March 14, 2012
By Madison Ruppert
“Here is yet another article that demonstrates that the police are out of control. If they aren’t doing anything wrong, why are they afraid to be filmed?” –KTRN
Over a month ago, Steve Horrigan, a Florida resident, was arrested on charges of felony wiretapping for the high crime of recording video of police in public with his cell phone.
The Sarasota County, Florida State Attorney’s Office has yet to even formally file charges against Horrigan, and the North Port Police Department has not yet returned his cell phone.
Unfortunately, Horrigan’s case is not some isolated anomaly, but instead part of a much larger war on citizens who attempt to hold police accountable for their activities and do so in a wholly legal manner.
The state of Horrigan’s case has him in legal limbo wherein he cannot move forward with his lawsuit, and the state attorney has even more time before they have to file charges.
On top of the felony wiretapping, Horrigan is facing a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest without violence, something which Carlos Miller characterizes as “the usual tack-on charge in Florida when you’ve pissed off the cops.”
Under state law in Florida, an individual who was arrested for a misdemeanor must be tried within 90 days of the arrest, while a felony arrest gives a period of 175 days.
Horrigan was arrested on January 25 of this year, so the state attorney has more time to make him squirm before they have to bring him to trial.
Thankfully, Horrigan’s case is getting some attention, at least amongst the local media like the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
Recently they ran an in-depth piece not only about Horrigan’s case, but the nationwide struggle between citizens who want to hold police accountable and those individuals who refuse to allow citizens to exercise this right.
Unfortunately, the author of the piece failed to point out the fact that there is absolutely no legal basis upon which an officer can arrest an individual for filming them in public carrying out their public duties where they have no reasonable expectation of privacy.
While California Persecutes Raw Milk Farmers, France Unveils Raw Milk Vending Machines For Happy, Healthy Consumers
March 12, 2012
By Mike Adams
“Maybe it’s time to move to France. If it’s healthy to consume raw milk there, why is it so bad in the US? Could it possibly be that the cows are horribly unhealthy due to factory farming.” –KTRN
Thanks to the extraordinarily cruel and vindictive actions of the LA County and Ventura County District Attorneys’ offices, California is rapidly losing its reputation as a state that promotes a healthy lifestyle. Instead, the state is becoming increasingly known as “the torture state” where senior citizen farmers and fresh food advocates are imprisoned, tortured, and charged with felony crimes for making fresh milk available to customers. See our astonishing report on California’s latest assault on a 65-year-old “milk man” at:
France, on the other hand, has embraced the health benefits of raw milk. There, innovative dairy farmer Michel Cantaloube has created a raw milk vending machine (see photo below). The vending machine is a tastefully-designed kiosk that blends right into the urban setting, allowing it to be set up on a street corner on a French town or even a major metropolitan area.
Customers can purchase whatever quantity of raw milk they wish, and unlike in the United States, they don’t even have to go through the bizarre paperwork of owning a “cow share.”
Back in Los Angeles, raw dairy farmer Sharon Palmer has been slapped with 38 felony counts drummed up by the county, which has a rogue DA office running a campaign of personal revenge against dairy farmers. Driven into near-bankruptcy by the fines and legal fees, Palmer has been unable to repay farm investors as planned, so when her repayments fell behind, the county charged her with financial fraud.
June 22nd, 2011
By: Kase Wickman
Often, crimes are borne of desperation. However, most robberies aren’t motivated by a desperate need for health care.
James Richard Verone, of Georgia, attempted to steal one dollar from a bank so that he would be arrested, taken to jail and — most importantly — provided with health care, the Gaston Gazette reported.
Verone worked for Coca-Cola for 17 years, but lost that job three years ago. Now 59 years old, Verone can’t handle the physical demands of the part-time jobs, like working in a convenience store, that he has successfully been hired for. Hence, he has no health care.
“The pain was beyond the tolerance that I could accept,” he told the Gazette. “I kind of hit a brick wall with everything.”
He had no criminal record prior to the planned robbery June 9, either. On that day, he walked into a bank, handed the teller a note demanding a dollar, then sat and waited calmly for the police to arrive and arrest him.
Verone has problems with his back, an aching left foot, arthritic hands, carpal tunnel syndrome, and an undiagnosed protrusion on his chest. He’s hoping to be examined and treated, and serve enough time that when he is released, he will be able to collect Social Security benefits. Verone is banking on a lengthy stay: Before he robbed the bank, he sold his furniture and moved out of his apartment.
