


Published: October 1, 2012

A federal judge has ruled that the New York Police Department illegally arrested large numbers of demonstrators at a protest in Lower Manhattan during the 2004 Republican National Convention. But the judge upheld aspects of how the city had handled the protesters’ arrests.

A judge said the city did not have probable cause to arrest more than 200 antiwar demonstrators in Lower Manhattan on Aug. 31, 2004.

The judge, Richard J. Sullivan of Federal District Court, said that the city had lacked the required probable cause because the police were unaware of whether each individual protester had broken the law.

“An individual’s participation in a lawbreaking group may, in appropriate circumstances, be strong circumstantial evidence of that individual’s own illegal conduct,” the judge wrote in a 32-page opinion. “But, no matter the circumstances,” he added, “an arresting officer must believe that every individual arrested personally violated the law. Nothing short of such a finding can justify arrest. The Fourth Amendment does not recognize guilt by association.”

The ruling on the protest, which occurred on Fulton Street on Aug. 31, 2004, was a kind of test case examined by the judge of one group of plaintiffs among hundreds who filed false-arrest claims in the wake of the demonstrations, which rippled across the city during the convention and at times erupted into confrontations with the police. The ruling, dated Sunday, opens the door for the city to have to pay damages to the plaintiffs in the Fulton Street arrests. More than 200 were arrested during that protest, though not all have lawsuits pending.

But the judge also rejected arguments that the city had violated the protesters’ First Amendment rights by not treating their arrests as a lesser violation that would typically result in the issuance of a summons, and processing them instead through the courts, including detaining and fingerprinting them and taking them before a judge.

The judge found that the no-summons policy passed constitutional muster because it was a response “to a threat derived from intelligence sources — namely, that demonstrators aimed to ‘shut down the City of New York and the R.N.C.’ through ‘continuous unlawful behavior,’ ” and that they “would be undeterred by the issuance of summonses.” He added that the policy “was in place only for the brief duration the threat existed.”

Both sides praised aspects of the ruling. Peter Farrell, a senior lawyer with the city’s Law Department, said the demonstrations had made “an extraordinary security challenge.”

The ruling “validates two city policies the plaintiffs have spent almost five years exclusively litigating — to fingerprint arrestees and not to issue summonses,” Mr. Farrell said. “The court upheld these policies under the most exacting judicial scrutiny possible, finding them constitutional and warranted in light of the threats the city faced during the R.N.C. We are reviewing the remainder of the decision and considering our legal options in that regard.”

Christopher T. Dunn, a lawyer with the New York Civil Liberties Union, which represents some of the plaintiffs, said the judge had “emphatically rejected the city’s claim that it could make mass arrests of protesters.”

“With this ruling,” he added, “the time has come for the city to put this controversy behind it, to settle the rest of the convention cases, and to make sure that mass arrests never happen again here.”

Bob Curley, a lawyer from Philadelphia who was arrested near Fulton Street with his son, Neal, then 16, and held 16 hours, said that he thought the arrests in 2004 were meant to “discourage dissent” and felt vindicated by Judge Sullivan’s decision.

“I was pretty shocked when it happened,” he said, describing the moment he was taken into custody. “I said to my son this isn’t the America I grew up in.”

Colin Moynihan contributed reporting.

You are being watched by the police and government

Emails, phone call used against Baby Gabriel's mom in trial

Sadly over two thirds of the people in American prisons are there for victimless drug war crimes that should be legal. In addition to that a large number of other people are in American prisons for victimless crimes like gambling, prostitution, messy yard crimes and consensual sex with a minor. I don't consider these people to be criminals and this advice is for them.

Remember any phone calls you make from jail are tape recorded and will be used against you.

And of course there is a good change that people you are in jail with are government snitches who will be paid by the government to help convict you and anything you say to them will be used against you. And since these people are begin paid by the government to help convict you they will frequently lie and make up stuff. So just shut up and talk to NO ONE if you are put in jail.

And of course all the mail you send or receive is also viewed by jail guards and probably will be used against you.

And last but not least remember, anything you do on the internet such as emails, tweets, facebook, meetup and web pages is probably being saved by a third party, and will be used against you by the police.


Emails, phone call used against Baby Gabriel's mom in trial

Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012 8:39 pm

By Corey Rangel, ABC15

Elizabeth Johnson in the  Baby Gabriel case Prosecutors used baby Gabriel's mother's own words against her during trial on Monday.

Elizabeth Johnson started crying as the jury saw emails between her and Gabriel’s father, Logan McQueary.

The emails show McQueary wrote Johnson that he loved his son and wanted to be apart of his life, but he said Johnson kept pushing him away.

Johnson is on trial for kidnapping and custodial interference charges.

Jurors also heard a recorded phone call Johnson made from jail after she was arrested in Miami in December of 2009.

During the call, Johnson told friends, family, and a TV reporter she gave her son away to a couple she met at a San Antonio park even though she knew nothing about them, not even their last name.

The state is expected to wrap up its case on Tuesday.

AG Tom Horne was having an affair when he had his hit and run accident???

From this article it sure sounds like Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne was having an affair when he has his hit and run accident.

Remember Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne is the jerk who wants to throw medical marijuana users in prison.


Probe into Horne's campaign finances leads to report over alleged hit-and-run

Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012 8:24 pm

By Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne was having an affair when he got into his hit and run accident???? The FBI probe into campaign finance activities of Attorney General Tom Horne is landing him in hot water over an alleged hit-and-run accident.

"I'm told that I bumped into another car pulling out of a parking spot, another parked car,'' Horne told Capitol Media Services.

"Apparently at the time, I didn't think it was damaged,'' Horne continued. "I was told later it was damaged. I was happy to pay if there was any damage.''

Horne said after being informed about the incident by the Maricopa County Attorney's Office he sent off a letter.

"As soon as I hear whose bumper I damaged, I'm happy to pay for it,'' Horne said.

But reports from the Maricopa County Attorney's Office show there may have been more involved -- and that Horne may have purposely left the scene. And they know about the incident because the FBI was already watching Horne and his office back in March.

That report shows that Carmen Chenal, a disbarred attorney hired by Horne at the Attorney General's office, left the office, got into a vehicle and drove to a parking garage. Horne left the building separately, got into his gold Jaguar and drove to the same parking garage.

"Horne and Chenal then exited the parking garage with Horne now driving the vehicle that Chenal was originally driving and Carmen in the passenger seat,'' according to a report filed by Detective Mark Stribling.

"Horne was now wearing a baseball hat and he drove to Carmen's residence where Horne backed into a white Range Rover,'' the report continued. "Horne and Chenal then drove away, parked in a parking garage and both walked into residential area where Chenal lived.''

Horne told Capitol Media Services he did not remember why he and Chenal drove to the area.

"It was last March, so who remembers?'' he said, adding that the site is a parking area for Pita Jungle and other restaurants.

The incident became public with Monday's release of the investigative report into Horne's 2010 election campaign.

Phoenix police report they just got the investigation Monday and are still looking into it. It is a violation of the law to leave the scene of an accident without reporting it to authorities or at least leaving your name for the owner of the other vehicle.

Mom arrested for leaving baby in hot car

Don't these pigs have any REAL criminals to arrest???

You know, criminals that hurt people like robbers, muggers, rapists and murders?

Not some mommy who leaves her child in a car while she goes into the grocery store to grab something to cook for dinner.


Mother Arrested in NoHo After Leaving Baby in Hot Car


7:32 a.m. PDT, October 2, 2012

NORTH HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (KTLA) -- A mother was arrested after allegedly leaving her 1-year-old daughter in a hot car while she went into a North Hollywood store, authorities said.

Los Angeles police and paramedics responded about 1:20 p.m. to the Ralphs grocery store parking lot at 10900 Magnolia Boulevard and found a baby girl inside a blue Nissan.

"Though air conditioning was running, the vehicle interior was not cooling," said Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey.

Whether air conditioning is on or not, it is against California law to leave a child unattended in a vehicle, Humphrey said.

Humphrey said the little girl was taken to a hospital and found to be in good condition. He said an unofficial weather station in the area put the temperature at the time at 106 degrees.

LAPD Det. Gus Villanueva said the vehicle was unlocked.

The child's mother was found inside the grocery store after authorities arrived and she was taken into custody.

She is being booked on suspicion of willful harm to a child, police said. [You mean the cops say the woman was willfully trying to harm the child??? What rubbish! The child wasn't harmed and I seriously doubt the mother wanted to harm the child. This is just a case of the cops creating a jobs program for themselves by arresting people for trivial crimes]

Police say the baby, along with her 7-year-old brother, have been taken into protective custody because of concerns officers found at their home.

Paul Penzone isn't much better then Sheriff Joe.

Paul Penzone isn't much better then Maricopa County tyrant Sheriff Joe Arpaio - Paul Penzone is a big fan of the insane, unconstitutional drug war Yes I know that Sheriff Joe is the worst *sshole on the face of the earth and anything is better then him. But while Paul Penzone is better he isn't much better. It's kind like comparing Hitler to Bush. Sure Bush is a cut above Hitler, but he isn't that much better.

From this article Paul Penzone sounds like he is a big fan of the "drug war"

"Penzone spent six years under cover in narcotics, working on local and federal cases ... Penzone said under his leadership, the sheriff’s office will focus on ... drug trafficking"

Candidate seeks student votes to oust Arpaio

By Tess Homan

September 30, 2012 at 5:57 pm

Maricopa County Sheriff candidate Paul Penzone said at an ASU Young Democrats meeting Friday that a sheriff should have accountability, responsibility and the intent to build a safer community.

Paul Penzone isn't much better then Maricopa County tyrant Sheriff Joe Arpaio - Paul Penzone is a big fan of the insane, unconstitutional drug war Penzone said he decided to run for office because Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, his opponent, has not acted accountably in his 20 years holding the position. Arpaio, known nationally as America’s Toughest Sheriff, and for his enforcement of immigration law, is seeking his sixth term.

After $100 million in misappropriated funds and more than $50 million in lost lawsuits, Maricopa County needs new law enforcement leadership, Penzone said.

Penzone said he is not running for sheriff to gain the title.

“It’s about me wanting to do the job of sheriff,” Penzone said.

A recent poll commissioned by Penzone showed that he is six points behind Arpaio. Penzone is also behind Arpaio in fundraising.

Arpaio raised $457,000 between Aug. 9 and Sept. 17, while Penzone raised $138,000 in that period, according to a report from the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office.

Overall, Arpaio has raised more than $8 million to Penzone’s almost $400,000.

ASU Young Democrats Vice President Quentin Gunn, an economics and mathematics junior, said he thinks Penzone will be able to overcome the gap in funds.

“(Penzone) is one of the first candidates in a while that looks like he has a chance,” Gunn said.

Gunn said Arizona seems to be waking up to how Arpaio is hurting Arizona’s reputation and mismanaging the Sheriff’s department.

Aerospace engineering freshman Mark Bahrijczuk said he supports Arpaio.

“He’s doing a great job,” Bahrijczuk said.

He said he is in favor of Arpaio’s immigration policies because illegal immigrants take away jobs from U.S. citizens.

Although Penzone comes from a long background of law enforcement, he has never run for political office or held such a large administrative position.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s office, the third largest in the nation, employs more than 3,400 people, according the MCSO website.

Penzone said his 21 years in law enforcement have given him all the experience he needs to be sheriff.

He became a police officer at 21 and worked in law enforcement until 2009, when he retired and worked with nonprofit organizations like NotMyKid, which is dedicated to preventing substance abuse in adolescents.

While on the police force, Penzone spent six years under cover in narcotics, working on local and federal cases.

“If you guys watch any of the cop shows … that’s what I did,” Penzone said.

Penzone spent some time in administration and said he realized it’s one of the most important jobs on the force, despite lacking the thrill of fieldwork.

Administration is essential because that is where decisions about money distribution and allocation are made, Penzone said.

Penzone also worked with Silent Witness, Arizona’s crime tip hotline.

If elected, Penzone said he wants to restructure and reprioritize Maricopa’s law enforcement.

Although immigration will still be a concern, Penzone said he will shift the focus from catching “low-hanging fruit,” like illegal immigrants who do not pose a threat to society, to bringing down the cause of the problem.

Marketing sophomore Cassie Woods said she supports Arpaio for his crackdown on illegal immigration.

“He has the right idea,” Woods said.

There needs to be immigration reform, Woods said.

Penzone said under his leadership, the sheriff’s office will focus on hunting fugitives and stopping human slavery and drug trafficking.

Penzone said he would like to see Tent City, the outdoor jail started by Arpaio, eventually closed.

It was a temporary solution for a permanent problem, Penzone said.

Biomedical engineering sophomore Heather Borgard said she supports Penzone because of his stance on issues like Tent City.

“What’s going on in Tent City is inexcusable,” Borgard said.

She said Penzone has a chance in November if people come out to vote.

Reach the reporter at tnhoman@asu.edu

Report: Intelligence centers saving citizens data

I suspect this program is the one that pays the cops who will read this email and read this article after I post it on my web pages.

Lets face it, the American Homeland Security is just as evil as the Nazi Germany's Gestapo and the Soviet Unions KGB.


Report: Intelligence centers saving citizens data

by Matt Apuzzo and Eileen Sullivan - Oct. 3, 2012 12:00 AM

Associated Press

A multibillion-dollar information-sharing program created in the aftermath of 9/11 has improperly collected information about innocent Americans and produced little valuable intelligence on terrorism, a U.S. Senate report concludes.

What began as an attempt to put local, state and federal officials in the same room analyzing the same intelligence has instead cost huge amounts of money for data-mining software, flat-screen televisions and, in Arizona, two fully equipped Chevrolet Tahoes that are used for commuting, investigators found.

The lengthy, bipartisan report is a scathing evaluation of what the Department of Homeland Security has held up as a crown jewel of its security efforts. The report underscores a reality of post-9/11 Washington: National security programs tend to grow, never shrink, even when their money and manpower far surpass the actual subject of terrorism. Much of this money went for ordinary local crime-fighting.

What's been spent is unclear

Disagreeing with the critical conclusions of the report, Homeland Security says it is outdated, inaccurate and too focused on information produced by the program, ignoring benefits to local governments from their involvement with federal intelligence officials.

Because of a convoluted grants process set up by Congress, Homeland Security officials don't know how much they have spent in their decade-long effort to set up so-called fusion centers in every state. Government estimates range from less than $300 million to $1.4 billion in federal money, plus much more invested by state and local governments. Federal funding is pegged at about 20 percent to 30 percent.

The report recommends the Senate reconsider the amount of money it spends on fusion centers, but Congress is unlikely to pull the plug. That's because the program means politically important money for state and local governments.

Infringing on civil liberties

A Senate Homeland Security subcommittee reviewed 600 unclassified reports over a one-year period and concluded that most had nothing to do with terrorism. The panel's chairman is Democrat Carl Levin of Michigan, the ranking Republican Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.

"The subcommittee investigation could identify no reporting which uncovered a terrorist threat, nor could it identify a contribution such fusion center reporting made to disrupt an active terrorist plot," the report said.

When fusion centers did address terrorism, they sometimes did so in ways that infringed on civil liberties. One center cited in the Senate investigation wrote a report about a Muslim community group's list of book recommendations. Others discussed American citizens speaking at mosques or talking to Muslim groups about parenting.

No evidence of criminal activity was contained in those reports. The government did not circulate them, but it kept them on government computers. The federal government is prohibited from storing information about First Amendment activities not related to crimes.

'What planet are you from?'

Inside Homeland Security, officials have long known there were problems with the reports coming out of fusion centers, the report shows.

"You would have some guys, the information you'd see from them, you'd scratch your head and say, 'What planet are you from?'" an unidentified Homeland Security official told Congress.

Until this year, the federal reports officers received five days of training and were never tested or graded afterward, the report said.

Lack of federal oversight

The Senate Homeland Security subcommittee's report is as much an indictment of Congress as it is the Homeland Security department. In setting up the department, lawmakers wanted their states to decide what to spend the money on. Time and again, that setup has meant the federal government has no way to know how its security money is being spent.

Counterterrorism money started flowing to states in 2003. But it wasn't until late 2007 that the Bush administration told states how to run the centers.

DHS ‘fusion centers’ portrayed as pools of ineptitude, civil liberties intrusions


DHS ‘fusion centers’ portrayed as pools of ineptitude, civil liberties intrusions

By Robert O’Harrow Jr., Published: October 2

An initiative aimed at improving intelligence sharing has done little to make the country more secure, despite as much as $1.4 billion in federal spending, according to a two-year examination by Senate investigators.

The nationwide network of offices known as “fusion centers” was launched after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to address concerns that local, state and federal authorities were not sharing information effectively about potential terrorist threats.

But after nine years — and regular praise from officials at the Department of Homeland Security — the 77 fusion centers have become pools of ineptitude, waste and civil liberties intrusions, according to a scathing 141-page report by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs permanent subcommittee on investigations.

The creation and operation of the fusion centers were promoted by the administration of President George W. Bush and later the Obama administration as essential weapons in the fight to build a nationwide network that would keep the country safe from terrorism. The idea was to promote increased collaboration and cooperation among all levels of law enforcement across the country.

But the report documents spending on items that did little to help share intelligence, including gadgets such as “shirt button” cameras, $6,000 laptops and big-screen televisions. One fusion center spent $45,000 on a decked-out SUV that a city official used for commuting.

“In reality, the Subcommittee investigation found that the fusion centers often produced irrelevant, useless or inappropriate intelligence reporting to DHS, and many produced no intelligence reporting whatsoever,” the report said.

The bipartisan report, released by subcommittee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and ranking minority member Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), portrays the fusion center system as ineffective and criticizes the Department of Homeland Security for poor supervision.

In a response Tuesday, the department condemned the report and defended the fusion centers, saying the Senate investigators relied on out-of-date data. The Senate investigators examined fusion center reports in 2009 and 2010 and looked at activity, training and policies over nine years, according to the report.

The statement also said the Senate investigators misunderstood the role of fusion centers, “which is to provide state and local law enforcement analytic support in furtherance of their day-to-day efforts to protect local communities from violence, including that associated with terrorism.”

The DHS statement also said that all of the questioned expenses were allowable under the rules.

Department officials have defended the fusion centers in the face of past criticism from the news media and internal reviews. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano and other senior officials have praised the centers as centerpieces of U.S. counterterrorism strategy.

Mike Sena, president of the National Fusion Center Association, an advocacy organization, called the report unfair. Sena, who manages the center in the San Francisco Bay area, said fusion centers have processed more than 22,000 “suspicious activity reports” that have triggered 1,000 federal inquiries or investigations. He said they also have shared with the Terrorist Screening Center some 200 “pieces of data” that provided “actionable intelligence.”

The Senate report challenged the value of the training and much of the information produced by the centers. It said that DHS analysts assigned to the fusion centers received just five days of basic training for intelligence reporting. Sena said they received an array of other training as well.

Some analysts at the department’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis, which received the fusion center reports, were found to be so unproductive that supervisors imposed quotas for reports, knowing those quotas would diminish the quality of the intelligence, according to the Senate report. Many of those analysts at the DHS intelligence office were contractors.

Investigators found instances in which the analysts used intelligence about U.S. citizens that may have been gathered illegally. In one case, a fusion center in California wrote a report on a notorious gang, the Mongols Motorcycle Club, that had distributed leaflets telling its members to behave when they got stopped by police. The leaflet said members should be courteous, control their emotions and, if drinking, have a designated driver.

“There is nothing illegal or even remotely objectionable [described] in this report,” one supervisor wrote about the draft before killing it. “The advice given to the groups’ members is protected by the First Amendment.”

Financial questions were pervasive, with the report saying oversight has been so lax that department officials do not know exactly how much has been spent on the centers. The official estimates varied between $289 million and $1.4 billion.

A DHS official, who insisted on not being identified because he was not authorized to talk to the news media, acknowledged that the department does not closely track the money but said it conducts audits of the fusion spending. The official said that just under half of the fusion centers’ budgets comes from the department.

In the statement, the department said its Federal Emergency Management Agency, which administers the grants, provides “wide latitude” for states to decide how to spend the money.

“All of the expenditures questioned in the report are allowable under the grant program guidance, whether or not they are connected with a fusion center,” the statement said.

The Senate report said local and state officials entrusted with the fusion center grants sometimes spent lavishly. More than $2 million was spent on a center for Philadelphia that never opened. In Ohio, officials used the money to buy rugged laptop computers and then gave them to a local morgue. San Diego officials bought 55 flat-screen televisions to help them collect “open-source intelligence” — better known as cable television news.

Senate investigators repeatedly questioned the quality of the intelligence reports. A third or more of the reports intended for officials in Washington were discarded because they lacked useful information, had been drawn from media accounts or involved potentially illegal surveillance of U.S. citizens, according to the Senate report.

Senate panel criticizes anti-terror data-sharing centers


Senate panel criticizes anti-terror data-sharing centers

By Ken Dilanian and Brian Bennett, Los Angeles Times

October 3, 2012

WASHINGTON — A federal domestic security effort to help state and local law enforcement catch terrorists by setting up more than 70 information-sharing centers around the country has threatened civil liberties while doing little to combat terrorism, a two-year examination by a Senate subcommittee found.

The so-called fusion centers were created in 2003 after the Sept. 11 commission concluded that federal, state and local law enforcement agencies needed to collaborate more in counter-terrorism efforts.

Funded by federal grants, the fusion centers were intended to share national intelligence with state and local law enforcement and to analyze potential terrorist activity detected by police. Homeland Security Department officials have credited the centers for helping uncover terrorist plans, including a 2009 plot to bomb the New York subway.

But the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, in a 146-page report released Tuesday that reviewed intelligence reports from fusion centers between April 1, 2009, and April 30, 2010, "could identify nothing that uncovered a terrorist threat, nor could it identify a contribution any fusion center made to disrupt an active terrorist plot."

Senate investigators concluded that Homeland Security liaisons to the centers "forwarded 'intelligence' of uneven quality — oftentimes shoddy, rarely timely, sometimes endangering citizens' civil liberties and Privacy Act protections, occasionally taken from already-published public sources, and more often than not unrelated to terrorism."

The investigators also found that some local analysts had written inappropriate and potentially illegal reports about constitutionally protected activities of American citizens. Homeland Security officials prevented most from being disseminated.

The Homeland Security Department could not say for sure how much federal money had been spent on the centers, the subcommittee found, providing a range of $289 million to $1.4 billion.

Homeland Security officials took issue with the conclusions, saying they resulted from a "fundamentally flawed" investigation. "The committee report on federal support for fusion centers is out of date, inaccurate and misleading," said spokesman Matthew Chandler.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has lauded the centers, which are located in nearly every major metropolitan area. In March 2010, Homeland Security Undersecretary for Intelligence and Analysis Caryn A. Wagner praised them as "the linchpin of the evolving homeland security enterprise."

The Senate report rebuts statements by Homeland Security officials that the centers helped uncover terrorist plots, including a 2010 attempt to blow up a sport utility vehicle in Times Square, saying that the same work would have been done through previously existing channels.

One of the most significant terrorism cases in which officials have claimed a success for fusion centers was that of Najibullah Zazi, an Afghan immigrant who traveled in 2009 from Colorado to New York City, where he has admitted that he planned to blow himself up on the subway around the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Napolitano claimed in a speech in 2010 that "it was a fusion center near Denver that played the key role in 'fusing' the information that came from the public with evidence that came in following the suspect's arrest by the FBI."

But that claim was not true, the investigation found. The Colorado Information Analysis Center's involvement consisted of checking a few public databases and addressing media inquiries. The crucial role, the report said, was played by Colorado state troopers assigned to the center who were also assigned to help the FBI. The report found that the troopers would have been doing what they did whether or not there was a fusion center.

In preparing the report, the committee reviewed intelligence that had been edited to protect classified information. Homeland Security officials said that these redactions limited the investigators' ability to assess the usefulness of intelligence generated by local analysts.

One of the country's largest federally funded fusion centers covers most of Southern California. The Joint Regional Intelligence Center in Norwalk has more than 80 full-time staff members and stitches together information from 166 law enforcement departments.

Deputy Chief Michael Downing, head of the LAPD's counter-terrorism bureau, said his department had gotten "a lot of value" from the increased cooperation: "There's a lot of white noise, but there are occasionally gold nuggets."

In the last year, Downing said, the Norwalk-based center has helped start terrorism investigations by sharing information about Muslim extremist literature found in the back seat of a car during a traffic stop and about an individual who went into a youth group meeting at an Islamic center and tried to recruit young Muslims to "kill infidels."

He did not know whether any of these cases had led to a conviction.

In some cases, the investigation found, fusion centers have also made embarrassing intelligence errors.

Last year, for example, the Illinois Statewide Terrorism and Intelligence Center in Springfield published a report asserting that a hacker in Russia had stolen an unknown number of user names and passwords to sensitive utility control systems and used that information to break into a local water district's computerized control system.

In fact, the "hacker" was a utility employee who had accessed the system legitimately while on a family vacation, the report found.

A spokeswoman for the center, Monique Bond, would not comment on the report, but said, "Fusion centers and the information shared by local, state and federal agencies enhances law enforcement's efforts in fighting everyday crime and homeland defense."

The subcommittee report also pointed to fusion center reports on activities protected by the U.S. Constitution.

One draft intelligence report examined a reading list from a Muslim community group: "Ten Book Recommendations for Every Muslim." Four were written by individuals with records in a U.S. intelligence counter-terrorism database, the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, known as TIDE.

"We cannot report on books and other writings of TIDE matches simply because they are TIDE matches," wrote a Homeland Security reviewer of the draft report. "The writings themselves are protected by the 1st Amendment unless you can establish that something in the writing indicates planning or advocates violent or other criminal activity." The report was not published.



Jailing of 'Innocence of Muslims' creator raises free speech worries


Jailing of 'Innocence of Muslims' creator raises free speech worries

By Victoria Kim, Abby Sewell and Jessica Garrison, Los Angeles Times

October 2, 2012, 9:42 p.m.

As rioting over the anti-Islam film "Innocence of Muslims" spread across the Muslim world, President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton both deplored the film's message but defended the free speech rights of its creators. In Clinton's words: "We do not stop individual citizens from expressing their views, no matter how distasteful they may be."

But now one of the film's creators, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, is sitting in jail in downtown Los Angeles. He may face two years in prison for allegedly violating the terms of his probation through his actions surrounding the film's production. News of his arrest and detention has been widely covered around the world, causing some to worry about the perception that the United States was punishing Nakoula because of the content of his movie.

Government officials maintained that Nakoula was back in custody not because of the impact of the movie, which portrays the prophet Muhammad as a womanizer and a child molester, but because he had used aliases in producing the film and lied to probation officers.

Nakoula, who was on a type of probation known in the federal system as supervised release, served time in prison for a 2010 conviction for taking out bank and credit cards under myriad fake identities. He now faces eight charges of probation violation. The allegations include making false statements to authorities about the film — claiming his role was limited to writing the script — and denying he used the alias "Sam Bacile."

Authorities say they have proof Nakoula's role in the movie was "much more expansive" than that of a writer and that Nakoula could face new criminal charges for lying to federal officials.

Probation officials are recommending a two-year prison term for Nakoula, despite a guideline range of four to 10 months.

A federal judge ordered him held in protective custody without bail, saying he is a flight risk and poses "some danger to the community."

Some legal experts said the government was on firm legal footing and had little choice but to enforce the terms of Nakoula's probation once he came onto their radar.

Those on probation don't have the same rights as the average citizen, and authorities have wide discretion over their behavior, the experts said. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld speech restrictions as part of probation in specific cases. Nakoula was barred from using computers or the Internet without permission from his probation officer, though he has not been accused of violating those terms.

"Everything that has happened to him is really consistent with the way the probation office might act if he were doing a film about kittens," said Kenneth P. White, a former federal prosecutor who is now a partner in the Los Angeles firm Brown, White & Newhouse.

But others question whether Nakoula's notoriety — and the global political fallout over the contents of the film — is placing more scrutiny on the filmmaker and prompting federal officials to be harsher with him.

"Certainly the sequence of events looks very much as though this man has been arrested and held on account of his producing a film," said Michael W. McConnell, a former judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit who now directs the Stanford Constitutional Law Center. "It sends exactly the wrong message abroad, because when people are becoming violent to try to pressure the U.S. to violate someone's constitutional rights, we ought to be going out of our way to make it clear that we will not accede to that kind of pressure."

Nakoula's court hearing after his arrest Thursday was anything but a routine probation violation proceeding.

The public was allowed to watch only through a video feed in a separate courthouse blocks away, and U.S. marshals kept the media away from the courtroom. Robert Dugdale, the criminal division chief for the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles, personally handled Nakoula's hearing, contending misrepresentations by Nakoula had caused "real harm" to those who signed on to work on the film. Vehicles marked "Homeland Security" closed off a stretch of Main Street as Nakoula was whisked away to the federal lockup after the hearing.

News of Nakoula's arrest prompted some critics to charge that the probation violation was a thinly veiled punishment for the film's message. A Wall Street Journal editorial called his detention a 1st Amendment affront saying that even speech that "causes the White House headaches abroad" is still constitutionally protected. George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley wrote on his blog that the case "raises obvious concerns that the Administration is again defending free speech while quietly moving to punish those who cause religious strife."

In an interview, Turley, a criminal defense attorney who has represented high-profile terrorism suspects accused of violent speech, said the charges against Nakoula had "common elements of pretextual charges." He said the government could have been hoping that putting Nakoula behind bars would appease those incensed by the film.

He said the arrest could send the wrong message to the public: "Even if you have a right to say something, the government can still choose to punish you on other grounds."

Neither Nakoula's attorneys nor the U.S. attorney's office would comment for this article.

But legal experts said they anticipate Nakoula's defense will attempt to show Nakoula is being punished for what was said in the film.

"His attorney is going to make the pitch that the government is trying to censor this guy," said Ellen Barry, a veteran criminal defense attorney and a former federal public defender who regularly handles probation violation cases. "The government's argument is going to be, this is exactly the same conduct he was convicted of — he's moving in that direction, make him stop."

Eugene Volokh, a UCLA law professor and a vocal free speech advocate, wrote on his widely read blog in the early days of the uproar over "Innocence of Muslims" in defense of protections for blasphemous speech. Even so, he said actions against Nakoula do not illustrate a clear case of targeting someone on 1st Amendment grounds.

"I think it's interesting enough that people should be asking questions," he said. "It's not obvious what the answer is."




Woman awarded $3.2 million in LAPD shooting

You can plan on these police shootings and police murders to continue.

LA Police Chief Charlie Beck just doesn't get it and supports his trigger happy police thugs as this comment shows:

"I don't expect my officers to be hurt or killed by someone before they act. I stand by the actions of our officers completely."

Woman awarded $3.2 million in LAPD shooting

By Joel Rubin, Los Angeles Times

October 3, 2012

A federal jury has handed down the latest multimillion-dollar verdict against the Los Angeles Police Department, finding officers were "malicious" and excessive when they shot a mentally ill woman and used a Taser on her.

The $3.2-million award delivered Friday in U.S. District Court adds to a long string of verdicts and settlements in police-related cases that have cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars over the last decade. It comes as LAPD officials struggle to find ways to slow the stream of lawsuits filed against officers each year.

The current case stems from a September 2009 confrontation between two officers and Valerie Allen, then a 37-year-old woman who suffered from bipolar disorder. Despite treating her condition with medication, Allen had fallen into a manic episode, one of her attorneys said, and wandered city streets for hours throughout the night.

Shortly after dawn, a passerby saw Allen wearing only a shirt and talking incoherently in the city's Los Feliz neighborhood. He flagged down Officer Brent Houlihan, a veteran cop with about 15 years in the department, and his rookie partner, Nam Phan. When the officers pulled alongside Allen, she rushed up to the officers' patrol car and banged on Phan's passenger-side window before running away, according to accounts provided by the department and Allen's attorneys.

Ignoring the officers' orders to lie down, Allen climbed over an iron gate into the backyard of a nearby house, where she threatened to kill a woman who was watching from a nearby window and threw a metal cart at other neighbors, according to police. She also turned on a garden hose and sprayed water in Houlihan's direction as Phan walked through the house to get into the yard. When he appeared, Allen jumped back over the fence, according to the accounts of the shooting.

In a narrow passageway between a house and a wall, the officers confronted Allen, who was continuing to scream and talk without making sense. In testimony, Houlihan said he told Phan to draw his Taser, but Phan said he didn't hear the order. Instead, the young officer approached Allen. At some point, according to the police account, Allen picked up a wooden stake, struck Phan and knocked him to the ground. Saying that he feared Allen could kill or badly injure his partner, Houlihan shot Allen three times in the chest, stomach and arm.

Other officers who arrived after the shooting told investigators that despite bleeding profusely Allen continued to flail around on the ground and refused to be handcuffed. Officer Joseph Bezak fired his Taser at Allen and other officers pinned her to the ground, according to police. Allen survived her wounds. She was initially charged with assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer, but prosecutors ultimately dropped the charges against her, according to her attorney.

When asked by The Times for comment, Police Chief Charlie Beck issued a strong defense of the officers. "I don't expect my officers to be hurt or killed by someone before they act," he said in a prepared statement. "I stand by the actions of our officers completely." He noted that an internal review by the department and one by the LAPD's civilian oversight board concluded the officers acted reasonably.

Martin Stanley, one of Allen's attorneys, rejected that idea. He faulted the officers for continuing to pursue Allen instead of keeping her contained in the yard and summoning additional officers or one of the mental health experts the department makes available to assist in such scenarios. "This was too aggressive a stance for officers to take with a woman who was clearly mentally ill and had no weapons, no ability to hurt anybody," Stanley said. "Chasing this woman was the worse thing they could have done. It only confirmed her fears that the police were trying to hurt her."

Stanley also challenged the officers' assertion that Allen resisted arrest after being shot. Medical experts testified during the trial that the wound she suffered to her arm would have made it impossible, he said.

In reaching their decision, jurors found that Houlihan's and Bezak's actions were malicious, while all three were found to have been negligent and used excessive force, according to Stanley.

Houlihan, Phan and Bezak did not respond to requests for comment.

The Allen incident was not the first time Houlihan has been involved in a controversial shooting. In 1997, shortly after joining the LAPD, he was one of two officers to fatally fire on a distraught man who was stabbing himself in the city's Jordan Downs housing project. The killing led to angry protests by residents who challenged the officers' assertions that the man had made threatening moves toward them.

And although Beck supported the officers in this case, the large verdict in the Allen incident is certain to increase the pressure the chief has come under in recent years from elected officials and the Police Commission to address the millions of dollars that police lawsuits cost the city each year. Although much of the cost arises from officer traffic accidents and internal workplace strife, claims of civil rights violations like Allen's is another costly category.


Speedy Airport Security: Should You Apply?

I wonder is this a violation of the "equal protection" clause of the 14th Amendment which says all people must be treated equally by the government.

The "equal protection clause" of the 14th Amendment says:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Not that it would matter, because these searches are almost certainly a violation of the 4th and 5th Amendments.

Last but not least I wouldn't apply for this. Giving the government your personal information for faster, quicker service is like giving your personal information to a bank robber for faster, quicker service.


Speedy Airport Security: Should You Apply?


Published: October 3, 2012 Comment

WHO hasn’t stood in an airport security line shoeless, beltless, clutching a Ziploc bag and inching grimly toward a full body scanner? A few weeks ago, I decided I’d had enough. I applied for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Global Entry program, which expedites passenger screening and customs declaration processes for fliers willing to undergo background checks and pay a $100 fee. If you’re already a member, you’ll soon be zipping through more airports. If you’re not a member, get ready to see a lot more travelers scoot ahead of you in line.

“The applications have grown dramatically,” said John Wagner, executive director of Admissibility and Passenger Programs for Customs and Border Protection. When Global Entry, one of several Trusted Traveler programs, began testing at three airports in 2008, Customs and Border Protection was receiving a few hundred applications a month. Today the program receives 25,000 to 30,000 applications a month.

