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FBI arrest Trenton, N.J., mayor on corruption charges


FBI arrest Trenton, N.J., mayor on corruption charges

By Geoff Mulvihill, AP

The FBI arrested the mayor of Trenton, N.J., today on corruption charges, The Times of Trenton reports.

Trenton Mayor Tony Mack, his brother, Ralphiel, and convicted sex offender Joseph Giorgianni, are accused of conspiring to obstruct, delay and affect interstate commerce by extortion, the Associated Press reports.

Federal prosecutors allege Mack, 46, agreed to use his influence in connection with a proposed parking garage project.

Trenton, with a population of 85,000, is the capital of New Jersey.

Authorities say the defendants received $54,000 and anticipated accepting another $65,000 from a cooperating witness who purported to be a developer, the AP reports.

The federal complaint says that Mack, who was elected mayor in 2010, is also known as "Napoleon" and "the LIttle Guy."

According to the document, which says the FBI investigation began two years ago, Giorgianni is heard in wiretapped conversations as saying, "I can be bought" and "I like money so much, I hate the poor."

Giorgianni is already allegedly recorded saying, "One thing about the Mack administration, when I say that, it's me and Mack, we're not greedy. We're corruptible. We want anybody to make a buck."

Ex-Chicago detective convicted of fleeing fatal crash


Ex-Chicago detective convicted of fleeing fatal crash

By Annie Sweeney, Chicago Tribune reporter

9:29 p.m. CDT, September 10, 2012

As emergency personnel raced to help two young men inside the burning car wreck, off-duty Chicago police Detective Joseph Frugoli walked past them in the opposite direction.

Frugoli, who had been helped out of his own car by a good Samaritan after the collision, knew he had just slammed his SUV into a car with people inside, a Cook County judge ruled Monday in convicting the veteran cop of two counts of leaving the scene of a fatal crash.

"He could have doubled-back," Judge Charles Burns said. "He chose not to. It was a conscious decision."

Faced with evidence that his blood alcohol content was three times the legal limit, Frugoli pleaded guilty last week to aggravated DUI charges in the deaths of Andrew Cazares, 23, and Fausto Manzera, 21, a DePaul University student, in the fiery wreck on the Dan Ryan Expressway in 2009.

To try to avoid a potentially longer prison sentence, Frugoli fought charges that he fled the scene. His lawyers argued he was physically injured and disoriented by the crash and did not knowingly leave the scene.

He could be sentenced to probation or up to 31 years in prison. Burns ordered Frugoli held at home on electronic monitoring until his sentencing. No sentencing date was set.

Burns acquitted him on two more serious counts of leaving the scene of a fatal crash. Frugoli was accused of failing to report the crash within 30 minutes. The judge cited evidence that Frugoli told an arresting officer that he had been in a crash on the expressway.

Frugoli, an 18-year veteran of the department at the time of the crash, had been stripped of police powers after the wreck. He resigned from the department last month, days before admitting his guilt in the fatal crash.

Relatives and friends of the two victims packed Burns' courtroom at the Leighton Criminal Court Building for the two-day bench trial. Many wept as prosecutors detailed the massive injuries suffered by both men in the April 2009 crash.

Several emergency workers and hospital workers testified that Frugoli denied he was the driver. Prosecutors argued that showed his intent to flee and not report the accident.

A witness to the crash testified that Frugoli drove on a Dan Ryan southbound ramp from Roosevelt Road at a high rate of speed moments before the crash.

Frugoli was arrested on foot near Clinton Street and Roosevelt.


NYPD police beating caught on video


Video of Police Encounter May Play Lead Role in Lawsuit


Published: September 10, 2012 316 Comments

The shaky and frenetic video, lasting less than a minute, appears to show two New York police officers holding a man on the floor, with one repeatedly slamming his right fist into the man’s face.

An acquaintance of Mr. Solivan’s shot a shaky video less than a minute long showing some of the altercation through the family’s kitchen window, left.

The man, Luis Solivan, 19, was later charged with assaulting an officer, but his case was dismissed after a grand jury watched the video, which an acquaintance shot through an apartment window in the Bronx, his lawyers say. Now, that same footage may emerge as crucial evidence in a civil rights lawsuit that Mr. Solivan’s lawyers filed on Monday in Federal District Court in Manhattan.

The lawsuit charges that the officers, after chasing Mr. Solivan into his family’s apartment on University Avenue on Nov. 14, engaged in a “brutal and sadistic” beating beyond what the video captured, also using pepper spray and slamming his head against a wall after he was handcuffed.

The officers have provided a different account. In a criminal complaint against Mr. Solivan, they charged that he attacked both officers and tried to take one of their guns. But a Bronx grand jury declined to indict Mr. Solivan on any of the charges.

Ilann M. Maazel, a lawyer representing Mr. Solivan, said that but for the video, “I think there’s a real likelihood that the grand jury would have indicted him.”

“What it shows is shocking,” Mr. Maazel added. “It revealed that the police did not tell the truth and they wanted to put an innocent man in jail, potentially for many years.”

A police spokesman, Paul J. Browne, said in a brief statement that Mr. Solivan, as the officers had claimed, tried to grab one of their guns. He added, without elaborating, that Mr. Solivan “would not cooperate” with the Civilian Complaint Review Board.

A city lawyer said the Law Department was awaiting formal receipt of the suit and would “evaluate the claims thoroughly.”

The lawsuit names the officers as Thomas Dekoker and Brian R. O’Keeffe. In an unrelated case, Officer Dekoker was one of three police defendants found liable this summer in a jury trial over allegations of using excessive force against a man after responding to a call in the Bronx in 2008.

The jury awarded $500,000 in punitive damages and $1 in compensatory damages against the three; the city has asked that the verdict be overturned.

In the episode on the evening of Nov. 14, the lawsuit says, Mr. Solivan was returning home after buying cigarettes at a store near the apartment on University Avenue, when a police cruiser made a sudden U-turn toward him. He was unarmed and not engaged in unlawful activity, the suit says.

In an interview on Friday, Mr. Solivan said that after being asked by officers to stop, he “got paranoid” and ran toward the building.

Part of that chase was also captured on video, said Mr. Maazel, of the firm Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady, who provided copies of both videos to The New York Times.

The chase video, taken by a security camera positioned above a door, shows a man running into the building; a police cruiser pulls onto the sidewalk and two officers go in after him.

At the time of the episode, Mr. Solivan was awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to a charge of attempted murder, which stemmed from a 2010 stabbing that involved a fight with other young men, his defense lawyer, Karen Smolar, said. Mr. Solivan was later sentenced to probation and afforded youthful offender status, she added.

Mr. Solivan said the police followed him into his mother’s apartment, where his two younger brothers also were. “They just started grabbing me, started hitting me,” he said, adding that the officers accused him of resisting arrest. “I was not resisting arrest.”

The apartment’s windows, covered with metal grating, are about a foot and a half above the sidewalk. At one point, the acquaintance outside, using some kind of hand-held device, began recording through the window, Mr. Solivan said.

Mr. Solivan was eventually taken handcuffed into the hallway, where the officers banged his head against the wall, an act that was not recorded, Mr. Maazel said; he added that damage to the wall could be seen in photographs taken later.

Mr. Solivan was held for about an hour at the 46th Precinct station house, where the lawsuit alleges that he was taken into the bathroom by the officers and punched and kicked. He was later found, at St. Barnabas Hospital, to have “blunt head injury,” the suit says, including injuries to his nose and face.

The officers prepared the criminal complaint against Mr. Solivan, who was jailed for about two weeks, his lawyers said.

The criminal complaint accuses Mr. Solivan of punching both officers, and says when each officer tried to call for backup, Mr. Solivan grabbed their radios. He tried unsuccessfully to remove one officer’s holstered gun, the complaint says, adding that the altercation left both officers’ arms bruised.

Ms. Smolar, trial chief with the Bronx Defenders, a public defender organization, said she obtained the video and offered it, along with Mr. Solivan’s medical records, to the grand jury that considered the charges against him.

She said she was told that the grand jury, after viewing the video and hearing testimony from Mr. Solivan, voted against an indictment.

Ms. Smolar, who watched the beating footage again last week, recalled: “I was again moved by my reaction to his helplessness, vulnerability, his powerlessness. I wanted to reach into the video and stop them.”


Jail term unlikely for Fiesta Bowl executive

Government bureaucrats who commit crimes usually just get a slap on the wrist, if that much!


Jail term unlikely for Fiesta Bowl executive

by Craig Harris - Sept. 11, 2012 11:04 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

The U.S. Attorney's Office has agreed not to seek jail time for the Fiesta Bowl's former chief operating officer, who has recently aided authorities after admitting involvement in an illegal campaign-contribution scheme at the bowl.

The scheme, along with other revelations of financial mismanagement on Natalie Wisneski's watch, tarnished the Fiesta Bowl's image and nearly cost it a place in the coveted Bowl Championship Series, worth millions of tourist dollars annually to the Valley.

John Leonardo, U.S. attorney for Arizona, in court filings last week said his office will seek probation for Wisneski at her Monday sentencing in U.S. District Court, citing her "full and continued cooperation" with law enforcement.

She faced up to a year in prison on the felony conspiracy charge.

The U.S. Attorney's Office did not return calls Tuesday seeking comment.

Guilty pleas

Wisneski is among six current or former Fiesta Bowl employees, including ex-CEO John Junker, who have pleaded guilty to state or federal crimes stemming from bowl investigations.

Former bowl lobbyist John MacDonald has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for not properly disclosing spending on travel for lawmakers while currying their favor on behalf of the bowl.

Federal prosecutors initially accused Wisneski of engaging, since at least 2003, in a scheme in which Fiesta Bowl employees were asked to make campaign contributions to specific candidates, then reimbursed with bowl funds. Doing so is illegal.

She also was second in command and in charge of financial records when bowl funds were used improperly for a variety of other things -- for example, when officials visited strip clubs in 2008, or when Wisneski took a trip to Paris in 2009 at bowl expense.

In December 2009, when The Arizona Republic first reported allegations of a political-contribution scheme, Wisneski denied one existed.

The report prompted the Arizona Secretary of State's Office to investigate the bowl in early 2010. Wisneski did not respond to an official request to assist that investigation, said Amy Chan, state elections director.

"I don't remember getting any help from her," Chan said.

That lack of assistance from Fiesta Bowl employees led the Secretary of State's Office in July 2010 to ask the Arizona Attorney General's Office to conduct a criminal investigation. Only after that investigation was conducted did Wisneski offer to assist law enforcement.

She cooperated with the Arizona Attorney General's Office and was not charged by that agency. But the federal government got involved in the case and indicted her in November 2011 on nine counts, including making campaign contributions in the name of another, causing false statements to be made to the Federal Election Commission, filing false tax returns and conspiracy. Seven counts were felonies.

Wisneski reached a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office and pleaded guilty in March to a single felony conspiracy charge for her role in the campaign-contribution scheme.

Wisneski began working for the bowl in 1989 at age 25 as an entry-level accounting clerk, court records show. She never obtained a college degree, but she was eventually promoted to chief operating officer in 2006. She held that position until being forced to resign in March 2011. She had a total compensation of $391,824 in fiscal 2010.

In her sentencing memorandum, which lays out why Wisneski should receive probation, her attorney highlighted her cooperation with state and federal prosecutors, which he credited with helping them obtain Junker's conviction. He also said the dollar amounts involved in the campaign-contribution scheme were "insignificant."

"We simply wish to draw attention to the court that it wasn't as if Ms. Wisneski spent significant time participating in the scheme. The scheme was obviously wrong -- but incidental to the good activities performed by the bowl, Ms. Wisneski and its employees," wrote James Burke, her attorney. 'Crucial' testimony

Campaign-finance records obtained by The Republic show Wisneski contributed a total of nearly $8,000 to campaigns during 2001, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Burke also asserted that although Wisneski participated in the campaign-contribution scheme, she did so at the direction of those who "spearheaded" it: Junker and Gary Husk, the bowl's former key lobbyist.

Burke also stated that her testimony will be "crucial in any further prosecution related to the campaign scheme and cover-up."

Husk has not been charged by federal or state prosecutors, and he has adamantly denied wrongdoing.

"John Junker and Natalie Wisneski were responsible for the management and handling of the funds for the Fiesta Bowl," said former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley, Husk's attorney. "They are trying to get away with it, and it appears they got a great deal by trying to place the blame on someone else."

Junker, who was fired in March 2011, has pleaded guilty to felonies in state and federal courts for engaging in the campaign-contribution conspiracy.

He is scheduled to be sentenced in late November in state and federal courts, but sentencing could be postponed to 2013 as he assists prosecutors, who are still investigating Husk.

Junker's attorney on Tuesday confirmed the claims made by Wisneski's attorney.

"We don't disagree," Stephen Dichter said. "John accepts full responsibility for his role in these events. She worked and reported directly to him. It's obvious in the fact that he was her boss and was directly involved in the activities she engaged in."

Burke's sentencing memorandum downplays the amount of money involved in the conspiracy. He wrote that the "total amount of the campaign contributions was less than $30,000 for the entire period of the conspiracy," which he said began in the early 2000s and ended in 2009. He underlined the $30,000 figure for emphasis.

The figure is significant because, under federal sentencing guidelines, when a financial loss is less than $30,000, the recommended sentence for a defendant is less onerous.

But the Fiesta Bowl's independent investigation into the scandal found that employees told investigators that the bowl reimbursed 11 staffers more than $40,000 in political donations.

Burke declined to explain the discrepancy but recognized the accuracy of that investigation in his report, even including a letter saying she cooperated with the Fiesta Bowl's internal investigation.

The Fiesta Bowl declined to comment.

Cops bust father for leaving child alone????

Don't these pigs have any real criminals to hunt down???

You know real criminals that hurt people, like robbers, rapists and muggers.

Not some dad who leaves his kid at home alone for a few ours.


Police: Mesa dad left 3-year-old home alone overnight

Posted: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 4:09 pm

Brittany Noble, ABC15

A Mesa man was arrested after he allegedly left his 3-year-old daughter alone and unattended overnight in their apartment.

Sunday morning, a neighbor in the central Mesa apartment complex noticed the child wandering around the courtyard alone and notified police, according to court documents.

The child said she did not know where her father was and she was unable to tell authorities her father's name.

Police examined the apartment and found it in disarray. According to police, clothing was strewn on the floor, dirty dishes were stacked in the kitchen and knives were left out in the open making them easily accessible to the child.

Sunday morning, about 12 hours after he left his daughter alone, Gabriel Vincent Nava returned home. Police said he smelled of alcohol and he admitted to drinking six beers the night before.

Nava said he had hired a babysitter to watch his daughter while he was gone, but police contacted the babysitter who denied Nava ever contacted her. According to police, the babysitter's story was confirmed by people she was with the previous evening.

Nava was booked into jail on one count of child abuse.

Join Tempe's emergency response team

Oct. 4 - Free Community Emergency Response Team class

This might be fun if some anarchists and Libertarian decide to attend!!!


Join Tempe's emergency response team

Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 4:16 am


Join your community emergency response team

Tempe Fire Department, along with the Scottsdale Fire Department, will offer emergency preparation training for residents and community members beginning Oct. 4.

The training is part of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) federal initiative.

“CERT volunteers are trained by fire department personnel in areas like disaster preparedness, fire safety, treating injuries, and search and rescue, in hopes that they will be able to put these skills to use in the event of large scale and daily emergencies,” a press release states.

Classes will be 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Thursdays, Oct. 4 through Nov. 8 at the Thomas A. Hontz Police and Fire Training Facility, 911 N. Stadem Drive, Tempe. A final drill will take place 8 a.m. to noon Nov. 10. Classes are free, but advance registration required. Participants do not have to be Tempe or Scottsdale residents.

To sign up for the upcoming CERT classes, visit www.scottsdaleaz.gov/emergencies/EMHSTraining/Register

2 mothers arrested in flood rescues in Tucson

Don't these pigs have any REAL criminals to hunt down????

You know criminals that hurt people, like robbers, rapists and muggers. Not stupid mothers who make a mistake and commit the victimless crime of attempting to drive thru a wash that got flooded.


2 mothers arrested in flood rescues in Tucson

by Amber McMurray - Sept. 10, 2012 05:44 PM

The Arizona Republic- 12 News Breaking News Team

Two mothers were arrested in separate incidents after driving their children past road-closure signs and getting their vehicles stuck in flood washes in Tucson, authorities said.

An 18-year-old mother, Tiffany N. Sherman, and her one-month-old baby were rescued by deputies on Thursday after Sherman reported she was stuck in the running waters of the wash, according to the Pima County Sheriff's Department

Deputies found the Buick sedan partially submerged in the water in the 1600 block of S. Sandario Road in Tucson. Water technicians went to the car and reported that the water was nearly up to their hips, according to deputy Tom Peine.

Sherman and the baby were rescued and had no injuries, Peine said.

Road-closure signs were in the middle of the road and were clearly visible, according to deputies. Sherman was arrested on suspicion of one count of child abuse.

The child, who was wearing a diaper and was covered with a blanket, was taken into custody by the grandmother who arrived at the scene, Peine said.

Deputies also were called to a similar incident Friday morning after a tow-truck driver reported a woman had told him she was stuck in the running wash, Peine said.

Edna K. Encinas, 29, reportedly drove her Dodge Journey past road-closure signs and got stuck in the floodaters near Valencia Road and Camino Verde. There were three children in the car ages 11, 6 and 2. The tow-truck driver said he could not get to the Dodge because of the road closure, Peine said.

Encinas and the children were rescued by deputies and rescuers from the Drexel Heights Fire Department. Encinas was arrested at the scene on suspicion of child abuse and reckless driving, Peine said.

The three children were taken into the custody of family members.

Jail any jurors who say they are not qualified???

How are you going to get good jurors if you jail ones that admit not being qualified???

From the governments point of view maybe the message is that if you are a juror you should shut up and rubber stamp and convict anybody the government says is a criminal!

Even if you are a racist bigot like this guy you are certainly qualified to do that.


Juror says he’s too homophobic and racist to serve, now faces prosecution

By Eric Pfeiffer, Yahoo! News | The Sideshow

A British man who said his "extreme homophobic and racist views" should make him ineligible for jury duty now faces prosecution over the claim.

The Daily Echo reports that the man's identity is being kept anonymous for now but that Judge Gary Burrell QC read the leader in open court. In the letter, the man writes:

"I strongly believe that it would be a serious injustice to the legal system to select me for jury service.

"I hold extreme prejudices against homosexuals and black/foreign people and couldn't possibly be impartial if either appeared in court. Therefore it would not be in the court's interest to have me a juror."

In addition, the man said that if he were selected, he also would not pay attention to the case and would simply vote with the majority.

The man had been selected to serve on a jury in the case of a man on trial for assault and reckless driving. And while Burrell questioned the authenticity of the man's claim, he nonetheless dismissed him from jury duty.

Though he escaped jury duty, the man could soon find himself on trial. The prosecutor and defense attorneys in the case, barristers Rebecca Austin and Robert Bryan, stepped outside their traditional role of legal combatants to lodge a joint complaint against the man.

Under Britain's Contempt of Courts Act, he could face prison time or a fine for failing to serve on jury duty.

"The Attorney General's Office is aware of this case, and we await more information from Judge Burrell," said a spokesman for the Attorney General's Office.

Quartzsite fires embattled police chief


Quartzsite fires embattled police chief

by Chris Cole - Sept. 12, 2012 03:59 PM

The Arizona Republic-12 News Breaking News Team

The embattled police chief of Quartzsite was fired after being accused of "gross negligence" and "willful misconduct" in wake of a series of political clashes and lawsuits involving the town.

The Town of Quartzsite, acting through assistant town manager Al Johnson, sent a letter to Jeff Gilbert advising him of his terminated contract and the reasons behind it, according to a press release. Those reasons included gross negligence and willful misconduct.

Town officials declined to comment on the termination.

DPS recently completed an investigation of alleged misconduct by Gilbert based on a complaint filed by a former mayor who recently was re-elected.

The Attorney General's Office last month declined to file criminal charges, and Gilbert issued a news release declaring that he'd been exonerated.

Town police officers, prosecutors and citizens have repeatedly accused Gilbert of abusing his authority by arresting dissidents in the politically-charged community on trumped-up charges.

NYC "food police" ban large containers of soda pop!!!

Don't these government nannies have any real problems to solve???


Health Board Approves Ban on Large Sugary Drinks


Published: September 13, 2012

Seeking to combat rising obesity rates, the New York City Board of Health approved on Thursday a ban on the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks at restaurants, street carts and movie theaters, enacting the first restriction of its kind in the country.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who proposed the measure, celebrated its passage on Twitter.

“NYC’s new sugary drink policy is the single biggest step any gov’t has taken to curb #obesity,” he wrote. “It will help save lives.”

The measure, unless blocked by a judge, will take effect in six months. The health board vote was the only regulatory approval needed to become binding in the city, but the American soft-drink industry has strongly opposed the plan and vowed this week to try to fight the measure by other means, possibly in the courts.

“This is not the end,” Eliot Hoff, a spokesman for New Yorkers for Beverage Choices, an industry-financed group opposed to the soda sales restrictions, said in an e-mail moments after the vote. “We are exploring legal options, and all other avenues available to us.”

The plan is a marquee initiative of the Bloomberg administration, which is known for introducing ambitious – and, some say, overreaching – public health policies, including a ban on smoking in bars and the posting of calorie counts on chain restaurant menus.

The soda measure would bar the sale of sweetened drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces, smaller than the size of a common soda bottle. It would affect a range of popular sweetened beverages, including energy drinks, presweetened iced teas and common brands of nondiet soda.

The restrictions would not affect fruit juices, dairy-based drinks like milkshakes, or alcoholic beverages; no-calorie diet sodas would not be affected, but establishments with self-service drink fountains, like many fast-food restaurants, would not be allowed to stock cups larger than 16 ounces.

Only establishments that receive inspection grades from the health department would have to obey the rules, a group that includes movie theaters and stadium concession stands. Convenience stores, including 7-Eleven and its king-size “Big Gulp” drinks, would be exempt, along with vending machines and some newsstands.

Mr. Bloomberg has said the plan does not limit consumers’ choices, since customers can still purchase as many 16-ounce drinks as they would like. The soft-drink industry, which has spent more $1 million on a public-relations campaign opposing the plan, argues that the policy restricts consumers’ freedom to buy beverages as they see fit.

Six in 10 residents said they thought the plan was a bad idea in a recent poll by The New York Times. But the measure easily earned the approval of the health board, whose members were appointed by the mayor. The board voted eight to zero, with one abstention, to approve the measure just after 11 a.m. Thursday.

Mr. Bloomberg has made curbing obesity a top goal for his administration, citing higher rates of diabetes and fatalities among the city’s more overweight neighborhoods. More than half of adult New Yorkers are obese or overweight, according to the city’s health department.

Opinion among other city lawmakers is mixed. Several City Council members, including many members of the council’s minority caucus, said the plan would adversely affect small businesses, particularly in poorer neighborhoods. A resolution against the plan has been circulated in the City Council, but the speaker, Christine C. Quinn, has not put the measure to a vote.

The plan has generated widespread interest in the topic of obesity and soft drinks. The mayor has been pilloried in some quarters as Nanny Bloomberg, with critics saying the soda plan is another example of social engineering by the government. Supporters, including many prominent academics and scientists who study nutrition, say the policy could help reduce the amount of calories consumed by city residents.


Prosecution of doctor in overdose cases worries physicians

Cops gotta justify the big bucks they make somehow. And busting doctors is a good way.

H. L. Mencken says it very well - "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."


Prosecution of doctor in overdose cases worries physicians

By Hailey Branson-Potts, Los Angeles Times

September 11, 2012, 8:26 p.m.

When prosecutors earlier this year filed murder charges against a physician for prescribing to patients who overdosed, Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley said he was also sending a message to other "Dr. Feelgoods" who over-prescribe.

"Enough is enough," he said. "Doctors are not above the law."

But in the months since Rowland Heights physician Hsiu-Ying "Lisa" Tseng was charged, there has been a growing debate among medical professionals about whether prosecutors went too far by alleging murder.

Some physicians fear the crackdowns in Los Angeles and other parts of the country could have a chilling effect on the way doctors work and end up making patients suffer needlessly. They also worry authorities are holding doctors criminally liable for the behavior of their patients.

"The question is whether this is a criminal act or medical malpractice," said Dr. Marshall Morgan, chief of emergency medicine at UCLA Medical Center. "The concern that I have as a physician is that it's a slippery slope."

Dr. Kimberly Lovett, who teaches at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, said the Tseng case became a hot topic of conversation at a recent discussion about prescribing opiates among physicians in San Diego. Some doctors expressed fear the prosecution would make them think twice before prescribing pain medication even when it is necessary, Lovett said.

"The legal community is now sending a strong message to physicians: If you prescribe opiates to some ill-defined degree that we consider criminal, we're going to put you away for it and we're going to call you a murderer," said Lovett, who is also a member of the Institute of Health Law Studies at the California Western School of Law. "When physicians adapt to that message, patients will suffer.... You're now putting patients in a position of proving their innocence."

Lovett says she and other physicians do not condone the practices of doctors who deliberately prescribe powerful narcotic medications to addicts despite repeated warnings that their patients are misusing the drugs. But it can be difficult for doctors to discern when patients are lying about pain to get medication, she said.

The district attorney's office issued a statement in March after filing charges against Tseng, saying she and other doctors violated the law "by prescribing drugs for no legitimate medical purpose to otherwise healthy individuals for the sole purpose of the patient getting high. Those victims die while the doctor gets rich."

Still, prosecutions of doctors are rare, and murder charges rarer still, when their treatment of patients results in injury or death. The line between committing a crime and medical malpractice is unclear and depends largely on how reckless and egregious prosecutors consider the misconduct to be, said Tracy Green, a Los Angeles attorney, who has represented doctors.

While some doctors fret over the implications of trying Tseng for murder, the verdict among the relatives of her dead patients is already in. They hailed the charges as a bold — and overdue — move to hold doctors accountable for reckless prescribing. When a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge in June decided Tseng should stand trial on the murder charges, patients' relatives embraced outside the courtroom, celebrating the decision.

Joseph Rovero II, the father of one of Tseng's patients who died, said his family was thankful for the charges. "She committed a crime, and she has to answer for it," he said.

Drug-related deaths have doubled in the last decade, fueled by an increase in prescription narcotic overdoses, and now outnumber traffic fatalities, killing more than 37,000 people nationwide, according to a Times analysis of data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Lawmakers in Florida, where an estimated seven people die of prescription drug overdoses every day, passed tough legislation last year that enhanced penalties for doctors who overprescribe or violate standards of care and made it easier to prosecute such physicians.

The state also banned most doctors from personally dispensing some of the most potent narcotic painkillers, such as oxycodone and methadone, and barred doctors from prescribing more than 72 hours worth of controlled substances unless the doctor documents why more pills are justified.

This year the Florida Medical Directors Assn., which supported the law, said some of its members had reported that patients in skilled nursing facilities had seen their care suffer because of the law.

"Patients are suffering because physicians are afraid to prescribe controlled substances," Dr. John Symeonides, the association's president, said in a statement.

In the last 18 months, more than 50 doctors in the state have been arrested since Florida created regional law enforcement strike teams to target physicians, clinics and healthcare facilities suspected of prescribing or dispensing unnecessary drugs, according to the state attorney general's office.

"I refer to them as drug dealers in white coats," Florida Atty. Gen. Pam Bondi said.

In addition, at least two Florida doctors are facing first-degree murder charges in connection with the overdose of patients.

For years, doctors suspected of overprescribing typically have been charged in federal court with violating the same drug-dealing statutes that apply to street-corner drug dealers. In such cases, prosecutors must prove that doctors acted so far outside the realm of legitimate medical care that their prescribing could be considered criminal activity, but they do not have to prove that physicians caused the death of patients.

In murder cases, prosecutors must go well beyond that and prove that doctors were consciously aware their prescriptions were likely to harm patients and that the drugs they prescribed were factors in the person's death, said David A. Kettel, a Los Angeles white-collar defense lawyer and former federal prosecutor.

Prosecutors say Tseng, 42, prescribed powerful drugs with little to no medical examination and knew her prescribing was dangerous. She has been charged with murder in connection with three patients who fatally overdosed. Prosecutors are using the same theory used to convict drunk drivers with prior convictions who have been warned by authorities of the dangers of drinking and driving but continue to do so.

Prosecutors have named nine other patients who died of overdoses while under Tseng's care. Tseng is not charged in those cases, but prosecutors contend she was aware of the deaths and continued to prescribe, showing a "conscious disregard for human life."

Tseng's attorneys argued that her patients' actions contributed to their deaths, and they died days after she prescribed to them. The doctor was not present when the patients filled their prescriptions, the attorneys said, nor did she advise them to misuse the medication. Her attorneys contended that Tseng wound up behind bars because she believed her patients' claims of pain.

"Doctors can't practice pain management if this is going to be the standard," Donald Marks, one of her attorneys, said during a court hearing.

Tseng is expected to be arraigned on the charges this month.


Feds order Sheriff Babeu to retrieve items he fraudulently obtained

If a civilian did that same thing that Sheriff Babeu did they would be arrested and jailed for theft and fraud.

Of course don't count on Sheriff Babeu getting anything other then possibly a slap on the wrist.


Feds order Sheriff Babeu to retrieve items he improperly loaned

by Dennis Wagner - Sept. 13, 2012 11:26 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

A Pentagon agency that oversees surplus military goods has ordered the Pinal County Sheriff's Office to retrieve hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise it had requisitioned and then "loaned" to non-police organizations in violation of the program's rules.

The Defense Logistics Agency decision came just days after The Arizona Republic reported that Sheriff Paul Babeu was distributing Humvees, firetrucks, medical equipment and other supplies to Pinal County agencies, according to correspondence obtained by the newspaper under public-records law.

E-mails and letters from the Sheriff's Office also show that four days after The Republic's special report in May, the Pentagon agency threatened to block all 102 Arizona law-enforcement organizations from the military-surplus program, citing statewide issues with inventory control.

Unused military goods are distributed through the so-called 1033 Program operated by the Defense Logistics Agency's Law Enforcement Services Office. It is designed to help fight crime while saving American tax dollars. Nationwide, roughly 12,000 police organizations are able to procure excess military merchandise -- firearms, computers, helicopters, clothing and hundreds of other products -- at no charge. In fiscal 2011, they acquired nearly $500 million worth of items.

As a result of The Republic's investigation, the Defense Department suspended the distribution of surplus firearms and other combat gear while it examined and tightened inventory-control procedures. That suspension has since been lifted. It also is rewriting national regulations and contracts to clarify that loans of property are not allowed, but revisions have not been completed, said Michelle McCaskill, spokeswoman for the Defense Logistics Agency.

Agency e-mails obtained by the newspaper show that two days after the story was published, Babeu's office was directed to collect all military surplus that it had "loaned" out.

On May 23, Tom Gaupel, grants administrator for the Pinal County Sheriff's Office and assistant director of the state's military-surplus program, sent an e-mail to Babeu and other officials: "I was advised by the state coordinator that LESO (Law Enforcement Services Office) wanted me to take possession of all loaned equipment that is not on our inventory for now until they decide what to do. I have until 1 p.m. tomorrow to take possession of the equipment. ... I was hoping you could send deputies by the fire stations in your region to pick up the items."

That instruction was placed on hold one day later. Elias Johnson, a spokesman for Babeu, said in an e-mail that the agency reversed its decision "because they discovered the Arizona Republic had given them misleading information related to our program."

Asked to verify Johnson's statement, an agency spokeswoman wrote: "No, that is not the case. The ... correspondence was to halt the retrieval based on information that these were the only lifesaving vehicles to be used in remote locations. This halt was to determine if there were other alternative approaches to provide the vehicles and if not, to afford Pinal County time to find replacement vehicles."