Verone plans to represent himself in court during his hearing for his crime, larceny from a person (because the amount he demanded was so small, he was not charged with bank robbery). If he is released, or if his sentence is unsatisfactorily short, Verone said he would again turn to crime.
“I knew that a felony would not hurt me. I cannot work anymore,” he said. “That felony is going to hurt my reputation.”
March 8th, 2011
By: The Associated Press
DNA confirmed that a man arrested Friday in Connecticut is the East Coast Rapist suspected of terrorizing women with sexual assaults from Virginia to Rhode Island over 12 years, police said Saturday.
Lt. Julie Johnson said DNA was collected and subsequently matched by the state police forensic lab confirming 39-year-old Aaron Thomas was the East Coast Rapist.
New Haven police have a warrant charging Thomas with first-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor and he was being held on $1 million bond, Johnson said. Authorities in Prince William County, Virginia, are charging him with being a fugitive as well as rape and abduction charges and use of a firearm while committing a felony.
The East Coast Rapist is wanted for 17 rapes and other attacks in Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island and Virginia that began in 1997. The cases were linked by DNA.
Authorities recently put up electronic billboards in the states where the attacks occurred and neighboring states. U.S. Marshal Joe Faughnan said a tip from Prince William County, Virginia, directed them to Thomas.
“Although the information and investigation of Thomas developed quickly over the last week or so, we should point out that investigators worked tirelessly for years pursuing this case,” Johnson said. “This was truly a joint collaboration on all levels. We are proud of our investigation and hope the arrest of Aaron Thomas brings some closure to our victims and our communities.”
Thomas could not be reached for comment; it was not known if he had legal representation. Thomas is scheduled to appear Monday in New Haven Superior Court.
Johnson did not take questions during the brief news conference.
A neighbor said Thomas was dating a woman in a yellow colonial house in one of New Haven’s finest neighborhoods. The woman, who refused to give her name, said Saturday that Thomas is a truck driver and parked his tractor trailer in the residential neighborhood, but he seemed to be unemployed and would offer to paint or rake leaves for neighbors.
Thomas was known to ride his bicycle around the neighborhood, the neighbor said. She said there were children at his girlfriend’s house.
Police would not allow a reporter to knock on the door.
At a two-family house listed as Thomas’ address, a police officer in uniform answered the door Friday night and said nobody wanted to make a statement. The house, in a densely populated New Haven neighborhood, has a large porch and a white picket fence with a sign warning the premises are protected by a security company.
A neighbor, 39-year-old Tom Chambers, said he often saw Thomas coming and going but he did not know him well.
“He was just normal,” Chambers said.
Thomas was not entirely unknown to law enforcement: He had been arrested in September in Woodbridge, Conn., on a larceny charge and was released on $1,000 bond, according to public records.
He had lived previously at addresses in Maryland and Virginia, according to public records.
The assailant eluded police even though the crimes were often committed outdoors, law enforcement officials say.
In some instances, the attacker wore a mask or hooded sweat shirt to conceal his face. He typically approached women outdoors on foot and threatened them with a knife, screwdriver or a handgun, investigators say.
The only attack in New Haven came on Jan. 10, 2007. Police said the suspect entered a 27-year-old woman’s bedroom through an open window and threatened to kill her sleeping infant son before assaulting her.
The last known attack occurred on Halloween night in 2009, when two teenagers on their way home from trick-or-treating in Woodbridge, Va., were raped, authorities say.
March 2nd, 2011
By: Lisa Johnson Mandell
Authorities found plenty of sex (toys), and drugs — all that seemed to be missing was the rock ‘n’ roll. These discoveries would have been bad enough at any legitimate business, but this bust happened at a day care center in Pittsburgh.
When they raided the R&B Childcare Services on Rosewood Street in the Homewood neighborhood early Friday morning, agents found several bags of sex toys and pornography lying around the children’s play area, as well as $6,000 worth of crack cocaine, $4,000 in cash and two small scales.
The owner of the day care center, Reanell Booker, 50, was taken into custody. She is fully licensed by the state to run the day care facility and take care of children, which makes you wonder who granted the license and how long ago did they check her out? Booker faces felony drug charges and could face child endangerment charges as well, the police note. She has no prior arrests on her record.