If you are accepted for Global Entry, which expedites customs, you are also automatically qualified for the newer domestic screening program, T.S.A. PreCheck, which often (but not always) means you don’t have to remove your shoes, belt and jacket or take your laptop and liquids out of your carry-on. PreCheck is thriving, too. More than three million passengers have been screened since the program began tests last October, and the Transportation Security Administration said it plans to screen about a million passengers a month in 2013. Currently in 26 airports, PreCheck is aiming to be in 35 airports by the end of the year, according to Sterling Payne, a T.S.A. spokesman. (For the basics about Global Entry and PreCheck and the nongovernmental screening program, Clear, check out the Practical Traveler column that was published on April 18.)

Some in the travel industry are making it more compelling than ever to apply. On Sept. 24, Loews Hotels & Resorts announced that it would be the first hotel chain to pay the $100 application fee for its approximately 2,400 YouFirst Platinum loyalty rewards members if they apply by Nov. 23. That will cost Loews about a quarter of a million dollars, according to a spokeswoman for the brand. But Jonathan Tisch, chairman of Loews Hotels and himself a Trusted Traveler, said it’s worth it. “We are keenly aware that traveling today is a difficult proposition,” he said. “And we thought that it was in the best interest of our loyal guests that we team up with Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection to promote programs they have spent a long time figuring out that will speed up the travel process.”

Industry executives think more hotels will follow. Airlines, including American, Delta, United, Alaska and US Airways, have already promoted the programs. But many travelers and public interest groups have serious concerns. Should you apply? To help you decide, here are some of the most common questions about Trusted Traveler, and what the experts have to say.

Are we endangering our civil liberties by sharing our personal information with the government?

When Global Entry members return to the United States after an international flight, they do not fill out customs forms or wait in line to be interviewed by a customs official. Instead, they use an automated kiosk to scan their passports and their fingerprints. The kiosk has a touch screen that enables travelers to answer the customs declaration questions. Then it prints out a receipt for them to take to officials at the baggage claim.

To get this speedy service (along with the perks of PreCheck), you must submit a raft of personal data: your address, employment status, driver’s license, passport and travel history as well as proof of “admissibility,” like a birth certificate. If your online application is conditionally approved, you will then have an in-person interview with a Customs and Border Protection officer and have your picture and fingerprints taken.

For at least one colleague of mine, this engenders thoughts of secret police. Certainly, it concerns public interest groups like the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a research center in Washington that focuses on civil liberties issues. In written comments to United States Customs, the center said Global Entry raises “substantial privacy and security issues,” like who exactly has access to the information and whether the program satisfies fair information practices (like enabling travelers to see and amend their personal information and ensuring that it is being used only for the purpose for which they provided it). You can learn more at epic.org/privacy.

In a privacy impact assessment available at tsa.gov, the Department of Homeland Security says that the information it collects is necessary for national security, enabling it to ensure that applicants are not on any watch list and that they are not misidentified as someone who is. “It’s really no different than the data we would collect from any one of the millions of people who enter the U.S. each day,” Mr. Wagner said.

The impact assessment contends that the information will be accessed only by people who must see it to do their jobs and who have passed a background check and completed privacy security training. The Electronic Privacy Information Center has said the department’s definition of who can access this information is too broad.

I’m concerned about privacy. At the same time, with the electronic trail that we all leave in the information age, the Global Entry application seemed only slightly more exhaustive than forms I’ve filled out for things like online banking and renewing my driver’s license. Time will tell if I was too trusting.

Doesn’t clearing people as Trusted Travelers create an opportunity for criminals to slip through the cracks?

“We do a pretty rigorous background check,” Mr. Wagner said, ticking off the sorts of things the government probes like criminal records, watch lists, and customs violations. Applicants’ fingerprints are run through F.B.I. and Department of Homeland Security systems, he said. Additionally, members of the programs are still subject to random checks at the airport.

That said, the Electronic Privacy Information Center has noted that criminals with records could potentially collaborate with Trusted Travelers who do not have previous ties to terrorism.

A valid (and chilling) thought. Yet there is some comfort in knowing that even though Trusted Traveler makes navigating an airport less onerous, members and their bags are still screened to ensure safety. There is no bypassing the detectors.

If millions of people are eligible for expedited screening, will it really be all that fast?

Just as priority boarding lines have become interminable thanks to travelers with every kind of status imaginable, one wonders if something similar will happen as Trusted Traveler becomes widespread. The Global Entry process is supposed to take 60 seconds to complete. Not bad. While I have not gone through it myself, other travelers say this is fairly accurate.

As for PreCheck, after a year of testing the T.S.A. is expanding the program to the nation’s busiest airports. One of the biggest complaints about PreCheck is that members never know if they will be expedited. The program is not available at every checkpoint in participating airports (a list is at tsa.gov), and sometimes members are simply told to stay on the regular line. Still, David A. Castelveter, director of external communications for the T.S.A., said in a statement that “we have evaluated the results of the pilot program to ensure T.S.A. PreCheck is operationally ready for larger volumes of travelers.”

Here’s hoping.

San Francisco supervisor wants to ban nudity in the city!

I suspect this is all about forcing his puritan religious beliefs on San Francisco's citizens.


Legislation seeks to clothe Castro's naked guys

Heather Knight

Updated 11:15 p.m., Tuesday, October 2, 2012

San Francisco may be a let-it-all-hang-out kind of city, but Supervisor Scott Wiener has a message for the nudists who parade their wares in the city's plazas and sidewalks: Put your pants on.

Wiener on Tuesday proposed legislation that would ban the exposure of genitals or buttocks on all city sidewalks, plazas, parklets, streets and public transit.

Nudity would remain legal at street fairs, festivals and parades - and thus, the Folsom Street Fair, Bay to Breakers and the Gay Pride Parade could remain as flesh-filled as ever. The legislation also wouldn't affect nudity at public beaches or on private property.

At Jane Warner Plaza at Castro and Market streets on Tuesday, the clothed sun worshipers were mostly relieved to hear that the Castro district's famous "naked guys" could soon be forced to be just regular, pants-wearing guys. As many as a dozen nudists gather almost daily in the neighborhood's town square.

"To me, it's uncivilized," griped Lawrence Snyder, a 70-year-old retiree who likes to read the newspaper at least once a week in the plaza. "Even the cavemen wore a little bit of fur, a little bit of leather."

There was one naked guy in the plaza at lunchtime on Tuesday. He arrived in business clothes, stripped down to his shoes, socks and sunglasses and ate a pasta salad.

Despite his very public display at one of the city's most crowded intersections, he declined to give his name for fear his boss or co-workers would find out how he spends his lunch hour.

"I don't see a reason for banning it," he said. "People who don't want to look just turn the other way. Most people just walk by like I'm a streetlight."

Most, but not all. A group of Korean tourists giggled and took photographs of each other in front of the naked guy, saying in halting English that they would never see such a thing in their country.

"It's amazing! He has a lot of confidence," one said.

Chief complaint

But like Fisherman's Wharf, some attractions that are popular among tourists just don't translate to residents. Wiener said public nudity is the top complaint among his Castro district constituents, even beating out homelessness and Muni. He said he actually hears the most complaints from gay residents.

"Some people say this is not what we fought for," he said. "Being able to expose your genitals at Castro and Market is not the goal of the LGBT civil rights movement."

Last year, Wiener passed legislation known as the "skid mark law." That law, which passed the Board of Supervisors unanimously, requires nudists to place barriers between their bare bottoms and public chairs or benches, but many Castro residents complained that didn't go far enough.

"I thought it would work itself out, but unfortunately it didn't," Wiener said. "It's only gotten more extreme and over the top. A lot of people in the community have reached the end of their rope."

He said he has seen the naked guys publicly wearing genital jewelry designed to stimulate arousal. He's heard reports from others that the naked guys have publicly engaged in sexual touching and charge tourists $5 to take pictures with them.

The Mission Station police who patrol the area have said they've received an increasing number of complaints about public nudity, but that they can't do anything about it unless there's associated lewd behavior. Currently, San Francisco bans nudity only in parks and restaurants and on port property.

The only option a fed-up resident has is to file a citizen's complaint and testify in court that they were personally offended by the nudity, which Wiener said never happens.

New rules

Under his legislation, a naked person would receive a $100 fine for the first offense and a $200 fine for the second offense in a 12-month period. A third offense could result in either a third infraction ticket with a $500 fine or a misdemeanor. A conviction under the proposed law wouldn't constitute a sex offense. Berkeley and San Jose have similar bans on public nudity.

Mayor Ed Lee said Tuesday that he supports Wiener's proposal.

"I can understand people like sunbathing, but let's have a level of balance here," he said. "On behalf of kids who shouldn't really have to view this, and on behalf of parents that walk their kids to school, we're going to create those balanced constrictions."

That sounds good to Leki Loketi, a 42-year-old bartender who can see Jane Warner Plaza from his apartment.

"This is a liberal neighborhood, and they're taking advantage of it," he said.

Dan Glazer, a 54-year-old restaurant owner, said he's a little conflicted about the proposed ban because of the civil rights issue, but that he's had enough of the nudists. Most of them don't even live in the neighborhood, he said.

"They're annoying, like mosquitoes," he said.

Perhaps the most common nudity-related complaint among those populating the plaza on Tuesday was one echoed by Snyder, the 70-year-old retiree.

"The ones who are nude are the ones who should keep their clothes on," he said. "That's my feeling."

San Francisco Chronicle staff writers John Coté and John Wildermuth contributed to this report. Heather Knight is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: hknight@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @hknightsf

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne violates campaign finance laws and gets into a hit an run accident Isn't Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne the guy who demanded that Gov Jan Brewer declare Prop 203 null and void so he could throw sick people who smoke medical marijuana in prison???

I bet that was just a smoke screen to direct attention away from his illegal campaign contribuntions and the old hit and run accident that appears to have happended while he might have been having an affair with Carmen Chenal.

Hmmm, I wonder will Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne attempt to find some lame *ss excuse to throw me in jail for posting these things on my web page that show that Arizona's top cop may have been involved in some illegal activities along with some immoral activities???

Look Tom, I don't care if you are sleeping with some other women besides your wife. But you are a hypocrite if you do that, while the same time you pretend to be holier then the rest of us because you want to jail medical marijuana smokers.

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne has been accused of accepting millions in illegal campaign contributions, and having a hit and run accident while having a possible affair with Carmen Chenal


Cops routinely lie to justify illegal searches???

Police officers routinely lie to justify illegal searches for drugs???

Odor chemist James Woodford says yes to that question.


Police say they smelled marijuana before search, but judge tosses out the evidence

By Annie Sweeney, Chicago Tribune reporter

October 4, 2012

After Chicago police curbed Jonathan Stoffels in December 2008, one of the arresting officers said he saw a leafy substance inside the Lincoln Navigator and also took note of a strong odor of marijuana.

That led to a search that allegedly yielded 10 grams of pot inside a mason jar, $8,600 in cash, what appeared to be drug recipes and a drug ledger — evidence that could have added to the drug manufacturing case that federal agents were already building against Stoffels, 36, of Plainfield, and his cohorts.

Last week, a federal judge tossed the evidence — in part because the jar had been destroyed while in police custody. But Stoffels' defense attorney had also raised an unusual challenge to the second reason for the search, that the officer caught whiffs of marijuana from Stoffels' car.

At a suppression hearing, a taste and smell expert on that skunky, funky weed testified that the odor was unlikely so strong the officer could smell it.

Defense attorneys who have had suspicions about the "strong odor of pot" justification for searches say it's a struggle to challenge the statements, claiming that judges tend to believe the officers and that it's hard to prove a negative.

As it turns out, there is a small scientific body of work and years of forensic research that has raised challenges to the ability to smell weed through containers, outside homes or, in this case, from a suspect's car.

"Usually there is never anybody who challenges it, and when it is not challenged, the judges just take it at face value," said James Woodford, an "odor chemist" and expert on drug scents. "When the police say, 'I smell marijuana,' if the defense doesn't say anything or bring in an expert, it becomes a fact."

Woodford is a chemist who specializes in odor molecules and how they can permeate barriers and how a smell dissipates in air. He has been called to testify on the issue numerous times over 20 years, often re-creating scenes to challenge officers' assertions that they could smell marijuana through packages, containers or car trunks. He said evidence in some of those cases was suppressed.

In Stoffels' case, Chicago defense attorney John A. Meyer challenged the officer's right to search the car by relying on the testimony of Richard L. Doty, who treats patients for disorders on taste and smell.

And although there were other problems with the evidence recovered in Stoffels' traffic stop, his defense attorney believes Doty's testimony was key.

"To this case, it was absolutely essential," Meyer said.

In 2004, Doty published the only study to examine use of marijuana odor as a reason for probable cause for searches. As part of his study, he examined how the characteristic marijuana odor develops in plants by having subjects sniff both mature and immature plants.

The study mattered in Stoffels' case because the government was alleging he was inside a grow house about an hour before his Dec. 11, 2008, traffic stop and that the scent of marijuana had lingered on his clothes.

The officer said he detected an "overwhelming odor" of cannabis emitting from inside the vehicle, according to the arrest report. The officer also claimed to see the jar, which contained a "crushed leafy green substance."

But the jar was destroyed by Chicago police after it was confiscated, and U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer ruled that it could not be used to justify the search of the car.

Without that piece of evidence, the government resisted Meyer's challenge to the search by arguing that the officer had smelled the marijuana, Meyer said.

But the attorney said he found the story "preposterous" and started researching the topic, discovering Doty's research.

At the hearing over the challenge, the arresting officer testified that he smelled it, and a federal agent who was in the grow house also testified that the odor had lingered on his clothes after he left.

But after examining photos and video of the marijuana inside the grow house, Doty testified that it was scientifically unlikely that anyone could have smelled marijuana on Stoffels during the stop. The plants, he said, were simply too young and had not grown to a stage of maturity, bringing that strong, familiar pot smell.

"Immature plants don't have a distinct marijuana smell," Doty explained to the Tribune. "… In looking at the plants, it was evident there wasn't any budding."

Late last week, Pallmeyer ruled in Stoffels' favor, suppressing the use of all the evidence from the car. Pallmeyer went out of her way to say she wasn't making a statement about the officer's credibility.

"All I need to do is say that the notion that this overwhelming scent came from Mr. Stoffels' clothing is not persuasive to me," Pallmeyer said, according to transcripts.

Meyer believes that the science mattered, and that without Doty's testimony, it could have been hard to challenge the officer who testified.

Doty has testified in at least a dozen cases since 2004, and in three cases, including this one, evidence was suppressed.

Even so, the drug manufacturing case is moving to trial with a lot of other evidence — including statements from both Stoffels and a co-defendant, surveillance of their alleged drug-making activities, alleged receipts for the purchase of grow materials and chemicals needed to manufacture other illegal drugs and emails a co-defendant was allegedly sending to an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration website.

Jeffrey Cramer, a former federal prosecutor, said testimony such as Doty's was rare and reflects the unusual set of circumstances that had Stoffels coming from a grow house with plants that could be analyzed.

Cramer, who now heads Chicago's office of Kroll Advisory Solutions, an international risk-assessment firm, also said that in his experience as a prosecutor, when an officer testifies to smelling pot, it's usually because there is some in the car.

But for Meyer and other defense attorneys, the ability to challenge the officer's claim with research goes to a broader issue about the Fourth Amendment. Even if illegal contraband is recovered, as it allegedly was in Stoffels' case, a search should be based on legitimate and defensible evidence by the police, they said.

Meyer said he wonders about the countless searches based on suspected marijuana odor in which police never find any contraband.

"People don't complain about it," he said. "This is just a fact of life that you might be stopped and searched. … It matters because the Fourth Amendment protects all individuals against warrantless searches, and once police start abusing that right, everybody is at risk."


Detroit police chief accused of sex scandal

More of the old "do as I say, not as I do" from our government masters.

Personally I could care less who the police chief is humping, but if they expect us to obey the law to the letter, the cops should also obey the law.


2nd Detroit police chief accused of sex scandal

Oct. 3, 2012 05:18 PM

Associated Press

DETROIT -- Detroit Mayor Dave Bing was elected to replace a scandal-plagued predecessor after promising to clamp down on crime. But following allegations of a sex scandal involving another police chief, he's having trouble stabilizing the department, let alone the streets.

Bing suspended Police Chief Ralph Godbee, 44, after a subordinate, a 37-year-old internal affairs officer, claimed the two had engaged in a sexual relationship for about a year.

The mayor hired Godbee two years ago after firing his predecessor, in part because of similar charges involving a subordinate. Bing knew at the time that Godbee previously had a romantic relationship with the same woman, a police lieutenant.

Should Bing's investigation conclude that Godbee too must go, the city would be forced to seek its fifth police chief in four years. In Bing's three-plus years in office, he already has fired two chiefs.

"He's had more people resign, fired, quit than any other mayor that I know of," Councilman Kwame Kenyatta said Wednesday. "It either says he chooses the wrong people or doesn't know how to choose the right people."

Like many police departments, Detroit's force is under severe financial constraints. The city has about 2,700 officers, down from 4,000 a decade ago.

The department reports most violent crimes numbers are down this year, but the city also is on track to eclipse last year's 344 murders. Robberies at gas stations and convenience stores, including the assault and carjacking of a prominent church pastor earlier this year, are becoming more violent and brazen.

"The officers are working 24/7 and aren't being treated well," said Oakland County Commissioner William Dwyer, a former Detroit police official. "They've taken dramatic cuts in salaries and benefits. They are in the most dangerous city right now in the U.S. If you expect them to perform, you ought to treat them like professionals and not second-class citizens."

Even before the alleged scandal came to light, Bing and Godbee have been at odds with officers over a 10 percent pay cut, requirements that they pay more for health care and new rules requiring 12-hour work days.

Earlier this year, the chief reduced staffing inside police precincts to get more officers on the city's crime-plagued streets.

"The more immediate issue facing people in Detroit are the screaming headlines about the number of people shot or injured, and the fact that the number seems to be on the increase as opposed to the decrease," said Sheila Cockrel, a political analyst and former Detroit councilwoman. "Detroiters are going to want a police chief focusing on those issues and not what's happening in his personal life."

Angelica Robinson, the internal affairs officer who says she had a relationship with Godbee, posted on Twitter a photo of herself with her service weapon in her mouth, her attorney David Robinson said. She had learned Godbee was at a weekend police conference with another woman, said the attorney, who is not related to Angelica Robinson.

He said Godbee had other officers locate her and put her under surveillance. She has since been reassigned from internal affairs to other duties and does not have use of her service weapon, David Robinson said.

On Tuesday, Bing said in a statement that he suspended Godbee for 30 days from his $140,400-a-year post "pending a full and thorough investigation of this matter."

Assistant Chief Chester Logan has assumed Godbee's responsibilities during the suspension.

Godbee, returning to Detroit after attending a police conference out of state, told reporters Wednesday evening at Detroit Metropolitan Airport that he could not comment on Angelica Robinson's claims or his suspension.

Bing has spent much of his first term as mayor cleaning up the fiscal mess and $300 million budget deficit left by ex-mayor and convicted felon Kwame Kilpatrick. He's also changed the perception of a City Hall warped by public corruption.

However, his handling of the police department has been spotty, Kenyatta said, pointing to the firing of ex-chief Warren Evans that led to Godbee getting the job.

Bing appointed, Evans, a former Wayne County sheriff, as police chief in 2009 but fired him after he took part in a promotional video for a cable police reality show. Bing later said he also fired Evans because the chief was romantically involved with Lt. Monique Patterson.

Godbee also had a romantic relationship with Patterson before she began dating Evans and when she was Godbee's subordinate.

The relationship between Godbee and Patterson was made public after Godbee was named interim chief. Bing subsequently issued a statement insisting he wouldn't fire Godbee for having an affair with a subordinate.

At the time of his firing, Evans was spearheading an apparently successful police blitz on crime hot spots across the city.

Godbee joined the department in 1987 and rose to assistant chief in 2007. He later retired only to be reappointed assistant chief in July 2009 when Evans was hired.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery wants to expand the insane drug war

It sounds like the cops and prosecutors want the ability to declare any damn drug they don't like is illegal and start arresting people because they say it's bad.

Let's fact it the "drug war" is just a jobs program for over paid cops, prosecutors, probation officers and prison guards and they want to increase the size of this job programs as much as they can.


Maricopa County launches new offensive vs. 'bath salts'

by Laurie Merrill - Oct. 3, 2012 12:00 AM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Frustrated by chemists who concoct legal versions of designer drugs as soon as key ingredients are banned, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said Tuesday that he wanted to shut down or seize the businesses that sell the potentially lethal drugs.

"While we are waiting (to pass bans), chemists are making changes that would render the drugs legal," Montgomery told the East Valley Synthetic Drug Task Force on Tuesday. "By the time we act, they have already redesigned (the drugs)."

The task force, meeting for the fourth time, gathered at Skysong, the Arizona State University Scottsdale Innovation Center, to hear Montgomery's ideas and to discuss emerging drugs in Arizona, including kratom,salvia and 2c-1.

The public must be educated about synthetic drugs, task-force members say. Users can buy the drugs online or at smoke shops for as little as $10.

It remains crucial to enact laws that render illegal the components of "bath salts," which mimic cocaine and methamphetamine, Montgomery said.

But because of the swift ability of suppliers to skirt bans by changing chemical components, more must be done, Montgomery said.

ASU police don't always confiscate suspected synthetic drugs because they can't always be certain that the drugs contain banned ingredients, said ASU police Officer Laura Gill.

The Arizona Legislature recently banned seven components of bath salts, but police can't be sure the potion in a suspect's pocket is illegal, said Stephanie Siete of Community Bridges, an Arizona drug-treatment organization.

A July raid of designer-drug distributors probably won't make a dent in local distribution because those arrested will be replaced, Montgomery said.

Montgomery has directed his office's civil attorneys to study a Yavapai County practice of getting injunctions against businesses that sell "a known public health threat."

Another option is using federal racketeering laws to seize businesses, he said.

Jerry Cobb, Montgomery's spokesman, said it was unclear how long civil attorneys would need to study Yavapai's practice.

Task force organizes to fight war on synthetic drugs


Task force organizes to fight war on synthetic drugs

Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 6:11 am

By Mike Sakal, Tribune

Prosecutors and police throughout the Valley are continuing to push back against the war on synthetic drugs.

Law enforcement agencies say they have faced an uphill battle the last two years against various illegal chemicals often used in spice and other drugs commonly referred to as Bath Salts and not being able to get a handle on chemists altering the chemicals to make their sale legal. The next step is to organize a formal plan in hopes of staying ahead of the curve

Prosecutors and police hope that part of that plan will include legislation with teeth to stop the sale and distribution of the drugs while cracking down on — if not ultimately closing — the businesses that sell them. They also want to more aggressively go after online businesses where many college and high school students are purchasing the drugs.

About 25 members of law enforcement, including Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, school officials and drug prevention officials, attended the Mesa Prevention Alliance Synthetic Drug Task Force meeting at Arizona State University’s SkySong campus in south Scottsdale on Tuesday.

During the meeting in which Montgomery was the guest speaker, he stressed the importance of law enforcement to be able to identify the dangerous and illegal chemicals in synthetic drugs mostly being used by younger men.

Prosecutors in Yavapai County now can seek injunctions against smoke shops and other retail outlets selling them, and Maricopa County hopes to eventually move toward being able to have similar provisions in place. The injunctions come amid a “tricky balancing act” by law enforcement in determining probable cause as to whether some of the ingredients or chemicals in Spice are illegal in order to confiscate the drug so investigators can successfully work their way up the chain to not only prosecute the user but the seller.

“We’re establishing that these drugs are not safe to use and that they’re a threat to health, safety and welfare,” Montgomery said during the meeting. “I’m not going to listen to these business owners who are insisting they are just pursuing economic opportunity by selling these drugs. We also have to have data to support those claims. When it comes to criminal law or a criminal act, the law has to be very specific in what you can and cannot have. All it takes is for a chemist to alter the chemicals somewhat, and they circumvent the law.”

“If we can go after business owners, we will,” Montgomery added, who said his office also is eyeing major retailers who are selling various stimulants that likely have illegal chemicals in them.

As of the spring, Arizona laws have included seven of the known synthetic cathinones used in the creation of bath salts that have been classified as dangerous drugs and prohibited for possession, use or sale under Arizona state law: fluoromethcathinone, methoxymethcathinone, methyleenedioxymethcathinone, methylenedioxypryovalerone, butylone, methylmethcathinne and napthylpyrovalerone.

David Shuff, director of student support services for Mesa Unified School District, said that something has to be done in the way of laws being put in place to reflect what manufacturers are putting into Spice that students often buy and are caught with on campus. However, it is hard to know what substances or chemicals are being placed in Spice, Shuff said.

Contact writer: (480) 898-6533 or msakal@evtrib.com

Arizona government cooks the books on pension costs???

Arizona elected officials cook the books on the amount of money they own for pensions??? Probably


Government Pension Funds: In Worse Shape Than They Admit

Posted on October 04, 2012

Author: Byron Schlomach

There has been much dispute lately over how well-funded public employee pension systems are. The debate derives, in part, from how we define “funded”.

Employees and employers contribute to pension funds, and those contributions are invested in stocks, bonds, real estate and other investment vehicles. These assets help finance current and future pension benefits. Pensions are considered almost rock-solid promises, so the contributions and investment earnings need to be enough to cover the benefit payments owed to current and future retirees.

Actuaries evaluate current and future retirees’ pension costs 30 years into the future. They make assumptions about how long pensioners will live and take account of current retirees’ pensions and the pensions of current employees if they retired immediately. Then, they calculate a single number for current liabilities. That number is the amount that ought to be in the bank to fully pay the pensions.

For this calculation, actuaries assume a rate of return on all the money invested. The assumed rate of return, or “discount rate”, makes a big difference in how big current liabilities might be. For example, if you invested enough now to pay back a $100 debt in 10 years and you expected a rate of return of 5 percent each year, you would need to invest $61.39. But, if you expected an 8 percent return each year, you would only need to invest $46.32 today.

Arizona’s government pension funds use a discount rate of either 8 or 8.25 percent, considerably higher than the 5 percent they have actually earned over the last decade. Consequently, while Arizona’s unfunded pension liabilities are officially $16 billion, a huge sum, the unfunded liabilities using the actual rate of return of 5 percent are more like $37 billion. That’s $5,800 for every man, woman, and child in the state.

We are being misled about the health of our pension systems but the legisalture could put a stop to that by requiring a lower discount rate be used to calculate funded levels. If pension funds expect taxpayers to pick up the tab, the least they can do is be straight-forward about the bill we’re facing.

Maricopa County agrees to settle suit tied to inmate death


Maricopa County agrees to settle suit tied to inmate death

by JJ Hensley and Michelle Ye Hee Lee - Oct. 4, 2012 08:16 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Maricopa County administrators have agreed to pay an undisclosed amount to settle a 6-year-old lawsuit over a woman's death that occurred after she was booked into a county jail.

The county has already spent about $1.8 million to hire attorneys to defend itself in the lawsuit, said Cari Gerchick, a county spokeswoman.

Any other details on the terms of the settlement will remain under seal until the county Board of Supervisors meets on Oct. 17 to authorize the agreement, she said.

The Sheriff's Office is also not authorized to comment on the agreement until it is approved, a spokesman said.

In addition to Maricopa County and the Sheriff's Office, the lawsuit targeted Correctional Health Services, the taxpayer-funded agency that provides constitutionally mandated health care in the county jails.

The lawsuit was filed in 2006 by the surviving family members of Deborah Braillard, a 46-year-old woman who had been booked in jail several times before her entry into the Fourth Avenue Jail on Jan. 1, 2005, on suspicion of drug possession.

During her prior jail bookings, Braillard's diabetes had been noted during the health-care screening that every county inmate undergoes when admitted into jail.

But employees of Correctional Health Services failed to note Braillard's medical condition in early 2005.

Instead, because Braillard was barely coherent and slurring her words, jail health-care workers thought they were dealing with a woman in the throes of a drug addiction.

Braillard was coming off drugs and showing signs of a blood-sugar crash, according to court documents, her family and testimony from jail employees. She was disoriented, vomiting, soiling herself, sweating profusely and complaining of pain, according to court documents. Employees attributed her symptoms to drug withdrawal.

Four days after she was booked into jail, Braillard was taken to Maricopa Medical Center, where she would remain unconscious until she died 18 days later of complications from diabetes.

The form used to assess the medical condition of an incoming inmate lists 27 questions. A health-care worker completed Braillard's assessment in less than a minute, according to court documents.

No one noticed that Braillard was diabetic. An electronic medical-records system, had it been in place, could have immediately alerted employees about Braillard's condition. She had been administered insulin at the jails many times before, and an electronic system would have included her medical history.

County administrators signed a $4.5 million contract for an electronic medical-record system in March, though the network is still in the design phase, Gerchick said.

Phoenix worker accused of taking kickbacks


Phoenix worker accused of taking kickbacks

Trial to focus on deal with truck-washing company

by Emily Gersema - Sept. 29, 2012 09:01 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

A retired Phoenix worker faces trial this fall on charges that he funneled more than $322,000 in city checks to a truck-washing company as part of a six-year fraud scheme, public records show.

Investigators believe former facilities contract coordinator Ronald Cross received kickbacks, including a down payment for a house, from officials with Clark's Maintenance as part of the scheme.

The city has continued to investigate Clark's Maintenance after an internal audit released in August revealed other departments had authorized a combined $4.7 million in payments to the company during the past eight years. The city has since severed all business with Clark's Maintenance.

The length of the fraud scheme, combined with Cross' spotty performance record, raised concerns among some City Council members.

Councilman Bill Gates said he believes the city "should have caught the fraud earlier" than it did.

"We need to put certain practices in place so that something like this cannot go on," he said. The investigation

In 2010, Phoenix detectives and auditors began simultaneous investigations into a series of unusual invoices that Cross paid to Clark's Maintenance LLC -- also doing business as JC's Phoenix Truck Wash -- in Phoenix.

Police in May arrested Cross, who retired in June 2010, in connection with the case, court records show.

Cross, 64, of Phoenix, faces one count of felony fraudulent schemes and one count of theft for accusations he bilked the city out of an estimated $322,000 that prosecutors say benefited himself, as well as Clark's Maintenance owner Jessie Clark and manager Heather Swanson, Maricopa County Superior Court records show.

Clark, 52, and Swanson, 33, also from Phoenix, face similar charges.

Attorneys for Clark, Cross and Swanson didn't respond to messages seeking comment.

Investigators said the kickbacks included a $25,000 down payment on a house Swanson sold to Cross, according to police records.

Swanson transferred ownership of a house to Cross in March 2006, according to Maricopa County Recorder's Office documents.

Cross, Swanson and Clark have pleaded not guilty to the charges. A Superior Court judge has scheduled their trial for Nov. 26.

Cross also faces a drug-possession charge. Police in May arrested him after finding powder cocaine in his vehicle, according to police records.

City audit

City auditors found that in Public Works, Cross authorized more than 180 payments to Clark's Maintenance from June 2004 to May 2010.

Most of the invoices Cross authorized were for $2,000 or less, which police said enabled Cross to avoid drawing suspicion from other city officials. Under Phoenix's contract policies, the city must issue a call for bids and set up a contract for services that cost the city more than $2,000, police said.

The city's auditors and public-works officials said the suspicious payments to the firm likely would have gone unnoticed if it weren't for a public-works property manager who questioned a few pending invoices for the truck-washing company in June 2010, about two months after Cross retired.

"It's difficult to detect fraud when there's collusion" among a group, said city auditor Bill Greene. "One is covering the other's tracks."

Work history

Through a public-records request, The Republic obtained copies of Cross's personnel file, which showed he received spotty performance reviews since he was hired in 1988. Cross was reprimanded at least four times during his 22 years with the city, including infractions some treat as terminable offenses.

City records show Cross did not appeal the reprimands or warnings in any of these disciplinary incidents:

Nov. 5, 1998: Cross's then-supervisor wrote a letter of reprimand and placed Cross on 10 days of suspension after Cross had "received a body massage in a conference room at Public Works Metro Facilities division."

"Your failure to perceive the action as unprofessional or inappropriate is a concern on my part," the supervisor wrote.

In addition, the supervisor wrote that an internal investigation found Cross "accepted appeals of deductions from a custodial contractor and voided the deductions in direct conflict with the (city's) established contract appeals processes" in 1993.

In voiding those deductions, Cross cost the city $5,593, the supervisor wrote.

Feb. 3, 2003: Cross received a written reprimand from the head of public works for accusing a deputy director of being a "racist, sexist and a bigot."

June 16, 2004: Public-works officials issued a written reprimand for allegations that Cross had a loud and inappropriate argument with a co-worker over his cellphone ringing in the office.

Jan. 27, 2006: Public-works officials placed Cross on 10 days suspension after finding he was downloading e-mails with pornographic pictures and making copies of them. He had sent pornographic e-mails to several city employees and to people who don't work for the city, according to the files.

City policy states that an employee caught downloading and distributing porn faces an automatic 80-hour suspension.

In a written statement to The Republic, city officials said Cross received written reprimands instead of the harsher punishment "because that level of discipline was determined to be the most appropriate disciplinary action at the time." Council responds

Councilman Jim Waring said the council and city should take a close look at the city's audit practices and human-resources policies and consider revamping them to ensure problem employees are caught early on and disciplined appropriately.

"I'm trying to get assurances that there aren't more of these (situations) out there," Waring said.

When The Republic told Waring about Cross' computer pornography infraction, he was shocked.

"This was on a work computer? Why didn't we fire him?" Waring said. "This was not just a problem employee, but he was engaged in some alleged criminal activity."

What Obama successes?

If you ask me this would be a great way to end the war on drugs.

Just declare that we have won the war on drugs and re-legalize all drugs like they were before 1914.

We did the same thing when we "won the war in Vietnam". Sure South Vietnam collapsed a week after the American military withdrew, but nobody really cared, because after all we "won" the war in Vietnam and all the troops came home.


What Obama successes?

Oct. 3, 2012 12:00 AM

I really get tired of the administration and the media scratching around trying to find something to call an Obama "accomplishment," like "ending the war in Iraq."

Great way to end a war, just pull out all the troops no matter the consequences.

Hooray, let's also end the war on drugs. Stop arresting dealers.

Let's end the war on neighborhood gang enforcement. Pull all the cops off those beats.

And when it comes to Osama bin Laden, what person in his right mind would have not OK'd sending in the Navy SEALs?

Gimme a break.

-- James D. Law, Phoenix

More cops to spy on our internet use


NYPD to boost gang unit

by Tom Hays - Oct. 2, 2012 10:28 PM

Associated Press

NEW YORK - The New York Police Department is planning to double the size of its gang unit to 300 detectives to combat teen violence fueled by dares and insults traded on social media.

Rather than target established street gangs involved in the drug trade, the reinforcements will focus mainly on "looser associations of younger men who identify themselves by the block they live on, or on which side of a housing development they reside," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.

"Their loyalty is to their friends living in a relatively small area and their rivalries are based not on narcotics trafficking or some other entrepreneurial interest, but simply on local turf," Kelly added. "In other words, 'You come in to my backyard and you get hurt. You diss my crew and you pay the price.'"

Under the new plan, the NYPD gang unit will work more closely with other divisions that monitor social media for signs of trouble.

Kelly cited a recent case in which investigators used Facebook to track a turf war between two Brooklyn gangs named the Very Crispy Gangsters and the Rockstars. The case resulted in dozens of arrests for shootings and other mayhem.

"By capitalizing on the irresistible urge of these suspects to brag about their murderous exploits on Facebook, detectives used social media to draw a virtual map of their criminal activity over the last three years," Kelly said.