In fact, orders to gather up all equipment were reissued, and McCaskill said the retrieval of property is still under way.

"Volunteer fire departments and private-ambulance companies should not have physical possession of the equipment," McCaskill added.

Since August 2010, the Sheriff's Office has requisitioned more than $7 million worth of free merchandise through the Defense Department program, which allows police organizations to obtain excess military goods only for immediate law-enforcement purposes.

Critics contend that Babeu, who dropped out of a congressional campaign earlier this year to seek re-election as sheriff, distributes surplus gear in Pinal County to gain political favor. They also note that the Sheriff's Office has an advantage in obtaining Defense Department goods because Gaupel is responsible for authorizing requisitions for all Arizona agencies.

McCaskill said Babeu's staff and Arizona program coordinator Matt Van Camp were wrong in asserting that there is "no prohibition" against loaning surplus gear and in claiming that the practice is common among police departments nationwide. She said Van Camp, a Payson police detective and appointee of Gov. Jan Brewer, has been informed that the practice is prohibited.

In an interview by e-mail last month, the Sheriff's Office for the first time asserted that it had received advance verbal authorization from the LESO to loan surplus items.

"While there is no regulatory prohibition, LESO did approve at the time for the loaning of equipment by our office to medical personnel to assist our deputies," Johnson said. "We have since been told by LESO they are making a change in their management decision, which is no fault of ours."

The agency has not responded to questions about whether it verbally authorized the loaning of equipment.

Threat of suspension

The Republic has requested numerous public records in connection with the 1033 Program from Pinal County, the state coordinator and the Defense Logistics Agency.

Public records obtained by The Republic since publication of the special report reveal other developments.

In a May 24 letter to Van Camp, Tina Aldrich, director of customer support, said Arizona had failed to verify its 2011 inventory of surplus gear, worth millions of dollars. She warned that the defense agency "intends to SUSPEND your state" and deny all future requests for surplus military gear unless certification was provided. All Arizona agencies enrolled in the program were simultaneously ordered to certify possession of items under penalty of perjury. McCaskill said the state complied with requirements and no suspension was imposed.

That same date, a leadership change occurred at the LESO headquarters. Craig Barrett, who had been supervisor, was replaced as acting supervisor by Sherry Low, the agency's division chief.

Another e-mail documented the Pentagon agency's move -- previously reported by The Republic -- to temporarily halt distribution of surplus firearms and other combat gear to police departments nationwide.

On May 25, LESO regional manager Carlos Torres announced "a renewed focus on property accountability," adding, "ALL WEAPONS TRANSACTIONS ARE SUSPENDED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE."

McCaskill said no accountability problems surfaced and procurements have resumed. Enhancing public safety

The Republic previously uncovered e-mails and documents indicating that Babeu was warehousing military goods for auction as part of a budget-boosting plan -- another practice strictly forbidden by the 1033 contract and Pentagon regulations.

Babeu's office last year procured more goods than all but 10 of the approximately 12,000 participating agencies nationwide. Sheriff's employees obtained so much surplus gear that they also requisitioned a diesel rig, multiple trailers and a forklift to haul merchandise. At one point, they invited officials from a private, for-profit company to look through the inventory and select products.

An agency spokesman previously said Babeu's office is being monitored to ensure that unused military items are not procured to supplement sheriff's finances. The clampdown on the Sheriff's Office came just months after the Defense Logistics Agency gave Babeu's office a clean audit report.

Babeu and his staff have criticized Republic coverage as misleading, inaccurate and biased.

The Sheriff's Office has obtained surplus firearms, night-vision goggles, vehicles, clothing and other items that are used by deputies and jailers. And spokesman Tim Gaffney argues that loaning gear to fire departments or a private-ambulance service enhances public safety at no cost to taxpayers.

In a county that sprawls more than 5,369 square miles, Gaffney says, the practice allows Humvees to be stationed in remote areas for quick response to floods, wildfires or search-and-rescue missions. Likewise, strategically located defibrillators are available in medical emergencies. Fiscal stewardship

In news releases, the Sheriff's Office has touted an award from the Defense Logistics Agency for "Superior Achievement in Fiscal Stewardship." The award was issued just weeks before the initial Republic article was published.

E-mails obtained via public-records request depict an effort by Babeu's staff to neutralize the story before it was published. Referring to the fiscal-stewardship honor, one Sheriff's Office spokesman wrote, "Hopefully, we can pre-empt (the) AZ Republic story."

"Yes," answered another employee. "That's what we're going for."

The newspaper sought details of the commendation for three months. Finally, agency spokeswoman McCaskill confirmed that the award was titled "Million Dollar Customer" and was given to all agencies that requisitioned more than $1 million in surplus goods -- a total of 52 nationwide.

Johnson, of the Sheriff's Office, said the award certificate includes language saying it was bestowed for "superior achievement in fiscal stewardship," based on cost savings from requisitions during 2011.

An agency spokeswoman said the award acknowledges only recipients' use of the program "and does not constitute an endorsement for anyone's use of the items obtained."

After the award was issued, Van Camp sent a letter to the director of the agency's Law Enforcement Services Office, warning of an imminent news article based on "false and misleading information."

"The Pinal County Sheriff's Office has exceptional leadership, values, morals and ethics," Van Camp concluded. "Their use of the 1033 Program is in the best interest of taxpayers."

Meanwhile, some volunteer fire chiefs in Pinal County -- recipients of the surplus military goods -- have conducted a letter-writing campaign to defend Babeu's use of the program.

Bud Paine, chief of Pinal Rural Fire Rescue, described news coverage as a "witch hunt" that may deprive rural areas of public-safety equipment. "It's a very real possibility that citizens and Sheriff's Office personnel could die because of this," he wrote.

"This is an absolute OUTRAGE!" agreed Steve Kerber, chief of the Regional Fire and Rescue Department of Pinal County, in another letter.

Sheriff's deputy murders unarmed man in Tempe.

Civilian witnesses says the Sheriff's deputy murdered an unarmed man.


Burglary suspect shot by deputy in Tempe dies

by Jim Walsh - Sept. 13, 2012 09:42 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

A Maricopa County sheriff's deputy shot and killed a burglary suspect Thursday along the canal that separates Tempe from Guadalupe.

The Sheriff's Office was assisting Tempe police, who were looking for suspects in a burglary in a nearby neighborhood earlier in the morning.

The man who was shot was identified late Thursday afternoon as Joel Smith, 19. Smith was pronounced dead after he was taken to Maricopa Medical Center for treatment.

Deputy Jeff Sprong, a Sheriff's Office spokesman, said Smith was armed with a knife.

Two women who live nearby in Guadalupe said they heard shots and ran outside to see what was happening. They said Smith appeared unarmed as he walked toward the deputy.

"You could tell he had nothing in his hands," said Sandra Reyes, who was worried that her great-grandchildren would be hit by the gunfire. "It looked like he was trying to surrender."

Sabrina Garcia told a similar version, saying, "He wasn't trying to attack the cops."

But Sprong said the women were mistaken and that the shooting was also witnessed by several Tempe police officers.

"The incident as explained to you by neighbors did not happen," Sprong wrote in an e-mail.

"He did threaten our deputy. Our deputy did shoot that individual," Sprong said. "This deputy obviously felt his life was in danger."

Sprong did not release the deputy's name but described the deputy as a "seasoned veteran," adding, "this isn't something he wanted to do."

The burglary occurred about 9 a.m., less than a mile from the shooting scene, along the South Branch Highline Canal, west of Hardy Drive and Guadalupe Road.

Ticketing San Jose's mayor could backfire on cops


Herhold: Ticketing San Jose's mayor could backfire on cops

By Scott Herhold sherhold@mercurynews.com

Posted: 09/13/2012 04:28:32 PM PDT

There's no other way to say this except to put it bluntly. Giving a ticket to San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed for not signaling in a right-hand turn lane -- and then posting a photo of the ticket online -- constitutes a public relations fiasco for the San Jose police.

You can understand why the cops are furious with Reed: Last June's Measure B took direct aim at their pensions. Now they're facing more erosion in their health benefits. If I were a cop, I'd feel betrayed.

That doesn't change the hard truth. Almost everything about this episode, from the questionable ticket to the decision to photograph it to seeing that it was posted on Twitter, smacks of petty vindictiveness. And that can only increase public distrust of the cops.

Let's begin with the ticket itself. Reed was ticketed at 7:35 a.m. on Tuesday at White and Mabury roads as he was on his way to work. The mayor was in a marked right-hand turn lane, or pocket, on southbound White. He could only turn right onto Mabury Road.

The cops I trust say that the officer who wrote the ticket, Kevin Kyono, did not target the mayor, and did not know initially whom he had stopped. I'm willing to believe this. From all accounts, the stop was handled professionally.

Trivial infraction

But the ticket is a trivial infraction, if it is an infraction at all. My authority, Mr. Roadshow, Gary Richards, checked with his traffic sources, who told him that a driver in a designated turn lane does not have to continuously use a turn signal unless it affects oncoming traffic or the cars behind.

To get a sense of comparison, I spent a half-hour Thursday at Pedro and Taylor streets, where cops leaving headquarters turn right onto Taylor to get to Highway 87.

In the marked right-hand turn lanes, less than a quarter of all drivers used their blinkers. None of the five marked police units I saw did so. Put another way, the cops are ticketing Reed for something they ignore themselves.

The questions about the ticket were dwarfed by the shenanigans that followed. Someone took a photo of the ticket -- not Kyono, I'm told -- and made sure it appeared on a police-friendly Twitter feed, where it was quickly snapped up by the media.

This is doubly stupid. In the first place, most people don't like the notion that their traffic violations will be broadcast. It's painful enough to pay the fine and deal with the insurance headaches.


In the second, it looks incredibly vindictive. People want to believe that cops treat everyone the same. Here is living, breathing proof that they do not -- at a time when serious crime is on the rise.

"It was a stupid thing to do,'' said Police Officers Association president Jim Unland. "I understand on a basic human emotions level how this happened. But it's a mistake.''

Police Chief Chris Moore has said he will investigate who took the photo and how it was leaked online. And I wish him well. Someone clearly needs discipline.

In a larger sense, however, the political damage has already been done. Whoever engineered this caper is probably moonlighting as Mitt Romney's foreign policy adviser. The residue has the same ugly quality.

Contact Scott Herhold at 408-275-0917 or sherhold@mercurynews.com.

ICE clerk accused of harboring migrants

Our government masters don't obey the laws they expect us to obey. They are hypocrites.

Personally I think that our borders should be open and anybody that wants to enter or leave America should be allowed to without getting permission from some government nanny.


ICE clerk accused of harboring migrants

by Daniel González - Sept. 13, 2012 10:16 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

A federal immigration-enforcement employee has been arrested and accused of using her home in Douglas to stash illegal immigrants smuggled across the border into the U.S.

Stella Peterson was arrested Aug. 31 after three illegal immigrants were found in her home on Eighth Street, according to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court.

She is charged with harboring illegal aliens for profit, according to court records.

Her son, Anthony Peterson, was also arrested.

Stella Peterson, born in 1961, is an investigative assistant assigned to Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations in Douglas, said Amber Cargile, a spokeswoman for the agency.

Her primary duties are providing clerical and administrative support to investigators, Cargile said.

"(ICE) takes all allegations of employee misconduct seriously and is fully cooperating with the ongoing investigation by the Southern Arizona Corruption Task Force," Cargile said in a written statement.

Peterson was placed on paid administrative leave after her arrest. She will remain on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation and criminal charges, Cargile said.

According to the complaint, Peterson said she knew that her son had been using the house to harbor and smuggle illegal immigrants. She admitted that illegal immigrants had been smuggled out of her home at least four times. She also admitted that she had provided material assistance to the illegal immigrants and on several occasions had received financial assistance from her son, the complaint says.

The three illegal immigrants told investigators that they paid a smuggler $2,000 to $3,000 to be smuggled into the United States and that Anthony Peterson charged them an additional $100 each to be driven from an alleyway to the stash house, the complaint said.

All three have agreed to serve as material witnesses, according to court documents.

Administration warns of 'destructive' budget cuts

From this article it sounds like President Obama is more loyal to the government bureaucrats that work for him, then the "taxpayers" he pretends to work for.


Administration warns of 'destructive' budget cuts

Associated Press

September 14, 2012, 12:29 p.m.

A new White House report issued Friday warns that $110 billion in across-the-board spending cuts at the start of the new year would be "deeply destructive" to the military and core government responsibilities like patrolling U.S. borders and air traffic control.

The report says the automatic cuts, mandated by the failure of last year's congressional deficit "supercommittee" to strike a budget deal, would require an across-the-board cut of 9 percent to most Pentagon programs and an 8 percent cut in many domestic programs. The process of automatic cuts is called sequestration, and the administration has no flexibility in how to distribute the cuts, other than to exempt military personnel and war-fighting accounts.

"Sequestration would be deeply destructive to national security, domestic investments and core government functions," the report says.

The cuts, combined with the expiration of Bush-era tax cuts at the end of the year, have been dubbed the "fiscal cliff." Economists warn that the one-two punch could drive the economy back into recession.

The across-the-board cuts were devised as part of last summer's budget and debt deal between President Barack Obama and Capitol Hill Republicans. They were intended to drive the supercommittee — evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans — to strike a compromise. But the panel deadlocked and the warring combatants have spent more time since then blaming each other for the looming cuts than seeking ways to avoid them.

The White House report continues in that vein, blasting House Republicans for an approach to avoiding the sequester that relies on further cuts to domestic programs while protecting upper-bracket taxpayers from higher rates proposed by the president.

In advance of the report's release, White House press secretary Jay Carney went on the offensive, blasting "the adamant refusal of Republicans to accept the fundamental principle that we ought to deal with our fiscal challenges in a balanced way."

In advance of the election, rival Democratic and GOP sides are dug in, unwilling to make the required compromises and unable to trust the other side. It's commonly assumed that there will be more serious efforts to forestall the cuts in a postelection lame duck session, though it may only be for a short time, to give the next Congress and whoever occupies the White House a chance to work out a longer-term solution.

If not, sharp cuts are on the way.

The report warns that the Pentagon faces cuts that "would result in a reduction in readiness of many nondeployed units, delays in investments in new equipment and facilities, cutbacks in equipment repairs, declines in military research and development efforts and reductions in base services for military families." [What rubbish! American spends more on it's military then all of the other countries of the world combined!!!]

On the domestic front, the White House warns of dire effects as well.

"The number of Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, Customs and Border Patrol agents, correctional officers and federal prosecutors would be slashed. [Sounds like a great time to end the drug war and fire all the cops, prosecutors, and prison guards that are used to arrest and imprison people for the victimless crime of pot smoking] The Federal Aviation Administration's ability to oversee and manage the nation's airspace and air traffic control would be reduced," the report says. "The Department of Agriculture's efforts to inspect food processing plants and prevent foodborne illnesses would be curtailed."

Many big programs, like Social Security, Medicaid, federal employee pensions and veterans' benefits and health care would be exempted. Medicare would be limited to an $11 billion, 2 percent cut in provider payments.

Also cut would be $14 million to treat emergency responders and others made ill as a result of the 9/11 attacks; $33 million for federal prosecution of violent crimes against women; and $2.5 billion for medical research and other work by the National Institutes of Health.

Other cuts would include $5 million from Obama's own office at the White House; $140 million from financial aid for college students; $216 million from efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons; $471 million from highway construction and $1 billion from aid for handicapped and children with other special needs.

The 394-page report, however, simply lists the dollar amount of the cuts but fails to address their real-world impact. For instance, it would cut the number of food inspectors and air traffic controllers on the job. But when asked on a conference call, a top White House official wouldn't say whether such cuts would require closing meatpacking plants or shutting down smaller airports.

"The report makes clear that sequestration would cause great disruptions across many vital services, from cancer research at NIH to food safety efforts at the Department of Agriculture, and public safety at the FBI to lowered military readiness," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the Budget Committee's top Democrat. "It's time to stop the political games and start working together to prevent the sequester, protect the economic recovery and get our fiscal house in order."

Zoning tyrants at work!!!!

Our government rulers tell us they are "public servants" but from this article it looks like these self proclaimed "public servants" are really "royal rulers" who want to micro-manage our lives, so their job of being firefighters, medical technicians and cops isn't too difficult.

We can live our lives any way we want as long as we don't make their job of being a "public servant" too difficult.

If Thomas Jefferson and George Washington were around today, I think they would tell us it's tyrants like these folks that made them write the Second Amendment.


Southeast Valley cities trying to squelch hoarding hazards

by Jackee Coe - Sept. 12, 2012 12:14 PM

The Repbulic | azcentral.com

Take a step through the front door. It isn't pretty.

You are greeted by towers of empty cans and bottles. Mounds of trash frame the entryway and fill the rooms. Stacks of paper, floor to ceiling, create a potentially deadly maze.

Welcome to the world of a hoarder, at home in a perilous, twisted environment.

The risk of fire is heightened in the home of a hoarder -- there's more fuel, easily combustible, that burns hotter and faster -- and people are dying in them, at least a half-dozen in Tempe alone.

Others could be in peril, too. First responders must navigate the mess during a fire or medical emergency.

Firefighters, medical technicians or police officers could be trapped in declining visibility, or they could be hit by falling debris as they search for or tend to those who might be inside.

Fire departments across the Southeast Valley are being called more frequently to these homes, so many that first responders now are undergoing special training for them.

"We attack them very aggressively," Phoenix Fire Department Capt. Scott McDonald said. "We try to use more resources to mitigate them quicker because it is much more work.

"We've had a lot of success with that."

When firefighters from the Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa and Phoenix fire departments respond to a home with excessive clutter, they put a "premise alert" on the address in their dispatch systems, fire officials said.

When future calls come in for the address, the alert warns firefighters that the home may be a hoarding house.

"When you enter a home that's on fire, you have reduced visibility, if no visibility conditions," said Gilbert Fire Department Capt. Mike Connor said. "Now, when you have basically stuff all over, it becomes an entrapment hazard. ... The potential to get lost or trapped in a fire greatly increases when you put hoarding conditions inside of a home."

Tempe Fire Inspector Mike Reichling said the department tracks suspected hoarder homes so firefighters know of them in advance.

Firefighters pass the address on to Tempe's code-enforcement officers if there is clutter in the front or back yards, and to Care 7, the city's counseling and social-services program, so officials can reach out to the residents and offer help cleaning up.

Hoarding has become such a hazard for firefighters that some departments in the Southeast Valley -- Gilbert and Tempe leading the way -- are offering training on battling blazes at homes filled with animals and debris.

In March 2010, the Arizona Hoarding Task Force was created to educate, prevent and rehabilitate those afflicted with residential hoarding, a behavior disorder.

The task force defines hoarding as "acquisition of, and failure to discard, a large number of possessions that appear to be useless or of limited value."

"We don't have the jurisdiction to tell them how they live but we have to suffer the consequences of their living behaviors," Reichling said. "We try to get them help through ... education, counseling, through Care 7. It's the only option we have."

Hoarders are incapable of throwing anything away, according to Kristen Scharlau, Care 7 program coordinator. It is similar to obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Hoarding disorder cannot be remedied quickly or easily because the person first has to acknowledge the problem and choose to deal with it, and then work through the issue that caused it, she said.

Scharlau says Care 7 wants to help people understand the dangers that excessive clutter creates for them and for first responders, and offer them help.

"Our approach is one of concern for the resident and giving them options," she said. "Options range from, 'You don't have to do anything' to 'We can have somebody out here to help you with this today.' You have to gently guide people and help them see what the best decision is (for them), but it's not our job to force them."

Chandler, Gilbert and Mesa also pass along the addresses of cluttered homes to their social-services departments.

Anita Mapes, social-services coordinator with the Mesa Fire Department, said the department avoids labeling someone whose home has extreme clutter as a "hoarder" because there are several other possible reasons, such as extra family members moving in or economic difficulties making them unable to afford a storage unit.

Gilbert Fire Marshal Dan DuBois said these can be delicate situations because the homes are private property and clutter often is a sensitive subject for people. The department simply wants to make it a safer environment for first responders and residents.

"We've been pretty fortunate," DuBois said. "Most people are pretty open and they realize they kind of do have an issue. They're trying to do something about it but they just have a hard time.

"So we work side-by-side with them to try to get it down to a manageable level." Hoarding resources and assessment

The International OCD Foundation Hoarding Center offers information, resources and questionnaires to determine if you or someone you know has a hoarding problem, including a five-question rating scale.

Information: www.ocfoundation.org/hoarding/ .

The Arizona Hoarding Task Force is dedicated to the education, prevention and rehabilitation of the complex behavioral disorder of residential hoarding. It is a statewide resource for those affected by hoarding, and for keeping the health, safety and dignity of the individual a priority.

Information: azhoarding.com/.

Republic reporter Laurie Merrill contributed to this report.

Government tyrants ban preaching on Bourbon Street in New Orleans

Government tyrants ban preaching on Bourbon Street in New Orleans

Even if I am an atheist I certainly think that Christians should have the same right of free speech that everybody else has.


Bourbon Street bans preachers at night

Sept. 14, 2012 11:24 AM

Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS -- Bare breasts, drunken revelry and almost anything else is tolerated along Bourbon Street, but after dark, the city is saying street preachers are forbidden.

Two weeks ago, a small group of street preachers were arrested during a gay pride festival, perhaps the first people to be booked under a nearly year-old ordinance against aggressive solicitation on Bourbon Street. Those who crafted the law say it's a public safety measure to help with crowd control and discourage con-artists, but the street preachers believe it's a violation of their First Amendment rights.

Specifically, the law bans loitering on Bourbon to spread "any social, political or religious message between the hours of sunset and sunrise."

"Have you ever been on Bourbon Street? There on Bourbon Street, you have nude pictures trying to entice people in. That would be my definition of aggressive solicitation," said street preacher Ruben Israel, a familiar sight on Bourbon during Mardi Gras and the gay Southern Decadence festival held over Labor Day.

So far, the city is standing by the ordinance, which applies only to Bourbon Street -- not the entire French Quarter.

"You can literally take one step off of Bourbon Street, and you can do what you do," said City Councilwoman Kristin Gisleson, who authored the October 2011 ordinance.

She said it was created in part to make sure people keep moving along the crowded, raunchy strip. The misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $500 fine.

John Hill, chairman of a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered rights group, said the preachers at Southern Decadence were a nuisance, but they have a right to free speech.

"My gosh, it's certainly a waste of their time. But they certainly have a right to say it," said Hill, the head of Forum For Equality Louisiana.

Not all gays agreed, though. Joe Traigle, who described himself as an equality activist, said those motivated by hate or raising money need to have boundaries.

"I think this is a boundary that is very, very, respectable," said Traigle, a former state revenue secretary.

With its rows of music clubs, restaurants, bars and strip clubs, Bourbon is the hub of tourist activity in the French Quarter. It's the seedy side of the city's oldest neighborhood, where more than 350 bars and other places selling alcoholic drinks are crammed into less than 1 square mile.

Bourbon is well known for flesh-flashing, street musicians who perform for tips and bars that trumpet potent drinks. These are acceptable to the tourist trade, but the hassling was not.

Some con-artists were "ticketing" people for "not having enough fun" and asking for a $20 donation, said attorney Robert Waters, owner of Rick's strip club on Bourbon and chairman of the Quarter group that sought the ordinance.

Waters said tourism data shows more than 80 percent of tourists -- 7 million out of a 9 million total visitors last year -- end up on Bourbon.

"If you're on the street where you have this enormous flow of humanity you have to keep moving and can't stop and create a roadblock," Waters said.

During the first two nights of Southern Decadence, Israel said he and his colleagues preached until midnight. But on Sept. 1, eight preachers were booked with violating the ordinance. A ninth was arrested for resisting an officer and other charges.

Israel said he wasn't arrested because officers picked out only preachers holding signs.

Although the ban was in effect during Mardi Gras, Israel said police weren't enforcing it. He said officers told him it would be that way for Southern Decadence as well.

"They told us the law wasn't going to happen. They said not to do this, not to do that. But they said nothing about this particular law," said Israel, who leads a group, Bible Believers, which he said has 72 chapters in the U.S.

Israel, of Los Angeles, has preached for 30 years at Mardi Gras, the Kentucky Derby and anywhere else he considers the activities sinful. He targets drunkards, homosexuality and Mormons.

His website describes Mardi Gras as "really one massive event for peeping toms with the street functioning as nothing more than a big window for perverts."

Police didn't respond to an AP request for information on whether the Southern Decadence arrests were the first under the ordinance, but the recent arrests have attracted the attention of free speech supporters.

An attorney for street preacher David Johnson, who was not part of Israel's group but often speaks along Bourbon Street, said he had written the City Council, telling them the ordinance was discriminatory.

"We're hoping that they (city officials) do the right thing without litigation. We certainly reminded the city of its constitutional obligations," said lawyer David French, of the Washington-based American Center for Law and Justice.

Rhode Island police chief convicted of stealing $714 from a stripper

This is kind of unusual!!! A cop actually gets punished for his crimes. On the other hand the piggy only got 6 months, which compared to the sentences us normal serfs would have received is a slap on the wrist!!!!

RI police boss gets prison in stripper theft case


RI police boss gets prison in stripper theft case

A Rhode Island police chief convicted of stealing $714 from a stripper's pocketbook following a chase has been sentenced to serve six months in prison.

Former North Providence police Col. John Whiting was sentenced Friday to five years in prison, but 4 1/2 years were suspended. The judge stayed the sentence while Whiting appeals.

Whiting was found guilty in July of larceny over $500 and solicitation to receive stolen goods for taking the money in August 2011. Prosecutors say he rifled through the woman's car and purse after she fled as the remnants of Hurricane Irene hit the region.

Prosecutors say he gave another officer the money, telling him to spend it in Las Vegas.

Whiting says he seized the money as evidence.

Whiting no longer works with the department.

Elderly Woman Dragged From Car by Texas Cop


Elderly Woman Dragged From Car by Texas Cop

By JENNIFER ABBEY | Good Morning America

Fri, Sep 14, 2012 3:22 PM EDT

A Texas police department is defending an officer who is seen on a dashcam video pulling a 77-year-old woman out of her car during a traffic stop.

Sgt. Gene Geheb, an officer from the Keene Police Department, pulled Lynn Bedford over Aug. 19 for driving 66 mph in a 50 mph zone. But their stop grew heated when Bedford refused to hand over her driver's license and insurance card, according to police reports and video from the officer's dashcam. The officer was also wearing a microphone and camera.

"The incident has been reviewed thoroughly by the Keene Police Department and the city of Keene administration," a statement from the Keene Police Department said. "All parties have concluded that Sgt. Geheb did not violate any state laws or department policies, and in fact was following department policy in regards to violators not providing information."

"Let's hurry up, I've got to go to the bathroom," Beford can be heard telling Geheb when he approached her SUV. "I have a bladder infection."

Geheb asked repeatedly for her driver's license and insurance.

"I'll give it to you in a minute," Bedford said.

"No you give it to me now or I'm going to take you to jail," the officer said, to which Bedford responded, "Well go ahead."

Geheb then opened the door to Bedford's SUV and began pulling on her arm.

"You want to play this way, come on," he said.

He then asked repeatedly for her to get out of the vehicle, but Bedford refused.

"You are hurting me," she said. "I'm going to report you hurting me. For hurting me and twisting my arm."

Geheb pulled her arm again and Bedford fell to the ground. The officer then arrested her.

Chief Rocky Alberti of the Keene Police Department arrived at the scene and after speacking to Geheb and Bedford, released the woman, ABC affiliate WFAA reported. Bedford received a citation for speeding and another for failing to provide identification.

Bedford's attorney, Clay Graham, believes Geheb went too far in pulling her from her SUV and could have handled the situation differently.

"She is very disappointed to learn that instead of being protected and served, she was basically antagonized and assaulted," Graham told WFAA.

"Get back in his squad car, follow her home; follow her to the nearest comfort room, use the restroom and then issue a citation, or whatever he had discretion to do," Graham added.

Graham told WFAA Bedford was bruised during the altercation and he plans to take the case to the Johnson County District Attorney's Office .

Cops using junk science to frame people for baby murders.

A few years back it was discovered that the cops were using junk science to frame people for arson. At least one person in Texas (Cameron Todd Willingham) was executed on death row after being framed by the Texas cops for the murder of his three child, where the cops used junk science to "prove" he committed the murder.

One of those arson cases was in Arizona and that guy (Ray Girdler Jr.) was convicted of murdering his wife and daugher. He was released in 1990 when it was discovered that "junk science" was used to frame him for murder.

Now it sounds like a good number of people have been framed by the cops for murdering baby children using another form "junk science" used to prove babies where shaken to death.

In the science world you publish your theory and then the rest of the scientific world attempts to prove or disprove your results. The system isn't perfect, but it works pretty well.

In the world of cops and prosecutors the prosecutors present their alleged "scientific evidence" to a jury and if the jury convicts the person the prosecutors usually use the the same dog and pony show to give to other juries which are trying other similar crimes.

However just because a jury convicts, does not mean the evidence present supports the verdict. All it means is the prosecutor and cops gave the jury a good enough dog and pony show to get them to convict.


New doubts in 'shaken baby' fatalities

Some in Arizona see convictions overturned

by Richard Ruelas - Sept. 15, 2012 10:53 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Drayton Witt kept insisting he had nothing to do with the death of his 4-month-old baby. He said it the night he brought the near-comatose infant into the emergency room on June 1, 2000. He said it during his sentencing, following his conviction on murdering the boy by shaking him. And he was still proclaiming his innocence as he started serving his 20-year sentence in 2002.

His lamentations didn't gain legal and medical weight until 2012. The Arizona Justice Project, a volunteer group of attorneys, filed a motion to toss out his murder conviction based on the evolving science around what was known as shaken-baby syndrome. The state did not file an argument in response. Witt was released on May 31, becoming the second Arizonan in the last two years to see his guilty verdict in a shaken-baby case erased.

Among those who helped secure Witt's freedom was the 97-year-old British pediatric neurosurgeon who, in 1971, first identified the trio of telltale symptoms that became accepted as proof that a baby had been violently shaken. Attorneys also secured a sworn statement from the medical examiner who originally ruled the baby died from being shaken. His revised conclusion was that the baby died of a disease.

Fifteen months earlier, in February 2011, a Buckeye man named Armando Castillo, 42, had his conviction overturned in the 1998 death of a toddler. Like Witt, Castillo maintained his innocence throughout. And, like Witt, Castillo would be imprisoned a long time before attorneys found medical evidence to back up his story.

In both cases, judges ruled that a jury would likely acquit each man after hearing the new medical understanding of the evidence.

The overturned convictions didn't erase the charges, just sent the cases back for a possible retrial. Prosecutors decided to keep pursuing murder charges in both cases. Castillo pleaded guilty to a reduced charge to avoid the risk of a retrial. Witt's murder trial is scheduled for 2013.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said that his office still believes that Witt was responsible for the death of the 4-month-old baby boy. "Obviously, we believed it the first time around," Montgomery said.

He said prosecutors now focus more on proving that a child was injured, not necessarily that he was shaken. Montgomery said speculation that suspected abused children died from diseases was just defense-attorney theories.

"I think we're still looking at cases where children were injured," Montgomery said. "How we prove that may change."

That's because a growing body of medical and legal experts, nationally and internationally, are casting doubt on what became known as shaken-baby syndrome. Pediatric neurologists and forensic pathologists say the long-held triad of symptoms -- bleeding on the brain, swelling of the brain and bleeding in the eyes -- thought to indicate a baby was violently and intentionally shaken could also be caused by a host of diseases, including infections.

DePaul University law professor Deborah Tuerkheimer, who wrote a 2009 study on the use of shaken-baby syndrome in courtrooms, said the easily spotted symptoms became not only a medical diagnosis but also a legal tool adopted quickly and used convincingly in courtrooms nationwide.