The raid happened at 7AM, before the 10-15 kids enrolled at the school were dropped off by their parents, according to a report by WPXI in Pittsburgh. When they arrived, they were greeted by a sign on the door that said, “Closed due to emergency.” Leigh Stubblefield, who owns a day care center nearby, was on hand passing out fliers for those who were caught in a bind and had nowhere to take their kids. Now that was a smart career move.
December 21st, 2010
By: Kristen Wyatt and Tamara Lush
A Colorado man who wrote a how-to guide for pedophiles was arrested Monday and sent to Florida to face obscenity charges, after deputies there ordered a copy of the book that has generated online outrage.
Officers arrested Phillip R. Greaves at his home in Pueblo on a warrant that charges him with violating Florida’s obscenity law. During a brief court appearance, Greaves waived his right to fight extradition and was transferred to Polk County, Fla.
The Pueblo County Sheriff’s Department declined to release any details of Greaves’ transfer.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said he claimed jurisdiction because Greaves sold and mailed his book directly to undercover deputies, who had written the author a letter requesting a copy. Judd said Greaves even signed the book.
“I was outraged by the content,” Judd told The Associated Press. “It was clearly a manifesto on how to sexually batter children … You just can’t believe how absolutely disgusting it was.”
The self-published book – “The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: a Child-lover’s Code of Conduct” – caused a flap when it showed up on Amazon in November. The book was later removed from the site.
Greaves, who has no criminal record, writes in the book that pedophiles are misunderstood, as the word literally means to love a child. He adds it is only a crime to act on sexual impulses toward children, and offers advice that purportedly allows pedophiles to abide by the law.
Judd said he was incensed when he heard about the book and that no one had arrested Greaves for selling it. The book, Judd said, included first-person descriptions of sexual encounters, purportedly written from a child’s point of view.
“What’s wrong with a society that has gotten to the point that we can’t arrest child pornographers and child molesters who write a book about how to rape a child?” said Judd, who keeps a Bible on his desk and is known throughout Florida as a crusader against child predators.
Florida’ obscenity law – a third-degree felony – prohibits the “distribution of obscene material depicting minors engaged in conduct harmful to minors.” Pueblo County sheriff’s spokeswoman Laurie Kilpatrick said Greaves would leave for Polk County later in the day.
Legal experts questioned whether Greaves’ right to free speech would come into play if there’s a trial. If prosecutors can charge Greaves for shipping his book, they ask, what would prevent booksellers from facing prosecution for selling Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita,” a novel about a pedophile?
“As bad as this book may be, the charge opens a very big Pandora’s box,” said Dennis J. Kenney, a former police officer in Polk County and a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. “The charge sounds to me like a significant overreach.”
Greaves was among a group of prisoners who made brief appearances before District Court Judge David Crockenberg in Pueblo on Monday, all of them represented by the same public defender. He was the only one not wearing a striped prison uniform although his wrists were handcuffed in front of him.
Dressed in a cream colored T-shirt and khaki pants, Greaves said he understood the extradition process. When Crockenberg asked him if he understood he would be taken to Florida, Greaves responded, “That is correct, your honor.”
Judd said his undercover detectives got Greaves to mail the book to them for $50; he told officers it was his last copy.
“If we can get jurisdiction … we’re coming after you,” Judd said. “There’s nothing in the world more important than our children.”
December 13th, 2010
By: David Knowles
Judge not, lest ye be judged, or something like that.
Today, former U.S. District Judge Jack Camp was stripped of his position on the bench following his admission of guilt to providing a female stripper with cocaine, pot and Roxicodone.
Camp, 67, pleaded guilty to the felony charge of aiding and abetting a felon’s possession of the illegal substances, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. In addition, Camp, who is married, admitted to giving the exotic dancer his government-issued laptop computer, a misdemeanor offense.
As Surge Desk reported in October, Camp had originally planned to plead not guilty to the drug charges, but confronted with a strong government case, he admitted that he had often accompanied the stripper on drug deals, sometimes carrying handguns he owned along with him. Police were also said to have found two guns in Camp’s car when undercover agents arrested him attempting to purchase the cocaine and Roxicodone.
Camp, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, met the stripper at the Goldrush Showbar in Atlanta. During his 33-year career on the bench, Camp had presided over numerous drug cases.