Detectives have seen instances where a gang member has taunted rivals by circulating a photo of himself posing in front of their apartment building.

The NYPD has developed strict guidelines for investigators using social networks "to instill the proper balance between the investigative potential of social network sites and privacy expectations," Kelly said.

The rules allow officers to adopt aliases for their online work as long as they first get permission from the department. They will also use special laptops that protect their anonymity.

Staffing for the expanded unit will come from gradual redeployment from other areas of the department, not from new hires.

Police Lieutenant video taped punching a woman in the face

Cop gets a slap on the wrist for punching woman in the face.

Lt. Jonathan D. Josey II, was suspended 30 days for punching a woman in the face.

I suspect that if I punched a cop in the face I would get 30 years in prison for aggravated assault of a police officer. Not a 30 day suspension from my job.

Here is a URL with a video of the cop punching the woman.

And here is the video:




Philly mayor apologizes for officer punching woman: 'I'm ashamed'

A Philadelphia policeman has been suspended 30 days after video of him punching a woman at this weekend's Puerto Rican Day Parade surfaced on YouTube. The video has since received well over 1 million hits.

By Tina Susman

October 5, 2012, 8:51 a.m.

Video of a Philadelphia policeman punching a woman in the face and leaving her bloodied and bruised has prompted the mayor to apologize to the woman. The footage has been viewed more than 1 million times on YouTube, and demands have grown for the cop's ouster.

The police officer, Lt. Jonathan D. Josey II, has been suspended for 30 days as a result of Sunday's incident at the Puerto Rican Day Parade, and is expected to be fired.

"I have watched it 20 times, and every time I look at it, I am appalled, I am sickened and I'm ashamed on behalf of the good men and women of the Philadelphia Police Department," Mayor Michael Anthony Nutter told reporters Thursday of the video.

Nutter said that, from what he saw, Aida Guzman was walking away, with her back to Josey, when the officer "rushed her and, using his height and his weight, cold-cocked her and delivered a blow that instantly sent her to the ground." On the video, Guzman, 39, falls back to the ground, blood pouring from her mouth. She is then handcuffed and led away by Josey.

The city's police officers union has stood by Josey. Officers said they suspected that Guzman was among a group of people who had tossed a liquid or Silly String on some of them as they patrolled during the parade. And, in fact, the local NBC affiliate aired additional video captured seconds before the punching incident that showed Guzman spraying what appears to be Silly String toward officers.

A charge of disorderly conduct against Guzman was dropped, however, after prosecutors viewed the punching video and concluded that there was insufficient evidence to back the allegation.

Police Chief Charles Ramsey told NBC he agreed with the decision to drop charges against Guzman. "Looking at the video and looking at the charges, clearly there were some discrepancies there, so I'm not at all surprised. In fact, I'm rather pleased they decided to drop the charges. I think it's appropriate in this matter," he said.

John McNesby of the Fraternal Order of Police said Josey was being treated "like a second-class citizen."

"He’s being fired without just cause, and we're going to look forward to making sure he's restored,” McNesby told reporters after Ramsey announced Wednesday that Josey was being suspended for 30 days "with the intent to dismiss."

Guzman's attorney, Enrique Latoison, said he was grateful for the video, which was captured on someone's cellphone and posted to YouTube shortly after the incident. By Friday, it had been viewed more than 1.4 million times.

"I think we can all see if this wasn't on video, my client wouldn't even have an opportunity to defend herself," he said.


Nutter apologizes to woman hit by city cop on viral video


Philadelphia Daily News

MAYOR NUTTER on Thursday apologized profusely to the Chester woman who was captured on video being "cold-cocked," in Nutter's words, by veteran cop Lt. Jonathan D. Josey II during a Puerto Rican Day celebration in North Philadelphia.

"I have watched it 20 times, and every time I look at it, I am appalled, I am sickened and I'm ashamed on behalf of the good men and women of the Philadelphia Police Department," Nutter said of the video of the infamous punch, which went viral within 24 hours of the incident.

"The conduct seen on this video is particularly appalling and not the kind of conduct the Philadelphia Police Department expects from anyone, especially anyone in a supervisory position," Nutter added.

At a news conference Thursday afternoon, flanked by Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and other city officials, Nutter apologized to Aida Guzman, 39, who was left with a fat lip and bumps and bruises after the cop's bloody attack.

"I want to extend my personal and deepest apology to Ms. Guzman," Nutter said. "She was injured and humiliated at the hands of someone who knows better or should have known better."

On Wednesday, the District Attorney's Office said that it would drop a disorderly conduct charge filed against Guzman when she was arrested after the blow, and Ramsey announced that Josey would be suspended for 30 days with intent to dismiss.

Ramsey said that the department's investigation into the incident would be submitted to the D.A.'s office next week to be reviewed for criminal charges.

When asked whether Josey's termination and the city's response were a result of the public outcry about the video - which had about 1.4 million views on YouTube as of Thursday night - Nutter said that city officials themselves were shocked by it.

"We're all outraged," he said.


Ramsey firing cop who punched woman at parade

October 04, 2012

BY MORGAN ZALOT & MENSAH M. DEAN, Daily News Staff Writers

LT. JONATHAN D. Josey II spent nearly two decades building a career as a decorated police officer. But with his split-second takedown of a woman captured on video Sunday, he tore it all down.

Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey announced Wednesday that, effective Thursday, Josey, 40, a 19-year veteran Highway Patrolman, will lose his job.

Technically, he'll be suspended for 30 days with intent to dismiss, for his now-infamous punching of Aida Guzman, 39, during a celebration Sunday at 5th Street and Lehigh Avenue after the city's annual Puerto Rican Day Parade.

"I watched the video over and over again, and I also listened to the interviews the complainant gave the media," Ramsey said. "Looking at everything, it was my sense that this was a very serious violation of department policy and that the force used was not the force necessary to effect an arrest."

He said his decision to ax Josey - who ran a violence-prevention program in his spare time and was cited by the Citizens Crime Commission of Delaware Valley for bravery in 2010 after interrupting an armed robbery and shooting the perpetrator - was difficult.

"He has served for a long time and he's done a lot of outstanding things," the commissioner said. "But this is a violation of trust and abuse of authority, and it cannot be ignored."

Meanwhile, in a statement released Wednesday, the District Attorney's Office said it intends to withdraw the disorderly conduct charge filed against Guzman when Josey arrested her Sunday.

In a video of the incident, it appears that Josey and a group of other officers turn around in response to someone throwing liquid at their backs. Guzman didn't throw the liquid, but can be seen waving what looks like a can of "silly string."

Josey catches up to Guzman as she walks away and punches her in the face, knocking her to the ground before handcuffing her.

"I expected from Day 1 that the charges would be dropped," said Guzman's attorney, Enrique Latoison. "She's relieved. She's just happy this part of the nightmare is over."

He said Guzman hasn't decided whether she wants to sue the city over the incident, which left her with a fat lip, cuts to her arm and hand, and head and neck pain.

"She does have some medical bills that she's incurred as a result . . . but we haven't made the decision to actually file suit," Latoison said. "I will say, however, we do feel like an apology is still outstanding in this matter."

John McNesby, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, called Ramsey's decision to terminate Josey a "bad move."

"It's a ready-fire-aim approach. The investigation's not even complete, the ink's not even dry, and they're gonna fire him?" McNesby asked. "It sends a bad message to cops on the street: 'Be careful out there, because the city may not have your back.' "

The incident involving Josey was the latest in a string of recent controversies that have befallen the Police Department, after the Daily News last week reported on several sexual-harassment lawsuits against 17th District Capt. Anthony Washington, and after Ramsey in August commissioned an independent firm to investigate sexual-harassment allegations against former Internal Affairs Staff Inspector Jerrold Bates. In August, Ramsey also suspended and transferred Northwest Police Division Inspector Aaron Horne and 35th District Capt. John McCloskey amid turmoil over their alleged coverup of an arrest.

Ramsey said the police supervisors involved in other recent scandals haven't met as severe a fate as Josey because those cases have investigations pending or remain under review.

"The real tragedy is that it overshadows the solid supervision and leadership that takes place in the department every single day," Ramsey said. "It really does a disservice to the men and women that work hard every day and do their jobs properly."

Contact Morgan Zalot at zalotm@phillynews.com or 215-854-5928. Follow her on Twitter @morganzalot. Read her blog at PhillyConfidential.com.


Ramsey says video showing cop punching parade spectator is 'troubling'

October 04, 2012


THE OUTRAGE over the sucker punch heard 'round the world is still going strong.

At a news conference Tuesday night, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey expressed concern over a 36-second YouTube video that shows Highway Patrol Lt. Jonathan D. Josey II slugging a defenseless woman after Sunday's Puerto Rican Day Parade.

And he said he wants the Internal Affairs probe into the incident to be completed quickly.

"Obviously, it's a video that's very troubling," said Ramsey, who had been at a law-enforcement conference in San Diego when the video went viral. As of Tuesday night, the number of views for the online video was approaching 1 million.

"When you see it, it's very clear, and from what I saw, it's difficult to justify the actions that took place," said Ramsey.

Josey, 40, is shown on the video punching Aida Guzman twice in the head from behind as she walked away from a group of police officers near 5th Street and Lehigh Avenue, in North Philly, moments after members of a nearby crowd tossed some unknown liquids at the cops.

Based on the YouTube video, it's not clear if Guzman threw anything at the officers.

The punch from Josey sent Guzman, 39, to the ground with a bloody lip. She was handcuffed and charged with disorderly conduct.

"From the video that we saw, it would be very difficult to say that it's an appropriate use of force," Ramsey said.

Josey, a former Daily News Sexy Single, has been placed on desk duty, pending the results of an Internal Affairs investigation.

City Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez, who served as the grand marshal at Sunday's parade, said that community members - as well as residents in Puerto Rico - have urged her to call for Josey to be fired, or to lead a protest march.

"I don't want to make this an issue of giving people reasons to hate the police. It will not be good for the city," Sanchez told the Daily News in a phone interview Tuesday night.

"I want to be responsible. We need the commissioner to act swiftly, finish the investigation and issue whatever discipline he's going to issue."

Sanchez said she hoped that Ramsey would urge District Attorney Seth Williams to drop the disorderly conduct citation issued against Guzman.

Meanwhile, a Facebook page called "Who Would Jesus Punch in the Face?" is calling for a demonstration Sunday outside Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church, where Josey worships.

Ramsey said that the investigation will be completed as quickly as possible, but noted that Guzman, of Chester, has thus far refused to be interviewed by police.

"We can all draw conclusions from the video, but it doesn't mean it tells the whole story," he said.

Ramsey said that he could issue a direct-action dismissal before the probe is finished. In the past, however, such firings have often been overturned in arbitration hearings.

Both Sanchez and Ramsey expressed disappointment in Josey's behavior, given his rank.

"I know it's hard on police on days like that," Sanchez said, referring to the parade, "but he was a commanding officer who was supposed to make sure that something like that didn't happen."

According to Internal Affairs files, citizens have filed 13 complaints against Josey since 1996. Nine allege physical abuse, three claim verbal abuse and one alleges that Josey and other officers illegally entered an apartment and interrogated a juvenile without her guardian's consent.

Of the physical-abuse complaints, two stand out: One woman accused Josey of beating her grandson while he was lying handcuffed and unresisting on her porch in 2007. In a 2005 complaint, a lawyer complained that one of his clients lost a finger and another suffered a concussion in an altercation with Josey and other officers; in that case, the cops were trying to collar unruly people in a crowd that gathered after police stopped a vehicle. Two of the people who tussled with police fled to a house, where a woman lost part of her finger when her relative slammed the door on pursuing police; a man said he suffered a concussion as he and the officers traded punches during his arrest.

None of the allegations against Josey was sustained.

- Staff writers Dana DiFilippo and

Stephanie Farr contributed to this report.

Contact David Gambacorta at gambacd@phillynews.com or 215-854-5994. Follow him on Twitter at @dgambacorta.

Tom Horne, the best Attorney General money can buy!!!!!


Let's toughen campaign law

Oct. 1, 2012 06:37 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Arizona's top law-enforcement official should be a pillar of integrity, avoiding even the appearance of impropriety.

Sadly, Arizona does not have that attorney general. A civil complaint unveiled by Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery on Monday is the latest suggestion that Tom Horne treats the law as an inconvenience.

The complaint alleges that Horne violated campaign-finance law in 2010 through direct involvement in Business Leaders for Arizona, an independent-expenditure committee supporting his candidacy. Such committees can accept unlimited contributions but are banned from coordinating with candidates.

Horne insists the allegations are false.

E-mails and phone records collected by the FBI and released by Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett suggest otherwise.

"Try again for the hundred k," suggests an Oct. 27, 2010, e-mail from Horne to the committee chair, Kathleen Winn, who now works in the Attorney General's Office. The committee's biggest individual benefactor was Horne's brother-in-law, who donated $100,000 on Oct. 29, 2010, eight days after giving $15,000, according to reports filed by the committee.

Other e-mail indicates Horne demanded changes in television ads slamming his opponent.

The amount of contact between Horne and Winn alarmed people working with the committee. Brian Murray, who created the TV ads, alerted his firm's attorney. "I warned (Winn) on numerous occasions that she needed to cease contact with the candidate and any agents of the campaign," he wrote in an e-mail. "I wanted to make you aware of this situation should something arise at a later date."

It inevitably arose.

State law makes violations of campaign-finance law a civil matter, so no criminal charges will be filed. Montgomery can seek fines of up to three times the cost of advertisements, or about $1.5 million.

Business Leaders for Arizona has $8.18, according to its Sept. 26 filing. Horne's committee has $11,304.

After initially indicating that the complaint would be directed against the committees, Montgomery clarified that penalties could be levied against Horne and Winn.

That would be significant. A fine against the committees would be symbolic. Making Horne and Winn write checks would say something.

The law, however, does not provide for the most fitting punishment against someone who wins election after egregiously gaming the system: Removal from office.

That should be added. For politicians looking to their next step up, it would be the greatest deterrent.

Feds lied about Border Patrol agent being murdered???

This reminds me of the Pat Tillman shooting.

When football hero Pat Tillman was accidentally or perhaps intentionally murdered by his fellow troops in Afghanistan the government lied and told us that he was a hero who was killed in action.

Sounds like the same thing may have happened in this case.


Possible friendly fire in fatal shooting of Border Patrol agent

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012 8:12 am

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The FBI is investigating the possibility that the fatal shooting of a U.S. border patrol agent and the wounding of another was a case of friendly fire, two law enforcement officials said Friday.

The probe is looking into whether the two agents exchanged gunfire Tuesday in the mistaken belief that each was being fired on by a hostile gunman. The shootings occurred near Bisbee, Ariz.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the matter is under investigation.

At FBI headquarters, spokesman Chris Allen declined to comment.

The shootings occurred in a rugged hilly area about five miles north of the border near Bisbee, as Nicholas Ivie and two other agents responded to an alarm that was triggered on one of the sensors that the government has installed along the border. Ivie was fatally shot. The wounded agent was shot in the ankle and buttocks and released from the hospital after undergoing surgery. The third agent wasn't injured.

Ivie's death marked the first fatal shooting of an agent since a deadly firefight with Mexican bandits that killed U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in December 2010 and spawned congressional probes of a botched government gun-smuggling investigation called Operation Fast and Furious.

On Tuesday after the latest shooting, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said "there's no way to know at this point how the agent was killed, but because of Operation Fast and Furious, we'll wonder for years if the guns used in any killing along the border were part of an ill-advised gun-walking strategy sanctioned by the federal government." Early investigative work by Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, brought Fast and Furious to light in early 2011.

Twenty-six Border Patrol agents have died in the line of duty since 2002.

Federal takeover of Oakland cops urged

While I seriouslly doubt that the corrupt Federal government could make the corrupt Oakland police honest law abiding cops who protect us, I certainly agree with the article in the fact that the Oakland cops are corrupt to the core like most other police departments.


Federal takeover of Oakland cops urged

Demian Bulwa, Matthai Kuruvila and Justin Berton

Updated 11:06 p.m., Thursday, October 4, 2012

A historic fight over whether Oakland can reform its own police force began in earnest Thursday when civil rights attorneys asked a federal judge to take the unprecedented step of appointing a receiver to ensure the changes are made.

The attorneys said a broken culture in the department had turned a decadelong reform effort into a "chronic failure," endangering citizens - especially minorities - and costing the city tens of millions of dollars to settle police-abuse lawsuits.

The lawyers represented more than 100 people who sued the city after four officers, who called themselves the Riders, were accused in 2000 of imposing vigilante justice in West Oakland. In a resulting settlement, Oakland had to implement a raft of reforms - which remain incomplete.

"A receiver is now required to do what city and (Oakland Police Department) officials have refused to do," John Burris, James Chanin and Julie Houk wrote in a 57-page motion to U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson.

"There can be little doubt that further extensions will result in more constitutional violations," they wrote, "and cause injuries, and even death, to innocent human beings, including members of the OPD."

Oakland officials, who have spent recent months trying to head off the prospect of federal intervention, disagreed sharply on Thursday. They said finishing the reforms was a top priority for the department, and full compliance was on the horizon.

Chief cites changes

"I think we have made significant progress," Police Chief Howard Jordan, who assumed command last October after 23 years in the department, said in an interview. "I think we're a much better department than we were 10 years ago."

Jordan noted that the department has been a pioneer in some ways, such as requiring officers to record their actions on chest-mounted cameras and accepting anonymous complaints about officers to the internal affairs division.

Court-appointed receivers have run school districts, and Henderson in 2005 appointed one to oversee medical care in California prisons. But no police department in the nation has ever answered to a receiver, and it is unclear exactly how such a move would play out.

Burris said in an interview that he wanted the receiver to drive home the reforms but not deploy officers to robberies and homicide scenes.

Still, he said a receiver's job in ensuring change "could have a wide-reaching impact that could stretch to other areas. We want the receiver to have the authority to determine, if necessary, the command staff of the department, including the chief."

City Council reform

The potential impacts are a big concern for some City Council members, who worry that receivership could bust an already cash-strapped city budget. They said many city departments, such as libraries, are operating with minimum funding while others, such as senior centers, are surviving with reduced hours.

A receiver, they said, would have the power to override council budget decisions. Those same libraries and senior centers might disappear to pay for the receiver, said Councilwoman Jane Brunner.

"The budget has no margin," she said. "It has no extra revenue. you'd have to go in and cut something."

Oakland's reform effort has been overseen by two independent monitors appointed by the federal court, which ordered a batch of reforms in 2003. By the end of the first monitor's seven-year tenure, the department had completed 32 reforms, leaving 22 to fulfill.

In a July report, the current monitor, Robert Warshaw, said the city needed to complete nine more reforms. They included improving the way officers reported use of force, gathering racial data on people stopped by officers, and implementing a computerized early-warning system to identify officers prone to abuses.

City Attorney Barbara Parker said Thursday that the city was now in compliance with all but seven reforms, and that by December the department could be down to three.

But the civil rights attorneys said in their motion that less drastic measures than a receivership had failed. The lawyers said top city officials had "elevated political cover and petty personality conflicts above fostering the leadership and commitment necessary."

Real-life test

Their motion said the police force had failed a "real life test" - clashes with Occupy protesters that led to an Iraq war veteran being critically wounded by a police beanbag - and to criticisms from a city-hired consultant.

Burris, Chanin and Houk also referred to a report by the monitor, released this week. It concluded that officers sometimes shoot at suspects even when they are not faced with a potentially lethal threat.

The attorneys said Oakland and its insurance carriers have paid out nearly $47 million to settle police-abuse claims and lawsuits between 2002 and 2011. Meanwhile, the court-ordered monitors have cost the city more than $7 million.

Michael Rains, an attorney who represents the Oakland Police Officers' Association, said rank-and-file officers agreed with the plaintiffs' motion in one key area - that a chronic lack of leadership at the top of the department is the root cause of the failure to complete reforms.

"Right now, our clients feel like they're under siege by their own administration," Rains said. "A mean-spirited, heavy-handed administration that has been more willing to deflect criticism and point down to the people who are dealing with the reality and vulgarity of violence on the streets of Oakland."

Mayor Jean Quan said the city must complete the reforms not only to comply with the settlement, but also "because these reforms are the right thing to do. They will strengthen the relationship between the police and community they serve, and give us a department that is more effective and efficient at fighting Oakland crime."

A hearing on the receivership motion is scheduled for Dec. 13.

Demian Bulwa, Matthai Kuruvila and Justin Berton are San Francisco Chronicle staff writers. E-mail: dbulwa@sfchronicle.com, mkuruvila@sfchronicle.com, jberton@sfchronicle.com

Sheriff Larry Dever was drunk when he crashed his car and died???

Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever died in a car crash. He was driving drunk with a BAC of .291. More of the old 'do as I say, not as I do' from our government masters Sheriff Larry Dever was drunk when he crashed his car and died???

More of the old "do as I say, not as I do" from our government masters.

I have said many times that the government's war on drunk driving is all about raising money for our government masters and almost nothing about safety.

And I suspect this article which says Sheriff Larry Dever was drunk supports that statement to some degree.

I think driving when you are drunk is pretty stupid, but the government .08 standard for setting the level of being drunk is just as stupid.

At .08 I am legally drunk after 2 beers. And those petite women who weigh in at 100 pounds are legally drunk after one beer.


Cochise County sheriff impaired at time of deadly crash, authorities say

Oct. 5, 2012 04:20 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever died in a car crash. He was driving drunk with a BAC of .291. More of the old 'do as I say, not as I do' from our government masters Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever was driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of a rollover in northern Arizona that took his life, authorities said Friday afternoon.

Preliminary toxicology results indicate Dever had a level of blood-alcohol level "associated with impairment" when his 2008 Chevrolet truck rolled on a gravel U.S. Forest Service road on Sept. 18, the Coconino County Sheriff's Office said. The office said the results came from the county medical examiner's office.

Dever was on his way to White Horse Lake to meet one of his six sons for a two-day family hunting trip.

In a prepared statement, the Cochise County Sheriff's Office said the Dever family "expressed great sorrow at the findings," noting that the sheriff was "still undoubtedly reeling from the stress and pressure" of his personal life, including the death of his 86-year-old mother, Annie, four days earlier. In addition, one of his six sons was scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan the week of the hunting trip.

"The Dever family advised that they remain so grateful for the overwhelming support and outpouring of love from Cochise County and across the nation, and they pray this report does not diminish the respect and admiration that so many have for such a great man," the statement read.

Authorities said earlier this week that they believe Dever was heading south and lost control of his truck as the road curved to the right. Dever's truck veered to the left-hand side of the road before rolling over and crashing into a rocky embankment on the right-hand side, according to a Coconino County Sheriff's Office report.

The truck's black box shows Dever was traveling at 62 mph before his truck rolled over and that his seat belt was unbuckled, the report said. Forest Service roads don't have posted speed limits, but motorists are expected to drive at a prudent speed.

Europe's fight over religious free speech flares up again


Europe's fight over free speech flares up again

2:21 AM, October 5, 2012

USA Today

by Stuart Braun, Special for USA TODAY

BERLIN - Bans on an anti-Islam video. Forbidding protests against it. Arrests for blasphemy.

The ongoing furor over a video and cartoons mocking the Muslim prophet Mohammed has reignited old dilemmas over free speech in Europe, with calls for stricter blasphemy laws, bans on protests and debates over how much free speech to allow.

"I don't think we can get into the situation in which any minority sect, any religion, is allowed to demarcate the things that other people are allowed to say," said Ben Tonra, who specializes in European relations at Dublin University in Ireland. "For me personally, the primacy has got to be given to free speech."

But not all agree with this in Europe, which has a history of curtailing speech the government deems offensive or disruptive. Governments here do not have constitutions that enshrine the rights of individuals to express themselves, and are looking for ways to legally prevent their citizens from criticizing Islam however crudely.

Russia, which recently jailed a rock band for singing a song against President Vladimir Putin, ordered the video The Innocence of Muslims banned. And Putin announced he is pushing for an anti-blasphemy law on "insulting religions and people's religious sentiment."

The German government is considering whether to find a way to prevent a group from showing the video to the public. France has banned other mocking images of Mohammed and it continues to face protests over a French magazine publishing provocative cartoons of Mohammed.

Unlike the United States, free speech is limited in Europe with numerous statutes that ban hate speech, blasphemy, Holocaust denial and even phrases deemed insults to bureaucrats and police officers.

When Germany's far right political party, Pro Deutschland, announced it planned to screen the video The Innocence of Muslims politicians responded by trying to tighten 140-year-old blasphemy laws. After all, Germany has an estimated 4 million Muslims and its embassy in Sudan was set on fire last month by men egged on by Islamist leaders.

But German Interior Minister, Hans-Peter Friedrich opposed the measures, saying that German law also protects "freedom of expression and artistic freedom."

Muslim nations say Europe's reluctance to ban insults to Islam show that the West is anti-Islam. Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf demanded an international ban on a film he equated to "hate speech" and "blasphemy."

"(It's) equal to the worst kind of anti-Semitism or other kind of bigotry," he added.

Some European nations have blasphemy laws that have shielded Christian faiths. In Greece, a 27-year-old man was arrested for blasphemy last week after posting "insulting religious" material on a Facebook page satirizing a famous Greek monk. He faces up to two years in jail.

Free speech advocates in Europe say criminalizing offensive speech is not a solution to maintaining order.

"Blasphemy laws ... almost inevitably contradict free speech by banning debate about religion, and should be scrapped altogether," said Agnes Callamard, director of Article 19, an international free speech advocacy group based in London.

But Callamard agreed there have to be some limits.

"States are obliged to prohibit certain speech that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence," she said, noting that such limits are enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights â?? ratified by a vast majority of the world's nations.

"States must promote equality and freedom of expression jointly," she added. "They can do this by protecting the right to be heard and the right to speak, by promoting intercultural understanding, supporting diverse and pluralistic media, and so on."

German courts recently upheld free speech rights when politicians have tried to stop the airing of provocative material. In May, a small right wing party, Pro-NRW (North Rhine-Westphalia), held up anti-Islamic caricatures in front of mosques â?? some depicting Muslims as terrorists. Some Muslims in Bonn responded with violent protests.

Ralf Jaeger, interior minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, banned the cartoons. But the Federal Constitutional Court overruled him, saying the caricatures alone did not represent a grave enough threat to public order and security to limit free speech. Still, the court could have ruled otherwise.

The French response to cartoons lampooning Mohammed that were published in the weekly French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, shows Europe's confused approach to freedom of expression, analysts say. The largely secular and atheistic French have accommodated insulting portrayals of Christianity. And when protesters threatened to voice their opinions by marching to oppose the cartoons, French officials banned the marches.

"I think genuinely that is a discussion and debate that has to happen at a national level because if you take Germany, there are particular sensitivities and particular historical resonances which are different than for example would exist in the French context," Tonra said.

Individual thoughts on European history is particularly tricky. French President Francois Hollande is drafting a new law to punish ongoing denial of the 1915-16 Armenian genocide by Turkey. Denying the Holocaust happened is a crime in some European countries.

Timothy Garton Ash, director of Free Speech Debate, a research project at the University of Oxford, said such well-intentioned laws could be counter-productive.

"When you start using the law, you're taking a very big hammer and only hitting a few very small nails â?? that's the trouble with the way hate speech laws are applied," he said. "They only tend to hit one or two people, often in a random and inconsistent way."

But in Germany and Austria, the carrying of Nazi symbols like the swastika or the claims that the Nazis did not murder 6 million Jews is seen as a movement to bring back the death squads and concentration camps of World War II. Such expression can carry criminal penalties and in one case, British historian David Irving was sentenced in 2006 to three years in prison for Holocaust denial.

"That was a huge mistake â?? there should be no taboos in the discussion of knowledge," said Garton Ash of Irving's sentence. "The Austrian court, by imprisoning him, enabled him to pose as a martyr for free speech. It's a classic example of how counter-productive such laws can be."

He says the only solution is to counter offensive speech with "more and better speech, which is the classic First Amendment and my personal position."

He pointed to a devout British Muslim, Syed Mahmood, who's widely viewed YouTube video, "A Muslim's Reaction to Muhammad Movie Trailer," declared abhorrence for the anti-Muslim film but strongly opposed any violent response.

"It's such a brilliant example," Ash said. "It's a great example of what you can do with new media to counter that sort of hatred."

Paul Penzone ain't much better then Sheriff Joe Arpaio!!!!

OK, I know, Sheriff Joe Arpaio is the biggest Nazi in the world.

But sadly Paul Penzone isn't much better.

He is a big fan of the "drug war" and in fact he was an undercover narcotics agent for several years.

If Paul Penzone gets elected you can count on many more years of the insane drug war in Maricopa County.

That's not to say I like Sheriff Joe. Sheriff Joe is an evil person and probably the worst Sheriff in the USA, if not the world.

Here are some snips from the New Times article article about Paul Penzone.


Penzone's garnered a long list of high-profile endorsements from Democrats and Republicans, the latter including such GOPers as former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods and ex-U.S. Attorney for Arizona Paul Charlton.


He [Paul Penzone] regularly hikes North Mountain or Piestewa Peak with a friend from the DEA


In response, Penzone ... opened a Bible, haphazardly, to 1 Samuel, Chapter 17, the story of David and Goliath and their death battle in the Valley of Elah [I wonder is Paul Penzone a Christian nut job, who will mix religion and policing???]


He discusses his 21 years as a cop, his work as an undercover narcotics officer, and later as a cross-deputized agent of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, dismantling large drug-dealing organizations with the assistance of federal wiretaps. Plus, he offers a bit of motivation.


A 1997 commendation describes how he led an investigation into a criminal organization of meth-dealing white supremacists, authoring a 60-page wiretap affidavit, which led to the conviction of 19 suspects on federal drug-trafficking charges and the eradication of two underground meth labs.


After ChildHelp, Penzone worked with the anti-drug outfit notMYkid, which he quit at the end of 2011 to devote himself full time to running for sheriff.

Homeless Are Fighting Back Against Panhandling Bans


Homeless Are Fighting Back Against Panhandling Bans


Published: October 5, 2012

COLORADO SPRINGS — Panhandlers, with their crumpled signs, coffee cups and pleas, are as customary a sight in many American towns and cities as Starbucks or McDonald’s. But for one Utah homeless man, the right to ask people for money has become a personal legal crusade.

Steve Ray Evans, in Salt Lake City has successfully sued Utah cities over panhandling citations, arguing that his right to free speech is being violated.

Steve Ray Evans, who uses a sign to ask drivers for money, has been successfully suing Utah cities that have cited him for panhandling, arguing that his right to free speech is being violated by a state statute that bans soliciting near roadways.

“This is my only source of income,” said Mr. Evans, 54, whose sign reads “Starving Please Help!” “I do it for survival purposes. I feel as though a lot of other individuals depend on it, too.”

Mr. Evans said he had received more than 50 panhandling citations, and cases like his have become increasingly common of late. With the downturn in the economy, cities across the country have been cracking down on an apparent rise in aggressive panhandling, while advocates for the homeless and civil liberties groups contend that sweeping bans on begging go too far.

According to a report by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty that examined 188 cities, there was a 7 percent increase in prohibitions on begging or panhandling between 2009 and 2011.

“Our sense is that cities are responding to the increasing number of chronically or visibly homeless people due to the economic crisis,” said Heather Maria Johnson, a civil rights lawyer for the group. “Rather than addressing the issue of homelessness, they are adapting measures that move homeless people out of downtowns, tourist areas or even out of a city.”

Case law on the issue has varied over the years, and local panhandling laws differ widely. But several recent legal decisions have favored the homeless.

Last January, after Mr. Evans’s initial lawsuit, Salt Lake City agreed to stop enforcing the state statute.

But Utah fought the suit, arguing that panhandling near roads was dangerous. A federal judge sided with Mr. Evans in March, ruling that the statute was unconstitutional. In June, the City of Draper agreed to stop enforcing the ordinance after Mr. Evans filed suit there as well.

After a lawsuit filed by a homeless man and a disabled veteran who were arrested on panhandling charges in Grand Rapids, Mich., a federal judge ruled in August that the state’s blanket ban on public begging also violated the First Amendment. Michigan’s attorney general, Bill Schuette, has appealed, arguing that begging is not protected speech.

In many cases, the dispute over panhandling centers on whether a city’s efforts to criminalize aggressive begging to protect pedestrians and businesses ends up overreaching.

After the Northern California city of Arcata passed an ordinance banning panhandling in 2010, a local resident, Richard Salzman, sued in State Superior Court in Humboldt County.

Mr. Salzman, 53, an agent for commercial illustrators, said he had no problem with Arcata’s efforts to curb aggressive panhandling. But he objected to the city — long known for its liberal leanings — also prohibiting panhandling that was not necessarily threatening on its face, like merely asking for money within 20 feet of the entrance to a store or restaurant.

“I don’t know how much more passive you can be than standing there silently holding a sign,” he said. “This is a slippery slope we don’t want to go down.”

Last month, Judge Dale A. Reinholtsen ruled that Arcata’s law was indeed too broad and struck down most provisions that prohibited all panhandling in specific locations.

“The court finds that the legitimate interests advanced by Arcata with respect to the targeted panhandling prohibition are insufficient in most instances to justify the infringement of solicitors’ speech rights,” Judge Reinholtsen wrote in his opinion.

In Colorado Springs, city officials are weighing a panhandling ban for a commercial section of downtown, after merchants complained that begging was interfering with business.

“What they have told us is that the persistent sort of solicitation by people who just camp out in front of stores every day downtown has really discouraged tourists, shoppers and families from coming downtown,” said City Attorney Chris Melcher.

Mr. Melcher acknowledged that there could well be a legal challenge if the ordinance is approved. But he said the city, which already bans aggressive panhandling, was committed to drafting a law that would avoid prohibiting lawful speech.

On a blustery Thursday morning in Colorado Springs, Turtle Dean, a 36-year-old homeless man, said that he did not think the proposed ban was fair.

“I only ask for money for stuff that I need to survive. Clothes and food,” said Mr. Dean, who panhandles downtown and vowed to continue begging, ban or not.

The most recent suit by Mr. Evans, who is being represented by a lawyer with the Utah Civil Rights and Liberties Foundation, was filed last month against the City of American Fork, where he was recently cited for panhandling.

While city officials consider whether to fight the suit, American Fork has agreed not to pursue the charges against him for now and to temporarily stop enforcing the statute.

Mayor James H. Hadfield said Mr. Evans had been cited because he was panhandling in a construction zone and people had complained.

“I have nothing against Mr. Evans or people who do these types of activities and use common sense,” he said. “We react to people’s complaints. We are not on a witch hunt.”

Arizona AG Tom Horne is having an affair with Carmen Chenal???


Tom Horne's Alleged Hit-and-Run at an Address Listed for Carmen Chenal (w/UPDATE)

By Stephen Lemons Mon., Oct. 1 2012 at 2:56 PM

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery's big press conference this morning alleged illegal coordination between Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne and an independent expenditure committee during his 2010 campaign.

My pals in the Fourth Estate were in a feeding frenzy at the presser over this alleged civil violation, of a kind routinely committed in Arizona politics. Supposedly, the FBI spent 11 months looking into the allegations, which are as boring as watching trees grow.

But what I find more interesting than the supposed election law shenanigans -- the sort of hjinks normally overlooked by the FBI and the county attorney in our recent past -- is the following line from Montgomery's press release on the scandal du jour:

"The investigation also uncovered evidence of a misdemeanor vehicular hit-and-run incident, which was referred to the City of Phoenix for review."

According to the Phoenix Police Department, Horne was the driver of the vehicle, and according to my sources, Horne was being followed by FBI investigators when the run-in occurred.