Physicians would testify that a shaken child would become unresponsive or go limp almost immediately after the abuse. So the last adult with the child would be the primary suspect. And the shaken-baby diagnosis also provided a motive: a frustrated caregiver looking to quiet a crying child.

Some shaken-baby cases included other signs of violent abuse, such as broken bones, bruises or fractures. But others, like in Witt's case, had no outward signs of injuries. Cases were built solely on the symptoms of shaken-baby syndrome.

"(The syndrome) did all of the work," Tuerkheimer said. Jurors would hear the experts testify with certainty and couple that with an "inclination to want to convict and hold someone responsible for such an awful outcome," she said.

In the last half of the 1990s, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office handled shaken-baby cases at the rate of two a week. During one stretch, it had a conviction rate, in non-fatal cases, of 84 percent.

Tuerkheimer said many of the defendants were convicted in emotional trials, while others took plea deals because they saw little chance of winning. She said there's no way to know whether the Witt and Castillo cases are isolated wrongful convictions or signs of a systemic flaw that will produce hundreds of reversals.

"No one has any sense of the numbers here," Tuerkheimer said.

Witt knows he is No. 2, the second shaken-baby conviction in Arizona to be vacated. But he figures the pattern that police and prosecutors followed in his case was repeated many more times.

"The system is flawed," he said. "I'm sure there's a lot of people like that."

* * *

Maria Holt's baby son, Steven, was just shy of being 5 months old on June 1, 2000. Dressed in a blue and white onesie, he slept in his car seat as Witt dropped Holt off for her evening shift as a waitress at the Bill Johnson's Big Apple restaurant in north Phoenix.

Witt, then 18, and Holt, then 20, had been boyfriend and girlfriend since they'd met two years before, but Steven had been conceived with another man during a breakup. Regardless, Witt saw the baby as his son; he was in the delivery room when Steven was born, and the child carried his last name. It was routine for Witt to care for Steven when Holt was at work; she often called home between tables to check in.

During one call around 8 or 9 that night, Witt told Holt he thought Steven might have had another seizure. His eyes appeared odd, Witt said, and he was fussy. Holt said to come get her at the restaurant and they would take the baby to the emergency room.

Steven had been a sickly baby, in and out of the hospital three times during his short life, including a six-day stay at Phoenix Children's Hospital just a month earlier when doctors couldn't get a bead on what was causing the baby's vomiting and seizures.

On this night, the boy stopped breathing during the 6-mile drive from the restaurant to Paradise Valley Hospital. Witt pulled over and climbed into the back seat to perform CPR while Holt took the wheel. At the hospital, doctors worked to get Steven breathing again. Then the baby's heart stopped. It took them about 30 minutes to stabilize him, after which he was flown to Phoenix Children's Hospital.

A doctor at Paradise Valley Hospital, in a report, diagnosed the cardiac arrest and said the baby was suffering from dehydration and possibly sepsis, a severe reaction to bacteria. He also expressed concern about brain injury caused by dehydration, too much acid in the blood, and not enough oxygen. There was no mention of suspected abuse.

Witt and Holt left Paradise Valley Hospital to drive to Phoenix Children's. Expecting another long hospital stay, they stopped by their home to pick up extra clothes.

* * *

The idea that violent shaking of infants could cause brain injury was first proposed in a medical-journal article in 1971. Not only did it gain acceptance in the medical community over the next two decades, it also seeped into popular culture. Child-abuse prevention groups started awareness campaigns; the phrase "shaken-baby syndrome" entered the Random House dictionary in 1996.

By 2001, the American Academy of Pediatrics produced a position paper on shaken-baby syndrome, saying that doctors should presume abuse in any baby under a year old who had head injuries absent obvious trauma, such as a car accident. The paper, published in the journal Pediatrics, said the "constellation" of injuries in a shaken baby could not result from an accidental trip or fall.

The article also offered a psychological profile of adults who shake a child. "Such shaking often results from tension and frustration generated by a baby's crying or irritability," the journal article said, "yet crying is not a legal justification for such violence." It went on to warn that shaken babies were often misdiagnosed, meaning doctors needed to be extremely vigilant to spot them.

After Steven arrived at Phoenix Children's Hospital, a doctor who evaluated him wrote that the baby had no bruising or skull deformities, but showed some bleeding in the eyes. The doctor also noted that "the infant is flaccid. There is no response to pain."

At 3 a.m., a pediatrician wrote on a progress report that the baby's symptoms "raise the possibility of non-accidental trauma."

Medical records show doctors knew their infant patient had been at the hospital a month before for projectile vomiting and flulike symptoms. But by 7 a.m., doctors felt sure of what they were looking at.

"The findings are most consistent with shaken baby, plus or minus hypoxia injury," read a doctor's progress report on the case. Hypoxia refers to an injury caused by lack of oxygen.

Steven's condition did not improve. At noon, doctors declared him brain dead. One wrote the following: "Mom is currently hugging the patient and we are planning to withdraw support and allow him to progress to cardiac death later on this afternoon. The police have been notified of the findings."

Steven was pronounced dead at 3:30 p.m. on June 2.

* * *

In a case where shaken-baby syndrome seems a possibility, events quickly and simultaneously move along parallel tracks: doctors working to save a baby, police working to find a suspect.

But once doctors and police believe they are dealing with a shaken-baby case, they often ignore evidence that might suggest a different reason for a baby's illness, said Christina Rubalcava, an attorney with the Arizona Justice Project.

"You're already locked in to what it is," said Rubalcava, an attorney with Osborn Maledon who volunteered her time on the Witt case. She says that in general, once a doctor sees the triad of symptoms, a call to child-welfare agencies and police becomes automatic. The belief in shaken-baby syndrome "is like gospel to them," she said.

But Kathy Coffman, a pediatrician at Phoenix Children's Hospital who specializes in abuse cases, denied that doctors automatically diagnose shaking and ignore disease or infections or other causes. "We go through all the factors to make sure we're not missing something," Coffman said.

Coffman, a pediatrician for 20 years, was not at Phoenix Children's Hospital when Steven was treated and would not comment specifically on this case. She now is the medical director of a specialized unit at the hospital, made up of doctors and social workers, that handles suspected cases of abuse. "I don't think anybody who works in this field, law enforcement or anybody, is cavalier about making these calls," she said.

"The absolute last thing I want to do," she said, "is have someone go to prison for something they didn't do."

In the early morning hours of June 2, Phoenix police interviewed Witt and Holt as they sat in a room near their child. The questions seemed accusatory from the start, Witt said, and he ended the interview. A worker with the state's child-protection agency, in a report written later that morning, would say officers described Witt as "short-tempered and volatile."

After Steven died and Witt and Holt were leaving the hospital to go home, they found their car missing; police had seized it from the parking lot to search it for possible evidence. Friends drove them home, where they found two officers, armed with a warrant, who had been searching the trailer since 11:30 a.m. -- 4 hours before Steven died -- to find evidence to build a case.

"One thing after another," Holt said. "It's heartbreaking."

The police left at 9:30 p.m. They had pulled up carpet samples and took some baby items. The next day, officers knocked on the door and asked to take Witt in for questioning.

"Let's go," Witt said. "I ain't got nothing to hide."

Witt is a man of few words and didn't offer many to police. When detectives questioned him about what happened to the baby, Witt replied that he didn't know and that they should ask the doctors.

Witt was booked into jail on charges of first-degree murder and child abuse. He would remain jailed until his trial.

Holt said the arrest was devastating. "I lose my son, and then I lose the man who's done nothing but love me and love my son," she said. She had support from her extended family but felt some friends slip away. When she visited Witt in jail, which was often, she worked to buoy his spirits: "You'll be home soon," she would say. "This is just a misunderstanding. We know the truth."

Witt had a public defender who tried to get a plea deal, but Witt refused to take it. "When they arrested me, I figured somewhere down the line they'd come to their senses and figure out the right stuff," Witt said. "But clearly they didn't."

The trial started in February 2002.

"Steven Witt lived only five months," the prosecutor, Dyanne Greer, told the jury in her opening statement, according to a transcript. "He died as the result of violent, severe shaking. ... He died at the hands of a person who was supposed to be the caretaker ... and that man, ladies and gentlemen, is Drayton Witt."

Holt was called to the stand; she would be the first witness. It would be her job to tell the couple's story: how they "just clicked" when they first met through a friend; how Holt's extremely protective dog immediately warmed up to Witt; how, when she became pregnant by another man, Witt treated the child as if he were his own. She also told the jury about the baby's history of illnesses and hospitalizations, which included a respiratory infection, pneumonia, seizures and vomiting, and how the medicine he was given only seemed to make him worse.

After Holt, four doctors and the medical examiner took the stand. Each testified that Steven's injuries were most likely caused by shaking. To the jury, the evidence would have seemed strong and specific: The boy had certain injuries that, in the absence of major trauma, were possible only if he had been shaken violently. And the narrow, medically accepted time frame of the onset of the baby's symptoms pointed to Witt.

Witt, seated at the defense table, still held out hope. But his defense attorney called only one expert to cast doubt on whether the injuries were caused by shaking. Karen Griest, a forensic pediatric pathologist and former New Mexico coroner, said that "shaken-baby syndrome is sort of a hot topic of debate in the medical community. It's sort of an evolving process to figure out what is going on."

In closing arguments, the prosecutor painted a picture for the jury of Witt shaking the child.

"The defendant knowingly grabbed Steven, shook him so violently that he started to seize," Greer said. "Drayton had to know that Steven was being violently injured while he was shaking him to death, inches in front of his face," she said.

Jurors found Witt guilty of second-degree murder. When it came time for Witt's sentencing in April 2002, he told the judge that although he had been an unruly teenager, he had turned his life around with Holt and Steven. But he was not apologetic.

"I am not sorry, for I didn't do no wrong," Witt said, according to a transcript of the hearing. "I came up here to tell you how much my son meant to me."

The judge sentenced him to 20 years.

* * *

Though Witt asked for protective custody in prison, he said the request was denied, and he was put into the general inmate population. Three years into his sentence, he was attacked in the recreation yard by three men with improvised knives. Witt tucked himself into a ball and tried to cover his head, but said he was stabbed some 70 times before it was over. Ten of those wounds went through one or the other of his hands.

Witt was flown to a Flagstaff hospital, where doctors did surgery to repair his hands. Holt was at work when she got the call from Witt's parents telling her of the attack. When she saw him in his hospital bed, she knew they had to get married.

"Just wanting to make sure that he knew that I was there," she said. "And no matter what, he knew that if it came to 2020, I might be old and gray, but that I would be the one standing by that gate (waiting) for him to come home."

The wedding was in September 2006. The groom wore orange, his "carrot suit," as Witt called it. Prison rules dictate what a bride may wear: A wedding dress must have a neckline above the collarbone and sleeves that cover the arms. And no orange; that color is reserved for inmates. In the end, Holt just bought a dress she liked -- it was maroon -- and pulled a T-shirt over it during the ceremony to cover enough bare skin.

Tradition endures even in the strangest of settings. Witt said he paced in his cell nervously before the ceremony, held just before visiting hours. He would get to wear his wedding band in prison, but the bride had to provide prison officials proof of purchase. Guards did allow the groom to kiss the bride.

"It's emotional, no matter what," Holt said.

At the time of the wedding, all of Witt's appeals had been denied and exhausted. It appeared he would be in prison until 2020.

* * *

In 2009, Deborah Tuerkheimer published her paper, "The Next Innocence Project: Shaken Baby Syndrome and the Criminal Courts" in the Washington University Law Review.

"In its classic formulation, SBS comes as close as one could imagine to a medical diagnosis of murder," Tuerkheimer wrote. "Prosecutors use it to prove the mechanism of death, the intent to harm, and the identity of the killer."

Also that year, the American Academy of Pediatrics revised its position paper on shaken-baby syndrome. It urged physicians to stop using that term and instead describe injuries as "abusive head trauma." The group said it urged adoption of the "less mechanistic term" to stop the focus on shaking. Instead, the journal said, doctors should look at a wider range of possible causes.

Witt's prison records show that he was a model inmate after his marriage. He had been moved into protective custody following his assault. While there, he met Armando Castillo, another man who had been convicted of shaking a child to death.

The Arizona Justice Project filed its motion in Castillo's case in April 2010; his conviction was vacated 10 months later. The project took up Drayton Witt's case in 2011, and the news was a blast of hope, Maria Witt said. "You get that light sparked back in your life."

Those working on Witt's case assembled a list of medical experts who reviewed Steven's autopsy photos and medical records. Most concluded that Steven's death was likely caused by a blockage in the vein that drained blood from his brain.

The attorneys also spotted a letter in the New York Times Magazine from Norman Guthkelch, the British pediatric neurosurgeon who first wrote about the symptoms that indicated a shaken baby. In the letter, a response to an article about the changing medical opinions about shaken-baby syndrome, Guthkelch defended his 1971 paper that concluded babies can get severe brain damage from shaking. The city under Guthkelch's name: Tucson.

The Project attorneys asked Guthkelch to look at the records in the case. He filed an affidavit in support of Witt, which marked his first legal involvement on behalf of a person trying to reverse a shaken-baby conviction.

"The death of Steven Witt is the type of case where a diagnosis of Shaken Baby Syndrome should not have been made," Guthkelch wrote. He said there were too many other possibilities that could explain the baby's death, and that while his process offers a possible explanation for some head injuries, any presumption that an injured child was shaken was a "distortion" of his theory.

Also key to the case was the affidavit of A.L. Mosley, the county medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Steven. Mosley was shown new analysis of his autopsy by doctors who spotted errors in his work. Most notably, doctors said, autopsy photos showed a blocked and swollen vein that was not noted in the report.

Mosley, in his affidavit, concluded that "if I were to testify today, I would state that I believe Steven's death was likely the result of a natural disease process, not (shaken-baby syndrome)."

Witt's attorneys filed the motion in February. The state did not file a response. The judge vacated Witt's conviction and ordered his release.

* * *

The newly cast scientific thought on shaken-baby syndrome is affecting other cases. A 2007 case against Lisa Randall, a day-care operator, originally filed as a death-penalty case, was tossed out before it reached trial. An expert hired by the prosecution in 2010 concluded that the child did not die from shaking as originally thought.

In 2009, prosecutors dropped murder charges against Craig Rettig in a shaken-baby case from 2004. The defendant's lawyer located experts who found that the baby died from striking his head on a coffee table, not from being shaken.

Also, in 2009, Keith Roberts asked that expert testimony about shaken-baby syndrome not be allowed in his trial on charges that he killed his infant son. The Maricopa County Attorney's Office argued that both sides should present their experts and leave it for the jury to decide. The judge agreed. Roberts took a plea offer the day before his trial was scheduled to begin. He was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Witt was released from custody wearing a jail-issued paper suit. He borrowed a cellphone from a passer-by to call his wife. It was 8 a.m. She had been told he wouldn't be released until noon. She broke speed-limit laws driving from the opposite end of town to get him.

Maria Witt said having her husband out of prison is validation.

"To finally have people believe in me," she said, "and be able to start the grieving process and what we missed out on, and be able to start on the life that we missed out on, is more precious than anything."

Drayton Witt, who is working on a construction crew, said he often feels like a modern-day Rip Van Winkle, awakening to find a world where so much is accomplished by cellular phone, or that there are self-checkout lanes at the grocery store.

Witt does not want to take a plea deal like his friend, Castillo, did. He hopes prosecutors drop the case before his trial next year.

He does not blame police or prosecutors for the decade he spent behind bars. He said officers and attorneys were just doing their job. And he always figured the truth would win out.

"You keep screaming," he said. "Eventually, someone will hear you."

Reach the reporter at richard.ruelas@arizonarepublic.com.


'Shaken baby' diagnosis disputed

by Richard Ruelas - Sept. 16, 2012 12:00 AM

The Republic | azcentral.com

On June 13, 1998, Armando Castillo, who had three children of his own, was caring for his girlfriend's 2-year-old while she was at work. The toddler, Steven Young, was asleep on the couch when his mother came home. Castillo left to go pick up his own boys and bring them back to swim in the apartment-complex pool.

While Castillo was gone, the mother, Clara Yates, noticed discharge coming from the toddler's nose and smelled vomit. When she picked him up, according to court records, he gasped for air and then went limp.

Based on the toddler's injuries, the doctor who examined him at St. Joseph's Hospital diagnosed him as having been shaken. Since the syndrome was believed to affect babies immediately, suspicion fell on the mother and Castillo, the last two people who were with the child. According to court records, police quickly ruled out the mother as a suspect and targeted Castillo.

The case followed a path similar to Drayton Witt's case: interviews with law enforcement, an arrest, charges, a trial in which prosecutors and medical experts explained the critical trio of shaken-baby symptoms that Steven Young had suffered in the critical time frame. The jury convicted Castillo of second-degree murder; the judge would sentence him to 20 years.

Years later, after a judge vacated his conviction, even Castillo was aware of how open-and-shut the evidence seemed. After hearing it in court, "I would have found myself guilty," he said.

According to a motion filed by Castillo's attorneys from the Arizona Justice Project, "Any attempt to challenge what was then the settled and accepted medical diagnosis ... would have been futile and unsupported at the time."

Though Castillo maintained his innocence, he agreed to plead guilty to another charge, felony manslaughter. He says he wanted to avoid the risk of another trial. He had hoped he would be sentenced to the time he had served, but the court said he owed more time. He was in custody for an additional two weeks and five days, for a total of about 121/2 years. Castillo was released Wednesday morning from a state prison in Phoenix.

While in prison, he fell in love with and married a family friend and paralegal who was convinced of his innocence. "It's finally over," he told his wife, Sheri, as they hugged outside the prison. -- Richard Ruelas

Scandals led to Arizona Air Guard firings

Wow! There are 8,000 unneeded government bureaucrats in the Arizona National Guard

Wow the Arizona National Guard has 8,000 employees!!! I didn't know Arizona needed a military force that large. As unusual I suspect they are a bunch of do nothing bureaucrats who could all be fired without causing the state of Arizona any problems.

But the main point of this article is many of those government bureaucrats in the Arizona National Guard are crooks who are screwing us citizens that pay their wages.


Scandals led to Arizona Air Guard firings

by Dennis Wagner - Sept. 15, 2012 10:53 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Five top commanders fired from Arizona's Air National Guard lost their jobs amid fallout from two scandals that were never made public by military officials: fraudulent expense filings totaling more than $1 million, and harassment of the state's only female fighter pilot, according to records obtained by The Arizona Republic and interviews of those involved.

In 2009, an Air Force audit alleged that more than two dozen Tucson officers submitted false claims to collect payments covering housing and other temporary-duty expenses. A year later, an F-16 pilot quit her full-time job after being subjected to abuse by fellow officers after becoming pregnant. Both events resulted in the dismissal of commanders by Brig. Gen. Michael Colangelo, who subsequently was accused of abusing his authority.

Colangelo, the head of the Arizona Air National Guard, was terminated last month in the wake of an Air Force inspector general's report that accused him of misconduct in relieving the four subordinates. Thursday was Colangelo's last day in the National Guard under a removal order issued by Maj. Gen. Hugo Salazar, the state's top military officer.

The National Guard is a state force that reports to the governor. Its roughly 8,000 employees provide border security, disaster response and other Arizona services. The Guard also works with the federal military, deploying soldiers and airmen for active duty as needed by the Pentagon.

Colangelo, with more than 34 years of service, oversaw about 2,500 Air Guard personnel statewide, including an F-16 Fighter Wing and MQ-1 Predator Group in Tucson, and the KC-135 Tanker Wing based in Phoenix. He previously headed Arizona's Joint Counter Narco-Terrorism Task Force, a law-enforcement coalition that gathers intelligence.

In a Republic interview, and in letters to Salazar and Gov. Jan Brewer, Colangelo disputed the inspector general's findings against him and said he was punished for sustaining the Air Force code and holding subordinates accountable for egregious misconduct.

Salazar said he, too, disagrees with the inspector general's conclusion that Colangelo abused his authority. He said he fired Colangelo not because of the investigative findings, but because angry e-mails Colangelo sent in the aftermath revealed a loss of trust between the commanders.

The dispute sent shock waves through an organization made up mostly of weekend service members. Numerous officers told The Republic the power struggles and scandals raise serious questions about ethical standards in the National Guard.

"The governor's staff needs to look into this and perhaps make some tough decisions about leadership," said retired Maj. Gen. Bill Van Dyke, a former head of the National Guard.

Air Force graft

The string of Air Guard firings began in late 2009 after investigators alleged fraud in the 214th Reconnaissance Group, which operates worldwide Predator drone flights out of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson. An audit completed in March found that Air Guard officers in Tucson unlawfully collected about $1.1 million in living expenses over several years.

Air Force policy allows airmen on temporary duty away from home to collect payments for housing, meals and other expenses. Auditors found a majority of the accounts scrutinized were invalid or contained "admitted fraudulent activity," in some cases authorized by the group commander. The report said more than two dozen airmen in Tucson used fictitious addresses and collected housing and per diem expenses even though they lived there. In one case, investigators found airmen had rented one another's homes so they could submit fraudulent receipts.

"This condition occurred due to a complete breakdown of management controls," auditors wrote. "The lack of effective procedures allowed 214th RG members to illegally exploit opportunities for personal gain without penalty."

Retired Lt. Col. Michael Kavanaugh, who was second in command of the group, said not one of those accused was interviewed by auditors. "I don't agree with the audit findings," Kavanaugh said. "Any realistic investigator would interview all people responsible."

Salazar said the officers' conduct fell under Air Force jurisdiction. Available records show at least one officer received an Article 15 -- the military punishment beneath a court martial. Those who profited from illicit expense checks were ordered to pay reimbursements of up to $90,000. Suspected criminal conduct was referred to the FBI and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, but no known prosecutions have occurred.

Col. Gregg Davies, the group commander, was terminated by Colangelo on Nov. 23, 2009. Davies could not be reached for comment.

One of Davies' aides, Col. Thomas "Buzz" Rempfer, complained up the chain of command about Davies' firing, promotion practices and other issues, ultimately seeking several inspector-general probes. He was dismissed in June 2011 and filed an appeal.

Salazar turned down the appeal. But the inspector general concluded that Rempfer's dismissal was retaliatory and a violation of military regulations that protect whistle-blowers. Rempfer nevertheless was not reinstated.

Rempfer and Davies could not be reached for comment.

Many federal agencies have inspector-general offices responsible for examining policies, practices and complaints. Their investigative findings cannot be appealed.

Pilot harassment

In September 2010, Colangelo learned about alleged harassment of Maj. Windy Hendrick, an F-16 pilot at the 162nd Fighter Wing in Tucson.

Colangelo said he interviewed Hendrick, a flight instructor who had become pregnant, and learned that she was planning to resign because of verbal abuse and mistreatment.

In a letter to Salazar, Colangelo reported that a supervisor admitted upbraiding Hendrick in front of fellow pilots, asking, "Do we now call you a (expletive) whore or a (expletive) rabbit?" Hendrick also reported that she had been denied a promotion without explanation, other than a rebuke for her absence because of pregnancy.

Immediately after speaking with Hendrick, Colangelo phoned Brig. Gen. Greg "Mongo" Stroud, commander of the fighter wing. Colangelo said he told Stroud of the allegations and ordered him to take no action until an inquiry could be conducted. "I explicitly told him NOT to engage Maj. Hendrick," Colangelo wrote to Salazar, "and to leave her alone for now."

Within hours, Stroud called Hendrick into his office to discuss her complaints and offer her a non-pilot position. In an interview, Stroud denied Colangelo directly ordered him not to confront Hendrick. Stroud said he had a "heart-to-heart" with the pilot and offered other jobs hoping to resolve the problem.

Colangelo fired Stroud on Sept. 20, 2010, after conferring with Salazar and military lawyers. Paul Forshey Jr., who retired as the Guard's top lawyer earlier this year, confirmed that statement. "Every officer that Colangelo fired, I gave him legal advice," said Forshey. "I was in the briefings where Salazar said, 'OK.' "

The reason for Stroud's dismissal was not made public. Instead, a retirement bash was held in Tucson with U.S. Sen. John McCain and then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords among the dignitaries attending.

According to Colangelo's letter appealing his dismissal to Salazar, Col. Randall Straka, the F-16 operations group commander, presented a retirement gift to Stroud. It was a .45-caliber pistol containing one live round that had a name engraved on it.

In correspondence with Salazar, Colangelo said Straka told the audience that real fighter pilots have a unique salute: They "give each other the middle finger and call each other 'bitch.' "

"This was a completely made-up story to well over 400 unit members and VIPs," Colangelo wrote. "More importantly, Col. Straka ended his comments at this formal military retirement ceremony by standing at attention, giving Brig. Gen. Stroud the middle finger and loudly saying, 'Bitch.' The pathetic translation in front of over 400 wing members was, '(Expletive) you, Maj. Hendrick.' "

Five days later, Colangelo advised Salazar that Hendrick was so distraught she had decided to resign: "She believes the name on the bullet was hers. She wanted me to know that she is quitting and she simply can't take it anymore."

As it turned out, Colangelo said, his name -- not Hendrick's -- was etched on the bullet. Straka, who could not be reached for comment, was fired for that incident on Jan. 4, 2011. According to Salazar, Straka "accepted responsibility for his conduct ... and admitted that what he did was unprofessional."

Stroud, now employed by a civilian defense contractor, said the Air Force Office of Special Investigations reviewed video from the retirement party and took no action. He said Colangelo set out to remove Air Guard leaders in Tucson and used the alleged harassment as a contrivance.

After retiring, Stroud wrote a widely disseminated e-mail decrying political correctness in the military. "I am tired of Fighter Pilots suffering at the hands of all the pencil-pushing REMFs (Rear-Echelon Mother [expletive] ) and ladder-climbing opportunists ... just because the Air Force is currently more interested in feelings and sexual orientation than fighting," he wrote. "Men and women can't flirt, hug, look at anyone sideways or drink beer out of a mermaid mug because of you 'victims' and your lawyers."

"Fighter Pilots, who are willing to die so that we can have low prices at gas pumps and shop at the mall, should be able to throw the wildest parties they can manage without one uptight biddy coming in and stopping it," the e-mail continued. " 'Victims' need to just throw some punches of their own whenever guys, gals, lesbos or homos get out of line ... I want an officer who knows how to whack some drunk in the balls when he grabs her tits, not call a press conference."

Stroud, a Top Gun pilot, said in an interview that his e-mail was an "ill-conceived" personal note written in anger. "I can tell you I regret having sent that," he added.

Colangelo and Salazar said the e-mail substantiated the decision to remove Stroud as wing commander.

Hendrick resigned from her full-time job as flight instructor days after the retirement ceremony. The veteran of 27 Middle East combat missions remains a National Guard member. She declined comment.

Findings disputed

Two fired commanders -- Stroud and Rempfer -- filed formal complaints against Colangelo with the Inspector General's Office at the Air Force, prompting a formal investigation. The Republic reviewed a redacted version of the final report, which concluded Colangelo abused his authority by dismissing the officers in an "arbitrary and capricious" manner.

Colangelo, in a letter to Salazar, assailed the 29-page document as biased and unprofessional. He noted that the investigator did not interview Salazar, who as Colangelo's boss supported each firing. He said the investigator omitted key information and got facts wrong.

For example, he noted, the inspector general's report does not reveal systemic fraud that led to Davies' termination, nor mention events at Stroud's retirement party.

"The IO (investigating officer) willfully fails to provide factual data that I used to make my command decisions. Rather, he offers his opinions about me as evidence," Colangelo wrote. "If he cites the facts, it would show clearly that I'm a core values commander."

The report alleges that, in 2010, Colangelo learned that another top commander had an affair with a subordinate more than a decade earlier but failed to fire him for that misconduct. It faulted Colangelo for allowing that brigadier general, who admitted an adulterous relationship with an enlistee, to remain in the Guard, then firing Stroud for "an issue of lesser regard."

Colangelo and Salazar agree that the investigator got a key fact wrong: Colangelo had no authority to fire the adulterous officer. Colangelo said he urged Salazar to terminate the officer, but his advice was not heeded. Salazar said he received no such recommendation.

In a letter to Salazar, Colangelo wrote: "Somehow you believe it makes sense that one of your general officers ... has an adulterous affair with an enlisted member of the 162nd FW (Fighter Wing), which is clear misconduct and conduct unbecoming of a senior commissioned officer, and you choose to retain him in late 2010. In fact, he is still a member of your primary staff."

In response to questions submitted by e-mail, Salazar said the alleged misconduct occurred nearly 15 years ago when the officer was not under his authority and did not hold a command position, so he took no action.

In mid-July, Colangelo sent a letter to Salazar complaining of betrayal and pleading with his boss, "Why won't you tell the truth?" A week later, Salazar sent a rebuttal letter to the Air Force secretary disputing the inspector general's findings and requesting reconsideration.

In that letter, Salazar acknowledged authorizing Colangelo to fire the Tucson officers and giving advance approval for those decisions. He said he did not believe Colangelo retaliated or abused authority. He disagreed with the claim that fraternization in the 1990s was more serious than sexual harassment in 2010.

"I do not understand why the IO (investigating officer) came to the conclusions he did," Salazar wrote, "but I also do not know who was interviewed or what supporting or additional information was available."

Salazar's only criticism of Colangelo concerned the accusatory tone used to suggest that the Air Force investigator conducted a bogus investigation to reach preordained conclusions.

The inspector general's response: "We find no compelling basis for reversing the investigation's conclusions."

Plea to governor

Personnel records supplied to The Republic show Salazar recommended a promotion for Colangelo last year, praising his disciplinary actions and calling him "my strongest, most experienced general officer."

Yet, after the inspector general's report was issued, Salazar reprimanded Colangelo for conduct that "caused the Secretary of the Air Force to challenge the integrity of this command and calls into question your professional judgment and potential for future service."

Salazar told The Republic he felt compelled to issue a reprimand because word of inspector-general sanctions spread throughout the Arizona National Guard and no disciplinary action had been taken. "To ignore these findings would have been extremely detrimental to good order and discipline," he added.

Inspector-general reports may not be appealed, but disciplinary actions may be challenged. By issuing a reprimand, Salazar said, he gave Colangelo a forum to challenge the findings against him.

But Colangelo said he was a scapegoat. In one letter to Salazar, he wrote, "You have handed them my head by issuing me a LOR (letter of reprimand) that you knew to be false."

Last month, Colangelo asked the governor to reinstate him. Brewer declined to intercede and did not respond to an interview request from The Republic.

Colangelo is now seeking assistance from Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz. A spokesman in the congressman's office declined to comment.

Kids found in car at bar; parents arrested on FELONY charges

Don't these pigs have any real criminals to hunt down????

You know real criminals that commit real crimes that hurt people? Not some dopey dumb ass parents who leave their kids for a few hours in their car so they can drink a few beers.

And wow the parents were not booked on some chickensh*t misdemeanor charges, but felony charges. This sounds like an outrageous waste of our police and court resources!


Kids found in car at bar; parents arrested

by Cecilia Chan - Sept. 15, 2012 03:00 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Maricopa County sheriff's deputies arrested the parents of two young children found alone in a car at a Cave Creek bar parking lot, officials reported Saturday.

Desiree David and Landrey Alex both of Mesa both were found to be intoxicated more than double the legal limit late Friday night, officials said.

Both were arrested and booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail on felony child abuse/endangerment charges, officials said.

The two young children, ages 3 and 4, were turned over to their grandmother after CPS was contacted.

A deputy on routine patrol discovered the children at 11:30 p.m. Friday sitting in the car and "it had appeared they had been there for some time," a press release said.

During the investigation, the deputy discovered the children arrived with their parents at the restaurant/bar about at 8:30 p.m. Around 11:00 p.m., the parents were believed to have taken their children back to the car so they could continue drinking, officials said.

The parents came out of the bar shortly after the deputy arrived on scene and were found to be highly intoxicated, officials said.

FBI agents bust man for another bomb plot they created!!!