May 27, 2010
By Bridget Johnson
An e-mail from Rep. Darrell Issa’s (R-Calif.) campaign suggested Wednesday that the controversy over Rep. Joe Sestak’s (D-Pa.) alleged administration job offer could be President Barack Obama’s Watergate scandal.
In an e-mail with the subject line “The Sestak Affair – Obama’s Watergate?”, the ranking member on the Oversight and Government Reform committee focused on “long-standing questions” about the offer Sestak says was made to him to urge him to drop out of the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate primary.
The campaign e-mail says the allegations would amount to three felony charges of bribery and corruption.
“Congressman Sestak has continued to repeat his story whenever asked without varying from the original version. The White House however has arrogantly and wrongly assumed that they can sweep this matter under the rug,” Issa, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, says in the e-mail.
February 18th, 2010
By Declan McCallugh
When Christian Taylor stopped by the Sprint store in Daly City, Calif., last November, he was planning to buy around 30 BlackBerry handhelds.
But a Sprint employee on the lookout for fraud grew suspicious about the address and other details relating to Taylor’s company, “Hype Univercity,” and called the police. Taylor was arrested on charges of felony identity fraud , his car was impounded, and his iPhone was confiscated and searched by police without a warrant.
A San Mateo County judge is scheduled to hear testimony on Thursday morning in this case, which could set new ground rules for when police can conduct warrantless searches of iPhones, laptops, and similarly capacious electronic gadgets.
This is an important legal question that remains unresolved: as our gadgets store more and more information about us, including our appointments, correspondence, and personal photos and videos, what rules should police investigators be required to follow? The Obama administration and many local prosecutors’ answer is that warrantless searches are perfectly constitutional during arrests.
“There are very, very few cases involving smartphones,” Chris Feasel, deputy district attorney for San Mateo County, said in an interview on Wednesday. “The law has not necessarily caught up to the technology.”
Feasel said the county’s position is that a search of a handheld device that takes place soon after an arrest is lawful. “It’s an interesting issue that may decide the future of how courts handle these kinds of cases, especially smartphones and iPhones,” he said.
Attorneys for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the San Francisco civil liberties group that’s representing Taylor, have asked the court to suppress any evidence obtained from the search of his iPhone. They say the search was “unconstitutional” because it was done without a warrant–and they say it also may have violated a 1986 federal law designed to protect the privacy of e-mail messages.
Privacy advocates say that long-standing legal rules allowing police to search suspects during an arrest–including looking through their wallets and pockets–should not apply to smartphones because the amount of material they store is so much greater and the risks of intrusive searches are so much higher. A 32GB iPhone 3GS, for instance, can hold approximately 220,000 copies of the unabridged text of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
“Neither the search of (Taylor’s) vehicle nor the search of his iPhone was justified by any exception to the warrant requirement,” the EFF and its co-counsel, San Francisco attorney Randall Garteiser wrote in a brief filed earlier this month.
Sex photos drew federal lawsuit
Concerns about privacy are not merely hypothetical. In March 2008, Nathan Newhard was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving in Culpeper, Va., and his cell phone was seized. In the pictures folder of the cell phone were multiple pictures of Newhard and his then-girlfriend, Jessie Casella, nude in sexually compromising positions.
Newhard and Casella–at that point no longer a couple–filed separate civil rights lawsuits against Sgt. Matt Borders, who they said alerted the rest of the police department on the radio “that the private pictures were available for their viewing and enjoyment.” Newhard claimed that, as a result of the incident, he was nonrecommended for continued employment with the Culpeper school system, where he had worked before the arrest.
A federal judge in Virginia last year agreed that the police conduct was “irresponsible, unprofessional, and reprehensible” but said that Culpeper police officers could not be held legally responsible because they did not violate any clearly established constitutional rights. In addition, the court pointed out, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled that “officers may retrieve text messages and other information from cell phones and pagers seized incident to an arrest” to preserve evidence.
The problem for EFF and its co-counsel in the San Mateo County case is that, while the U.S. Supreme Court has not taken up the issue, a number of other courts have reached similar conclusions. In 2007, the Fifth Circuit concluded that police were permitted to conduct a warrantless search for call records and text messages during an arrest. So did the Seventh Circuit in a 1996 case dealing with information from numeric pagers (“It is imperative that law enforcement officers have the authority to immediately ‘search’ or retrieve, incident to a valid arrest, information from a pager in order to prevent its destruction as evidence.”)