This is the terse statement issued by the PPD after Montgomery's presser:

"The Phoenix Police Department is investigating a Hit-and Run collision, property damage only, which is alleged to have occurred on March 27, 2012 at approximately 12:45 P.M., at 202 West Roosevelt Street. The investigation was turned over to the Phoenix Police Department by the Federal Bureau of Investigations on October 1, 2012 and involves Arizona Attorney General Thomas Horne. The investigation is expected to take several weeks to complete."

That address also happens to be the address of a condominium complex at which Assistant Attorney General Carmen Chenal apparently resided, and may still reside.

For instance, it's the address listed for her in a 2010 campaign contribution that she made for Margaret Dugan, who was at the time running in the Republican primary for state school's superintendent.

Also, I just drove by the condo, and there is a "Chenal, C" listed for the building.

My sources tell me that Horne was on his lunch break at the time and backed into the unoccupied vehicle. He apparently left without leaving a note for the driver.

In 2011, I wrote at length about Chenal being hired for a post in the criminal division of the Arizona Attorney General's Office, despite her lack of experience in criminal law and despite the fact that she had been suspended by the state Bar of Arizona, and only recently had been reinstated.

What I did not address were allegations that Horne was engaged in a longstanding affair with Chenal that stretched back to their time at the Arizona Department of Education, when Horne was Superintendent.

Horne's spokeswoman Amy Rezzonico told me that she didn't know if Horne was with Chenal at the time of the accident. She claimed the Attorney General was parked in a public lot at the address so that he could eat at a nearby Pita Jungle.

She said Horne didn't know that he had bumped into the vehicle, and that he was "happy to pay" for any damage. Horne sent a message to the county attorney to this effect, she said, after being informed of the accident.

"Carmen Chenal and Tom Horne have been friends for a very long time," Rezzonico stated when I asked if the two had ever been in an affair. "She worked at the Superintendent's [office] and she also works at the Attorney General's Office. I'm not aware of anything other than they're friends."

Over time, multiple sources have alleged to me that Horne and Chenal are an item. One source even claimed to have spotted Horne coming out of Chenal's apartment.

Horne is married. Chenal is divorced. Her ex-husband Tom Chenal also works at the AG's office.

So what, you might ask? Well, my initial story about Horne and Chenal is what prompted Horne to order an internal investigation into who my source was for the story.

Suspicion quickly fell on Kathleen Winn, the AG's outreach director. As I've written in the past, though I've spoken to Winn on a number of occasions, she was not a source for that story. In fact, everything in the original piece about Horne and Chenal came from public records.

And yet, the investigator seeking out this non-existent mole in the AG's office ended up turning whistleblower, and handing off to the FBI allegations regarding Horne and an independent expenditure committee run in 2010 by Winn.

Needless to say, if I had never written about Chenal or inquired of her at the AG's office, the Attorney General would not have the tsouris he has now.

Montgomery's press release and the response from the AG's office are below. I'll have more to say about the campaign finance allegations in a subsequent blog post.

But I do find it more than a little annoying that the FBI's Special Agent in Charge James Turgal was able to make this press briefing by Montgomery, but was nowhere to be found when the U.S. Attorney's Office dropped the ball on the criminal investigation into Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his office.

Which is more outrageous, the feds ending the criminal probe into Arpaio or anything alleged of Horne in this mess?

I'm sure you can guess my thoughts.

County Attorney Announces Civil Enforcement Action against Tom Horne and Kathleen Winn for Campaign Finance Violations

PHOENIX, AZ (October 1, 2012) - Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery is initiating a civil enforcement action against Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne and Kathleen Winn, General Director of Community Outreach for the Attorney General's Office, for alleged campaign finance violations committed during the 2010 election cycle. The allegations stem from an 11 month-long FBI investigation into Business Leaders for Arizona (BLA), an independent expenditure committee chaired by Winn and operated in close coordination with Horne in violation of A.R.S. § 16-917. The investigation also uncovered evidence of a misdemeanor vehicular hit-and-run incident, which was referred to the City of Phoenix for review.

"While various alleged details of this investigation have been shared with several media outlets by people not conducting the investigation, the conduct of this investigation is an example of how sensitive matters should be dealt with: conclusions reserved after all facts and circumstances have been determined, dispassionate review of evidence, and decisions made to further the interests of justice without political consideration," said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. "The conduct in question is expressly prohibited by Arizona's election laws and we will work to hold those responsible accountable," he added.

According to the results of the FBI's investigation, Horne actively directed BLA's fundraising and communications strategy with Winn in the final weeks of his 2010 campaign for Attorney General. During this time period, BLA raised more than $500,000 from the Republican State Leadership Committee and individual donors which paid for television advertisements advocating against Felicia Rotellini, Horne's Democrat opponent.

After reviewing the investigation, Secretary of State Ken Bennett determined there was reasonable cause to believe Horne and Winn's actions violated civil statutes governing independent expenditures, and directed the Maricopa County Attorney's Office to initiate an enforcement action pursuant to its statutory authority. The County Attorney intends to issue an order requiring compliance by BLA and the Tom Horne for Attorney General campaign committee, followed by an order assessing a civil penalty. The penalty for violating A.R.S. § 16-917 is three times the cost of the literature or advertisement that was distributed.

In August 2012, the County Attorney initiated a separate civil enforcement action against the Committee for Justice and Fairness, an independent expenditure committee that paid for commercials advocating against Tom Horne's candidacy for Attorney General and which failed to register with the Arizona Secretary of State's Office. Oral argument in this matter is scheduled for October 8, 2012.


The charges regarding the 2010 election are totally false. There was no coordination between the campaign and the independent campaign. The law permits people to have contact, so long as there is no coordination or direction of the expenditure by the candidate, which there was not in this case. This will be completely proven to be true during the legal process.

The chairman of the independent campaign, Kathleen Winn, chose from whom to request contributions, made the requests, chose the consultant, prepared the ad, and did all other tasks associated with the expenditure, independently and without any input from Horne. Horne never referred anyone to an independent campaign to make a contribution. He never suggested to anyone with the independent campaign names of people to be solicited for contributions. He never attended an event for an independent campaign. He never spoke to anyone about making a contribution to an independent campaign. He never spoke to anyone about choosing the consultant, preparing the ad, or any other aspect of the independent expenditure.

This can be seen from the results. For example, Horne's Campaign had 1,900 contributors. The independent campaign had seven. If there had been coordination, the independent campaign would have had hundreds of contributors.

Mr. Montgomery stated that he had taken action against the independent campaign that supported Felecia Rotellini and that opposed me. It should be added that an independent law judge has already found that that campaign violated campaign law by not registering or making required disclosures. Also, on September 14, 2010, Felecia Rotellini attended a meeting of the Democratic Attorney General's Association and gave a speech there, which led to their decision to fund her independent campaign. Tom Horne never did anything like that.

In this case, by contrast, it will be fully and completely proven that the claims are false.

UPDATE 9/2/12: Below is an excerpt from a summary of a meeting between an MCAO investigator and the FBI.

Um, I told you so.

State lawmaker Arredondo of Tempe expected to plead guilty


State lawmaker Arredondo of Tempe expected to plead guilty

Oct. 4, 2012 03:19 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Arizona House of Representative Ben Arredondo - Tempe City Councilman Ben Arredondo - a convicted felon Longtime Tempe politician Ben Arredondo is expected to plead guilty to federal charges Friday morning.

Arredondo, a Democrat, currently serves in the state House of Representatives and is a former Tempe City Council member. He was indicted May 16 and later pleaded not guilty to bribery, mail-fraud, lying and extortion charges stemming from an FBI sting that took place between February 2009, when Arredondo was a Tempe councilman, and November 2010, shortly after he won the House seat. The longtime GOP politico switched parties prior to winning the legislative seat.

The indictment alleges that Arredondo accepted about $6,000 in tickets to sporting and charity events in exchange for giving undercover agents posing as developers the inside track on a Tempe land deal.

According to court records, a change of plea hearing is scheduled for Friday morning in federal court. No information was available about what charges he may plea to, or whether they will be felonies or misdemeanors.

Change-of-plea hearing set for Tempe legislator


Change-of-plea hearing set for Tempe legislator

Posted: Thursday, October 4, 2012 5:00 pm

Associated Press

Arizona House of Representative Ben Arredondo - Tempe City Councilman Ben Arredondo - a convicted felon A change-of-plea hearing is scheduled Friday for an Arizona legislator charged in a corruption case.

Rep. Ben Arredondo previously pleaded not guilty to federal charges of bribery and other crimes.

The Tempe Democrat's lawyer did not immediately return a call for comment, but a federal court docket entry says a magistrate will hold the change-of-plea hearing Friday morning.

An indictment charged Arredondo with soliciting and accepting sports and charity event tickets from FBI undercover agents and with disclosing confidential information while he was a Tempe City Council member.

The scheduling of the change-of-plea hearing was reported first by the Arizona Capitol Times.

Arredondo is not running for re-election.

State lawmaker Ben Arredondo pleads guilty to two felonies


State lawmaker Ben Arredondo pleads guilty to two felonies

by Dianna M. Náñez - Oct. 5, 2012 11:06 AM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Arizona House of Representative Ben Arredondo - Tempe City Councilman Ben Arredondo - a convicted felon Longtime Tempe politician Ben Arredondo pleaded guilty to two felonies in federal court Friday morning - honest services mail fraud and mail fraud.

Honest services fraud is a federal charge often used in cases related to public corrupution. Each felony comes with a maximum prison sentence of up to 20 years and $250,000 in fines. Restitution could be up to $50,000.

As part of the plea, Arredondo has agreed to resign from the Arizona Legislature. He's expected to deliver his letter of resignation to House Speaker Andy Tobin once the hearing concludes.

Judge Lawrence Anderson in court said Arredondo accepted bribes in exchange for services and defrauded the residents of Tempe and Arizona.

According to federal investigators during court, Arredondo solicited donations for a college scholarship he had set up for needy students and then gave nearly $50,000 from it to help his relatives attend Arizona colleges.

Arredondo will be sentenced on Jan. 22. He declined to comment to the media.

Arredondo, a Democrat, currently serves in the state House of Representatives and is a former Tempe City Council member. He was indicted May 16 and later pleaded not guilty to bribery, mail-fraud, lying and extortion charges stemming from an FBI sting that took place between February 2009, when Arredondo was a Tempe councilman, and November 2010, shortly after he won the House seat. The longtime GOP politico switched parties prior to winning the legislative seat.

The indictment alleges that Arredondo accepted about $6,000 in tickets to sporting and charity events in exchange for giving undercover agents posing as developers the inside track on a Tempe land deal.

Once Tobin receives Arredondo's resignation letter, he will notify the Secretary of State and the governor. The Democratic precinct committee members for the old Legislative District 17 will then nominate three possible Democratic replacements. The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors will make the final choice.

Arredondo is the second Democratic state lawmaker to plead guilty to federal felony charges this year. Rep. Richard Miranda resigned from the Legislature in February and pleaded guilty to felony wire fraud and attempted tax evasion for selling a Surprise building owned by a non-profit he ran and pocketing the money.

Miranda was sentenced in June to a 27-month federal prison sentence, which began July 11, and must pay back hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The now-defunct Centro Adelante Campesino provided services to farmworkers and their families, including GEDs and job assistance. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Miranda's crimes arose as he took steps to close down the charity.

Miranda told U.S. District Judge Roslyn Silver that he falsified documents to indicate that he had authorization to sell a building the non-profit owned.

"I did not have the authority to sell the building, to acquire the monies," he said. "The board never authorized the sale."

He then illegally had one bank wire the money from the sale to an Arizona account. That account belonged to the group, but Miranda had given himself sole control.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Miranda told Centro's volunteer accountant that the revenue from the building would be used for scholarships.

Instead, Miranda used the money from the sale on "personal debt," said his attorney, Jose Montano.

The Department of Justice said Miranda paid off personal credit-card debts totaling more than $60,000 and spent money on travel, clothing, food and household items.

"He was in debt. It was a crime of opportunity," Montano said. "He needed the money, and he took it from the wrong place."

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne leader goes down in disgrace


Yet another Arizona leader goes down in disgrace


Fri, Oct 05 2012

We started the week with Attorney General Tom Horne being accused of violating campaign-finance laws. Basically, that he cheated and thus won the prize of becoming the top law enforcement official in the state.

Arizona House of Representative Ben Arredondo - Tempe City Councilman Ben Arredondo - a convicted felon We end the week with Rep. Ben Arredondo pleading guilty to a pair of felonies. Basically, that he accepted bribes in exchange for favors and donations for a college scholarship he had set up for needy students – read: his relatives.

Horne and Arredondo join what’s becoming quite the parade of shady or otherwise sad-sack public officials in this state.

There is Lester Pearce, recently accused of ethics violations when he was a justice of peace, for politicking for his brother, Russell – a no-no for judges.

There is his brother, Russell, whose pals planted Olivia Cortes in last year’s recall election, hoping to split the vote and allow Pearce back into office.

There is Darin Mitchell, the legislative candidate who a judge has ruled doesn’t live in his district as the law requires – and yet he remains on the ballot.

There is the tag team of Scott Bundgaard and Daniel Patterson, both of whom resigned from the Legislature this year before they could be thrown out, for their various domestic issues.

There is Joe Arpaio, who allowed his longtime right-hand man, Dave Hendershot, to basically run the sheriff’s office into the ground.

There is ex-Rep. Richard Miranda, who stole from a charity he ran and is now a guest in a federal coorectional institution. (Maybe Arredondo will be his roomie?)

I am reminded of the legendary words of Arredondo, while campaigning for the Legislature in 2010 (and at the same time channeling his inner Don Corleone). According to the federal indictment, while waiting to introduce undercover agents posing as developers to his replacement on the Tempe City Council, Arredondo assured them of his continued support.

"You guys will ask, you guys will have," the indictment quotes him as saying. "I don't know how else to say it. We'll be just fine because not only we're covered at the city, we're covered now at the state."

We're covered all right, in disgust at the state of elected leadership in Arizona.

State lawmaker Ben Arredondo pleads guilty to two felonies


State lawmaker Ben Arredondo pleads guilty to two felonies

Will resign his position in Arizona Legislature as part of the plea deal

by Dianna M. Náñez - Oct. 5, 2012 10:46 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Arizona House of Representative Ben Arredondo - Tempe City Councilman Ben Arredondo - a convicted felon Tempe politician Ben Arredondo pleaded guilty to two felonies and agreed to resign his legislative seat Friday, becoming the latest in a string of Arizona politicians to face criminal and ethics charges.

Trembling as he addressed the court, Arredondo pleaded guilty in federal court to honest services fraud and mail fraud. Honest services fraud is a federal charge often used in cases related to public corruption. Each felony comes with a maximum prison sentence of up to 20 years and $250,000 in fines. Restitution could be up to $50,000.

He was indicted May 16 on charges of bribery, mail fraud, lying and extortion stemming from an FBI sting that took place between February 2009, when Arredondo was a Tempe City Council member, and November 2010, shortly after he won the House seat. The longtime GOP politico switched parties prior to winning the legislative seat.

As part of the plea, Arredondo agreed to resign from the Legislature.

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors now has about three weeks to appoint a Democratic replacement. The supervisors will make the appointment from among three nominees selected by precinct committee members from Legislative District 17, which Arredondo represented.

He will be sentenced Jan. 22. He declined to comment.

Arredondo is the second Democratic state lawmaker to plead guilty to federal felony charges this year and the third person in the state Capitol arena to be snared by an FBI corruption investigation.

Last week, former Republican House staffer John Mills was indicted on 15 counts of mail fraud after an investigation said he was using state Rep. Jim Weiers' campaign account as a sort of revolving fund for personal purchases, mortgage payments and stock purchases. He paid the money back, records show. He has pleaded not guilty.

In February, Rep. Richard Miranda abruptly resigned from the Legislature and in June pleaded guilty to felony wire fraud and attempted tax evasion for selling a Surprise building owned by a non-profit he ran and pocketing the money. Miranda was sentenced to a 27-month federal prison sentence and must pay back hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A legacy unraveled

Arredondo's 40-year legacy as an educator and public servant came to an end Friday in the courtroom where he was flanked by his attorneys and small group of relatives, including wife Ruth Ann.

The former high-school coach known for his blunt, tough-talking style has been publicly silent since the federal charges were filed. The native Arizonan's high-profile career spanned decades working for Valley schools and serving in city, county and state government posts.

A Tempe park and public school bear his family's last name as a tribute to his public service.

Arredondo worked 28 years for Mesa Public Schools and served on the Tempe Elementary School District board for a decade. In 1991, Arredondo was appointed to serve two years on the county Board of Supervisors when Ed Pastor resigned to run for Congress. Three years later, he won a seat on the Tempe City Council, becoming the second Hispanic elected to the council since the city was established in 1894.

Arredondo's ethics came into question in 2007, when allegations surfaced that he violated county policies by hiring friends and relatives to work for the Maricopa County Regional School District, where he served as deputy schools superintendent. He had retired a year earlier, a few months prior to district Superintendent Sandra Dowling's indictment on 25 felony charges.

Arredondo was never charged with wrongdoing as the district audit focused on Dowling, who eventually pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor in what she alleged was a politically motivated case.

In 2009, after serving 16 years on the Tempe council, Arredondo switched parties to run for the Legislature.

Less than a year after winning the District 17 House seat, Arredondo was named in the Fiesta Bowl scandal. He accepted tickets to sporting events from bowl executives after helping the bowl secure a $6.45million subsidy from Tempe in 2005.

County Attorney Bill Montgomery's investigation of the 31 elected officials who took gifts from the bowl concluded that charges were not warranted because the rules related to accepting gifts were unclear.

The federal investigation was viewed by some Valley residents as an overdue reckoning for Arredondo. But his longtime supporters hoped it was an opportunity to clear his name.

Tempe Councilman Joel Navarro said Friday that Arredondo has taken responsibility and that the wrongdoing should not negate the good he did for his constituents.

"If Ben feels comfortable that's what he felt was the right thing to do, then I applaud him for standing up for that," he said. "He still has done some great things for the community. It is a shame that (there's) an outcome like this, that it has come down to this."

As part of the plea, federal prosecutors agreed to dismiss all other charges against Arredondo.

And if the former lawmaker fulfills the terms of the agreement, federal prosecutors agreed in court that they will not prosecute Arredondo's wife for any crimes related to the U.S. Department of Justice's case against Arredondo.

Arredondo broke down in court, wiping his face and choking back emotion as he faced Judge Lawrence Anderson. Anderson said Arredondo accepted a bribe in exchange for services and defrauded the residents of Tempe and Arizona of their right to honest services.

Federal prosecutors in court said Arredondo accepted about $6,000 in tickets to charity events and college and professional sporting events. The tickets were bribes in exchange for giving undercover FBI agents posing as developers the inside track on a Tempe land deal, prosecutors said.

Federal prosecutor Monique Abrishami said that after Arredondo's election to the state House, he reassured the agents that he and an incoming Tempe council member would support their development project. ''

"'You guys will ask, you guys will have. I don't know how else to say it,'" Abrishami reported Arredondo had told the agents. " 'We'll be just fine because not only we're covered at the city, we're covered now at the state.'"

Information presented in court showed that, in 2001, Arredondo established the Arredondo Scholarship Fund for "average" students needing financial support and operated it through at least 2011. Prosecutors said Arredondo solicited donations for the fund, never telling donors that a portion of the money would go to scholarships for his own relatives.

Seven of Arredondo's relatives received a total of nearly $50,000 to attend Arizona educational institutions.

Widening scope

Rep. Ed Ableser, D-Tempe, said Arredondo is among a growing number of Arizona politicians who have violated their duty to uphold the law. Ableser successfully ran as a team with Arredondo for their district's two House seats, calling themselves the "A Team."

Voters have every right to be angry with Arizona politicians, Ableser said, "given the amount of unethical behaviors by lobbyist and legislators over the past year that have destroyed the public's trust in their elected officials."

Earlier this week, County Attorney Montgomery announced that a 14-month investigation had concluded that Republican Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, the state's top law-enforcement official, deliberately broke campaign-finance laws during his 2010 bid for office by coordinating with an independent expenditure committee. Horne has said he did nothing wrong.

Navarro said constituents have approached him at grocery stores and ball games asking about the worrisome state of Tempe and Arizona politics.

"It seems like politics in every form has been at the forefront of the community's mind," he said. "Ever since this whole thing with the state and the Fiesta Bowl outbreak, we've been taking a hard look at whether we are doing everything we can."

Last week's federal indictment of Mills, the GOP aide charged with using campaign donations to help pay for various mortgages and investments, could signal that the FBI investigation of Arredondo may still extend to more Valley politicians.

Legal experts have said that the delay in the time between investigating and charging Arredondo indicates that the FBI may be investigating others.

Following Arredondo's indictment, Kenneth Fields, a retired Maricopa County Superior Court judge, told The Republic that in his experience as a federal prosecutor, it is uncommon for federal officials to investigate issues such as Arredondo's crimes as a councilman unless there is a wider scope of wrongdoing suspected.

He said prosecutors may see Arredondo as the "low-hanging fruit" that they hope to turn as a witness against bigger players.

Reporter Mary Jo Pitzl contributed to this article.

Tempe's Arredondo pleads guilty to bribes, mail fraud


Tempe's Arredondo pleads guilty to bribes, mail fraud (updated)

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012 5:04 pm

By Michelle Reese, Tribune

Longtime East Valley lawmaker Ben Arredondo will be sentenced in January after pleading guilty Friday to two felony charges in federal court.

Arizona House of Representative Ben Arredondo - Tempe City Councilman Ben Arredondo - a convicted felon State Rep. Arredondo, D-Tempe, who was indicted in May, was caught in a sting involving FBI undercover agents who said they represented a company that wanted to develop real estate projects in Tempe, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice. The department reports Arredondo’s actions took place while he was first a city councilman in Tempe and then a state representative.

On Friday, Arredondo, 65, pleaded guilty to one count each of honest services mail fraud and mail fraud. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison with each charge and could be fined. His sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 22.

The release states that Arredondo accepted tickets to sporting events, and tables at charity events, with tickets sent to his home. In exchange, Arredondo agreed to use his influence to gain support for the fictitious company and its project.

“Arredondo took the bribe with the intent to be influenced in the performance of his official duties, first as a councilmember and later as an elected member of the Arizona House of Representatives,” the U.S. Justice of Department release said. “During his plea, Arredondo admitted that from February 2009 to November 2010, he solicited and accepted things of value, collectively a bribe, from representatives of ‘Company A.’”

During his plea, Arredondo also revealed that some monies given to a scholarship fund he set up were used by family members, which was not revealed to donors.

A call to Arredondo’s attorney was not immediately returned.

Arredondo was elected to District 17 in November 2010 following about 16 years as a Tempe councilman.

Sen. David Schapira, D-Tempe, told the Tribune that he expected Arredondo to “no longer be a state representative” by the end of Friday.

Several officials at the state House of Representatives said they expected his resignation as well.

At that point, Schapira said, precinct members will sit down to discuss who could fill Arredondo’s seat for the next three months. Their nominations will go before the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors for final decision.

“The important thing to highlight is our district has been represented by somebody who has been distracted by a serious court case for some time. I called on him to resign when the indictments first came out. Sadly, our constituents in District 17 have been shortchanged,” Schapira said.

Contact writer: (480) 898-6549 or mreese@evtrib.com

More on that Border Patrol "friendly fire" murder.


Border agent's death spurs review of protocols

by Laurie Merrill - Oct. 7, 2012 11:05 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Confirming that investigators believe a U.S. Border Patrol agent fired the first shot in a suspected "friendly fire" incident last week, an agents-union official said Sunday that the Border Patrol will review procedures to help prevent a similar tragedy in the future.

"It's just a horrible, unfortunate incident," said George McCubbin, National Border Patrol Council president, who has reviewed investigative reports.

After the FBI and the Cochise County Sheriff's Office complete their investigations, the Border Patrol will investigate whether policies and procedures were followed and whether they're adequate to prevent an agent from firing at another agent in the field, McCubbin said.

Border Patrol officials were not available for comment Sunday.

Agent Nicholas Ivie was killed about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday in a shooting in a remote, mountainous area known for drug smuggling about 6 miles east of Bisbee and several miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border. The FBI announced on Friday that there are strong indications that the shooting involved friendly fire.

Ivie, 30, and two other agents were responding to an activated sensor. Ivie and the other agents arrived in vehicles, then set out on foot, said acting Cochise County Sheriff Rodney Rothrock. McCubbin said Ivie was approaching a shallow canyon from the north, and two agents, a man and a woman, were approaching from the south.

"They were dropping into a saddle (shallow canyon) from different directions," McCubbin said. "The area was heavy with thick brush."

Investigators believe Ivie thought he had run into an armed smuggler and fired, striking the man in the ankle and buttocks, McCubbin said. The agents were about 20 yards apart, Rothrock said. McCubbin said the injured agent returned fire, killing Ivie. The female agent also fired her service revolver, but it's not clear whether she struck anyone. She was not injured.

"We believe Agent Ivie was responding to whatever was there," McCubbin said. "Initial reports said he was ambushed."

McCubbin's statements confirm what azcentral.com reported late Friday. A source close to the investigation told The Arizona Republic and azcentral that the agents lost radio contact and Ivie got spooked and started to shoot, with another agent returning fire.

It is unclear if Ivie identified himself before firing, which is common practice, McCubbin said, and it's unclear if the other agents heard him if he did.

"It's at night and you have more than one unit responding to the report," McCubbin said. "We are running into canyons and saddles and down mountains, and you don't know what you are going to find down there."

Rothrock would not comment on whether Ivie shot first, but said, "They (the agents) were able to distinguish there was somebody else there but not able to distinguish that they were border agents."

The agents' weapons have been seized, and they are on paid leave pending a Border Patrol review of the incident, which is customary, McCubbin said. The union has hired lawyers for both agents, standard practice in any incident involving a shooting.

Investigators have reported there is no evidence that border crossers tripped the sensors. Sensors are often tripped by grazing cattle, McCubbin said.

He said, according to investigative reports, Ivie and the other two agents knew they were responding to the same tripped sensor because they radioed dispatch. They apparently lost radio contact, he said.

He said radio communication has been an issue during his 27 years on the force.

Union: Arizona Border Patrol agents opened fire on each other


Union: Arizona Border Patrol agents opened fire on each other

Posted: Sunday, October 7, 2012 2:28 pm

Associated Press

The head of the Border Patrol agents union says the agent killed last week in a shooting in southern Arizona apparently opened fire on two fellow agents thinking they were armed smugglers and was killed when they returned fire.

National Border Patrol Council president George McCubbin said Sunday that the two sets of agents approached an area where a sensor had been activated. He says they arrived from different directions early Tuesday when Agent Nicholas Ivie opened fire.

Acting Cochise County Sheriff Rod Rothrock confirmed the scenario but would not say if Ivie was the first to shoot.

The shooting happened a few miles north of the border with Mexico, in a well-known smuggling area.

The FBI announced Friday that the shooting appeared to be a case of friendly fire.

Hell freezes over??? Republic doesn't support Sheriff Joe?

Arpaio's record says: Elect Penzone

Has hell frozen over??? This Republic editorial urges people to vote against Sheriff Joe!!!!

Yes, I know Sheriff Joe is the worst sheriff on the planet, but the Republic has supported him for years. They even failed to write an article about when he crashed his cop car in Fountain Hills.

Either way it's nice to finally see the Republic realize that Sheriff Joe Arpaio is a criminal who doesn't belong in office.


Arpaio's record says: Elect Penzone

Oct. 6, 2012 06:08 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

The early theme of the Joe Arpaio re-election effort is heartwarming.

In the campaign's television ads we see Joe as family man, as a young public servant in uniform. Joe as defender of the kids. And in a particularly whimsical shot, we see the Maricopa County sheriff plinking away at an ancient typewriter.

These images remind us of the public servant we supported in the 1990s and the 2000 election. In those days, he was a creative lawman who brought Maricopa County the nation's first high school for juvenile offenders, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program that by 2000 had graduated 1,000 men and women, a parenting program for fathers and a job placement program.

But that sheriff is as much an artifact as a manual typewriter. Arpaio, who in 1992 vowed to serve a single term, has evolved into a career politician devoted to burnishing his national brand. Arpaio's self-interest always trumps the public interest.

We and Arpaio once valued the same characteristics in a Maricopa County sheriff. Our values have not changed. His have.

Consider the record his ads skip over:

The years-long reign of terror waged by Arpaio against his political enemies.

The vendetta against Maricopa County judges and the Board of Supervisors is top of mind, but Arpaio's record of targeting political enemies goes back more than a decade. The campaign against the judges and supervisors took this abuse of power to its zenith.

Financial mismanagement.

Under Arpaio's leadership, the sheriff's department misappropriated nearly $100 million in salaries over eight years.

A 2010 investigation revealed high-ranking sheriff's deputies charged pricey meals and stays at luxury hotels to county-issued credit cards. The Board of Supervisors cut up the cards.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars earmarked to improve jails was instead spent on out-of-state training and hotels in Las Vegas, New Orleans and other resort destinations; eight weeks at a Coronado, Calif., apartment; and rental fees for awards banquets and staff parties. At the same time, boiler improvements at the Lower Buckeye Jail were postponed.

Tens of millions squandered in judgments for mistreatment of prisoners and violations of civil rights.

The failure to investigate hundreds of sexual-abuse cases.

Arpaio's ads boast about going after easy-to-find deadbeat dads. Like Arpaio, the ads ignore hundreds of sexual-abuse victims whose cases were set aside so the sheriff could train Honduran police.

The stigmatizing of an entire community for no greater purpose than furthering Arpaio's national political profile. The sheriff raised millions in campaign cash from across the country, capitalizing on the broken tail lights of American citizens who dared to Drive While Hispanic during one of Arpaio's "crime sweeps."

Former Chief Deputy David Hendershott.

Arpaio handed control of his department to a man who, along with other top aides, engaged in abuse of power, nepotism, intimidation and self-serving violations of policy. When they ultimately lost their jobs, no one was surprised. The signs were there for all to see.

Yet Arpaio claims ignorance. He has consistently testified he had no idea what Hendershott and his other deputies were doing. "America's Toughest Sheriff"? No, its most oblivious. Why re-elect a man who doesn't know what's going on in his own department?

So there's a lot that Arpaio's ads omit. But the campaign's free-spending, media-saturating urgency tells us something: That after all the abuse and excess, Arpaio is vulnerable at the ballot box.

This is so for two reasons.

One: See above.

Two: Paul Penzone.

A 21-year veteran of the Phoenix Police Department, Penzone represents the kind of lawman Arpaio once promised to be.

Tired of the constant self-promotion at the expense of fundamental crime-fighting? Penzone is committed to realigning the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office to serve its primary purpose: patrolling the streets of communities that rely on the county sheriff for protection.

For the "Toughest Sheriff," that job was too boring. For Penzone, it is Job One.

Penzone recognizes that repairing the damage caused by Arpaio's ham-handed ways will take time. Among Hispanics, obviously. But also among those numerous communities that have been so poorly served in recent years.

The Democratic candidate cites a need to repair the relationship between the Sheriff's Office and the Valley's other police agencies, a vital and often overlooked part of the public-safety mission.

Penzone calls Arpaio's lack of willingness to work with his peers "one of the biggest cancers" afflicting the Sheriff's Office. That would be fixed under the administration of the professional-minded Penzone.

Also in the race is independent Mike Stauffer, a retired lieutenant with the Scottsdale Police Department. Stauffer's presence in the race is a mystery. He offers a confused, often contradictory message. A vote for Stauffer might as well be a vote for Arpaio.

The Arizona Republic strongly recommends Paul Penzone for Maricopa County sheriff.

Penzone is not perfect. He went through an ugly divorce, which the Arpaio campaign is likely to exploit.

On all else Penzone appears to provide what Maricopa County needs in a sheriff right now: a professional, serious-minded cop whose default attitude won't be defiance.

Voters tired of the drama and mismanagement of recent years, who want a sheriff devoted to keeping them safe, as opposed to raising his national profile, will choose Penzone.

Sheriff Larry Dever was drunk as a skunk

Sheriff Larry Dever was smashed out of his mind when he crashed his truck and died

Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever died in a car crash. He was driving drunk with a BAC of .291. More of the old 'do as I say, not as I do' from our government masters Sheriff Larry Dever was drunk as a skunk when he crashed his truck and died.

More of the old "do as I say, not as I do" from our government masters.

I am a little person and I am legally drunk at .08 after about about 2 beers. I don't consider myself drunk at 2 beers but the government does.

I consider myself drunk after 4 beers. For me to hit 0.291 like Sheriff Larry Dever was when he crashed his pickup and killed himself I would have to drink about 7 or 8 beers. I would have been smashed out of my mind after 7 beers.

I find it odd that the Cochise County Sheriff's office didn't include in the press release that Sheriff Larry Dever death is a good reason why you shouldn't drink and drive.

Let's face it, the drunk driving laws are nothing more then a way the government to shake down people for revenue. At .08 a person is not drunk.

When drunk driving was first invented the legal definition of being drunk was .15. At that level I would consider myself too drunk to drive.


Arizona sheriff legally drunk in crash, autopsy shows

By Haley Madden The Arizona Republic - 12 News Breaking News Team Mon Oct 8, 2012 10:55 AM

An Arizona sheriff’s blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit when he died in a crash in northern Arizona, an autopsy report shows.

Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever died in a car crash. He was driving drunk with a BAC of .291. More of the old 'do as I say, not as I do' from our government masters Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever’s 2008 Chevrolet truck rolled on the gravel road on Sept. 18. His blood-alcohol level was 0.291, the report released Monday says.

The truck's black box showed Dever was traveling at 62 mph before the crash and that his seat belt was unbuckled, according to authorities.

Dever was on his way to White Horse Lake to meet one of his six sons for a two-day family hunting trip.

In a prepared statement, the Cochise County Sheriff's Office said the Dever family "expressed great sorrow at the findings," noting that the sheriff was "still undoubtedly reeling from the stress and pressure" of his personal life, including the death of his 86-year-old mother, Annie, four days earlier. In addition, one of his six sons was scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan the week of the hunting trip.

"The Dever family advised that they remain so grateful for the overwhelming support and outpouring of love from Cochise County and across the nation, and they pray this report does not diminish the respect and admiration that so many have for such a great man," the statement read.

Authorities said last week that they believe Dever was heading south and lost control of his truck as the road curved to the right. Dever's truck veered to the left-hand side of the road before rolling over and crashing into a rocky embankment on the right-hand side, according to a Coconino County Sheriff's Office report. link to main web page

Alcohol causó muerte de alguacil Dever

Sheriff Larry Dever was smashed out of his mind when he crashed his truck and died

La Voz


Alcohol causó muerte de alguacil Dever

Phoenix, Arizona

por Denis García - Oct. 12, 2012 09:50 AM

Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever died in a car crash. He was driving drunk with a BAC of .291. More of the old 'do as I say, not as I do' from our government masters La autopsia realizada al cadáver de Larry Dever, alguacil del condado Cochise que murió en un accidente de tráfico en el norte de Arizona la semana pasada, comprobó que su nivel de alcohol en la sangre era de 0.291, tres veces por encima del permitido, según dio a conocer el diario The Arizona Republic.

Dever era conocido por su posición rígida en contra de la inmigración indocumentada. Fue el único alguacil de los condados fronterizos con México que apoyó la aplicación de la ley SB 1070 y en todo momento mantuvo una posición crítica hacia el gobierno federal al que acusaba de no asegurar apropiadamente la frontera.

El accidente se produjo el 18 de septiembre cuando la camioneta del alguacil volcó en un camino de terracería estrellándose contra un muro de contención de piedra. Las autoridades confirmaron que no llevaba puesto el cinturón de seguridad.

La oficina del sheriff del condado de Cochise comentó en un comunicado que la familia de Dever expresó su dolor al conocer los hechos, apuntando que el sheriff todavía no estaba recuperado del estrés y la presión causada por problemas personales recientes, incluyendo la muerte de Annie, su madre de 86 años, fallecida 4 días antes.