I guess there are not any REAL terrorists in the USA. The only busts I remember posting on these listservers and on my web pages were bomb plots that the FBI created and suckered some Arab or Muslim guy into getting involved with.

I think the FBI should stop wasting their time and our tax dollars creating bomb plots and go out and hunt down some real criminals.


Chicago car bomb plot thwarted; man charged

by Jason Keyser - Sept. 15, 2012 03:42 PM

Associated Press

CHICAGO -- Undercover FBI agents arrested an 18-year-old American man who tried to detonate what he believed was a car bomb outside a downtown Chicago bar, federal prosecutors said Saturday.

Adel Daoud, a U.S. citizen from the Chicago suburb of Hillside, was arrested Friday night in an undercover operation in which agents pretending to be extremists provided him with a phony car bomb.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago announced the arrest Saturday and said the device was inert and that the public was never at risk.

Daoud is charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to damage and destroy a building with an explosive.

The FBI began monitoring him after he allegedly posted material online about violent jihad and the killing of Americans, federal prosecutors said.

In May, two undercover FBI employees contacted Daoud in response to the material and exchanged several electronic messages with him in which he expressed an interest in engaging in violent jihad in the United States or abroad, according to an affidavit.

Prosecutors say that after being introduced to an undercover FBI agent who claimed to be a terrorist living in New York, Daoud set about identifying 29 potential targets, including military recruiting centers, bars, malls and tourist attractions in Chicago.


FBI: Operation tracking Chicago teen took months

Sept. 16, 2012 01:59 PM

Associated Press

HILLSIDE, Ill. -- The investigation started months ago, when the FBI noticed an email message: A man in the Chicago suburbs was using an account to distribute chatter about violent jihad and the killing of Americans.

Two undercover agents reached out and began to talk to him online. In May, they introduced him to another agent who claimed to be a terrorist living in New York.

The operation ended Friday night, an affidavit describing it says, when the man was arrested and accused of trying to detonate what he believed was a car bomb outside of a Chicago bar. Prosecutors said an undercover agent gave Adel Daoud, a U.S. citizen from the Chicago suburb of Hillside, a phony car bomb and watched him press the trigger.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago, which announced the arrest Saturday, said the device was harmless and the public was never at risk. Daoud, 18, is due to make an appearance in federal court Monday morning on charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to damage and destroy a building with an explosive.

"We don't even know anything. We don't know that much. We know as little as you do," a woman who answered the phone at his home and identified herself as his sister, Hiba, said Saturday. "They're just accusations. ... We'd like to be left alone."

The FBI often uses similar tactics in counterterrorism investigations, deploying undercover agents to engage suspects in talk of terror plots and then provide fake explosive devices.

In 2010, a Lebanese immigrant took what he thought was a bomb and dropped it into a trash bin near Chicago's Wrigley Field. In a 2009 case, agents provided a Jordanian man with a fake truck bomb that he used to try to blow up a 60-story office tower in Dallas.

This operation unfolded much like the others. After Daoud began talking to the undercover agents, an affidavit says, the third agent and Daoud met six times in the suburb of Villa Park over the summer and exchanged messages. Daoud then set about identifying 29 potential targets, including military recruiting centers, bars, malls and tourist attractions in Chicago, the document said.

After he settled on a downtown bar, he conducted surveillance on it by using Google Street View and visiting the area in person to take photographs, the affidavit said. The document does not identify the bar, but says he told the agent it was also a concert venue by a liquor store.

"It's a bar, it's a liquor store, it's a concert. All in one bundle," the document quotes him as saying. It said he noted the bar would be filled with the "evilest people ... kuffars." Kuffar is the Arabic term for non-believer.

Shortly after 7 p.m. Friday, the affidavit said, Daoud met with the undercover agent in Villa Park and they drove to downtown Chicago, where the restaurants and bars were packed. They entered a parking lot where a Jeep Cherokee containing the phony bomb was parked, the document says.

Daoud drove the vehicle and parked it in front of the bar, then walked a block away and attempted to detonate the device by pressing a triggering mechanism, the affidavit says. He was then arrested.

A neighbor, Harry Pappas, said that a dozen unmarked cars drove up to the family's house on Friday night and several agents went inside. On Saturday, no one answered the door of the family's two-story home, which had a well-kept garden in the yard and a basketball hoop in the driveway. The house faces a Lutheran church; a Greek Orthodox church also is nearby.

Pappas said he was shocked by the arrest, calling Daoud's parents "wonderful" people.

Prosecutors said Daoud was offered several chances to change his mind and walk away from the plot.

The affidavit said Daoud was active in jihadist Internet forums and was accessing articles written by Anwar al-Awlaki, the U.S.-born radical cleric who became a key figure in the Yemen-based al-Qaida offshoot known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

Al-Awlaki was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen last year.

The FBI says he also was searching online for information on making bombs and reading "Inspire," the English-language online magazine published by Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

In his conversations with the undercover agent, Daoud explained his reasons for wanting to launch an attack, saying the United States was at war "with Islam and Muslims," the affidavit said.

According to the document, he said he was trying to recruit others and that he was confronted by leaders of his mosque who warned he should stop talking about jihad. The affidavit said Daoud's father also had been informed that Daoud was debating jihad and told Daoud to stop talking about it.

Daoud also told the agent he wanted an attack that would kill many people, the document said.

"I want something that's gonna make it in the news," he said, according to the affidavit. "I want to get to like, for me I want to get the most evil place, but I want to get a more populated place."

O.C. police union dispute brings scrutiny of law firm's tactics

Cops are more interested in shaking us down for money then protecting us!!!


O.C. police union dispute brings scrutiny of law firm's tactics

Law firm Lackie, Dammeier & McGill, which represents many police unions, has a reputation for aggressive attacks against city halls. One critic described its tactics as 'litigation terrorism.'

By Christopher Goffard, Los Angeles Times

September 16, 2012

One after another, people stepped before the Costa Mesa City Council to decry the blight and lawlessness on tiny Ford Road — prostitutes, thieves, home invaders. What the city needs, they pleaded, is more cops.

Councilman Jim Righeimer, a GOP activist and an architect of the city's controversial plan to radically slash its workforce, perceived the parade of concerned citizens as the pawns of a police union and its law firm, with its statewide reputation for bare-knuckle tactics.

"This City Council is being held hostage by the police union," Righeimer railed from his seat at the Aug. 21 meeting. "This council will not be shaken down."

The next afternoon, Righeimer assembled a team of city officials to tour Ford Road and recommend improvements. Afterward, he stopped at a Newport Boulevard pub, Skosh Monahan's, then climbed into his GMC Yukon and drove home.

Minutes later, a policeman arrived at his door to ask if he'd been drinking. Someone had called 911 to say Righeimer had stumbled out of the pub and swerved his car between lanes.

Righeimer passed the field sobriety test, furnished a $6.47 receipt for two Diet Cokes and wasted no time seizing the political moment. He was being set up, he announced at a press conference.

The 911 caller, it emerged, was a private investigator who worked for the police union's Upland-based law firm, Lackie, Dammeier & McGill. The firm insists it did not send the investigator to follow Righeimer, and the police union denies involvement.

The Orange County district attorney's office is now investigating the case, which has thrust Costa Mesa's protracted city-union battle back into the spotlight. It has also raised scrutiny of a law firm with vast influence in the state and a reputation for aggressive attacks against city halls.

In the wake of the Righeimer incident, several unions — including the Costa Mesa Police Officers' Assn. and the Los Angeles Police Protective League — have dropped the firm.

The firm advertises itself as "former cops defending current ones," and its website touts a long list of what it portrays as triumphant contract negotiations with cities on behalf of police-union clients. It has an advertised clientele of more than 120 public safety unions in the state.

Until recently, the website featured a detailed list of "tools" that police associations can employ to push decision-makers "into giving in to your position."

"The association should be like a quiet giant in the position of, 'Do as I ask and don't piss me off,'" the website read.

"Storm city council," the site suggested, to chastise uncooperative elected leaders. Campaign against them. Send attack mailers. Picket. Take out newspaper ads. Launch websites denouncing the city. Use "every high profile crime" to argue that more cops could have prevented it. Pay for billboards.

"Nothing seems to get more attention than a billboard entering the city limits which reads that crime is up and the City could care less about your safety," the site said.

The site suggested using "work slowdown" as a tactic, such as "asking for a backup unit on most calls," as well as "blue flu," a staged sick-out by police officers. The site also touted the effectiveness of tightly focused attacks.

"Focus on a city manager, councilperson, mayor or police chief and keep the pressure up until that person assures you his loyalty and then move on to the next victim," the site read.

The firm has since removed this section, saying it was "historical and educational material" misread as tactical advice.

However, critics of Lackie, Dammeier & McGill say the content represented an accurate description of its tactics.

"If you look at their playbook, we have been the victim of almost all of it," said Montclair City Manager Edward Starr, whose city is in its second year of contract negotiations with police. The city, he said, has spent more than $600,000 defending itself against the law firm.

Rob Pipersky, 59, a Montclair resident and longtime police officer there, said his union is in the grip of Dieter Dammeier and his firm: "They drink the Kool-Aid. They think this guy is the best guy in the world."

At a meeting earlier this year, Pipersky said, his union discussed launching a recall of city leaders who had resisted union demands.

"I ended up calling them carpetbaggers," Pipersky said. "I said, 'You're a bunch of outsiders coming into my town to overthrow my council and put your people in to give you what you want.'"

He said his union has since barred him from meetings.

Attorney Scott Grossberg said he was hired to defend the city of San Gabriel against what he describes as frivolous lawsuits filed by Dammeier.

In one case last year, Grossberg said, the firm filed a tort claim demanding parking fees its clients incurred during a failed mediation session. It was for $40.

"He doesn't write a letter," Grossberg said. "This is what he does. It's knee-jerk, over-the-top bullying. 'If you don't do things my way, you'll see me in court.'"

He described Dammeier's tactics as "litigation terrorism," though within the law.

Buena Park Councilman Fred Smith said when he became mayor in 2010, the city's police union — represented by Lackie, Dammeier & McGill — objected to his choice for police chief and his insistence on installing cameras in patrol cars.

As he left a party that December, he said, a Buena Park policeman pulled him over and gave him a sobriety test, which he passed.

Though he has no evidence linking the law firm to the incident, he said a police union leader called him later and said, "Have you had enough yet?"


In Costa Mesa, Righeimer, a real estate developer, has been the most visible proponent of the city's plan to save money by outsourcing hundreds of municipal jobs. The campaign has made Costa Mesa a model for the GOP and Righeimer an object of deep loathing by public employee unions.

In his 2010 campaign for City Council, Righeimer argued that soaring labor costs were pushing the city toward bankruptcy. He publicized the pay of Costa Mesa's police brass, many of them making more than $200,000.

The unions, in response, publicized Righeimer's personal financial woes, including liens and debts, which Righeimer says he's paid off.

The council, on which Righeimer's bloc enjoys a 4-1 majority, has outsourced the city's police helicopter program, replaced some sworn police officers with civilians and insisted on a less lucrative pension package for new officers.

At the pub on Aug. 22, Righeimer, who describes himself as an infrequent drinker, said he bought a Diet Coke for himself and one for fellow Councilman Steve Mensinger.

As Righeimer left the pub, a white car without license plates followed his Yukon down the block, surveillance video shows.

"I think he's DUI," private investigator Chris Lanzillo told a 911 dispatcher as he followed the councilman. "He's swerving all over the road. I don't know what's wrong with him."

Righeimer said he was given a field sobriety test in front of his three young daughters. He said his wife confronted Lanzillo, who had apparently parked down the block waiting for police to arrive, but he swerved around her and sped away.

Lanzillo says he was on another assignment that afternoon and wasn't tailing Righeimer.

Dammeier described Lanzillo as "one of many PIs we have used" and said that he was not employed or authorized to conduct surveillance on Righeimer.

"We will not apologize for 'aggressively' protecting those that put their lives on the line every day protecting all of us," the firm said in a statement. "We will continue to fight for our clients using every available legal tool at our disposal."

Righeimer said he is eager to know what the district attorney's investigation reveals about Lanzillo, a former Riverside police officer who claimed in a lawsuit he'd been fired for union activities. His former chief told the Riverside Press-Enterprise that Lanzillo was fired for doing "really bad things."


Staff writer Lauren Williams contributed to this report.

Mesa police terrorize low income neighborhoods

From this article it sounds like the Mesa police are selectively enforcing the law with an iron fist to terrorize these low income neighborhoods

It also sounds like the cops are selectively enforcing the messy yard laws to shake down poor people in this low income neighborhood.

These neighborhoods are on Allen and Doran streets and are called "Dblock" for Doran and "Felony Flats" for Allen. I am not sure if the cops made those names up to make them sounds worse then they actually are or if the people that live there use those name.


Federal program helps Mesa with crime-ridden neighborhood

by Jim Walsh - Sept. 16, 2012 10:30 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

After countless arrests but little change in a notorious neighborhood where two dead-end streets have often translated into dead-end lives, frustrated Mesa police were ready for a new strategy.

Allen and Doran streets define a harsh reality in central Mesa that is far removed from pleasant suburban neighborhoods only a few miles away. Their prison-oriented slang names describe what life has become: "Dblock" for Doran and "Felony Flats" for Allen.

Neither street can be seen from the nearest major intersection at Broadway Road and Stapley Drive. A series of fourplexes with asphalt front yards sit tucked behind the commercial clutter, where people mill about at night, fleeing their hot, small, swamp-cooled apartments.

But police say criminals have had few problems finding the low-income, highly transient neighborhood.

For decades, it has been known as a place where burglars and shoplifters come to trade stolen property for drugs, where prostitutes trade sex for drugs, where landlords know only the first names of tenants and accept payment in cash, where parents too often serve as poor role models for children who lost hope for a better life.

When the International Association of Chiefs of Police picked Mesa nearly a year ago as one of three cities to participate in a federally financed study, police, prosecutors, probation officers and community workers quickly embraced the project.

They picked Dblock as a real-life laboratory to test a holistic program aimed at fighting crime at its roots, realizing that arrests alone were inadequate for making long-lasting improvements in the neighborhood.

Although Dblock and Felony Flats are each just a block long, they generated 462 calls for service during 2011. The area has 274 multifamily units and about 1,200 residents.

Police considered the two streets their target area but quickly branched out after realizing they could not separate the two blocks from the surrounding area.

"We picked a difficult neighborhood," said Lt. Jeff Thompson, who supervised the project from its inception. "We picked a neighborhood that would not be a slam dunk. We wanted a good test for the program."

Working as a team, police, prosecutors and probation officers employed a community prosecution model that focused on what the neighborhood needed to improve, combining the bite of arrests with social programs to help teens find jobs and community-building to identity neighborhood leaders and to bolster pride.

The community prosecution approach used in Dblock may serve as a model for improved crime fighting in the Valley and across the country after the project is spotlighted later this month at the international police chiefs' conference in San Diego.

There are still struggles to address problems reaching back decades, but Mesa law-enforcement leaders, prosecutors and even some longtime residents believe they are steadily making headway. Already, Mesa police and the City Prosecutor's Office are making plans to target another neighborhood -- Guerrero Rotary Park -- in the fall, City Prosecutor Jon Eliason said.

Model for future?

The Maricopa County Adult Probation Office views the alliances formed in Mesa as a model for future projects throughout the Valley, with police, prosecutors and probation officers working together weekly, said Wes Shipley, supervisor of Adult Probation's East Valley office.

"It's the first time we've had all these agencies focused on one area at the same time," said Deputy County Attorney Jarom Harris, who prosecutes all felony cases in the neighborhood. Red tape has been replaced by strong working relationships among those assigned to the project, he said.

Although there have been more than 380 arrests during the yearlong project, the changes on Dblock and Felony Flats extend far beyond that.

"It's easy to arrest people. It's difficult to change things," said John FitzGerald, a Mesa police street-crimes detective who has coordinated the police focus on Dblock.

With guns strapped to their waists and legs, a small army of Mesa street-crimes detectives and an adult-probation officer descended on Dblock earlier this summer, one of dozens of strategic operations targeting drug houses and other crime hotbeds.

"You pretty much name it. I don't think we had a homicide, but we've had just about everything else," FitzGerald said.

FitzGerald said he senses a change in attitudes on Dblock, with residents more likely to call police and career criminals being forced to move because of a heavy police presence.

"I think one thing that will come out of this project is improved policing," he said, through better cooperation among police, prosecutors and probation officers.

Miriam Sanchez, a mother of three children primarily concerned about safety, said the heavy police presence didn't bother her because she stays inside at night with her kids.

"For me, it's better. They don't bother me, the cops doing that," she said.

Sanchez said she is encouraged that residents are turning out for community meetings and showing a commitment to improving the neighborhood. In the past, "I think people were afraid to speak," she said.

Sanchez said the neighborhood is improving but still has problems with drugs, vandalism and other issues. "We want a good neighborhood. We want better, not getting worse, for our kids," she said.

Highlights of the multifaceted project include:

City-code violations were used to target troublemakers responsible for dozens of calls for service, removing through evictions undesirable people considered magnets for crime. The teamwork has paid off in court, with defendants identified as troublemakers in the neighborhood getting harsher sentences than they otherwise would have received.

A fledgling employment program has provided training in job-interview skills for teenagers. Six teens from the area have been placed in jobs, two who received training found jobs on their own, and 80 were trained on how to find a job, said coordinator Ray Villa.

FitzGerald is working to make arrangements for children from the Dblock area to get rides to the Mesa Boys & Girls Club after school, providing them with a safe, fun environment.

Repeat offenders are being "trespassed" out of the neighborhood as a condition of probation. They can be arrested on sight by police for merely returning to Dblock.

Police say a culture of trust is building with residents who are seeing their neighborhood improve gradually. They note that many low-income but law-abiding residents are sick of crime and want a safer place to live for themselves and their children.

About 43 tons of trash was removed from yards during three neighborhood cleanup projects. Police and probation workers joined with probationers in the cleanup campaigns.

Once appliances, mattresses and other large items were removed, workers uncovered filth that included hypodermic needles and other dangerous items.

Community-building efforts included a series of meetings that identified leaders in the area and contacts. A public-safety newsletter was distributed to address topics like graffiti and curfew violations.

"I think we have made a lot of great relationships," said Lindsey Balinkie, a Mesa neighborhood-outreach coordinator. "It's kind of a foundation to move forward."

A success story

Officer Amanda Stamps, a beat cop who has worked the neighborhood for years, said she focuses much of her efforts urging teens to get an education, to work instead of steal for what they want and to shun bad influences.

Stamps counts Daniel Ruiz, an 18-year-old Mesa High School student, as a success story.

Ruiz didn't need to participate in the employment program because he already had a job at a nearby supermarket.

A promising left-handed pitcher who said he has been offered a scholarship by Arizona State University, Ruiz said he uses baseball to stay out of trouble but said his main motivation is making his family proud.

"I just want to finish school and be the first one in my family to go to college," Ruiz said. "I want to tell my kids I came from nothing and I went to college."

Ruiz said it is possible to grow up in a neighborhood like Dblock and succeed, but it takes discipline.

"It's just not me. I've seen what drugs and gang violence does to people around here," he said. "I don't want to be the guy at the hospital who OD'd on drugs."

Challenges remain

Calls for service from residents increased early in the program as police held neighborhood events and a Christmas toy drive to cultivate a better relationship with residents. The calls dropped in April and May, a sign of less crime, but increased slightly in June and remained about the same in July.

Although Thompson was hoping for a steeper decline, he said the relationships built among police, residents and other agencies will improve the effectiveness of crime fighting in the years ahead.

"It's still a success, it's still a win, as opposed to calls for service going up," he said.

Jackie Hinkle, an elder at the Mesa Church of Christ, said the neighborhood has been in decline for at least 20 years and the construction of too many rental units in too small of an area contributed to the problem.

"Forty years ago, it was a fairly good neighborhood. The housing was kept up real good. Everyone was proud of where they lived," he said.

But landlords failed to keep up their properties or to care about who lived there, said Hinkle, a contractor and a landlord himself in another part of town.

He said the project improved the church's outreach to the community.

"They have improved the neighborhood overall. It's whatever the church can do to help them," Hinkle said.

Rick Lisko, program manager for the police chiefs association's Intelligence-Led Community Policing Project, said he considers Mesa's project more challenging than the two others: a housing project in Newport News, Va., and a high-crime patrol district in St. Paul, Minn. He said the Dblock target area presents unique problems because there is no central organization in the neighborhood, there are language barriers and there is high turnover among residents.

"It's not a panacea, it's not a paradise, but they have made great strides," Lisko said. "They are ambitious about trying things that are very different and not afraid to fail."

Lisko plans to cite the experiences of Mesa, St. Paul and Newport News in a guidebook detailing effective methods of community policing at the police chiefs association's convention in San Diego.

"It's efficient, it's economical" to have multiple criminal-justice agencies working together to improve problem neighborhoods, he said. "This can be implemented anywhere in the country at no cost."

Glendale police lieutenant Rachael Bousman busted for DUI

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

When the police arrest us serfs for crimes they routinely demonize the people arrested.

But of course when the cops are arrested for crimes the police always give us the line that cops are innocent until proven guilty and never demonize their fellow criminals - "Sgt. Brent Coombs, a spokesman for the Glendale Police Department, said that he is unable to speak about the case until the investigation and any possible appeal have been exhausted"


Phoenix police: Glendale police officer accused in DUI

by Darby Fitzgerald and D.S. Woodfill - Sept. 17, 2012 02:54 PM

The Arizona Republic-12 News Breaking News Team

An off-duty Glendale police lieutenant was cited on suspicion of DUI early Friday morning in Phoenix, according to Phoenix police.

Lt. Rachael Bousman, 39, of the Glendale Police Department was cited and released by Phoenix police at 1:15 a.m., according to a press release from the Phoenix Police Department.

Phoenix police responded to a call about an impaired driver near Seventh Avenue and Bethany Home Road. A witness reported a car was stuck on a parking block, according to Phoenix police.

Bousman had blood drawn to determine her blood alcohol content, a standard procedure, according to police. That level was not immediately available.

Sgt. Brent Coombs, a spokesman for the Glendale Police Department, said that he is unable to speak about the case until the investigation and any possible appeal have been exhausted.

"All we can say ... right now, is to confirm that it did occur. It is DUI-related, and that an internal investigation is underway," Coombs said.

Bousman is a 14-year veteran of the Glendale Police Department.

She has been placed on administrative leave with pay.

Hundreds attend Guadalupe vigil for teenager murdered by deputy


Hundreds attend Guadalupe vigil for teenager killed by deputy

Posted: Monday, September 17, 2012 12:01 pm

Tim Vetscher, ABC15

Hundreds of people gathered Sunday night in Guadalupe to call for peace in the wake of the death of a teenager, shot and killed by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

Family members of 19-year-old Joel Smith tell ABC15 they've seen outrage in their community from people upset over his death.

Smith's aunt says she hopes Sunday's peaceful demonstration keeps people from taking action on the anger they're feeling.

Last Thursday morning, Tempe Police responded to an attempted burglary call near Priest and Guadalupe.

A deputy from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office also responded to the call and a spokesperson for MCSO claims Smith pulled a knife on the deputy.

The deputy says he felt threatened so he shot Smith.

Smith died a short time later at the hospital.

Sunday night, a crowd of several hundred people marched to the spot where Smith was shot Thursday morning.

Many of them carried candles with them and some wore shirts with Smith's picture on it.

Smith's aunt was asked by reporters if she felt her nephew's death was justified.

"It's hard to say because we don't have all the facts," said Maria Vacaneri. "Bottom line, he did something wrong and there should have been consequences. I do feel maybe overreaction by the police department was taken and other measures could have possibly been taken to prevent something like this."

At least one of the vigil's organizers told ABC15 Smith was simply putting his hands in the air to surrender when he was shot.

Sheriff's deputies maintain he had a knife and was threatening them.

Peoria policeman's demotion after Facebook post affirmed

If you ask me cops should have the same right to bitch about the President as everybody else.

What's next will cops be fired for saying the mayor, governor or city councilman stinks???


Peoria policeman's demotion after Facebook post affirmed

Sergeant posted Facebook image of teen holding bullet-riddled Obama T-shirt

by Sonu Munshi - Sept. 17, 2012 09:54 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

A Peoria police sergeant, demoted after his Facebook post caught national attention in January, has found no reprieve in his appeal.

An independent hearing officer upheld the demotion and suspension of Pat Shearer, whose posting showed a local teen holding a shot-up T-shirt bearing the likeness of President Barack Obama.

City leaders maintained his actions embarrassed the Police Department and brought disrepute to the city.

Shearer told The Republic that he regretted his action and agreed that discipline was warranted, but he called a demotion to the rank of officer excessive.

Hearing officer Cecil Patterson Jr. said Shearer knew about the department's social-media policy and "intentionally and knowingly" violated it to the discredit of the city, according to the written recommendation obtained by The Republic.

The department's social-media policy prohibits officers from using the agency's name, logo or any other identifying symbols online unless they get prior authorization for posts related to work.

Employees also are prohibited from posting anything that may discredit the department.

Patterson's recommendation to uphold Shearer's discipline will go before a city personnel board for the final decision.

The recommendation stated that Shearer "has not taken responsibility for his conduct or acknowledged the bad judgment which he exhibited here because he has refused ... and continues to refuse to acknowledge the damage which his actions caused (the city)."

Shearer said he was disappointed in the the finding.

He said his biggest regret is that this clouds his 25-year career with the city.

"I never wanted to offend anyone or bring discredit to the profession I love," he said. "I hope that before I retire, I will be able to overshadow this incident with something positive."

Shearer had clicked and posted that photo on his Facebook page after a weekend trip to a remote Arizona ranch.

His Facebook profile also showed him in uniform, in violation of department policy.

Shearer said he intends to speak before the personnel board, although no date has yet been scheduled.

"I feel like there's a lot of politics involved, and that's why it got as big as it did in the first place," he said.

Peoria spokesman Bo Larsen did not comment on the hearing officer's findings.

"We can't speak about it until it's presented to the board," he said.

Former Fiesta Bowl exec gets probation in campaign-finance scheme

Why does it seem that government crooks always get a slap on the wrist for their crimes???


Former Fiesta Bowl exec gets probation in campaign-finance scheme

by Craig Harris - Sept. 17, 2012 09:56 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Natalie Wisneski, the Fiesta Bowl's former chief operating officer, was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court to two years' probation after admitting her participation in an illegal campaign-finance scheme that enveloped in scandal one of college football's signature post-season events.

Wisneski, 48, pleaded guilty to a felony conspiracy charge.

Although she also was fined $100, she was spared jail time because she helped federal and state prosecutors build cases against other current and former Fiesta Bowl employees, including her brother.

Those employees also engaged in the illegal scheme in which they were reimbursed with bowl funds for making contributions to political campaigns.

Six current or former Fiesta Bowl employees, including ex-CEO John Junker, have pleaded guilty to state or federal crimes stemming from investigations that began after The Arizona Republic in December 2009 uncovered the campaign-contribution scheme.

Four of those defendants pleaded guilty this year to misdemeanors in state court. Each was sentenced to pay a fine of up to $4,600, and one ex-officer also was sentenced to 66 hours of community service.

Anthony Aguilar, Wisneski's brother and the bowl's director of community and corporate relations, was sentenced earlier this year to one year of supervised probation and ordered to pay a $4,500 fine.

Junker, who awaits sentencing in state and federal courts, has paid the bowl $62,500 in restitution.

Former bowl lobbyist John MacDonald recently pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for not properly disclosing spending on travel for lawmakers while currying their favor on behalf of the bowl. He is awaiting sentencing.

Wisneski made a brief statement in court Monday apologizing to the Fiesta Bowl and others for her mistakes. About 20 family members and friends attended.

"I am deeply burdened," Wisneski said, addressing U.S. District Judge James Teilborg. She conceded that laws were broken but that it was never her intention.

A Fiesta Bowl spokesman declined to comment.

Wisneski, by her own admission, was a central figure in the campaign-contribution plan that began in the early 2000s and lasted until around 2009.

She was responsible for reimbursing with bonuses certain employees who made personal financial contributions to local, state and federal candidates.

The bowl reimbursed 11 staffers for more than $40,000 in political donations.

The contributions were intended to gain favor with politicians in positions to pass legislation favorable to the Fiesta Bowl, or to stop bills that could harm the organization.

The bowl took state legislators on expensive out-of-town trips for the same purpose.

Both practices have ended.

Candidates who took contributions from bowl employees have said they were unaware of the illegal scheme.

The Maricopa County Attorney's Office examined the roles of politicians who took gifts from the bowl without properly reporting them, but it charged no one.

Wisneski, prior to Monday's sentencing, had pleaded guilty to one federal felony conspiracy charge as part of a plea agreement with federal prosecutors.

She faced up to a year in prison. The federal government in November 2011 indicted her on nine charges, seven of which were felonies.

Wisneski said during the hearing that she "owned up" to her mistakes and did not shy away from offering evidence that incriminated herself.

John Leonardo, U.S. attorney for Arizona, had stated in court filings that his office agreed to probation, citing her "full and continued cooperation" with law enforcement.

Wisneski did not face any state charges because she also has helped the Arizona Attorney General's Office in its investigation of related matters.

The state continues to investigate Gary Husk, a former lobbyist for the bowl who has maintained his innocence.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Galati in court Monday acknowledged that Wisneski cooperated with law enforcement and said that she posed no danger to the community. He also said Wisneski no longer has a substantial job with perks.

Wisneski, a Tempe native, dropped out of college and began working at the Fiesta Bowl in 1989 as an entry-level accounting clerk.

Three years later, she was promoted to assistant controller. Following a series of promotions, she was elevated in 2006 to chief operating officer, the second-highest position at the bowl.

She was forced to resign in March 2011, following the bowl's independent investigation. That probe uncovered widespread financial mismanagement under Wisneski's watch and confirmed The Republic's findings of a campaign-finance scheme.

Wisneski had a total compensation of $363,261 her last year on the job, bowl records show.

The bowl also paid for her golf-club membership, vehicle and cellphone allowances and reimbursement for home Internet, satellite radio and television.

In 2009, the bowl paid for her to attend a Hispanic businesswomen's retreat in Paris.

James Burke, Wisneski's attorney, said there was no doubt his client participated in the scheme, but he said Wisneski followed the orders of her boss, Junker.

Burke also said Wisneski received no financial benefit from the scheme.

Junker's attorney has agreed, saying previously that Junker was her supervisor and "was directly involved in the activities she engaged in." Junker's attorney could not be reached for comment Monday.

Burke added that Wisneski currently is unemployed and that she divorced last month.

"We are happy with probation. I don't know if she deserved a felony, but we are happy with the sentence," Burke said. "This will be with her for the rest of her life."

Chicago, you have become the Chevy Volt of education.

Sadly I think Bill DuLac is right on with his views on the American educational system.

Of course the same thing can be said about the police and fire unions.

The main difference is teaches don't lobby to put people in jail for victimless crimes so they can be paid big bucks to arrest them. That pretty much sums up the whole "drug war". It's a jobs program for overpaid and under worked cops paying them big bucks to arrest people for victimless "drug war crimes", like smoking or selling marijuana.


Chicago is much like feds

Sept. 18, 2012 12:00 AM

Similarities abound in the Chicago teachers strike and the way the federal government deals with problems ("Why have teachers lost our respect? Chicago," Doug MacEachern Quick Hit, Friday).

You take a one-time successful venture, muddy it up with unions, escalate obscene salaries, load up unsustainable benefit programs, guarantee permanent and lifelong employment, disregard dismal performance, reward participants with five-star retirement plans, toss in federal funds and then ignore the poorly equipped end product and you get a most predictable result.

Congratulations, Chicago, you have become the Chevy Volt of education.

-- Bill DuLac, Glendale

Vermont cop writes 973 bogus tickets to collect overtime???