Notes seem to incriminate Arizona AG Tom Horne

Remember Arizona Tom Horne is the jerk who wants to declare Prop 203 null and void so he can resume throwing people that smoke medical marijuana into prison.


Notes give insight into investigation of Horne

by Yvonne Wingett Sanchez and Craig Harris - Oct. 6, 2012 11:33 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Handwritten notes from Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne's former criminal division chief appear to show Horne intervened to try to protect employee Kathleen Winn, the campaign-committee chairwoman he is accused of colluding with in violation of campaign-finance laws.

The 15 pages of notes from James Keppel, a former Maricopa County Superior Court judge, also appear to show that one top employee in Horne's office asked about hiding or destroying documents that implicated Winn in an unrelated internal investigation.

Keppel's notes were obtained during a 14-month investigation into Horne by the FBI and local authorities that culminated in Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery announcing last week that his office would pursue a civil case against Horne and Winn. Documents show the case was also investigated as a potential criminal matter.

Winn chaired an independent expenditure committee on Horne's behalf during his 2010 race for attorney general. By law, candidates are not allowed to coordinate activities with independent expenditure committees.

The investigation was launched after a state investigator in Horne's office, Margaret "Meg" Hinchey, obtained evidence of what appeared to be collusion while investigating office media leaks at Horne's request.

Through a public-records request, The Republic last week acquired documents from the investigative file totaling nearly 300 pages. The documents show:

Horne and Winn called each other 150 times in the weeks leading up to the 2010 general election. The number and duration of the calls spiked between Oct. 20 and Oct. 28, when political consulting firm Lincoln Strategy Group was working with Winn's independent expenditure committee to create TV ads targeting Horne's Democratic opponent, Felecia Rotellini. In one case, Winn talked to Horne on the phone as she was e-mailing a political consultant at Lincoln about the ad.

Attorneys for Horne and Winn said Winn was advising him on a complicated real-estate transaction.

On Oct. 27, Brian Murray, a political consultant working with Winn on the anti-Rotellini TV ads, was so uncomfortable with Winn's contact with Horne that he notified an attorney for Lincoln. Murray wrote: "I warned her on numerous occasions that she needed to cease contact with the candidate and any agents of the campaign."

In a search-warrant affidavit, Maricopa County Attorney Investigations Division Commander Mark Stribling wrote that evidence showed that Horne and/or Winn may have broken the law in funding the committee from Aug. 25, 2010, through Nov. 2, 2010. He cited the state's criminal "fraudulent schemes and artifices" statute.

Maricopa County Presiding Criminal Court Judge Douglas Rayes approved Stribling's application for a search warrant for personal e-mails between Horne and Winn.

Deborrah Miller, a Horne campaign worker and Attorney General's Office employee, recalled that Winn visited Horne's campaign headquarters during the 2010 general election, while she was chairing the independent expenditure committee.

Horne's spokeswoman, Amy Rezzonico, sought "use immunity" from the County Attorney's Office in exchange for information she would provide to the FBI. Such immunity is typically used in criminal investigations. Her attorney sought to lay ground rules for investigators to interview her regarding Horne's campaign and the independent expenditure committee. It is unclear if the request was granted.

Horne has said the charges against him are "totally false." In an e-mail statement Friday, his office said the law permits candidates and people running independent expenditure committees to have contact "so long as there is no coordination or direction of the expenditure by the candidate, which there was not in this case. This will be completely proven to be true during the legal process." The episode "has not and will not interfere with the important work he is doing as Attorney General," the statement said.

Winn told The Republic she did nothing wrong. She said she was not interviewed during the investigation even though she's "the only one that knows what happened."

"I think that someone should ask the question: Why the FBI is following Tom Horne around on something that happened in 2010? ... What does that have to do with an alleged violation of campaign finance?" she said. "This isn't about me, this is about Tom Horne, and this is about sending a message to Tom Horne to not run for governor."

Winn said she wouldn't comment further until she receives Montgomery's formal charging document.

Winn created the independent expenditure committee, Business Leaders for Arizona, to raise money to oppose former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, a Republican who was running against Horne in the 2010 primary. The committee raised large donations in late October 2010 as Horne and Rotellini were running neck and neck. The committee, headquartered at Winn's Mesa address, raised $512,500 in nine days to fund anti-Rotellini TV ads.

The records also show attorneys for Horne and Winn criticized the investigation.

Horne would not speak with investigators based on advice from his attorney, Michael Kimerer, who criticized the FBI's investigative tactics, saying investigators used "coercive and misleading interview techniques" and that they engaged in "unauthorized surveillance" of Horne.

Winn's attorney, Larry Debus, criticized agents for questioning witnesses about salacious allegations of a love triangle allegedly involving Horne and two female employees.

Debus also hounded the County Attorney's Office over federal investigators' behavior and sent e-mails defending Winn's involvement in the committee. He questioned between February and August why a criminal probe was necessary for an alleged civil violation and challenged the scope of the investigation. Keppel's notes

The notes from Keppel, a 44-year career prosecutor and judge, provide a window into the case against Horne and offer perspective on how Horne and his inner circle reacted to potential media leaks and the FBI investigation. Keppel declined to comment, but said his notes accurately reflect events.

He was interviewed by the FBI in February and abruptly resigned from the Attorney General's Office in March. He has told The Republic he resigned over the FBI investigation and the way some people within the Attorney General's Office responded to it.

His notes allege that Horne obstructed the internal investigation Horne instigated into potential leaks to the media. According to Keppel, Horne would not allow supervising special agent Hinchey to interview Winn.

Horne said if Winn were to be interviewed, he should do it, Keppel wrote. During one discussion, Horne's top staff asked what he would do if it was determined Winn was involved in the alleged leaks. Horne said, "I can't fire her. She can really hurt me." In another conversation, Horne reportedly said he didn't "want to upset" Winn, when Hinchey again asked to interview her.

Last December, the notes stated, Deputy Attorney General Eric "Rick" Bistrow, a longtime Horne ally and Horne's chief of staff, asked Keppel if Hinchey's internal notes could "be destroyed/removed" from her computer. When Keppel told him they might be public records and therefore could not be destroyed, Bistrow asked what Hinchey would say about it.

"I told him she would not do it," Keppel wrote.

Bistrow then asked if the records could be considered drafts, or placed in Winn's personnel file to prevent them from becoming public.

The next day, Bistrow in a meeting said the internal-leak probe needed to end and it appeared Winn was involved, but "We all know nothing will happen."

Bistrow has denied all allegations of illegal and unethical behavior. Bistrow has acknowledged he raised questions to Keppel as to whether the investigative file was a public record, whether they could be considered "drafts" and whether parts could be "excised" because the file contains "scandalous stuff" that could "hurt a lot of people."

A civil case

Federal and local investigators spent more than a year pursuing a criminal investigation into Horne and Winn, but when it came time to resolve the case, Montgomery, the county attorney, chose to bring civil charges against Horne and Winn.

During the investigation, Stribling and FBI Special Agents Brian Grehoski and Merv Mason used criminal investigative techniques to build a case against Horne and Winn, documents acquired by The Republic show.

Investigators put Horne, the state's top prosecutor, under surveillance, trailing him as he met a female assistant attorney general and drove together to her residence, where the FBI witnessed their involvement in a minor hit-and-run.

Through search warrants, investigators obtained personal e-mails between Horne and Winn. Through grand-jury subpoenas, investigators obtained a history of their phone calls, bank records and other information.

In the end, Montgomery said state criminal statutes don't specifically address the alleged coordination between Horne and Winn. Instead, Montgomery will pursue civil enforcement action, which could force Horne and Winn to repay an estimated $400,000 to contributors. If they refuse, Horne and Winn could be forced to pay penalties of more than $1 million.

Privately, some lawyers and prosecutors have criticized Montgomery for his decision to pursue civil action, saying the evidence clearly shows Horne and Winn attempted to defraud Arizona voters.

Asked why investigators would pursue a criminal track in the investigation if the case was based solely on a civil matter, Montgomery responded that there was no restriction on the scope of the investigation early on, and that the FBI followed leads wherever they went. "There was no way to know at the outset if the investigation would eventually encompass both civil and criminal conduct or only one or the other," Montgomery said in an e-mail.

Retired Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Fields pointed out that prosecutors have wide discretion when determining what to charge. He said prosecutors pursue cases involving public officials cautiously and that Montgomery may have learned a lesson from his predecessor, former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, whose political and legal careers were destroyed by his failed pursuit of corruption- and financial-related charges against public officials.

There may be other reasons, Fields said. "There may be some indication of criminal conduct, but not enough to seek a criminal indictment. Montgomery may just be making a decision that the case is not strong enough to proceed."

ASU law professor Zig Popko said political considerations may have partially influenced Montgomery's decision. Popko noted that a criminal case against Horne could last three to five years, which would run into the 2014 election cycle when Horne, a Republican, would be up for re-election. Montgomery, also a Republican, would be in the middle of a four-year term at that point and could be running for another office.

Popko added that Montgomery may have made his decision based on the "sensitivity of prosecuting a sitting attorney general." He said Horne could settle without admitting guilt.

Montgomery said politics had nothing to do with his charging decision.

"Political considerations have no place in my decision-making process when it comes to enforcing our laws, and they played no role whatsoever in this matter. Zip, nada," Montgomery said. "It has been my earnest intent to keep politics out of administering my responsibilities in the criminal justice system and to the same degree in civil matters."

Arizona police agencies criticized in Senate counterterrorism investigation

Hey an article about the government goons that are reading this email and reading this article on my web pages.

Don't you guys have any real criminals to hunt down. You know real criminals like bank robbers, burglars, rapists and murders. Not people that clip articles about law abiding people that monitor police terrorists?


Arizona police agencies criticized in Senate counterterrorism investigation

Posted: Sunday, October 7, 2012 12:30 pm

By Maryann Batlle, Cronkite News | 0 comments

WASHINGTON – Arizona police agencies were among those singled out in a two-year Senate probe that reported “widespread deficiencies” in a Homeland Security Department program that officials touted for years as a centerpiece in U.S. counterterrorism efforts.

The report found that the local-federal “fusion centers” that were supposed to aid the federal government in terrorism prevention instead produced intelligence that was “oftentimes shoddy” and “unrelated to terrorism,” and it said federal officials could not adequately track millions of dollars directed to the centers.

Included in the questionable spending was money to Arizona law enforcement agencies that was used to buy sport utility vehicles and to outfit the “wire room,” a surveillance monitoring room at the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center, the state’s fusion center.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said in a written statement that the committee’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations “found a remarkable degree of ineffectiveness, ineptitude and waste” in the program.

But Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Thursday the subcommittee’s report is “wrong and misleading by omission.” Napolitano said she firmly believes fusion centers provide “a big service to the community” by augmenting existing counterterrorism efforts.

There are currently 77 fusion centers across the country. While the state and local law enforcement hubs perform many roles, their anti-terrorism functions were beefed up, and the number of centers increased, after 9/11 to aid the federal government in terrorism prevention.

Matt Mayer, a former senior Homeland Security official who worked under secretaries Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, said he fought the expansion of the centers but lost. Mayer said the department has focused on “quantity over quality” and is underfunding fusion centers in critical areas.

“There are bright spots out there … but unfortunately a lot of (fusion centers) exist that don’t deserve funding,” said Mayer, now a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation.

Among its findings, the subcommittee said that DHS could not provide an “accurate tally” of the program’s total costs, but that it provided “estimates which ranged from $289 million to $1.4 billion.”

Some of that DHS grant money went to the Arizona Department of Public Safety to fund initiatives at the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center.

The subcommittee questioned federal oversight of some of the Arizona spending, including one case when a state official expressed concern about the legitimacy of spending $1.98 million to lease space, which is not strictly allowed. The state official was assured it would be OK in an email, complete with smiley-face emoticon, from an official at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“Before using FEMA funds to make payments on ACTIC’s lease, an Arizona official queried FEMA about the allowability of the expenditure. The official’s response indicates FEMA’s guidelines are not rigidly enforced,” the subcommittee said in its 141-page report.

Federal funds also paid for two SUVs outfitted with specialized equipment, most of which fell outside of the scope of the program, the report said.

The Department of Public Safety used about $33,500 in grant funds to buy an SUV in 2008 for a terrorism liaison officer at the Flagstaff Fire Department, and another $9,400 on aftermarket equipment that would let it respond to chemical, biological and other events. But the report said such responses are unrelated to “essential fusion center capability” under the program.

“The city official to whom the vehicle was assigned told the subcommittee he keeps the truck at his house and uses it primarily to commute between his home and the Flagstaff Fire Department,” the report said.

In 2009, the Arizona State University Police Department got an SUV that was paid for with about $47,000 in grant funds, also for a terrorism liaison officer. Again, the subcommittee found the expenses outside the grant’s purpose.

The subcommittee also pointed to $64,000 in federal funds used to buy software, a laptop, monitors and two 42-inch flat-screen televisions for “the wire room,” a surveillance room used for criminal investigations. But the subcommittee noted that program guidelines “do not include covert or surreptitious intelligence gathering.”

The report said the centers have not “yielded timely, useful” counterterrorism information. It noted that ACTIC was linked to incorrect information after the 2011 shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Tucson, which suggested that shooter Jared Lee Loughner was linked to an anti-Semitic and anti-government group. Many of the claims made in the document were later proven false, according to the report.

“This example showed how a center’s weak analysis could actually hinder anti-terrorism and law enforcement efforts,” the report said.

Officials with the Arizona Department of Public Safety said this week that they were digesting the report, but they had not released a response to it as of Friday evening.

Among its recommendations, the subcommittee called for increased oversight of fusion center grant funds and improved training for officers in the field who file intelligence reports.

Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Senate Committee, in a statement Wednesday questioned the report’s completeness. He said fusion centers “have helped generate hundreds of tips and leads.”

“They have been essential to breaking down the information silos and communications barriers that kept the government from detecting the most horrific terrorist attacks on the country,” Lieberman said.

Mayer said he hopes Napolitano takes the report’s recommendations into account, and also reduces the number of fusion centers. In the meantime he said, fusion centers continue to add more hay to the intelligence community’s haystack, which is “a real security risk.”

“If you don’t have an efficient operation, you could actually miss the needles,” Mayer said.

Cronkite News Service reporters Khara Persad and Megan Goodrich contributed to this report.

Obama asks businesses to break law so he can get reelected!!!!

More of the old "do as I say, not as I do" from our government masters.

Look I think it's a silly law that should be repealed, if it's not unconstitutional.

But Obama is asking employees to break the law to help him get reelected.

"The Obama administration has told defense contractors anticipating possible layoffs ... not to issue 60-day notices as is usually required by law"

"Political analysts have speculated that White House officials did not want warnings of mass layoffs by defense contractors being issued just before the Nov. 6 general election"


Massive defense layoffs in limbo

Employers told not to give 60-day notice

by J. Craig Anderson - Oct. 6, 2012 02:31 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

The looming threat of automatic defense-spending cuts in January has sparked a political battle over a law that requires large employers in Arizona and elsewhere to notify workers in most cases at least 60 days before instituting massive layoffs.

The Obama administration has told defense contractors anticipating possible layoffs as a result of the scheduled budget cuts, known as sequestrations, not to issue 60-day notices as is usually required by law.

Republicans, including Sen. John McCain, R.-Ariz., are calling the White House Office of Management and Budget's instructions a violation of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, or WARN Act, a law passed by a veto-proof majority of Democrats during the Reagan administration.

They say the lack of proper notification could place the financial burden of additional severance pay and legal costs on taxpayers if widespread layoffs occur.

"It's totally illegal. And they're saying that the taxpayers will pick up the tab for any legal problems that they have," McCain told The Republic. "I mean, that's the most outrageous thing I've ever seen."

Last week, several defense contractors, including BAE Systems, a British company with operations in Arizona, backed off threats to issue layoff notices to employees in the coming weeks, a move they had said might be needed given the threat of federal budget cuts mandated by 2011 legislation related to raising the national debt ceiling.

The change in direction was prompted by a White House memo issued in late September that directs contractors to follow the guidance of the Labor Department. In a July letter, the department said the WARN Act does not require contractors facing sequestration to send notices to workers that they could be let go.

In its new guidance, the White House said that if sequestration occurs and an agency terminates or changes a contract that results in a plant closing or mass layoff, the contractors' liability and litigation costs under the WARN Act would be "allowable costs" covered by the contracting agency.

Political analysts have speculated that White House officials did not want warnings of mass layoffs by defense contractors being issued just before the Nov. 6 general election.

Other contractors, including the Boeing Co., which also has significant operations in Arizona, said they never had planned to issue WARN Act notices prior to the automatic cuts actually taking effect.

Dan Beck, director of international business development and strategy communications for Boeing, said it has been the company's position all along not to issue WARN notices until after it receives detailed information from government customers about specific programs that would be cut.

That probably would not happen until after automatic cuts go into effect, if they go into effect at all, which many defense-industry insiders believe will not happen.

"It was never our intent to issue sequestration-related WARN notices prior to the general election," Beck said.

As one of the nation's top employers of defense and aerospace workers, Arizona faces a serious economic threat if Congress fails to meet its self-imposed January budget deadline to avert billions of dollars in automatic federal-spending cuts.

To accomplish that, Congress must pass a budget that reduces the deficit by $1.2 trillion over the next decade, either through spending cuts, revenue increases or both. Political analysts say it's likely Congress will take up the issue in its lame-duck session after the November elections.

If lawmakers fail to reach a compromise by the end of the year, they also could vote to extend the deadline for sequestrations by six months, a year or even longer.

Many political observers and economic experts, and some lawmakers, are confident there will at least be a short-term solution. But no one in the defense industry is taking it for granted.

If Congress fails to reach a deal to avoid the required $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts over the coming decade, including $500 billion in defense-spending cuts, the fallout could lead to more than 49,000 layoffs in Arizona and a $4.95 billion loss to the gross state product based on proposed spending cuts over nine years and their continuing ripple effect, according to a report by George Mason University in Virginia.

Most police arrests are for victimless crimes


Every week the two Phoenix Spanish language newspapers usually have a section towards the end with wanted criminals.

In the October 4, 2012 issue of La Prensa they had 17 people wanted for crimes. I only used 16 of them because they didn't list the crimes the 17th person was wanted for.

Of the 16 alleged criminals only 4 of them I would consider to be real criminals who were wanted for real crimes that harm people.

The other 12 folks were wanted for victimless crimes.

The people wanted for real crimes were

2 men wanted for steal stuff from Wal-mart

Adelina Ochua who is wanted for child abuse

Misty Taylor who is wanted for child abuse

Of the 12 people who were wanted for victimless crimes 4 of them were wanted for victimless drug war crimes. 6 were wanted for the victimless crime of an adult having consensual sex with a minor. 1 person was wanted for the victimless crime of working with a fake id 1 person was wanted for the victimless crime of animal cruelty.

People accused of victimless drug war crimes

Jordan Armenta
Joseph Armenta
Pilar Agustin Gaspar Corrales
Lamar James Toledo
People wanted for the victimless crime of having consensual sex with a minor.
Eric Neill
Albert Correon
Shane More
Gordon Cook
Armando Olivas
Dan Whitehead
People wanted for the victimless crime of having fake ID
Nestor Martinez Ochva
People wanted for the victimless crime of animal cruelity
Mark Robinson

ATF & DEA thugs routinely commit crimes

ATF & DEA thugs routinely commit crimes with the approval of their bosses!!!!!


Crimes by ATF and DEA informants not tracked by feds

Brad Heath and Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY

The nation's top law enforcement agencies, facing new scrutiny after the Fast and Furious investigation, say they do not know how often their agents allow informants to commit crimes. whitey bulger

9:12PM EST October 7. 2012 - WASHINGTON — The nation's top drug and gun enforcement agencies do not track how often they give their informants permission to break the law on the government's behalf.

U.S. Justice Department rules put strict limits on when and how agents at the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives can authorize their informants — often drawn from the ranks of the criminals they are investigating — to commit a crime. But both the ATF and DEA acknowledged, in response to open-records requests and in written statements, that they do not track how often such permission is given.

That routine, if controversial, tactic has come under renewed scrutiny in the wake of the bungled "Fast and Furious" gun-trafficking investigation, which allowed 2,000 weapons to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels and other criminals. A report by the Justice Department's Inspector General found that ATF agents failed to get authorization from their superiors before they allowed gun dealers to sell weapons to suspected cartel operatives.

The report, delivered in September, is the latest internal probe to find agents ignoring the rules. And the department continues to face accusations that its agents overlook crimes by their informants, including one case this year involving an alleged Boston mob captain who was working for the FBI.

"The way we use confidential informants is a huge aspect of the daily operation and also the legitimacy of the criminal justice system," said Alexandra Natapoff, a professor at Loyola Law School Los Angeles. "It's insane that even the law enforcement agencies that actually carry out this policy may not always know how their operatives are doing it."

The ATF and DEA said in written statements that they are "in compliance'' with the rules for using informants, and that information about crimes by individual informants is "collected at both the field division and headquarters levels." The rules do not require the agencies to tally authorizations to engage in what the department calls "otherwise illegal activity" to determine how often it happens.

The FBI, by comparison, is required to collect information on how often each of the bureau's 56 field offices allows informants to break the law, though the bureau would not release those figures. (The FBI initially said in response to a request by USA TODAY that it, too, had no reports that would indicate how often informants are allowed to commit crimes.)

"There has to be some new accountability," said Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., who introduced a bill last year to force federal law enforcement agencies to tell Congress about crimes by their informants. "There can be a big upside when informants are used and the FBI actually pulls bad people off the street. But no one is looking at the collateral damage."

Informants' work is a closely guarded secret, in large part because of the danger involved. But records suggest the government's network of cooperators is vast: In 2005, the DEA estimated it had 4,000 informants, and two years later the FBI said in a budget request that its agents had 15,000 more. DEA officials told the inspector general's office that "without confidential sources, the DEA could not effectively enforce the controlled substances laws of the United States."

As part of that work, agents have authorized their informants to do everything from buying and selling drugs to participating in Medicaid fraud rings. Agents are supposed to get supervisors' approval before they permit informants to commit even minor crimes; in more serious cases — involving violence or big drug shipments — they must also get permission from Justice Department lawyers.

The department tightened those rules a decade ago, after the FBI acknowledged that its agents had allowed accused Boston mobster James "Whitey" Bulger to run a crime ring responsible for extortion and murder in exchange for information about the mafia.

Border agent's death spurs review of protocols

If a civilian "accidentally" murdered a person like this they would probably arrested for manslaughter or some other form of murder. But when a cop does it there are never any criminals charges.


Border agent's death spurs review of protocols

by Laurie Merrill - Oct. 7, 2012 11:05 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Confirming that investigators believe a U.S. Border Patrol agent fired the first shot in a suspected "friendly fire" incident last week, an agents-union official said Sunday that the Border Patrol will review procedures to help prevent a similar tragedy in the future.

"It's just a horrible, unfortunate incident," said George McCubbin, National Border Patrol Council president, who has reviewed investigative reports.

After the FBI and the Cochise County Sheriff's Office complete their investigations, the Border Patrol will investigate whether policies and procedures were followed and whether they're adequate to prevent an agent from firing at another agent in the field, McCubbin said.

Border Patrol officials were not available for comment Sunday.

Agent Nicholas Ivie was killed about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday in a shooting in a remote, mountainous area known for drug smuggling about 6 miles east of Bisbee and several miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border. The FBI announced on Friday that there are strong indications that the shooting involved friendly fire.

Ivie, 30, and two other agents were responding to an activated sensor. Ivie and the other agents arrived in vehicles, then set out on foot, said acting Cochise County Sheriff Rodney Rothrock. McCubbin said Ivie was approaching a shallow canyon from the north, and two agents, a man and a woman, were approaching from the south.

"They were dropping into a saddle (shallow canyon) from different directions," McCubbin said. "The area was heavy with thick brush."

Investigators believe Ivie thought he had run into an armed smuggler and fired, striking the man in the ankle and buttocks, McCubbin said. The agents were about 20 yards apart, Rothrock said. McCubbin said the injured agent returned fire, killing Ivie. The female agent also fired her service weapon, but it's not clear whether she struck anyone. She was not injured.

"We believe Agent Ivie was responding to whatever was there," McCubbin said. "Initial reports said he was ambushed."

McCubbin's statements confirm what azcentral.com reported late Friday. A source close to the investigation told The Arizona Republic and azcentral that the agents lost radio contact and Ivie got spooked and started to shoot, with another agent returning fire.

It is unclear if Ivie identified himself before firing, which is common practice, McCubbin said, and it's unclear if the other agents heard him if he did.

"It's at night and you have more than one unit responding to the report," McCubbin said. "We are running into canyons and saddles and down mountains, and you don't know what you are going to find down there."

Rothrock would not comment on whether Ivie shot first, but said, "They (the agents) were able to distinguish there was somebody else there but not able to distinguish that they were border agents."

The agents' weapons have been seized, and they are on paid leave pending a Border Patrol review of the incident, which is customary, McCubbin said. The union has hired lawyers for both agents, standard practice in any incident involving a shooting.

Investigators have reported there is no evidence that border crossers tripped the sensors. Sensors are often tripped by grazing cattle, McCubbin said.

He said, according to investigative reports, Ivie and the other two agents knew they were responding to the same tripped sensor because they radioed dispatch. They apparently lost radio contact, he said.

He said radio communication has been an issue during his 27 years on the force.

More on those jackbooted TSA thugs who pretend to protect us from terrorists.


Leukemia patient embarrassed by TSA pat-down

Oct. 9, 2012 11:41 AM

Associated Press

SEATTLE -- A leukemia patient making what she calls an "end-of-life" trip to Hawaii says she was embarrassed by security agents at Sea-Tac Airport who refused her request for a private pat-down when they made her lift her shirt and pull back bandages.

Michelle Dunaj also says an agent opened a saline bag, contaminating fluid she needs to survive.

TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis told KOMO-TV it's against policy to deny a private screening for passengers who request it. The agency is looking into the incident.

It happened last week as the Detroit-area woman was traveling through Seattle to Hawaii. Dunaj says she thought she had prepared, calling the airline ahead of time and requesting a wheelchair and asking how to send her medicines through security.

Cops who killed unarmed veteran might be charged

Any 5 year old could have figured out a better way to get this guy to leave his car then the trigger happy Las Vegas pigs that murdered him.
Gibson, a 43-year-old disabled Gulf War veteran, was apparently lost and distraught when Las Vegas police encountered him in the parking lot of a northwest valley apartment complex early on Dec. 12. His car was boxed in by two police cars, but he didn't respond to commands to exit his vehicle.

Police hatched a plan to remove him from the car: One officer would shoot out a window with a beanbag shotgun round, and another would douse the interior with pepper spray. But when the shotgun was fired, Arevalo shot seven times into the vehicle with an AR-15 rifle. Gibson, who was unarmed, died at the scene. The shooting was captured on video.

Of course I doubt if the pigs involved in this murder will be charged with any crimes.


DA will seek indictment of Metro officer who killed disabled veteran



Posted: Oct. 8, 2012 | 7:46 p.m.

Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson will seek an indictment against Las Vegas police officer Jesus Arevalo in the controversial fatal shooting of Stanley Gibson.

The Review-Journal has learned that a grand jury is expected to start hearing testimony in the case next week. More than a dozen witnesses are likely to testify, meaning it could take weeks or even months for prosecutors to present their case. Grand juries are closed to the public.

The action could result in the first indictment against a Las Vegas police officer for an on-duty shooting in at least 20 years, if not the first ever. Wolfson, through an assistant, declined comment.

Sheriff Doug Gillespie did not respond to requests for comment late Monday. In a video sent to all 5,600 department employees last week, Gillespie said he expects Wolfson to take the case to the grand jury but said he does not believe the shooting rises to a "criminal matter," according to several people who have seen the video.

A police spokesman Monday refused to make public the video, saying it was an internal, copyrighted video for employees only.

Chris Collins, executive director of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, welcomed Gillespie's stand on the case but added, "As much as we appreciate the sheriff's video to the members of the department, we believe that the video should be released to the public so the public understands the sheriff doesn't believe the shooting was criminal."


Gibson, a 43-year-old disabled Gulf War veteran, was apparently lost and distraught when Las Vegas police encountered him in the parking lot of a northwest valley apartment complex early on Dec. 12. His car was boxed in by two police cars, but he didn't respond to commands to exit his vehicle.

Police hatched a plan to remove him from the car: One officer would shoot out a window with a beanbag shotgun round, and another would douse the interior with pepper spray. But when the shotgun was fired, Arevalo shot seven times into the vehicle with an AR-15 rifle. Gibson, who was unarmed, died at the scene. The shooting was captured on video.

The grand jury will decide whether prosecutors have enough evidence to take the case to trial. It's unknown what charges prosecutors will seek.

Nevada, like many states, gives police wide discretion when using their firearms. Officers can legally shoot at someone if they can show a reasonable belief that the subject poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer or another person.

The law can legally excuse officers who shoot at unarmed people, for example, if the officer can show that a reasonable person in the same situation would have done so.

Cal Potter, the attorney representing Gibson's wife in a planned lawsuit, said he would be surprised if the grand jury hands up an indictment, given the county's history of coroner's inquests that almost always find that officers' actions were justified in a death.

"From over 30 years of experience in these cases, I think the inquests have all been orchestrated, and I don't have a reason to believe that anything else would not be orchestrated," he said. "The track record just hasn't been there."

County prosecutors have, until this year, used the quasi-judicial coroner's inquest juries for opinions on whether to indict an officer for an on-duty shooting. Only once has a coroner's jury decided the shooting was criminal. But when prosecutors in the 1976 case took that decision to a grand jury, it refused to indict the two Las Vegas officers.

Collins said that before the inquest process all police shootings were vetted by grand juries. The reason the inquest process was created was because the community wanted to a more open process, he said.

Collins questioned why Wolfson will use a grand jury and not seek a criminal complaint at a preliminary hearing in open court before a justice of the peace.

"If Wolfson believes this case is criminal, why is he hiding it in a grand jury? Why not take it to a preliminary hearing," Collins said.

Collins said the Gibson shooting was a tragedy, but not criminal.

"Why not put it in open court," Collins asked. "Let it fall where it falls. We believe we will prevail in either instance."


Meanwhile, Gibson's widow, Rondha Gibson, said she hopes the grand jury can get justice for her husband.

She said she couldn't discuss a potential lawsuit against the police department but said a grand jury's decision is more important because money can't bring back her husband. She also said Gillespie's support of Arevalo is disturbing.

"I want him prosecuted," she said of Arevalo. "I want him to serve time for what he did. ... I want him to know what it feels like to lose everything."

The widow said one of the most painful aspects of her husband's death is that she wasn't with him to protect him.

"We were never apart, but I was not there to help him when he needed me the most," she said.

Andre Lagomarsino, an attorney representing Gibson's mother, Celestine Gibson, said he is happy Wolfson will take the case to a grand jury because the Gibsons want Arevalo "criminally charged."

Lagomarsino also expressed disappointment, but not surprise, that Gillespie is backing his officer.

"The support of Arevalo is consistent with the policy of supporting police officers who shoot unarmed men," the lawyer said.

Lagomarsino represented the family of Trevon Cole, 21, an unarmed small-time marijuana dealer who was killed by an officer during a botched drug raid in June 2010. In January, Las Vegas police settled with the Cole family for a record $1.7 million.

Lagomarsino in May filed a federal lawsuit naming Las Vegas police, Arevalo and two of his supervisors seeking more than $20 million in relation to Gibson's death.

The high-profile and controversial shooting of Gibson attracted public attention not just because it was captured on video. Las Vegas police had been under scrutiny since Cole was killed in his bathroom the year before, and just days before Gibson's death, the Review-Journal published an in-depth investigation showing that the department was reluctant to learn from, and hold officers accountable for, problem shootings.

Former District Attorney David Roger is expected to represent Arevalo in the criminal matter. Wolfson earlier this year was appointed by the County Commission to replace Roger, who resigned to become the counsel for the largest Las Vegas police union.

Las Vegas Review-Journal writer Brian Haynes contributed to this story. Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039

'Martha Stewart' among Phoenix FBI interview scare tactics

Never, never, never talk to the police. Always take the 5th.

Anything you say will be used against you. And sadly the police will frequently twist you words around and use them against you in ways you never though were possible.

Last but not least the police are experts at using psychological techniques to get you to say what they want you to say. They do this stuff everyday and are experts at it. Just shut up and let your lawyer tell them you are not talking!!!!


'Martha Stewart' among Phoenix FBI interview scare tactics

Posted: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 4:27 pm

By Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services

FBI agents in Phoenix have crafted a new way to scare people into telling them what they want to know: Mention Martha Stewart. [And they is why you should NEVER answer police questions. They just want to scare you into telling them what they want to know]

It turns out that agents threw it around several times during their year-long investigation into trying to prove state Attorney General Tom Horne and staffer Kathleen Winn are guilty of election law violations.

A review of transcripts of FBI interviews with those whom agents thought had information turned up three separate incidents where they used the jailing of the design maven to warn people they could be next.

The more than three dozen interviews, conducted over six months, were designed to pursue the FBI's theory that Winn, who ran an independent expenditure committee to elect Horne as attorney general in 2010, illegally coordinated her activities with the candidate. Several internal memos also suggest possible violations of federal laws.

In the end, though, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery came up with civil charges of violating state election laws against the pair; the U.S. Attorney's Office found nothing to pursue.

But agents clearly tried to get someone to say something that would provide the basis for some criminal charges. And the trump card was Stewart, sentenced to five months in prison.

In a March interview with Amy Rezzonico, agent Merv Mason suggested to her that she was “holding back.” He said that Rezzonico, Horne's press aide, might be protecting her boss, her job or her livelihood, all of “which is respectable.”

But then Mason cited federal law which he said makes it a crime to lie or hold back material facts from an FBI agent. [But it isn't a crime to take the Fifth Amendment and refuse to answer ALL police questions. In fact any defense lawyer will tell you that you should ALWAYS refuse to answer police questions!!!]

“And that's why Martha Stewart went to jail,” he said. “Not because she committed securities fraud, because she lied about material events in an interview just like this one,” [And the best way to avoid going to jail for something you did in this interview is to tell the cop you are taking the 5th and ending the interview!] Mason continued, adding “Now, I'm not trying to threaten you.” [What BS! The FBI agent IS threatening her!!! Cooperate or go to jail!]

Rezzonico wasn't the only one to get the Martha Stewart treatment. So did George Wilkinson who was part of the independent expenditure committee that came up with more than $500,000 for a last-minute barrage of TV commercials to help Horne defeat Democrat Felecia Rotellini.

“Let me stop and me caution you,” Mason tells him. “You familiar with Title 18-1001?”

Wilkinson says he's not.

“You know, ah, Martha Stewart?” Mason continued.

“You know why she went to jail?” he said. “Not securities fraud. It was an interview just like this.” [And of course the best way to avoid going to prison for something you say in an interview like this is to end the interview by telling the cop you are taking the 5th and refusing to answer any more questions]

And Mason pulled the name out again, this time in an interview with Linnea Heap who was working in the Attorney General's Office and also helped with Horne's 2010 campaign.

She also is the person who loaned out the vehicle to Carmen Chenal -- the vehicle that the FBI says Horne was driving with Chenal as passenger when he hit another car in a parking lot and then drove away.

“You don't want to get yourself behind something,” Mason told her.

“It was an interview just like this,” the agent said. “And she went to jail for it.”

But the pressure did not stop there. Mason told Heap he was sure she had information about both Winn and Chenal.

“And we just want people that are innocent of any wrongdoing to not get caught up in this in the end,” Mason told her, telling her she has “a lot of vested interests” at stake, including her son, her husband and her house.

James Turgal, the special agent in charge of the Phoenix FBI office, would not comment about the interview techniques.

But Mike Kimerer, who represents Horne, said it appears to him there was “some coercion going on with witnesses.”

“But frankly, that's what law enforcement officers do all the time,” he acknowledged. And there's nothing necessary illegal about it. [And that is why a person should always take the Fifth and refuse to answer any police questions!!!!]

That's also the belief of Bob Hirsh, the former Pima County public defender.

“Certainly, lying to a federal law enforcement officer is a federal prosecutable offense,” he said. And he said agents are certainly free to mention that to those they are interviewing.

Hirsh said, though, that does not preclude someone from claiming later that any statements they made were coerced.

Phoenix sends cops to Washington D.C. to direct traffic?????

The real question is why is the city of Phoenix wasting our tax dollars sending cops to DC to direct traffic????


Phoenix officers: Jobs went to minorities

by Cecilia Chan - Oct. 9, 2012 09:34 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Three White Phoenix police officers are complaining that their superiors disregarded their seniority and instead picked women and minorities to work the plum assignment of the presidential inauguration in January.

The three officers, each with 20 or more years of service, were not chosen for the security detail, which will travel to Washington, D.C., for four days to do such tasks as traffic control.

Officers Barry Jacobs, Harold Ivey and Mike Jessie say the Phoenix Police Department violated the union contract that states that seniority must be the factor to make assignments.

The officers want to make sure the department doesn't use race or gender in future assignments.

"Everybody that is going is either female or a minority," said Will Buividas, treasurer and chief contract negotiator with the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association that represents police officers.

Phoenix police spokesman Tommy Thompson said it was inappropriate for the department to discuss an ongoing grievance.

The department is sending approximately 40 officers from different units, including gang and downtown operations.

The grievance the union filed is from officers in the neighborhood enforcement team. Seven of the nine selected from that unit are minorities and two are White female officers.

The three alternates are White men, which Buividas noted two of them have more seniority than any of the nine selected.

"Race should not even come into play," he said. "What should it matter, the color of skin or gender? What should be important is seniority on the department."

Buividas said he's received calls from eight to 10 other officers also expressing concerns.

Buividas met Monday with Assistant Police Chief Tracy Montgomery and is awaiting to hear from her about the complaint. He expects to take the matter to the city labor-relations administrator and ultimately to an independent arbitrator if necessary.

"This is the first time I know of in the Phoenix Police Department that we are now picking people based on the color of their skin and gender for an assignment,'' Buividas said.

The officers were selected by seniority in each ethnic and gender category proportional to the department's makeup, said Cmdr. Geary Brase of the department's Homeland Defense Bureau in an e-mail.

"That was the expressed desire of the police chief," Montgomery said in an Oct. 2 e-mail to the union.

Phoenix Police Officer lies about accident???

Remember cops never lie!!! When a cop lies, they consider it testilying, which isn't perjury. Well at least that's how cops rationalize that their lies are OK.


Phoenix police officer accused of leaving scene of Gilbert accident

by Danielle Grobmeier - Oct. 9, 2012 09:43 PM

The Arizona Republic-12 News Breaking News Team

Gilbert police are investigating an off-duty Phoenix police officer suspected of leaving the scene of a crash at a private park early Saturday morning, according to Gilbert police.

Police said witnesses reported an unidentified person crashed a car near Anderson Lane and Sexton Street. Gilbert police found Phoenix police Officer Usiel Molina nearby, according to the Gilbert Police Department.

Molina told police he was a passenger in the car and that his friend had been driving.

When police questioned the friend Molina said he had been driving with, the friend told police Molina had dropped him off at his home before any crash had occurred, police said.

Gilbert police officials said Molina is being investigated on suspicion of leaving the scene of an accident and may be investigated on suspicion of giving false information to law enforcement. Molina was detained and released. He was not arrested.

Phoenix police officials said an internal investigation is being conducted.

Arizona AG Tom Horne is a crook???

I bet Arizona AG Tom Horne's witch hunt against medical marijuana users is just a smokescreen to cover up his political crimes.


File: Staff politics worried Tom Horne

By Yvonne Wingett Sanchez

The Republic | azcentral.com

Tue Oct 9, 2012 11:54 PM

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne violates campaign finance laws and gets into a hit an run accident Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne was preoccupied with the political loyalty of his employees from the day he took office and hired dozens of faithful employees from the state Education Department, according to new investigative records obtained by The Arizona Republic.

Horne and his chief of staff, Eric “Rick” Bistrow, have repeatedly said politics play no role in the Attorney General’s Office, essentially the state’s largest law firm.

But one former employee told county and federal investigators that Horne, a Republican, kept lists of employees’ political affiliations and campaign contributions to his Democratic opponent and directed staff to hire dozens of supporters and prior employees.

Horne said Tuesday that the statements by Susan Schmaltz, his former human-resources adviser, are “utterly false.” He said he never had lists of employee party affiliations, nor did he track employee contributions to his Democratic opponent.

“I never asked her about people’s political affiliations,” he said. “I’ve promoted people that I’ve known to be Democrats.”

Schmaltz’s recollections of Horne’s activities are contained in a June 14 transcript of an interview with two FBI special agents and a Maricopa County Attorney’s Office investigations commander.

The transcript was part of nearly 3,300 pages of investigative documents that included witness interviews, bank records, subpoenas and other material that agents used to build a campaign-finance case against Horne and one of his employees. The Republic acquired the file through a public-records request.

Schmaltz told investigators that Horne had her double- and triple-fill positions, put employees in jobs they were not qualified for and pay them more than what the positions allowed.

Horne and employee Kathleen Winn are accused of illegally coordinating with an independent expenditure committee during the 2010 election to circumvent campaign-finance laws.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery is pursuing a civil enforcement action against Horne and Winn, who chaired the committee and then went to work as Horne’s director of community outreach. Horne and Winn have said they’ve done nothing wrong.

When Schmaltz raised concerns about Winn’s background, which included allegations of check fraud, she said Horne said, “(Winn) had been instrumental in raising a lot of money for my campaign,” and he wanted her hired.

Schmaltz worked as the employee services division director under then-Democratic Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard. She continued in that position until shortly after Horne took office. Horne brought his human-resources director, Debbie Jackson, from the Department of Education, where Horne had served for eight years.

Schmaltz told investigators that Horne then named her his human-resources adviser and allowed her to keep her salary. She made about $87,000. She said she left the office last year after becoming “extremely uncomfortable” with the way Horne ran the agency. A longtime independent, she disclosed to investigators she voted in 2010 for Horne’s Democratic opponent, Felecia Rotellini, and was growing increasingly worried as Horne continued to ask questions about staff’s political leanings.

“I was requested and required to appear before the FBI to give information. I did so as requested,” Schmaltz told The Republic. She now works at a major accounting firm.

She said she answered questions “truthfully and honestly.” She declined to comment further.

Schmaltz also told investigators:

Within the first week of taking office, Horne expressed concerns about staff who had raised or given money to his opponent. “He was concerned that he’d have people within the office that … would not be loyal to him.” Horne continued to ask questions about subordinates’ political affiliations and inquired about specific employees.

About two months after Schmaltz resigned, Horne asked her to lunch to talk about potential leaks by employees to the media. At that lunch, he brought with him a list of employees who contributed money to Rotellini and a list of employees and their political affiliations that he “wanted to kind of go through.”

Horne went through some names, and Schmaltz said she told him, “This isn’t something you need to really be concerning yourself with.”

During her tenure with Horne, Schmaltz said, he repeatedly asked her about documents memorializing an exit interview in which one former employee allegedly voiced a negative experience working with Rotellini, a former assistant attorney general. Schmaltz told investigators the interviews are supposed to be confidential.

During their lunch, Horne again asked her about the exit interview and if she recalled the employee’s name.

Schmaltz told investigators Horne wanted the information “Because he said Felicia’s (sic) gonna run again in a few years and I want to have that information.”

Horne acknowledged Tuesday that the two spoke of the exit interview but said Schmaltz brought up the subject.

Shortly after Horne was elected, more than 40 employees showed up at the Attorney General’s Office, and “pretty much everyone would come in saying, ‘Tom Horne promised me a job,’” Schmaltz said.

She said she was asked to place people in positions they weren’t qualified for, “and we’re bringing people in from the Department of Ed who have no legal secretary experience, have no paralegal experience. We’re throwing them into paralegal positions, throwing them into all of these other positions, and we’re paying them more money than what the position’s coded for” through the state Department of Administration.

When she raised issues with state administrators, she was told they talked to Horne and his new human-resources director, “and now, we were not to worry about ’em.”

Schmaltz said Jackson gave her a list of people to find positions for. “And — and what she did is she gave me the list of — here’s the salary that they’re gonna make. Let’s find a position. Which is not normally how it works,” Schmaltz said.

Schmaltz said the hirings came at a time when the Attorney General’s Office, like most state agencies, was pinching resources and reeling from staff reductions and budget cuts.

Schmaltz also talked to investigators about Horne’s relationships with Winn and Carmen Chenal, an assistant attorney general and longtime Horne confidant.

Schmaltz said the relationship between Winn and Chenal was fractured at the time of her departure. Schmaltz recalled Chenal telling her that during the campaign the three got along great and were “like the Three Musketeers.”

It is common for elected officials to bring staff with them to their new jobs, especially in key government positions.

Horne was asked at an April news conference how many employees he brought with him to the agency. He replied that he brought “about 20” from the Education Department.

“They were placed in their areas of competence and, in fact, they’ve received very high marks from their co-workers,” he said.

Officials with the state Department of Administration said that prior to a recent overhaul of the personnel system, agencies were able to hire additional staff without vacancies with approval by state administrators. Officials said it is up to agencies to determine whether applicants are qualified for positions.

Kathy Peckardt, the state’s human- resources director, said no employee within the Attorney General’s Office is making more than the maximum allowed by pay ranges.

Horne’s spokeswoman disputed that Horne cared about the politics of employees.

“Whether Tom carried a list around or not, I don’t believe that to be true,” Amy Rezzonico said. “But anybody who made a contribution to Felecia’s or Tom Horne’s campaign is a matter of public record.”

Rezzonico, who was also interviewed by investigators, said Horne did not hire or fire based on politics. “This is hearsay, as far as I’m concerned. I don’t even understand why the FBI was asking this person questions — how does this relate to an (independent expenditure committee)?”

Rezzonico said Horne may have been asking about employees because he “perceived” those people didn’t like changes he was making to the agency.

Employment lawyers said it is unwise for supervisors to ask about employees’ political affiliations because it could prompt discrimination and other claims. Questions could leave the impression that decisions are being made based on politics, not performance.

“If someone has collected this information for their own curiosity to just know what this person’s political view is, that might be OK,” employment attorney David Selden said.

“But you’re in the AG’s Office and prosecuting crimes, so I don’t know that it should matter who Republicans and Democrats are giving money to. Possessing the information isn’t a wise thing to do because the risk is: What did you do with the information, and why did you want to know?”

Sheriff Larry Dever was an alcoholic???

I don't have a problem with Sheriff Larry Dever being a big time drinker.

I do have a problem with him being a hypocrite and shaking down people for DUI crimes, which are mostly about raising revenue and a little tiny bit about safety, when he was a professional DUI criminal himself.


Was Larry Dever a Drinker? Deceased Sheriff's .29 BAC Suggests High Tolerance, Experts Say

By Ray Stern Tue., Oct. 9 2012 at 3:22 PM

Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever died in a car crash. He was driving drunk with a BAC of .291. More of the old 'do as I say, not as I do' from our government masters Larry Dever's BAC was .29 after his fatal crash. Experts say the high BAC could indicate he was a problem drinker.

The high blood-alcohol content found in Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever's body after his fatal crash last month suggests the sheriff had a strong tolerance for booze, experts say.

In other words, Dever -- known by many as a Mormon who didn't drink -- may have been a problem drinker.

If so, did his fellow law enforcement officers know?

Dever died on September 18 in the one-car crash on Forest Service Road 109 near Williams. He'd been on his way to a hunting trip near White Horse Lake with family members. Autopsy results released last week showed that Dever had at least a .29 BAC.

Arizona, which has one of the toughest DUI laws in the nation, classifies anything above a .20 BAC as super-extreme. Had Dever been convicted of driving with a .29 BAC, he would have served a minimum of 45 days behind bars.

An alcohol-abuse expert and a local driving expert tell New Times that in DUI cases with similarly high BACs, the suspect often is an alcoholic.

"A .29 is very significantly impaired," says the program director at one Valley substance-abuse clinic. "You're talking about extreme intoxication. However, someone who drinks regularly can sometimes drive at levels where other people would be comatose. At the least, it's indicative of binge drinking."

The driving expert, who knew Dever, agreed with that sentiment. But the expert and others who knew Dever expressed shock that he was driving drunk at all.

Kenneth Kimmel, chief of police in Sierra Vista, the largest city in Cochise County, says he'd known Dever for 30 years and "never known him to have a drink."

If Dever was a drinker, did his department cover for him?

Rod Rothrock, acting sheriff of Cochise County, did not return messages for this article.

A message left with Dever's family hasn't yet been returned.

If Dever wasn't a regular drinker, that makes his lapse in judgment on September 18 even less explainable. Achieving a .29 BAC might take as many as 15 drinks slammed over a fairly short space of time, says another expert. As someone who's handed out many DUI tickets in his career, Dever would have known the danger of consuming that much booze. On top of that, Dever didn't have his seat-belt on and was driving at an excessive 62 miles per hour on a dirt road at sunset.

"Gosh, that's really shocking," says one acquaintance of Dever's, retired Cochise County Judge Rich Winkler, upon hearing Dever's high BAC. "That's very out of character of the image I had of him."

Sheriff Bill Pribil of Coconino County, where the accident occurred, says he saw Dever at official functions three to four times a year and never saw him drink. A check of Coconino's database shows that Dever never was stopped in the county, Pribil says.

In this case -- as with similar, one-vehicle crashes with a deceased DUI suspect and no other victims -- investigators won't bother to determine how and where the driver became drunk, Pribil says. Coconino County has received no reports from anyone who claims to have seen Dever's truck weaving or seen Dever drinking before the crash, he says.

Kelley Dupps of MADD Arizona says people in her organization hope this tragedy keeps others from getting on the road while plastered. But it's also a sign that after three decades of activism against drunk drivers, and after helping Arizona pass harsh laws against offenders, the group still has plenty of work to do.

Dever's death is another reminder that drinking too much and getting behind the wheel can happen to anyone -- "even folks we look up to and are prominent in law enforcement."

Center for Arizona Policy Pathetic Laws Go Into Effect Today


Center for Arizona Policy Reminds Everyone Its Pathetic Laws Go Into Effect Today

By Matthew Hendley Thu., Aug. 2 2012 at 2:47 PM

Dear Jesus please save me from your nutty followers Thanks to Center for Arizona Policy legislative council Josh Kredit, we were reminded today of all the mostly useless laws "supported" by CAP that are going into effect today.

Kredit posted the list of CAP's bills that were passed by the Legislature and are going into effect today, which are a great public service to just about nobody.

For example, "The Arizona Commission on the Arts cannot use taxpayer dollars on programs that include obscenity or that desecrate or dishonor religious objects or the Arizona or American flags."

The lobbying organization, which describes itself as being "dedicated to influencing our culture through the proclamation of biblical truth," has now seen 114 of its ideas turn into laws since 1995.

We presume they don't keep track of the bills they influence legislators against when they're too gay or something.

Anyway, Kredit says the new laws are thanks to you, Arizona voter, "...because you turned out and voted your values that these laws are a reality."

Here are the blessings to Arizona law that Kredit listed:


  • Abortion clinics must post signs in their waiting rooms letting women know that it is illegal for them to be pressured by anyone - including boyfriends and clinic staff - into having an abortion.
  • Women must have their ultrasound and the opportunity to view the image of their preborn child at least 24 hours before having an abortion.
  • Arizona Department of Health Services (DHS) must create an informed consent website for women considering abortion so they can get the facts about the life growing inside them.
  • When a woman discovers that her child may have a life-threatening birth defect, she must be informed about the support that is available to her, including perinatal hospice.
  • Planned Parenthood will no longer be able to come into public schools and promote abortions as the preferred option over childbirth and adoption.
  • Parents cannot file a lawsuit against a doctor claiming that their child with a disability would have been better off aborted.
  • Abortion providers are disqualified from eligibility for the Working Poor Tax Credit.


  • Arizonans can now claim an additional tax credit for donations to School Tuition Organizations, with this new tax credit going specifically to students stuck on waiting lists to attend the school of their parents' choice.
  • Children in public schools and libraries will be better protected from exposure to online pornography because online filters must be installed on public computers.
  • Students attending failing public schools will be eligible for Arizona's Empowerment Scholarship Account program to attend the school of their parents' choice.


  • Arizona's professionals licensed by the state cannot have their licenses threatened because of the free exercise of their religious beliefs.
  • Religious organizations cannot be forced by the government to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs or contraception if it violates their religious beliefs.
  • University and college professors cannot be denied tenure because of their political or religious beliefs.
  • The Arizona Commission on the Arts cannot use taxpayer dollars on programs that include obscenity or that desecrate or dishonor religious objects or the Arizona or American flags.


  • Proponents of a ballot measure will have legal standing to defend a proposition if it is ever challenged in court.

Two of CAP's new laws will not be going into effect today, as they're facing legal challenges: A ban on abortions past 20 weeks of pregnancy, and a ban on Planned Parenthood from providing care to participants in the state's Medicaid program.

CAP Now Concerned About People "Touching or Tipping" Strippers


By Matthew Hendley Mon., Jun. 11 2012 at 2:55 PM

Dear Jesus please save me from your nutty followers The Center for Arizona Policy would like anyone running for a seat at the Legislature to give their opinions on professionals like these.

For some reason, lobbyists at the Center for Arizona Policy would like anyone running for a seat in the Legislature this year to tell the group whether they support banning the "touching or tipping" of strippers.

The surveys, which usually are a good indication of the CAP morality cops' agenda for the next legislative session, are updated every two years.

In 2010, one of the questions on the survey asked whether the candidate supported or opposed "[r]egulating sexually oriented businesses to the fullest extent possible under the law."

Not surprisingly, that led to Republican state Representative Steve Court introducing a bill last session to regulate strip clubs and the so-called "adult-oriented businesses."

Court's bill would have banned alcohol and private rooms from these establishments, regulated the size of stages, and redefined the terms "nude" and "seminude," among other changes.

The bill was held from the start -- never becoming an actual topic of discussion -- and Court admitted this was the idea of Cathi Herrod and her CAP.

In this year's survey from CAP, the question's a little different -- a possible indication of what kind of legislation Herrod will convince some sucker to introduce next session.

"Prohibiting touching or tipping dancers and fully nude performances in sexually oriented businesses," is what many potential legislators will address, opting to express their support or opposition.

These surveys were due on Friday, but haven't yet been posted by CAP.

This isn't the least bit surprising coming from the group, which has an obsession with legislating morality and instituting Christian Right policies, and these laughable bills are sometimes signed into law -- 114 and counting.

This year's survey also includes two other new questions and one amended question.

One asks whether the candidates support lowering the minimum sentencing guidelines for possessing child pornography, and another asks whether the candidates support subsidizing paid time off for public employees to engage in union activities.

The amended question, which previously asked whether candidates supported "[p]rotecting healthcare professionals from being required to provide services that violate their moral or religious beliefs," no longer includes the word "healthcare."

For those interested, CAP also scores how much Herrod ass-kissing each legislator engages in, grading both state senators and representatives.

Phoenix ID cards urged for migrants

First of all you don't need to have any ID in America. And there are no Supreme Court cases that require you to give a cop ID.

The only Supreme Court case on that is Hiibel v Nevada and that case only requires you to verbally tell your name to a cop when the cop has 1) "reasonable suspicion" to detain you and 2) your state has a law requiring you to tell the cops your name. Arizona does have such a law.

Second the twits in the Arizona legislator have caused this problem by passing a law saying that Mexican 'matricula consular' IDs are not valid in Arizona. If the twits in Arizona's legislator didn't pass that silly law Phoenix wouldn't be thinking about passing this law.


Phoenix ID cards urged for migrants

City councilman floats idea

by Amy B Wang - Oct. 10, 2012 10:17 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

A Phoenix City Council member has proposed creating city-issued identification cards for undocumented immigrants in order for them to satisfy identification requirements in light of Arizona's controversial immigrant-ID provision in Senate Bill 1070.

On Oct. 2, District 7 Councilman Michael Nowakowski sent a letter to City Attorney Gary Verburg asking his staff to "explore the possibility of creating a city-issued identification card for immigrants that have a Mexican 'matricula consular' card or an equivalent of a foreign identification, but not a valid form of state identification."

In the letter, Nowakowski suggested that the city faces challenges as Phoenix police begin enforcing SB 1070 -- particularly the provision that requires an officer to make a reasonable attempt to determine the immigration status of a person stopped, detained or arrested if there's reasonable suspicion that person is in the country illegally.

Nowakowski's district encompasses much of southwest Phoenix and has a significant Latino population. The councilman is also chairman of the Public Safety Subcommittee.

He fears that, without proper IDs, undocumented immigrants may not report crimes for fear of revealing their residential status. He also said he has heard stories of residents who allege that they are being racially profiled by police.

"During our last subcommittee meeting, we had eight individuals come testify about how they feel they're being discriminated against," Nowakowski said.

The proposed ID cards would also increase safety for police officers, he said. "They don't know who they're pulling over," Nowakowski said.

The Mexican matricula consular card, a photo ID issued by the Mexican government, is not recognized by the Phoenix Police Department because it does not contain information such as height, weight, hair color and eye color, Nowakowski said. [Well not really, the state of Arizona passed a law saying they can't recognize the Mexican matricula consular cards]

A Phoenix spokeswoman said the City Attorney's Office had received Nowakowski's letter and is reviewing it.

Mayor Greg Stanton declined to comment, saying he still needed to be briefed about the issue.

A call placed to Police Chief Daniel V. Garcia was not immediately returned, although he told The Arizona Republic in a recent interview that Phoenix officers are prepared to enforce SB 1070 "with dignity and respect."

"As a matter of policy, we don't comment on pending legislation," said Amber Cargile, Arizona spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

District 6 Councilman Sal DiCiccio said that he would welcome debating the issue at a council meeting but that he would not be in favor of the ID cards.

"I would just be very cautious of the city of Phoenix getting involved in the passport business," DiCiccio said. "That's for the federal government."

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne said his initial reaction was to oppose any city-issued ID cards because they might lead to voter fraud.

"Here's the problem that I see. ... I see it as a way to get illegals to vote," Horne said. "The only protection we have against illegal voting is the ID at the polls."

A few U.S. cities, including San Francisco and Trenton, N.J., have begun issuing identification cards for undocumented immigrants.

Recently, Los Angeles Councilman Richard Alarcón proposed allowing undocumented immigrants to use city library cards as official identification and debit cards.

"I think the cities are struggling with the fact that the federal government has not come down with clear immigration-reform policies, and we have to move forward given the realities of our residents," Alarcón said.

Korean TSA thugs are just as dumb as the American TSA thugs

Looks like the TSA morons in South Korea aren't any better then the TSA morons in the USA!

On the other hand I thought I read an article somewhere that said that in some countries that all flights to the USA are inspected by American TSA thugs. So these TSA morons in Korea might have been TSA thugs from the USA.

Last but not least I am just making fun of the TSA goons here. We don't need to have government goons searching everybody that boards an airplane, and in the USA, it is almost certainly a violation of the 4th and 5th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.


South Korea airport missed weapons

Officials never detected concealed smoke grenade in checked luggage

by Michael R. Blood - Oct. 10, 2012 10:59 PM

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES - South Korean security officials screened a man with a bulletproof vest before he got on a flight to Los Angeles, but they never detected a banned smoke grenade concealed in his checked luggage with a cache of knives, handcuffs, a gas mask and other weapons, a U.S. official said Wednesday.

Yongda Huang Harris and his carry-on luggage were thoroughly searched, but authorities found nothing suspicious and he boarded the flight, said a Homeland Security official briefed on the investigation. The official was not authorized to discuss the case publicly and spoke with The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Harris, 28, was arrested in Los Angeles last week during a stopover on a trip from Japan after U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers noticed the bulletproof vest. A search of Harris' checked luggage uncovered the smoke grenade and an array of suspicious items, including leg irons, body bags, a hatchet, billy clubs, a collapsible baton, duct tape and a biohazard suit.

U.S. officials were working with South Korean authorities to determine how the grenade slipped through screening.

Harris is not cooperating with federal officials who are trying to determine why he was headed to Boston with the cache of weapons, authorities said. The smoke grenade was X-rayed by police bomb squad officers, who said the device fell into a category that is prohibited on board passenger aircraft.

Tom Blank, a former deputy administrator at the Transportation Security Administration, said the U.S. will likely look at whether the failure to detect the grenade on a U.S.-bound jet was a one-time lapse or part of a security vulnerability.

If the U.S. determines a country's airport doesn't meet U.S. standards, it can ask for stronger security measures and even prohibit flights from flying directly to the U.S. from that country.

"This clearly looks like an error. Something slipped through that should not have slipped through," Blank said of the grenade.

Many of the other belongings authorities say they found in Harris' luggage -- including the hatchet and knives -- wouldn't violate TSA guidelines for property in checked luggage. Bulletproof vests and flame-resistant pants like the ones Harris was wearing aren't among prohibited items aboard flights.

There is no indication that Harris, who does not have a criminal record, is linked to a terrorist organization or planned to damage the plane, and it's not likely a smoke grenade could bring down the aircraft, the federal official said.

But the smoke grenade is banned from planes under the United Nations' explosives shipping rules. Depending on the conditions when it is ignited, the grenade could fill the cabin with smoke or cause a fire.

Customs officers believed that the billy clubs and collapsible baton might be prohibited by California law, according to an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court.

Rules, or the lack of them, that govern what passengers can do, carry or wear on flights can seem alternately reasonable or unfathomable. Increased airline security after 9/11 sought to armor flights against terrorist threats, but they can also test credulity for those getting on board.

An intrusive pat-down by security or the discovery of a too-big bottle of tanning lotion can leave a passenger feeling violated, while Harris, outfitted in a bulletproof vest, flame-retardant pants and knee pads underneath a trenchcoat, with a concealed arsenal in his luggage, appears to have triggered no suspicion before arriving in Los Angeles

Torture cases rise sharply in Mexico

And please remember that Felipe Calderon's "war on drugs" is brought to you by the American government.


Torture cases rise sharply in Mexico, Amnesty International says

By Richard Fausset, Los Angeles Times

October 10, 2012, 9:00 p.m.

MEXICO CITY — A leading human rights group contends that the Mexican government under outgoing President Felipe Calderon has "effectively turned a blind eye" to a dramatic increase in reported instances of torture and abuse by police and the military in recent years, as those forces have been pressured to come down hard on the powerful drug cartels threatening large chunks of the country.

In a report issued Thursday, Amnesty International noted that Mexico's National Human Rights Commission received 1,669 reports of torture and abuse by police and the military in 2011. That number has grown each year since 2008, when the commission received 564 complaints. Many observers believe that those numbers represent a fraction of the actual abuse cases because many victims are afraid to report them.

The torture of criminal suspects has played a role in the Mexican justice system for decades despite clear federal laws prohibiting the practice. In a 1984 report, Amnesty found evidence that Mexican police beat suspects, injected carbonated water into their nostrils, used electric shocks and sexually abused them, among other things.

But the issue has become more pressing of late with the growing power of the drug gangs and Calderon's decision, beginning in December 2006, to deploy the military to help restore public order. The armed forces were unprepared for domestic police work as they began to work beside an existing mix of local and federal law enforcement agencies that had a long history of abusing suspects.

Under the Calderon administrations, the torturers have "enjoyed almost total impunity," the report said, and coerced confessions continue to be entered as evidence in court.

Amnesty noted that the government has taken some steps to reduce torture. But the ineffectiveness of those efforts, the group argues, raises "questions about the political will at all levels of government" to eradicate the practice.

The Calderon administration did not respond to a request for comment from The Times. In the past, the president, who leaves office Dec. 1, has admitted that abuses occurred and has argued that the government has sought to legally punish the abusers.

Amnesty's suggestions for Mexico include reforms that would disallow evidence obtained through torture in criminal proceedings; a ban on the military carrying out police functions; and an end to the practice known as arraigo, in which those suspected of serious crimes can be detained for up to 80 days by officials without being charged. The group documented several cases in which suspects were abused during such periods.

Before the July 1 presidential election, the eventual winner, Enrique Peña Nieto, told Amnesty that his commitment to human rights would be "unwavering" and promised to take steps to end torture.

Doing so would require more than changes in the law, said Victor Clark Alfaro, director of the Binational Center for Human Rights in Tijuana. Clark said it also would require a change in the culture — and not just the culture of policing.

The violence and instability wrought by the drug gangs has left many Mexicans with little appetite to consider the rights of suspects in organized-crime cases, Clark said, even though innocents are sometimes rounded up by authorities as well.

Clark said drug suspects in northern Mexico often appear on television with visible bruises from beatings that appear to have been delivered by authorities. He said viewers often respond by saying: "How great that they beat them up. They deserved it."


No free speech for people that hate crooked police officers


UK man jailed for wearing offensive T-shirt

Associated Press Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:35 PM

LONDON — A British man who wore a T-shirt that glorified killing police hours after the deaths of two officers has been sentenced to four months in jail.

Barry Thew, 39, was arrested for wearing a shirt bearing handwritten messages saying

“One less pig perfect justice”
in Radcliffe, near Manchester, on Sept. 18.

His arrest came hours after two police officers in the northwest England city were killed in a gun and grenade attack that shocked Britain.

Thew was sentenced to four months in jail Thursday after earlier pleading guilty to a public order offense. He received another four months for breaching the terms of an earlier suspended sentence.

Civil liberties campaigners slammed the sentence as absurd and warned it would have a chilling effect on free speech.

Drug cartels flood U.S. with cheap meth

Let's face it, the "drug war" is a dismal failure that will never be won.

On the other hand, that is probably why the highly paid police officers in the drug war love it. They know they will have their high paying jobs forever.


Drug cartels flood U.S. with cheap meth

Associated Press Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:20 AM

ST. LOUIS — Mexican drug cartels are quietly filling the void in the nation’s drug market created by the long effort to crack down on American-made methamphetamine, flooding U.S. cities with exceptionally cheap, extraordinarily potent meth from factory-like “superlabs.”

Although Mexican meth is not new to the U.S. drug trade, it now accounts for as much as 80 percent of the meth sold here, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. And it is as much as 90 percent pure, a level that offers users a faster, more intense and longer-lasting high.

“These are sophisticated, high-tech operations in Mexico that are operating with extreme precision,” said Jim Shroba, a DEA agent in St. Louis. “They’re moving it out the door as fast as they can manufacture it.”

The cartels are expanding into the U.S. meth market just as they did with heroin: developing an inexpensive, highly addictive form of the drug and sending it through the same pipeline already used to funnel marijuana and cocaine, authorities said.

Seizures of meth along the Southwest border have more than quadrupled during the last several years. DEA records reviewed by The Associated Press show that the amount of seized meth jumped from slightly more than 4,000 pounds in 2007 to more than 16,000 pounds in 2011.

During that same period, the purity of Mexican meth shot up too, from 39 percent in 2007 to 88 percent by 2011, according to DEA documents. The price fell 69 percent, tumbling from $290 per pure gram to less than $90.

Mexican meth has a clearer, glassier appearance than more crudely produced formulas and often resembles ice fragments, usually with a clear or bluish-white color. It often has a smell people compare to ammonia, cat urine or even burning plastic.

“You can look at it and see it has a much more pure look,” said Paul Roach, a DEA agent in Denver.

The rise of Mexican meth doesn’t mean American labs have disappeared. The number of U.S. meth labs continues to rise even as federal, state and local laws place heavy restrictions on the purchase of cold and allergy pills containing pseudoephedrine, a major component in the most common meth recipe.

The crackdowns that began a decade ago have made it more difficult to prepare large batches, so many American meth users have turned to a simpler method that uses a 2-liter soda bottle filled with just enough ingredients to produce a small amount of the drug for personal use.

But south of the border, meth is being made on an industrial scale. Sophisticated factories put out tons of the drug using formulas developed by professional chemists. The final product often is smuggled into the U.S. taped beneath tractor-trailers or hidden inside packages of other drugs.

While clandestine U.S. labs generally supply rural areas, Mexican meth is mostly targeted to urban and suburban users. Increasingly large quantities are turning up in dozens of American cities, including Dallas, Phoenix, Denver, Chicago, St. Louis and Salt Lake City, according to the DEA.

The marketing format follows a well-established pattern. By simultaneously increasing the purity and cutting the price, the cartels get people hooked and create a new customer base.

“They’re marketing geniuses,” said Jack Riley, the agent in charge of the DEA office in Chicago.

When Illinois authorities recently confiscated 1,000 pounds of Mexican marijuana, they found 10 pounds of meth hidden among the pot — essentially a free sample for the distributor to give out to drug users, Riley said.

Until recently, meth was seldom seen in major urban areas, except in biker gangs and parts of the gay community, Riley said.

“We’ve never really seen it on the street like we’ve seen cocaine and heroin,” Riley said. He worries that if the estimated 180,000 members of street gangs in Chicago get involved in meth trafficking, violence could follow.

Like the U.S., Mexico has tightened laws and regulations on pseudoephedrine, though some labs still are able to obtain large amounts from China and India. To fill the void, cartel chemists have turned to an old recipe known as P2P that first appeared in the 1960s and 1970s in some parts of the western U.S.

That recipe uses the organic compound phenylacetone. Because of its use in meth, the U.S. government made it a controlled substance in 1980, essentially stopping that form of meth in the U.S. But in Mexico, the cartels can get phenylacetone from other countries, DEA experts said.

In the third quarter of 2011, 85 percent of lab samples taken from U.S. meth seizures came from the P2P process — up from 50 percent a little more than a year earlier, DEA spokesman Rusty Payne said.

Federal agents say the influx of meth from Mexico illustrates the difficulty of waging a two-front war on the drug in neighboring countries. When one source of the drug is dealt a setback, other suppliers step in to satisfy relentless demand.

Considering the relatively untapped market of bigger American cities, the rise of Mexican meth is not surprising, said Illinois State University criminologist Ralph Weisheit, a meth expert.

“It’s something that was inevitable,” Weisheit said. “This wasn’t hard to predict.”

American authorities are not the only ones taking notice. The sharp spike in meth activity also is evident from the other side of the border. Seizures of labs and chemicals have increased nearly 1,000 percent in the past two years.

Last year, Mexican authorities made two major busts in the quiet central state of Queretaro, seizing nearly 500 tons of precursor chemicals and 3.4 tons of pure meth with a street value of more than $100 million. In Sinaloa, investigators found a sophisticated underground lab equipped with an elevator and ventilation systems as well as cooking and sleeping facilities. The facility was reachable only by a nearly 100-foot tunnel with its opening concealed under a tractor shed.

And in February, soldiers in western Mexico made a historic seizure: 15 tons of pure methamphetamine, a haul that could have supplied 13 million doses worth more than $4 billion.

The meth problem is spilling into other parts of Latin America too. In December and January, Mexican authorities seized nearly 900 tons of precursor chemicals at Mexican ports, almost all of it bound for Guatemala, which seized about 1,600 tons of meth precursors in 2011 — four times the 400 tons seized there a year earlier.

For now, cocaine remains far and away the cartels’ most profitable drug. The RAND Corp. estimates the annual street value of cocaine is about $30 billion, heroin about $20 billion and meth about $5 billion.

But cocaine is getting more expensive and less pure. According to the DEA, the price per pure gram of cocaine rose 59 percent from 2007 through September 2011. At the same time, the purity level dropped 25 percent.