Trooper accused of writing 973 tickets he never issued

Vermont state investigators say a former state police sergeant wrote 973 traffic tickets over a dozen years but never handed them out to anyone.

Vermont police officer Sgt. Jim Deeghan in Chittenden County wrote 973 bogus tickets to collect overtime Officials speculate that the phantom ticket-writing is part of an alleged scheme by former Vermont State Police sergeant Jim Deeghan to justify $139,000 in overtime that he never worked, the Burlington Free Press reports.

State police Detective Lt. Robert Cushing writes in a two-page affidavit filed Monday in criminal court in Burlington that an investigation shows that Deeghan received more than $50,000 alone in false overtime claims to attend bogus court appearances for the falsely manufactured tickets.

Free Press reporter Mike Donoghue writes that the probe began after the newspaper published a report showing Deeghan was paid $136,575 in 2011-12 â?? making him the sixth-highest-paid state employee. His pay included $58,325 in overtime, shift differential and other supplemental income.

The 22-year veteran officer, who resigned his post in July, has pleaded not guilty to two felony charges of making false claims for $3,023 for 63 hours he allegedly never worked.

Deeghan allegedly reported responding to two car crashes and a false alarm that never occurred.


Shumlin on Deeghan case: 'It is outrageous'

Governor says allegations of ticket fabrication, time-sheet padding appear isolated to one rogue trooper

5:28 PM, Sep 18, 2012

Written by Mike Donoghue

Free Press Staff Writer

SOUTH BURLINGTON — Gov. Peter Shumlin says he was incensed to learn about allegations that a state police patrol commander manufactured traffic tickets for at least 12 years to fatten the trooper’s paycheck and pension.

“Sure it is outrageous,” Shumlin said. “It is outrageous that, if the allegations are true, that any state employee, particularly one in law enforcement who has to uphold a higher standard than all of the rest of state government in order to enforce the law, would be breaking the law. I’ve been very clear about that. It’s outrageous.”

Vermont police officer Sgt. Jim Deeghan  in Chittenden County wrote 973 bogus tickets to collect overtime Shumlin was responding Tuesday to a Burlington Free Press report Monday that disclosed new allegations against former Sgt. Jim Deeghan: that he manufactured 973 tickets since 2000 in an apparent effort to inflate his overtime.

The governor said the two-month investigation into Deeghan’s alleged time-sheet padding appears to involve only one trooper and no other state police officers.

“We believe all the evidence suggests that this is an isolated incident of a single employee choosing to rip off the taxpayers of the state of Vermont,” Shumlin said. He was asked about the Deeghan case during a news conference Tuesday in South Burlington.

“We do not believe from anything that we have uncovered so far that there is any reason to believe that any other member of the hardworking state police” were involved, the governor added.

Shumlin said it is bothersome that the alleged falsification of tickets went back at least 12 years and covered at least three governors, multiple Public Safety commissioners and multiple Vermont State Police directors without any management in place to detect the alleged crimes.

“We are ... conducting, I hope, the most transparent investigation that we can without affecting our ability to prosecute successfully,” Shumlin said.

He declined to say what steps, if any, have been implemented to try to ensure the allegations do not surface again.

Contact Mike Donoghue at 660-1845 or mdonoghue@burlingtonfreepress.com. Follow Mike on Twitter at www.twitter.com/FreepsMikeD.


Prosecutor files lien against former trooper Deeghan's house

Written by Mike Donoghue

Free Press Staff Writer

COLCHESTER — ©2012 Burlington Free Press

Vermont authorities said they would try to collect any over-payments made to a veteran Vermont State Police patrol commander as part of an alleged time-card-padding scheme.

Vermont police officer Sgt. Jim Deeghan  in Chittenden County wrote 973 bogus tickets to collect overtime Chittenden County State’s Attorney T.J. Donovan, who is pursuing a criminal case against former Sgt. Jim Deeghan, took the first step in following through by filing a lien Tuesday on Deeghan’s home, which has been put up for sale.

Donovan, in seeking the lien, wrote to Colchester Town Clerk Karen Richard that the state is trying to protect its interests by filing the lien. Donovan wrote that if convicted, Deeghan could face a possible restitution order. The prosecutor noted that would include the payment “for money illegally obtained by Mr. Deeghan during his employment with the Department of Public Safety.”

Deeghan, who was unaware of the lien, declined comment Tuesday evening when reached by the Burlington Free Press. The lien puts the state in line to collect money should the house be sold. Potential buyers would find the state lien when doing a title search for the property.

Deeghan, the son of a FBI agent, has denied wrongdoing.

“The document speaks for itself,” Donovan said Tuesday evening, referring to the lien filing. “We found out last night that the house was up for sale. We are concerned about the proceeds of the sale. We want to make sure Vermont taxpayers are reimbursed for any of the alleged losses that are proven.”

Deeghan, who worked out of the Williston barracks, has pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of false claims centering on the two time sheets he filed for June. Those charges allege he claimed 63 overtime hours he never worked, and that he was paid $3,023 that he was not entitled to receive.

Deeghan remains under investigation with the focus on the last six years — the period in which Donovan would be able to file any additional criminal charges. State police have 20 officers assigned to the case and also are checking other members of the Williston barracks for the past six months and the remainder of the department for three months.

The 10-room house sits on 1.1 acres on Granite Creek Road and is listed for $379,500. The 2,788 square-foot home, built in 2005, has four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a stone patio and a porch, according to an online real estate listing.

Donovan also filed copies of the lien request with State Treasurer Beth Pearce, Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn and with Deeghan’s lawyer, Jim Murdoch. Attached to the lien request are certified copies of the two criminal charges filed against Deeghan.

Donovan and Vermont State Police Director Tom L’Esperance both vowed following Deeghan’s arraignment July 13 that they would make every effort to seek reimbursement to the state for any money that could be proved Deeghan was paid but was not entitled to receive.

Those vows were repeated later by Gov. Peter Shumlin and by Flynn as Vermont’s top cop.

Flynn also proposed holding all or part of Deeghan’s final paycheck of $15,845 until state police investigators could sort out whether any money was improperly paid in recent years to the 22-year veteran, a patrol commander in Chittenden County.

Flynn later was told the law does not allow for holding up payroll checks even when fraud is suspected.

The state finance office ended up overpaying Deeghan by $964. State Finance Director Jim Reardon wrote a letter to Deeghan asking for the return of the overpayment of $460. The state will be able to recover the additional amount in federal and state taxes, retirement, Social Security and Medicare, Reardon said.

Reardon said Tuesday night that the state had received the check for $460. Deeghan, in his only public comments since his arrest, told the Free Press on Aug. 9 that he would not fight the request now, but might later.

Deeghan was part of a summer-long Free Press review involving top salaries among state employees. Deeghan, who received $136,575 for the fiscal year ending June 30, ranked sixth among all state employees. His compensation included $58,325 in overtime and supplemental income.

Deeghan was relieved of duty July 9. He resigned the following day, and three days later was charged in criminal court.

Mesa police: Drug-deal texts on man's cellphone

Any attorney will tell you that if you are stopped by the police NEVER, NEVER give them permission to search you, your belonging or your car!!!!!

If this guy had taken that advice he probably would not have been arrested!!!!!


Mesa police: Drug-deal texts on man's cellphone

by Danielle Grobmeier - Sept. 18, 2012 03:25 PM

The Arizona Republic-12 News Breaking News Team

A 51-year-old man was arrested Monday in Mesa after police found methamphetamine in the car he was driving and text messages about drug-related transactions on his cellphone, according to a court document.

An officer pulled John Parsons over near Alma School Road and Southern Avenue after the officer noticed that one of the car's headlights was out, according to the document.

Police reported that Parsons told the officer that he was driving a friend's car.

When asked about his arrest history, Parsons told police he had been arrested several months before because of drugs, the document said.

Parsons agreed to let police search him but declined to let them search the vehicle because it was his friend's car, according to the document.

Though police found nothing on Parsons, a K-9 unit was brought to the car to search the outside of the vehicle for drugs, according to the document.

Police reported the service dog alerted to the odor of drugs, and a search of the car revealed a small bag of methamphetamine under the driver's seat.

Parsons told police the vehicle's owner did not use drugs and that he had used methamphetamine two weeks before, the document said.

Parsons agreed to let police look through his cellphone, which was found to contain texts about Parsons receiving $80 and a ring for drugs, according to the document.

Police reported finding $90 and a ring on Parson

Undercover prostitute sting nets 40 arrests

Don't these pigs have any real criminals to hunt down???

You know real criminals that hurt people like robbers, rapists and mugger! Not people that are involved in victimless crimes that don't hurt anybody like prostitution or using drugs. Source

Undercover prostitute sting nets 40 arrests

Authorities search adult ads online for investigative leads

by JJ Hensley - Sept. 18, 2012 10:07 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

A recently concluded undercover sting started simply enough: A Maricopa County sheriff's detective conducting surveillance on a drug operation noticed odd activities going on at a central Tempe motel.

Detectives commented on their radios about a woman they saw going from one room to another and, later, a man who stood outside several rooms and appeared to be "keeping time."

The operation soon transitioned from drug surveillance to a prostitution sting. Over the course of a month, detectives made nearly 40 arrests for prostitution-related crimes, drug possession and unlawful-weapon possession in an unincorporated area of the county tucked between Tempe and Guadalupe. The investigation led detectives to east Mesa and south Tempe before the operation was complete.

"It's not just the county island, we've done this in other hotels," Sheriff Joe Arpaio said. "I'm sure you're not going to stop this type of activity. Some media attention ... might act as a deterrent to others getting involved in this type of thing."

The operation had the familiar feel of any sting, with detectives making contact with suspects who came to a designated hotel. There, the suspects made contact with an undercover deputy, who secured an offer of sex for money and then used a code word as a signal for other deputies to storm the hotel room.

On a recent weeknight, a half-dozen detectives crowded into a Tempe hotel room to run the sting. Two deputies were assigned to contact women advertising as escorts on the Internet. Within 30 minutes, two women had agreed to spend an hour with the undercover detectives in exchange for $200.

Samantha Siqueiros, 24, was arrested soon after she arrived. She discussed the fetishes of some of her clients and noted that she had been in the hotel room before.

Detectives searching her purse found a medical-marijuana card, a switchblade and paperwork indicating she had attended a prostitution-diversion class earlier in the day in an effort to avoid prosecution for an August arrest in Phoenix.

"I like sex," Siqueiros said when detectives asked how she got involved in prostitution. "It's just easy."

In the ongoing battle between Valley police and prostitution rings, Internet sites advertising adult services have become a valuable tool for police. The sites feature photos of women typically wearing little more than lingerie offering body rubs, massages, escorts and companionship. Police use those ads to generate investigative leads.

Backpage.com, an online-classified site owned by alternative-media conglomerate Village Voice Media, whose holdings include the PhoenixNew Times, has garnered national attention for publishing such ads. In response, groups from around the country have protested and encouraged boycotts of businesses that advertise with the media company.

A law was passed in Washington state this spring that threatened five years in prison and a $10,000 fine for anyone who knowingly or indirectly displays content that offers sexual contact for something of value, if the content includes an image of a minor. A federal judge in July issued an injunction to prevent the law from taking effect.

Liz McDougall, an attorney representing Backpage.com, has said the company will not remove the site. It instead wants to create a framework for adult advertising that can be implemented throughout the industry. It would allow cooperation with local law-enforcement agencies to fight human trafficking while developing a comprehensive approach to adult-services advertisements. The concern, according to Backpage supporters, is that shutting down the site might drive the content to offshore networks outside the reach of American law-enforcement agencies.

McDougall said there is another reason Backpage does not intend to shut down: There is minimal likelihood that any of the women are advertising exclusively on its pages.

"When you talk with people who have used Backpage for prostitution, they will tell you you can't make a living with one Internet resource," she said. "I would be shocked if Backpage is their only source of advertising."

McDougall also said the company has worked with law-enforcement agencies to seek out women police have brought to their attention and provided information from other websites.

"We've found a victim on up to 13 other sites," she said.

Sheriff's deputies did not consult with Backpage's monitors for their operation, instead trolling the site for women who advertised services in an unincorporated area of Tempe near Baseline Road and Priest Drive. The area is outside the jurisdiction of surrounding police agencies and not subject to local zoning laws and restrictions.

The sheriff's deputies also did not identify any minors during the monthlong operation that took place near the Arizona Mills mall. But working through Backpage allowed detectives to contact the women, leading to 10 arrests on suspicion of prostitution, five for solicitation and three for allegedly receiving the earnings of a prostitute.

On the night they arrested Siqueiros, detectives arrested another woman and her alleged pimp, a 20-year-old who told deputies that he had picked up the woman, a friend, earlier in the day at a bus station and used his brother's Mercedes to drive her to appointments around the Valley.

The suspect, James King, was carrying a 9mm gun and ammunition in the car. The $960 he had in his wallet was from work at a local record studio, supplemented by gas money from his companion, he said.

The discovery was indicative of what detectives found in the operation, Arpaio said.

"It's not just prostitution," he said.

Southeast Valley police target drinking by minors, drivers

How do you spell revenue??? Shaking down people for DUI tickets

In addition to the revenue it pulls in for local government it's also a jobs program for cops, who would have to hunt down dangerous REAL criminals if they weren't raising revenue for their local city council members


Southeast Valley police target drinking by minors, drivers

As school begins, authorities warn of risks of alcohol

by Jackee Coe - Sept. 18, 2012 07:51 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Southeast Valley police are on the lookout for underage drinkers and for those who drink and drive near schools.

Wise decision-making about alcohol use is an annual back-to-school theme by law enforcement, and this year, southeast Valley police departments are partnering with the Governor's Office of Highway Safety to conduct saturation DUI patrols the first few weeks of school. Police are joining with Arizona State University, schools, businesses and community groups to reach students.

Officers are reminding minors to not drink and those who are at least 21 to drink in moderation in an effort to cut back on sexual assaults. They also are urging people to not get behind the wheel while intoxicated.

"It's really an opportunity for us to reach out to the students while we have their ear because we want them to be safe," Tempe police Lt. Kerby Rapp said. "We don't want the unfortunate incidents to happen, and every student that we can reach out to is potentially a crime that's not going to happen."

Officers want to make sure that returning community-college and ASU students are aware of "the realistic dangers out there" and that good decision making can enhance their personal safety, Tempe police Lt. Scott Smith said.

Drinking too much alcohol can lead to many issues, including DUI-related collisions and fatalities, criminal damage, disorderly conduct, fights and rapes, Chandler Detective Seth Tyler said.

Sexual assaults in the region have risen slightly in recent years, and police say the majority involve acquaintances and alcohol. Most take place between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. on weekends, when people are out with friends.

Tempe officers arrested a man recently who they believe was drunk and who they suspect attempted to rape a woman near Mill Avenue, police said. The woman had had a few drinks while out with friends but was not intoxicated, police say. She had been walking alone about 3 a.m. after being separated from her friends when the man is suspected of attacking her.

In Mesa, there have been incidents of people passing out after drinking too much alcohol and waking up while an assault was occurring, police Sgt. Tony Landato said.

Tempe school-resource Sgt. Josie Montenegro said resource officers have seen an increase in teen-dating violence, which is "a vicious cycle that can lead to sexual assaults." School-resource officers will be teaching classes on the subject.

Officers from ASU, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert and Mesa will conduct saturation patrols during the first few weeks of school.

Underage DUI citations have decreased in the southeast Valley since 2010. Chandler, which had the fewest, dropped from 18 in 2010 to 14 in 2011. Gilbert decreased from 447 to 307, and Mesa from 355 to 338 during the same time. Tempe was the only city with an increase, from 171 in 2010 to 253 in 2011.

Southeast Valley cities have several programs targeting underage drinking.

Tempe's social-host ordinance holds responsible those who provide alcohol to a minor.

The first offense carries a $250 fine that could be reduced if the person completes an education class. A second offense is a $1,000 fine, and third and subsequent offenses are $1,500 each.

No ID doesn't mean you will be arrested for minor crimes

Just because you don't have ID doesn't mean you will be arrested if you are stopped for committing a minor crime.

From this article is sounds like cops in Los Angeles sometimes ticket and release people who are stopped for minor crimes and don't have ID.

Also while having ID may prevent you from being arrested if you commit some minor crime or traffic violation you do not need to have ID to travel on foot in American.


L.A. County using cameras to combat wrongful jailings

By Robert Faturechi and Jack Leonard, Los Angeles Times

September 18, 2012, 7:14 p.m.

Along with his Taser, baton and handgun, Los Angeles County sheriff's Det. David Huelsen has a new tool for meting out justice: a point-and-shoot camera.

The Malibu traffic detective is among a handful of cops the Sheriff's Department has equipped with digital cameras as part of an effort to reduce the number of innocent people jailed after being mistaken for wanted criminals.

The reforms come after a Times investigation detailed how authorities in the county had incarcerated people mistaken for wanted criminals more than 1,480 times over five years. Some spent weeks behind bars before the errors were realized. In recent months, other law enforcement agencies around the country have also been confronted with the problem, but the L.A. County Sheriff's Department is emerging as one of the leaders in attempting to solve it.

Deputies are using the cameras to take photos of people who get cited but don't have ID. If a defendant misses court appearances and becomes the subject of an arrest warrant, officials hope having the photos on file will avoid cases of mistaken identity.

"I don't want to arrest someone for a crime they really didn't do," said Huelsen, a coordinator for the pilot program, while patrolling Pacific Coast Highway. "All the time you pull someone over, you run their name and it comes back with warrants and it's like 'Am I taking this guy in or not?' "

Sheriff's officials expect to give cameras to additional deputies in the future and said that having more photographs attached to outstanding warrants will allow judges to quickly realize when innocent people have been picked up on warrants not meant for them. Under the new program, deputies will also be required to fill out a form that compares the newly detained person's identifying features, such as the unique number assigned to a suspect's fingerprints, side by side with those of the person listed on the warrant. A supervisor will have to review the form when the suspect is booked.

The Times found that many victims of this problem had the misfortune of sharing names with criminals who have outstanding warrants. Others had had their identities stolen by wanted criminals.

By the end of next year, sheriff's officials said, they hope to provide deputies with devices that take the fingerprints of everyone cited and released in the field, a method of identification even more foolproof than photographs. They're also considering requesting legislation that would revamp the state's warrant database and wipe away warrants that are old and minor or meant for suspects who have since died.

"Everyone deserves to have this solved," said sheriff's Chief William McSweeney, who headed a task force that reviewed the problem. "Going to jail, if it's not you, is obviously disturbing."

Sheriff's officials point out that the number of mistaken identifications has been declining and the cases make up just a tiny fraction of the population inside L.A. County lockups, the largest jail system in the nation. They said that many victims were wrongly detained after they were arrested on a separate charge and authorities mistakenly linked them to an outstanding warrant.

Nevertheless, for those wrongly jailed, the experience can be harrowing.

In one case reported by The Times, a mechanic held for nine days in 1989 on a warrant meant for someone else was detained again 20 years later on the same warrant. He was jailed for more than a month the second time before the error was discovered. In another case, a former construction worker mistaken for a wanted drug offender said he was assaulted by inmates and ignored by guards.

The problem is by no means exclusive to Los Angeles County. In recent months, at least two other cities have struggled with the issue. In St. Louis, the mayor launched a task force to stop the incarceration of misidentified people after a news report there detailed several such cases, including two in which the individuals were stuck in jail for months. And in Denver, civil rights attorneys sued authorities, claiming more than 500 people had been wrongly jailed there over seven years, with some even pleading guilty to crimes they didn't commit before authorities realized their mistake. In one reported case, a black man was jailed for nine days on a sex crimes warrant meant for a white man.

Critics of the L.A. County Sheriff's Department welcomed the reforms but said more could be done.

Attorney Donald W. Cook, who has represented more than a dozen people mistakenly held on warrants, called the changes "a step in the right direction."

He said that for years the sheriff's lawyers maintained there was nothing wrong with the system. Cook complained that officials acted only after The Times highlighted the problem in December.

"Then there was a fallout, and [Sheriff Lee] Baca comes out and does an about-face," he said.

The Times found that the wrongful jailings occur because of breakdowns not just by sheriff's officials but by police in other jurisdictions who arrest the wrong people, and by the courts, which have issued warrants that did not precisely identify the right suspects.

Cook agreed, saying judges should take a more active role in solving the problem. In California, people who are arrested are assigned a unique nine-digit number matched to their fingerprints. The courts, he said, should make sure that those numbers are always included on warrants.

Judge Patricia Schnegg, who supervises the county's criminal courts, said there's nothing more they can do because court clerks already ask for the numbers and include them on warrants whenever they're available.

Through August of this year, sheriff's officials reported 120 instances of wrongly jailed people, just four fewer than during the same period last year.

While the reforms address some of the reasons why people are mistakenly arrested on warrants, they do little to deal with criticism from victims who say they made repeated pleas that went ignored by deputies. The Sheriff's Department has a stated policy to launch investigations when inmates protest that they've been misidentified, but records show that investigations were conducted for only a small fraction of the people who courts eventually ruled were not the right suspects.

McSweeney said jail deputies often overlook such complaints, adding that they are bombarded with inmates making false claims. The department, he said, decided instead to focus on trying to prevent the problem earlier in the process, before arrestees get to jail.

Phillip Reed, who was arrested in 2009 on a warrant meant for his brother, said he was pleased that the county was taking on the problem but believed the reforms came too late. He said his wrongful jailing caused him to fail background checks for two job opportunities.

"The damage is pretty much done for me," he said.



Police now enforcing Arizona's SB 1070 "Papers Please" law

The good thing about this article is it that it points out that you do not need ANY ID or identification to be on the streets.

You only need a drivers license or other ID when you are doing something that requires getting permission from the government, such as driving a vehicle on a government road, or fishing in a government lake.

Phoenix Police Chief Garcia

"The only person who has to have a driver's license in a vehicle is the driver."
Phoenix Police Chief Garcia also points out that the cops can only stop people when they have "reasonable suspicion". He forgot to say that they must either have "probable cause" or "reasonable suspicion" to stop people.

Of course most cops are crooked and will stop anybody they damn feel like for any damn reason they feel like, even if they don't have "probable cause" or "reasonable suspicion".

The bad thing is the police are starting to enforce Arizona's SB 1070 "papers please" law, which Hitler would be proud of.


Q&A with Phoenix Police Chief Garcia: Officers prepared to enforce SB 1070

by JJ Hensley - Sept. 19, 2012 09:41 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Phoenix Police Chief Daniel V. Garcia's message has been the same since he took the department's top job in May: The city's officers will treat residents with dignity and respect while engaging in "policing with a purpose." [I bet Hitlers said that they would treat Jews with dignity and respect too!!!]

The enforcement of a controversial provision of Senate Bill 1070 will not change that, Garcia said, noting that officers will still need reasonable suspicion to contact someone -- and even more reasonable suspicion to contact federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents regarding the status of someone they have detained.

That suspicion cannot be built on language or ethnicity alone, Garcia said. But those may be among a number of factors outlined in training offered to police throughout the state or in Garcia's department.

Question: What changes will enforcement of this provision of SB 1070 bring?

Answer: The Phoenix Police Department has been preparing for this since July 2010. We've prepared for this for a long, long time. I don't think you're going to see mass arrests or anything like that in the city of Phoenix. The fact is we're still going to treat people with dignity and respect.

Q: What is out there that would prevent an officer from overstepping the line?

A: Reasonable suspicion is the key on both categories (contacting suspects and contacting ICE). I break it up into two categories because the first thing you have to have is reasonable suspicion that a crime has occurred -- a "Part One" offense. In other words, burglary, robbery, theft, something in that category, or a violation of traffic code. You have to have that before you get to reasonable suspicion whether someone is here illegally or not, and I think people tend to forget that. They kind of brush it off, as if we're going to go straight to asking people about whether they're here (legally) or not, and that's not true.

Q: How could one of those traffic stops unfold?

A: You have to have reasonable suspicion in relation that a crime has occurred -- state law, county law, city law, federal law for that matter. We make a traffic stop, the individual does not have presumptive ID, a good driver's license, anything that signifies that he's documented and in our country (legally). At that point, if we have reasonable suspicion now -- based on other categories as well as facts and circumstances that lead us to believe that this individual is not here legally -- then, at that point we can address the other aspect of reasonable suspicion that they're here undocumented. At that point, we have an obligation to contact ICE and determine whether they're documented or not. Let me be clear about this: There's a big question as to how long we can detain somebody. To me, it's no longer than you would on a traffic stop on any other case. We'll make an attempt to contact ICE, and if we're successful, they'll give us the information we need. If not, we'll let the individual go. If we don't get an answer from ICE, we have no obligation but to let them go, or, in fact, if we contact ICE and they're not here illegally, then of course we're going to let them go. We are going to enforce the law, but we're going to do it with dignity and respect, and we're going to do it within the parameters of the law.

Q: What assurances can you offer to people out there who are afraid?

A: If you don't have a drivers license, don't drive. We're going to treat everybody with dignity and respect. We're going to follow our policing principles in relation to ensuring that we're policing with a purpose: Reasonable suspicion that a crime has occurred, reasonable suspicion that will lead us to someone (who) is here illegally.

Q: What about officers who want ID from passengers during traffic stops?

A: The only person who has to have a driver's license in a vehicle is the driver. That doesn't prevent an officer from having a conversation with other people in the car. That does not prohibit us from doing that. But again, those other individuals do not have to have any kind of identification on them whatsoever. As far as I'm concerned, he can't at that point -- he has no reasonable suspicion.

Q: What instruction or policy if any is there on officers asking passengers for identification and using that to develop reasonable suspicion that they are in the country illegally?

A: An officer has a responsibility first and foremost with a driver of the vehicle. They either have a license or they don't. Based on reasonable suspicion of a crime, you're going to make your stop.

The second thing is, you're going to have to have reasonable suspicion that this person is here illegally. That's all pertaining to the driver. There's nothing that prohibits a police officer from having a conversation with the other occupants of the car, and I'm just talking a general conversation. I'm not talking about an investigative process. Now, as far as pushing that and taking it to another level in relations to a process of investigating someone being here undocumented, no, I don't support that.

Q: The law seems to allow for an officer who feels strongly about this law and is zealous about enforcement to ask everyone for ID and develop reasonable suspicion from there.

A: If an officer makes a determination that the driver is here and is undocumented, that opens the door for the other people in the vehicle, as well. There is a process where we have a lot of people transporting illegal aliens. That would open that. If the driver is here legally, then I don't think you have a position to ask anyone anything else.

Q: You mentioned traffic enforcement. We've seen other agencies target areas where day laborers gather as a traffic-enforcement issue. Do you anticipate that?

A: In relation to that type of activity, I believe very strongly that, right now, anytime you make that kind of a traffic stop, you're not going to be dealing most of the time with someone who is undocumented. You're going to be dealing with someone who is trying to get day labor. The driver of that vehicle is probably going to have identification.

Q: What is the reaction from ICE these days?

A: Sometimes, we get a response, and sometimes, we're not able to make contact with them. I can't be held responsible for ICE's actions or inaction.

Q: What instructions have you given officers on situations where there's no state law violation and ICE won't respond?

A: If ICE refuses to respond, then they're free to let go whoever they stop.

Q: On stop length ... do you expect to have a way to gauge that? Are you looking at a way to see if there are officers who are excessively stopping people?

A: All our traffic stops have a start time and end time. It's the officer coming on the air designating a traffic stop, and we'll review those stops, as well.

Q: Do you anticipate doing more of those reviews?

A: We're always looking at it as part of our management and supervision of our officers.

Cops will use felony jaywalking to get your DNA sample

You can bet that with this new law EVERYONE stopped by the cops in California will be charge with a felony, even jaywalkers. Of course the felony charges will be dropped after the cops get their DNA samples.

And as the article points out in the last two paragraphs Lily Haskell had this happen to her when she was arrested for a trivial misdemeanor crime.


Lawyers grilled over California DNA sample law

State requires genetic material from anyone arrested for felony

by Paul Elias - Sept. 19, 2012 11:07 PM

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO - A California deputy attorney general, defending a state law requiring everyone arrested for a felony to provide a genetic sample, endured tough questioning Wednesday from members of an 11-judge federal appeals court panel.

At least three of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judges deciding the case made it clear they found the law distasteful, especially because it's the arresting officer and not judges or prosecutors who decide whether collecting a DNA sample is appropriate.

"It's that officer who is there and decides a felony has been committed" triggering the collection of a DNA sample, said Judge Harry Pregerson.

Judges Richard Paez and N. Randy Smith also were outspoken in their opposition. It will take the votes of six judges to invalidate the law.

Before its complete enactment in 2009, only those convicted of a felony or those arrested for sexual assault or murder were required to provide samples. The changes were passed by 62 percent of the electorate as Proposition 69.

Law enforcement officials say expanding DNA collection helps in solving cold cases.

"It's a vital to public safety," argued Deputy Attorney General Daniel Powell.

"It's my genetic material," said Lily Haskell, one of three people represented by the ACLU in challenging the law. "It's a serious invasion of my privacy. I don't want the government to hold on to my DNA."

Haskell was arrested at an anti-war protest in San Francisco after an officer accused her of violating an anti-lynching law by interfering with the arrest of another. At the jail, she was told she faced misdemeanor charges and would not be released for another two days if she refused to submit to a cheek swab. She complied and was never charged with a felony.

Pima County cops beat up man outside of bar.


5 Pima County officers arrested in assault outside bar

Sept. 20, 2012 12:00 AM

Associated Press

TUCSON -- Five Pima County Jail officers are under arrest in what authorities say was an unprovoked assault outside a downtown Tucson bar.

Police Sgt. Chris Widmer says the five sheriff's employees assigned to the Pima County Adult Detention Center all face two counts each of aggravated assault.

He says the assault began early Wednesday morning when a man attempt to lock his bicycle outside the Buffet Bar.

Widmer says in a release that one of the assailants punched the man, who then sought help.

He says when the victim returned with another man, they were confronted by the five suspect who began punching and kicking them.

At one point, a neighbor man and his 17-year-old son tried to intervene and they were attacked.

Widmer says one man was treated at a hospital for serious injuries.

He identified the suspects as 30-year-old John Hyatt, 24-year-old Matthew Garcia, 25-year-old Anthony Bonfiglio, 23-year-old Angel Castaneda, and 26-year-old Steven Haglund.

Mother busted for not supervising her children

More of the old "Don't these pigs have any real criminals to hunt down"


Mom sues police and neighbor after she is arrested for letting her kids play outside

By Claudine Zap | The Sideshow

Allowing your kids to play on scooters outside the house on a quiet street seems innocent--and common--enough. But a Texas mom was arrested and spent the night in jail after a neighbor complained that the children were unsupervised.

The parent, Tammy Cooper, disputes the "humiliating" charge, saying she was watching the kids, ages 6 and 9, the whole time from a lawn chair.

But police took the neighbor at her word, and a few hours after the call, arrested Cooper for child endangerment. Cooper told KPRC that the arresting officer told her, "We're here for you."

The accused parent spent the night behind bars. "Orange jump suit, in a cell, slammed the door, for 18 hours," she said.

Cooper is suing the La Porte Police Department, the officer, and the neighbor who made the call. In a statement, the police department said it was "confident of the known actions of the officers on the scene that evening." The neighbor had no comment.


Mom Goes To Jail For Letting Her Kids Play Outside

September 19, 2012

By Amy Alkon

Mom Goes To Jail For Letting Her Kids Play Outside

Jennifer Bauer writes at KPRC that a mom was arrested for child endangerment for letting her kids ride their motorized scooters around their cul de sac:

LA PORTE, Texas - A stay-at-home mom from La Porte has filed a lawsuit against the city's police department, an unknown officer and one of her neighbors.

Tammy Cooper said she was wrongly accused of endangering her children and was even forced to spend the night in jail, all because she let her kids play outside.

She said her children, ages 9 and 6, were riding their motorized scooters in the cul-de-sac where they live while she watched from a lawn chair in her front yard just a few feet away.

"I was out there the entire time," Cooper said. "I never left that lawn chair the entire time."

Cooper said a little while later, a La Porte police car pulled up in front of her home.

"I went out there to see what he was here for and he said, 'Ma'am, we're here for you.' I said, 'Oh really? Why?' He proceeded to tell me he had received a call from one of my neighbors that my kids were riding their scooters unsupervised.

Cooper said she was handcuffed, put in the back of a police car and forced to spend the night in jail.

"Orange jumpsuit, in a cell, slammed the door, for 18 hours," Cooper said.

The charges against her were eventually dropped but she still describes the ordeal as humiliating and said her children were even questioned by police and terrified.

There's video at the link.

The reporting in both the video and web piece is pretty lame, so just a guess on my part -- I'm wondering if the neighbor was bothered by noise from the scooters and made the complaint to get the noise down or get revenge.

via Glenn Reynolds


Texas mom sues police after arrest for allowing kids to play outside

Published: 11:30 AM 09/18/2012

Police arrested a Texas mom for allowing her children to play outside last week, after a neighbor reported to police that the kids were riding scooters around a cul de sac.

Tammy Cooper, who was arrested for child endangerment, insists she was watching her children from a lawn chair in her front yard.

Now, Cooper is suing the La Porte Police Department, the arresting officer and the neighbor who made the call.

A few hours after the neighbor called police, a La Porte policeman showed up to the scene of the “crime” to arrest Cooper.

“I went out there to see what he was here for and he said, ‘Ma’am, we’re here for you.’ I said, ‘Oh really? Why?’ He proceeded to tell me he had received a call from one of my neighbors that my kids were riding their scooters unsupervised”, Cooper told KRPC.

Cooper spent a night in jail before she was released.

“Orange jumpsuit, in a cell, slammed the door, for 18 hours,” Cooper recalled.

Charges were dropped but now Cooper is suing for damages, $7,000 in legal fees.

According to Cooper, the police also interrogated her children.

Cooper told KRPC, “My daughter had him [the police officer] around the leg saying, “Please, please don’t take my mom to jail. Please, she didn’t do anything wrong’”.

Cooper also reported that she now feels awkward around her neighbor. The neighbor had no comment.

Mug shot and arrest record extortions???

Here is an interesting article about a company that gets public records and photos of people that have been arrested, posts the public record and photos on the internet shaming the people, and then shakes the people down to pay a fee to get their photos and arrest record data removed from their web site.

Yes, it is certainly legal, but is it ethical?

And of course as the article says most of these arrests are not for real crimes that hurt people, but for victimless "drug war" crimes that didn't hurt anyone.

Mayor Phil Gordon's son gets a slap on the wrist for having sex while working as a police officer

I suspect if I was caught having sex while work I would be fired. Of course they have a different set of work ethics for police officers and government employees.

OK, if this was Monica and Bill they would probably say it wasn't sex. It was just a little old BJ!


Phoenix former mayor's son has officer certificate suspended

Sept. 20, 2012 06:24 PM

Associated Press

PHOENIX -- The son of former Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon has had his law enforcement certification suspended following accusations that he inappropriately touched a city employee while at work.

Television station KPHO reports (http://bit.ly/RF6JZ0) that Officer Jeff Gordon appeared before the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board on Wednesday.

The board voted to suspend his certification for six months.

Gordon told the board he was remorseful.

The former mayor also attended Wednesday's proceeding.

The employee claimed Gordon went too far when giving her a massage at work.

During an investigation, Gordon also admitted having sex while on duty.

Phoenix police say Gordon will be on an administrative assignment pending an appeal.


Phoenix cop and former mayor's son disciplined by board

Posted: Sep 20, 2012 2:57 PM Updated: Sep 20, 2012 3:02 PM

By Lindsey Reiser

PHOENIX (CBS5) Phoenix Police Officer Jeff Gordon has had his law enforcement certification suspended for six months. He's the son of former Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon and is accused of inappropriately touching a city of Phoenix employee at work.

The Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board held a vote Wednesday. The former mayor was there to watch.

The employee claimed Gordon went too far when giving her a massage at work. During the investigation Gordon also admitted to having sex while on duty.

"Between all the media press and the stress and the embarrassment that I've put upon my family, that alone has created the crystal clear thoughts I've got in my head regarding what's correct and what's incorrect and although I knew that this was incorrect to begin with, I can't tell you enough how remorseful I am that this has actually occurred," Gordon told the board.

Phoenix police said he will be on an administrative assignment pending an appeal.


Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon's Son, Police Officer Jeff Gordon, Receives Four-Day Suspension for Sexual Acts Performed On-Duty, in Uniform

By Monica Alonzo Fri., Aug. 26 2011 at 3:38 PM

Mayor Phil Gordon's son, a Phoenix cop, has been suspended for four days in sex-on-duty scandal ​Phoenix Police Officer Jeff Gordon, son of Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, received a four-day suspension after an internal affairs investigation revealed the junior Gordon was giving and getting oral sex and engaging in other sexual acts on several occasions in 2007 and 2010, while on duty.

Gordon admitted to some incidents, but there are other allegations that remain unresolved, according to police reports.

Among them are that on December 1, 2010, he had non-consensual sexual contact with a city employee. The allegation is that he slipped his hands under the blouse of a Phoenix employee and actually touched her breasts as he was giving her a massage -- while he was on-duty -- and also sent her two pornographic video texts.

Gordon told investigators that he and the female employee were talking about how stressed out she was, and he started giving her a massage. He admitted that his hands moved from her neck and shoulders to her "upper chest" around her "clavicles" because "he believes it feels good when done to him and would serve as a good de-stressor."

He denied grabbing her breasts, but he did tell detectives twice that he "possibly" might have touched the tops of her breasts while he was massaging her.

The female employee told a different version:

"And all of a sudden (Officer Gordon) just went down with his hands, uh, under my blouse and into the bra. And I said, 'Hey, hey, hey.' I said, 'Watch it there.'"

She told detectives that he immediately withdrew his hands and asked her, 'What am I watching?' as he pulled the neckline of her shirt away from her chest as if he was looking down her shirt.

After the incident, he called her and asked her if they were okay, and the woman told cops that he asked if she was going to report him and "mentioned not saying anything to his wife."

Jeff Gordon got married in September 2010, three months before the massaging incident.

Prior to that incident, in January 2010, Gordon had sent the employee two pornographic video texts. When he was questioned, he said that if he did send them, it was an accident.

He told investigators that "he may have intended to send the texts to a friend immediately above or below" the woman's contact information in his cell phone.

While cops were investigating the incident with the city employee, they came across information that indicated Gordon was also engaging in sexual activity in 2007 or 2008 with women who worked at an apartment complex on his beat.

He French-kissed one employee during that time in the rental office at the apartment complex while both were on-duty.

Gordon admitted to kissing her while he was on the job and in uniform, but said it only happen twice.

And, in what appears to be a third incident, Gordon was performing oral sex on another woman inside one of the apartment complex models, also while he was on-duty.

She also performed oral sex on Gordon, and even displayed a picture he sent her of his penis on her office computer at the apartment complex.

While that employee denied doing anything more than hugging Gordon, he admitted to investigators that the two "fooled around."

"He described the encounter as oral sex that he and [the woman] performed on each other while on-duty in a vacant apartment. Gordon said he touched her breasts, and made direct contact, by hand, with each others genitalia," according to the investigative report.

Gordon said he did send her a picture of his penis, but said he sent it to her personal e-mail account. He also said he took -- and sent -- the picture while he was off-duty. He couldn't remember if sending the photo of his business was his idea or the apartment employee's idea.

In another incident, while he was on-duty, he and the second apartment complex employee were French-kissing and touching each others' dirty bits inside a complex office.

Gordon met these women when he responded to a call for service at the apartment complex.

Another allegation that remains unresolved is that Gordon used the police department's computer database on two occassions in 2007 to get information about one of the women he was sexing while at work.

He says he did access her personal information, but only because she asked him to.

Gordon, who has been with the Phoenix Police Department for six years and is assigned to the Estrella Mountain Precinct, will serve his suspension from September 27 to September 30. He has 14 days to appeal his discipline.

Gordon was placed on paid administrative leave in January after allegations against him surfaced.

Phoenix police officials started investigating the junior Gordon in late December or early January. The investigation was delayed after Jeff Gordon -- who was installing hardwood floors at his home while on leave in April -- accidentally severed some of his fingers with a saw.

Sergeant Tommy Thompson, a police spokesman, said that Gordon's discipline was determined by a seven-member panel that includes members of the public, police officers, police commanders and an assistant police chief.

Yavapai County judge bans sale of synthetic drugs

I am a bit confused on how a judge can justify ordering a store to stop selling stuff which I assume is perfectly legal???

I am not fully sure of the status of "spice," ''K2" and "bath salts" in Arizona.

I thought that the DEA thugs in Washington D.C. were given the power by Congress to make any drug they wanted to illegal. And I thought that they recently made these drugs illegal at the Federal level.

I also thought that the twits in the Arizona legislator also recently made "spice," ''K2" and "bath salts" illegal in Arizona.

So I am not quite sure on why the judge did this? Or for that matter if "spice," ''K2" and "bath salts" are currently legal or illegal in Arizona.


Yavapai County judge bans sale of synthetic drugs

Sept. 19, 2012 03:00 PM

Associated Press

CAMP VERDE -- A judge is prohibiting 12 Yavapai County retailers from selling powdered synthetic drugs that authorities call dangerous to those using them and threatening to public safety personnel.

Orders signed by Superior Court Judge Michael Bluff bar the businesses from selling synthetic drugs are sold under such names as "spice," ''K2" and "bath salts."

The judge says the drugs can cause serious injury or even death to users and that responding medical and law enforcement personnel have been physically threatened.

Bluff previously issued a temporary restraining order at the request of County Attorney Sheila Polk against some of the retailers.

Bluff's latest orders signed Monday include a permanent injunction against nine businesses and a preliminary injunction against three others.

Some retailers previously agreed not to sell the synthetic drugs.

Ch*nga La Migra!!!

According to this article Illegal migrants across U.S. taking protests to defiant new level.

ACLU questions CIA's drone use


ACLU questions CIA's drone use

Case leaves judges questioning secretiveness

by Frederic J. Frommer - Sept. 20, 2012 10:49 PM

Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Federal appeals court judges Thursday questioned the CIA's efforts to block information on the use of unmanned drones to kill suspected terrorists.

A lower court federal judge sided with the CIA last year and dismissed a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union seeking records about the use of drones. In response to an ACLU Freedom of Information Act request, the CIA had refused to confirm or deny the existence of responsive records.

At a hearing on its appeal of the lower court ruling, the ACLU told the three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia that several high-ranking officials, from then-CIA Director Leon Panetta to President Barack Obama, have publicly acknowledged the use of drones.

The government has argued that such statements do not specifically refer to the CIA's involvement in drones.

But Judge Merrick Garland cited a speech this year by President Barack Obama's counterterrorism chief, John Brennan, in which Brennan said the government targets terrorists with drones, and uses the "full range" of the government's intelligence capabilities.

"Isn't that an official acknowledgment that the CIA is involved with the drone program?" asked Garland, an appointee of Democratic President Bill Clinton.

Stuart F. Delery, acting assistant attorney general, said Brennan's statement wasn't sufficient to tie the drone program to the CIA because the intelligence community has 17 agencies.

Garland said that the government was asking the court to say "the emperor has clothes, even when the emperor's boss" says the emperor doesn't have clothes.

Judge David Tatel, another Clinton appointee, asked about a 2010 comment that Panetta made to ABC News when he was CIA director: "... the more we continue to disrupt al-Qaida's operations, and we are engaged in the most aggressive operations in the history of the CIA in that part of the world, and the result is that we are disrupting their leadership."

Delery replied that Panetta did not specifically mention drones.

Delery pointed to a declaration made in June by John Bennett, director of the CIA's National Clandestine Service, in another FOIA case pending in New York City in which the ACLU is seeking information about the targeted killings of three U.S. citizens in Yemen.

In that declaration, Bennett said that in light of speeches made by senior U.S. officials on the subject of killing al-Qaida leaders, the CIA conducted a search for records responsive to the ACLU's request in the New York case.

"Based on that search, it has determined that it can now publicly acknowledge that it possesses records responsive to the ACLU's FOIA request," he said.

But he said the spy agency can't provide the number, nature or categorization of those records without disclosing information protected under FOIA exemptions.

Delery said that the question of whether the CIA has documents on drones is "not where we're drawing the line."

Bell Police Chief Randy Adams takes the Fifth 20 times

Defense lawyers will tell you to always take the 5th and never answer police questions.

It's good advice and cops follow it all the time when they get caught committing crimes.

Of course when every I have been stopped by the cops they tell me I can't take the Fifth and that they will put me in jail if I think I have Constitutional rights and don't have to answer their questions.


Former Bell police chief takes the Fifth 20 times

By Jeff Gottlieb, Los Angeles Times

September 21, 2012

Already one of California's highest paid public pensioners, former Bell Police Chief Randy Adams this week asked a state pension panel to double his retirement pay to reflect the huge salary he received during his brief stint as the top cop in the scandal-plagued city.

If Adams wins his case, which is being heard in Orange County, his pension would zoom to $510,000 a year, making him the second-highest-paid public pensioner in California.

On the witness stand Thursday, Adams invoked his 5th Amendment right to not incriminate himself 20 times, including when asked about his Bell salary, which was among the highest law enforcement paychecks in the nation.

The hearing was called to hear Adams' challenge of the California Public Employees' Retirement System's decision not to include his year as Bell chief when computing his pension.

He was asked if he was Bell's former police chief.

"Yes," he replied.

Did he send an email to a Bell city official saying, "I am looking forward to seeing you and taking all of Bell's money?!"

"On the advice of counsel I am going to exercise my right to remain silent," he replied.

For the next 14 minutes, the man who had been a lawman for nearly 40 years, a police chief in three cities, exercised his constitutional right against self-incrimination over and over, refusing to answer most questions.

When an attorney for CalPERS asked him to open a loose-leaf binder of exhibits, he declined. "There's no purpose in looking at it because I can't comment on it," he said.

The hearing Thursday was Adams' first time on the witness stand in a Bell-related matter. Though Adams is not among the eight former city leaders in Bell facing public corruption charges, attorneys in the criminal case have been eager to question him about his salary.

Adams made $457,000 a year as Bell's police chief, about double what he had made as chief in much-larger Glendale. An email exchange he had with Bell administrator Angela Spaccia is also cited in the criminal case.

In the exchange, Adams said: "I am looking forward to seeing you and taking all of Bell's money?!" Spaccia replied: "LOL ... well you can take your share of the pie ... just like us!!! We will all get fat together..."

Adams' current pension is about $240,000 a year, making him CalPERS' eighth highest public pensioner. If he gets credit for his year in Bell, his retirement pay balloons to $510,000, putting him behind only former Vernon official Bruce Malkenhorst.

CalPERS, the state's largest public pension administrator, argues that Adams' contract was not valid since the City Council never approved it, and that Adams engaged in pension spiking. In a letter to the city during negotiations, Adams wrote: "The big difference, and I certainly value this, is that what I earn in this position" will count toward his pension.

Adams says that Robert Rizzo, Bell's then-chief administrative officer, had authority to approve the contract and that CalPERS' decision to disqualify his Bell paycheck is political because of the well-chronicled Bell scandal. During negotiations for the chief's job with Bell, Adams wrote a letter saying that he needed to be paid more than his then-expected pension.

Adams' attorney, George McLean Adam, said the Bell job was "an offer too good to turn down."

The hearing is one of several fights Adams is engaged in over his year in Bell. He has sued the city, saying it owes him a year's severance. In turn, the city has sued him, saying it wants him to return his salary and a portion of the $20 million Bell estimates it lost in the corruption scandal.

Eight former Bell officials, including Rizzo and Spaccia, face charges of looting the city treasury.

Several Bell officials testified during the pension hearing that Rizzo kept Adams' contract hidden.

Adams' attorney seemed to argue that his client regretted taking the Bell job. "In hindsight," he said, "he picked the wrong place to go to work."


Arizona: No 'dreamer' driver's licenses

I suspect it is Arizona's right per the 10th Amendment to refuse to give people drivers license.

But even if that is constitutionally legal I still think that Arizona's government rulers are a bunch of racists if they make it illegal for these folks to get drivers licenses.


Arizona: No 'dreamer' driver's licenses

by Daniel González - Sept. 21, 2012 11:40 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

After conducting a review, the Arizona Department of Transportation has concluded that the state will not issue driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants granted work permits under President Barack Obama's deferred-action program.

The decision, confirmed Friday in response to an inquiry by The Arizona Republic, is consistent with Gov. Jan Brewer's Aug. 15 executive order telling state agencies to take steps to make sure undocumented immigrants who receive deferred action on deportation do not get driver's licenses or public benefits.

Many other states are grappling with the same issue.

The decision angered advocates who believe undocumented immigrants granted deferred action should be able to get driver's licenses.

Without them, the immigrants cannot legally drive to work or school.

The state may face a lawsuit from civil-rights groups who say preventing undocumented immigrants granted deferred action from getting driver's licenses violates state law.

At issue is whether federal employment-authorization documents, or work permits, that will be given to undocumented immigrants approved under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program should be accepted by the state to establish legal presence.

California has said the state will issue driver's licenses to such immigrants because it already accepts the documents for other reasons.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials, however, have repeatedly stated that undocumented immigrants granted deferred action do not have any legal status in the U.S.

The action simply allows them to stay temporarily in the U.S. for two years without the threat of deportation and to receive a work permit, they said.

In a written statement, Timothy Tait, a spokesman for the Arizona Department of Transportation, cited those statements to justify not issuing driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants granted work permits under the program. The agency already accepts work permits issued to undocumented immigrants for other reasons, including because they are crime victims or witnesses.

Arizona law requires that only people living in the country legally can be issued a driver's license or identification card, Tait said in the statement.

Because the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has said deferred action does not give undocumented immigrants legal status, their work permits "are insufficient for the purpose of obtaining an Arizona driver license or identification card," he said.

The state Motor Vehicle Division's website includes three types of employment-authorization documents on a list of primary documents already accepted to get driver's licenses. Those documents have federal identification numbers, including I-688A, I-688B and I-766.

After Brewer issued the executive order, ADOT officials said they would review that policy.

Since then, the MVD has added a sentence on its website next to the list of accepted work-authorization documents: "An employment authorization document resulting from a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival is not acceptable."

Tait's statement did not say how MVD officials will distinguish work permits granted to deferred-action recipients under Obama's program from those granted to undocumented immigrants for other reasons.

However, the work permits issued under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals will have a different number: I-765.

As many as 1.7 million undocumented immigrants, including 80,000 in Arizona, may be eligible for the deferred-action program. It targets undocumented immigrants under age 31 who were brought to the U.S. before the age of 16 and have lived continuously in this country for five years.

So far, more than 82,000 undocumented immigrants nationally have applied for deferred action, and 29 have been granted deferred-action status, according to theUSCIS.

Regina Jefferies, a Phoenix lawyer who chairs the Arizona chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said the state will likely face a lawsuit over the decision to deny driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants who receive work permits under the new program.

"Their policy violates state law. Very clearly, state law allows people with a work permit and a Social Security number to get a driver's license," she said. "They can be sued, and I am sure that is what will happen."

Carmen Cornejo of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition, an advocacy group that has been helping undocumented immigrants apply for deferred action, said not issuing driver's licenses to successful applicants unjustly creates hardship for them.

"It's a necessity for them to go to work," she said. "They cannot not drive to work. They cannot not drive to school.

"It puts them in danger with the authorities," who can ticket or arrest them, she said.

Last week, officials from Maricopa Community Colleges announced that undocumented immigrants granted deferred action would be able to use the work permits to receive in-state tuition.

Under state law, undocumented immigrants are normally barred from receiving in-state tuition and must pay more costly out-of-state tuition.

The Arizona Board of Regents is considering whether to allow undocumented immigrants granted deferred action to receive in-state tuition at the state's three universities.

Mesa cops didn't have a sherd of evidence to arrest cat molester

I suspect the English translation of this is the cops didn't have a shred of evidence that this guy committed a crime so the prosecutors didn't charge the guy with a crime.

Of course this is something police do frequently. When that think you are guilty a crime, but don't have any evidence they will make all kinds of charges against you, just to make you spend all kinds of money defending yourself and bailing yourself out of jail.


Prosecutors send Mesa cat mutilation case back to police for further review

Posted: Friday, September 21, 2012 2:12 pm

By Mike Sakal, Tribune

Maricopa County prosecutors have returned to police for further review a case involving a man connected to the disappearance and possible mutilation of dozens of cats from a Mesa neighborhood.

Mesa police recommended on Sept. 5 that Scott Andrew Graham, 39, be charged with three counts of animal cruelty and killing an animal without the owner’s permission, as well as theft. However, county prosecutors returned the case the next day, requesting more information and investigation before further reviewing the case for those charges. The charge of theft also was referred back to Mesa Municipal Court as it did not rise to the level of a felony, according to Jerry Cobb, spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.

Graham, who had no prior arrest record, was arrested earlier this month on suspicion of animal cruelty-related charges after video surveillance in the neighborhood surrounding the 900 block of West Natal where cats were disappearing, showed Graham tossing a cat out of his car window, according to police.

Once police tracked down Graham, they discovered cat hair and the smell of what was believed to be dead animal carcasses in his car. Graham also admitted to police that he had taken 40 cats from the area. He told police that he played with the cats, but did not harm them.

Mesa police could not be reached for comment as to when the case could be re-submitted for review.

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

Facts "magically change in Mesa cat mutilation case???

I wonder how the "facts" magically changed in this case???

I suspect that's the cops way of saying the prosecutor didn't buy the stuff they made up???


Suspect in Mesa cat mutilations, killings only faces theft charge

Posted: Monday, September 24, 2012 9:27 pm


Police plan on pursuing just one misdemeanor charge against a man they believe is connected to the disappearance of about 40 cats from a Mesa neighborhood, unless more evidence is developed in the future.

Mesa police arrested Scott Graham on Sept. 3 on suspicion of a felony count of mistreatment to animals and misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals and theft after reviewing video surveillance a resident of a neighborhood took of Graham taking a cat off the roof of a car and later throwing it out the window of his vehicle as he drove down the street, according to police.

At the time of Graham's arrest, testimony and evidence available to arresting officers supported the listed charges. However, subsequent investigation by detectives has developed information which brings some of the initial facts into question, and based upon this development, the decision was made to continue with only the theft charge, police said. [You mean the facts magically changed? I doubt it. The cops probably assumed he was guilty, and fortunately evidence later surfaced proving that he was innocent. Sadly our government masters tell us we are innocent until proven guilty, but it usually works out the other way, and we are assumed to be guilty till proven innocent]

Police had submitted the case to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office for review but prosecutors returned it to police for further investigation.

At this time, police said that investigative efforts have been exhausted. Any additional or future charges are unlikely until additional evidence is developed or received that would allow the investigation to continue.

Mixing unions and government sucks.

OK, I am not a big union fan and I think unions pretty much suck period.

I don't have a problem with unions, or people unionizing to make their lives better. But sadly most unions use violence to extort money out of their employers and that is wrong.

Sadly one of the biggest unions in government are the police unions, and while they pretend to protect us from criminals, the police unions frequently commit crimes force the government to pay them more money and give them better working conditions.


Patterson: Public unions need to learn government doesn't have infinite resources

Posted: Sunday, September 23, 2012 7:30 am

Guest commentary by Tom Patterson

In 1980 William Clay, the president of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers union (PATCO) told their convention that they must “learn the rules of the game,” which were “that you don’t put the interest of any other group ahead of your own.” They must be “selfish and pragmatic” and emphasize that “what’s good for the federal employees (is) good for the nation.”

PATCO ran into Ronald Reagan, a rare politician willing to stand up to them, and went out of business. But the nation’s air traffic controllers are still unionized and government employee unions are still operating under Mr. Clay’s rules of engagement. Their determination to put their own interests first mocks the notion of public servant. Instead of serving the public, they threaten our ability to fund anything other than their wishes.

In an earlier America, government unions were recognized as incompatible with public welfare. FDR in 1937 rejected government unionism, pointing out that collective bargaining “cannot be transported into the public service” because of “the very nature and purposes of government.” Roosevelt wasn’t breaking new ground here; he was expressing views widely held by American leaders including the founder of modern progressivism, Woodrow Wilson, and the resolutely conservative Calvin Coolidge.

How could we have been so foolish to reject the bright line between public and private sector unions these thinkers recognized? The difference is night and day. For starters, government workers own a monopoly on the services they provide, while private sector workers are unable to keep consumers hostage. They must be careful to keep their demands reasonable so that their employers aren’t priced out of the marketplace. For government workers there are no such boundaries. More is always better, there is no such thing as “enough.”

Government unions are also privileged in getting to pick the negotiators on the other side of the bargaining table. That’s why they’re the major financial supporters of the Democratic Party where teacher’s unions alone supply 20 percent of the national convention delegates. When both sides at the negotiating table are committed to union interests, the results are predictable. Government worker pay, once discounted for job security, is today about 30 percent higher than that earned by private sector workers for the same jobs.

Check out the Chicago Teachers Union to see the result of 50 years of public unionism. This is a union that delivers a terrible product for a financially failing entity. Just 20 percent of Chicago eighth-graders can pass a reading test, while fewer than 8 percent of 11th-graders are deemed college ready by a state test. Yet, Chicago teachers have received raises between 19 percent and 46 percent over the last five years, even though Chicago public schools are $3 billion in debt.

Chicago teachers average $76,000 in salary plus health benefits, pensions, paid days off and summer vacations. The taxpayers footing the bill earn an average of $47,000 annually. In the private sector, the company would be failing and employees would face job loss. The CTU’s response to this state of affairs? Demand even more pay raises and continue to resist efforts to weed out bad employees and provide higher-quality education.

Prior to this month’s strike, the union demanded a 30-percent pay raise over three years, but now seems willing to settle for only 16 percent. But the real point of contention was a plan by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to institute a teacher evaluation system, designed by teachers, that was more based on student academic progress.

Union president Karen Lewis put her foot down, insisting that 6,000 teachers could lose their jobs. The irony of admitting that so many teachers are non-performers was apparently lost on her. The union’s interest — job preservation for its members — must come first. And, in an election year, they mostly got their way.

FDR was right on this one. We never should have allowed collective bargaining to invade the public sphere and we shouldn’t have allowed public unions to amass huge war chests by extracting union dues from workers’ paychecks without their permission.

Now we’re in trouble. Bankruptcy, once unthinkable, is now a looming reality for local governments around the country unable to fund pension obligations to their retired workers. Even government doesn’t have infinite resources.

School requires drug test for 12 year old to play sports????

What part of the 4th and 5th Amendment don't these government tyrants understand????


Middle Schools Add a Team Rule: Get a Drug Test


Published: September 22, 2012

MILFORD, Pa. — As a 12-year-old seventh grader, Glenn and Kathy Kiederer’s older daughter wanted to play sports at Delaware Valley Middle School here. She also wanted to join the scrapbooking club.

One day she took home a permission slip. It said that to participate in the club or any school sport, she would have to consent to drug testing.

“They were asking a 12-year-old to pee in a cup,” Kathy Kiederer said. “I have a problem with that. They’re violating her right to privacy over scrapbooking? Sports?”

Olympic athletes must submit urine samples to prove they are not doping. The same is true for Tour de France cyclists, N.F.L. players, college athletes and even some high school athletes. Now, children in grades as low as middle school are being told that providing a urine sample is required to play sports or participate in extracurricular activities like drama and choir.

Such drug testing at the middle school level is confounding students and stirring objections from parents and proponents of civil liberties.

The Kiederers, whose two daughters are now in high school, are plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the Delaware Valley School District, with the daughters identified only by their first initials, A. and M. The parents said that mandatory drug testing was unnecessary and that it infringed on their daughters’ rights. (For privacy reasons, they asked that their daughters’ first names not be published.)

A lawyer for the school district declined to comment, citing the pending litigation.

It is difficult to gauge how many middle schools conduct drug tests on students. States with middle schools that conduct drug testing include Florida, Alabama, Missouri, West Virginia, Arkansas, Ohio, New Jersey and Texas.

Some coaches, teachers and school administrators said drug-testing programs served as a deterrent for middle school students encountering drugs of all kinds, including steroids, marijuana and alcohol.

“We wanted to do it to create a general awareness of drug prevention,” said Steve Klotz, assistant superintendent at Maryville School District in Missouri. “We’re no different than any other community. We have kids who are making those decisions.”

There are no known instances of a middle school student testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs like steroids or human growth hormone. The few positive results among middle school students have been attributed to marijuana, officials said, and even those cases are rare.

Maryville’s drug-testing program, which includes most of its middle and high school students, begins this fall after officials spent 18 months reviewing other programs in the state, Mr. Klotz said. In the fall of 2011, Mr. Klotz said, the school board conducted a survey of parents, and 72 percent said that a drug-testing program was necessary. The cost will be $5,000 to $7,000 a year and will come from the school’s general operating budget.

“Drug testing is a multibillion-dollar industry,” said Dr. Linn Goldberg, head of the Division of Health Promotion and Sports Medicine at the Oregon Health and Science University. “They go to these schools and say it’s great. But do the schools actually look at the data? Schools don’t know what to do.”

Drug testing for high school athletes, which has been around for years, was deemed constitutional in a 1995 United States Supreme Court ruling. Some districts have expanded their drug-testing programs in recent years to include middle school students.

In 2003, the Department of Education started a program that offered federal money for drug testing in grades 6 through 12, and the last of the grants will be closed out this fall. The program, following the outlines of the Supreme Court decision, allowed testing for students who participated in school activities, or whose parents chose to enroll them.

In the 2004-5 school year, an estimated 14 percent of public school districts conducted some form of random drug testing, according to a Department of Education report. But middle school testing is not thoroughly tracked by officials.

The nature of drug-testing programs at the middle school level varies by school district. In general, an outside testing company conducts the tests under contract with school authorities. Students are generally given little, if any, advance notice and are pulled away from class and asked to urinate in a cup — unsupervised, to comply with privacy laws.

Specimens are sent to a laboratory, and parents and students are notified of any positive result. Some schools require a second test to confirm a positive result; in others, parents may request a challenge to a result, sometimes for a fee. Results are generally not shared with law enforcement.

Punishment for a positive test can range from a warning to removal from a sports team or an activity.

“It starts early with kids,” said Matthew Franz, who owns the drug testing company Sport Safe based in Columbus, Ohio, and is a member of the Student Drug-Testing Coalition, an organization of drug-testing proponents. “You want to get in there and plant these seeds of what’s out there and do prevention early. The 11th and 12th graders, most of them have already made a choice. But the eighth graders, they’re still making decisions, and it helps if you give them that deterrent.”

But some experts doubt the effectiveness of such testing.

“There’s little evidence these programs work,” Dr. Goldberg said. “Drug testing has never been shown to have a deterrent effect.”

In 2007, Dr. Goldberg published the results of a study of athletes at five high schools with drug testing and six schools that had deferred implementing a testing policy. He found that athletes from the two groups did not differ in their recent use of drugs or alcohol.

“I think you have to look at the reason for testing,” Dr. Goldberg said. “With Olympic testing, it’s to weed out the people who are cheating. If you’re using drug testing to weed out a problem in kids, you need to get them in therapy. But it doesn’t reduce whether or not kids use drugs.”

Some coaches and school administrators, however, say the dearth of positive tests is an indication that testing is working effectively as a deterrent.

“We don’t want to catch students,” said Jerry Cecil, assistant superintendent of the Greenwood School District in Arkansas. “We want them not to be using. We don’t consider this community to have a big problem.”

Despite the Supreme Court ruling in 1995, some districts have been challenged in lower courts.