Cocaine also typically comes from Colombia, meaning Mexican cartels serve as middle men who compete against each other to smuggle it into the U.S. That marginalizes their profits.

Because methamphetamine is a synthetic drug the cartels can make for themselves, the profit potential is enormous.

“It’s not plant-based,” Weisheit said. “It can be completely produced in Mexico. It’s very compact, and that makes it easy to smuggle.”

Mexico condemns shooting involving border agent

Sadly the insane and unconstitutional American drug war has cause the murder of 1,000's of people over harmless drugs like marijuana.

I don't know what drugs the people that were murdered by the BP agents were accuse of smuggling, but it is insane to justify their murders because of any drug they were smuggling.


Mexico condemns shooting involving border agent

by Domenico Nicosia and Cassondra Strande - Oct. 11, 2012 10:15 PM

The Arizona Republic-12 News Breaking News Team

The Mexican government is reacting angrily to reports that a U.S. Border Patrol agent shot a suspected drug smuggler on the Mexican side of the Arizona border.

U.S. authorities confirmed that a young Mexican citizen was shot Wednesday night near Nogales after rocks were thrown at agents.

Ricardo Alday, a spokesman for the Embassy of Mexico in the United States, said his government strongly condemns and deplores the use of lethal force by U.S. Border Patrol agents.

Alday would not elaborate or confirm any details of the incident.

The Spanish-language network Telemundo reported that the suspect died after being shot on Mexican territory.

Border Patrol officials had not confirmed his death Thursday night.

The shooting occurred after agents reportedly saw two suspected narcotics smugglers in Nogales drop a load of narcotics on the U.S. side of the border, according to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection document.

The suspects then fled to the Mexican side of the border and began assaulting the agents with rocks, the document said. When they ignored orders to stop, at least one of the agents fired at them, according to the document.

It was unclear how many shots were fired.

After the suspected smuggler was hit, agents secured the scene and notified the Mexican government, according to U.S. authorities.

Alday said in the statement that "it is imperative that the relevant U.S. authorities proceed with a timely and transparent investigation, and take it to its ultimate consequences. Mexican authorities will proceed accordingly within their jurisdiction."

Neither Border Patrol officials nor the FBI, which is leading the investigation, would comment aside from a statement released Thursday.

The shooting comes less than two weeks after the death of Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Ivie, who was killed by friendly fire Oct. 2. Ivie was based at the Brian A. Terry Border Patrol Station near Naco.

Phoenix officer put on desk duty amid crash inquiry

Sadly juries think it is impossible for cops to lie. And sadly juries routinely convict people for crimes in which police committed perjury to get the jury to convict the person.

This cops is a perfect example of that.

Even though I dislike crooked cops, if I was on a jury in this case I would vote to acquit the cop of the charges. Mainly because even thought it sure looks like he is guilty as hell, I don't think there is any evidence the cops have that will prove he is guilty.

And after all even if he is lying, which I suspect he is, there is a slim chance what he is saying actually happened.


Phoenix officer put on desk duty amid crash inquiry

by Cecilia Chan - Oct. 11, 2012 10:02 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Phoenix police Officer Usiel Molina is on desk duty pending the outcome of a department investigation into allegations that he left the scene of an accident, officials said Thursday.

"There is currently an administrative investigation under way," said Phoenix police spokesman Steve Martos, declining to elaborate about the investigation into Molina's possible involvement in a crash Saturday.

In a report released this week, Gilbert Police is recommending that the town prosecutor charge Molina with leaving the scene of an accident.

Gilbert police say Molina, 28, also provided false information to officers.

Gilbert police responded to a call about a single-car accident at Anderson Lane and Sexton Road at 2:12 a.m. Saturday.

Witnesses reported a red Chevy Camaro had crashed into a fence and then entered a neighborhood park north of the intersection, police said in the report.

One witness told police he saw a man in a white T-shirt walking around the car after the crash then get back into the car, which left the park.

Officers found the car empty near the intersection of Hansen and Cupertino drives with the front bumper, headlamps and wheels damaged. The vehicle was registered to Molina, police said.

A short time later, officers found Molina, who was wearing a white T-shirt, walking in the neighborhood near the collision scene.

Molina told officers he had just left a friend's house in the area and his vehicle had been in an accident.

He told police that he was going to leave his car and get it towed in the morning. He also told police that he was a passenger and did not want to identify the driver.

Police said Molina had the car keys in his possession. While speaking with Molina, officers noted it appeared Molina "had been drinking alcohol and possibly intoxicated," a police report said.

Police detained Molina while officers interviewed two witnesses who called in the accident.

During the investigation, officers couldn't find a witness who could identify who was driving the Camaro and released Molina from the scene, the report said.

Later, police tracked down Tyler Dotson, the person Molina claimed was driving the car.

Dotson told police he was a passenger in the Camaro and that Molina was driving and had dropped him off at home, south of the crash scene.

Dotson told police that he was not involved in a collision before he was dropped off and that Molina left his house alone in the Camaro.

Gilbert police said they did not give Molina a blood-alcohol test because he was released from the scene.

Was the death of Heriberto Lazcano staged by the Mexican government???

I wonder, did the Mexican government stage the capture, murder, and then theft of Heriberto Lazcano's body to prove they are a great government who can catch any criminal???

This case is kind of like the case where the American government claimed to have captured bin Laden, proved it by taking his fingerprints before killing him then dumping his body in the ocean.

In both cases the Mexican and American governments might be lying to make themselves look like heroes.


Autopsy: 2 shots in head killed Mexican drug lord

Oct. 11, 2012 11:40 PM

Associated Press

MEXICO CITY -- An autopsy carried out on the body of drug cartel leader Heriberto Lazcano before his body was stolen shows he died of six gunshot wounds, including two to the head, according to a forensic report released Thursday.

The Coahuila state prosecutors' office said the autopsy determined Lazcano died of brain injuries, hemorrhaging, shock and blood loss. Lazcano, known as "El Lazca," was a founder and one of two top leaders of the brutal Zetas drug cartel and was one of Mexico's most-wanted drug lords.

The head wounds stood out, given navy reports indicating Lazcano was shot at a distance of as much as 300 meters (yards) by marines during a confrontation in northern Coahuila state Sunday.

The autopsy report said Lazcano was shot once in the side or top of the skull and once in the back of the head. The four other wounds were in the buttocks, chest and arm.

Masked men stole his body from a funeral home early Monday. State forensic experts performed the autopsy at the funeral home Sunday evening, before the body was stolen.

Mexico's navy said its personnel had no idea they had killed the leader of the country's most-feared drug cartel until after his body was stolen. By law, military personnel in Mexico cannot keep or examine suspects or corpses, but must turn them over to civilian prosecutors. In areas where morgues are in short supply, medical examiners sometimes perform autopsies at funeral homes.

The navy says Lazcano was killed after marines tried to search a group of suspicious men in a truck outside a baseball stadium, after receiving a tip there were armed men in the area. The men fired when the marines stopped the truck. One suspect died where the truck was stopped, but the man later identified as Lazcano fled across a field, where he was reportedly cut down by marine fire.

Who is lying? Sheriff Joe or Paul Penzone?

Is Sheriff Joe lying??? Is Paul Penzone lying.

In this case Paul Penzone might be lying.

After Sheriff Joe's reign of terror for 20 years in Maricopa County he definably needs to go. But of course I don't think Paul Penzone is any better then Sheriff Joe.

Paul Penzone is an ex-narc and I suspect he will continue to terrorize the citizens of Maricopa County for victimless drug war crimes if he replaces Sheriff Joe.

Like Sheriff Joe, I suspect Paul Penzone will say anything to get elected, or in this case lie about anything to get elected.

If I was in Nazi Germany living under Hitler, I would certainly vote for Joe Stalin to get rid of Hitler. Not because I like Stalin, but because I would have been tired of Hitler terrorizing us.

I feel the same way about this election. I think both Paul Penzone and Sheriff Joe are police state thugs and I don't want either of them in office. But I would vote for Paul Penzone just to get rid of Sheriff Joe.

Here is a link to the commerical on UTube.



Arpaio ad on Penzone smacks of desperation


Thu, Oct 11 2012

Fresh on the heels of a poll showing Paul Penzone within four points of catching Joe Arpaio, Team Arpaio released a rather vicious campaign ad today, accusing Penzone of hitting his wife.

“For years, Paul Penzone was the face of Silent Witness," the ad says. “But in 2003, Paul Penzone pushed his then-wife against a door, injuring her in front of their child. He's tried to explain it away, but there's no excuse for hitting a woman. Now, the only silent witness is his ex-wife.“


Of course, there are just few things missing from Arpaio’s ad….

…Like the fact that Penzone is the one who called police and Penzone is listed by police as the victim.

...Like the fact that neither Penzone nor his then-wife was prosecuted, as it was a he-said, she-said affair. No independent witnesses (presumably, not even the child whom Arpaio says witnessed the fight.)

According to a Glendale Police Department report of the 2003 incident, the Penzones were getting a divorce and in the midst of a nasty custody battle. He called police, saying his wife had assaulted him.

The report says Penzone had gone to the house to pick up his son’s hockey gear and told police that his wife hit him in the face with a hockey stick. Police said he had a minor bruise on his face.

His wife then told police that she hit him because he pushed her first, causing her to hit her forehead on the door. Police said she had a minor bruise on her forehead.

City prosecutors declined to prosecute.

Penzone then filed for an order of protection against her, and a few days later, she filed one against him, recounting their versions of the story.

There are no records – at least, none that I have found -- to indicate that Penzone had ever previously or ever since been involved in a domestic violence.

Arpaio spokesman Chad Willems defended the ad, saying the records “speak for themselves.”

They certainly do.

If I were I Joe, I'd stick to investigating sex crimes.

Is Penzone being 'Saban-ed' by Arpaio?


Is Penzone being 'Saban-ed' by Arpaio?


Thu, Oct 11 2012

Before Paul Penzone became the closest thing to a challenger that Sheriff Joe Arpaio has had there was Dan Saban.

Arpaio beat him twice, in 2004 and in 2008.

Saban sued Arpaio, and lost, after a local TV station ran a story in 2004 in which Saban's adoptive mother alleged that he raped her 30 years earlier. Saban said that it was his adoptive mother who’d taken advantage of him and claimed that Arpaio's then-chief deputy, David Hendershott, leaked the story.

The whole sordid episode came up again in 2008, when Saban was running against Arpaio.

This time in a nasty anti-Saban TV ad.

Now Arpaio’s camp has released an anti-Penzone ad dredging up a domestic dispute between Penzone and his former wife that took place nine years ago. Police were called. He said one thing. She said another. He had a little bruise. She had a little bruise.

No one was prosecuted.

Nothing since.

That is, until the sheriff’s race got close. That’s how it goes in politics. It’s sad.

But even sadder, it sometimes works.

No trial, no nothing US declares MS-13 gang to be criminals

Look I think criminals sucks like everybody else does.

But when the government declares people to be criminals without even a trial and freezes their assets the government is just as much as criminal the the person they are alleging to be a criminal.

Of course if the government legalized drugs, the MS-13 gang would go out of business over night. So in the case as usual, the government created the problem.

And of course the remaining criminal business the MS-13 gang is involved in, smuggling aliens into the US would be eliminated if the US government allowed free immigration to the US from Mexico, like they did before they blamed the Mexicans for the Great Depression and locked up the US Mexico boarder in 1933.

Again the government is the cause of the problem.


U.S. targets violent, central American street gang

Oct. 11, 2012 11:58 AM

Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- A Central American street gang known for using machetes to hack and stab rivals to death became the first street gang to be labeled a transnational criminal organization Thursday.

The Treasury Department formally designated MS-13, also known as Mara Salvatrucha, a transnational criminal organization in an attempt to freeze the ultra-violent gang out of the U.S. financial system and seize potentially millions of dollars in criminal profits from drug and human smuggling and other crimes committed in the United States.

The gang was founded by immigrants fleeing El Salvador's civil war more than two decades ago its founders took lessons learned from the brutal conflict to the streets of Los Angeles as they built a reputation as one of the most ruthless and sophisticated street gangs in the country. according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent Jason Shatarsky

With as many as 10,000 members in 46 U.S. states, the gang has expanded beyond its initial and local roots and members are accused of crimes ranging from kidnapping and murder to drug smuggling and human trafficking.

Shatarsky, an MS-13 expert assigned to ICE's national gang unit, said the group quickly established themselves in Los Angeles before later spreading across the country. The group's penchants for violence -- using a machete to hack a victim to death or shooting someone in the head in broad daylight for instance -- surprised authorities and rival gangs

The gang now has a large presence in Southern California, Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia, all areas with substantial Salvadoran populations. And in any community where the gang operates, he said, its members often prey on their own community, targeting residents and business owners for extortion, among other crimes. The gang is also active throughout Central America and in parts of Mexico and authorities in Europe have reported evidence of MS-13 expanding operations there.

"They saw a level of violence that hadn't been seen before," Shatarksy said, adding that as the gang as expanded it has also become more sophisticated than many of its rivals.

Among the most high profile killings attributed to MS-13 in Virginia was the 2003 slaying of a pregnant teenager who left the gang and became an informant. Brenda Paz, 17, was stabbed to death and her body was left along the Shenandoah River. MS-13 members have also been linked to the 2007 execution style shooting deaths of three friends in a Newark school yard. One of the victims was also slashed with a machete before being shot. Six people have been charged in the case.

By labeling MS-13 an international criminal organization subject to sanctions by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, the government hopes stymie the gang's ability to funnel money back to its leaders in El Salvador or launder criminal proceeds through otherwise legitimate businesses.

David S. Cohen, Treasury's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said while no specific members of the gang have been individually listed as part of the group's sanction, anyone identified as a gang member or associate trying to do business with gang members are subject to criminal prosecution.

By declaring the group a transnational criminal organization, the government is also making it more difficult for gang members to use banks and wire transfer services to move profits from the group's crimes.

ICE Director John Morton described the designation Thursday as a "powerful weapon" for his agency's ongoing effort to dismantle the gang. "This designation allows us to strike at the financial heart of MS-13," he said.

Other international criminal groups that have been subject to similar sanctions by the Treasury Department include the Yakuza, a Japanese organized crime group, and the ruthless Mexican drug cartel, Los Zetas.


Follow Alicia A. Caldwell on Twitter at www.twittter.com/acaldwellap

Secret Service agent found drunk on street, police say


Secret Service agent found drunk on street, police say

Oct. 12, 2012 12:26 PM

Associated Press

MIAMI -- A Secret Service officer was arrested early Friday after being found passed out and apparently drunk on a Miami street corner several hours after President Barack Obama left the state following day trip to the city, police in Florida said.

A Miami police officer found Aaron Francis Engler around 7 a.m., lying near an intersection not far from a popular night spot in downtown Miami. According to an arrest affidavit, Engler had bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and a strong odor of alcohol. He was arrested on two misdemeanor counts after becoming combative with the arresting officer. Police say Engler started throwing his arms around while he was being searched and hit the officer in the chin.

Miami police say Engler has been released to members of the Secret Service's Miami field office.

The Secret Service in Washington said the case will be turned over to the agency's Office of Professional Responsibility.

A law enforcement official said Engler was assigned to the agency's uniformed division and was in Miami in a support role while the president was visiting. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the officer's job with the agency.

Obama was in Miami Thursday for a campaign rally at the University of Miami and an evening fundraiser.

Mexican mayor says boy shot by U.S. agent 7 times


Mexican mayor says boy shot by U.S. agent 7 times

Oct. 12, 2012 05:30 PM

Associated Press

A teenage boy apparently killed this week by a U.S. Border Patrol agent was hit seven times by gunfire and died on a sidewalk just across the Arizona-Mexico border, a mayor in Mexico said Friday.

"It was a burst of gunfire," Nogales Mayor Ramon Guzman Munoz told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "It was a hail of bullets."

Munoz called the episode "deplorable" and urged a thorough investigation by both U.S. and Mexican authorities.

Meanwhile, the Border Patrol had not yet confirmed anyone was struck by the agent's bullets, only that "it appeared someone had been hit," agency spokesman Victor Brabble said Friday.

The Border Patrol said several agents responded Wednesday night to reports of suspected drug smugglers in Nogales, Ariz. The agents watched two people abandon a load of narcotics, then run back to Mexico, according to the Border Patrol. They were then pelted by rocks thrown from across the border. The agency said the people ignored orders to stop, and an agent open fire.

The Sonora state attorney general's office in Mexico said in a statement Thursday that Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, 16, from Nogales, Sonora, was found dead at the border from gunshot wounds about midnight Wednesday.

However, the office didn't definitively confirm the boy had been shot by the Border Patrol, only noting that police received reports of gunshots, then found his body on a sidewalk near the border barrier.

A Mexican official with direct knowledge of the investigation confirmed the boy was shot by the agent, and said authorities were meeting Friday in Mexico City to discuss the case. The person also said the teenager had been shot multiple times in the back. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not yet authorized to discuss details of the case.

Mexico's Foreign Relations Department issued a statement Thursday saying it "forcefully condemned" the shooting and calling such deaths "a serious bilateral problem."

Border agents are generally allowed to use lethal force against rock throwers, and there are several ongoing investigations into similar shootings in Arizona and Texas.

Brave Corrupt Firemen Protecting us murdering their wives!


Firefighter accused of hiring hitman to kill wife

Oct. 12, 2012 05:09 PM

Associated Press

LAS VEGAS - A Las Vegas casino waitress. A homeless hitman. An estranged husband angry enough to have his wife killed.

That was the recipe for a plot police say led to the arrest of a firefighter accused of masterminding a brutal murder-for-hire, then crashing his pickup into a freeway barrier at 76 mph in a failed suicide attempt as police closed in.

A police report is now shedding light on what investigators and prosecutors call the true story of George Tiaffay paying $600 to his homeless acquaintance and occasional handyman, Noel Stevens, and of supplying a key to 46-year-old Shauna Tiaffay's apartment weeks before her Sept. 29 slaying.

There were several twists to the tale before Tiaffay, 40, was arrested on Wednesday.

Stevens was already in jail on unrelated drug charges. Both remained Friday at the Clark County jail in Las Vegas on multiple felony charges, including murder, conspiracy, burglary and robbery that could qualify for the death penalty. Both are due for an initial arraignment Monday. It was not immediately clear if Stevens had a lawyer.

Tiaffay's lawyer, Robert Langford, wouldn't talk in detail about the case, but said his client intends to fight the charges.

"On the best of days, when police file charges, they only have 70 percent of the information in a case," Langford told The Associated Press. "It's the other 30 percent where the truth lies."

Police say Shauna Tiaffay, the mother of an 8-year-old girl, apparently tried to fend off her attacker before she was killed with a hammer blow to the head so severe that medics couldn't tell if she had been shot or bludgeoned. The mangled fingers on her right hand bore what medics called defensive wounds.

A jogger later found items, including a makeup bag, cellphone and health card bearing Shauna Tiaffay's name on a dirt path leading away from her townhome development in a suburban tract several miles west of the Las Vegas Strip.

George and Shauna Tiaffay were estranged and separated after seven years of marriage.

Police said he had an alibi. He was at work on a 24-hour shift when Shauna Tiaffay was killed, according to a police report made public Thursday. He was the one who called 911 when he arrived with their daughter at her townhome a little after 9 a.m.

Shauna Tiaffay was still wearing her Palms Resort Casino work uniform when she was found face-up on the floor in the dining area.

The alleged murder conspiracy unraveled after Stevens, who went by the name "Greyhound," allegedly bragged about the slaying to someone who contacted police Sept. 30.

Stevens told the witness he hit the woman so hard the hammer broke, police said, and he later told another witness that he had been promised $20,000 for the killing.

"We got a very good tip and followed it to the end," police homicide Sgt. Matt Sanford said Friday, adding that the gruesome slaying shocked even veteran investigators for its severity.

What police still don't know is a motive for the slaying, Sanford said. After Tiaffay called 911 to report finding his wife's body, he referred police questions to his lawyer.

Shauna Tiaffay will be buried Saturday. An obituary in the Las Vegas Review-Journal said she born into a Mormon family in Salt Lake City and lived in Virginia and Pennsylvania before moving to Las Vegas in 1994. She baked cupcakes for co-workers' birthdays, loved the color pink and considered her daughter her greatest joy in life. Attempts to reach family members on Friday were not immediately successful.

According to a 14-page police report, investigators found that Shauna Tiaffay's apartment had been burglarized Sept. 4 by someone who took clothing and jewelry and left boxer shorts neatly folded on her washing machine. Investigators found evidence that vodka had been consumed from a bottle in the refrigerator. Shauna Tiaffay didn't report the break-in to police until Sept. 14.

Police later discovered clothing believed to have belonged to Shauna Tiaffay, including panties, a black dress and swimsuit bottom, in and around tents at Stevens' two desert campsites. The ring had been sold. Police said Stevens' DNA was found on the vodka bottle. The matching swimsuit top was still in the townhouse.

Police learned that George Tiaffay and Stevens exchanged 86 cellphone calls in the month before the slaying, and video footage showed the two men in a Walmart store Sept. 13 and Sept. 15, buying items including a hammer, knife and gloves.

Stevens was arrested before dawn Sept. 17 less than three miles from Shauna Tiaffay's home after police accused him of having a hammer, knife, gloves and cap in a bag he dropped before he was stopped. Police suspected he was out to burglarize homes.

Stevens was released, but arrested again Oct. 1 on a felony drug possession charge when homicide investigators seeking to question him about the slaying located him outside a convenience store and found marijuana in the pockets of his pants. The drug case is pending.

Police later learned that on Sept. 27 George Tiaffay bought a .380 caliber handgun and ammunition and used an indoor range at a Las Vegas gun store. The gun wasn't registered, and Tiaffay had never been to the store before.

Sanford said Friday police still don't know why Tiaffay bought the gun.

On Monday, after detectives questioned Tiaffay's mother and sister, Tiaffay crashed his 2004 Ford F-250 pickup truck into a freeway barrier not far from Shauna Tiaffay's former home. The Nevada Highway Patrol said Tiaffay was the only occupant of the vehicle.

Tiaffay was hospitalized with cuts and bruises. He was arrested when he was released from the hospital.

Glendale Cops love sales taxes???

Glendale cops love sales taxes??? Because they get a cut of the loot!

I think this letter to the editor helps verify my point that the "war on drugs" is just a job program for overpaid and under worked cops.

Note Proposition 457 if passed will force the city of Glendale to stop taxing the krap out of people to pay for government welfare to professional sports teams.


Letter: Proposition 457 ignores public safety

By Letters

October 11, 2012 at 7:14 pm

As president of the Glendale Law Enforcement Association, I represent the dedicated and professional men and women from the Glendale Police Department. I, like many Glendale police employees, chose the profession of law enforcement for one primary ambition – to protect the innocent. [You mean the high pay? Where else can an entry level employee start out at $50,000 a year with only a high school diploma] Officers are honored to give citizens a peace of mind that we will be there to help them when needed.

However, Glendale officers feel like they are taking steps backwards, combating crime when they are forced to function with slim essential services and personnel. Over the last few years, Glendale has cut millions of dollars from the police department. [Yea, the royal rulers of Glendale would rather give handouts to professional sports teams, then to cops] Now, the city is looking at eliminating millions more from our budget this next fiscal year, resulting in the lay-offs of 66 police positions. Preventative enforcement units, like narcotics, will be eliminated entirely. [Sounds great to me. If you end the silly "war on drugs" you can start hunting down real criminals!!!]

I have seen firsthand what criminal elements can and will do to harm our loved-ones. With shortages in police manpower coupled with funding cuts, I believe Glendale will see serious long-term damage to communities, neighborhoods, schools and other services. As a father of three and a police officer, I cannot let that happen. [So what are you going to do about it? Arrest us if we don't give you more money???]

Common sense can draw parallels between Glendale’s crime rates and budget cuts over the years. The city is No. 1 in auto thefts (in Arizona) and violent crime is up 13 percent. Additionally, Arizona is still No. 1 in identity theft nationally. Border related crimes, like drug smuggling and human trafficking, continue to ail our city. [Of course if drugs were legal drug smuggling wouldn't be ailing anybody!] What statistics can Glendale citizens expect in the future with further public safety funding reductions and lay-offs?

No Arizona citizen wants to be taxed more than we already are in these economic times. Families, like mine, have had to make changes in order to deal with our fiscal down-turn. However, government’s core responsibility is public safety, and it must be adequately funded. A temporary revenue source is Glendale’s only option to keep police services at their current levels.

Glendale police officers encourage you to vote “no” on Proposition 457. Help protect public safety, and the men and women that serve you. [Translation, vote against Prop 457 so Glendale can continue it's government welfare program for over paid cops to arrest people for the victimless crime of smoking or selling marijuana!]

Justin Harris

President, Glendale Law Enforcement Association

"Drug war cops" now shoot down suspected drug smuggling planes

Cops are now shooting down airplanes suspected of smuggling drugs.

I have half seriously joked that when American cops start using drones they will order drone missile strikes to destroy the homes of suspected drug dealers in South Phoenix.

In Honduras, American financed drug war cops are already shooting down the airplanes of suspected drug smugglers.

The only question is when is this "drug war" insanity going to come to the USA and have cops murdering Americas suspected of "drug war" crimes?


U.S. Rethinks a Drug War After Deaths in Honduras


Published: October 12, 2012

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — The Honduran Air Force pilot did not know what to do. It was the dead of night, and he was chasing a small, suspected drug plane at a dangerously low altitude, just a few hundred feet above the Caribbean. He fired warning shots, but instead of landing, the plane flew lower and closer to the sea.

“So the pilot made a decision, thinking it was the best thing to do,” said Arturo Corrales, Honduras’s foreign minister, one of several officials to give the first detailed account of the episode. “He shot down the plane.”

Four days later, on July 31, it happened again. Another flight departed from a small town on the Venezuelan coast, and using American radar intelligence, a Honduran fighter pilot shot it down over the water.

How many people were killed? Were drugs aboard, or innocent civilians? Officials here and in Washington say they do not know. The planes were never found. But the two episodes — clear violations of international law and established protocols — have ignited outrage in the United States, bringing one of its most ambitious international offensives against drug traffickers to a sudden halt just months after it started.

All joint operations in Honduras are now suspended. Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, expressing the concerns of several Democrats in Congress, is holding up tens of millions of dollars in security assistance, not just because of the planes, but also over suspected human rights abuses by the Honduran police and three shootings in which commandos with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration effectively led raids when they were only supposed to act as advisers.

The downed aircraft, in particular, reminded veteran officials of an American missionary plane that was shot down in 2001 by Peruvian authorities using American intelligence. It was only a matter of time, they said, before another plane with the supposedly guilty turned out to be filled with the innocent.

But the clash between the Obama administration and lawmakers had been building for months. Fearful that Central America was becoming overrun by organized crime, perhaps worse than in the worst parts of Mexico, the State Department, the D.E.A. and the Pentagon rushed ahead this year with a muscular antidrug program with several Latin American nations, hoping to protect Honduras and use it as a chokepoint to cut off the flow of drugs heading north.

Then the series of fatal enforcement actions — some by the Honduran military, others involving shootings by American agents — quickly turned the antidrug cooperation, often promoted as a model of international teamwork, into a case study of what can go wrong when the tactics of war are used to fight a crime problem that goes well beyond drugs.

“You can’t cure the whole body by just treating the arm,” said Edmundo Orellana, Honduras’s former defense minister and attorney general. “You have to heal the whole thing.”

A sweeping new plan for Honduras, focused more on judicial reform and institution-building, is now being jointly developed by Honduras and the United States. But State Department officials must first reassure Congress that the deaths have been investigated and that new safeguards, like limits on the role of American forces, will be put in place.

“We are trying to see what to do differently or better,” said Lisa J. Kubiske, the American ambassador in Honduras.

The challenge is dizzying, and the new plan, according to a recent draft shown to The New York Times, is more aspirational than anything aimed at combating drugs and impunity in Mexico, or Colombia before that. It includes not just boats and helicopters, but also broad restructuring: several new investigative entities, an expanded vetting program for the police, more power for prosecutors, and a network of safe houses for witnesses.

Officials from both countries have often failed to fully grasp the weakness of the Honduran institutions deployed to turn the country around. But the need to act is obvious. The country’s homicide rate is among the highest in the world, and corruption has chewed through government from top to bottom.

“We know that unless we really help these governments and address the complexities of these challenges they face, their people and societies would be further endangered,” said Maria Otero, under secretary of state for civilian security, democracy and human rights.

“Honduras,” she added, “is the most vulnerable and threatened of them all.”

A Country’s Cry for Help

The foreign minister, Mr. Corrales, a hulk of a man with a loud laugh and a degree in engineering, said he visited Washington in early 2011 with a request for help in four areas: investigation, impunity, organized crime and corruption. President Porfirio Lobo, in meetings with the Americans, put it more bluntly: “We’re drowning.”

In 2010, a year after a military coup eventually brought the conservative Lobo government to power, drug flights to Honduras spiked to 82, from six in 2006. Half the country, which is only a little bigger than Tennessee, was out of government control. Then last October, the mingling of corruption and impunity hit the front pages here with the murder of Rafael Alejandro Vargas, the 22-year-old son of Julieta Castellanos, the rector of Honduras’s largest university.

Mr. Vargas’s death stood out not just because he was the son of a prominent academic; he was killed by police officers, who appeared to have kidnapped him as he left a birthday party, and then killed him when they realized who he was. Many of the officers were not arrested.

“It was a wake-up call for all of Honduras of just how corrupt and infiltrated the police were,” Ms. Otero said.

Another State Department official said the killing — along with the soaring homicide rate and the increased trafficking — sounded alarms in Washington: “It raised for us the specter of Honduras becoming another northern Mexico.”

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton demanded a strong response, and William R. Brownfield, the assistant secretary for international narcotics and law enforcement affairs, became the point man for what was created: a broad security program centered on rapid-response law enforcement activities organized by the D.E.A. and the Pentagon.

Known as Anvil, it was meant to work alongside efforts like outreach to youth and training for some police officers, prosecutors and judges. But the interdiction of cocaine was the immediate focus. Mr. Brownfield and other officials wanted to test whether they could keep drug planes from landing on Honduras’s isolated Caribbean coast.

The plan was for American and Colombian radar intelligence to guide D.E.A. agents working with the Honduran police. They would intercept drug planes once they landed, using State Department helicopters flown by Guatemalan pilots. “It was the most multinational law enforcement operation we have ever conducted,” Mr. Brownfield said.

They started in the spring, and several officials, including Ambassador Kubiske, said the program had succeeded in many ways. From April 24 to July 3, 4.7 tons of cocaine were seized, and the number of drug flights coming into Honduras fell significantly.

But the operation had evident procedural flaws. It was started without some simple measures that could have prevented deaths or allowed for swift investigations and a full public accounting when things went wrong.

According to a senior American official who was not authorized to speak on the record, there were no detailed rules governing American participation in law enforcement operations. Honduran officials also described cases in which the rules of engagement for the D.E.A. and the police were vague and ad hoc.

“In these kinds of situations, who can really say how the decision to shoot is made?” said Héctor Iván Mejía, a spokesman for the Honduran National Police.

And for a law enforcement program, investigations seemed to be an afterthought. On several occasions, crime scenes were left unsecured for more than 12 hours, until an investigator could be flown to them. After episodes in which suspects were injured or killed, it often took days — and significant public pressure — to begin inquiries about whether deadly force was justified, too late to create a full and credible account.

The Honduran authorities were not much help. After one previously undisclosed interdiction raid in July, soldiers refused to board an American military helicopter that had come to collect reinforcements.

More broadly, it was often unclear who was in charge. Sometimes neither Honduran nor American authorities seemed to know who was ultimately responsible for the policy.

The D.E.A.’s role was especially contentious. Its commandos were part of a tactical assault program known as FAST, for Foreign-deployed Advisory and Support Team, which has been credited with victories against drug traffickers from Peru to Afghanistan. But a May 11 shooting in a town called Ahuas, in which gunfire killed four people whom neighbors said were innocent, led to concerns in Congress that the D.E.A.’s commandos were operating with impunity.

The agents were supposed to act as trainers. “During our operations in Honduras, Honduran law enforcement is always in the lead, and we play a support and mentorship role,” said Dawn Dearden, a spokeswoman for the D.E.A.

But American officials overseeing Anvil now acknowledge that turned out not to be the case. Members of the Honduran police teams told government investigators that they took their orders from the D.E.A. Americans officials said that the FAST teams, deploying tactics honed in Afghanistan, did not feel confident in the Hondurans’ abilities to take the lead.

Three of the five joint interdiction operations during Anvil included deadly shootings. In Ahuas, officials said the gunfire came from the Honduran police. In late June, D.E.A. agents shot and killed the pilot of a plane bearing drugs, and another pilot who landed farther inland on July 3. Anvil ended soon afterward, several days ahead of schedule.

“This operation was bungled in its conception, in its implementation and in its aftermath,” said Mr. Leahy, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s panel on the State Department and foreign operations.

Representative Howard L. Berman of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, wrote to Mrs. Clinton, “Unfortunately, this is not the first time the United States has come perilously close to an overmilitarized strategy toward a country too small and institutionally weak for its citizens to challenge the policy.”

Mr. Brownfield, the assistant secretary, said it was impossible to “offer a zero risk program for interdicting drugs in Central America.” He noted that the shootings during interdiction raids happened in the middle of the night, in remote locations that were hard for investigators to reach. Despite these challenges, he said that investigations were conducted and that he was “basically satisfied” that he knew what had happened.

But an aide to Mr. Leahy said members of Congress were not reassured. “One of several reasons funds currently are being withheld is that we have yet to see the results of any investigation, and there is little confidence that the next time would be any better,” the aide said.

Military Justice Gone Awry

When the Honduran Air Force pilot took off from his base at La Ceiba on July 26, tracking a plane without a flight plan, the State Department helicopters used for interdiction had already returned to Guatemala. The D.E.A. agents were gone. Anvil had ended, but the broader mission of joint enforcement and the sharing of American intelligence had not.

From the moment the Honduran pilot departed in his aging Tucano turboprop, just before midnight, he was in radio contact with Colombian authorities, who regularly receive radar intelligence from the American military’s Southern Command.

Intelligence-sharing is a major component of the American approach to fighting drugs regionally, and military commanders said they were not especially worried about any mistakes as they watched the suspicious flight on their radar screens. Nearly a decade earlier, Honduran military commanders signed an agreement with the United States to abide by laws that prohibit firing on civilian aircraft. After all, small single-engine planes are used by local airlines, courier services and missionaries all over Honduras’s remote northeastern coast.

Yet Honduran and American officials said the Honduran pilots did not seem to be aware of the rules.

Mr. Corrales, the foreign minister, and some American officials have concluded that the downed planes amounted to misapplied military justice, urged on by societal anger and the broader weaknesses of Honduras’s institutions.

“It reflects a lot of frustration in the country, that they think this is a tool they need to use,” Ambassador Kubiske said. “If you had a law enforcement system and then a justice system that could reliably detain suspected narcos when they land — if they could seize the goods and put together a strong case.” She added, “If they had a strong functioning system, then this would look like a less attractive alternative.”

Creating a stronger system is at the core of what some officials are now calling Anvil II. A draft of the plan provided by Mr. Corrales shows a major shift toward shoring up judicial institutions with new entities focused on organized and financial crime.

Mr. Corrales said the plan was closer to what he had hoped for before Anvil, with a few protective fixes: each vetted investigative unit will include up to three embedded prosecutors, who will direct the activities of Honduran police officers and D.E.A. agents.

The D.E.A.’s role will also probably change. American officials say they are discussing how to keep it more limited, possibly by requiring FAST agents to stay on helicopters during raids, “more like a coach on the sidelines,” one American military official said.