The American Civil Liberties Union won a settlement last year relying on California’s stricter state privacy laws that prevented the schools from conducting random drug testing for students in nonathletic activities absent a reasonable ground for suspicion. The district, in Redding, Calif., discontinued its program as part of the settlement.

Not all parents oppose testing of middle school students. Daniel Alef, the father of an eighth-grade swimmer in Santa Barbara, Calif., said he would support testing at his son’s school.

“Kids today grow up too quickly and have access to way more information,” he said. “But in the end, I think it goes back to the parents.”

In Pennsylvania, the Kiederers are waiting as their case, filed by the civil liberties union in the Court of Common Pleas of Pike County, works through the legal system.

Last year, they won an injunction preventing the district from enforcing its policy and allowing their daughters to participate in extracurricular activities.

“They’re losing their rights every day and you ask yourself, what are we teaching the kids?” Glenn Kiederer said.

Pigs paid very well. San Diego's police chief pulls in $400,000 a year.


'Double-dippers' rake in public money

By Thomas Peele and John Woolfolk

Staff writers

Posted: 09/22/2012 10:52:19 PM PDT

When former San Jose police Chief William Lansdowne retired in 2003, he quickly pinned back on a badge in San Diego and now receives more than $400,000 a year in public money, benefiting from a government perk that California's much-lauded pension reform does nothing to disturb.

Lansdowne is one of the state's biggest beneficiaries of "double-dipping," drawing both public retirement pay from San Jose and a public salary in San Diego. And when it comes to San Jose's past police commanders, he's far from alone: Former Chief Louis Cobarruviaz and two former captains each took home more than $340,000 last year by working as Bay Area police chiefs and getting San Jose pensions, an analysis by this newspaper shows.

Last week's surprise announcement that current San Jose police Chief Chris Moore plans to retire at 51 raised new questions about why pension reform efforts in San Jose and Sacramento have done little to address double-dipping. Moore, who will begin drawing a pension of more than $150,000 early next year, said he has "no immediate second career plans."

The newspaper's analysis, based on a limited sampling of pay and pension data, shows more than 50 people double-dipping at Bay Area governments, including at least 10 inspectors at the Alameda County District Attorney's Office and even former U.S. Attorney General Ed Meese, who receives two California pensions.

"You do the math and you say, 'I might as well retire and I can look for another job doing something else,'" said San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, acknowledging the hard-to-ignore incentive especially for public safety employees who in many retirement systems can start drawing pensions worth up to 90 percent of their salaries by their 50th birthdays.

But it's not just cops and firefighters. Workers double-dip by receiving either both pension and paychecks, like Lansdowne does, or multiple government pensions, like Meese does, the newspaper found. How does this happen? They do it by crossing pension systems.

Police officers who retire from most Bay Area cities draw their pension from the state Public Employees' Retirement System, or CalPERS. If they go back to work for another agency that is a CalPERS member, they can only collect their pension for a few months -- then it's frozen until they actually retire.

But if they find a new job at a government agency with a separate pension plan, such as Alameda County, one of 22 independent county retirement systems in the state, they can double-dip. There, they can still get their monthly CalPERS check and their county pay, plus contributions toward a future county pension. San Jose's stand-alone pension system lets Lansdowne and others do the same thing.

"There is no law against working for a non-PERS-affiliated employer and still earning a (CalPERS) pension," said Brad Pacheco, a CalPERS spokesman.

State lawmakers considered limits on double-dipping across retirement systems during their pension reform discussions but they proved to be too difficult to achieve because county retirement agencies have a great amount of independence, said Mark Hedlund, a spokesman for Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento. "It just got to be too unworkable."

Former North Bay Assemblyman Joe Nation said something needs to change to stop public officials from receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars a year through double-dipping.

"This is something that people are generally going to find outrageous," said Nation, who studies public pensions at Stanford University.

The newspaper's analysis shows double-dipping goes on across the region with police grossing more than people in other jobs. Still, the data show only a sampling of the practice, in part because some county retirement systems, including those in Alameda and Sonoma counties, won't release gross pension amounts without being paid.

Many of the county retirement systems remain shrouded in secrecy and are reluctant to release detailed pension data, said Karl Olson, a San Francisco lawyer who has successfully sued four of them to pry loose pension amounts. "They act as though the public is the enemy," he said. Pension amounts are "definitely information they don't want the public to know."

Still, a sampling of available data show:

In Contra Costa County, retiring Clayton police Chief Daniel Lawrence combined his salary with a Contra Costa County pension to gross $282,000 last year. Former County Administrator Phil Batchelor receives pensions from both the county and CalPERS. He grossed $180,000.

In San Mateo County, former Redwood City police Chief Cobarruviaz grossed $350,000 last year by double-dipping a San Jose pension before retiring for a second time. Former county Administrator John Maltbie grossed $201,000 between two pensions.

In Marin County, three police chiefs drew county pensions and city salaries last year, ranging from a combined $232,000 to $348,000.

In Alameda County, where District Attorney Nancy O'Malley said she employs a "cream of the crop" team of retired police officers as inspectors, at least 10 of them draw pensions that push their combined gross pay from public sources to more than $230,000 each.

County 2011 compensation data show that taxpayers contributed an additional nearly $600,000 to the county's pension plan for what will become those employees' eventual second pensions.

Double-dippers even cross over to the federal government. Former San Mateo County Sheriff's Deputy Don O'Keefe got a $149,000 county pension last year while working as the U.S. marshal for Northern California. A Marshals Service spokeswoman refused to provide his federal salary.

Former Alameda County Sheriff Charles Plummer has double-dipped since 1986, the year he began drawing a CalPERS pension after retiring as Hayward's police chief. He continued to draw that pension during his 20 years in elected office. Last year, he got $95,000 from CalPERS plus an undisclosed amount from Alameda County.

"What was I going to do, not take it?'' Plummer said of the pension payments he received while also being paid as sheriff. "I earned it."

While reforming the disparate county systems is difficult, Nation offered a simpler idea to rein in double-dipping: raise retirement ages.

Many government workers may retire in name from a job after 20 years, but Nation said it's too often clear: "They don't really retire."

Staff writers Daniel Willis, Matthew Artz and Joshua Melvin and Robert Sterling of the Marin Independent Journal contributed to this report. Contact Thomas Peele at tpeele@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/thomas_peele.

Houston cop shoots, kills man in wheelchair

I bet the cop thought the pen looked like an AK-47. Them old farts always carry loaded AK-47 pens in their shirt pockets.


Houston cop shoots, kills man in wheelchair

HOUSTON (AP) -- A Houston police officer has fatally shot a one-armed, one-legged man in a wheelchair after police say the double amputee waved a metal object that turned out to be a pen.

Police spokeswoman Jodi Silva says man cornered the officer early Saturday inside a group home after police were called there to check on a disturbance.

Silva says the man was making threats while trying to stab the officer with the pen. She says the officer did not know what the metal object was at the time.

Silva says the man came "within inches to a foot" of the officer and did not follow instructions to calm down and remain still. [You mean not following a cops orders to calm down and remain still is a capital offense in Texas???]

Police did not immediately release the man's name. The officer, Matthew Jacob Marin, has been placed on administrative leave.

Now you can have your rights violated by well dressed police thugs.


Phoenix officers decry order to wear more-formal uniforms

by Cecilia Chan - Sept. 23, 2012 11:07 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Phoenix police Chief Daniel V. Garcia is instituting a stricter dress code for patrol officers, setting off a debate within the department over whether comfort or appearance makes for safer policing.

Garcia has ordered that beginning Oct. 1, the department's 2,500 patrol officers must wear only their polyester-blend uniforms with dark-blue button-down shirts and dress-style pants.

The black, cotton-blend polo shirt and cargo pants that patrol officers have had the option of wearing for the past 15 years will no longer be allowed. But uniforms for specialty units such as canine, motorcycle and SWAT will remain unchanged.

Garcia, whose order comes after five months on the job, has said the use of two patrol uniforms has the potential to create confusion and offers greater opportunity for criminals to impersonate officers. He cited a growing number of home-invasion robberies and fake traffic stops carried out by criminals wearing versions of the less-formal patrol uniform.

The traditional uniforms, which the department calls its Class C uniforms, are more readily recognizable, the chief says, making police and the public safer.

"Whether officers are patrolling neighborhoods, conducting subject and traffic stops, or answering calls for service at private residences, our officers' presence should not be questioned because of a uniform type," Garcia said in a written response to questions from The Arizona Republic.

But officers are challenging the order and questioning the chief's reasoning, saying their cotton-blend, or Class D, uniforms are cooler and more comfortable, preserving officers' strength as they work in the heat. The uniforms also make it easier to carry their gear, which weighs at the least 21 pounds.

"Having polyester pants and shirts, although they look nice, it's more draining on the body throughout the day," patrol Officer Robert Warren said.

Ken Crane, Phoenix Law Enforcement Association vice president and grievance chairman, said the blue uniforms are more suited to office work or special events, like parades, funerals or awards ceremonies. Crane estimates that three-fourths of the officers on patrol duty either exclusively wear the black uniform or switch between the two.

"If you are working in 110- and 115-degree heat, do you want to work in a uniform that is more suited for a utilitarian application or work the streets in what essentially amounts to dress clothes?" he said.

The officers are challenging whether Garcia's order can be carried out.

The association, which represents 2,200 active-duty officers, says the chief cannot arbitrarily change the dress code. More than 100 officers have filed a complaint with the city, arguing that Garcia has violated a 1998 labor agreement that allowed officers to choose which uniform to wear.

Police Department spokesman Trent Crump said it is inappropriate for the chief to respond to the union's criticism through the media while the complaint is pending. Garcia is expected to issue a written response to the grievance on Tuesday, Crump said.

The union officials said if the chief proceeds with the ban or if an agreement can't be reached, the union will meet with the city labor-relations administrator and if necessary will go to an independent arbitrator. Cost and comfort

Officers opposed to Garcia's order say the black uniforms make police work less taxing physically and financially.

The black uniform allows officers to use a lighter and more flexible nylon gun belt than the one required to be worn with the more formal blue uniform.

The black uniform also includes an approved vest carrier with mandatory body armor. Officers say this allows them to move radios and Tasers from their gun belt to vest pockets, better distributing weight and taking stress off the lower back.

The blue uniform's heavier belt can cause lower back problems, officers said. "The bottom line with carrying all that weight is it can cause long-term debilitating injury when you do it day in and day out," Crane said.

Part of the union's objection to Garcia's order is also the financial impact.

Each year, officers receive an allowance to buy clothing and equipment. This year's is $1,150, which the union says equates to about $800 after taxes.

Officers are required to maintain at least one of the traditional blue uniforms.

Veteran officer Victor Escoto said he hasn't worn the tailored-fit, blue uniform for most of his 21 years on the force unless it was for an interview, funeral or when the president comes to town.

Drawing on his uniform allowance, Escoto said he spent $500 for two sets of black uniforms, patches and repairs to existing uniforms. He also spent $500 for name tags, boots and gear like a handcuff case and magazine pouch. Now, he said, he is faced with spending more money to buy additional blue uniforms to comply with the chief's new policy.

"When they start making these decisions, it starts impacting people's wallets," union President Joe Clure said.

Warren said the order would force him to spend money on uniforms instead of boots and other equipment.

"We have a system that is not broken and we are tying to fix it," he said. "I think our resources are better spent in other areas."

Industry trends

In arguing against the chief's policy, Warren said police uniforms have evolved just as the weapons used by officers have evolved -- from revolvers to semiautomatics and batons to Tasers.

"If I have to go after a bad guy or climb over a wall and fight with him, the polyester doesn't give," he said. "It'll be more difficult to be able to move and do the things I need to do."

Warren added that during his 20 years on the force, no one has ever questioned whether he was a police officer because of the uniform he was wearing.

William Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations, said the "trend in agencies across the country -- not just in the hot areas but in other areas -- is to go with the more relaxed but readily identifiable uniform."

The group is a lobbying coalition of police unions and associations.

Johnson said that if the black uniforms used by Phoenix look like a police uniform, are functional for officers and clearly recognizable to the public, there shouldn't be a problem with its continued use.

The fact that Phoenix officers have been wearing the black uniform for so many years means it shouldn't be an issue, he said. "If the public is equally served either way, why not let officers be comfortable?" he said.

Addressing the chief's concern, industry insiders say it's not clear if banning the cargo pants and polo top will deter police impersonators.

Doug Wyllie, editor of PoliceOne.com, a San Francisco-based online resource for the law-enforcement community, said a person determined to masquerade as a cop "will go to great lengths to give the appearance of law enforcement."

"My personal feelings are they are highly motivated individuals and aren't put off by jumping through one more hoop," he said.

Phoenix New Times Newspaper Sold

According to this article the Phoenix New Times Newspaper is being sold.

Over the years the Phoenix New Times has done a great job covering the news about the criminals the run the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. Of course that gang of criminals is run by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is the self proclaimed "Meanest Sheriff in America".

Philadelphia cop "accidentally" fires gun stolen from airline employee.


Flight Attendant Tries to Bring Loaded Gun Through Airport Security

By Richard Esposito | ABC News

A US Airways flight attendant was detained and then charged with disorderly conduct after she attempted to pass through security at the Philadelphia International Airport with a loaded .38 revolver in her purse, triggering an incident in which police accidentally discharged the weapon while securing it, authorities said.

According to officials, at 6:33 a.m. today, the flight attendant entered a Terminal C security checkpoint lane with a loaded .38 caliber Smith and Wesson Airweight revolver in her purse.

A Transportation Security Administration employee discovered the gun on the x-ray machine and notified police.

The flight attendant was taken to secondary screening room, where an airport police officer attempted to unload the gun, and it discharged into a wall.

There were no injuries to passengers, employees or police, officials said.

The flight attendant, who police said had a valid Chester County permit to carry a concealed weapon, was charged with disorderly conduct, as per Airport Unit policy.

The permit was confiscated and forwarded to the Chester County Sheriff, and the weapon - an Airweight revolver - was confiscated by the crime scene unit and transported to for testing.

The actions of the officer who discharged the weapon will be reviewed by the Philadelphia Police Department Internal Affairs unit.

The Airweight is a small frame, aluminum alloy, short barrel personal defense revolver and is among the most popular of these.

Who says crime doesn't pay????

Scottsdale piggy James Peters, who has murdered 6 people gets $4,500 in his monthly pension checks.


ACLU Suing City of Scottsdale Over Officer James Peters' Sixth Kill

By Matthew Hendley Mon., Sep. 24 2012 at 7:56 AM

Who says crime doesn't pay? Scottsdale Police Officer James Peters gets a $4500 monthly pension for the 6 people he murdered The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona will be filing a lawsuit against the City of Scottsdale, related to Scottsdale Police Officer James Peters' sixth kill on the job.

The officer-misconduct lawsuit will be based on the fatal shooting of 50-year-old John Loxas, who happened to be holding a baby at the time.

The details of the lawsuit will be announced at a press conference later this morning.

Scottsdale's police board for the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System approved Peters' "accidental disability retirement application" just a few months after the February shooting, although federal law prevented city officials from discussing what Peters' accidental disability is.

Police responded to Loxas' place on February 14 after neighbors reported that he'd pointed a gun at them, but after Loxas was shot on his doorstep, police found two guns near him, inside the home.

Loxas wasn't in possession of a gun when he was shot, but was in possession of a "black object" known as a cellphone.

Loxas had been accused of pointing a gun at a neighbor before the February incident.

Peters' prior killings include a disbarred lawyer with a shotgun, a burglary suspect, a man who took a hostage at a grocery store, a guy who decided to shoot at the cops, and another who decided to drive his truck at the cops.

Peters was also involved in another shooting, but the suspect lived through that one.

Peters was cleared after investigations in previous shootings, although the city and one man's family settled out of court in one instance.

Scottsdale officials told New Times Peters was expected to get around $4,500 in his monthly pension checks.

We'll provide more details after the press conference.

Scottsdale Police sued for murders committed by Officer James Peters


Scottsdale police suit claims lack of discipline allowed shooting

by Laurie Merrill - Sept. 24, 2012 01:27 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Who says crime doesn't pay? Scottsdale Police Officer James Peters gets a $4500 monthly pension for the 6 people he murdered The ACLU claims in a federal lawsuit filed Monday that Scottsdale failed to discipline an officer who has shot five people in the line of duty, which allowed the Feb. 14 the fatal shooting of an unarmed man holding his infant grandson.

The lawsuit filed in federal court by the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona and a Chicago law firm on behalf of daughter and father of the man shot, John Loxas, seeks unspecified damages against the City of Scottsdale, the Scottsdale Police Department, Police Chief Alan Rodbell, Officer James Peters and Det. Brian McWilliams.

Peters was one of six officers who responded to 911 calls from neighbors who said Loxas was threatening them with a gun in the 7700 block of East Garfield Street, near Hayden and McKellips roads on Feb. 14.

According to one 911 call, the neighbors said Loxas was pushing his 9-month-old grandson in a stroller when he kicked a neighbor's trash can into the street.

When another neighbor went to pick it up, Loxas returned with the baby in his arms and started yelling, "You got a problem with that?" the caller tells the dispatcher. "The guy pulls out a gun, cocks it and aimed it at him."

When officers arrived, Loxas had returned to his house, but came to the door with the baby in his arms, police said.

Peters and another officer told investigators that they saw a black object in Loxas' hand. Loxas turned to go back inside when Peters, who was standing 18 feet away at the edge of the driveway, shot him in the head with his patrol rifle, police said.

Peters had shot five other people while on duty as a Scottsdale police officer. The suit says that despite five other shootings since 2002 and a "long history of excessive use of force against civilians, dozens of incidents involving Tasers," Peters remained on active duty.

The suit accuses Rodbell of "rubberstamping" police shootings and for a review system that does not use witness testimony but relies mostly on police reports.

Scottsdale police said they continue to investigate the most recent shooting by Peters.

"The Scottsdale Police Department is still in the process of this multifaceted review which includes a review of the facts by the Maricopa County Attorney's Office," said Scottsdale police Officer David Pubins on Monday.

"We have been informed that the MCAO will not be seeking criminal charges in this matter. This has allowed us to move toward finalization of our internal investigation and review by Departmental and City Staff. We urge the community to allow this very complex process to take place. When the entire process is complete, the results will be made public."

The previous shootings were found to be justified, according to Rodbell.

Why aren't they going to fire more cops & firemen???

My question is why aren't they going to fire more cops & firemen???

In most city budgets, police labor costs account about 40% of the budget and firemen account for 20%.

Closing libraries and parks isn't going to save that much money when about 60% of a cities budget is for cops and firemen!!


Glendale could face hefty cuts to budget

City officials propose $20.1 mil trim, loss of 249 workers if tax hike is undone

by Sonu Munshi - Sept. 24, 2012 10:00 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Glendale administrators propose cutting nearly a quarter of the city's employees, or 249 positions, if voters approve a ballot measure in November to repeal a sales-tax hike.

Repeal of the 0.7 percentage-point tax hike that took effect last month would mean the loss of $11 million this year and $25 million annually through 2017, according to city estimates.

The City Council had approved the temporary increase to shore up its deficit-ridden general fund after laying off 49 employees and cutting $10 million from departments at the start of this fiscal year.

A group of business owners and residents criticized the tax increase and obtained signatures to put it before voters on Nov. 6.

Ahead of the election, the city on Monday laid out $20.1 million in possible cuts. The City Council will review the options in a workshop at 1:30 this afternoon in the City Council Chambers.

Proposed cuts include shuttering two of the three city libraries, one of its two aquatic centers, the TV station and all city festivals, including Glendale Glitters.

City officials met with downtown Glendale business owners early Monday to inform them about the possible cuts, particularly to the city festivals, which draw crowds to shops and restaurants.

The city will hold a series of meetings in coming weeks to allow residents to weigh in on the potential cuts.

It's not immediately clear how soon the city would make any cuts, but city spokeswoman Julie Frisoni said some could come this year, depending on voters' decision.

"It's safe to say that should that money go away immediately, some of these cuts could be implemented this fiscal year. Others could be over the course of that five-year period," she said.

Already, Glendale has trimmed about 25 percent from department budgets since the 2008-09 budget year.

But the general fund faces new expenses to manage the city-owned Jobing .com Arena, home of the Phoenix Coyotes, and to pay the debt on Camelback Ranch-Glendale, the spring-training ballpark for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox that opened three years ago. City leaders say they have to prepare for the worst.

But Rod Williams, one of the residents who pushed for the ballot initiative, called it a scare tactic. He was putting up signs around the city on Monday, calling on voters to approve the initiative to repeal the tax increase.

"It's like how teachers' groups always ask for more money for schools -- threatening that without the money, they would have to double up the number of kids in classrooms," Williams said.

He proposed the city reach elsewhere for cuts, such as mileage allowances to administrators.

Public-safety union officials have already raised a hue and cry, with thousands of calls and e-mail blasts to residents about the proposed cuts.

Julie Reed, president of the Glendale Fraternal Order of Police, said budget reductions would hurt officers' ability to keep residents safe in a city that already has seen crime increase.

"This will take cops off the street, and every officer we lose makes Glendale less safe," Reed said.

The Police Department's staffing already has shrunk by 11 percent, or 58 full-time-equivalent positions, from the 2008-09 budget year to this year. Proposed cuts could further shrink the 452-strong department by 66 positions, which includes 20 sworn officers, Reed said. However, nine of those officer positions are currently vacant.

Non-sworn officer positions on the chopping block include a 911 operator and a crime-statistical analyst.

The Fire Department's staffing was cut by 7 percent, or 17 positions, in that same time frame. The current proposal is to slash another 36 positions from the department's current 220.

Joe Hester, president of Glendale's firefighters union, said the proposal could add another two to four minutes to response times, which he said currently average six minutes.

Parks, Recreation and Library Services, which is the third-largest department in the general fund, faces more-drastic cuts. The department, already down 39 percent in the past five years, could lose another 71 of its 111 positions.

The Velma Teague and Foothills Branch libraries could be closed, and operations at the Main library could be privately contracted.

Rose Lane Aquatics Facility in southern Glendale could close, and Foothills Recreation and Aquatics Center could see reduced hours and higher fees as the northern Glendale facility would be required to be self-sustaining.

The city could also cut after-school programs and reduce hours of operation at Glendale Community Center. Programs there would be offered through private providers.

The city could also shut down Glendale 11, the city's cable station. A staff report mentions that would reduce transparency, as recordings of the council meetings would no longer be available.

Councilman Manny Martinez has said the city is not trying to scare residents to discourage them from repealing the tax hike.

"Things are bad," he said. "This is the reality of what could happen if the tax goes away."

Reporter Lisa Halverstadt contributed to this article.

Mesa officers to don cameras to track work


Mesa officers to don cameras to track work

by Jim Walsh - Sept. 24, 2012 09:55 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Mesa is joining the next technological revolution in police work, with officers wearing tiny cameras that make audio and video recordings of everything from routine calls to life-or-death incidents.

Mounted to eyeglasses, hats or shirt collars, the cameras record what an officer sees and hears, making a complete record of police incidents.

Police agencies nationwide view the recordings as a new layer of evidence that could be shown to juries during criminal trials or used to prove or disprove complaints about police conduct.

"Good chiefs are going to embrace this technology. It will make their departments more accountable," said Scott Greenwood, a lawyer and police-accountability expert based in Cincinnati.

Greenwood estimates that about half of all police officers nationwide will be equipped with a self-mounted video- and audio-recording system within five years.

Because the original tape cannot be altered, police say the Axon Flex cameras may counter videos taken with smartphones that sometimes capture only a small portion of an incident and convey a distorted view of what happened. [I think they want us to believe when civilians record police crimes, the videos are always rigged and don't show what actually happened. And that magically videos shot by cops won't do that!]

Mesa police are scheduled to discuss details at a press conference Tuesday.

But even police say the cameras raise some privacy issues as officers respond to the homes of residents. [I think the privacy issue is cops don't like their crimes videotaped] Policies are being developed to govern the use of the cameras, said Sgt. Tony Landato, a Mesa police spokesman.

"We are now gathering videos in places where normally we would not," said Capt. Joe Fiumara of the Lake Havasu City Police Department, which in June became the first agency to use the newest version of the cameras. "We're showing people's lifestyle, their home."

Mesa plans to start using 50 cameras in October after training sessions. Lake Havasu City police have 20, and four other Arizona police agencies are testing them.

Officers tag the videos with key words to indicate the type of incident and then save them in a data bank.

"It changes everybody's behavior," Fiumara said. "It's natural. You are on film, you act differently." [So videotaping does prevent police crimes]

Police agencies in Texas, Colorado, California and Pennsylvania are either buying or testing officer-mounted camera systems, citing the public's desire for transparency and the need to protect themselves from lawsuits and Internal Affairs complaints.

"We've trained officers for years that the cameras are always rolling," said Capt. Jerry Schiager of the Fort Collins, Colo., police, who are testing the cameras. "I think it prevents people from making a complaint based on a small part of an incident."

Eleven officers in Mesa's Red Mountain District have been testing the cameras for about two weeks in a "soft rollout," Landato said.

The cameras cost about $950 apiece, plus charges for digital storage in a data bank, according to the system's maker, Taser International.

An officer equipped with a camera recorded the arrest of a carjacking suspect accused of stealing an SUV belonging to Chris Powell, host of "Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition," a reality-TV show.

Landato said the video cannot be enhanced or edited in any way. It also automatically logs the names of everyone who views it, a requirement for court purposes. He said police expect the recordings will be played at trials or hearings.

The recordings also will allow police to quickly investigate complaints about officer conduct.

Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst for the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington, D.C., said camera systems have potential to improve accountability but could also violate civil rights if misused.

"I think it has the potential to be a very effective check against police abuse," he said.

But it would defeat the purpose if an officer were to turn off the camera before any bad behavior, Stanley said. [So cops can turn off the videotaping??? Why would any sane person allow that??? Does Circle K allow their employees to turn off the surveillance cameras when they feel they are not needed? Of course not!!! So why should cops be allowed to turn off their cameras???]

Greenwood, the police-accountability expert, said he is helping develop a recommended policy for using the cameras for the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association.

"Technology is neutral. It's how it's used," he said.

Fiumara said a video cleared a Lake Havasu officer after a family member accused him of wrongdoing when he shot her husband to death in February. [Cops are always assumed to be innocent until proven guilty, sadly the police usually assume us civilians are guilty until proven innocent.]

Fiumara said officers were dispatched to an apartment complex after a woman called 911 and reported that her husband had been drinking and was threatening to kill the couple's children and then himself.

Fiumara said the recording showed the man walking toward the apartment where the children were with a gun in his hand and the officer yelling at him to drop the weapon.

When the man ignored the officer's commands, the officer opened fire to protect the children, Fiumara said.

"The mother immediately changed her story and said the officer gave no warning and executed him," he said.

But authorities cleared the officer after reviewing the recording, Fiumara said.

"It gave us a tremendous amount of confidence in the justification of the shooting," he said.

FBI uses free sex to entrap people into committing crimes???


U.S. agent spent taxpayer funds on prostitutes, lawyer alleges

By Victoria Kim, Los Angeles Times

September 25, 2012, 5:31 a.m.

An undercover FBI agent investigating weapon smuggling in the Philippines spent taxpayer dollars to pay for prostitutes for the suspects and himself at a club later raided for hiring underage girls, a defense attorney has alleged in court filings.

Federal prosecutors acknowledged in court filings that the government reimbursed the agent for $14,500 for entertainment, cocktails and tips over a period of less than a year in 2010 and 2011 in connection with the case. The expenses included $1,600 on a night out in September 2011 at a club known as Area 51 in Manila.

In May, Filipino authorities targeted Area 51 on suspicion of employing minor sex workers and discovered 19 underage girls at the club. In a press release, the Philippines National Bureau of Investigation said minors danced in the nude and offered "sex services" for a fee.

A public defender representing the lead defendant in the weapon-smuggling case last week filed a motion asking a judge to dismiss the case based on "outrageous government misconduct," citing the agent's actions.

Based on a defense investigator's interviews with witnesses in the Philippines, Deputy Federal Public Defender John Littrell alleged that the undercover agent paid for sex for himself as well as the suspects in the case. Littrell alleged the agent took his client and others to the clubs to induce them to participate in a weapons-smuggling scheme.

"The government's actions in this case, if committed by a private citizen, would be serious federal crimes. These crimes were not victimless," Littrell wrote in the motion. "The government's conduct in this case went far beyond any standard of decency and warrants dismissal of the indictment."

A U.S. Department of Justice spokeswoman said in an emailed statement: "We will contest the factual assumptions and legal significance of the defendant's challenges in due course." Prosecutors have not yet filed court papers responding to Littrell's allegations.

A spokeswoman with the FBI in Los Angeles declined to comment because the prosecution was pending.

Allegations in the filing were first reported by TickleTheWire.com, a website that reports on federal law enforcement issues.

Littrell represents Sergio Santiago Syjuco, one of three men who were arrested and indicted in January on suspicion of illegally importing high-powered weapons and explosives from the Philippines to the U.S. Syjuco, Cesar Ubaldo and Filipino customs official Arjyl Revereza were charged with smuggling assault rifles, grenade launchers and mortar launchers in June 2011.

In a press release at the time of the indictment, the Justice Department said the Philippines National Bureau of Investigations provided "significant assistance" in the case.

The undercover agent approached the men under the pseudonym "Richard Han," posing as a broker looking to obtain weapons for use by Mexican drug cartels in the United States.

Syjuco and Ubaldo, Littrell contended, were not sophisticated weapons dealers but rather private school graduates from wealthy families in the suburbs of Manila with no criminal backgrounds. The agent approached them when an earlier target backed out after one sale, according to the attorney.

Some of the expenses the FBI agent filed correspond with the dates of criminal activity alleged in the indictment.

For instance, on Nov. 16, 2010, when the agent spent $1,600 on "Dinner and Entertainment," Ubaldo allegedly offered to put the agent in contact with suppliers of high-powered firearms. On May 9, 2011, when the indictment alleges that the three defendants met with the agent to discuss weapons deals and exporting firearms, destructive devices and ballistic vests to the U.S., the agent spent $3,400 in "Entertainment and Cocktails," according to a letter from prosecutors to the defense.

According to the indictment, the men accepted nearly $90,000 for weapons and explosives that were eventually shipped to Long Beach labeled as "Used Personal Effects." Revereza is accused of having received $8,400 in bribes to facilitate the shipment through customs.

Trial for the three men is scheduled for November. According to authorities, they face up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted.


Freed after falsely spending 19 years in prison

Last night I went to a book signing by Damien Echols at the Changing Hands Book Store in Tempe.

Damien Echols is one of the West Memphis Three who were framed by the cops for 3 murders they didn't commit. He spend almost 20 years in prison for a crime that he didn't commit.

Sadly people being framed by the police is pretty routine. In this mornings LA Times I read this article about how John Edward Smith was just freed after being framed by the LAPD and spending 19 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit.

We are told we are innocent until proven guilty, but that is total bullsh*t. Sure on paper that's true, but the ways the system works is you are assumed to be guilty until proven innocent. And people who don't have the financial resources to prove they are innocent are routinely railroaded by police and prosecutors and sent to prison for crimes they didn't commit.


Man freed in 1993 killing after witness recants testimony

By Harriet Ryan, Los Angeles Times

September 24, 2012, 9:45 p.m.

A Los Angeles man serving a life sentence for murder was released Monday after prosecutors conceded that their star witness had perjured himself.

During 19 years behind bars, John Edward Smith, a 37-year-old former gang member, adamantly maintained his innocence in the drive-by shooting, insisting that he was miles away at his grandmother's house at the time of the crime.

His claims went unheard until three years ago, when a fledgling wrongful convictions group, Innocence Matters, took his case and identified problems with the testimony of the lone witness to identify him as the killer. The man subsequently recanted and at a brief and raucous hearing Monday afternoon, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge vacated his conviction.

Smith's relatives and friends erupted in cheers as Judge Patricia Schnegg, the supervising criminal judge, said she was setting aside the 1995 verdict because Smith's conviction rested almost entirely on perjured testimony.

"Thank you for your enthusiasm," Schnegg told the audience as Smith, dressed in a blue jumpsuit, gave a slight smile.

Smith was released around 8:30 Monday evening from a jail in downtown L.A., and was greeted by a phalanx of camera crews and microphones.

"I had days when I was really frustrated, but I knew I couldn't stop," Smith said of his bid for release in a phone interview minutes after he walked out a free man. He said he was most dazed by the lights of downtown Los Angeles and Staples Center, and was looking forward to going home and hugging his grandmother.

Smith said he was putting the details of his case out of his mind and focusing on the small steps to rebuild a life on the outside, like getting a driver's license.

"I'm not looking in the rear-view mirror," he said. "I'm here now."

The judge's ruling came after the district attorney's office completed its own yearlong investigation and determined that the witness, a high school student injured in the shooting, had lied on the stand.

That teenager, Landu Mvuemba, told Smith's lawyers that LAPD detectives had pressured him into the identification and that he had tried on a number of occasions over the years to alert authorities about his false statements.

The killing was a skirmish in a bloody war between gangs associated with the Crips and Bloods in the Mid-City neighborhood. On the morning of Sept. 9, 1993, two neighborhood teenagers went to look at the scene where a gang shooting had occurred the previous night. As they neared, a car approached and opened fire on them, killing one and injuring Mvuemba, then 16 years old.

Mvuemba became the key to the police case against Smith, a Bloods associate who lived nearby. He said he had seen the gunman's face for a split second from a distance of 18 feet and was questioned repeatedly by police. At the trial, Mvuemba identified Smith as the gunman.

Smith offered the jury an alibi: He was with a girlfriend and two others at his grandmother's house nearly three miles away. But the jury believed Mvuemba, convicting Smith of murder and attempted murder after three hours of deliberations. He was given two life sentences.

Smith's family, including his grandmother Laura Neal, firmly believed in his innocence. At one point, his grandparents mortgaged their house to pay an appellate law firm $65,000. They tried to persuade the Innocence Project to take his case and later took to cold-calling lawyers and investigators. Every effort failed until Smith heard about Innocence Matters from a relative.

When he phoned a few days after Christmas in 2009, the founder, veteran criminal defense attorney Deirdre O'Connor, told him that he was too early. The organization hadn't even filed its incorporation papers yet. But something about Smith's manner grabbed O'Connor. Guilty clients were often vague and hesitant, perhaps trying to sort out lies, but Smith was straightforward and precise.

"It was effortless for him to answer all of my questions," she recalled. She took his case.

O'Connor, a former Los Angeles deputy public defender, and a team of legal interns spent thousands of hours investigating his case. The most important thing they did was track down Mvuemba, according to court filings detailing their work. He was in prison for sexual assault and wanted to talk. Minutes into the first meeting, he blurted out, "I didn't see anything."

He said the police had come to his school two months after the shooting, handcuffed him and brought him to a police station, where they told him Smith had already been identified as the gunman. They wanted him to do the same.

"I felt a lot of pressure to go along with it," he said.

Mvuemba said he soon regretted it and reported his concerns to LAPD internal affairs twice. He even told the courtroom bailiff as he prepared to take the witness stand, he said. No one did anything, he said.

He and Smith later took polygraph tests. Both passed.

In court papers, Smith's lawyers have suggested that another neighborhood man, Roy Clarke, was the gunman. Clarke, an immigrant from Belize, has been a fugitive for two decades in connection with another gang shooting.

Outside the courthouse, Smith's grandmother, a frail women who uses a walker, said she had willed herself to stay alive until he was free.

"There was a part of me that was in there too," she said of his prison stay. "I am free now."

In an only-in-L.A. twist, Smith's exoneration occurred moments before a long-scheduled probation hearing for R&B singer Chris Brown. Brown, who was 4 years old when Smith was arrested, sat about five feet away as the judge recounted the wrongful conviction. When the judge announced that she was freeing Smith, Brown applauded along with Smith's relatives.


Times staff writer Victoria Kim contributed to this report.

Phoenix police arrest man who filmed mock terrorist act


Don't these pigs have any REAL criminals to hunt down???

A link to the video


Phoenix police arrest man who filmed mock terrorist act

by Cecilia Chan - Sept. 25, 2012 08:37 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Phoenix police arrested a 39-year-old man Monday, who filmed a mock terrorist toting a fake rocket-propelled grenade launcher on the streets of northeast Phoenix.

Michael David Turley was arrested on suspicion of knowingly giving a false impression of a terrorist act, endangerment and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, police said Tuesday.

Police are recommending charges against a 16-year-old boy, who donned a blue bed sheet and black head covering, in his role as the terrorist.

The youth, whose name was not released because he is a minor, has not been arrested, Phoenix police spokesman James Holmes said.

Police sent the recommendations against the teen to the Maricopa County Superior's Juvenile Court Center, including suspicion of knowingly giving a false impression of a terrorist act and endangerment, Holmes said.

Turley, a self-described filmmaker, posted his video titled, "Dark Knight Shooting Response, Rocket Launcher Police Test" on You Tube. The July 30 posting had scored 1,122 hits by Tuesday.

Turley began the short film July 28 to test how fast Phoenix police would react just eight days after the Aurora movie theater shooting in Colorado, he said in the video. A gunman killed 12 people and injured 58 others in that mass murder.

In the film, the 16-year-old actor has the rocket-propelled grenade hoisted on his shoulder as he darts about a busy intersection at 33rd Avenue and Bell Road on a Saturday afternoon.

Turley in a disguised voice comments in the film that it takes nearly 15 minutes from the time they were spotted to when police respond to the scene and that the response "was less than impressive."

Police said they received numerous 911 calls July 28 of a suspect pointing a gun, rifle or what appeared to be a rocket-propelled grenade at residents as they drove by.

Holmes said it took "just over three minutes from dispatch time to contact with (the) suspects."

The initial investigation revealed only that Turley and the 16-year-old were "making a movie" and a motive for the filming was not determined, police said.

Detectives later gathered evidence that indicated Turley's actions were designed to test police response to a terrorist situation, resulting in his arrest, police said.

Supreme court to consider DUI blood issue

I suspect many civil rights legal experts would say that forcing you to take a drug test, or blood test is a violation of the 5th Amendment because it forces you to testify against yourself.

I was reading some stuff that said when fingerprints first came out that civil rights advocates said that forcing people to be fingerprinted and using the results against them was a violation of the 5th Amendment.

I suspect that those folks would also says that forcing people to submit samples of their DNA, which will be used against them in court is also a violation of the 5th Amendment.

Sadly those folks lost.


Supreme court to consider DUI blood issue

Sept. 25, 2012 07:27 AM

Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court will decide when law enforcement officers must get a warrant before ordering a blood test on an unwilling drunken-driving suspect.

The issue has divided federal and state courts around the country and the justices on Tuesday agreed to take up a case involving a disputed blood test from Missouri.

In siding with the defendant in the case, the Missouri Supreme Court said police need a warrant to take a suspect's blood except in special circumstances when a delay could threaten a life or destroy potential evidence.

Other courts have ruled that dissipation of alcohol in the blood is reason enough for police to call for a blood test without first getting a warrant.

The Missouri case was one of six new cases accepted for argument in front of the Supreme Court. The new term begins Monday and the cases probably will be argued in January.

The American Civil Liberties Union, representing Tyler McNeely, said the arresting officer made no effort to obtain a warrant and didn't think he needed one, not that he feared a delay would lower the level of alcohol in McNeely's blood. The ACLU said the case was not a good one for resolving complex issues of science and law.

According to court records, McNeely said he would refuse to provide a breath test that also can be used to measure blood-alcohol levels. The blood test showed McNeely's blood-alcohol content was .154 percent, well above the .08 percent legal limit.

A Missouri trial court suppressed the evidence, a decision upheld by the state Supreme Court.

The case is Missouri v. McNeely, 11-1425.

Worthless civilian watchdogs rubber stamp police brutality and crimes.


Incidents expose flaws in civilian oversight of Sheriff's Dept.

By Jack Leonard and Robert Faturechi, Los Angeles Times

September 24, 2012, 8:26 p.m.

Revelations of brutality by Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies and cover-ups inside the jails have exposed significant shortcomings in the department's civilian watchdog system, which was created to prevent such misconduct.

The watchdogs have come under scrutiny from county supervisors and investigators for a commission examining jail abuse. The investigators found that neither of the two main civilian monitors regularly analyzed data that tracks violent encounters between deputies and inmates or examined how the department handled inmate complaints.

When the watchdogs did uncover major problems in the jails, the investigators found, the Sheriff's Department failed to carry out some of the recommended reforms.

"You can't expect civilian oversight to fix all of the problems," said Peter Eliasberg, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. "But in some ways, they've been counterproductive because they've given the sheriff a patina of respectability that he wasn't entitled to."

The calls for improving civilian oversight come after the commission's investigators concluded that sheriff's managers allowed and even fostered an aggressive culture in the jails, and deputies used excessive force and humiliated inmates.

L.A. County has the largest jail system in the country, housing approximately 19,000 in eight facilities.

The jail problems have festered even though the department has long been praised as a leader in civilian oversight. Sheriff Lee Baca frequently defends the department by noting that he pushed for the creation of one of those monitors, the Office of Independent Review.

The office, which reports to the Board of Supervisors, is made up of attorneys who examine disciplinary cases involving deputies and is led by Michael Gennaco, a former federal prosecutor. The department's other civilian monitor is Merrick Bobb, a special counsel to the Board of Supervisors who writes regular reports on department operations. Both Gennaco and Bobb are well regarded in their field.

Investigators for the blue-ribbon commission praised both watchdogs for identifying crucial problems in the jails and offering proposed fixes.

"There are recommendations that, had they been implemented, clearly could have ameliorated the problems that we see today," said Miriam Krinsky, the commission's executive director.

In the wake of the jail abuse scandal, there is growing pressure to enhance oversight. On Friday, the county's blue-ribbon commission is expected to propose sweeping changes, and its investigators have suggested giving the watchdogs expanded powers, including the ability to conduct their own investigations and maintain a permanent presence in the jails.

Three county supervisors said in interviews this month that they thought the Office of Independent Review was too close to the Sheriff's Department.

Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said the office had become "literally and figuratively embedded" with the department. Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said he was concerned that its attorneys had been "co-opted or compromised."

"It's gotten too cozy with the sheriff," said Supervisor Gloria Molina. "They have had a tendency to acquiesce to too much."

The supervisors are not the only ones to question Gennaco's independence. Attorney R. Samuel Paz, who has sued the department over its treatment of inmates, noted that under the current contract with the county, Gennaco, as chief attorney for the Office of Independent Review, has an "attorney-client" relationship with Baca. Gennaco said such language was necessary to keep discussions about disciplinary matters with the sheriff and his staff confidential.

The ACLU's Eliasberg praised Bobb's efforts to unearth problems in the jails but said the department had used Gennaco as a public relations tool to fend off criticism. (The ACLU has been appointed by a federal court to help monitor inmate welfare.)

Gennaco defended his office's record, saying its work had led to the firings of about 50 deputies who would otherwise have kept their jobs despite serious misconduct. The department's internal affairs investigations were once uneven but now surpass professional standards, he said. And he pointed to several past reports in which he identified jail problems, including shoddy and biased investigations, saying the department had been slow at times to follow through.

"I am critical of [the Sheriff's] Department when they deserve to be criticized," he said.

County supervisors have thought highly enough of Gennaco in recent years to ask his office to investigate problems in the probation and child welfare departments.

Bobb said that both he and Gennaco had identified major problems in the jails over the years and would have done more but for their limited budgets.

The two watchdogs are dwarfed by the Los Angeles Police Department's civilian monitor, the inspector general, who has a staff of 35 to 40 and a budget of about $6.2 million. By contrast, Bobb works with two others on a budget of about $300,000, while the Office of Independent Review has six attorneys with a budget of about $1.3 million.

Bobb said the Sheriff's Department failed to heed much of his advice on improving the jails.

Among his suggestions was for deputies to stop using heavy metal flashlights against inmates and for the department to begin random stings to root out corrupt employees. The department did not implement the reforms and revisited them last year after sheriff's officials learned that federal agents had used a corrupt deputy to smuggle a cellphone to an inmate who was helping the FBI with an investigation into allegations of brutality by deputies.

"I can make all the recommendations I want, but if the sheriff doesn't implement them, it doesn't matter," Bobb said.

Civilian oversight advocates say it's an achievement for a law enforcement agency to have one watchdog, let alone two.

Bobb was hired by the Board of Supervisors after he led an investigation into the department that in 1992 found "deeply disturbing evidence of excessive force and lax discipline" by deputies. Nearly a decade later, Baca reacted to an unfolding corruption scandal at the Los Angeles Police Department by proposing the creation of the Office of Independent Review to examine how his own department was handling allegations of misconduct.

Nonetheless, Baca appears at times to have dismissed watchdog findings.

In a 2005 deposition, the sheriff questioned Bobb's qualifications after the special counsel criticized the actions of jail deputies that led to the death of an inmate and the department's subsequent investigation. "He has no background for jail operations," Baca said. "I think Mr. Bobb is fishing in deep water."

Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore rejected the idea that Baca was not interested in the findings of civilian monitors, saying he took their suggestions seriously. And he disputed criticism that the department had ignored or was slow to carry out reforms.

"These things take time to put into place. It can't be done overnight," Whitmore said.

Civilian oversight advocates rejected any suggestion that Los Angeles County's watchdogs had failed, arguing that Gennaco and Bobb's good work is not a substitute for strong leadership by police brass.

Sam Walker, a police accountability expert at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, said he thinks highly of both of the sheriff's main monitors and suspects the problem with jail abuse lays outside their scope, stemming from "something inherent about the L.A. County jail," such as the high percentage of mentally ill or drug-addicted inmates, or the sheer size of the jail system.

"If you're looking to some new or changed form of oversight, I think that's misdirected," Walker said.



Man wrongly convicted can sue LAPD, federal court panel rules


Man wrongly convicted can sue LAPD, federal court panel rules

By Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times

September 24, 2012, 8:20 p.m.

A Los Angeles man who spent 19 years in prison for murders he did not commit will be able to sue the LAPD, a panel of the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Monday.

Harold C. Hall should be permitted to amend his complaint against the city to allege that officers coerced his confession, which the court said was made as a result of "desperation, fear and fatigue," in possible violation of the 5th Amendment.

The majority in the 2-1 decision said "the extraordinary circumstances" of Hall's conviction justified the court's unusual action "to prevent a woefully unjust result."

Hall's double-murder conviction in 1985 was based on "falsified" documents by a jailhouse informant and a confession Hall made when he was 18, the court said. He agreed to admit guilt only after several hours of interrogation in which he was handcuffed, denied food and never advised of his rights, the court said.

The 9th Circuit eventually overturned Hall's convictions, and prosecutors declined to retry him. He was released in 2004.

Hall later sued the city but failed to allege violation of the 5th Amendment, which protects people from forced self-incrimination. A district judge dismissed the case, ruling that Hall could not amend his suit to cite the proper provision of law.

The 9th Circuit majority said the "exceptional" nature of Hall's history warranted the court's decision to revive the lawsuit.

"Justice eluded Hall when he suffered a conviction based on that confession and the patently false inculpatory evidence created by a jailhouse informant," wrote Judge Dorothy W. Nelson, an appointee of President Carter.

"Justice eluded Hall when he served nineteen years in state prison for a crime he did not commit. And justice will elude Hall yet again without the opportunity to amend his complaint and let a jury decide whether he deserves monetary compensation for his unlawful incarceration."

Judge Sandra S. Ikuta, appointed by former President George W. Bush, dissented, arguing that the majority's action was not supported by precedent or the Constitution. Because Hall failed to appeal the lower court's decision denying him the right to amend his lawsuit, the majority had no authority to step in and overturn the district court, Ikuta said.

Now 46, Hall works full time for the Los Angeles County Bar Assn., coordinating a program that provides lawyers for indigent defendants. He said in an interview Monday that he was grateful to the court and wanted to thank God, his lawyers and his community for helping him win his freedom and bring the case before a civil jury.

"I spent 19 years in prison for something I did not do, and I deserve, as any other inmate who is found to be innocent, to be compensated," Hall said. "We cannot get our life back. We can never get what they have taken away from us."

The killers of Nola Duncan and David Rainey, the victims he was charged with murdering, "are still out there," Hall said.

The 9th Circuit, summarizing his story, observed: "Some might call Hall an unlucky fellow."

Hall had lived near the murder scene. "The close proximity of his home to where the police found Duncan's body appears to be Hall's only connection, if one could call it that, to the crime," Nelson wrote.

After the murders, Hall was arrested on suspicion of committing an unrelated robbery, to which he pleaded guilty, and was placed in a cell near an informant.

That inmate told the LAPD that Hall had admitted to the double murder, and detectives then interrogated Hall. Prosecutors sought the death penalty, but a jury recommended Hall be sentenced to life without possibility of parole.

Deputy Los Angeles City Atty. Lisa Berger said the city is reviewing its options, which include a request that the court reconsider the case.


San Jose police officer won't be charged in 3-year-old's shooting death

Hey, did you really expect this cop to be charged with a crime???

Of course if you, me, or anybody else that isn't a cop did the same thing we would be sitting in a jail cell waiting to go to trial.

Personally I don't think "stupidity" should be a crime.

So while the cop was very stupid in allowing his child to kill himself I certainly don't think that was a criminal act in which the cop should be jailed.

On the other hand I think that the government should treat all people the same way.

If us serfs are going to be charge with a crime for committing acts of stupidity, then when a cop or government official commits the same act of stupidity they should also be charged with a crime.

But sadly that isn't how government works.

Our elected officials and police are a special royal ruling class that rarely is held to the same standards of the serfs they rule over and police.

While most government bureaucrats and employees can't get away with the same crimes that a cop or an elected official could, for a large part of the time they are also above the law and can get away with crimes that would get us serfs thrown in jail.


Prosecutors won't charge San Jose police officer in 3-year-old's shooting accident

By Tracey Kaplan


Posted: 09/25/2012 04:26:49 PM PDT

The San Jose police officer whose 3-year-old son accidentally shot himself to death with a handgun he found in the family's Gilroy home will not face criminal charges for leaving a loaded gun within reach of children, prosecutors announced Tuesday.

In an unsettling, six-page report that recounted for the first time what happened that day, District Attorney Jeff Rosen concluded that the tragedy was "a horrible, irreversible mistake." But he found that it did not meet the required legal elements for charging Officer Brandon Orlando with either a felony or a misdemeanor for criminal storage of a firearm.

Preston Orlando shot himself in the head July 5 with a .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun that his father accidentally left in the top drawer of his night stand in the master bedroom. The little boy was able to easily retrieve the weapon because the drawer was actually a wicker basket set in a wooden frame.

"For Officer Orlando, this was a devastating mistake that can never be corrected," Rosen said. "For the rest of us, it is a sad and cautionary tale about the paramount importance of gun safety. Please don't make the same mistake and let 3-year-old Preston Orlando's death be in vain. When not in use, keep your weapons safely locked away from our innocent children."

Historically, accidental shooting deaths involving children are rarely prosecuted. The maximum penalty is three years in jail. To file such charges, Rosen would have had to conclude that Orlando had been "grossly negligent."

In addition, the law states that prosecutors must weigh "impact of the injury or death on the person" deemed responsible -- that is, whether the loss of a child is punishment enough.

Live with memories

In the report, prosecutors said there is no question that Orlando has been devastated by this tragedy. The family is in therapy, the report noted.

"He must live with the knowledge that he failed his son when he did not move the gun to the lockbox following the cancellation of a secondary job he expected to do and the arrival of his children into the home," according to the report. "There is no court-ordered punishment that could rival the degree of loss he and his family have suffered."

Orlando, a nine-year veteran of the department, worked long hours -- four 10-hour days on the graveyard shift, as well as a second job as a security guard twice a week after he finished his police shift.

The day Preston died, Orlando returned home that morning after working from 9 p.m. on the Fourth of July until 7 a.m. Exhausted, he put his department-issued AR-15 rifle and a 40 mm launcher (enclosed in their cases) in his office and went upstairs. The children were not allowed in the office.

But instead of securing his backup weapon in the lockbox underneath the bed, he put it in the wicker drawer -- without activating its cable lock, which prevents accidental disclosure, because "he forgot he had it." Many law enforcement officers carry a backup firearm in case they cannot use their duty weapon during a life-threatening situation, according to the report.

He immediately fell asleep about 8 a.m., expecting to get up later and go to his second job from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., before his wife and children came home. But he woke up to find his shift as a guard had been canceled.

When his wife came home with the children, including two of his nieces and one of his nephews, he closed the master bedroom door and went downstairs, forgetting about the gun in the closed wicker drawer. The children were told not to go into their parents' bedroom if the door was closed, and they generally obeyed, according to the report.

Downstairs, Orlando saw Preston running by without a shirt on and heard his wife telling the boy to put on a shirt. Orlando told his son, "Listen to your mother," and gave his son a kiss. Preston apparently went upstairs to comply.

'I know'

Within a "couple of minutes," the report states, Orlando heard a "bang." He ran upstairs to find his son lying on the floor with his gun at his feet and a hole in his forehead above his right eye, still breathing. The officer picked up the child and ran downstairs, screaming. They rushed him to St. Louise Hospital's emergency room, but by the time they arrived the boy was dead.

The report, written by assistant district attorney Terry Harman and supervising district attorney Steve Dick, found that Orlando's error was in failing to relocate the gun to the lockbox once circumstances changed after he woke up.

Although Orlando's actions "allowed a tragedy to occur, it does not mean he disregarded human life, or was indifferent to the consequences of his actions," as required under the criminal storage law, the report found.

Orlando, who has returned to work, has trouble being in the master bedroom where he found Preston and even walking down the stairway of the home, where he carried the child. He also suffers from flashbacks, has difficulty sleeping and is "traumatized," the report noted.

In the immediate aftermath of the accident, the report says, his wife yelled at him, "This is all your (expletive) fault." He looked at his wife and responded, "I know."

Follow Tracey Kaplan at 408-278-3482. Follow her at Twitter.com/tkaplanreport.

Northern California deputy shoots, kills himself in courthouse

Our government masters like to portray cops, along with themselves as people who are far more mentally stable then the rest of us.

They also like to portray cops and themselves as people who are able to make much better judgement calls then us serfs do.

But sadly that is a bunch of rubbish.

In the following article a Northern California cop committed suicide in a courthouse, which says he certainly isn't as mentally stable as the rest of us serfs, nor does he have any better judgement then us serfs do.


Northern California deputy shoots, kills himself in courthouse

Associated Press

Posted: 09/26/2012 08:25:00 AM PDT

CRESCENT CITY -- Colleagues at a Northern California sheriff's office are mourning one of their own after a longtime deputy fatally shot himself inside the county courthouse.

Del Norte County Sheriff's Cmdr. Bill Steven said Tuesday that 45-year-old Harold Esparza was off-duty when he shot himself in the head after entering the courthouse's holding cells Sunday morning.

Steven called Esparza "a good guy."

Steven said authorities are calling Esparza's shooting a suicide as the married father with kids may have killed himself due to a combination of stress and other undisclosed issues.

The sheriff's office said the deputy of nearly 20 years gave no note or warning prior to his death.

Services for Esparza are scheduled Friday morning at the St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Crescent City.

California to pay $1M to settle UC Davis pepper-spray lawsuit

UC Davis Police Officer Lt. John Pike illegally pepper sprays peaceful student protesters at University of California Davis


Cal to pay $1M to settle pepper-spray suit

Sept. 26, 2012 11:54 AM

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO -- The University of California has agreed to pay $1 million to settle a lawsuit filed by demonstrators who were pepper-sprayed during an Occupy protest at UC Davis last fall, according to a preliminary settlement filed Wednesday.

The Nov. 18, 2011, incident prompted national outrage, angry campus protests and calls for the resignation of Chancellor Linda Katehi after online videos shot by witnesses went viral.

Images of a police officer casually spraying orange pepper-spray in the faces of nonviolent protesters became a rallying symbol for the Occupy Wall Street movement. The demonstrators had been protesting steep tuition hikes and police brutality.

Under the proposed settlement, UC would pay $30,000 to each of 21 plaintiffs named in the complaint and an additional $250,000 for their attorneys to split.

Katehi, who has publicly apologized for the incident, would be required to issue a formal written apology to each of the plaintiffs, who are current students or recent alumni

UC and plaintiffs represented by the American Civil Liberties Union filed the preliminary settlement in U.S. District Court in Sacramento. The agreement, which was approved by the UC Board of Regents in mid-September, is subject to the approval of a federal judge, and parties have the right to appeal.

The settlement also calls for UC to set aside $100,000 to pay other individuals who can prove they were arrested or pepper-sprayed. The university would give the ACLU up to $20,000 for its work reviewing free speech and protest policies at UC Davis.

"It was felt that the proposed settlement was in the best interest of the university," said UC spokesman Steve Montiel.

UC officials believe the cost of going to trial would be more expensive than the cost of settling the lawsuit, Montiel said.

Plaintiff Fatima Sbeih, who recently graduated with an international studies degree, said she suffered panic attacks and nightmares after she was pepper-sprayed on the UC Davis Quad.

"I want to make sure that nothing like this happens again," Sbeih said in a statement. "The university still needs to work to rebuild students' trust and this settlement is a step in the right direction."

A task force report released in April blamed the incident on poor communication and planning throughout the campus chain of command, from the chancellor to the pepper-spraying officers, and concluded the situation could have been prevented.

"The settlement should be a wake-up call for other universities and police departments," said Michael Risher, staff attorney with the ACLU of Northern California. "If the First Amendment means anything, it's that you should be able to demonstrate without being afraid of police violence."

Last week, Yolo County prosecutors said the UC Davis officers who fired the pepper-spray won't face criminal charges because there is not enough evidence to prove the use of force was illegal.


September 26, 2012

UC pepper-spray settlement about $1 million

By Sam Stanton, Denny Walsh and Andrea Gallo


The University of California regents have agreed to pay out roughly $1 million to end a lawsuit over last November's pepper spraying of UC-Davis students, part of a deal that also calls for a personal written apology from Chancellor Linda Katehi to each person hit with the spray.

The details of the settlement, approved in secret earlier this month by the regents, are contained in documents filed in federal court in Sacramento this morning.

The deal, hammered out in mediation sessions after 21 students and former students sued last February, still must be approved by a federal judge.

It calls for each of the 21 plaintiffs to receive $30,000 for a total payout of $630,000. The agreement also transforms the suit into a class action, which will allow others who were hit with pepper spray during the Nov. 18 protest to submit claims for payments of up to $20,000.

That part of the deal envisions five to 10 additional claimants coming forward, with a sliding scale that reduces the payout for each of those depending on the final tally. Those claimants wil be paid from a pool of money limited to $100,000.

In addition, the settlement calls for the payment of $250,000 in legal fees and costs to the lawyers who filed the suit.

The settlement fees will be paid out of UC's self-insurance fund.

The American Civil Liberties Union spearheaded the effort and is expected to hold a press conference on the UC Davis campus this morning.

The settlement agreement notes that the regents are not conceding wrongdoing in the incident and that the defendants "acted reasonably and with good intentions."

The agreement allows students hit with the pepper spray to receive assistance and counseling for "academic performance issues that allegedly arose" from the incident.

The deal also allots $20,000 to the ACLU for legal fees to review and provide input on UC-Davis policies on handling demonstrations.

The settlement stems from a Nov. 18 protest at which students had gathered to demonstrate against rising tuition costs and reduced services. Campus police moved in to oust students who were camping on the Quad and, after a series of warnings, used pepper spray on the protesters.

The settlement brings the total payout for the pepper spray incident to well over $2 million so far.

Documents released to The Bee by UC officials Tuesday in response to a Public Records Act request filed in July give the most detailed figures yet for costs associated with the incident, including:

-- $320,000 paid to the Munger, Tolles & Olson law firm in San Francisco for work on a systemwide review of how UC campuses should respond to protests.

-- $88,686 paid in salaries and other fees to UC Berkeley officials who worked on that review.

-- $119,714 paid to Marsh Risk and Insurance Services of San Francisco to provide "real time crisis management support for UC Davis."

-- and $445,879 paid to investigators for the Kroll consulting firm that conducted an investigation into the pepper spray incident for an independent panel headed by former state Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso.

Kroll's billing included more than $10,707 in air fare, $3,181 in ground transportation and $8,800 in hotel charges.

Another $230,256 was paid out for an internal affairs investigation into the actions of Lt. John Pike, one of two officers who deployed the pepper spray. Pike ultimately was fired by UC Davis.

These amounts do not include various other salary figures and legal fees associated with the protest and its messy aftermath.

Pelican Bay Prison is cruel and unusual punishment


Rights group: isolation units in California prisons cruel

By Mary Slosson | Reuters

SACRAMENTO (Reuters) - The use of solitary confinement for prolonged periods of time in California's Pelican Bay State Prison constitutes cruel and degrading treatment in violation of international law, according to Amnesty International report released on Thursday.

The human rights group found that roughly 3,000 prisoners in the super maximum security Pelican Bay facility in Northern California and the Corcoran State Prison in the state's rural heartland were being held in "extreme" isolation, with no direct human contact, access to rehabilitation programs, sunlight or fresh air.

California's state prisons have been plagued by hunger strikes, occasional violence and overcrowding and remain at more than 50 percent above capacity, despite a massive shift of low-level offenders to county jails that began last year.

The effort to shift the prison population followed a U.S. Supreme Court directive to cut the inmate population after the nation's top court ruled that overcrowding in the 33-prison system was causing "needless suffering and death."

The report comes months after a lawsuit filed by rights groups against California and its prison system over long-term solitary confinement at Pelican Bay, saying it violated the rights of more than 500 prisoners who have been held in isolation at the prison between 10 and 28 years.

"After being in solitary confinement for almost seven years, that rush of loneliness still vibrates through me," one former inmate interviewed by Amnesty International, Freddie Garay, said of his seven years in Pelican Bay's Security Housing Unit, the isolation chambers for the "worst of the worst."

Garay was convicted of armed robbery at age 16, and was serving time in another prison when officials said he was an active member of the Mexican Mafia prison gang and sent him to Pelican Bay, the rights group said.

After seven years in the Security Housing Unit, he was released from prison last year, and now says the conditions he and others were held in constitute torture and have a chilling effect on behavior inside and outside of the unit.

"I would grow my own hair so I could cut it to use as a paint brush and invent my own colors," Garay said. "I'd use mustard, Kool-Aid and coffee. I would even rub the dye from images in paper magazines to use to make my own colors."


Last fall, a hunger strike by Pelican Bay inmates over conditions in the isolation units spread to include more than 4,200 inmates at seven prisons across the state.

"Pelican Bay is probably one of the most scrutinized and monitored prisons in U.S. history, but no court has ever found our SHU facilities to be inhumane or a violation of offender rights," said Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

"All of these allegations about any unit in CDCR being inhumane are just that - an allegation," Thornton said.

She added that Pelican Bay houses "shot-callers," leaders of some of the nation's most notorious prison gangs. Those who wind up in isolation units are barred from communicating with others because they may have ordered hits and operated drug trafficking and extortion rings from inside the prison walls.

More than 1,000 inmates in Pelican Bay are held in nine foot by nine foot isolation cells for at least 22 hours and 30 minutes a day, the report said. They are allowed 90 minutes of exercise a day in a walled concrete yard, and only catch a glimpse of sky through a partially meshed plastic roof.

The group said that prisoners in solitary confinement are barred from working or attending religious services, and are barred from human touch, even from doctors or family members.

No other state is believed to hold so many prisoners in solitary confinement, Amnesty International said.


Check out these previous articles on the police.

More articles on the police.

Homeless in Arizona

stinking title