Much of what is being proposed would be paid for with a national security tax Honduras recently established. The Americans have agreed to help Honduras determine how the money will be spent, and if Congress releases its hold on American contributions, joint security programs will accelerate quickly.

But many Hondurans worry that the pull of the familiar — of muscular, military-style interdiction — may be difficult to resist. In the handwritten notes on Mr. Corrales’s draft, he placed a No. 1 next to two items: intelligence-sharing, and a reference to training for 20 Honduran helicopter pilots.

Honduran officials have also resisted demands from Congress for a more thorough investigation of Juan Carlos Bonilla, the head of the Honduran police, who has been accused of running a death squad that killed at least three people from 1998 to 2002. (He was acquitted of a single murder charge in 2004, though critics say the case was hindered by corruption.)

Dr. Castellanos, the university rector, said the challenge for Honduras and the Americans would be staying focused on long-term problems like corruption. “It’s a tragedy; there is no confidence in the state,” she said, wearing black in her university office.

The old game of cocaine cat-and-mouse tends to look like a quicker fix, she said, with its obvious targets and clear victories measured in tons seized. Since Anvil ended, officials have seen a revival of suspicious planes heading to Honduras, with many landing inland, along rivers.

“This moment presents us with an opportunity for institutional reform,” Dr. Castellanos said. But that will depend on whether the new effort goes after more than just drugs and uproots the criminal networks that have already burrowed into Honduran society.

“There’s infiltration everywhere,” she said. “There is no guarantee it can be stopped.”

Propaganda from Sheriff Joe

Here is an editorial from the worst sheriff in the world on why he should be reelected.

I couple of days ago the Republic wrote an editorial saying Sheriff Joe has got to go. I think they let him respond to that editorial with this "My Turn" letter to the editor.

Please note, while I think Sheriff Joe Arpaio is the worst sheriff in America, I don't think Paul Penzone is much better.


Endorsement for sheriff ignores some key facts

by Joe Arpaio - Oct. 12, 2012 06:26 PM

The Arizona Republic editorial board's endorsement of one of my political opponents was no surprise to anyone familiar with this newspaper and its board ("Arpaio's record says: Elect Penzone," Editorial, Sunday). It has long opposed my policies regarding Tent City, as well as how I enforce illegal-immigration laws. This board joins the ultraliberal New Times newspaper as advocates for my ousting. [Hey, Sheriff Joe, the Republic has endorsed you for years. But you have screwed things up so badly they finally have started to call for an end to your reign of terror like us normal folks have been doing for years.]

There were a number of distortions and omissions by this editorial board, a move carefully calculated to unseat a conservative sheriff who upholds laws this newspaper despises.

This editorial board clearly advocates replacing me with Paul Penzone, a man it knows has little management experience and who isn't even endorsed by the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association. PLEA supports me for sheriff. Why? It cites Penzone's lack of experience and knowledge as reasons they will not support him.

Instead, the paper's editorial writers recite reasons to vote me out yet conveniently omit facts that debunk their arguments.

They characterized investigations into various politicians as a terror-waged vendetta yet fail to remind readers those investigations resulted in the indictments of some and an admission by the U.S. Justice Department that the evidence was so lacking, they dropped the 3-year-long investigation. [Sheriff Joe, just because they didn't get enough evidence to prove you are a crook, doesn't mean you are not a crook!]

The paper asked readers to believe I misappropriated $100 million when it was an accounting error only. Deputies' salaries were paid out of the wrong fund. It was corrected by a journal entry. Taxpayers were not affected. [I think that is an outright lie. From what I have read the deputies salaries were paid out of a fund that was supposed to be used to purchase a new jail. Not a cent of that money has been paid back. It's lost]

They complain the jails cost taxpayers millions in lawsuits. All large jails do. Inmates sue all the time. Occasionally, someone dies in jail. What predictably follows is a lawsuit by the family. The fact remains, the legal costs associated with the running of my jails are far less than many large jails in the U.S. [Really, it would be nice to supply us with some numbers here.]

The editorial board claims my deputies embarrass Arizona by arresting people who are simply "driving while Hispanic." We do not racially profile, but we do uphold the state laws on illegal immigration. [I think you are lying about that! I have not heard of you having any patrols in Scottsdale to shake down all the White Canadian snow birds that come there for their "papers" like you do to the Latinos in Guadalupe and South Phoenix!]

Five weeks before my election, this paper did a huge series on our sex-crimes unit and problems we endured several years ago. Difficulties in investigating sex crimes are not unique to this agency.

Other agencies here and elsewhere have similar challenges yet The Republic has never offered an in-depth examination about those agencies' difficulties. When I learned about our problem, we reinvestigated the cases, arrested perpetrators, and put new systems in place to avoid a reoccurrence. Today, we have a larger sex-crimes unit with better-trained detectives, an improved case-tracking system and new state-of-the-art advocacy centers.

On Nov. 6, you have important choices to make including the Maricopa County sheriff's race. Despite what this paper tries to persuade you to think, I believe you know I do the job I was elected to do. Because of that, the areas my deputies patrol are the safest in the county.

I have had my share of difficulties, and like any experienced manager, I faced them head on and moved on. Too bad The Arizona Republic doesn't do the same.

Joe Arpaio is Maricopa County sheriff.

Campaign-finance accusations may hurt Horne career

Isn't Tom Horne the Jerk who asked Governor Jan Brewer to declare Prop 203 null and void so he could continue his witch hunt and send medical marijuana users to prison??

I bet that was a smoke screen to cover up for all the illegal activities he has been doing.


Campaign-finance accusations may hurt Horne career

By Dan Nowicki, Yvonne Wingett Sanchez and Mary Jo Pitzl The Republic | azcentral.com

Sun Oct 14, 2012 1:28 AM

He’s been investigated by the FBI, formally accused of violating campaign-finance laws and may have to pay back hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations or more than a million in penalties.

He’s been accused of hiring unqualified cronies and politicizing the top law-enforcement office in Arizona. He’s under investigation in a possible hit-and-run of a parked vehicle.

Political experts and even some Republicans say the publicity from a lingering scandal could end Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne’s political ambitions — especially if he attempts a run for governor in 2014 as has long been rumored.

“I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I will say that you are the head law-enforcement officer of the state and you are expected to obey the law just like you expect everybody else to,” said Bob Corbin, a Republican who was Arizona attorney general from 1979 to 1991 and who endorsed Andrew Thomas, Horne’s GOP primary rival, in 2010. “It’s always going to come up. Even if there are no charges brought or anything like that, there’s always the allegation. Sometimes the allegations are worse than the convictions.”

Horne, a Republican, says he is innocent and vows to fight the accusations of campaign-finance-law violations that Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, another Republican, laid out Oct. 1 when announcing plans for a civil-enforcement action. Horne also says he has no plans to resign his post as the No. 3 Republican in state government, and there’s been no outcry for him to step down.

Horne, a former state legislator and state superintendent of public instruction, is accused of illegally coordinating with an outside group, Business Leaders for Arizona, to finance television advertising against his Democratic opponent, Felecia Rotellini, during the 2010 general election. Montgomery also will pursue civil-enforcement action against Kathleen Winn, who chaired the committee and now works in a top position for Horne.

FBI agents also say they witnessed a hit-and-run accident involving Horne that Phoenix police are investigating.

It’s unclear how long it would take for the civil action to play out. Horne’s decision to fight the allegations in court could stretch the drama well into next year — when some candidates will likely begin to campaign for governor.

Documents show the case against Horne and Winn was investigated asboth a civil and potential criminal matter. Federal agents also researched federal wire-fraud charges since a large portion of the donations to the independent-expenditure committee came from out-of-state and crossed state lines.

Montgomery declined to press criminal charges against Horne and Winn, saying criminal statutes don’t specifically address their alleged coordination.

Instead, Montgomery will pursue civil-enforcement action, which could force Horne and Winn to repay money to contributors or pay penalties of more than $1 million.

State GOP leaders could try to pressure Horne to step down or the Republican-controlled Arizona Legislature could move to impeach and remove him — as happened 24 years ago with former Republican Gov. Evan Mecham — though neither scenario is viewed as likely.

But by doing nothing, Republicans could allow a festering Horne controversy to damage the GOP brand in the run-up to a crucial election.

Party push-back

Mecham’s impeachment represents the best-known instance in which top Arizona Republicans took an aggressive stand against a major elected official in their own party.

The Republican-led Legislature in 1988 impeached and removed Mecham, a gaffe-prone Republican outsider elected in 1986 who proved an embarrassment to the GOP. He was impeached on allegations that he misused state money and obstructed the investigation of a death threat to a government official. He also was indicted on charges that he tried to conceal a campaign loan from a developer, but was later acquitted.

Retired U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater and his successor, U.S. Sen. John McCain, were among state Republican leaders who called on Mecham to quit. The decision to take on Mecham backfired on some GOP legislators, including House Speaker Joe Lane of Willcox and Senate President Carl Kunasek of Mesa, who lost their seats in the aftermath.

In a more recent example, Arizona Corporation Commissioner Jim Irvin resigned in 2003 as Republican lawmakers were taking steps to impeach him for alleged gross misconduct in office. All four of his commission colleagues had demanded his resignation. A federal jury had concluded that Irvin had sabotaged a utility takeover and socked him with a $60 million punitive judgment. That penalty eventually was reduced on appeal to $1.19 million, which the Arizona Supreme Court in 2011 required a private insurance company to pick up.

In other high-profile episodes, Republicans have been less inclined to try to force fellow party members out of office amid controversy.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio felt no pressure from Republican leaders while under investigation for alleged abuses of power; federal prosecutors announced in late August that they would not be pursuing criminal charges.

Former U.S. Rep. Rick Renzi, R-Ariz., finished out his final term while indicted on federal corruption charges. He is still awaiting trial.

Former Republican Gov. Fife Symington resigned in 1997 after he was convicted on bank-fraud charges. Before that, there were scattered GOP calls for him to step down but no concerted effort as was seen with Mecham. Symington’s conviction was overturned, and a 2001 pardon from then-President Bill Clinton ensured that federal prosecutors would not refile charges against him.

“Not to say Tom Horne does not have enemies within the Republican Party, but it’s nothing like what Mecham had way back in the day,” said Rodolfo Espino, an assistant professor of political science at Arizona State University. “I think the likelihood of impeachment is rather low. What’s more likely, if anything, is that certain Republican leaders just say to him, ‘Look, deal with this. Step down. You’re going to hurt some other Republicans running for office right now.’”

To date, Republican officials have generally said they are not privy to evidence and other details of alleged ethical misconduct within Horne’s office.

Romney’s national campaign did not respond to The Arizona Republic’s requests for comment on Horne’s situation.

Veteran U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, a three-term Republican who is is not seeking re-election this year, declined to comment on the specifics of the Horne case but praised Montgomery for his professional handling of the investigation thus far. Speaking generally, Kyl, a lawyer who as an Arizona congressman had joined McCain in calling for Mecham to step down, said that even without criminal charges, voters certainly take such alleged legal violations into account “when they decide whether to support someone in the future.”

Symington said Horne should not resign regardless of who may call for it. In retrospect, the Mecham impeachment looks politically motivated and premature, Symington said.

“He’s fought hard for the office,” Symington said of Horne. “He’s sustaining some pretty severe attacks and seems to be handling them pretty well at this point. He still has a few years to go as the attorney general of this state and has lots of time to recover, to win his fights and run again.”

From his own experience, Symington added this: “When you’re in the middle of the storm, it’s hard to see the horizon, but it’s out there, and there’s always a better day.”

Democrats have stayed out of the fray, save for state Sen. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix, who called for Horne’s resignation the same day Montgomery made his announcement.

Democrats have had their share of scandals this year, with three Democratic lawmakers resigning because of scandal. When state Rep. Ben Arredondo, D-Tempe, was hit with federal felony charges, fellow Tempe resident and Senate Minority Leader David Schapira called for Arredondo to step down, which he later did.

And when state Rep. Daniel Patterson of Tucson was named in several domestic-violence complaints, House Minority Leader Chad Campbell called for his resignation and House Democrats signed a petition seeking an ethics investigation. Patterson resigned under pressure; a court later acquitted him of all the charges.

State Rep. Richard Miranda, D-Phoenix, resigned a few days before federal felony charges were entered against him. Fellow lawmakers said they had no idea he was under investigation.

Republicans kept silent as the Democrats’ woes unfurled.

An outsider

Horne is a bit of an outsider among his party’s high-profile politicians. He was a Democrat for years, switching his party registration to GOP in the 1990s when he made his first run for the Legislature.

GOP leaders are clearly aware of Horne’s political radioactivity: He was conspicuously missing from Arizona’s delegation to the Republican National Convention in Florida.

His relationship with Gov. Jan Brewer, who enjoys rock-star status among conservatives in Arizona and across the nation, has been publicly prickly.

Grant Woods, a former Republican Arizona attorney general who served under three governors and now unofficially advises Brewer, said the governor and Horne haven’t had “a particularly close relationship.” Woods could not point to any one incident that affected the relationship.

“I’ve just noticed from the beginning it has never been a close relationship,” he said. “I think that, for whatever reason, he’s never gained her confidence. Consequently, she never seemed to involve him much.”

Asked what Horne’s political challenges have been, Woods responded, “His longevity really worked against him because he’s run for and held a lot of offices and being that political and ambitious leaves a lot of people mad at you who you have defeated or rubbed the wrong way.”

Views on future

Republican political consultants have differing viewpoints on Horne’s future political prospects.

Horne might be able to salvage his current term in office, but his longer-range future is dim, said Jason Rose, who worked for the rival Thomas campaign in 2010 but subsequently became a Horne supporter.

“I think it’s bleak on his best day,” Rose said. “When following the law is your primary responsibility, it cuts to the heart of his credibility.”

Other political observers suggested it is premature to write off Horne.

Chuck Coughlin, a Brewer confidant who has advised numerous statewide candidates, said the campaign charges could hamper a Horne gubernatorial bid but wouldn’t necessarily end his career as attorney general. He pointed to the recent scandal involving Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, who was accused by a former boyfriend of abusing the power of his office. The Attorney General’s Office cleared Babeu, who had abandoned his congressional campaign but was able to pivot and win the primary for sheriff and is favored in the general election.

“The conventional wisdom is don’t seek a different office, run back to safe territory,” Coughlin said.

And with nearly two years left in office, Horne has the time and ability to drive the narrative about his tenure, Coughlin said.

The civil-enforcement action filed Oct. 1 against Horne is simply allegations at this point, Coughlin said. If the case remains open as 2014 rolls around, “it’s he said/she said stuff.”

Barry Aarons, a lobbyist and former Symington aide, has been friends with Horne for more than two decades.

He has watched Horne climb through the years from Paradise Valley school-board member to state lawmaker, state schools superintendent and, now, attorney general.

“If you look at his career, I think you find that everywhere he’s gone, every step along the way, he has done a lot, he has accomplished a lot,” Aarons said. “People who don’t like you call you ‘blindly ambitious.’ People who like you call you ‘focused.’”

Asked for his reaction to Montgomery’s finding that Horne deliberately violated campaign-finance laws, Aarons responded, “I find it difficult to believe that he would have intentionally violated the law.”

Aarons added that if Montgomery’s statements prove true, Horne “will have explaining to do, and those people who have been his supporters are going to have to listen real carefully to how he explains it away.”

Flushing "free speech" down the toilet for "religious freedom"???

You have the right to free speech as long as you don't insult the religious nut jobs!!!!


Shut up and play nice: How the Western world is limiting free speech

Brian Stauffer for The Washington Post

By Jonathan Turley, Published: October 12

Free speech is dying in the Western world. While most people still enjoy considerable freedom of expression, this right, once a near-absolute, has become less defined and less dependable for those espousing controversial social, political or religious views. The decline of free speech has come not from any single blow but rather from thousands of paper cuts of well-intentioned exceptions designed to maintain social harmony.

In the face of the violence that frequently results from anti-religious expression, some world leaders seem to be losing their patience with free speech. After a video called “Innocence of Muslims” appeared on YouTube and sparked violent protests in several Muslim nations last month, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned that “when some people use this freedom of expression to provoke or humiliate some others’ values and beliefs, then this cannot be protected.”

It appears that the one thing modern society can no longer tolerate is intolerance. As Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard put it in her recent speech before the United Nations, “Our tolerance must never extend to tolerating religious hatred.”

A willingness to confine free speech in the name of social pluralism can be seen at various levels of authority and government. In February, for instance, Pennsylvania Judge Mark Martin heard a case in which a Muslim man was charged with attacking an atheist marching in a Halloween parade as a “zombie Muhammed.” Martin castigated not the defendant but the victim, Ernie Perce, lecturing him that “our forefathers intended to use the First Amendment so we can speak with our mind, not to piss off other people and cultures — which is what you did.”

Of course, free speech is often precisely about pissing off other people — challenging social taboos or political values.

This was evident in recent days when courts in Washington and New York ruled that transit authorities could not prevent or delay the posting of a controversial ad that says: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat jihad.”

When U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer said the government could not bar the ad simply because it could upset some Metro riders, the ruling prompted calls for new limits on such speech. And in New York, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority responded by unanimously passing a new regulation banning any message that it considers likely to “incite” others or cause some “other immediate breach of the peace.”

Such efforts focus not on the right to speak but on the possible reaction to speech — a fundamental change in the treatment of free speech in the West. The much-misconstrued statement of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes that free speech does not give you the right to shout fire in a crowded theater is now being used to curtail speech that might provoke a violence-prone minority. Our entire society is being treated as a crowded theater, and talking about whole subjects is now akin to shouting “fire!”

The new restrictions are forcing people to meet the demands of the lowest common denominator of accepted speech, usually using one of four rationales.

Speech is blasphemous

This is the oldest threat to free speech, but it has experienced something of a comeback in the 21st century. After protests erupted throughout the Muslim world in 2005 over Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad, Western countries publicly professed fealty to free speech, yet quietly cracked down on anti-religious expression. Religious critics in France, Britain, Italy and other countries have found themselves under criminal investigation as threats to public safety. In France, actress and animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot has been fined several times for comments about how Muslims are undermining French culture. And just last month, a Greek atheist was arrested for insulting a famous monk by making his name sound like that of a pasta dish.

Some Western countries have classic blasphemy laws — such as Ireland, which in 2009 criminalized the “publication or utterance of blasphemous matter” deemed “grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion.” The Russian Duma recently proposed a law against “insulting religious beliefs.” Other countries allow the arrest of people who threaten strife by criticizing religions or religious leaders. In Britain, for instance, a 15-year-old girl was arrested two years agofor burning a Koran.

Western governments seem to be sending the message that free speech rights will not protect you — as shown clearly last month by the images of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the YouTube filmmaker, being carted away in California on suspicion of probation violations. Dutch politician Geert Wilders went through years of litigation before he was acquitted last year on charges of insulting Islam by voicing anti-Islamic views. In the Netherlandsand Italy, cartoonists and comedians have been charged with insulting religion through caricatures or jokes.

Even the Obama administration supported the passage of a resolution in the U.N. Human Rights Council to create an international standard restricting some anti-religious speech (its full name: “Combating Intolerance, Negative Stereotyping and Stigmatization of, and Discrimination, Incitement to Violence and Violence Against, Persons Based on Religion or Belief”). Egypt’s U.N. ambassador heralded the resolution as exposing the “true nature” of free speech and recognizing that “freedom of expression has been sometimes misused” to insult religion.

At a Washington conference last yearto implement the resolution, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton declared that it would protect both “the right to practice one’s religion freely and the right to express one’s opinion without fear.” But it isn’t clear how speech can be protected if the yardstick is how people react to speech — particularly in countries where people riot over a single cartoon. Clinton suggested that free speech resulting in “sectarian clashes” or “the destruction or the defacement or the vandalization of religious sites” was not, as she put it, “fair game.”

Given this initiative, President Obama’s U.N. address last month declaring America’s support for free speech, while laudable, seemed confused — even at odds with his administration’s efforts.

Speech is hateful

In the United States, hate speech is presumably protected under the First Amendment. However, hate-crime laws often redefine hateful expression as a criminal act. Thus, in 2003, the Supreme Court addressed the conviction of a Virginia Ku Klux Klan member who burned a cross on private land. The court allowed for criminal penalties so long as the government could show that the act was “intended to intimidate” others. It was a distinction without meaning, since the state can simply cite the intimidating history of that symbol.

Other Western nations routinely bar forms of speech considered hateful. Britain prohibits any “abusive or insulting words” meant “to stir up racial hatred.” Canada outlaws “any writing, sign or visible representation” that “incites hatred against any identifiable group.” These laws ban speech based not only on its content but on the reaction of others. Speakers are often called to answer for their divisive or insulting speech before bodies like the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.

This month, a Canadian court ruled that Marc Lemire, the webmaster of a far-right political site, could be punished for allowing third parties to leave insulting comments about homosexuals and blacks on the site. Echoing the logic behind blasphemy laws, Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley ruled that “the minimal harm caused . . . to freedom of expression is far outweighed by the benefit it provides to vulnerable groups and to the promotion of equality.”

Speech is discriminatory

Perhaps the most rapidly expanding limitation on speech is found in anti-discrimination laws. Many Western countries have extended such laws to public statements deemed insulting or derogatory to any group, race or gender.

For example, in a closely watched case last year, a French court found fashion designer John Gallianoguilty of making discriminatory comments in a Paris bar, where he got into a cursing match with a couple using sexist and anti-Semitic terms. Judge Anne-Marie Sauteraud read a list of the bad words Galliano had used, adding that she found (rather implausibly) he had said “dirty whore” at least 1,000 times. Though he faced up to six months in jail, he was fined.

In Canada, comedian Guy Earle was charged with violating the human rights of a lesbian couple after he got into a trash-talking session with a group of women during an open-mike night at a nightclub. Lorna Pardysaid she suffered post-traumatic stress because of Earle’s profane language and derogatory terms for lesbians. The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal ruled last year that since this was a matter of discrimination, free speech was not a defense, and awarded about $23,000 to the couple.

Ironically, while some religious organizations are pushing blasphemy laws, religious individuals are increasingly targeted under anti-discrimination laws for their criticism of homosexuals and other groups. In 2008, a minister in Canada was not only forced to pay fines for uttering anti-gay sentiments but was also enjoined from expressing such views in the future.

Speech is deceitful

In the United States, where speech is given the most protection among Western countries, there has been a recent effort to carve out a potentially large category to which the First Amendment would not apply. While we have always prosecuted people who lie to achieve financial or other benefits, some argue that the government can outlaw any lie, regardless of whether the liar secured any economic gain.

One such law was the Stolen Valor Act, signed by President George W. Bush in 2006, which made it a crime for people to lie about receiving military honors. The Supreme Court struck it down this year, but at least two liberal justices, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan, proposed that such laws should have less of a burden to be upheld as constitutional. The House responded with new legislation that would criminalize lies told with the intent to obtain any undefined “tangible benefit.”

The dangers are obvious. Government officials have long labeled whistleblowers, reporters and critics as “liars” who distort their actions or words. If the government can define what is a lie, it can define what is the truth.

For example, in Februarythe French Supreme Court declared unconstitutional a law that made it a crime to deny the 1915 Armenian genocide by Turkey — a characterization that Turkey steadfastly rejects. Despite the ruling, various French leaders pledged to pass new measures punishing those who deny the Armenians’ historical claims.

The impact of government limits on speech has been magnified by even greater forms of private censorship. For example, most news organizations have stopped showing images of Muhammad, though they seem to have no misgivings about caricatures of other religious figures. The most extreme such example was supplied by Yale University Press, which in 2009 published a book about the Danish cartoons titled “The Cartoons That Shook the World” — but cut all of the cartoons so as not to insult anyone.

The very right that laid the foundation for Western civilization is increasingly viewed as a nuisance, if not a threat. Whether speech is deemed imflammatory or hateful or discriminatory or simply false, society is denying speech rights in the name of tolerance, enforcing mutual respect through categorical censorship.

As in a troubled marriage, the West seems to be falling out of love with free speech. Unable to divorce ourselves from this defining right, we take refuge instead in an awkward and forced silence.


Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro professor of public interest law at George Washington University.

The constantly expanding American Police State!!!

10 reasons the U.S. is no longer the land of the free

Americans often proclaim our nation as a symbol of freedom to the world while dismissing nations such as Cuba and China as categorically unfree. Yet, objectively, we may be only half right. Those countries do lack basic individual rights such as due process, placing them outside any reasonable definition of “free,” but the United States now has much more in common with such regimes than anyone may like to admit


10 reasons the U.S. is no longer the land of the free

By Jonathan Turley, Published: January 13, 2012

Every year, the State Department issues reports on individual rights in other countries, monitoring the passage of restrictive laws and regulations around the world. Iran, for example, has been criticized for denying fair public trials and limiting privacy, while Russia has been taken to task for undermining due process. Other countries have been condemned for the use of secret evidence and torture.

Even as we pass judgment on countries we consider unfree, Americans remain confident that any definition of a free nation must include their own — the land of free. Yet, the laws and practices of the land should shake that confidence. In the decade since Sept. 11, 2001, this country has comprehensively reduced civil liberties in the name of an expanded security state. The most recent example of this was the National Defense Authorization Act, signed Dec. 31, which allows for the indefinite detention of citizens. At what point does the reduction of individual rights in our country change how we define ourselves?

While each new national security power Washington has embraced was controversial when enacted, they are often discussed in isolation. But they don’t operate in isolation. They form a mosaic of powers under which our country could be considered, at least in part, authoritarian. Americans often proclaim our nation as a symbol of freedom to the world while dismissing nations such as Cuba and China as categorically unfree. Yet, objectively, we may be only half right. Those countries do lack basic individual rights such as due process, placing them outside any reasonable definition of “free,” but the United States now has much more in common with such regimes than anyone may like to admit.

These countries also have constitutions that purport to guarantee freedoms and rights. But their governments have broad discretion in denying those rights and few real avenues for challenges by citizens — precisely the problem with the new laws in this country.

The list of powers acquired by the U.S. government since 9/11 puts us in rather troubling company.

Assassination of U.S. citizens

President Obama has claimed, as President George W. Bush did before him, the right to order the killing of any citizen considered a terrorist or an abettor of terrorism. Last year, he approved the killing of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaqi and another citizen under this claimed inherent authority. Last month, administration officials affirmed that power, stating that the president can order the assassination of any citizen whom he considers allied with terrorists. (Nations such as Nigeria, Iran and Syria have been routinely criticized for extrajudicial killings of enemies of the state.)

Indefinite detention

Under the law signed last month, terrorism suspects are to be held by the military; the president also has the authority to indefinitely detain citizens accused of terrorism. While the administration claims that this provision only codified existing law, experts widely contest this view, and the administration has opposed efforts to challenge such authority in federal courts. The government continues to claim the right to strip citizens of legal protections based on its sole discretion. (China recently codified a more limited detention law for its citizens, while countries such as Cambodia have been singled out by the United States for “prolonged detention.”)

Arbitrary justice

The president now decides whether a person will receive a trial in the federal courts or in a military tribunal, a system that has been ridiculed around the world for lacking basic due process protections. Bush claimed this authority in 2001, and Obama has continued the practice. (Egypt and China have been denounced for maintaining separate military justice systems for selected defendants, including civilians.)

Warrantless searches

The president may now order warrantless surveillance, including a new capability to force companies and organizations to turn over information on citizens’ finances, communications and associations. Bush acquired this sweeping power under the Patriot Act in 2001, and in 2011, Obama extended the power, including searches of everything from business documents to library records. The government can use “national security letters” to demand, without probable cause, that organizations turn over information on citizens — and order them not to reveal the disclosure to the affected party. (Saudi Arabia and Pakistan operate under laws that allow the government to engage in widespread discretionary surveillance.)

Secret evidence

The government now routinely uses secret evidence to detain individuals and employs secret evidence in federal and military courts. It also forces the dismissal of cases against the United States by simply filing declarations that the cases would make the government reveal classified information that would harm national security — a claim made in a variety of privacy lawsuits and largely accepted by federal judges without question. Even legal opinions, cited as the basis for the government’s actions under the Bush and Obama administrations, have been classified. This allows the government to claim secret legal arguments to support secret proceedings using secret evidence. In addition, some cases never make it to court at all. The federal courts routinely deny constitutional challenges to policies and programs under a narrow definition of standing to bring a case.

War crimes

The world clamored for prosecutions of those responsible for waterboarding terrorism suspects during the Bush administration, but the Obama administration said in 2009 that it would not allow CIA employees to be investigated or prosecuted for such actions. This gutted not just treaty obligations but the Nuremberg principles of international law. When courts in countries such as Spain moved to investigate Bush officials for war crimes, the Obama administration reportedly urged foreign officials not to allow such cases to proceed, despite the fact that the United States has long claimed the same authority with regard to alleged war criminals in other countries. (Various nations have resisted investigations of officials accused of war crimes and torture. Some, such as Serbia and Chile, eventually relented to comply with international law; countries that have denied independent investigations include Iran, Syria and China.)

Secret court

The government has increased its use of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which has expanded its secret warrants to include individuals deemed to be aiding or abetting hostile foreign governments or organizations. In 2011, Obama renewed these powers, including allowing secret searches of individuals who are not part of an identifiable terrorist group. The administration has asserted the right to ignore congressional limits on such surveillance. (Pakistan places national security surveillance under the unchecked powers of the military or intelligence services.)

Immunity from judicial review

Like the Bush administration, the Obama administration has successfully pushed for immunity for companies that assist in warrantless surveillance of citizens, blocking the ability of citizens to challenge the violation of privacy. (Similarly, China has maintained sweeping immunity claims both inside and outside the country and routinely blocks lawsuits against private companies.)

Continual monitoring of citizens

The Obama administration has successfully defended its claim that it can use GPS devices to monitor every move of targeted citizens without securing any court order or review. (Saudi Arabia has installed massive public surveillance systems, while Cuba is notorious for active monitoring of selected citizens.)

Extraordinary renditions

The government now has the ability to transfer both citizens and noncitizens to another country under a system known as extraordinary rendition, which has been denounced as using other countries, such as Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan, to torture suspects. The Obama administration says it is not continuing the abuses of this practice under Bush, but it insists on the unfettered right to order such transfers — including the possible transfer of U.S. citizens.

These new laws have come with an infusion of money into an expanded security system on the state and federal levels, including more public surveillance cameras, tens of thousands of security personnel and a massive expansion of a terrorist-chasing bureaucracy.

Some politicians shrug and say these increased powers are merely a response to the times we live in. Thus, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) could declare in an interview last spring without objection that “free speech is a great idea, but we’re in a war.” Of course, terrorism will never “surrender” and end this particular “war.”

Other politicians rationalize that, while such powers may exist, it really comes down to how they are used. This is a common response by liberals who cannot bring themselves to denounce Obama as they did Bush. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), for instance, has insisted that Congress is not making any decision on indefinite detention: “That is a decision which we leave where it belongs — in the executive branch.”

And in a signing statement with the defense authorization bill, Obama said he does not intend to use the latest power to indefinitely imprison citizens. Yet, he still accepted the power as a sort of regretful autocrat.

An authoritarian nation is defined not just by the use of authoritarian powers, but by the ability to use them. If a president can take away your freedom or your life on his own authority, all rights become little more than a discretionary grant subject to executive will.

The framers lived under autocratic rule and understood this danger better than we do. James Madison famously warned that we needed a system that did not depend on the good intentions or motivations of our rulers: “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”

Benjamin Franklin was more direct. In 1787, a Mrs. Powel confronted Franklin after the signing of the Constitution and asked, “Well, Doctor, what have we got — a republic or a monarchy?” His response was a bit chilling: “A republic, Madam, if you can keep it.”

Since 9/11, we have created the very government the framers feared: a government with sweeping and largely unchecked powers resting on the hope that they will be used wisely.

The indefinite-detention provision in the defense authorization bill seemed to many civil libertarians like a betrayal by Obama. While the president had promised to veto the law over that provision, Levin, a sponsor of the bill, disclosed on the Senate floor that it was in fact the White House that approved the removal of any exception for citizens from indefinite detention.

Dishonesty from politicians is nothing new for Americans. The real question is whether we are lying to ourselves when we call this country the land of the free.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro professor of public interest law at George Washington University.

Mexicans unhappy with BP murders


Mexican officials question border agent's use of force in boy's death in Nogales

by Bob Ortega - Oct. 13, 2012 07:00 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

As more details emerge about the shooting death late Wednesday of a 16-year-old Mexican boy in Nogales, Sonora, by a Border Patrol agent, Mexican authorities increasingly are questioning whether lethal force was needed.

The FBI, and Mexican federal and state police, are carrying out parallel investigations into the incident.

Nogales Mayor Ramon Guzman Munoz told the Associated Press that Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez was shot seven times. Various news reports by Sonora broadcasters and newspapers described anywhere from five to 14 bullet holes on the wall of the building beside which the body was found.

Elena Rodriguez's death - following more than a dozen similar incidents along the U.S.-Mexico border since 2010 - has provoked condemnation from Mexican authorities and outrage in Mexican news media, in particular over the number of times the youth allegedly was shot. Twitter messages and comments on Mexican news sites routinely condemned the shooting as an "asesinato," or murder.

This is the fifth incident in Nogales since mid-2010 in which Border Patrol officers resorted to force after youths threw rocks at them. In three of those cases, agents fired their guns, killing a 17-year-old boy in January 2011 and wounding a man in January of this year.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Mike Friel said Saturday that the agency's "law-enforcement personnel are trained to use deadly force in circumstances that pose a threat to their lives, the lives of their fellow law-enforcement partners and innocent third parties."

Mexican officials have questioned the use of force before and filed diplomatic protests on several occasions, but Customs and Border Protection has not changed its policies on use of force in recent years, said Friel.

Sonora state police released a statement saying they found Elena Rodriguez's body, "with various gunshot wounds on different parts of the body," shortly after 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, lying next to the curb on Calle Internacional, a street that runs along the border fence. The body was found four blocks from the border crossing in downtown Nogales, at a spot where there is roughly a 10-foot vertical drop from the base of the fence to the street below.

According to the Border Patrol, several agents responded Wednesday night to reports that drug smugglers were carrying bundles into the U.S. As agents saw two men fleeing back into Mexico, people on the other side of the fence began to throw rocks at the agents. Agents ordered them to stop and when they didn't, an agent fired his weapon, hitting one of them, an agency spokesman said.

In interviews aired by several Mexican broadcasters, alleged witnesses said the youths were throwing rocks to prevent the Border Patrol from arresting the two men who were trying to climb back over the border fence after dropping bundles of drugs.

Ricardo Alday Gonzalez, a spokesman for Mexico's Embassy in Washington, D.C., said Friday that Mexican authorities will closely monitor the U.S. investigation into the incident, and cooperate with the FBI and other U.S. agencies, to "provide whatever support is necessary to ensure a transparent, exhaustive and accountable process in the United States."

He said Mexican federal and state law enforcement also "will not hesitate to request whatever assistance they require" from the FBI or other U.S. agencies.

The Border Patrol has declined to say what weapon the agent involved in Wednesday's incident fired. They also did not reply to queries about whether that agent is currently on leave.

The standard service firearm for Border Patrol agents is the .40-caliber Heckler & Koch pistol, which carries a 14-round magazine. Agents also have the option to carry an M-4 carbine identical to the one used by the U.S. Army, which has semiautomatic and automatic settings, Friel said. On the semiautomatic setting, the trigger must be pulled to fire each round; on the automatic setting, the rifle can fire multiple rounds with one pull of the trigger.

Border Patrol agents have access to non-lethal alternatives. In May of last year, for instance, a Nogales-based Border Patrol agent fired several rounds from a pepper-ball launcher at a suspected drug smuggler who was throwing rocks at him, and completed the drug seizure without injuries on either side.

Reach the reporter at bob.ortega@arizonarepublic.com.


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